Summary: Pain qualifies every member to be a minister.
God's Desire for Deacons
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - September 1, 2013
*You know there are a lot of jokes out there about preachers and deacons. Over the years I've heard some preachers (men a lot better than me) tell some of these jokes about deacons. But I don't tell jokes about deacons, because they are so important in the life of God's church.
*The first deacon I ever knew was actually my daddy. And of course he wasn't perfect, but my dad was a good and Godly man. He was good to his wife and children. My dad was incredibly patient with me, when I was one of the biggest numbskulls in town. And I'm not kidding.
*Dad was a hard worker, both on the job and in the church. He was also a friend to strangers. And he took a stand for good, -- even when it was hard. And sometimes it was very hard.
*My deacon dad was a blessing. And most of us could give testimonies of how we have been blessed by deacons. God designed deacons to be a blessing. So what kind of men does God want deacons to be? The Word of God shows us here in Acts 6.
1. First: God wants deacons to be men who will help solve problems.
*The early church was facing a new problem, and we see it in vs. 1: "Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution."
*The early church had seen explosive growth: From 120 to 3,000 more, then 5,000 more, and after that a multitude more. Verse 1 in the KJV says: "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."
*All of these believers were Jews. The "Hebrews" in this verse were Jews that were native to Israel. But many other Jews lived in foreign countries. These were the "Grecians" or "Hellenists," who came to Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, and got saved.
*Now these Grecian Jews were in a difficult, even desperate situation. They had expected to go home after Pentecost. But after they got saved, they decided to stay.
*Persecution had already started. The Apostles had just been arrested. They were also beaten. Even before the cross, John 9:22 tells us that the Jewish rulers had: "Agreed already that if anyone confessed that (Jesus) was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue."
*John Gill explained that being put out of the synagogue at the worst meant: "That (the man) might neither hire, nor be hired. That they did not trade with him. Nor did they employ him in any business, unless a very little, just to keep him alive. Being put out of the synagogue also meant that his possessions could be confiscated." (1)
*The situation was grave in Jerusalem. And now the Hellenists were complaining against the Hebrews because the Hellenist widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.
*It could have been a communication problem. People didn't know each other very well and there were language barriers. But even people who know each other well can have communication problems. Amen?
*Church: It also could have been a problem with coveting. Some of the Hebrews could have thought: "These Hellenists aren't from around here. This is our food." In church today, people usually don't get upset about "my food". But sometimes they do get upset about "my way." -- "It's gonna be my way or no way!"
*No matter the source of the problem, they were definitely having a problem. And as long as God's church is in the world, it is going to have problems. God's church is going to have problems, because the devil hates the church, and does all he can to hurt it. The church is also going to have problems, because God's people are not perfect. We sin; we fall short; we misunderstand each other.
*Derric Johnson tells a story that reminds us of this truth. It's about Derric's younger brother, Ron, and it happened when Ron was 4. One day Ron got in a fight with another preschooler. And by the time his mother got there he was sitting on top of that other little boy, just pounding away.
*Ron's mom tried to stop the fight by grabbing Ron's arms and pulling them back. But when she did that, little Ron bent over and bit the other boy on the nose! Over that boy's squeals, Mom firmly said: "Ron: Stop that right now!"
*When she got them apart, she said: "Satan must have made you do that!" Ron replied: "Maybe Satan made me hit him. But biting his nose, -- that was MY idea." (2)