Acts 6:1-8 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13
THE QUALITIES OF A BIBLICAL DEACON
Intro: There are two offices in the church that have the distinction of
requiring ordination. One is that of Pastor and the other is the office of the
Deacon. Tonight, we have gathered in this place to set aside a Christian
Brother for ordination as a biblical Deacon. Before we actually ask this
Brother to come forward and kneel for the laying on of hands, we need to
take a fresh look at what the Bible says about these special people in the
church called Deacons.
The Bible is clear when it talks about why we have Deacons in the first
place. Acts 6 records a situation that arose in the early church where a
certain element of the church felt neglected. The Apostles were not able to
meet the need in the church and to carry out their pulpit ministries as well.
Therefore, they appointed seven men to work among the people of the
church so that they might be free to pray, study and prepare to preach the
Word of God. The duties of the biblical Deacon have not changed over
these 2,000 years. There is still a need for men in the church who will look
after the day to day administration so that the Pastor might give himself fully
to prayer and to the study of the Word of God.
We have read two passages this evening that speak about the biblical
Deacon. I would like to take a look at both of these passages. I want to
share with you what the Bible says about The Qualities Of The Biblical
I. A BIBLICAL DEACON MUST BE A SAINT
(Note: While this is not stated, it is certainly implied in the Bible. The
biblical Deacon must be a saved man first and foremost - Acts 6:3.)
A. There Must Be A Relationship To The Savior - The church was
commanded to "look ye out from among you". That is, the men
they chose were to be saved men, exclusively! Many churches have
paid a terrible price for elevating unsaved men to positions of
leadership in the church. Therefore, my friend, examine yourself to
know for sure that you are truly saved, 2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Pet. 2:10.
B. There Must Be A Recognition By The Saints - Notice that the
saints were to "choose". They were to take men from among their
own number. Men they had observed. Men they trusted. Men of
honor and respect. This corresponds to a portion of the
requirements of a Deacon listed in 1 Tim. 3:10.
C. There Must Be A Recommendation By The Spirit - Notice that
these men were to be "full of the Holy Ghost". That is, they were
men who fulfilled the command of Eph. 5:18. The word "full"
means, "thoroughly permeated with; full, complete; lacking
nothing, perfect." It carries the idea of being "controlled" by the
Holy Spirit! For a Deacon, this is absolutely indispensable!
If you are going to be a blessing to this church and not a burden,
then you must walk in the Spirit so that the fruit of the Spirit can flow
through your life, Gal. 5:22-23. My Brother, if you will walk in the
Spirit, you will be a blessing to this church, but if you begin to walk
in the flesh, you will hinder everything God wants to do here!
Therefore, you should determine to be a Spirit-filled man, or you
should stay away from this office!
II. A BIBLICAL DEACON MUST BE A SERVANT
(Note: In the beginning, Deacons were chosen to be servants to the
church. In fact, the word Deacon comes from a word that means "to
wait tables". It carries the idea of serving with such dedication that the
servant "kicks up dust as he serves". Maybe that is why the Bible
says that Deacons are to "use" the office, not merely "fill" it.)
A. He Is To Serve The Father - 1 Timothy 3:8-13 - When we take the
time to look at the list of qualifications in 1 Timothy 3, it becomes
easy to see that Deacons are expected to live godly, separated lives.
You are to be an obedient, surrendered servant to God the Father.
Let's look at this list of requirements.
1. V. 8 Grave - Men who are serious about their duty. Men who are
worthy of respect. Men who live lives worth imitating.
2. V. 8 Not Doubletoungued - 3-fold
A. Not a gossip
B. Does not say one thing to one person and something else to
C. A man whose word is dependable.
3. V. 8 Not Greedy Of Filthy Lucre - Men who have a spiritual
attitude toward money and who will not use their office for
financial gain. (Ill. Don't be a tightwad!)
4. V. 9 Holding The Mystery Of The Faith In A Pure Conscience
- Men of the word who are well grounded in the fundamental
doctrines of the faith. Men who are more concerned with what
the Bible says than they are with what the church covenant,
church constitution and by-laws, or the denominational leaders
5. V. 10 Let Them Be Proved - Examined as to their qualifications
and seen to be fulfilling them.
6. V. 10 Let them "Use" The Office - Too many men merely fill the
office. God says use it! The office of a Deacon is something
that is to be used, actively for the glory of God.
7. V. 11 Wives - Must be qualified too! Can cause great harm in
the church if a Deacon's wife is evil spirited or long-tongued.
8. V. 12 In Control Of Home - Not a dictator! But one who has
earned the love and respect of his family. The Deacon must be
a family man! One who loves, nurtures and cares for his family.
You can look at how a man's family treat him and respond to him
and tell a lot about his spiritual condition.
B. He Is To Serve The Faithful - Acts 6:1-4 - The Deacon is to be a
servant of both preacher and people.
1. The Pastor needs the Deacons of the church to aid him in
ministry to the church. One man cannot do it all, and he should
not be expected to! The Deacons are to be active in the work of
ministry. They should visit the sick, care for the bereaved, head
off problems that may arise, take care of business, under the
supervision of the Pastor, and generally be a servant to the man
of God! Deacons are not the Pastor's private slaves, but they
are to be partners in ministry! But, the primary leadership role
has been vested in the office of Pastor, Heb; 13:4, 17! Deacons
were not created to "run" the church! They were created to
serve the Pastor and the people! Take the time to be a friend to
the man of God! Free him up so that he can devote himself to
the ministries of prayer and preaching.
2. The people in the pews need the Deacons as well. Take the time
to serve the church. Be there for them when they need help.
Look after the welfare and do everything in your power to
maintain the peace and harmony of the church. Avoid being
caught up in cliques, but be a servant of all the people all the
time. When the Bible says, "over this business", Acts 6:3, it
refers to the business of ministering to people! I know we have
expanded the ministry of the Deacons in the modern church to
include the financial business as well, I am not against that, but
the Deacon must remember, that first and foremost, his office is
that of a servant and ministry must come first!
C. He Is To Serve The Fallen - Acts 6:7 - The Deacon also has a duty
to the backslider and the lost man too. In short, Deacons need to be
bold witnesses. It is interesting that when the early church
appointed the first Deacons, the church experienced great blessing
and growth. Contrast Acts 2:47 and Acts 6:7. Let the Deacons be
men who are vocal and open about the faith and who work hard to
reclaim the backslider and win the lost.
III. A BIBLICAL DEACON MUST BE A SOLDIER
A. He Is To Fight For The Scriptures - 1 Tim. 3:9 - We have already
touched on this, but Deacons must be active in the ministry of the
Word of God! They, along with the Pastor, are to guard the doctrinal
purity of the church, so that we have a faith to hand down to the next
generation, 2 Tim. 2:2.
B. He Is To Fight For The Saints - Acts 6:7 - The Deacon has a
responsibility to do everything in his power to help the church grow
and to become all that God wants it to be. Thank God for Deacons
who are like bulldogs! They sniff out problems that would harm the
Pastor and the church and they take a stand against those things
and the people behind them!
C. He Is To Fight For The Sinners - Acts 6:8; Acts 6:9-7:60; Acts
8:5-40 - Notice that these first Deacons became very active in the
spread of the Gospel. In fact, Stephen, the preaching Deacon,
became the first martyr of the Christian era. He preached with a
boldness that caused his enemies to attack him. Philip carried on
the tradition and was instrumental in a great revival that came in
Samaria. Yet, he was not too busy to take the time to Minster to
individuals as well.
These early Deacons set a standard that must be upheld in this
day as well. The Deacons must be men with a passion for souls. A
lack of concern for the lost translates into deadness for the church.
Therefore, be a bold witness sharing the greatest story ever told!
Conc: The work is great. The standard is high. The need is very present!
The rewards are amazing. Dear Brother and other Deacons in this building,
you are needed as much today as you were 2,000 years ago! The church
needs good Deacons who are serious about carrying out their office and
being a servant of the church. What the church does not need are men who
think they are God's gift to the church and who set themselves up as little
dictators. Those men who receive ordination as a Deacon and discharge
their duties in a proper way are promised that they will be blessed in their
spiritual walk, 1 Tim. 3:13. The term "good degree" refers to "respect"
Deacons who serve well are held in high esteem by the people of the
church. They are also promised "great boldness". This means that they
can speak the truth in boldness, because they are living the life they should
and they are being a blessing to the people of God.
Brother, I look forward to hearing the good report of how the Lord is
using you here at this church for His great glory. Be a good Deacon! Be a
friend to your Pastor! Be servant of the people! If you do these things, the
Lord will surely bless your work for Him.