“Factions and distractions” will disrupt any organization on mission, including the church. In Acts 6:1–7, God’s Word tells us how the early church fought against these two internal threats. After listening to the concerns of the marginalized Hellenized Jews, the apostles divided and then delegated the work of the ministry to Spirit-filled leaders. We would do well to learn from their example, as factions and distractions continue to threaten the church today!
- Review Acts 6:1–7. Now consider Todd’s statement: “When the Word of God is taught the work of God gets done; when the work of God is done the Word of God increases.” Why are both of these ministries—the ministry of the Word of God and the ministry of the work of God—necessary in order for the church to be successful on its mission? (If you are stuck, perhaps the following point from the sermon will help: “If you don’t feed people the Word of God it won’t be long before the people don’t feed each other.”)
- Todd compared today’s Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement to the “Hellenized Lives Matter” (HLM) movement in the first century church. What was the apostles’ response to the HLM movement? How should their response inform and impact your response to the BLM movement today? When was the last time you engaged someone of a different ethnicity with the goal of listening simply to understand?
- The faction between Hellenized Jews and Hebraic Jews posed a serious threat to the health and mission of the church. Todd even suggested that: “Division within the church is as deadly as perversion within the church because division within is perversion within.” What are some unhealthy factions that exist in organizations you are a part of (work, family, school, community group, etc.)? How do these factions prevent you from being “all in” on the mission God has graciously called you, as a member of His church, to be on?
- The apostles knew that they were unable to be effective in their ministry if they were required to give attention both to “waiting on tables” and being “ministers of the Word of God” (Acts 6:2). They realized, as Todd said, that, “When good things get in the way of God’s Word they are not good things.” What are some “good things” in your life that are getting in the way of what God has gifted and called you to do? In view of Acts 6:1–7, what is an appropriate way to deal with these distractions? Are there any trustworthy, Spirit-filled leaders to whom you could entrust some of this work? Why is the quality of the leader to whom you entrust this work important?
- Read 1 Peter 4:10. Have you discovered, developed, and deployed the gifts God has given you? If not, why not? What are steps you can take as an individual and as a community group to do this?
Point From Todd's Message
- When the Word of God is taught the work of God gets done.
- When the work of God is done the Word of God increases.
- If you don’t feed people the Word of God it won’t be long before the people don’t feed each other.
- When the programming of the church supplants the preaching of the Word the church is in trouble.
- When good things get in the way of God’s Word they are not good things.
- When God’s Word doesn’t lead to good things God’s people are not listening.
- When God’s people don’t serve where they should God’s purposes are not served.
- All of us all called to serve but we are not all called to the same service.
- Division within is as deadly as perversion within because division within is perversion within.