Summary: Learning what God wants from deacons.

Title: DEACONS: God’s Ministering Servants

Text: Acts 6:1-6, Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:8-13

Introduction: God is the God of organization and structure.

‒ It is seen in the universe around us.

‒ It is seen in nature.

‒ The human body itself is so structured.

‒ The church is no different.

‒ Listen to (Ephesians 4:11-12 NCV) "And Christ gave gifts to people--he made some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to go and tell the Good News, and some to have the work of caring for and teaching God’s people. {12} Christ gave those gifts to prepare God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger."

‒ Because God is a God of organization, it is necessary for us to be organized in the church.

‒ We may not like structure to a degree, but God has ordained that it be this way.

1. The concept of deacon is one that we don’t think about much. We make many assumptions based on the “way we have always done it.” So, to help us with the concept, I hope today to explore three things.

1. The meaning of the word “deacon.”

2. Some misconceptions concerning deacons.

3. The Practical application of this sermon is to draw some conclusions about how we at Creekside need to go about having and employing deacons.

1. The word “deacon” is really a transliterated word (EXPLAIN) that comes from the Greek word “DIAKONOS” derived from “diakon” meaning one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master; he is a servant, attendant, minister.

A. In general sage

1. Referred to those who would serve the king.

2. Referred to servants who would wait on tables.

B. It was translated into other words in most places in the New Testament

1. As “Servant”

1. (Matthew 23:11 KJV) "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant (diakonos)."

2. As “minister”

1. (Colossians 4:7 NCV) "Tychicus is my dear brother in Christ and a faithful minister (diakonos) and servant with me in the Lord...."

3. As “deacon”in only two passages in the Bible.

1. (Philippians 1:1 NCV) "From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus. To all of God’s holy people in Christ Jesus who live in Philippi, including your elders and deacons:"

2. 1 Timothy 3:8-13 (What we call the “qualifications” of a deacon)

3. Because of these to passages, we understand that there was distinction made concerning deacons, but not so much as we might have thought. They were ministering servant in the church to hep with the menial tasks of everyday church function.

2. Misconceptions of the word “deacon.”

A. It is an “office.” Many perceive the deacons as having a “position” or an “office.”

1. The reason for this is that the King James calls this the “office” of a deacon. (1 Timothy 3:10 KJV) "And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless." This is a mistranslation. The (1 Timothy 3:10 NASB) "And let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach." The literal translation of the passage reads, “...let them minister....”

2. The reason this is a poor translation for us today is that when we think “office” we automatically think of an authority structure or position, and this leads to other misconceptions about being a deacon.

1. In 1611 when the KJV was translated, the word translated “office” did not have to do with an authority structure, but has to do with function. In other words the meaning is “let him function as a deacon (servant)

2. (Romans 12:4 KJV) "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:" If the word “office” meant authority structure then would mean that all members of God’s church would have some kind of office. This passage simply means that we do not have the same function.

3. The word translated “office” simply means function, ministry, or service.

1. The problem with this concept.

1. It brings pride into the picture.

2. It makes a deacon someone “higher” than others. Although there is a distinction made in the New Testament between deacons, elders, and others, this does not mean it ought to be used as a hierarchy.

Transition: It also leads to the second misconception.

B. It is for life. We think, “Once a deacon always a deacon.” We say, “If he is serving in an office, it would stand to reason that he would always be a deacon, unless he does something of reproach to cause him to have to step down.”

1. In Acts 6 we see a situation that arose where a special need for helping Grecian widows was needed. The text reads: (Acts 6:1-5 NCV) "The number of followers was growing. But during this same time, the Greek-speaking followers had an argument with the other Jewish followers. The Greek-speaking widows were not getting their share of the food that was given out every day. {2} The twelve apostles called the whole group of followers together and said, "It is not right for us to stop our work of teaching God’s word in order to serve tables. {3} So, brothers and sisters, choose seven of your own men who are good, full of the Spirit and full of wisdom. We will put them in charge of this work. {4} Then we can continue to pray and to teach the word of God." {5} The whole group liked the idea, so they chose these seven men: Stephen (a man with great faith and full of the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas (a man from Antioch who had become a Jew)."

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