Summary: 3 7 in a series on 1 Timothy this message deals the responsiblities of the deacon in the local church.
“Living For Christ In A Confused and Confusing World”
A Study of Paul’s Letters to Timothy
“The Responsibility of the Deacon!”
The word “deacon” simply means minister or servant. Some form of this word appears 101 times in the New Testament; only five of those times does it refer to the office of the deacon. The rest refer to the lifestyle of a servant that every Christian is called to.
In the general sense the word “deacon” (diakonos) is used by Jesus in reference to the true servant that all Christians are to be (Matt 20:26-28, John 12:26). Jesus uses the word (diakonos) in Matthew 20:26 when he says, “… whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant (literally- deacon)”
But in a more specific sense the word deacon is used to refer to one who serves the church. The early church was so effective in meeting the needs of the people that according to Acts 4:34, “There was no needy persons among them” (NIV). But as the young church grew more and more people can under the circle of care until a serious problem developed. There came a time when the Apostle could not keep up with all the work that needed to be done. According to Acts 6:1 some came with a compliant that because Grecian Jews were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. The church was called together according to Acts 6:2 to find a solution. The Twelve at that point told the church (Acts 6:2-4) “…. It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. (3) 3Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them (4) and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
These seven men thus chosen became the first deacons (although not called deacons here the word is used twice to describe their work).
“Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, (9) holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. (10) But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. (11) Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. (12) Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. (13) For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
First, They Must be Individuals of Integrity (v. 8)
Verse eight begins with “likewise” which simply means “in like manner.” Deacons therefore must possess the same quality of maturity and character that is expected of the pastor.
This integrity is exemplified by the use of the word “reverent” in verse eight which also can be translated “worthy of respect,” “dignified” or “serious.”
“A rather pompous-looking deacon was endeavoring to impress upon a class of boys the importance of living the Christian life. "Why do people call me a Christian?" the man asked. After a moment’s pause, one youngster said, "Maybe it’s because they don’t know you." A little boy just got saved and sat on a bench next to old man who looked upset. The little boy said to the man, "Sir, do you need to get saved?" The man startled said abruptly, "I’ll tell you I’ve been a Deacon in this church for over 30 years and Chairman of Deacons for 15 years." The little boy responded, "Sir, it don’t matter what you done, Jesus loves you and He’ll still save you!"
“not double-tongued” (v. 8)
This literally means that he does not have “divided words” or as we would say today, “Does not speak out of both sides of his mouth.”
Not like the story I heard of a deacon who sent in his apologies for the Sunday morning service, claiming that he was ill with flu. One of the members, however, said he had seen the deacon on his way to a ball game. After the service, the minister went to visit the deacon, "Brother," he said, "I have information that you were not sick at all this morning, but went to watch a ball game." The deacon protested: "That’s a vicious lie! And I’ll show you my FISH to prove it!"
This phrase “not double-tongued” literally means not guilty of “saying one thing to one and something else to another” (Barclay). Since the responsibility of the deacon would take him from home to home, it could be immensely harmful to the church for him to be double tongued saying one thing at one house and something different in another. There is always the temptation to speak of the same matter in different tones and matter to different people. The deacon is to be straightforward. He is not to be cause of misunderstandings and differences. There are some people who get caught up in division and disharmony. Deacons should be men who can be relied upon to the exact truth in what they say.