Online Articles

Online Articles

The Man Who Tried Three Religions

"Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task" (Acts 6:3).

The growing Jerusalem church consisted of converted Hebrews from Jerusalem (Acts 3:13; 4:50 and Hellenistic Jews "from every nation" (Acts 2:5). The Hellenistic widows' needs in the church were being overlooked, so the apostles' put seven spiritual "men of good reputation" in charge of this benevolent task (Acts 6:1-12).

How many can you name from memory of these early benevolent servants in the Jerusalem church? Probably Stephen, later the first martyr (Acts 7), and Philip, who later devoted himself to evangelistic work (Acts 8:5). All seven men in this list have Greek names. These are Hellenistic Jews, except one man listed last: … Nicolas, the proselyte from Antioch" (Acts 6:5).

Nicolas is the first Gentile convert documented in Acts. Previously, he had converted from Gentile paganism to Judaism. Greek paganism was frightfully superstitious and morally bankrupt. In this idolatrous darkness, Nicolas the Gentile was attracted to the goodness and righteousness of the Jewish religion (Deuteronomy 4:6-8). He became a practicing Jew that meant annually going up to Jerusalem for feast days (Exodus 23:17).

Hence, it is most likely he was among that international crowd of Jewish worshippers on Pentecost (Acts 2:5). If so, he was touched by the gospel of Jesus, by penitent faith in the Messiah, and gladly obeyed Christ in baptism (Acts 2:36-41).

What an exciting conversion story out of the wilderness of religious confusion! I like and admire Nicolas. He grew amid Gentile idolatry, converted to Judaism, and then became, upon hearing the gospel, a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Here truly is a "good" man, willing to be led and controlled by "the Spirit" (Acts 6:3)! Having been in two other religions, he again was willing to change when faced with the truth. At last, he discovered the true religion of the Son of God and obeyed "truth as it is in Jesus" (Ephesians 4:21).

This is the spirit of an idealistic truth seeker (Acts 17:11). "Lord, what will you have me to do?" (Acts 22:10). Every person is his or her own "restoration movement" to be all the Lord wants us to be.

In seeking to be right before God, we must be willing to change wherever we err. This is the final test of a good heart's true sincerity: obeying the truth where it leads (Matthew 5:6,8; Luke 8:15).

— via Jones Road Family Items, Athens, Alabama