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Angels in the Church

Chester Clark III

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Chester Clark III

Pastor, Evangelist, and Educator

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  • June 22, 2019
    11:00 AM
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Before we open God's word I would just invite you to your heads with me for an additional word of prayer Father we are grateful that from our busy lives you have called us that of all the people living on this planet even though this is just one planet among many in this universe that you care so deeply for us and we also thank the Lord that you call us into fellowship with your people today we're going to once again study your will from your word and we pray that your Spirit would guide our hearts and our minds be our teacher this morning in Jesus' name amen if you look at me in Acts Chapter 6 we will continue where we were last week looking at Acts Chapter 5 and and acceptor 5 we learned a number of very very important things did we not we learned for example that there are 10 principles we can take from acceptor 5 of how the church grew the early church was growing and had power the early church had power that was not worldly power they didn't have money they didn't have influence they didn't have important people but they had the power of the Holy Spirit and that power is more important than any other power that is what we want. It shouldn't matter so much to us if we are popular in this world it shouldn't matter so much to us whether we have people been fluence or of means or whatever it is it shouldn't matter to us if the national leaders or governments are approving what we're doing what's most important is that God approves of what we're doing and when we have the power of the Holy Spirit on our lives the church has power that can change the world with the 10 things that we saw last week i'll just review them very quickly the church has power when its members are living lives without pretense or deception the church has power when its members are working together in one accord the church has power when its members obey the Holy Spirit's promptings the church has power when its members fear or desire the approval of God more than man the church has power when its members speak the truth even if that personal risk. The church has power when its members uplift Jesus the church has power when its mission is God's mission when its members testify of their personal experience and when its members live consistent lives all week long those are 10 principles we saw from Acts Chapter 5 today we're going to look at one more we don't have along together here we're going to look at one principle from acceptor 6 the church has power when its members treat one another without prejudice or favoritism Let's see what happens here in Acts Chapter 6 if you have your Bibles hopefully you there now we can look at the story it's a short chapter now in those days when the number of the disciples was multiplying their heroes a complaint against the hebrews by the Hellenists not spazz right there 1st of all it's good when the church is growing isn't it this is the Holy Spirit that has been growing the church is leading the church helping the church to reach out people have been convicted of their sins they've been repenting of their sins they've been being baptized they're being saved for the eternal kingdom of heaven that's a good thing but what good things there also come problems right there always obstacles and even though growth is a good thing it it brings with it some growing pains and it says there rose a complaint I'm against the hebrews by the Hellenists you see my friends back in those days people had some racial tensions and almost sounds a little bit like it is now. If you look at our world today it seems as though rather than improving we're actually digressing when it comes to society and I want to be really honest here I want to say few things that may I hope I have the license of God's word to say. The church hasn't helped much I'm just saying that the church I'm talking about this to Sion of a church at large Sunday morning is the most segregated hour. In America most churches are predominantly made of one racial ethnic background this is reality isn't it and by speaking the truth now I realize there could be reasons besides you know locale and all the rest there's nothing wrong with wanting you know if you speak a certain language to worship with people of that language and all those reasons but I'm telling you that the church has had a the same problem because it's a human problem and the church has not the Christian Church has not led in this area of human problems it hasn't and so here we find all the way here in the early church this is the church that is filled with the power of always spirit we saw those 10 reasons they were all in one accord they they were they were speaking the truth they loved one another they were doing all these things that helped the Holy Spirit be able to use them but even in that environment may be one of the most perfect environments the church has ever found itself in right after the Day of Pentecost right after Jesus had left with people who had been there with Jesus for 3 and a half years the 12 disciples in the 70 and the 500 to a gathered and watches ascension there all their personal eyewitness is a Jesus and yet they still had this problem there was a complaint against the hebrews by the Greeks and their complaint was that there was the widows were neglected in the daily distribution somehow we must assume that it was probably possibly it could have been and simply overlooked we see the leadership of the church certainly was not in favor of some sort of favoritism or some sort of preferential treatment or an preferential treatment but somehow the widows of the Greeks were not being remembered. When other widows were being cared for that's what we call favoritism right in the negative way it may be called prejudice and the early church was having to face this and it dealt with it in a very proactive way the Bible says and then the 12 summoned the multitude of the disciples we noticed some principles about conflict management here in Acts Chapter 6 right let's get together and talk about it right we're not just going to pretend it doesn't exist there's a problem here the Greek widows are not being cared for as the Hebrew widows are now you'd understand the Greeks would have been in the minority in Jerusalem where this story is taking place there may not have been a lot of them but it was a problem and the disciples the 12 said we're not going to just pretend this problem doesn't exist we're certainly not going to normalize it by saying it's not a problem at all we're going to gather the multitude together and we're going to deal with the problem we're going to talk about it and this is what the disciples said is not desirable that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables listen the disciples were showing leadership here when they said we have no preference or favoritism you understand what they're saying they're saying what they're saying is if we are if we were going to be serving tables everyone would be treated equally. So they're showing their leadership and they're saying it's not for us to do this this isn't our job so let's find a people who can help solve this problem let's find people who will who will remember everyone and include everyone everyone is welcome in the house of God Amen everyone the Bible is very clear that God makes His church out of all nations the Bible is very clear that the message of the last days of threeness message is to go to every nation kindred the language and people that's very clear and by the way one of the things I love about this church family is that it is a diverse church family we don't think of each other as being of that ethnic background or of that national background we think of people as individuals we see them as individuals we really we don't remember those things because we're all we've all been bought by the Blood of Jesus and I praise God one of these I'm thinking for the pastor is that this is a church where anyone can feel welcome. It doesn't matter where you're from it doesn't matter whether you have a you know an accent or you're from Europe or Australia or you're from South America or or Africa we love them all and I love that about this church and I love this that about you this church family is such an inclusive church family but here's the disciples it's Drug dealing with this is this issue we're going to find a solution therefore brother in verse 3 Seek out from among you 7 men of good reputation notice the characteristics of the early Deacon the 1st set of deacons that were going to be selected there to be of good reputation they are to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom whom we may appoint over this business you notice there is no prerequisite that these deacons ought to be Hebrews. Because these prerequisites are not given to people the Holy Spirit is not given to people based upon any ethnic background wisdom and good reputation is doget given to someone because of a cultural background they're given to people because of the choices they've made and their heart that is filled with service and love for God but we will give ourselves continue to prayer and to the Ministry of the word and the saying please the whole multitude and they chose Stephen I want to just talk to you a little bit about some of these names Stephen means coronet or wreaths of victory it was not an uncommon name there were other Stevens at the time tradition is that he was one of the 70 who follow Jesus though he was not part of the 12 but he was one of those who had been sent out on missionary journeys by Jesus been mentored by Jesus and he is he is chosen to be one of the 70 we also notice that there's a description of Stephen here that shows Stephen a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit if someone were to write something about you just a little phrase what would that phrase be when they thought of Stephen they thought of someone full of face and filled with the Holy Spirit wouldn't it be wonderful if that's what people thought of each one of us my neighbor over there he's a man of faith a woman of faith. Filled with the Holy Spirit I hope we're not remembered in our neighborhood slowly by the cars we drive because that means we just are seen driving they drive past we know who that is right. But do people know us they know who we are what will they describe us with the Bible says Steve is a man full of faith in the Holy Spirit and Philip Philip means a lover of horses the new one here. Share that love as I do. I'm not sure if Philip did actually we do find him climbing up into a chariot later but that's beside the point by the way one of the 12 disciples also shared the name of Philip So there's Philip the deacon Philip Philip the disciple tradition also says that he was with Stephen as one of the 70. He was probably married at this time because later when he would meet with Paul he had already 4 grown daughters and so we sort of deduce that he would have been a little bit older maybe than Stephen who and had a family now that the next 4 names we know nothing about for a chorus in the can or to MN and parm Innes we don't know anything about these names there's really nothing else in the scripture to tell us who they were or what their qualities were although we know that they should have been men who were of good reputation full of the Holy Spirit right because that's what they were looking for we do notice the name Nicholas now Nicholas here is the 1st non Jewish Christian named in the New Testament Nicholas is not a Hebrew he's a proselyte My Bible tells me from Antioch he's a prophet live from Antioch in Antioch of course is the center of missionary work Antioch is the place where Paul and his does and Paul and Silas actually were working in establishing the church and the church was so fervent in the church was so evangelistic in the church was so missionary minded that they said you know what Paul even though we appreciate your preaching here even though appreciate all you've done in Antioch to build up the faith we don't want to keep this huge blessing to ourselves and they actually formally had a prayer together with Paul and Silas and sent them out to tell others who don't know about Jesus about Jesus is that an amazing thing for a church to do the church said we're not going to keep the Apostle Paul here we're going to share him with others and we're going to send them it's a you just it's amazing to think that that a church would would work this unselfishly and so with such a vision to share Jesus with the lost but this is what happened in Antioch it's also in Antioch that people noticed a such a difference in the christians that they had to. Start calling them different than the others in society and they found a name that was perhaps 1st sort of a a negative maybe name derisive perhaps demeaning but they began calling these people that they just couldn't figure out there were so different in the rest of society they started calling them Christians because all they could do was talk about Christ you've heard saying if you're accused of being a Christian would people find enough evidence to convict you these people were like Jesus they talked about Jesus they love Jesus all they wanted to was to tell others about Jesus and so they began calling them Christians and here Nick Nicholas he's a convert from Antioch he becomes one of the deacons that were ordained to be able to serve the church this tells me friends that even though there's probably only a handful of non Hebrews there in Jerusalem in the early Christian church they say they treated them all without favor to say they treated them equally didn't think they chose a non Hebrew to be that now I will I will mention this the church at this point still had a long ways to go to understand the difference or the the new normal of Jew and Gentile in the church right Paul would struggle with this many years later as he tried to steer the Christian church away from their Judeo izing away from thinking that you had to become a Jew before you became a Christian you see Nicholas no doubt had been a convert to Judaism. Before he became a convert to Christianity are you following that's how it would have worked because obviously the church still would have to learn much more and we're going to talk more about how they learned that we're going to talk a little bit more about Paul's message to the church but here we find the 1st non Jewish Christian named in the New Testament is Nicholas and he's he's he's named as one of the 7 who are chosen to be deacons I'd invite you take your Bibles once again we're going to look at a number of verses here we're going to look at 1st Corinthians chapter 12 and verse 12 we're going to look at these rather quickly as we don't have much time together 1st Corinthians chapter 12 and verse 12 these are these are the messages of the Apostle Paul who probably was the 1st to really grasp the understanding of Jew and Gentile and by the way before or before this happened we have an X. Chapter 10 the story of Peter and the sheet you remember the story of Peter in the sheet right. Peter was out on the rooftop one day before lunch and he was doing some praying and he was taken away in vision and down in vision down from heaven Keamy sheet full of what Peter calls unclean animals right now the only way you can understand that is the Old Testament definition of what an unclean animal is right and we know we heard about the pork and the chicken contre kind of our larva during our video this morning. There are clean and clean meats that the Bible define and Peter sees this sheet that was lowered down full of these things that he wouldn't eat and a voice from heaven tells him rise Peter kill and eat he's baffled by this he doesn't understand what is the voice talking about and he doesn't do anything evidently because another sheet comes down again again he's told to rise and kill and eat and again and again he's told to rise and kill and eat and he's so to be fuddled by all this when there's a knock at the door downstairs and downstairs are some messengers from a man who was a non Hebrew a gentile named Cornelius right and Cornelius has been instructed by an angel to send for Peter at that specific house that specific street so the men are knocking at the door asking for Peter and Peter comes down he's asked to go to a gentile house something the Jews wouldn't generally do remember and told you they still had quite a bit to do here in Acts Chapter 6 they still have quite a bit to learn but Peter all of a sudden has an epiphany he realizes God sent him that vision of the sheet filled with unclean Adam will to prepare him to show him that he did not he should not be a respecter of persons that he has now made no distinction between Jew and Gentile In fact if you look in Acts chapter 10 I think it's around verse 38 he says and God He tells Cornelius and the people who are gathered is how the whole group of people wanting to study the Bible known about Jesus he tells them God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. And some people read that story and they understand that a little differently they say they understand that now there's no such thing as unclean meat and that's not the point when the point Peter understood the lesson that God is trying to show him and that is that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. This was something there the Christian Church struggled with over the years here you hear Paul and Paul is talking here in Acts Chapter 12 in verse 12 and he says 4 as the body is one and has many members but that all the members of that one body being many are one body so also is Christ verse 13 for by one Spirit we are baptized into one body whether Jews or Greeks whether slave or free and have all been made to drink into one spirit are you thankful that the Holy Spirit is not a respecter of persons It doesn't matter whether you're Jewish Greek it doesn't matter at Nick or national background or racial makeup it doesn't matter it's the most important thing is to have the Holy Spirit in our hearts right that that is that is the equalizer that the early that the church experiences we learn we already talk about accept and we're going to move now to delay sions chapter 3 I'm sorry glacier in chapter 3 and a verse 28 this is talking to the church in delays and in fact there's been a problem in glacier because Peter came and visited there and when Peter came and visited the church that he found was a very inclusive church a potluck they all ate together but when Peter came a bunch of the people who are Jewish background they started doing something a little different they gathered with Peter and they'd at this table and that was this was the Jews table and that was the Gentiles table that's the way the Jews would have done it by the way but that's not the way the Christians were to do it. The Jews ate at segregated tables because they didn't want to be contaminated with unclean or with the Gentiles that was just taboo in the Christian church and so we won't take the time to read the story here and in Glacier glacier and but when Paul showed up Peter's already there and Peter's what a disciple of Jesus Paul the apostle he didn't actually wasn't one of the 12 but when Paul showed up he had to confront Peter personally read it yourself says I was when when I when I came I was stood Peter to his face you can't do this you can't do this and he didn't tell the glaciers why he's writing them a letter and he's explaining it more completely and we have the benefit of that letter today elation chapter 3 and verse $28.00 there is neither. June or Greek there is neither slave nor free there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus someone who is a men we're all one in Christ Jesus when God looks at us he looks not at the outward appearance but at the what at the heart and when God sees our hearts he doesn't care what are our parents is and neither should we we ought to be more like Jesus Amen for it says verse 29 and if you are Christ then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according the promise all right you Jews if you really want to talk about disappearing already of being Abraham see just look at it this way when you accept Jesus Christ you are adopted into the family we're all one family we're all brothers and sisters we're all part of the family of Christ when someone is poor and they come into church and it may not be appeared they're dressed very well or they may not have the gret but greatest aroma about them how do we treat them you see my friends in the early Christian church all are welcome slave or free there's a big difference between a slave in a room citizens but both worship Jesus the same way on Sabbath mornings both were filled with the same Holy Spirit both received the same spiritual gifts because the greatest power for the equalization of people for the equitable treatment of people the greatest leveling influence in the history of humanity is the cross of Christ and when we understand what Jesus did for all humanity we cannot treat our brothers and sisters with disrespect or favoritism. Because God calls us to be better than that our last text squash in chapter 3 and verse 11 kolache in chapter 3 and verse 11 glacier was not the only place where the church needed to hear this message we find it in Paul's writings partly because Paul understood himself to be called by God to be an apostle to the Gentiles God in a special way gave him a burden for the people that weren't of his own ethnic background and because of that he ran into great opposition from Christians who were of his own ethnic background and they were they were biased against him as an apostle because of the work he did in bringing so many of the nonet Jewish people into the Christian church and so he's often confronted this and he's often talking about this issue kolache in chapter 3 in verse 11 where there is neither do Greek nor Jew circumcised nor uncircumcised by Barry in Scythian slave nor free but Christ is what all and in all. We had to get excited about his brothers and sisters. Christ wants to live in your heart by faith. He wants to dwell within you to empower you to live a life that's different than the ordinary life to live a life that's extraordinary to live a life that's filled with love for even those that don't love you these are miracles the week that Christ wants to expose us to experience on a daily basis for us to learn to love people that we don't love now in our community in our church wherever it is even in our families Christ wants to change us and the most important thing that anybody can experience is Christ living in our hearts Amen and Christ is willing to live in every single one of our hearts and so when we look at one another we ought not to say Well can I be friends with them or can I or how should I treat know we ought to say how can I experience brotherhood and sisterhood with this person if Christ is in my heart my greatest burden is for Christ to be in his heart or in her heart Amen and when Christ is in our hearts we're all family now families have their challenges I'm not trying to paint some picture of utopia here we always will have our difficulties as long as we're human beings with our faults and failings we're not perfect and so we communication and all of those relationships take work but God put us in families for a reason God put us in families so that we could learn and grow in ways that we will never learn or grow brothers and sisters God called the church to be better than the world today we're facing is a situation society where people are being polarized and driven apart it is not racism it's reverse racism but it's just being exploding the resent meant towards one another and God is calling the church our church to be an agency of healing in this world. God is calling our church to be proactive because that is the message of the Gospel our message to take Christ to every nation kindred tongue and people now encourage in Corinth there was even prejudice at times against different languages well they shouldn't be speaking this language or the should. Listen these are all distractions we have a mission to do and our mission is to Go ye therefore into all the world making disciples of all nations and then were promised the end will come the church has power Beloved when its members treat one another without prejudice or favoritism I want you to turn of the back to X. now accept or 6 we don't have time today I knew we wouldn't have time to get into the story of Stephen's martyrdom that's acceptor 7 a beautiful sermon that he preaches here but Stephen the Bible says in verse Well that's the start of verse 7 says then the Word of God spread in the number the disciples multiply greatly in Jerusalem and a great many of the priests even were obedient to the faith and Stephenville of faith and power did great wonders and signs among the people then there rose some from what is called the synagogue of the freedom in Siren eons Alexandrians in those rooms of Philly and Asia disputing with Stephen and they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke then they secretly induced men to say we have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God These are Jews they're not Christians and they're not appreciating the power with which Stephen is is advocating for Jesus as the Christ as the Messiah and they brought a false witnesses verse 13 who said this man has not ceased to speak blasphemous words against this holy place in the law for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us. And all who sat in the council looking steadfastly at him saw his face as the face of an angel our sermon today was entitled angel in the church No I'm not going to suggest that the church ought to be made of perfect beings but I'm going to suggest when the church is filled with the Holy Spirit and power and when the church treats one another without prejudice or favoritism people will see something different among God's people the people in the council looked upon Stephen and they were astonished because it seemed as though he had the face of an angel duce people see something different about me do they see something different about you that would you like for them to would you like for them to say you know what that neighbor of mine over there you might eat a little different or you might you know go to church on Saturday instead of Sunday or whatever it is but that person is full of the Holy Spirit and power that person is like an angel in my neighborhood in my life with that the wonderful people said that what can we do this week. To touch the lives of our neighbors our coworkers even our families still help them see that Jesus is changing our hearts it's a miracle when heart is changed isn't it it's a miracle the world needs a miracle that we need every day let's ask God for that Father in heaven we want to pray we want to pray that like the early church we might be able to understand and see and love as Jesus loved. Lord it took time for the early church to understand what you were doing in breaking down the wall of partition between Jew and Gentile and while that was a challenge in Acts Chapter 6 it's still a challenge today in our society and we pray that you would make us this church family in us as individuals agencies of change of healing of loving the Jew to help us most of all to become agencies of bringing Jesus to every single person regardless of their background their status their whether they're rich or poor or whatever it is Lord that you would help us to bring Jesus to them because Christ when he's all and in all he equalizes and he makes us all family what I thank you for this church family I thank you for the journey that we're embarking upon we've been on really for years of trying to reach out and our community and once again the summer of inviting new people change can be difficult but Lord I just want to pray that should help us to have Jesus in our hearts and that we would never lose sight of the mission that you've given this church and that is to take your message. To others so they can be our neighbors and friends throughout all of eternity thank you for Jesus thank you for His love His life thank you this morning for his word and I thank you all for his church we ask all these things Jesus in. This media was brought to you by audio post a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermon leave a Visit W W W dot audio Verse dot org.

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