ROOTED & RENEGADE | Week 10 | Acts 6:1-7
Throughout the book of Acts we see the church exploding numerically. We are astonished at the rapid growth of the early church, but what did that growth actually look like? Join us in Acts 6 as we see how a humble, thriving, biblical church always precedes growth with health!
It’s all about Jesus!
Date: November 14, 2021
Series: Rooted & Renegade
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Thank you so much for listening in here at West Side. We often say that we love the word of God because it points us to the son of God. We hope these messages encourage you and equip you to love Jesus more. We also want you to be apart of a local church, we believe these messages are only supplemental, being apart of a local church is essential. Blessings.
Rooted & Renegade: Acts 6:1-7 “The Complexity of Growth”
ANNOUNCEMENT: This is the last week in our study on Acts as we Pause and take a break! Next weeks sermon, “How to have a meal with people you don’t like” Then ADVENT!
INTRO> We have been in a section in the book of acts that has been looking at the opposition that the early church was facing, when you look at this section 3-9 there are 3 Main Dangers to the Church: 1) Persecution 2) Hypocrisy then what do you think the second one is? Let me see if you can guess…
- Acts 1– 120
- Acts 2– 3,000
- Acts 4- 5,000 (just men)
- Acts 5:14 “more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women”
- Acts 6:1 “Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number Most Biblical scholar believe the church is somewhere around 18,000-20,000 people. (Just to clarify, that’s larger than the city of Poplar Bluff 17,000)
The Three Main Dangers to the Church: 1) Persecution 2) Hypocrisy 3) Growth
CONTEXT> It doesn’t seem right does it? Growth? What? But look right there in the rest of v1, “Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.” Acts 6:1 Do you see that there? There is a complaints, a conflict because people are being neglected… but Why are they being neglected?
ILL> When I thought about those list of scriptures about the church in acts growing, it reminded me of this (Picture of Growth Chart for kids) What you see is the growth chart, what I see is new pants, new shoes, more food and new beds.
Big Idea> As a church family grows, so does the complexity and complexity is the enemy of growth.
APP> I want to look at this text and be as helpful as possible, you can either get too theological and miss the practical or you can get too practical and miss the theological.
- As a church family grows, health should precede growth.
- “Now in these days the disciples were increasing in numbers…” v1 It’s easy to read that in isolation and forget what we have been studying all of these weeks. I want you to see something here: Acts 4:19-20 “But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”…..Acts 5:29… “Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men.”
APP> Long before there was explosive growth from Jesus in the early church, there was radical obedience to Jesus in the early church.
2) As a church family grows, so do the opportunities for failure.
- v1… “a complaint arose by the Hellenist against the hebrews because the widows are being left out…” So what we have here is the church is growing and so are the differences in two groups of people… but what is the main issue is the word.. “neglect” the word neglect here literally means… “to overlook”.
APP> When a church is doing too many things, it will always overlook the main thing… loving people through the proclamation of God’s Word.
APP> This moment of failure isn’t defining for the early church, it is refining.
By God’s divine sovereignty, I believe West Side has been given literally the same opportunity, not something that will define us but something that will refine us. As I was studying this text on Monday, around 11am an email hit my inbox, entitled: “A Mother of an Invisible:”
- “HI. I finally talked my severely depressed, unsaved, young adult son into going to church yesterday. The church his dad and I belong to doesn’t have any young adults, so we tried your church. The song service was beautiful, the message was clearly given by God to speak to my son’s issues, but he could not focus on that because only one person spoke to us at all and they only spoke to me. His first words when we left the church and got back into the car were, “See, this is my life, I am invisible. No one cares if I go to church. I told you church wouldn’t help me.”
I know that stings.. and let me be clear, this is not meant to shame, this is not meant to beat us down but to build us up. This does not define our church but it can refine our church if we will humble ourselves and receive it. Again…. I don’t think this family experienced the heart of our church but they did experience a part of our church. This family has been contacted and cared for but as I have set with this this week, as well as our text and met with our board there are a few crucial things you need to know some family expectations if you will:
- All of God’s Work takes all of God’s people. (Show school bus vs Row Boat)
- If you are a member at West Side, on Sunday mornings you’re the host, not the guest. (Imagine walking into your home and someone was there you didn’t know)
- We want to properly place people in their primary areas of gifting. (Walk through instruction on website)
Close> Do you know why all of this matters? Because look in the text, look at the very last verse… “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” Do you see that? How come you don’t have v7 before v1… because they couldn’t have handled anymore growth…
It reminds me of G. Campbell Morgan Quote… “We cannot organize revival but we can set our sails…
- What is the Spirit of God saying to you?
- What are you going to do about it?