Summary: I wrote this sermon for the ordination of a deacon at my church.
INTRODUCTION: (Ordination of Glen Colby)
This evening is a special night for me, not just for the Colby family. First of all, it is my first opportunity to be involved in an ordination ceremony. Next, when I was growing up the deacons at my church were some of my heroes. These men were such examples of servanthood to me. They were also great examples of love when I think of the ways these men watched over me every time I was at the church. Considering the character required of a deacon, I can’t think of a better man in this church for young boys and girls to look up to, nonetheless the young men and women. I feel privileged to be allowed to take part in the acknowledgement by the church of the servant nature of Glen Colby.
Reaching the end of a job interview, the human resources person asked a young engineer fresh out of MIT what kind of a salary he was looking for. "In the neighborhood of $240,000 a year, depending on the benefits package." "Well, what would you say to a package of 5-weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical & dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, & a company car leased every 2 years...say, a red Corvette?" "Wow! Are you kidding?" "Yeah, but you started it." A servant’s heart is sorely lacking in our society today. God’s people should have a servant’s heart.
I. Deacons are to be men who are willing and able “to wait on tables”, not be or desire to be managers.
[Illustration] A woman was interviewing a prospective servant and asked, “Can you serve company?” The applicant replied “Yes, mum, both ways.” The woman looked puzzled and asked, “What do you mean, both ways?” “So they’ll come again, or stay away.”
A. The term deacon goes back to a Greek word which means servant or slave.
“’Servant’ in our English New Testament usually represents the Greek doulos (bondslave). Sometimes it means diakonos (deacon or minister); this is strictly accurate, for doulos and diakonos are synonyms. Both words denote a man who is not at his own disposal, but is his master’s purchased property. Bought to serve his master’s needs, to be at his beck and call every moment, the slave’s sole business is to do as he is told. Christian service therefore means, first and foremost, living out a slave relationship to one’s Savior (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20). James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.
B. The apostles were the “managers” of the early church. They needed MEN who were willing and able to serve as laborers so the apostles could focus on preparing God’s messages for the church.
“From the analogy of the synagogue, and from the scanty notices in the New Testament, we may think of the deacons or "young men" at Jerusalem as preparing the rooms for meetings, distributing alms, maintaining order at the meetings, baptizing new converts, distributing the elements at the Lord's Supper.”—Smith's Bible Dictionary
C. Pastors and other ordained ministers are in the same position today that the apostles were in the early church so we need MEN who are willing and able to serve so we can focus on preparing messages from God’s Word.
II. Deacons are to be men of “good reputation”.
A. Verses 19-21, and 26 are a list of things that destroy a “good reputation”. Here are a few from the list that should definitely disqualify a man from becoming, being, or continuing to be a deacon:
1. Sexual or moral impurity.
2. Outbursts of Anger
3. Selfish ambitions and dissensions
B. Verses 22-25 are a list of things that make up a “good reputation”.
C. Deacons, like pastors, need to be men who live a life that is above reproach. This will insure that they have a “good reputation”.
III. Deacons are to be men “full of the Holy Spirt and wisdom”, God’s wisdom.
A. To be “full of the Holy Spirit” and Godly wisdom a man MUST spend time with God and in His Word.
B. Stephen and Philip are seen leading people to JC. Stephen was killed for the sake of JC. This indicates two things:
1. Deacons should be regularly leading the lost to JC.
2. Deacons should be men who will lay down their life for the sake of serving the local church and JC.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER Andy Stanley tells the story of when he was 13 and learning the meaning of the phrase, "Actions speak louder than words." His dad was the Associate Pastor of First Baptist in Atlanta when the senior pastor was asked to resign. Charles Stanley was asked to preach on Sundays until a suitable replacement could be found. As he preached, the pews began to fill, young couples started to return, the youth ministry started to grow and volunteerism grew to an all-time high. There was a new excitement in the church. Yet some of the longtime members of the church resented Charles Stanley’s growing influence and popularity. It didn’t help that there was a grass-roots movement started to elect him as pastor. The old guard thought he was too young, too evangelistic and too spiritual emphasizing a personal relationship with Jesus. The powerbrokers started to politic to have Charles Stanley removed. People started to take sides. Two weeks before the vote to hire or fire Charles Stanley, Deacon Myers walked up to the pulpit as the Wednesday night service began. He started to talk about the growing controversy and as he did, horror upon horror, he used the word damn. Charles Stanley calmly walked to the pulpit and said, "Now you need to watch your language." With clinched fists the man responded, "You need to watch yourself or you might get punched." Charles Stanley didn’t back down or step away, and then all of a sudden Deacon Myers reared back and punched Charles Stanley. He didn't retaliate. It was his dad’s response to all this that marked Andy for life. He stepped right back up and stood by Deacon Myers. Andy Stanley said, In that moment I wanted to be that kind of man... From that moment on, it didn't matter what anybody said. Because actions speak louder than words." That event revealed his dad’s character. "When we open the pages of Scripture, we discover that character is defined by the very nature of Jesus Christ--a stumbling block for some but a rock solid foundation for others. Character is the will to do what is right, as defined by God, regardless of personal cost."