Summary: The duties, qualifications, rewards of the Deacon.
The work of a Deacon I Tim. 3:8-13
INTRO.: In God’s Kingdom, spiritual things and the spirit itself are of supreme importance. But, we live in a material world and, from a practical point of view, it is impossible to express ourselves in spiritual words or address spiritual matters without dealing with the material. Material and temporal realities are the media through which the spirit expresses itself.
God has provided ways to express spiritual reality. Faith is expressed through confession and baptism. Love is expressed by giving. Adoration finds expression in worship, etc.
Because of these temporal necessities, God has given us the Church, It is the medium He provided through which to express our faith and evangelize the world.
Not long after the Church began it became apparent there would be a need for a "maintenance department" to perform some very necessary tasks. So, God made provision: "He gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers." Eph. 4:11.
The appointment of the first servants, or "deacons" is recorded in the Acts 6:1-7 Later, Paul provides a list of qualifications for such servants in I Tim. 3:8-13. Since we are about to select some men to serve in our congregation, it would be well to consider these verses.
I. The work of a Deacon:
A. Its nature implied in the name
1. "Deacon" means "servant." He is to be a servant of the Church.
2. This contrasts to the work of an Elder (Bishop or Overseer) who is to be a spiritual teacher and guide to the Church.
B. In Acts 6, these men were made responsible for material needs of the Church.
1. To free others for prayer, ministry of Word.
2. Their function is to minister to material needs of the Church.
3. Their Church had more than 5000 members. They could not do it all themselves. They accepted the responsibility to see it done.
4. Our Deacons help with many material, physical tasks including taking Communion to the sick and shut ins.
C. The Deacons attend to the property needs of the congregation:
1. Things like painting, repairing, cutting grass, cleaning, etc., fall into their province.
2. This is vital work. We are often judged by the appearance of our property.
3. These "little" tasks may go undone if someone is not responsible.
A. They should be men of good reputation: "Known" to be. . ." Acts 6:3
1. They are to first proven, then put in office. Tendency to give responsibility hoping it will make men faithful is misguided.
2. Husband of one wife. Not having a reputation for unfaithfulness or repeated divorce.
3. Sincere in his pursuit of the truth and service for the Lord.
B. Full of the Holy Spirit:
1. Men capable of serious thought and real responsibility.
2. Not given to drunkenness. Spirit should control them, not alcohol.
3. Not greedy for money. Greed leads to dishonesty. One who lives for money alone has no time for the Lord’s work.
C. Full of wisdom:
1. I Tim. 3:9 Knowing God’s Truth and living it.
2. Managing his home well. V. 12: Success at home proves his ability in Church.
III. The reward of a Deacon:
A. He will see his Church blessed: Acts 6:7
1. In the early Church, the results were spectacular because each did his job.
2. We can turn crises into opportunities if everyone is faithful in his place.
B. He will gain an excellent standing: I Tim. 3:13. Of course, this is conditioned on serving well.
1. Skill in the Word of God will grow.
2. Standing with the people he serves will be enhanced.
3. He will be blessed by God for faithfulness.
C. Great assurance in their faith:
1. Boldness comes from being able to use God’s Word and having confidence in oneself as the servant of God.
2. It wasn’t long after becoming a Deacon that Stephen began to demonstrate these qualities. Acts 6:8-10
3. Phillip, another of the first 7 also provides an example of the development of assurance. Acts 8:26ff.
CONC.: There is a place of service for anyone in the Lord’s Kingdom who will give himself in surrender to the Lord and allow himself to be used. If the Lord gives us a task to perform, He will make us able to do it as well. If God can give us tongues, hands, etc. He can surely make them useful to Him.
Invitation: Tell story of Phillip, one of the first Deacons, as he evangelized the Ethiopian nobleman. Acts 8:26-40