Summary: A Biblical Study Of Deacons

Sermon Series:

Sermon: “DIAKONAS”

Scripture: Acts 6.1-7

Men of dignity; Men strong in faith; Men beyond reproach; Men of there word; Men of clear conscience; these are words Paul uses to describe men who are to serve and minister as deacons. Paul also says that men “who serve well as deacons obtain … a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 3.13 NASB).” To serve as a deacon is to be an honor and a ministry which is taken very seriously. Yet, there are different concepts of what the ministry of a deacon is. One key to understanding the role of a deacon in the New Testament Church is found in Acts chapter six (6).

Although “the seven” men who are chosen in this passage are not called deacons it is evident that this is the origin of the deacon ministry in the New Testament Church. Another key in understanding the ministry of a deacon is found in the word itself. The word Deacon (GK # 1249 diakonos {dee-ak’-on-os}) means lit. “to run on errands, or one who executes the commands of another” and is translated in the New Testament as minister 20 times, servant 8 times and deacon 3 times. Thus, we find evidence from the word itself that the primary role of a deacon is that of a servant or minister. However, in order to fully understand the role of the deacon, as it relates to the New testament Church, we must examine the origin of this ministry in Acts 6.1-7.

As we examine the birth of the deacon body let us first look at the need through which the ministry of the deacon was born.

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration (Acts 6.1 KJV).

Here we see that in the midst of spiritual growth, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, a complaint arose. The Grecians, non-Palestinian Jews, felt that their widows were not being treated fairly in the daily distribution of food. The complaint in itself is one which deals with ministry. It is a problem that deals with needs that are being neglected. Thus, the solution as we will see later is one centered on meeting those needs. We must stop here and take note that when we as a body are following the will of the Father we will encounter some rough terrain. When the army of God is advancing the Kingdom of God there will be sniper fire aimed at the unity of the brethren. Yet, in the midst of this murmuring, in the midst of this sniper fire, if we look closely, we will see the ideal for the Church in our society today. We will see a Church that rises to the occasion and brings of its fruits into the storehouse. We will see a Church that beats “Uncle Sam” to the punch and takes care of its own, rather than relying on some governmental program. We will see a Church that ministers. As we will discover in this passage deacons play a vital role in that ministry.

Now let us turn our attention to the proposed solution.

Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, it is not reason that we should leave the Word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: (Acts 6.2-6 KJV).

The complaint is heard and “the twelve,” the apostles, call the multitude of disciples (translated congregation in the NASB) together and present a solution. In these verses we can see several important truths. In verse 2 we discover that the apostles did not dictate their solution to the Church they called a business meeting and gave a suggestion to the multitude and left it up to them to cast the vote. Herein lies the truth that the governing body of the Church (that is the policy making body of the church) is in fact the multitude or congregation. The Apostles brought the idea before the congregation and they made the choice to either accept or reject it. Thus, verse 5 “the saying pleased the whole multitude.” Therefore, we must conclude that there is no individual or individual group within the congregation set apart to make church policy; the business of the church is to be conducted by the congregation as a whole. However, just as the twelve presented their solution, individuals and individual groups with in the church are encouraged to offer their suggestions and insight to the congregation.

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