Earlier in the week we listened in as Pastor Ben Jennings spoke to us on taking the Good News of Jesus Christ to the uttermost.  Below, you will find the sermon outline that was used for that sermon.

Session 9- Great Commission Solutions

Scripture: Act 6:1-7

Subject: Great Commission

Central Theme: Solving Problems with the Great Commission

Objective Statement: We can see how obedience to the Great Commission helps to solve problems both inside and outside the church. Notice 5 steps seen in this passage.

Keyword: Steps

  1. The Problem Seen. v.1-2
  2. The Solution Proposed. v.3-4
  3. The Selection Made. v.5
  4. The Commission Performed. v.6
  5. The Result Experienced. V.7


  • How many of you have ever caught yourself watching an infomercial on TV?
  • How many of you have ever bought anything from a television infomercial?
  • The shortened ones that come on for 30 seconds or so can be pretty funny when you think about them.
  • There is a pretty familiar pattern.
    • Bring up a problem that their product solves.
    • Show how it is the answer to all their problems.
    • Raise expectations on the price.
    • Cut the price substantially.
    • Then throw in three more of the product to make the consumer really thinking they are getting a deal.
  • We love seeing problems solved!
  • We love getting problems solved…

We can see how obedience to the Great Commission helps to solve problems both inside and outside the church. Notice 5 steps seen in this passage.

1.    The Problem Seen. (V.1-2)

Acts 6:1-7

(1)  And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

  • There were several factors that contributed to their problems.
  • First, there was the speed of the growth. It says that the number of disciples was multiplied.
  • A second factor was what I would call people problems.
    • There were perceived biases in the church.
      • The Greek widows and others were perceiving that the Hebrews widows were being cared for better.
      • To be clear, this was not a matter of pure race. They were all Jewish.
      • You had two different groups.
        • The “Hebrews” were Jews that spoke Aramaic. They used the Hebrew scriptures.
        • The Greek Jews (Hellenistic Jews) primarily spoke Greek. The issue wasn’t race.  The issue was language.
      • You can see how that communication problems and cross-cultural backgrounds could lead to wrong perceptions and miscommunication.
      • It was leading to murmuring in the church. People were talking about it.
      • As a result, unity was threatened.
    • Third, There were hitting a ministry capacity. “Neglected in the daily ministration.”
      • Widows needed care.
      • The perception of the Hellenistic Jews was that the widows were not receiving the same kind of care.
      • This must have been at least partially true because the apostles saw it as a problem that needed to be addressed, but they knew that they could not address it on their own.
      • There was too much ministry to be done. Look at verse 2:

(2)  Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

  • A fourth factor to their problem was the constraint of time-“Leave the Word of God”-
    • There was too much ministry because of the constraint of time.
    • It’s not that the job was beneath them.
    • No, it was that there were things that only they could do that they could not neglect.
    • The ministry to the widows to “serve tables” was ministry that needed to be done. It was important.
    • Yet the disciples must do what only they can do, so that others may minister, too.
    • In fact, this was the kind of thing that Jesus had the disciples do during his ministry.
    • Do you remember the feeding of the 5,000? What part did Jesus do?  He did the miracle part.  He multiplied the food.  What part did the disciples do?  They served the food.
    • One way to grow people is to help them serve in ways they can serve when they can serve.
    • The disciples had grown under the ministry of Jesus to the point that they had the responsibility for the whole assembly and not just these widows.
    • They had the responsibility for prayer and the proclamation of the Word of God.

Acts 2:423, 46-67

(42)  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  (43)  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

(46)  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, (47)  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

  • Church growth is fantastic.
    • It is what we want when properly achieved.
    • Yet it comes with its own set of problems.
  • Notice though, who noticed the problems.
    • The problems were noticed by the leaders.
    • Being leaders, they didn’t ignore the problem.
    • They dealt with it.

“Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said…”

  • Who were the leaders?
    • They were “the twelve”.
    • Jesus had gifted the assembly with these men.
    • In Jesus’ ministry he did 3 things. He reached people.  He trained people.  He ministered to people.
    • If Jesus did not reach these men, taught these men, and trained these men, then they would not be there to minister.
  • So, there was a problem.
    • Church growth had brought people together in the assembly.
    • When people get together there are ministry needs and ministry problems.
    • The problem at hand was that people in need were perceived as being neglected and it was causing murmuring and potentially division in the assembly.
  • The leaders that Jesus had sent, the apostles, saw the problem, and realized that if they were the solution to every problem they wouldn’t be able to give themselves to what only they could do- the ministry of the Word and prayer.
  • Ministry need to be accomplished, and they were at capacity.
  • So, what was their solution?
  • Their solution was to be found in the multitude of disciples that had been reached and were growing.
  • The problem was among church members, but the solution was to be found there as well.

Here were 5 Steps seen in this passage.

1.      The Problem Seen. (V.1-2)

  • They called the multitude of disciples unto them…

2.    The Solution Proposed. v.3-4

(3)  Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

(4)  But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

  • Because there was so much ministry that needed to be done, and because essential actions were competing, they needed more people ministering.
  • What was their solution?
    • “Look ye out among you seven men…”.
    • Men were their solution.
    • Church members (“among you”) were their solutions to problems with church members.
    • But not just any men. Not just any members of the assembly.
    • What kind of men were needed?
      • They needed men “of honest report”.
        • These were men who were known to have a good reputation.
        • They were trustworthy.
      • They needed men who were “full of the Holy Ghost”.
        • They had to be men who had been reached.
          • These were men who had been reached by the assembly.
          • They couldn’t be “filled with the Holy Ghost” if they had not first been saved by the Holy Ghost.
          • Frankly, if evangelism had not been done there would have been no one to help.
        • They had to be men who had also been taught.
          • Discipleship had happened among the multitudes of disciples so that these were men of honest report, controlled by the Holy Spirit and full of wisdom.
        • They had to be men who were ready to be sent to minister.
          • The scripture said that they would be appointed over this business.
          • This meant they weren’t the only ones doing the ministry for the ladies.
          • It meant that they were leading the ministry.
          • Is it just the pastors job to minister? Is it just the deacons job to minister?
          • It’s their job to help both by doing and by leading.
        • These men were qualified because they had been reached, taught, and were now ready to lead and minister.
        • These were the men for the job because the apostles had stayed faithful to their job.
        • The apostles had been commissioned to make disciples by teaching them to observe all things Jesus had commanded.
        • They had done that.
        • And as a result of the Holy Spirit moving through Great Commission ministry, they could propose this as a solution.
        • They said that they could not abandon prayer and the ministry of the Word. Why?  That is the ministry that got them to this point.
        • They prayed continually.
        • They had a ministry of the word in large groups (in the temple), and in small groups (from house to house).
        • If they abandoned what they were doing there would be no more leaders reached, trained, and sent to minister when further problems would arise.
        • These apostles were expressing three types of ministry:
          • Leadership- pointing out problems and solving them.
          • Discipleship- equipping people to minister to the body and to the lost
          • Worship- Staying right with God and qualified to be examples and leaders.
        • So, this was their plan: There are men who had been reached, trained, and were now ready to be sent.
        • Essentially, they were saying, let’s select men from among the people who are being developed, and let’s send them!

Here were 5 Steps seen in this passage.

1.      The Problem Seen. (V.1-2)

2.      The Solution Proposed. v.3-4

3.      The Selection Made. (V.5)

(5)  And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

  • This week I wrote a little bit each day on each of the verses in today’s text.
  • When I came to this verse I thought, “What am I going to say about these names?”
  • Then I actually looked at the names.
  • We do know something about them.
  • First, I’m not the first person to point out that the names listed were all Greek names, implying that they were all Hellenistic Jews.
    • Their primary concern at this point was neglecting the Greek speaking widows, and so Greek speaking men were selected. This just makes sense.
    • Ministry is best done through relationships, and relationships are more easily done when you have things in common.
    • In this situation that may have been something as simple as language.
    • The church loved these women and sent some of their best men to minister to these widows.
  • Secondly, we know that some of these men faithfully served the Lord after this happened.
    • Stephen is described here as “a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost”.
      • He was the subject of what happens in 6:8-8:3. He is the first recorded Christian martyr.
    • Philipp was also greatly used.
      • He played a key role in the spreading of the Gospel, and is the main character in the narrative recorded right after the Martyrdom of Stephen.
      • You can find out about him in Acts 8:4-8, 26-40.
    • These two men exemplified what Paul told Timothy about the role of a deacon being used and filled well.

1 Timothy 3:13

(13)  For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

  • Here is a sobering thought:
    • There are some who fill positions in the church, like deacon who do not use the position for good but for harm.
    • I read in my study this week about the Nicolaitans. Jesus says this about them in Revelation 2, as he wrote a letter to the church at Ephesus:

Rev 2:6  But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Rev 2:15  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

  • There are some who believe that the Nicolaitans were people who eneded up following “Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch” mentioned in this verse.
  • There is no way of knowing for certain that this man is the founder of that group.
  • There is also no way of knowing that he himself was the cause of the poor doctrine and behavior of his followers if he did found this group.
  • What we must say is that the reason they had to outline qualifications for deacons and pastors in the Bible, and why we do in our church is because the position is not a status that you permanently achieve.
  • They are character qualities that must be carefully and fearfully maintained.
  • Once they had carefully selected the men to minister the did something interesting. Look at the next step they took:

Here were 5 Steps seen in this passage.

1.      The Problem Seen. (V.1-2)

2.      The Solution Proposed. v.3-4

3.      The Selection Made. (V.5)

4.    The Commission Performed. (V.6)

(6)  Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

  • The apostles were the leaders, clearly of this local church in Jerusalem.
  • Jesus had ordained the 12 that they would be with Him.
  • He had trained them, and then commissioned them to Gospel ministry.
  • This ministry that need to be done by these men affected the Gospel, as we will see in verse 7.
  • So, once they had selected Spiritually mature, equipped men, it was time that they commissioned them.
  • What did they do?
    • They prayed.
      • This included God in their decision.
      • It affirmed that His blessing on their ministry was essential.
    • They laid hands.
      • This was a symbolic gesture that one’s ministry is supported, affirmed, and approved.
      • Their ministry was identified as valid by those laying on of hands.
    • When it comes to laying hands on someone- that is supporting and affirming leaders in the assembly, we must be careful about three things:
      • We must be careful who we lay hands on.
        • Supporting and affirming leaders by putting them in particular roles must be done with caution.
        • Everyone knows the pain of the wrong person in the wrong position doing the job the wrong way.
        • That does not work at your business, your school, your government agency, your grocery store, your restaurant, your little league or anywhere else.
      • We must be careful when we lay hands on.
        • Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:22:

1 Timothy 5:22

(22)  Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

  • There is a lot of wisdom in that.
  • It means that when you put someone in a position to lead and serve- Sunday School teacher, Preacher, Pastor, Deacon, Trustee, Staff- you need to do so with a thorough enough investigation and preparation period to be certain of the persons qualifications to do the job.
  • We must be careful to lay hands on someone.
    • Leaders must be sent.
    • If you don’t have anyone to affirm, support and send- no one to lay hands on- your ministry will die!
  • Let’s state what we’ve seen:
    • Problems arose as the church grew.
    • The apostles noticed the problem. Essential ministry was being neglected.
    • The apostles proposed that people who had been reached, and trained in discipleship be sent to minister.
    • When they selected out of those who had been trained, they commissioned them to look over the ministry. They prayed for them and laid hands on them.
    • Now look at the results of what happened:

Here were 5 Steps seen in this passage.

1.      The Problem Seen. (V.1-2)

2.      The Solution Proposed. v.3-4

3.      The Selection Made. (V.5)

4.      The Commission Performed. (V.6)

5.    The Results Experienced. (v.7)

(7)  And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly…

  • 2 Results are expressed at the beginning of verse 7 that are highly correlated:
    • The Word of God increased
    • The number of disciples were multiplied.
  • I’ve seen these two things happen over my lifetime- have you? I bet if you’ve been in this church you have.
  • When the Word of God increases the number of disciples can be multiplied.
  • Where have you seen that Pastor Ben:

    Here are a few examples:

    • At camp.
      • I’ve seen kids go to camp who have no interest in the things of God, and then as their loved on by other campers and counselors and pastors all week, and given the truth of the Word of God they respond.
      • Students get 7 biblical sermons, plus 3-5 Devotional times during the week.
      • They take in as much of the Word of God in one week than many of them will take in months or years.
      • And when that happens they begin to make spiritual decisions and grow in Christ!
    • On visits.
      • As a child, and in my ministry I have seen the Word of God increase on visits made to peoples homes.
      • People who we follow up with and share the Word of God with hear it and get saved, and begin to grow in Christ.
    • With new Sunday School Teachers.
      • 2 stages after I recruited a teacher:
        • Overwhelm- I have to do this every week?! How am I going to have enough to say.
        • I’m growing!- “I don’t know if my class is getting anything from what I’m studying but I know I am!”
      • Discipleship Groups
        • Teaching people to feed themselves on the Word of God.
        • Invariably people become more evangelistic, and more ministry minded.
        • I believe people do not share their faith often times because they do not have a faith to share.
        • There is not enough of the Word of God getting in them that the Word of God isn’t coming out of them.
        • We get into the Word of God until the Word of God gets into us, and then the Word of God comes out of us.
      • In this verse where did the Word of God increase and lead to the disciples being multiplied- In Jerusalem!
      • It had a measured on an actual place at a particular time.
      • To what degree?

“and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith”

  • Last weeks antagonists, are this week’s converts.
  • Some of the people who wanted to kill Peter and John are now a part of the assembly that these “unlearned and unsophisticated men” were leading!


  • When the person reached can reach others and then train that person to reach and train others and actually does that- that is when multiplication happens.
  • It happens because intake and obedience to the Word of God happens.
  • Think multiplication!


Here were 5 Steps seen in this passage.

1.      The Problem Seen. (V.1-2)

2.      The Solution Proposed. v.3-4

3.      The Selection Made. (V.5)

4.      The Commission Performed. (V.6)

5.      The Results Experienced. (v.7)


  • What does Trinity Baptist Church in Findlay, Ohio have to offer those in our community?
    • Men and women, full of the Holy Ghost and Wisdom, doing authentic ministry so that the Word of God increases and disciples are multiplied!