In looking at the work of the Spirit in the Book of Acts, we often focus on the major players; Peter, John, Barnabas, Paul and Silas. But there are others who we might consider “common men” that were specifically used in the Early Church because they were “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). When an ordinary problem arose (food distribution) that required a solution, the apostles did not look for just anyone to take on the issue. They looked for “seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (6:3). The word “repute” means “well-spoken of by others”.
Why was this important? Have we made a terrible mistake in conducting the affairs of the church by leaving out the importance of the Holy Spirit and godly character in people? Do we limit how God may use them by overlooking the need of spiritual maturity?
Luke highlights one of these seven men; Stephen. He was “full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people” (6:8). Some “rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking” (6:9-10). From this point, he outlines the Old Testament as proof of the person of Jesus, but also confronts their consistent rejection of the Holy Spirit. Yes, it led to his death, but it left behind a strong church and a legacy and validation of the kind of men God was going to use to expand the church.
To answer my own questions: without promoting this quality of person in the church, it will remain weak and ineffective. Character and the active work of the Holy Spirit go hand-in-hand.
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