Summary: What are the qualities a church should look for in a Deacon?
We read here about the election of the first Deacons. In verse 1 we are told of a situation that demanded attention. Part of the congregation was being neglected. The Greek speaking Jews in the early church believed that the Aramaic speaking Jews were receiving all of the attention of the church’s ministry, while they were being neglected.
This situation revealed a need within the church’s organizational structure. God had raised up the Apostles to act as the pastors or staff as it were, to the early church. Their job was to provide God inspired leadership. To do this, they would need time to devote to prayer. Their job was also to provide God inspired instruction. To do this, they would need time to devote to the ministry of the Word.
Therefore, the Apostles proposed a solution - vs. 3-4. The church would set aside as many qualified men as required to assist the Apostles by seeing to the congregation’s needs and freeing them up to fulfill their responsibility of providing God inspired leadership through prayer and God inspired instruction through the ministry of the Word.
These men obviously addressed the need in the church family effectively, because we are told in verse 6, that instead of the early church going through a split, they were strengthened in such a way that such a powerful witness was given that not only did the “Word of God spread,” but “a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”
In verse 3, the Apostles listed five basic requirements that must be true of a Deacon. In 1 Timothy 3:8-13, Paul later listed examples of the practical outworking of these 5 basic requirements. In verse 13, Paul spoke “about using the office of Deacon well.”
1. A Faithful Man - “from among you”
A Deacon is to be a man who exemplifies faithfulness to the Lord and to His church. He is to be one who is not merely a part of the membership; he is to be part of the fellowship.
He is to be one who is actively involved in the life of his church. One who is personally concerned about the welfare of his church.
It has been said that every church is full of willing people, some who are willing to work and some who are willing to let them. A Deacon is one who is willing to work.
2. A Reputable Man - “who are known” “good reputation” - NASB
A Deacon is to be a man whose testimony is good. He is to be a man who does not practice hypocrisy, but who truly seeks to apply the truths of God’s Word to his daily life.
“They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.” - 1 Timothy 3:9 (NIV)
I heard about a group of men who were discussing the virtues of different Bible translations. One would argue why the King James Version was his preferred translation. Another would argue why the New International Version was his preferred translation. Yet another advocated the New American Standard Bible as his preferred translation of the Scripture. Another man in the group said that he preferred his mother’s translation of the Bible. The group waited for him to name a particular Bible version. But what he said was, “I prefer the way my mother translated the truth of the Bible into her everyday life.”
A Deacon should be one whose testimony reveals a desire to live by God’s Word - he has a good reputation.
3. A Spiritual Man - “full of the Spirit”
A Deacon should be a man who obeys the command of Ephesians 5:18b - “be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
A. He seeks to be consciously filled with the Spirit - his daily decision is to surrender to Christ - Ephesians 5:18 is a command.
B. He seeks to be continuously filled with the Spirit - his daily directive is to seek Christ - Ephesians 5:18 is a continuous action.
C. He seeks to be conspicuously filled with the Spirit - his daily desire is to show Christ - Ephesians 5:18 is followed by examples of how the Spirit’s work in our life will make a difference in how we relate to others (5:19-6:9).
Some Christians are like the lady in a cartoon I once saw. The car was loaded for a trip. The husband was having trouble getting the car to start. The wife said to him, “Oh, by the way, I had that thing under the hood removed to make more room for by luggage.”