It sees like today we have a lot of people who are famous for very little. Celebrities who are famous for being celebrities. Today, we’re going to look at someone who tops them all, a guy who is famous for sleeping in church. Euthychus in Acts 20. Some commentators focus on anything other that the that a young man dies and is resurrected from the dead in the middle of the worship service. There’s another interpretation that focuses on the incident with Eutychus falling out of the window, and I call it the “poor Eutychus” interptreation. This is a modern interpretation which reads the passage through a somewhat humorous lens, often emphatic to young Eutychus who feel to his death an innocent victim of a preacher too in love with the sound of his own voice to get the sermon done before too long. Yet Luke’s intent with telling us the story of Eutychus is to warn us, that we might not spiritually slumber when we are so fortunate to have the word of God come to us.
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The missionaries raised up a plurality of men called elders who would preserve the way for those to come. This work of equipping and entrusting the churches to these elders was so important the the work wasn’t considered fulfilled until they had done so. Paul understood that he had to ensure that the churches be well established under faithful men that the church might stand firm as a pillar and buttress of the truth. This would allow the missionary team to continue on its way into new cities, new fields, because the churches were left in good hands. Those who stayed behind and led the churches were to guard the deposit of faith that was entrusted to them and pass it on to others, preserving the way for those to come.
Every once in a while I am asked as a pastor, what is my plan or strategy regarding how to reach ABC type of people, whether it’s university students, young adults, members of our community, high school students, whatever. My answer, I am sure, is always a bit disappointing. What do you mean, what’s my plan? I don’t have one. What I mean by that, is that I don’t have any answers, any program or any event by which we are try to manipulate or contrive the process of outreach. Yet that doesn’t mean that there is no strategy. As we are going to see in this text, there is indeed a very clear strategy for the spontaneous expansion of the church. I believe that if we as a church were to follow this strategy and understand our roles, then we would see people come to know Jesus.
Here in Acts 6, we see the first real internal tension in the Jerusalem church. And we’ll see that the tension arises, before the “bad” Gentile’s come in. Before the “good” Gentiles come in. Before the Samaritans come in. It’s a tension that arises between the Hebrew Jews and the Hellenistic Jews. Now, we don’t know how identifiable these two groups were in the church - we don’t know if they had separate services for different languages our churches does, but we do know that they were distinct enough that tensions at times did arise between the groups, and here in Acts six we see the heart of the issue is that one group is feeling neglected, not only feeling - they were being neglected - as if they were not fully part of the priorities of the church.
Acts 2 is the moment when the church together is baptized with the Holy Spirit. Now what does that mean? and what does that mean for us?
Some see this moment as repeatable, they speak about the baptism of the Spirit as an experience that is available to us today. I want to be careful and precise in our understanding, which means we have to note that 1) nowhere in the Bible is the phrase “baptized in the Spirit” used except when speaking of this moment in Acts, 2) in not other time in the Bible does the Holy Spirit come upon the church in the same way as it does in Acts 2. There are other fillings of the Spirit both in Acts and elsewhere in the NewTestament, but there is no other fire. So what is the baptism of the spirit and what does it signify? What does it mean for us?