Damariscotta Baptist Church
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

04/03/16 Sermon - Where Do I Fit In?

“Where Do I Fit In?”

Acts 6

 

Have you ever wondered? Where do I fit in? What is special about me? What does God have in mind for me to do? Others seem to have it all figured out, but as for me? I am not quite sure.

If we are honest, I think just about everyone in this room has asked these questions, or something similar to them with or without a response.

Today’s Scripture may be able to offer some assistance in guiding us towards the answer as to where we may “fit in” within the family of God.  And it begins with the people of God “complaining”.

Chapter 6 of Acts starts off with a problem when the numbers of disciples continues to increase. Now you would think this would have been a good thing. More people coming to a saving knowledge of the Lord, and turning from their old ways and following Christ. But, like everyone knows, as soon as too many people start hanging out together….

It’s bound to happen, someone starts complaining.

Someone, will inevitably feel like things are “unfair” or someone has it better than another.

It’s a human phenomenon.

The early church was not immune.

The first converts of the Christian church were originally Jewish believers. At the time of Christ’s resurrection, the Jewish world, in Jerusalem, was made up of: Aramaic Jews from Palestine, otherwise known as “Hebrews” and Greek speaking Jews from outside of Palestine, otherwise known as “Hellenists”. This name came about because Greeks called their land Hellas and themselves Hellenes.

Within the Jewish society there was a history of religious purity which resulted in racial tension. This behavior found its way into the early New Testament church and manifested itself in a dispute over the care of widows.

The Hellenists claimed their widows were not getting their fair share of the daily distribution of food.

The twelve disciples heard the concern, but they also saw their main function as being in charge of the worship of the church, they were called to focus on the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, and did not feel it was right for them to be sidetracked into a social-welfare role. So they call the assembly together and gave the task of choosing seven men from among them who would be in charge of making sure the food was distributed fairly.

The men were to have the following characteristics:

Known to be full of the Spirit, gifted in wisdom, capable and intelligent and able to perform a social-welfare role.

The assembly approved of the idea and the seven men they chose had Greek names, which leads us to be believe they were Hellenists. And one of them, Nicolas from Antioch, wasn’t even born Jewish, but was a convert to Judaism. Putting Hellenists in charge, was a wise move, for should the complaining continue, the apostles could easily say, “You will have to take it up with one of your own kind, they are in charge.”

The apostles prayed and laid hands over the seven men and commissioned them to their office. The ministry of deacons comes from this passage as it is derived from the Greek word, diakonos, meaning servant or minister.

Luke then gives a brief report on the state of the church, by sharing that as the word of God continued to spread, so did the number of disciples in Jerusalem. He even goes so far as to tell us that even a large number of priests became obedient to the faith, or opened their hearts to the gospel and put their faith in the Lord.

Acts reminds us that the truth of the gospel, is the power of God for salvation, to those who believe. For the Jew first, and then the Gentile. Today’s Scripture also reminds us that the beginning of the Christian church started with Palestinian Hebrews and expanded to the Hellenists and to the ends of the earth, as far as Damariscotta, Maine.

Which brings me to the current state of the Christian church, today. We live in an age, when believers seem overly focused on the need to make sure the institutional church survives through:

  Ø  Presentation – making sure our worship service is relevant

Ø  Marketing – Selling our presence to those outside of our church and

Ø  Management – making sure the leadership is “in charge”

The book of Acts offers us a view of the big picture.

Christ builds His church on the confession of a true faith such that the powers of hell cannot overpower it. The example of how the church first began was through the good news of Jesus becoming increasingly made known to the wider society.

The clear communication of the gospel was the means by which “disciples … increased rapidly.”

I contend, the means are still the same today. It’s just that we are so busy, doing our lives, that we forget that the whole purpose for our being on earth in the first place is to worship God. Here’s a bit of information, the act of worshipping God will not be limited to “one day a week” in eternity.

While we are here on earth, the main purpose of a weekly worship service, or the gathering of believers, is to equip the people of God for the sharing of the gospel. Thus, the apostles did not want their prayer and Word ministry diverted by having to manage the “meals on wheels” program. It wasn’t that their task of leading in the exposition of the Word of God was more important, it was simply being overtaken. Thus, a diversity of gifts were found to be necessary to in order to minister to those in the church, and even to those outside the church, through evangelism.

Let me return to my earlier questions,

What does God have in mind for you to do?

I believe we, as followers of Jesus Christ, all have the same task, it is known as “The Great Commission” Matthew 28: 18-20:

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

That’s where you fit in.

You have a message that saves, share it.

The blessing is, you are not called to share it alone.

Spreading the Word of God in partnership with others enables us to contribute in a way that reflects our abilities.

The act of gathering together, Sunday by Sunday, requires the giving of a variety of gifts and talents. None of these are more important than the other. It takes the “body of Christ” in order for things to work smoothly.

As we come together this morning to celebrate the “body” of Christ, I encourage you to take a moment and talk with God. Ask Him to reveal to you how He can use you to share the gospel, or assist in the sharing of the gospel. No one is an island, it is God’s Church that will prevail. And as we partake of the elements, let us thank God for His promise, that He is with us always, even to the end of the age.

Let’s pray.