Explore the Bible Study: Selfless

2:29 PM

Selfless service can only be expressed through one who is filled with the Spirit, possesses a good reputation, and exhibits wisdom. This criterion levels the playing field, which enables any who are willing to serve, to come and serve side-by-side with other passionate believers no matter their job, intellectual, or social status! This is the focus of this week's Explore the Bible study: Selfless.

Here are a few ideas to help lead your group conversation:

LOOK UP: Getting focused on the text.
In Advance: Create two columns on a whiteboard or large sheet of paper. In the left hand column, write “Business Owner, Physician, Bank Manager, CEO." In the right hand column, write “Garbage Collector, Dishwasher, Babysitter, Waiter, Grocery  Clerk.”

Ask (As group arrives):
  • What is the relationship between the first column and the second column?
  • Which of these would you consider service jobs?
  • Are any of these jobs greater than the others?
  • What advantages does one gain by having a service-oriented job?
  • Which of these job holders would find it difficult to serve selflessly?
Illustration (Based on article, 5 Facts About Truett Cathy, by Joe Carter): We have an example of one man who did find the opportunity to express selfless service through his job and his church; this demonstrates that anyone can be a selfless servant if they are walking with Christ.  Chick-fil-A founder and philanthropist S. Truett Cathy died in 2014 at the age of 93. Here are some facts that you might find interesting about this Godly man and business owner:
  • He became a self-made billionaire (he was listed as #75 on Forbes list of U.S. richest people) through hard work and innovation. At the time of his death, Cathy’s estimated net worth was $6.3 billion.
  • Chick-fil-A became well-known for their counter-cultural policy of closing their stores on Sundays. Cathy has explained his policy by saying, "Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God and directing our attention to things more important than our business. If it took seven days to make a living with a restaurant, then we needed to be in some other line of work. Through the years, I have never wavered from that position."
  • In 1982, Truett founded WinShape, a nonprofit organization and charitable foundation that has one simple goal: “to strengthen families and bring people closer to God and each other.” Each ministry within the WinShape Foundation is committed to “equipping Christ-centered servant leaders who live life on purpose; with purpose; from children to college students, families, couples, business leaders and others in need around the world.” As part of Cathy's WinShape Homes program, 13 foster care homes are operated by the WinShape Foundation to provide long-term care for foster children within a positive family environment.  WinShape Homes has provided a safe and secure home to more than 450 children in which they could grow physically, spiritually and emotionally.
  • He was a longtime Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church Jonesboro, Georgia for more than 50 years. He taught middle school boys.
Video Option


LOOK IN: Unpacking the text.

Acts 6:1-2
  • How would and does taking care of widows help the church spread the gospel message to the world? (See John 13:34-35)
  • What similar challenges does the church face today?
  • Were the apostles trying to avoid responsibility by offering this solution?
  • When we see an issue that needs to be addressed, do we blame the pastoral team? Do we expect to be a part of the solution when we offer our complaints to church leaders?
  • How might the increasing involvement of the Twelve in the care ministry for widows have potentially led the church away from focusing on the spread of the gospel?
Acts 6:3-6
  • What were the qualities that the servants were to possess? (Good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit, and wisdom)
  • What would be wrong with choosing servants based on these situations? They couldn’t have found anyone willing or that didn’t meet the criteria so they chose any warm body they could find. They chose people based on family connections, money, or other considerations unrelated to spirituality. They had chosen someone with hopes that they might grow into the criteria outlined for the position? (The idea of giving church members responsibility in hopes of making them more faithful to the church is unbiblical and dangerous.) They chose based on the person politicking for the position.
  • What might have happened to the mission of the church if they had chosen servants based on these situations?
Activity: Use the following to discuss how God used three of the seven servants beyond the role of taking care of widows. Discuss the message this communicates related to serving.

STEPHEN
  • Mentioned first and noted for his reputation as a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit.
  • See Acts 6:8-15 and Acts 7:54-60.
  • Did Stephen stop sharing the gospel because he now had a new job in the church?
  • Stephen not only led in meeting physical needs; he also burned with a passion to reach others for Christ and soon became known as a proclaimer of the gospel. He did not let the fear of ridicule, failure, or persecution prevent him from sharing his faith. The work of the Holy Spirit in Stephen’s life was evident to those around him. Stephen’s defense of the gospel cost him his life. He became the first martyr in the early church.
  • Regardless of what other responsibilities we have as members of the church, we are called to do the work of evangelism. We often find it safer and easier to focus on the internal needs of the local church. We must never leave the work of missions and evangelism to a few. All are called to witness in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Does your service in the church keep you from sharing the gospel outside of the church? If so, what do you need to adjust in your life?
PHILIP
  • We will learn next week how God used Philip to spread the gospel beyond Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria and beyond.
  • He should not be confused with Philip the Apostle.
  • See Acts 21:8-10.
  • We see here a description of Philip, the selfless servant, 20 years after being chosen as one of the seven, still serving selflessly. God was unfolding His plan through selfless servants like Philip!
  • What can we learn from Philip’s selfless service?
NICOLAUS
  • Described as a proselyte from Antioch.
  • This would indicate that he was a Gentile who followed the Mosaic Law until he accepted Christ as His Savior!
  • His mention at this early stage prepares us for the shift toward Gentile missions later in Acts 11.
  • He is another unlikely servant, yet God chose him!
Acts 6:7
  • What were the results of the church stopping and organizing how they were going to minister and preach the Word to others?
  • What does this communicate about the importance of everyone serving?
LOOK OUT: Responding to the text.
  • Do you believe the success of our church to fulfill the mission of sharing the gospel depends on your obedience to serve?
  • This week, evaluate the ways you are serving God. Consider your motivation. Are you serving selflessly and through the power of the Holy Spirit? Prayerfully consider other ministry opportunities for which you may be uniquely gifted. Talk to a leader or pastor regarding your desire to serve.
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