Key Passage: Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.”
Big Picture Question: Who can help at church? Everyone can help at church.
Christ Connection: Jesus’ friends believed that everyone in the church had an important job to do to serve God’s people and help spread the gospel. Jesus wants us to serve others so that people all over the world can hear and believe the news of His death and resurrection.
This week, our journey takes us to Jerusalem where the early church was booming with growth. There were two groups of Jews in the first church: Jews who spoke Greek and Jews who spoke Hebrew. The Greek-speaking Jews were from foreign countries, and the Hebrew-speaking Jews had been born in Israel. Tension existed between the two groups. The Greek-speaking Jews complained that their widows were not being cared for properly.
The Old Testament law was clear that God commanded His people to care for the orphans and widows. (See Ex. 22:22; Deut. 10:18.) The early church continued this Jewish custom, but the Greek-speaking Jews claimed their widows were not getting their share of the daily distributions.
The twelve apostles were quick to address the issue. They gathered all the believers together. The apostles explained that God had called them to preaching and teaching. They were not above handling problems among the people, but they wisely led the church to choose seven leaders to oversee such duties.
The church did not choose just anyone to serve; the men were reputable, full of the Spirit, and wise. The chosen seven were Stephen, Philip, Prochorus (PRAHK uh ruhs), Nicanor (nigh KAY nawr), Timon (TIGH mahn), Parmenas (PAHR mih nuhs), and Nicolaus (nik uh LAY uhs). Now the apostles were free to devote themselves to prayer and preaching, and the widows were properly cared for.
Everyone in the church has a role in God’s work. The apostles believed that everyone in the church had an important job to do to serve God’s people and help spread the gospel. The seven men who were chosen used their abilities to take care of others. Jesus wants us to serve others so that the message of His death and resurrection can be heard and believed all over the world.
Family Activity: Read Acts 6:1-7. Talk about how seven men were chosen to help take care of widows, women whose husbands had died. Think about an elderly person you know who may have recently lost a spouse or loved one. Talk about skills God has given your family members. Talk about ways they might serve and choose to do one of the suggestions this week.