Summary: A look at the role of deacons.
Dying to Serve
May 23, 2010 (AM)
Dr. Mike Fogerson, Speaker
I Deacon is a verb, not a noun
A The Jerusalem church, in a very short time, had grown to (by some estimates) around 20,000 people (big congregation for 12 pastors).
1 Caring & coordinating for a membership that is large is a staggering responsibility (each disciple had over 1,600 members each).
a Somebody’s not going to be happy with the pastor, feeling left out, overlooked, cast aside.
aa In this case, Hellenistic Jewish widows felt overlooked.
bb In the church, there was at least two groups who wanted things their way.
b The pastors/apostles were doing everything (praying, preparing sermons, AND the fellowship committee) and not doing the most important things.
aa The disciples knew their ministry responsibilities, but the church didn’t (Preacher, it’s your job to make sure the widows are cared for, clean the fellowship hall after meals, make sure you get the windows, & you’d better have a good sermon on Sunday).
bb The disciples knew it wasn’t balanced! So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Acts 6:2 (NASB) Out of order
2 The disciples (pastoral leadership) instructed the church to choose 7 men from the congregation to serve tables.
a These 7 were not called “deacons”, but they were either...
aa The first deacons of the early church OR
bb They performed the job/ministry without being given the title “deacon”.
b They were to meet 5 qualifications: men, from among them (Christians), good reputation (Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double -tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.10 These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.12 Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. 1 Tim 3:8-13 (NASB)), full of the Spirit (control), wisdom (Bible/theological knowledge, & apply it to everyday life).
B Some of the best deacons I’ve ever served with never had the title.
1 I’ve seen men with the title who never had the service.
2 You don’t need an ordination service, certificate to do the service end of being a deacon.
a “Deacon” means service, served, or serving...things a servant does. Diakon(os) (eo) (ia)
b At the end of our days, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
c It doesn’t matter if FBC recognizes you as a deacon, God recognizes your service.
II Get ready for the best beating you’ll ever get.
A Stephen is an interesting guy to examine today.
1 His original ministry was serving widow women food, communion, helping the church leaders so they could spend their time praying & studying.
a Whether he had the title of deacon or not, he “deaced”.
b His ministry eventually took another direction.
2 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.9 But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia , rose up and argued with Stephen.10 But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. Acts 6:8-10 (NASB)
The high priest said, "Are these things so?"2 And he said, "Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran ...Acts 7:1-2 (NASB)
a Stephen’s deacon ministry turned into the ministry of an evangelist/preacher.
b Preaches a sermon on Jewish history to the experts on Jewish history.
aa Like lecturing the Supreme Court on law.
bb Worse, he blasts them for opposing God throughout history.
cc Gets personal. You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.52 "Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become;53 you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it."54 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. Acts 7:51-54 (NASB)
c What happens next isn’t kosher, legally Jews weren’t empowered to kill people.
aa This time, the people were swept away in hatred!