Summary: A sermon on the last two qualifications for being a deacon, church leader (Material adapted from Alexander Strauch's book, The New Testament Deacon)
Gene Getz was leading some Bible studies on the qualifications of church leaders. Two men were there who were new Christians and had little knowledge of the Bible. After a few sessions these two men said, “You know this is the first time we’ve heard this list of qualifications from the Bible. But we’ve learned from experience in hiring people for management positions that this is the kind of men we’re looking for. We want men who have a good reputation. We don’t want a man who is cheating on his wife or sleeping around, because chances are, he’ll cheat the company. We certainly don’t want a man who has all kinds of domestic problems. If he can’t handle his own family, how in the world is he going to handle people in a steel mill?”
The qualifications for deacons, church leaders and the ideals for Christians are not finished when Paul addresses the wives of deacons. He then names two find requirements that relate to the deacons’ family life.
The need for marital purity and family qualifications:
When the Israelites left Egypt, God warned his people against the corrupt sexual practices of the surrounding heathen nations. He commanded His people to be separate from these nations and to uphold marital fidelity and sexual purity. this is also a principle of first order for the local church. These principles must not be violated or the church suffers the worst of consequences, as the OT demonstrates.
In Leviticus 18, Moses lists in detail all the sexual sins of the godless nations that would surround the nation of Israel. The children of God, warns Moses, must never practice such sins or they too will be destroyed. Read Leviticus 18:24, 30
Tragically, many Christian denominations have learned absolutely nothing from the OT about the dangers of pagan standards of sexual behavior, marital fidelity and family structure. In nearly every major Christian denomination- God’s laws regarding marriage, divorce, sexuality, and gender differences are being discarded and replaced with corrupt practices. Adultery and other sexual sins among church leaders is at epidemic levels. In some groups, divorce and remarriage is not a big deal. Some major Christian denominations have even begun to appoint open homosexuals as preachers.
Remember that we have to have standards as we go through this teaching. Might disagree with some of them but we have to have standards. SAdly, too many churches have no standards when it comes to marital, sexual and family matters.
The need for exemplary church leaders:
The local church isn’t a country club or a casual self help group. The NT tells us: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Ephesians 5:3, NIV.
A godly marriage lived according to God’s laws is meant to be the means of untold blessing and is the best protection from the corrupting influences of this sinful world. It is the best protection and hope for our children and our churches. But a family can’t stand alone in a morally degraded and hostile environment. Christian families need the local church. We need sound biblical teaching. We need to see good models of fatherhood and motherhood.
A local church that is alive and functioning properly can help many families. Evangelists, shepherds, and deacons are chief among those who model God’s design for the Christian home and provide sound teaching on Christian family life. This is one reason why God demands that their homes and marriages be in order.
A big part of Satan’s strategy to destroy God’s people is to destroy the marriages and families of those who lead the church. If he defiles the shepherds of the congregation, the sheep will follow their sinful ways or be scattered. To protect the local church, God has placed specific marital and family qualifications for church leaders. Therefore, the church must insist that its leaders meet these qualifications before serving and while serving. If not, the local church will sink into the toxic wasteland of the world’s marital and family values.
Thesis: Let us examine these two qualifications in detail
husband of but one wife
The debate that deacons must be married. Had one man who was not married and wanted to be deacon, not able. After this decision, this man was upset but continued to serve as Sunday School teacher. Encouraged this young man that he could do service that others could not do because not married, however, could not be deacon.
Another debate is about remarriages. Paul does not disqualify widowers from serving who remarry. We have to go with the whole NT teaching on the death of a spouse and remarriage.