Thank you for your warm response to this new addition to GMG – “Going Deeper”.
Today we’re looking at writings – based on Acts 6-10 – from John Piper, Charles Spurgeon, Lysa Terkeurst, Our Daily Bread and InterVarsity Press. To read more from any of these resources — click the links and go to the writings of the author.
Let’s Go Deeper Together!
Acts 6 – The Appointment of the Seven
“Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.” (v. 3)
The Word is central to the church’s growth–so central that Satan will use a congregation’s expectations and traditions (often innocent in themselves) to distract ministers from what is required for effective proclamation of the Word. In the midst of great advance, the Jerusalem church faced the same problem.
Luke notes the church’s continued numerical growth as the apostles faithfully teach and evangelize (5:42). This success leads to an overload for the apostles in their administration of the common fund for the poor. As a result, the Grecian Jewish widows are being overlooked in the daily food distribution. The resulting complaints threaten to destroy the church’s unity…
The Twelve instruct the congregation to find seven men with a good reputation. The spiritual qualification full of the Spirit applies to those who have so fully given themselves to following Christ that God’s saving, sanctifying and edifying grace is clearly and continuously manifest in their lives. The final qualification is wisdom–that skill in administration and business which will bring efficient and effective accomplishment of a task…
Having weathered the threat, the church returns to its normal condition: growth. So integral to growth is the Word of God, the message of salvation, that Luke uses personification, saying literally, “The word of God grew” (see 12:24; 19:20).
Acts 7 – The Death of a Spirit-Filled Man
“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” (v. 55)
John Piper writes:
As the enemy – death – draws near and opens its jaws to consume Stephen, the Holy Spirit in Stephen turns the jaws of death into a window of heaven. And instead of seeing the stomach of hell and the face of Satan, Stephen sees the glory of God and Jesus alive standing at the right hand of God…
Do you see how death is stripped of its power here and made the servant of God’s servant? It raises its ugly head and threatens to take away from us all the pleasures of bright spring mornings and buds on the trees and warmth on the skin and the colors of fall and the stars in the night sky, but instead it opens the window of heaven and reveals the glory of God. It threatens to take away our most precious relationships, but instead it shows Jesus standing to receive us.
I don’t mean that every believer will get the same vision of glory and of Jesus that Stephen got. But I do mean that this is the way the Holy Spirit comforts us when we are dying, and robs death of its power. One way or another he makes death a window to the glory of God and to Jesus. And for those who love Jesus more than anyone and long for the glory of God more than anything the sting of death is gone and the power of death is broken.
Acts 8 – Go Near
Verse 29, “The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’”
Lysa Terkeurst writes:
This Ethiopian Eunuch wasn’t like Philip. He wasn’t in his inner circle, comfort zone, or part of his immediate sphere of influence. And yet, the Spirit instructed Philip to go close.
God help us. We must break out of the boxes of our normality and dare to go close to those we don’t understand. We must not use words like, “those people” with pointed fingers and hard hearts and spiritually superior attitudes.
By going close, we see things we need to see. We hear things we need to hear. And our hearts become tender in the way we must be tender.
By going close, we might actually dare to let love guide our approach.
Acts 9 – Never Say Never
Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. (v.20)
In Our Daily Bread it says:
When Saul of Tarsus began to attack the followers of Jesus, no one could have imagined that he would ever become a disciple of Christ. “Never. Not a chance.”
Yet Acts 9:1-9 records the story of Saul’s blinding encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Within a few days of that life-changing event, Saul was preaching in the synagogues of Damascus that Jesus was the Son of God, to the astonishment of all who heard him (vv.20-21).
When it comes to God’s work in the most difficult people we know, we should never say “never.”
Acts 10 – Doing Good
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (v. 38)
Charles Spurgeon writes:
“He went about doing good.” From this description it is evident that he did good personally.
The evangelists constantly tell us that he touched the leper with his own finger, that he anointed the eyes of the blind, and that in cases where he was asked to speak the word only at a distance, he did not usually comply, but went himself to the sick bed, and there personally wrought the cure.
A lesson to us, if we would do good, to do it ourselves.
Give alms with your own hand; a kind look, or word, will enhance the value of the gift. Speak to a friend about his soul; your loving appeal will have more influence than a whole library of tracts.
Our Lord’s mode of doing good sets forth his incessant activity! He did not only the good which came close to hand, but he “went about” on his errands of mercy.
How this reproves the creeping, loitering manner, in which many professors serve the Lord. Let us gird up the loins of our mind, and be not weary in well doing. Does not the text imply that Jesus Christ went out of his way to do good? “He went about doing good.”
He was never deterred by danger or difficulty. He sought out the objects of his gracious intentions. So must we.
**Chime In** Do you have a resource or something that you have learned this week from going deeper? Share it with us in the comments!
Walk with the King,
*Please Note: I am not endorsing every written work of the authors I share or the links shared in the comments below. Please use discernment as you click around. ?
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