Today we’re looking at the topic of Deacons. Jesus cares deeply about his church, and because of that, He’s given qualiﬁcations for leaders so that they can faithfully love and serve the church, as the church has been loved and served by Christ. This morning we’re going to answer 5 Questions: Why is church leadership important? How did we get Deacons? What are the qualiﬁcations for Deacons? What do they do? And why be a Deacon?Audio | 1 Timothy 3:8-13
We’re skipping ahead a few verses this week, and are going to unpack 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Pastor Adam will walk us through the section on “Elders” next week, but today we’re looking at the topic of Deacons. Jesus cares deeply about his church, and because of that, He’s given qualifications for leaders so that they can faithfully love and serve the church, as the church has been loved and served by Christ. This morning we’re going to answer 5 Questions: Why is church leadership important? How did we get Deacons? What are the qualifications for Deacons? What do they do? And why be a Deacon?
As we jump into this topic of church leadership, you might be asking why is this important? Why should I care?
First, We see that God cares deeply about the health and flourishing of His Church
If you’re not picking up on this already through our study in 1 Timothy, is that this book isn’t about you or me, it’s about us. One of the things we see repeatedly in Scripture is that the Church is a People, a Family, a Body, and Citizens of household of God. Each of these metaphors is meant to highlight our relationship to Jesus as a family that is interconnected and mutually dependent on each other. God didn’t intend for us to be just blobs who float around as a bunch of people that all believe in Jesus. He wants us to flourish, and therefore he has established a set of certain leaders to help promote the flourishing of his church through Godly leadership.
So if God cares about His church, we have to ask, do we care about his church? Do you care about our church? If you call DCC home, you should. In the same way you care about your family, do you care about our family?
This is an important topic because who leads the church determines the health of the church. – In the same way that Parents are the shaping factor in determining the health of the family and kids, so it is the same with God’s family. That those in Leadership will shape the direction, tone, and health of our body. So, God loves and cares about us enough to put some guidelines in scripture so that his family will not just exist, but thrive and flourish.
Second, God Cares deeply about the preached word.
He cares so much so, that he created the office of Deacon to help the Pastors of the church stay focused on the preached word and prayer. To Pastors, God’s given the distinct responsibility of preaching and teaching and leading the body, and to Deacons, he’s given the unique calling and responsibility to be focused on serving the body.
We’ll take a look at Acts 6 in a minute, but in Acts 6, We see the apostles getting overwhelmed in caring for the needs of the people, so much so, that the preached word and prayer were being neglected. The same can be true today, that if the Pastor and future Pastors of this church are overwhelmed with the needs of the people and aren’t spending time in the word hearing from God, and spending time in prayer, than the word of God and the Gospel won’t be proclaimed. And if the Gospel isn’t proclaimed that Jesus offers forgiveness of sin and new life in Him, than there’s no reason for us to gather, and we might as well close the doors.
So, God cares so much about his church and the flourishing of it, that he’s setup roles within the church to help the Pastors stay focused on the preached word, and for the Deacons to primarily serve and help meet the needs of the people.
1 Tim 3:8-13 “Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
I know we have a mixed bag of those that grew up in the church, to those that maybe this is your first Sunday setting foot inside a church. If so, welcome, we’re glad that you are here! So I first want to clarify what a Deacon is not.
A deacon is not:
- A position in the church earned for good attendance or good behavior. Nowhere do you see in scripture where anyone is appointed into leadership because they’ve been around for a while, or because they seem like a nice guy or gal.
- A position that someone is elected to or voted into. Many churches leverage the office of the Deacon as more of a corporate board title than a servant of the church. Or on the other end of the spectrum, some churches label their janitor, grounds keeper, or book keeper as a Deacon. But If the only thing deacons are suppose to do is pick up trash or write checks, than why would scripture have qualifications set before us on who can serve as Deacons?
- A varsity Christian, while everyone else is junior varsity. Scripture says that For those who place their faith in Jesus Christ, all of us are equally declared righteous before God, and that our salvation is not a result of works so that no one can boast (Eph 2:8-9).
- A position of power, but of service. A deacon should never wield their position, as a means of exercising power, but service.
How did we get deacons?
We get the word Deacon from the greek word Diakonos, which has a range of semantic meanings, including a servant (diakonon), a ministry of service (diakonos), and the office of service (diakonois), where we get what is called the Diaconate.
John 2:9: “The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants (diakonoi) who had drawn the water knew.”
1 Tim 4:6: “If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good minister (diakonos) of Christ Jesus”
Philippians 1:1 “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons (diakonois)…”
So we see that the word Deacon is rooted in our english word for servant or serving. It’s important to note as we look at these words, that although every Deacon is a servant, not every servant is a Deacon, and we get an indication of that through Paul’s letters, as He addresses Deacons as a particular office. We see that here in 1 Timothy, and we also see that in Philippians 1:1.
Now we don’t know when exactly the official office of Deacons was established, but it’s clear from this passage (1 Tim 3:8) and Paul’s letter to the church in Phillipi (Phil 1:1), that he’s addressing Deacons alongside the office of Elders, as established leaders in the church. Although we don’t know when this office was officially created, we get a glimpse in Acts 6 of what is likely the early formation of this official servant office called the Diaconate.
Many folks have used Acts 6 as a prooftext for Deacons and what they do, but nowhere is the office of Deacons mentioned here in Acts 6. However, it’s a helpful passage to look at because it gives us insight into how the early church started to structure and distinguish the roles of those devoted to preaching of the word, and those that were set apart to help take care of the needs of the people.
Acts 6:1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
What was happening in Acts 6 is that the church was growing, and the apostles were getting overwhelmed with all the of practical needs of the people and the handling of finances. They didn’t have enough leaders, and they were seeing that if they continued down this path, the word of God, prayer and the leading of the church were going to be neglected.
Now Paul isn’t saying here that the details of the church and meeting the needs of the people aren’t important, or that the apostles were “to good” to do those tasks, but what he is saying is that both are needed. We talk about this a lot here at Downtown Cornerstone, when we say that we are here to love the city in both word and deed. We see that Christ came to meet the needs of the people, but he knew that our ultimate need is found in God, namely in the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ.
So, moved by the Spirit, they decided to appoint additional leaders to come alongside them and help them. We see this pattern throughout the NT, as churches we’re planted, Paul instructs Titus to appoint elders in every town (Titus 1:5), and then as those churches grew and the Elders became overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done, they appointed additional leadership called Deacons.
And so what can happen in any church that doesn’t continue to grow in making disciples, and building leaders, is that the Pastor or Pastors get overwhelmed with all of the things to do, and if they aren’t hearing from God in scripture, talking to him in prayer, and leading the church, the church begins to die. The leaders under them aren’t being fed, aren’t being stirred in their walks with Jesus, and the church no matter how good it’s structure is, begins to loose the cornerstone, Jesus.
That’s why this topic of Deacons is so relevant and important for us as a church. Think about it with me, If all of us aren’t playing a part in serving and helping care for the needs of the family, that means that some folks are either 1) Being neglected, or 2), our leaders are overwhelmed, and not able to focus on leading the church.
And so, one of the things I’m praying for this morning, is that we’d not only see how God loves and cares for his church through qualified and equipped leaders, but that all of us would think through how we can help the Gospel flourish in our family, and ultimately the city, by freeing up our leaders, Deacons, and Elders and future elders and Deacons to spend more of their time in the word, praying, and leading our body, than overwhelmed with all of the details.
What are the qualifications of a deacon?
One of the things to keep in mind as we jump into this topic, is that it’s Christ who ultimately qualifies us. Paul says in Col 1:12 that we are to give “thanks to the Father, who has qualified [us] to share in the inheritance of the saints.” So clearly meeting this list qualification doesn’t save us, it’s Christ who saves us. Eph 2:9 says, “not of works, so that no one should boast”.
But Paul’s trying to paint a picture of somebody’s life that is reflective of the having the gospel take root. Paul isn’t saying this is the end-all list of what it looks like to be a deacons, That as the Gospel sinks into your life, your life will become increasingly more like this, and therefore, these qualities will become increasingly more true of you.
The tension here that Paul is trying to unpack that this is a high bar for Deacons, but what he’s really getting at, is a Gospel Centered Life? In Galatians 5, Paul makes a clear connection between the Gospel and our actions. He says “Walk by the Spirit, (or walk by the Gospel that has been revealed to you), and you won’t gratify the desire of the flesh” (Gal 5:16) He’s basically saying, that the more we understand the Gospel, and the more we understand what Christ has done for us, we won’t want to sin, we won’t want to gratify the desires of the flesh.
A few examples:
- “Why is such a big deal to be addicted to much wine?” Although scripture is clear that drunkenness is a sin, It might not seem like it’s that big of a deal. But what does being addicted to much wine say about an individual’s belief in the Gospel? It’s showing that there’s a Gospel disconnect. That if we are repeatedly turning to alcohol or a substance for a sense of comfort and control, we aren’t believing that Jesus is in complete control. That through his defeat of sin on the cross, and victory over death by rising from the dead, he proved he was, and is in complete control of everything, and that he is the ultimate comfort.
- Or Why is it a big deal that women aren’t slanderous? Because when we slander or gossip about someone, it’s showing that we don’t believe that we are accepted and loved fully in Christ. That we don’t need to put others down to justify ourselves.
Are these are sins that any of us can struggle with? Yes, but the reason Paul is bringing attention to these sins in general, is because they don’t just affect one person. And if that person is in leadership (and specifically a Deacon) is demonstrating that the Gospel isn’t enough, it will spread like an infection in the body. And the message of the church and the Gospel will no longer be a beacon of light, and His church and the Gospel will be compromised.
Alexander Strauch in His book on Deacons, writes:
I am convinced that God has given the local church the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-12 to protect His people from unworthy and unscrupulous men, of whom there seems to be no shortage (Titus 1:10). Some men desire positions of leadership simply to satisfy their unholy egos. Others are deceived about their own ability and character. So, Scripture wisely provides objective qualifications that test the subjective desire of all who seek to be shepherds or deacons.”
He goes on to say
”Tragically, too many men who are doing the Lord’s work are “full of self,” not “full of the Spirit.” Thus their concerns are with their own comforts, reputations, ideas, and advancement.”
I know I’ve taken a bit of time setting this up, but it’s absolutely crucial that we understand why these things are important, and how as God’s people, leaders and future leaders of the church understand the Gospel.
In Paul’s letter to Titus just a few pages over He encourages Titus to teach the whole church the Gospel, and then tells him to encourage everyone in many of these same qualifications for deacons (Tit 2:1-10). As we walk through these qualifications, it’s important to understand that these are qualification that God has set in place for those that want to serve as Deacons, but it also shows us that these Qualifications are meant for all of us.
A Deacon Must be a Believer:
He starts, with the word likewise, because he’s saying that in the same way that there’s are qualification for Elders (just a few verses up), there are some for Deacons as well. It almost Goes without saying, but should be said. All of these are a result of the work of the Spirit. That unless a person has confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they cannot and should not serve in any leadership position. All of our leadership should flow out of what God has already done in our lives through the person and work of Jesus.
First, Paul says a Deacon must be Dignified
Literally means, Worth of Respect
This is someone you admire, who’s honorable, who you look up to, who you respect. This isn’t worshipping someone, but when you look at their life and the way they take care of their family, and treat others, you admire them, you want to follow them.
Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”
These are people that when you look at their faith and the way they live, it’s something admirable, something you want to follow. This doesn’t mean they are perfect, but it means that when they fail, they are taking responsibility for their sin and actions, repenting, and trusting Jesus afresh. They’re respectable.
Are you respectable? Do others look up to you? When others look at your life, is it a life worth imitating? The Deacons in the church should be people that when others look at their lives whether inside or outside the church, they should be able to think and say, that person is respectable.
Second, a Deacon should not be double-tounged:
That means a deacon should not be a Liar, Hypocrite, or someone that’s insincere.
A Deacon must be someone who is Sincere. That when you talk to them, they are genuinely interested in you, they care for you, they are trustworthy. Nothing will destroy a family and a body like deceit, so if a Deacon is going to look after the needs of the body, in particular those who are broken, suffering, and those most in need, he must be genuine in both what he says and what he does.
How many of you just enjoy talking to a person who genuinely is interested in you? Isn’t it refreshing? When they say they will pray for you, they do, when they tell you they love you, they do, and their actions back it up. We live in such an insincere world today, don’t we? If I ask you how your doing today, what’s your response? Fine. No Really, how are you doing? Not so good. True isn’t it?
This means as well that there are no glaring disconnects between what they say and what they do. A deacon must be a man of their word.
Do your actions match your words? Is your Yes, yes and your no, no? Are you Sincere?
Third, a Deacon is someone who’s not addicted to Much Wine:
This means that a Deacon is someone who is self controlled, someone who isn’t running to alcohol or to drugs, porn, or food to self medicate.
Is it wrong to enjoy a glass of wine? No. One of Jesus’ first miracles was turning water into wine. Paul isn’t advocating abstinence from Alcohol, but what Paul is getting at here is the abuse of it, and ultimately the heart of it.
One of the things as leaders in the church, you’re always dealing with people. And as much as I love people, people also can drive me crazy, and if I or any of your other leaders are self medicating with Alcohol, we’re going to have a real problem.
If we’re turning to a substance rather than Jesus, we’re not only potentially causing someone else to stumble, but we’re not allowing Jesus to fill that ultimate longing, and that will have deep and profound impact on How we follow Christ and lead others.
Are you self controlled? Are you addicted to much wine? Where do you turn when your stressed out? Where do you go for a sense of control? Do you run to Jesus or the bottle? Do you run to Jesus or pornography? Do you run to Jesus or self gratification? Do you run to Jesus or movies, or food?
Forth, a Deacon must not be greedy for dishonest gain:
This Means that Deacons should not be greedy for money. Now again, is there anything wrong with making money? No. But Deacons should have financial integrity when it comes to their own finances before coming close to the finances of the church. We see in Acts 6, that the seven that were chosen were likely responsible for the collection and distribution of the finances in the church, and it is often the role of many deacons to be involved in the financial handling of the churches money.
So, Deacons should be trustworthy. This is in direct contrast to Judas, who was an apostle with Jesus, and if you remember in John Gospel where Mary anoints Jesus feet, Judas questioned Jesus as to why the perfume was “wasted” when it could have been sold to feed the poor. In reality, as John records, “He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and being in charge of the moneybag, he used to help himself to what was put in it. (John 12:6)
What Paul is getting at here, is that the Deacons of the church should be using their position of leadership to love, serve and bless others, and not take advantage of others money.
My prayer that all of our Deacons would be able to say as the judge Samuel did in 1 Samuel 12:3:
“Here I am; bear witness against me before the Lord and His anointed. Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? I will restore it to you”
I did a quick google search this week for “deacons stealing money”, and counted over 20 news articles just in the last couple years of Deacons stealing money from their churches. This is one of the reasons why we take these qualifications and the handling of our finances so seriously, because God takes it seriously.
Are you greedy for dishonest gain? Is there sincerity and honesty when you deal with others Or When you file your taxes?
Hebrews 13:5, says “Keep your life (or let your character) be free from the love of Money….”
A great basketball coach, John Wooden said that,
“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”
Fifth, a Deacon must Hold fast to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience:
The final qualification listed here, is that a Deacons life must be consistent with Christian Doctrine. In contrast to an Elder, a Deacon doesn’t need to teach, but they should be a good theologian. The Mystery of Faith that Paul is speaking about is the revealed truth in the scripture. The Gospel.
Deacons should know their bible and doctrine well. This doesn’t mean that they need to be able to apologetically defend every doctrine to the T, but if someone were to come ask them to explain the the “mystery of the Gospel”, could they help someone understand the story of God, could they explain the Trinity, could they walk them through the Gospel, of what Jesus has done, and How we are saved?
As well, is a Deacon living that faith out with a clear conscience? Are they living in light of God’s revealed will in the Bible, or are they saying or believing one thing, and living another?
Bible Commentator Lawrence Richards says
“The Christian maintains a clear conscience by living in harmony with the truths unveiled in God’s Word,”
And James 1:22 says,
”But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Scripture says that we need not only need to be students of the word, but we also need to be doers of the word. It’s not just enough to believe something, but we need to act on it. It’s often been said that our actions dictate what we truly believe.
So if you want to be a Deacon, Are you theologically Sound? Do you know your bible? Do you read and study it? Do you know who God is and what He has done? Can you explain the Doctrines of the faith? In Acts 6 we see a great example of this in the life of Stephen. He wasn’t an apostle, but he gave one of the greatest sermons that the NT records. He knew His Bible.
Sixth, Deacons must first be tested:
I want you to know that we don’t just put anyone into a position of leadership without a season of testing. That if someone walked in here today, and said they want to be a Deacon, they would go through a process of growing in the church, going through the membership class, and being known in community.
This is where we get to know their Character, get to know their family, how they handle their bible, and how they handle their finances. But it takes time. One of the biggest mistakes churches can make, is to put leader in place before adequate time has been given to being tested.
Most people think of testing as an exam, but more often this process takes place through time and service. It’s observing and walking with them over a season. Does their life and doctrine match? Are they self controlled? Are they going to be a good fit in the body? All that takes a season of testing.
“Their Wives likewise…”
Paul Goes on to say, “Their Wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderous, but sober minded, faithful in all things.”
As we jump into this next section this is another highly debated section on whether or not Paul is talking about female Deacons (or Deaconesses), or the wives of Deacons, or assistants to Deacons. Those three views are what are called exegetical options. The ESVhas chosen to render the greek word (gynaikas) as Wives, but you’ll notice that there is a footnote next to the word “wives” letting us know that this word can be translated either women or wives, and in the original text there is no qualifier. It’s the same word that Paul uses a few verses earlier in Chapter 2, where he says that “women (gynaikas) should adorn themselves with respectable apparel”(2:9). So it literal can read either “Wives, likewise” or “Women, likewise”.
The reason for the debate, and why many commentators and biblical scholars are on different sides of the fence, is that the Bible renders no conclusive judgement on this matter. In Romans 16:1 Paul uses the word diakonos to describe a woman named Phoebe: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant [diakonos] of the church in Cenchrea. (Sencrea)” But Bible scholars are divided over whether we should see Phoebe as a “deaconess” (office) or simply as a “servant” (role).
Author and Pastor Tim Keller put it this way when he writes:
“Whether the word gynaikas is translated “women” or “wives” doesn’t matter. Either way, the text is teaching that women can and should do diaconal work alongside the deacons and in a way recognized by the congregation (after all, they are screened and selected). These may have been female individuals selected to do diaconal work with the deacons or wives appointed to do it together with them. But either way they were doing it.”
I don’t want to spend a great deal of time on this this morning, but as Downtown Cornerstone we believe that women can and should serve as Deacons for the following 3 reasons:
- First, The only office in scripture, specifically restricted to men is Eldership, or that of a Pastor. As we looked at last week, Because of the headship established by God in the created order, scripture teaches that women should not lead authoritatively in the church. If you missed last week, I’d encourage you to jump online, as Pastor Adam did a great job of unpacking that section for us.
- Second, As we’ll look at next week, The biblical qualification for Elders are specific to men, while the qualification for Deacons include women.
- Lastly, If you go back and read some of the Early church history writings from the 3rd and fourth century, you will find that the early church had no problems appointing female deacons.
Additional Qualifications for Women
To the Deaconesses, He says that women likewise must be dignified, not slanderous, but sober minded, faithful in all things. The New Living Translation renders it this way, that women should be, “worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.”
First, These are women that are respectable. Other women look up to them, they are honorable. They are Godly women that others want their little girls to grow up and imitate. We have many of these women in our church, who I respect very much, and would want my little girl to imitate.
Ladies, are you respectable? Are you someone that others would look to and respect for how you handle yourself and love others?
Second, Deaconesses aren’t Slanderers or Gossips. They aren’t going around gossiping about others and sharing them as “prayer requests”. When they gather for their discipleship groups, they aren’t being malicious in their speech and attitude of others, and aren’t trying to justify themselves with others.
What Paul is getting at, is that if women are going to serve the neediest members of God’s family, where other ladies are are opening up their lives and sharing the brokenness with them, there can’t be any room for Gossip. It will destroy the church.
Ladies, are you able to bridal your tongue?
Third, He goes on to say that Women Deacons should be sober minded; or emotionally stable, exercising self control.
If you’re a gal that struggles with being ruled by your emotions than you probably aren’t ready be a Deacon. Why? Because inevitably you’re dealing with the wreck of peoples lives, and if you can’t handle the constant ups and downs of the ministry, it will wreck you.
So, ladies, if you desire to be a Deacon, Are you growing in exercising self control over your emotions?
Faithful in all things
Fourth, Paul goes on to say, that Women Deacons are they Faithful in all things, They’re trustworthy, they’re reliable. They are dependable, and doing well in their God given roles as wives, and mothers. If you ask them to do something, will they follow through. Are they dependable?
Ladies, and for those of you who aspire to be Deaconesses, are you a woman who is respectable, not a gossip, but self-controlled, and dependable?
Additional Qualifications for Married Men
For the married men, Paul gives 2 additional qualifications for Deacons: He says “let Deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their households well.”
Husband of One Wife
First, He says that men must be the Husband of one wife. Husband of one wife is literally translated, “one woman man”.
Paul isn’t saying that marriage is required to be a Deacon, but what he is saying that if you are a married man, you’re a one woman man.
This means that you’re not married to more than one woman at the same time, you’re not flirtatious with other women, you’re not living a double life, one at home and one at the office or on the internet. You’re faithful to your wife. Simply, it’s a man who’s Married life explemplifies God’s design of a faithful, monogamous marriage.
For those of you who aspire to be a Deacon, Are you a one woman man?
Managing their children and their own households well
Second, he says that men must “mange their children and their own households well.” A Deacon is a family man. This means that his primary responsibility is to his family, Is he home? If He has children, Does he lead in the shepherding and parenting of His Kids? Does he pay the bills? Does he manage the affairs of his household? Does He take the fall first if something Goes wrong?
The reason Paul makes a big deal of this is because up in Chapter 3 verse 5, he makes the same qualification for Elders and says, “If someone doesn’t know how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God?” If a man desire to lead in the church, has he first demonstrated he can lead at home?
Why does Paul give additional qualifications to Men and Women?
I think the answer lies in the unique ways that men and women tend to sin. A lot of women have their sin affixed to their mouth and mood, and the guys tend to have their sin affixed to their sexuality and lack of leadership. And I think he’s specifically addressing them here because he knows that if gone unchecked they will eat away at the foundation of the church and destroy the body of Christ.
What do deacons do?
3:10 “…then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.”
Now you might ask why we don’t have any instruction of what Deacons are suppose to do in the bible? We have many descriptions of What an Elder or Pastor is suppose to do throughout the NT, but we don’t have any explicit instruction as to what a Deacon is suppose to do. Why is that?
Part of that I believe is because each church and their needs are different. For instance, our ministry and needs here in downtown Seattle looks radically different than many other churches in the suburbs or other parts of the country. So instead of Paul or the apostles giving explicit instruction for what Deacons should do, they remain silent. This gives great freedom for churches to not only leverage the gifting inside their body, but also transcend the cultural mediums in which we have.
For instance, the early church probably didn’t have social media or arts deacons, but they did have deacons that served the widows and orphans. As the church spread from culture to culture and across continents the expression of the church in each context will inevitably vary, and so will some of the means of service.
How do I become a Deacon:
- First, become a member. That’s where you get to know us, who we are, what we believe, and for us to get to know you.
- Second, get plugged into a community, where you can become known and grow in your walk with Jesus and others.
- Third, are you Living Missionally. Are you growing in your love for others and looking for ways to connect with co-workers, neighbors, friends, that don’t yet know Jesus? We want our deacons to be models of the way in which Jesus has loved and pursued us.
- Fourth, Are you giving Sacrificially, Cheerfully, and regularly? Jesus said that where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.
- Fifth, and lastly, if you want to be a deacon, are you serving consistently and faithfully in a leadership capacity? If you’re a service lead or ministry lead, Are you growing in your leadership of your team? Are you being faithful? Are you dependable? Do you follow through with communication? Do others respect you?
Basically, are you acting as a deacon before getting the title?
“Then let them serve as Deacons if they prove themselves blameless.”
What’s he’s not saying is that you have to be perfect. Only Jesus is perfect, but what he is saying, is that after a season of testing or proving, could anyone bring a charge against you that would disqualify you? Would there be anything that would accuse you of your life not being in step with the Gospel, and make you unfit to be a Deacon?
It’s not about having everything together, but if you’re thinking about being a Deacon, could you say as Paul said in 1 Cor 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow Christ’s example.”
Why be a deacon?
You might be sitting here this morning, and be asking “Why would I ever want to be a Deacon?” That seems like a lot of work and a lot of qualifications, to which my life is jacked up, so why would I want to be a Deacon?
Glad you asked, and I’ll give you two reasons why:
In Verse 13, Paul wraps up this section as says,
“For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”
First, He says they gain a good standing for themselves.
Another way to say it, is that is they get honor. You should respect and Honor your Deacons. I don’t know of another role apart from an Elder or Pastor that someone has to meet these qualifications. Who has to have sound doctrine, has to be tested and approved, and has to have a good marriage and family.
It’s a lot of work that our Deacons do, and a lot of work that our most of our leaders and Deacons do for free. But Paul Says it’s honorable.
If I can take a side tangential note here, I really believe that some of you aren’t aspiring, because you have no vision for your life. You have no vision for a life of service to God. I know this, because this is right where I was several years back. This is why pornography, sex, alcohol, gossiping, and greed, all seem appealing, because if this life is all there is to live for, than why would I want to give my life to Christ?
But, if this life is really about His story, and not ours, about His glory, and not ours, than we have everything to loose. That why when Jesus said you can’t follow me until you loose your life, he was saying that you will only understand this life and why I created you, when you understand me. That I am life that is truly life.
We know this, Downtown Cornerstone. Don’t we? We know that even the best job, career, girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband, children, sex, food, alcohol, dog, cat, home, apartment, condo, vacation, or even a game where the mariners win, doesn’t ultimately satisfy, Does it? We want the next thing, and so we try keep looking for satisfaction and happiness over and over again in the things that God has created. But Jesus comes on the scene and says, STOP! Worship me! Serve me! I am what you are truly looking for! I am the only thing that will ultimately satisfy.
That is why Paul goes on to say, that Those who serve as Deacons gain great confidence in the faith, that is in Christ Jesus.
Gain Great Confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus:
What he’s saying, as that as you serve Jesus, you get more assurance – your faith builds. Your faith grows because your seeing him work. One of the rewards of serving as a Deacon is that you not only get Honor, you get a front row seat to seeing Jesus at work in others lives. You’re seeing Him change lives, you’re seeing him do the impossible in others lives and situations, and through it your faith and confidence in him grows!
Isn’t it paradoxical? That giving more of yourself actually leads to having more faith?!
Jesus said in Matt 10:39 that,
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
He’s saying that He is the ultimate prize. That in Jesus we get God, and what more could we want?!
Being a Deacon is a high honor and a high calling. It’s hard work, but you know what, I can tell you it’s really rewarding. Not only does your faith grow, There’s nothing like serving Christ and being a part of making His Church flourish.
As we wrap this up, who was our perfect example of a servant Leader? Who’s served us more than all the Deacons in this church? Jesus.
Mark 10:45 says’ that Jesus came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
He didn’t use his power to take from others, but he sacrificially gave, and gave of Himself all the way to death.
So, DCC, Have you been first served by Jesus?
Jesus didn’t come to serve us by just saving us from isolated sins, but to save us from ourselves. I’ll tell you this: You won’t be able to meet these qualifications until you know how much you’ve been served by Jesus.
- You won’t be dignified until you know how much Christ was despised on your behalf.
- You won’t be able to be self controlled until you know how much Jesus is in control.
- You won’t be able to be free from the love of money, until you know that in Christ, you have everything!
- You won’t be able to be blameless until you know that you’ve been declared righteous in Christ.
- You won’t be able to stop gossiping until you know that you’ve been infinitely loved in Christ
- ou won’t be able to be faithful in all things until you know how much Jesus gave everything.
- You won’t be able to be a one woman man, until you know how much Jesus has loved and pursued you.
- You won’t be able to be a family man until you know how much Jesus loves his family.
He served you by coming to earth, living a sinless life, and dying for your sin and mine in our place. He served you by rising again to new life, conquering Satan, sin and death. And he’s served you by loving, embracing, and inviting you into his family as adopted sons and daughters. Isn’t that good news?!
Has this God served you, DCC?
Some of you need to fly to Jesus for the first time today, and ask Him to forgive your sins, to give you a new heart and life centered around Him, and to some of you need to do it again this morning for the 100th time….
Maybe you’ve been serving, but lack joy and passion because you forgot that you’ve been infinitely served by Christ. That’s the good news of the Gospel, I guarantee the more you dwell on how much God has done for you in Jesus, you can’t help but want to give everything back to Him.
And you know what the result of that will be?
Others will get to taste and see how good our God is! Our church, and this city will then have a a couple hundred people who aren’t looking to be served and use the city for what it can give us, but have already been served by our God. And then we get to go and serve and proclaim this great God who has loved us loved us that much!