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The First Deacons

The First Deacons

Text: Acts 6:1-7

Growth in the church often causes problems. Many of the Christians had sold their possessions and used their money to give practical support to one another. But some of the widows felt that others were being favoured when the food rations were being distributed. A number of widows of who spoke in Greek thought the Aramaic speaking widows were getting more attention than they were.

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Caring for widows was a priority in the Early Church

V6  Perhaps they had a point, for the apostles freely admitted that they were becoming overwhelmed with the amount of labour involved in the practical administration of the work. There needed to be a practical solution and that solution was the creation of the Diaconate.  Read more…

Watch Your Heart

Watch Your Heart

Text: Acts 5:1-11

The church is under attack from outside its own ranks, and that’s to be expected. But the devil is very subtle. Very often he uses and manipulates Christians to attack the church from within. That’s the essence of this passage.

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Hypocrisy – Christians hiding behind a mask of religion.  Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

1 I Surrender All? Verse 1-2
In Chapter 2 we learned that it was common practice for the many in the Christian community to sell their individual possessions, and live together, sharing everything. Acts 2:44 cf Acts 4:32f. No-one went without, no Christian had to beg on the streets for everyone was cared for. 3:34  It was a practical outworking of Christian love for one another. But it wasn’t compulsory! You didn’t HAVE to do this, – it was something that people did in response to Christ’s saving love. In Chapter 4, we have an example of this in Barnabas. Acts 4:36  What an encouragement that would have been!

  • Ananias and Sapphira make a decision! There is a direct link between the gift of Barnabas and the decision of Ananias and Sapphira. The chapter begins with a conjunction – BUT. Inspired by, or maybe jealous of Barnabas, perhaps of the joy which welcomed his unselfish gift, they decide that they too would sell ‘a possession’ and give it to the church. 5:1
  • Ananias and Sapphira miscalculate. Acts 5:2 A They announced to the church that their property was up for sale, and that the church and the needy would benefit from the proceeds, but surreptitiously, behind closed doors, they were being dishonest, they were telling lies, for they intended to keep a portion of the sale for themselves.

Now, what would YOU have done? It’s easy to be critical of Ananias and Saphhira. But I think lots of Christians have done exactly the same thing, and – strangely – sometimes even for the best of motives!

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They Had Been With Jesus

They Had Been With Jesus

Acts 4:13  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

Peter has preached a very powerful Gospel message! 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
That boldness made the enemies of the Gospel realise that the disciples had been with Jesus.

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Boldness

In this short devotional talk we will see:- Read more…

‘In What Way Have We Despised Your Name?’

‘In What Way Have We Despised Your Name?’

Text. Malachi 1:6-14, 2
In our last study we saw how God had stated clearly that He loved his people. Yet their response to that was to ask, “how do you love us?” God loves them by:-

  • Choosing them, unconditionally out of all the nations of the earth.
  • By preserving and keeping them, even when their enemies were destroyed.

Now, in the rest of the chapter, another aspect of Israel’s spiritual condition comes to light. “You have despised my name!” Like the first accusation, the second is a complete surprise to God’s people! “Who? Us? How have we despised your name?” The answer is that they are less than enthusiastic about their faith, a situation that betrays how they feel about the God who has loved them and saved them.

Read more…

You Will Be Hated

You Will Be Hated.

Acts 4:1-6. Mark 13:9-14

Jesus had said that His followers would be hated, and following the first miracle, that intense hatred is manifested. Our purpose in this study is to try to demonstrate the hatred the the secular world has for Christ, and for Christians, the breadth of that hatred, and its intensity, and to find an example in the disciples, of the correct Christian attitude in the face of this hatred. 

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You will be hated

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God Loves You – Rebellious Christian…

God Loves You

Text. Malachi 1v1-5

Malachi’s message is an unusual one.  He tests them with a series of challenges.  Look at the scepticism, the sheer incredulity with which they responded to what God was saying through the prophet…

Malachi 1:2, Malachi 1:7 Malachi 2:13-14.  Malachi 2:17.  Malachi 3:8  Malachi 3:13   

And Malachi isn’t addressing pagans, he’s addressing God’s people! But Christians are often blissfully unaware of the simplest, most basic elements of God’s word, his will and his person.  God’s message to mankind is always a burden – both to the messenger and to the recipients of the message.  Let’s look at the early part of Malachi’s message:- Read more…

Spiritual Sickness – Its Condition and Cure

Spiritual Sickness –

Its Condition and Cure Demonstrated in the Lame Man

Text: Acts 3:1-19. Esp. V6.  

A well known story!  As children we sung a song about it in children’s meetings…. Peter and John went to pray; they met a lame man on the way. He asked for alms and held out his palms, and this is what Peter did say: “Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” He went walking and jumping and praising God, walking and jumping and praising God. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”  Well, that just about sums it up for us!  But let’s think about this poor man… Read more…