Caring for the Widows

Text: Acts 6:1-7

Why the Widows?

  • Earlier the poor in general were helped (Acts 4:32-35) — here the widows specifically were served (Acts 6:1), implying ongoing care that was provided them
  • The church was to provide ongoing care & support to certain widows (1 Timothy 5:3,9-10)
  • Why not other widows? … They had others to care for them (1 Timothy 5:4,16) — goes back to the responsibility to provide for one’s family (1 Timothy 5:8)
  • The church can provide temporary help for Christians (Acts 4:32) — ongoing benevolence is more limited

The Complaint was Addressed

  • There was a real problem that needed to be dealt with
  • The complaint was not ignored
  • The complaint was not met with resistance
  • The complaint was not made into a bigger problem

Character of the Servants

  • The congregation was to select seven men (Acts 6:3) — but not just anyone; they were given a few qualifications
  • Good reputation
  • Full of the Spirit
  • Full of wisdom
  • This is a reminder of the need to carefully consider who we might select to perform a task on behalf of the congregation — caring for the needy, teaching a class, handling the treasury, anything involving dealings with others, etc.

Why the Apostles Were Not to Do This

  • Not desirable for them to neglect the word to serve tables (Acts 6:2)
  • They had a particular role — prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4)
  • We don’t have apostles today — no one is qualified (Acts 1:21-22) — but the work of an apostle does share some similarities with other works — elders & preachers
  • Elders are to focus on watching out for the spiritual well-being of the flock (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17)
  • Preachers are to focus on preaching & teaching the word (2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Timothy 4:16)
  • If there are others to attend to these physical matters, let them take care of them

Result: Growth

  • Once this matter was resolved, there was harmony within the congregation and the apostles were able to focus on preaching & teaching — What was the result?
  • The word of God kept spreading — the apostles weren’t pulled away from their work to serve tables
  • The number of disciples continued to increase — result of more people hearing
  • Even a great many priests were obeying the gospel — shows the effectiveness of the gospel and the work of the apostles

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