June 8

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“So they arrested Stephen and brought him before the high council” (Acts 6:12 NLT).

From: June 8, 2018

FIRST DEACON BECOMES PART OF FIRST FRUITS
Stephen was the first among seven deacons appointed by the Apostles. His name means “crowned one.” In addition to his ministry of service (“Deacon” means “servant”), he was a powerful witness for Jesus. It was his preaching that brought him to the attention of the Jewish high council, where lying witnesses falsely accused him.
 
Stephen, the first deacon, was also the first to experience the persecution in Jerusalem that scattered Christians throughout the Roman world. He was part of a kind of “first fruit offering” from the great harvest of believers in Jesus that gave their lives for their witness. As a result, Christ’s command in Acts 1:8, that they would be His witnesses in “Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth,” was urged forward by the very persecution that sought to stop them.

“Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:3-4 NKJV).

From: June 8, 2017

It didn’t take long for the early church to experience the complaints of its members. The apostles had apparently started a food distribution ministry to the widows, but the church had grown so rapidly that the size of the task had become overwhelming. Plus, the Greek background believers complained that the Jewish background believers were neglecting their widows. What began as a complaint about unfair food distribution had become an accusation against the apostles of racism.

Depending on how the apostles responded, this problem could have either split the early church or severely slowed it down. If they had turned a deaf ear to the complaint and done nothing to address it, the disunity probably would have split the church. But if they had focused the work of the apostles on working at the tables to distribute food fairly, then they would have neglected their true calling, namely, the ministry of the Word and prayer, which would have severely slowed the growth of the church.

However, the apostles responded wisely, gathering the people together, they asked for seven men to be appointed as “deacons” (Greek: diakonos – “servant”). One shouldn’t miss the fact that all seven had Greek names.  They were to administer the widow ministry and address the disunity. In this way, they wisely delegated this ministry, so that they didn’t neglect their own ministry calling.

The first-century church offers a wise paradigm for ministry in the 21st-century church. It is wise to set apart certain ministers to focus on caring for the physical needs of the flock. But it is equally wise to set apart pastors who are to focus on preaching and teaching the Word and praying for the flock. Both are needed in the church today.

“And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon” (1 Kings 4:34 NKJV)

From: June 8, 2015

The God-given wisdom of Solomon attracted the nations to Jerusalem to hear him. He was considered the wisest man on earth. But Solomon ultimately succumbed to a lust for riches, sex, and power. Yet, in his early years, he was a foreshadowing of Jesus, the Son of David, Son of God, who is the Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor.1:24). We catch a glimpse of God’s purposes in the early days of Solomon’s reign, but the fulfillment is in Christ. One day, all the nations will recognize Him as King of kings and Lord of lords, as the very wisdom of God displayed.

“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy” (Psalm 126:5)

From: June 8, 2012

Planting seed is hard work. You dig, you plant, then you wait to see if anything will come up. This season of working and waiting is difficult. Yet when you are faithful to plant good seed, one day the harvest comes. So don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith. Stay faithful and wait. The harvest is coming.