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Psalm 22:25-31 1
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him—may your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. 29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn— for he has done it.

clip_image074Background 2

David is often viewed as a type of Christ, and that many passages of the Psalms, though literally understood of David, had a further and mystical reference to Christ. But there are some other passages, which were directly and immediately intended for, and are properly to be understood to reference the Messiah. This seems to be the state of this psalm, which directly of the Messiah. In this psalm, David speaks of the humiliation of Christ, verses. – 21 and of the exaltation of Christ, verses 22 – 31.

This psalm, as a whole, is a prayer for deliverance from illness. David, gravely ill, feels that God has forsaken him. In the past, God has helped his people (vv. 4-5): may God help him now. His detractors laugh at him for trusting in God (vv. 6-8); his suffering is worse because they think that his illness is proof of God’s displeasure. But, he says, God helped me when I was an infant, so I trust in him (v. 9). I will offer thanksgiving in assembly of the community in the Temple: v. 22 is that vow. God does hear, even the “poor” (v. 26, or afflicted); he provides perpetual life for the “poor” those who live in awe of him. May all people everywhere turn to God and worship him (v. 27). God is Lord of all (v. 28). All mortals, all who die (“go down to the dust”, v. 29) worship him. I, the psalmist says, will live following his ways, and so will my offspring: they will be God’s for ever, and will tell future generations about God’s saving deeds.

Biblical Truths

Verse 25 – Great assembly – In the universal church, of Jews and Gentiles.

Verse 26 – Satisfied – This is about spiritual blessings, that grace and peace, and comfort, which all believing souls have in the sense of God’s love, the pardon of their sins, and the influences of God’s spirit.

Seek – That seek his favor.

Forever – Your comfort shall not be short and transitory, as worldly comforts are, but everlasting.

Verse 27 -The ends of the earth – All nations from one end of the world to the other. So this is evidence of a prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles, and a clear proof, that this psalm immediately speaks of Christ.

Remember – They shall remember their former wickedness with grief and shame, and fear; particularly in worshiping dead and impotent idols. They shall remember their great obligation to God, which they had quite forgotten, his patience in sparing them so long, in the midst of all their impieties, and in giving his son for them: they shall remember the gracious words and glorious works of Christ, what he did, and suffered for them.

Verse 28 – For – This is added as a reason, why the Gentiles should be converted, because God is not only God and the Lord of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles, and of all nations.
Verse 29 – Rich – Kings and princes, and the great men of the world.

Will feast – Shall feed upon the bread of life, Christ and all his benefits.

Worship – This is added to define what kind of eating he spoke of.

Go down – That is, all mankind, for none can escape death.

Verse 30 – Posterity – Christ shall not want a seed or posterity, for though the Jewish nation will generally reject him, the Gentiles shall come in their stead.

Generations – That believing seed shall be reputed both by God and men, The generation, or people of the Lord, as the Jews formerly were.

Verse 31 – They – The seed last mentioned.

Proclaim – From Judea and Jerusalem (from whence the gospel was first to go forth) to the Gentile world, to the several parts whereof the apostles went upon this errand.

His – God’s righteousness: his wonderful grace and mercy unto mankind, in giving them Christ and the gospel; for righteousness is often put for mercy or kindness.

Yet unborn – Unto succeeding generations. Whereby David gives us a key to understand this psalm, and teaches us that he speaks not here of himself, but of things which were to be done in after – ages, even of the spreading of the gospel among the Gentiles, in the time of the New Testament.

For he – They shall declare that this is the work of God, and not of man.

Items for Discussion

  • In what ways does this psalm speak of Christ?
  • How does this psalm help us define our experience of the sacrament of bread and wine that we now have in our modern Christian worship experience?
  • This psalm features instructions to us today about living in Christ. What are those instructions?
  • Centering on God, prayer, gratitude, obedience, empathy, and patience with others, the psalm combines prayer and praise, language of suffering and celebration, in one arc of unity so as to say the one is not to be understood apart from the other. The possibilities in this dying are not seen apart from the celebration, and the celebration has its basis and cause in the identity and conduct of the dying one. Why is this important to a Christian to understand?

 

Acts 6:1-7
1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Background

The traditional title of this book is, in some respects, a misnomer: it primarily deals with the “acts” of Peter (Chapters 1-12) and Paul (Chapters 13-28). It really should be called “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus had indicated that the next phase of God’s program would be “The Comforter’s.” Certainly He, the Holy Spirit, is the principal mover behind the scenes in the Book of Acts.

Biblical Truths and Theology 3

Verse 1. In those days, etc. The first part of this chapter contains an account of the appointment of deacons

Was increasing. By the accession of the three thousand on the day of Pentecost, and of those who were subsequently added, Acts 4:4; 5:14.

A complaining. A complaint–as if there had been partiality in the distribution.

The Grecian Jews. There has been much diversity of opinion in regard to these persons, whether they were Jews that had lived among the Gentiles, and who spoke the Greek language, or whether they were proselytes from the Gentiles. The former is probably the correct opinion.

Because their widows, etc. The property which had been contributed, or thrown into common stock, was understood to be designed for the equal benefit of all the poor, and particularly it would seem for the poor widows

Daily distribution. In the daily distribution which was made for their wants. Comp. Acts 4:35. The property was contributed doubtless with an understanding that it should be equally and justly distributed to all classes of Christians that had need. It is clear from the Epistles that widows were objects of special attention in the primitive church, and that the first Christians regarded it as a matter of indispensable obligation to provide for their wants, 1 Timothy 5:3,9,10,16; James 1:27.

Verse 2. So the twelve. That is, the apostles. Matthias had been added to them after the apostasy of Judas, which had completed the original number.

All the disciples. It is not necessary to suppose that all the disciples were convened, which amounted to many thousands, but that the business was laid before a large number; or perhaps the multitude here means those merely who were more particularly interested in the matter, and who had been engaged in the complaint.

It would not be right. The original words used here properly denote, it is not pleasing, or agreeable; but the meaning evidently is, it is not fit, or proper. It would be a departure from the design of their appointment, which was to preach the gospel, and not to attend to the pecuniary affairs of the church.

Neglect the word of God. That we should neglect, or abandon the preaching of the gospel so much as would be necessary, if we attended personally to the distribution of the alms of the church. The gospel is here called the word of God, because it is his message; it is that which he has spoken; or which he has commanded to be proclaimed to men.

Wait on tables. This expression properly denotes to take care of, or to provide for the table, or for the daily wants of the family. It is an expression that properly applies to a steward, or a servant. The word tables is, however, sometimes used with reference to money, as being the place where money was kept for the purpose of exchange, etc., Matthew 21:12; 25:27. Here the expression means, therefore, to attend to the pecuniary transactions of the church, and to make the proper distribution for the wants of the poor.

Verse 3. Brothers. Select, or choose. As this was a matter pertaining to their own pecuniary affairs, it was proper that they should be permitted to choose such men as they could confide in. By this means the apostles would be free from all suspicions.

Among you. That is, from among the Grecians and Hebrews, that there may be justice done, and no further cause of complaint.

Seven men. Seven was a sacred number among the Hebrews, but there does not appear to have been any mystery in choosing this number.

Full of the Spirit. This evidently does not mean endowed with miraculous gifts, or the power of speaking foreign languages, for such gifts were not necessary to the discharge of their office; but it means men who were eminently under the influence of the Holy Ghost, or who were of distinguished piety.

And wisdom. Prudence, or skill, to make a wise and equable distribution. The qualifications of deacons are still further stated and illustrated in 1 Timothy 3:8-10. In this place it is seen that they must be men of eminent piety and fair character, and that they must possess prudence, or wisdom, to manage the affairs connected with their office. These qualifications are indispensable to a faithful discharge of the duty entrusted to the officers of the church.

Turn over. That is, over the distribution of the alms of the church–not to preach, or to govern the church, but solely to take care of the sacred funds of charity, and distribute them to supply the wants of the poor. The office is distinguished from that of preaching the gospel. To that the apostles were to attend. The deacons were expressly set apart to a different work, and to that work they should be confined. In this account of their original appointment, there is not the slightest intimation that they were to preach, but the contrary is supposed in the whole transaction.

Verse 4. Give our attention. The original expression here used denotes intense and persevering application to a thing, or unwearied effort in it. See Barnes “Acts 1:14”. It means that the apostles meant to make this their constant and main object, undistracted by the cares of life, and even by attention to the temporal wants of the church.

To prayer. Whether this means private or public prayer cannot be certainly determined. The passage, however, would rather incline us to suppose that the latter was meant, as it is immediately connected with preaching. If so, then the phrase denotes that they would give themselves to the duties of their office, one part of which was public prayer, and another preaching. Still it is to be believed that the apostles felt the need of secret prayer, and practiced it, as preparatory to their public preaching.

And to the ministry of the word. To preaching the gospel; or communicating the message of eternal life to the world. The word ministry –\~diakonia\~–properly denotes the employment of a servant, and is given to the preachers of the gospel because they are employed in this service as the servants of God, and of the church. We have here a view of what the apostles thought to be the proper work of the ministry. They were set apart to this work. It was their main, their only employment.

Verse 5. And they chose Stephen, etc. A man who soon showed (Acts 7) that he was every way qualified for his office, and fitted to defend also the cause of the Lord Jesus. This man had the distinguished honor of being the first Christian martyr, Acts 7.

A man of full faith. A proselyte, one who is converted from one religion to another.

Of Antioch. This city, often mentioned in the New Testament, (Acts 11:19,20,26; 15:22,35; Galatians 2:11, etc.,) was situated in Syria on the river Orontes, and was formerly called Riblath.

Verse 6. Who prayed. Invoking in this manner the blessing of God on them to attend them in the discharge of the duties of their office.

Laid hands, etc. Among the Jews it was customary to lay hands on the head of a person who was set apart to any particular office, Numbers 27:18; comp. Acts 8:19. This was done, not to impart any power or ability, but to designate that they received their authority, or commission, from those who thus laid their hands on them, as the act of laying hands on the sick by the Savior was an act signifying that the power of healing came from him, Matthew 9:18; comp. Mark 16:18. In this case the laying on of the hands conveyed of itself no healing power, but was a sign or token that the power came from the Lord Jesus. Ordination has been uniformly performed in this way. See 1 Timothy 5:22. Though the seven deacons had been chosen by the church to this work, yet they derived their immediate commission and authority from the apostles.

Verse 7. So the word of God spread. That is, the gospel was more and more successful, or became more mighty and extensive in its influence. An instance of this success is immediately added.

And a great company of the priests. A great multitude. This is recorded justly as a remarkable instance of the power of the gospel. How great this company was is not mentioned. But the number of the priests in Jerusalem was very great; and their conversion was a striking proof of the power of truth.

Became obedient to the faith. The word faith here is evidently put for the Christian religion. Faith is one of the main requirements of the gospel, Mark 16:16, and by a figure of speech is put for the gospel itself.

Items for Discussion

  • What causes the necessity for change in a church?
  • What is good and bad about change?
  • What was not done by the apostles?
    • The apostles did not take over the work
    • They did not throw out the ones who brought up the issue
    • They did not shun or ignore the ones who brought up the issue
    • They did not take a vote
    • They did not form a committee
    • The ones who brought up the issue did not start a new church
  • What did they actually do?
    • Determined a solution
    • Let the leaders keep working
    • Recognized that how they handle problems would determine their impact in the community
  • What can we learn from this story?

Discussion Challenge

  • What are the effective ways to handle change in the Church today?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. Wesley’s Notes
  3. Barnes’ Notes
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