Summary: An ordination sermon
Bible Teaching Ministry of
CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH
A fellowship of faith, family and friendships
August 8, 2004
A sermon preached on the occasion of the Deacon ordination of Mr. Bob Hagins
My purpose is to give a charge to our dear brother, Bob Hagins as we set him apart for the office and ministry of Deacon. A second purpose is to charge all of us, as a church body, to assist Bob in handling that office well. Any leader is made a better leader when followers support and encourage.
This sermon, then, is about the office of deacon. The qualifications are well known, and often misunderstood, and seldom used in context. It’s been pointed out to me that, according to 1 Timothy 3, a deacon should be sober. The oracle who pointed this out to me tied this to the fact that the preacher wasn’t supposed to drink at all, and the deacon shouldn’t drink too much. I supposed he meant that the deacons were to be less drunk than the members, but more than the pastor. The same passage says the wife of the deacon shouldn’t be a slanderer (diablos, or devil in Greek). On this I give no comment (I was a deacon before I became a pastor, and my wife is here!)
The first group of deacons was chosen without benefit of the teachings of Paul in his letter to Timothy. Luke records in the Book of the Acts (6:3) that the chief criteria for selection of the men for serving was their honest reputation for being filled with the Spirit of God and well-known for acting in wisdom. If we are wise, those qualities are the ones we will seek when we elect deacons.
There is but one reason the office of deacon exists; to assist in the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This text (Acts 6-8) demonstrates how men who are filled with the Spirit of God and wisdom spread the Gospel.
I want to introduce you to three of those ways....
MEN WHO ARE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD AND WISDOM ARE USED OF GOD TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL BY THEIR SERVICE.
The problem which first underscored the need for deacons was that in the early church, one of the daily ministries was caring for the needs of the widows. Some of the widows felt neglected, and friction called for mediation of the problems. The apostles recognized that ongoing strife would hinder the spread of the Gospel. So deacons were chosen to serve the needs of the people while the preachers preached.
There were two good results;
1. It handled the division that was beginning:
5And the saying pleased the whole multitude¡KActs 6:5a (KJV)
2. The Gospel prospered (cf v.7).
7And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. Acts 6:7 (KJV)
And we can draw the lesson that common sense, or wisdom, combined with an open heart for God’s Spirit to touch a man will be a boost to any church.
MEN WHO ARE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD AND WISDOM ARE USED OF GOD TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL BY THEIR SACRIFICE.
I have never known a deacon who served well who did not understand and live by the principle of sacrificial service. Note that the first man chosen was Stephen and he literally became a sacrifice. He served well, and it put him in a place where others watched his every move. Elizabeth and I were discussing the need for several hundred dollars to pay a bill. One of our children (only about 3 or 4 at the time) overheard us. This little one came to me later, with hand out-stretched. In that little paw was 11 cents. "You can use my money, Daddy¡¨ The spirit of sacrificially willing to give it all far outweighed the gift.
Deacon Stephen was a leader in his church, and the Jews didn’t like it. They first tried to debate him, and when they couldn’t, they hired false witnesses against him. There is nothing new under the sun. Serve sacrificially and the Lord and his children will love you while the world will find a way to eat your lunch.
Note the testimony of Stephen in Acts 7; to summarize, Stephen says to his Jewish accusers:
„« "Look at history. God called Abraham, said ’Get out’, and he sacrificed the security of homeland and family, and followed the Lord by faith.
„« He called Joseph, unjustly sold into slavery by his own brothers. Joseph sacrificed the pride of revenge on those brothers when he found himself in the driver’s seat to repay, and a nation was preserved.