Summary: Early in the history of the church, the Lord added an office to the church. It was not an afterthought, for He knew from eternity past that He would do this. But now the time was right, and the need was great. Why were deacons added? What is the lesson fo
THE FIRST DEACONS
November 13, 2005
(The Ordination of Fred Thomson)
• Some long for the good ole’ days.
• They remember the warmth of the fire and forget the chopping of the wood.
• Some would love for us to get back to the early church.
• But ...
• Two of their number lied to the church and it resulted in their death under the direct judgment of God.
• In spite of our Lord’s last words, the church was slow to reach beyond their borders and beyond their race!
• Only after intense persecution did the disciples get busy about missions.
Apply: God can stir up our nest if we do not get busy about WORLD missions.
I. The Organization of Deacon Ministry (1-5)
A. THE NEED (1 - 2)
1. The Multitudes (1A)
Acts 6:1A And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied,
Acts 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Acts 4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
Acts 6:1 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.
2. The Murmuring (1B)
1B there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration
• The church suffered from great conflict.
• WITHIN the church there were murmurings.
• Especially among the Greek widows.
• They felt that the Hebrews were being taken care of and that they were neglected.
NOTE: Every pastor feels this keenly. As the church grows, it becomes difficult to shake every hand.
ILLUS: Dr. Sightler at Tabernacle Baptist said, “We have five exits from our church auditorium. I can’t be at all of them. So I will stand at the front. If you need to see me, then come up front.
• WITHOUT the church there was persecution.
• Therefore, the church had to circle the wagons and take care of its own.
3. The Ministry (2)
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason [NOTE: = fitting] that we should leave [NOTE: = abandon, forsake] the word of God, and serve tables.
• In an attempt to please everyone, the pastors were failing to please the Lord.
• Their Bible study and prayer were falling short!
• If a pastor neglected the Word for fishing, there would be an outcry.
• Yet a church can so set up their expectations for a pastor that they may force him to neglect the Word.
• So the apostles needed some help!
• It must be carefully noted that the deacons were to serve the Lord, under the direction of the pastor, to the people of the church.
• The idea that deacons serve as a check and balance on the pastor like the Democrats in congress blocking President Bush’s judicial appointments is completely foreign to the Scriptures.
NOTE: God’s plan could have been ruined if everyone still expected to see the apostles on the visit.
B. THE NUMBER (3A)
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men
• Here, 7 are chosen.
• There were approximately 5,000 souls in that church.
• But the distances between members would not have been as great.
• And it was in a more “neighborhood watch care” system than we have today.
• But there was intense persecution.
• Some could not get jobs.
• The church, through extraordinary measures, sold property and possessions to supply the need.
• What should the number be today?
• Hiscox, an authority on operating of Baptist churches, recommends 1deacon per 25 to 50 persons.
• Others recommend one deacon per 20 families.
• There is really little difference between those two positions.
• Calvary uses 1 deacon per 20 households.
• There Jerusalem church used 7 for 5,000.
• That would be one per 714 members!
• In light of that, I believe that our ratio is sufficient.
NOTE: Obviously, the Jerusalem church was made up of hearty, self-sufficient people that didn’t ask the deacons to come trim their toenails!
NOTE: The number of deacons is not only to be determined by the number of the membership, but also by the number of qualified men. How foolish to think that we would please God by having 7 deacons, if we had to put men into the fellowship of deacons who were unqualified or unwilling to serve as they should. We must have some COMMON SENSE.