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Tabernacle Unthankfulness Lesson 17
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
January 27 2002 Bible Lessons
Operation Outreach
Acts 6:1-4 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARENow in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 "Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit 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."

The first church began to be established, and was commissioned directly by the Lord Jesus Christ only a short time before this event. That first church was taught and administered by the twelve Apostles, who had been personally trained by Christ. That church, like all churches that have followed, was made up of humans like you and me, with very human emotions and desires like ours.

Therefore, almost before the paint was dry on the new church sign over the door, there were major problems. Don't get too excited, this has to do with the Tabernacle and its services, or maybe it is that the Tabernacle and its services have a great deal to do with this incident in the early church. This event has been repeated in one form or another in all churches that have followed.

The background or context of this reference is of Israel in Egypt, and later in the wilderness. This background sheds a great deal of light on the person of Moses and why God called him to the task, and how God equipped him to be the one who would receive the plans and build the Tabernacle.

Just a side light. One of the few times the Tabernacle was used properly, as directed by God, was while it was under the ministry of Moses. Another one of those subjects for another time.

So that I won't be accused of not teaching on the subject of the Tabernacle and its services, let's hurry and look at this passage in Acts and see the context that references those events leading up to the Tabernacle. In so doing, we will learn a great deal about some Spiritual truths for us in this day and age that are presented in shadows and examples cast by the Tabernacle and Israel in the wilderness.

When any group of Believers, known as a church, increases in size, there are always problems. Those problems most general come from the areas of the social and personal relationships within that group of redeemed sinners. Often those problems are started because someone began to talk BEFORE they have their brain engaged and before they compare the results of their words and actions with eternity.

Very seldom do we see major conflicts within a church because of doctrinal issues. The subject of problems arising from doctrinal and teaching issues is also a subject for another time.

The problems mentioned in this context had very little to do with doctrine. These problems had to do with programs and personal offences or the concept that "me and mine are not getting our fair share". There is much to learn in this account, most of which we will not take time to examine.

We can learn, from this and other accounts, that the purpose of the church is not for personal or physical benefits. Certainly, there are some personal and physical benefits derived by being part of a church.

However, the main purpose and focus of a church should be the teaching of the Word, and fellowship with or prayer to God. Anytime the church reaches beyond the teaching and fellowship ministry, there must be programs to administer such activities.

As people are involved in programs, some often lose sight of the purpose for the program, and the program becomes the ministry. Too often, we evaluate the church programs based on whether we are getting our fair share or if we are being neglected, instead of whether the program is advancing the ministry of the Word and fellowship.

Anytime a church reaches out to the physical needs of people through physical activity, that church may as well expect "murmurings", and be ready and willing to deal physically with such human distractions to the ministry of the Word.

Those physical needs and activities can be as simple as child care, to as complicated as providing for the basic needs of life, itself. It matters not what the program might be, it will generate murmurings.

If these distractions or "murmurings" are properly handled, they can be solved and the church will continue to grow. If those "murmurings" are not handled correctly or they continue, that church, as a Spiritual entity, will cease to function. And all "God's people" nod their sanctimonious heads, saying, "Yep! I've sure seen that happen over and over again."

As a church continues to grow, the problems will continue and increase in intensity. Therefore, there needs to be those who will be "problem solvers" or at MBF, we call them deacons. In the situation of Israel in the wilderness, the problem solver was called Moses.

If these physical problems are to be dealt with in a Spiritual manner, so that the Word of God can continue to go out, then the "problem solvers" must be both selfless and full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. For Israel's "problem solver" to become selfless, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, the process took 80 years to accomplish. SO.., there is still hope for most of us.

Let's stop and personally apply this to our lives. This application will be seen in "shadow" cast by the preparation of Moses so he could accept the responsibility of building and performing the ministry of the Tabernacle.

As we apply the truths embedded in these shadows from the Tabernacle, let's not apply them to the other person, although that's a lot more fun.., BUT let's apply them to ourselves first, THEN we can properly apply them to others.

Think with me about some of OUR "murmurings". I know! I know! Our "murmurings" are called critical suggestions. Call them whatever you would like, but let's run back over them for a few moments.

What were my critical suggestions (or murmurings) about? Were those "murmurings" because the Word of God was abused, or not presented in truth? OR were they because someone else sang and I didn't? The social was not what or where I liked, therefore I couldn't fellowship with other Believers. Someone else got on the committee that I wanted. My kids didn't get the attention that the rest of the kids got. The color was wrong. They wore the wrong thing. Etc., etc.

The list could go on endlessly. If we are honest, our critical suggestions (murmurings) were caused by and were about physical things, and most of those "things" were self-centered.

You know, IF our intentions were really the ministry, INSTEAD of "meism", and what I want, like or can get from this church program, we would be busy about solving the problem in the proper manner, instead of wallowing in self-pity or even self-pride. This whole problem of Biblical murmuring centers in and emanates from a spirit of un-thankfulness.

Isn't it amazing how unthankful we can be, when God has given us SO much. Somehow, it doesn't seem to matter HOW much God has blessed us, if someone else GOT more than I, then the plan of God must be off kilter, because I didn't get my fair share.

If God gave us what we deserved... Oh, my! Wouldn't that be awful?!? Have you ever really thought about the sin of un-thankfulness or murmuring? Quite often, because I didn't get what I wanted or I didn't get as much as someone else did, I lose sight of all that I already have received. What I didn't get BLINDS me to all other GOOD things.

This matter of selfish "wants" blinding us to God's "provision" is a vital part of understanding BOTH why there was a need for a tabernacle, AND why the use of the Tabernacle was less than effective in the lives of most of those who participated. This truth needs to be applied to our lives today, and we will do so, the Lord willing and if He tarries long enough.

Let's take a very brief look at the power of "murmuring" or unthankfulness in action, AND the personal Spiritual harm that such an attitude and action will produce.

Romans 1:20-22 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREFor since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
Futile = (Greek) To render foolish i.e. wicked or idolatrous.
Darkened = (Greek) To obscure i.e. by a shadow.

When we are "unthankful" for what we have, the effect or result is that we become personally foolish and those things cause us to act in an ungodly manner. How-be-it, often in a very "ungodly" religious manner. The reason for such actions is, that those "things" casts a shadow of Spiritual darkness over our hearts.

These things that we are unthankful for literally become idols and we substitute them for God's glory. If we had the time to fully study this and other related passages, we would see that being unthankful has both an immediate effect, and a progressive downward effect of Spiritual futility and darkness. In reality, being unthankful (murmuring) places our wants and our will above God's provision and His will.., and that is idolatry!

Philippians 2:21 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREFor all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.

Godliness, places God's will above all else. A principle of Scripture that we will not develop at this time is; in godliness, Believers seek above all else God's will, then the well being of others. In so doing, those Believers will receive the desires of their heart.

Look at just a few passages, and I do mean just a few compared to the many that deal with this subject.

1 Corinthians 10:22-24 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREOr do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? 23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful; all things are lawful for me, but all things do not edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREFor though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

You know, if we look real hard at this passage, we might see at least one reason why Christianity is winning so few to Christ in this day and age.

1 Corinthians 10:31-11 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE:1 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARELove suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
Philippians 2:3-5 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARELet nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
Luke 12:15 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREAnd He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."
1 Thessalonians 5:18 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREin everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Acts 6:1-4 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARENow in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 "Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit 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."

Certainly, the problem of murmuring needs to be properly handled. Sometimes the complaint behind the murmuring is justified. However, such a problem CANNOT and WILL NOT be properly handled or properly brought to light by murmuring. Murmuring can only bring strife and division and ultimately becomes a hindrance of the ministry of the Word of God. The goal of dealing with all problems within the church, is so the problem will not hinder the ministry of the Word of God, and the fellowship with God.

For any church problem to be properly cared for, it must be cared for by those within the body, and those caring for the problem must be those of "good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom".

That was true in the first church, that was true with Israel in the wilderness and it is true at MBF. Murmuring is ungodliness, and we will see that God used some very drastic means for handling the murmurings in the wilderness. Quite often, God's method of handling the murmurings in the wilderness resulted in the death of the murmurers.

There is MUCH more in this passage, but we must move on. A proposal was made by the Apostles for handling the problem, and we see....

Acts 6:5-7 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREAnd the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. 7 And the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Notice that when the problem was dealt with in a proper manner, by Spiritual people in a Spiritual manner, the Word of God spreads and others came to know Christ. Even some who were consider unreachable were reached, because there was unity of spirit and purpose.

A church operating
 in the unity of the Spirit, 
is a evangelistic power, and one of the greatest 
missionary endeavors.

Let's continue to follow this account.

Acts 6:8-7 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE:1 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God." 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. 13 They also set up false witnesses who said, "This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; 14 "for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us." 15 And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel. 7:1 Then the high priest said, "Are these things so?"

Please keep in mind that these who were challenging Stephen, concerning the fundamental foundation of Christianity, were the highest leaders of the Jewish nation both religiously and politically. In effect, Stephen was brought before the Supreme Court of the Jewish nation.

Not only was Stephen on trial, the reality of Christianity was in question. Acts 7:1 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREthe absolute highest and most powerful man in the Jewish nation, both politically and religiously, demanded of Stephen, "Are these things so?"

You would think that Stephen would have gone to the book of Ephesians or the great declarations of Romans 8 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE, etc. Well.. No, those books weren't written, yet. As a matter of fact, Paul was not converted yet.

In just a few verses, Paul, who then was called Saul, will aid in killing Stephen for what he was about to present in this passage. Some of what Stephen said, in his defense before the Supreme Court, may very well have had an influence in Paul's conversion and his later teachings in the Epistles.

If you were Stephen, and you were standing before the Supreme Court where would you go to get evidence to answer the High Priest's question, "Are these things so?"

Stephen went right where he should have gone for his evidence. He went to the account of God's promise and provision for the Jewish nation. Ultimately, Stephen went to the account of Israel in the wilderness, the Tabernacle and its worship.

After giving a brief history of God's promise to Abraham, in the first 16 verses, Stephen spoke of the account of Israel in Egypt.

Acts 7:17-22 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE"But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt 18 "till another king arose who did not know Joseph. 19 "This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live. 20 "At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father's house for three months. 21 "But when he was set out, Pharaoh's daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. 22 "And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.

We have already looked at some of the examples and shadows involving -- Egypt = world, and the king of Egypt = Satan. We have seen some the of implications of Moses as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. Now as we pass over these facts, please tuck them in the back pocket of your mind, because they will be very valuable down the road.

Allow v. 22 to penetrate your thinking and memory. Moses was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, AND was mighty in words and deeds. We will not get that far in this lesson, but those facts will be significant in the next lessons.

Acts 7:23-30 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE"But when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. 24 "And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. 25 "For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. 26 "And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, 'Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?' 27 "But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 'Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?' 29 "Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a sojourner in the land of Midian, where he had two sons. 30 "And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.

Here is another fact that will be handy later. Moses, at this stage of his life, was a type of Christ in His rejection. Moses came to his own, the Israelites who were fighting with one another, and they rejected him. Because he had killed an Egyptian, while defending a Israelite, he was rejected by Egypt.

John 1:10-11 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREHe was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

Moses was a type of Christ in His rejection, BUT Moses was not a type of Christ in his actions and reactions, at this stage.

We don't know when or how Moses learned that he was an Israelite, or how he knew that he was to deliver Israel from bondage. However, he did know. Acts 7:25 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREshows this recognition of himself as an Israelite, and that he would have a great deal to do with their deliverance.

Something Moses did not realize was God's timing.

Moses fled to the wilderness. We know that he went to the wilderness through faith Hebrews 11 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE. However in the process, somewhere along the line he began to run from the calling of God. As we see in Acts 7:25 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE, Moses knew his calling. However, some 40 years later, he had abandoned that call. As a matter of fact, he tried to repel God's direct orders.

Exodus 3:1-4 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARENow Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, "I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn." 4 So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am."
Exodus 3:9-11 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE"Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 "Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." 11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?"
Exodus 4:10-14 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREThen Moses said to the LORD, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." 11 So the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? 12 "Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say." 13 But he said, "O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send." 14 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: "Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.

Besides the truths taught here that help our understanding of the Scriptures in general, there is much that should bring great hope and comfort to everyone of us!

Here we see Moses as he failed in his attempt to be a great leader for God, because he trusted in his own strength and timing. He also ran from his Spiritual responsibility and stayed in that condition for 40 +/- years. To top that off, when God personally talked with Moses, he argued with God, and told God to do whatever He wanted to, but please leave him alone.

You would think that God would have either abandoned Moses, or beat the tar out of him. We think such things, because we try to put God in a "box" and want Him to act like a good human. You know, we think God should act like "me".

Even with all of Moses' 
failings, his rebellion 
against God, etc., God still was 
to make Moses the greatest leader of all times.

It's nice to see... No! It's wonderful to see that in the listing by the Holy Spirit of the Spiritual accomplishments of Moses in Hebrews 11 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE, only the acts of faith find their way into the roster. THAT'S GRACE!!

God forgave and did not hold the forgiven acts against Moses. God rewarded Moses for the acts of faith. THAT'S GRACE!!

We are to forgive in the same manner. Christ said that if we don't forgive in that manner, the Father will not forgive us our trespasses.

Numbers 12:3 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

Moses stepped out ahead of God in pride and self-centeredness. As a result, he killed a man, told God, "No", etc. But God is very good at bringing blessing from cursing, if we will allow Him to do so in accordance with His commands.

I don't know where you are in your walk with Christ. Your list of sins and failures may be long, but God is not nearly as concerned with what you have been, as His is excited about what you can be, through His grace activated in your life through obedience.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREDo you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

God is looking for some sinners, who are willing to be washed, sanctified and justified in Christ by the Holy Spirit.

Will you volunteer to be one of God's cleansed?????
© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2002