Practically Preaching

  1. Message: In Acts 6 as the church was growing, complaints started coming in that the widows were not being properly cared for. The apostles listened to these complaints and chose 7 men “of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” to manage this while the preaching and teaching of the gospel continued. What really stood out to me here was verse 7 “so the preaching of God flourished, the number of the disciples multiplied, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. There are no further details mentioned about these priests to shed light on what caused their obedience to change. The footnotes in my Bible suggest that because of their temple duty functions this may have put them in a better position to hear the apostles preach on a regular basis. That may be so but what I thought about as I read this was that the church was functioning in a healthy way. Practical needs were being met while the gospel was being preached. People respond to the gospel when they believe someone also cares about their practical needs. You can’t witness these things without being impacted. I’ve heard so many people come back from missions trips where they expected to make an impact by sharing the gospel, and they themselves were impacted because they got their hands dirty and met some practical and very critical needs like digging wells and building shelters.
  2. Command: We need to care about both the sharing of the gospel and meeting practical needs.
  3. Promise: When our lives are in balance with these two things, the church will be balanced. When the church is balanced, she is healthy. When the church is healthy it grows, thrives and functions in unity.
  4. Warning: If our balance is shifted heavily on one of these things more than the other, we will not be as effective as we would if they were in balance.
  5. Application: What this means to me as I apply this to my own life is that in order for the church to thrive and be healthy, we ourselves need to be healthy. Not perfect, but healthy. We need to care about both the practical needs as well as the sharing of the gospel. Sometimes we believe that we are one or the other. This may be true of our giftings, but we are all called to do both. Some of us will never stand on a pulpit to preach but we are all supposed to be teaching someone. We are also supposed to be aware of those around of who have practical needs. If we are waiting for a church ministry to handle the practical needs we see, we are missing our call to action. This COVID-19 season is a huge opportunity to pay attention to the friends, coworkers, neighbors and acquaintances in our lives that are struggling and need either practical needs met like some food or toilet paper, or the spiritual needs of people who need encouragement or reassurance. The gospel multiplies when the church thrives in both of these areas together. It reminded me of the famous quote “People don’t care what you know until they know you care.”

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