Summary: An overview of the Office fo Deacons within the church
The New Testament Deacon
Dorn Ridge, June 22, 2013
1.) We have been looking at the roles of men and women in the church which has also brought us to look at Elders, and today at the office of deacons.
2.) The Bible refers to two offices of leadership that are presently in the Church.
A.) These are the offices of Elders and of Deacons.
B.) The Bible records of other offices that were part of the first century which have since ceased. These would include offices such as those of: Apostles and Prophets.
3.) The past two weeks, we have examined the role of what we refer to as Elder, Bishop, Overseer, Shepherd, or Pastor.
A.) I believe these roles refer to one and the same office.
4.) So what is a deacon?
A.) The English word is basically a transliteration of a Greek word.
B.) The Greek word (Diakonos) is the same word where we get the English Deacon.
ba.) It is a word which we translate as deacon, servant, or minister.
B.) The basic meaning of the word is that it refers to being a servant, and denoting an action of service.
5.) Vine’s Expository Dictionary points out that in The New Testament it is a term used to describe domestic servants (John 2:5, 9), civic rulers (Rom. 13:4), Christ Rom. 15:8; Gal. 2:17; the followers of Christ in relationship to their Lord (John 12:26; Eph. 6:21; Col. 1:7; 4:7); the followers of Christ in relation to one another (Matt. 20:25; 23:11); To servants of Christ in the work of preaching and teaching (1 Cor. 3:5; 2 Cor. 3:6; 6:4); and many other applications of this word.
6.) You see this most of the times in Scripture when this term is used it is very general in its application, and can often be translated as just generally a servant or minister.
7.) But there are also times when Scripture will use this term in a very specific manner to speak of a certain office within the church. That is the use of this word I want to primarily be focussing on today.
I. THE ORIGIN OF DEACONS IN THE CHURCH.
1.) There appears to be an originating point when the ministry of deacons was added to the New Testament Church.
A.) I want to stress “appears”.
aa.) I say this because the actual title of “deacon” is not used in the passage we are about to look at, though most students of the scriptures feel this is a description of the start of the office within the church.
B.) The passage I want us to look at is Acts 6:1-7.
2.) There was a reason for the creation of this office in the church.
A.) The Grecian widows were being overlooked in the distribution of food.
aa.) Now to understand the situation, we need to remember there was no life insurance; there was no Canada (or Jerusalem) pension fund, and for some of the widows in the church there were not adequate numbers of immediate family who could look after these widows to insure they had adequate foods and their physical needs met.
ab.) That meant it was up to the church to supply their needs.
B.) At this point in the history of the Church, it was entirely a Jewish Church.
ba.) Even though the church was entirely Jewish there were two groups within the church:
baa.) There were those from Judea, and around the area of Jerusalem.
bab.) There were also those who may not have lived right in the area of Judea, those who though Jews may have mixed their culture and language with the Greeks.
bac.) Because of this Hebrew Jews who had come to Christ considered the Greek Jews who had come to Christ as being second class Christians.
bb.) Certainly this is not an issue that should have come into the Church, but sadly this prejudice did come into the early church.
C.) That negative situation seems to be the backdrop in which the Apostles decided to install deacons in the church.
ca.) The partiality and prejudice that had caused the Greek widows to be neglected in their needs meant the Apostles had to do something to address the situation.
3.) The problem at hand meant a change had to take place in the church.
A.) The easiest way to deal with this would have been for the apostles to look after it themselves.
aa.) In one sense that would have been the easiest of solutions, and yet it would have created another problem in that it would have hindered the progress of the Word of God.
ab.) Acts 6:2
ac.) If The apostles had taken this over themselves, it meant they would be spending their time dealing with matters that though important, were taking them away from their primary duty of preaching and teaching the Word of God.