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In today’s Christain Religious Studies class, We will be looking at Communal Life in the Early Church. We hope you enjoy the class!
- Fraud in the Church (Acts 5: 1-11)
- The Appointment of Seven Deacons (Acts 6: 1-7)
FRAUD IN THE CHURCH
There’s no human organisation without shortcomings, hence the early church had its challenges. There were people who wanted to take advantages of others because of the collective ownership of everything. In the early church, the human errors and weaknesses shook the unity and peace of the church. But the apostles were able to manage the situations very well. The problems that confronted the early church include dishonesty, falsehood, lack of commitment, deceit, fraud and household conspiracy, but the damage was quickly and decisively halted by the apostles.
The case of Ananias and Sapphira was an example of this problem. The couple, Ananias and Sapphira were anxious to receive honour but were not ready to give what it takes. They sold their land but unlike other donors, they conspired to keep to themselves part of the money and brought a part of it to the apostles. They pretended as if had they donated everything. But Peter full of the Holy Spirit confronted Ananias for his dishonesty to the Holy Spirit. Peter rebuked him strongly for defrauding and deceiving them. Out of fear and shock, Ananias collapsed and died. Some members buried him instantly. Later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened to her husband, she also confirmed to the lie of her husband. She too fell down and died immediately and was buried beside her husband. The aftermath of this was fear among the believers, they became so afraid of the power of the Holy Spirit and were living in honesty among one another.
- Analyse the issue that led to the death of Ananias and Sapphira.
- Highlight the shortcomings of some believers in the early church.
THE APPOINTMENT OF SEVEN DEACONS
The next challenge that confronted the early church was that of the inequitable distribution of food items. This was brought about by nepotism and favouritism on the part of the officers of the church charged with the responsibility of distributing food items. This accusation got to the apostles that some of the ethnic groups among the believers were agitating and murmuring against the Hebrews. They complained that the widows among the Greeks and their foreign counterparts were neglected in the daily distribution also got to the apostles.
The apostles took the matter very seriously. Consequently, they called a meeting of the community elders to resolve the issues decisively. This led to the appointment of seven deacons namely:
These men were full of faith and the Holy Spirit and were fit for the job they were appointed for. They were presented to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them and commissioned them for the task. After this, the church made progress because the problems of partiality, favouritism and nepotism were resolved.
QUALITIES OF A DEACON
- A deacon is expected to be a strong believer in God and Jesus Christ the Son of God.
- He or she must be full of faith and strong will.
- He or she must be a person of virtues, dignity, credibility, and accountability.
- He or she must be gentle, kind, loveable and humble.
- The person must not be questionable in areas of money, sex and other social issues.
- The person must be married and the marriage must be monogamous.
- The person must be fully engaged in prayer, evangelism, church services and missions.
- He or she must have sound knowledge of the word of God.
- Name the seven deacons appointed by the apostles.
- Highlight the qualities of a deacon.
- Discuss the issue that led to the appointment of the seven deacons.
- Why didn’t the apostles be in charge of the distribution of foods items?
- Explain the circumstance that led to the death of Ananias and Sapphira.
- Why did Peter rebuke Ananias?
- Mention five habits that are not expected from the deacons.
- Christian Religious Knowledge for JSS. BK 3, by T.N.O Quarcoopome et al. Chapter 2, pages 30-32
- Christian Religious Knowledge for JSS. BK 3 by Adeyinka.et al. Chapter 2, pages 9-11.
- Which of the following was not a deacon? (a) Stephen (b) Peter (c) Parmenas (d) Philip
- One of the following was not a feature for selecting the deacons. (a) faith (b) virtue (c) eloquence (d) prayer
- The most prominent among the deacons was (a) Stephen (b) Philip (c) Timon (d) Parmenas
- The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was (a) disobedience (b) lie and deceit (c) overconfidence (d) Heresy
- The accusation in the early church was directed against the (a) Greek (b) Hebrew (c) Gentile (d) Egyptian
- What are the lessons for modern Christians from the story of Ananias and Sapphira?
- What are the differences between deacons appointed by the apostles and the present-day deacons?
We have come to the end of this class. We do hope you enjoyed the class?
Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.
In our next class, we will be talking about Fraud in the Church. We are very much eager to meet you there.
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