Bible Studies In The Christian Library

INTRODUCTION: Today the names of two brethren have been placed before the congregation to consider for the work of deacon. These two men are good and faithful Christians who has expressed a desire to serve in the capacity of deacon. The elders encourage you to consider these men for this work in light of God's word. What does the New Testament say concerning deacons.



A. What are we talking about?
1. Deacon comes diakanos, and mean, "one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master; a servant, attendant, minister" (Thayer, p. 138).

2. It is used in more than one sense.

a. It is used in a general sense, to designate any Christian, since we are to be servants of the Lord Jesus and each other.
i. Matthew 20:26-27 "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27-  And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave;" 

ii. John 12:26 - "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

b. It is also used to designate a special group of servants who meet certain qualifications and are used for special labor for the local congregation.
i. Philippians 1:1 and 1 Timothy 3:1ff.
B. Any congregation of the Lord's body needs Deacons.
1. Local congregations in the first century was spoken of as having them.  This would be a reason if for nothing else. We need to be concerned about following the pattern of Scripture.

2. There are many works that elders often do which should be delegated to deacons. This allows the elders to concentrated on their work of shepherding.

a. Acts 6:2 - "Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables."

b. Elders should not have to do the daily physical work of the church. There is nothing demeaning about purchasing paper products, taking care of the church grounds, ordering class material, benevolence, etc. But the elders should be free to care for the spiritual needs of the membership, teach the lost, make decision concerning the future of the congregations, visiting those who are physically and spiritually sick, encourage and feed young Christians, oversee the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, etc.

c. Deacons should be appointed over specific works, given responsibility for that work, and allowed, with supervision by the elders, to get the work done.  They are never independent from the guidance of the elders, but should be allowed enough freedom of action to accomplish their work.

3. It is clear that elders and deacons complimented each other in the first century. See Philippians 1:1 
A. 1 Timothy 3:8-13
1. Positive qualifications
a. Reverent (8a) - He must be a spiritual man who is first and foremost interested in serving and worshiping God.

b. Holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience (9) -They should be sincere in their faith. There should be nothing in their lives which will cause them to have a guilty conscience.

c. Proven (10a) - They must have demonstrated their ability, faithfulness, and willingness to serve, before the congregation.

d. Found blameless (10b) - There must be nothing in their lives that would bring reproach on the body of Christ. Blameless denotes that he does not seek to ignore or cover up his mistakes, but that he is penitent of heart
and life and makes proper correction where it can be made.

e. The husband of one wife (12a) - He must demonstrate his Christian life in his family. Women and single men would be disqualified.

f. Ruling his children and house well (12b) - He must have demonstrated his ability is taking care of his family and guiding them in the way they should live. 

2. Negative qualifications 
a. Not double-tongued (8b) - He must be honest. His word must be his bond.

b. Not given to much wine (8c) - He should not be a drunkard.  While there is some question concerning this passage it does not give deacons the right to be social drinkers.

c. Not greedy for money (8d) - He should never be covetous concerning money.

3. Their wives. Since godly wives are essential to the success of a family, it should not surprise us that deacons' wives have certain qualifications.
a. Reverent (11a) - The wife of a deacon must be spiritual minded as well. They will compliment each other.

b. Not slanderers (11b) - They must watch their tongues.  They will cause tremendous damage to a deacon's reputation and the reputation of the church by an uncontrolled tongue.

c. Temperate (11c) - They must keep their bodies under control and not allow any habit or practice to control them.

d. Faithful in all things (11d) - This denotes a general faithful Christian life.

B. Acts 6:1-3. We must note:
1. It is true that the word deacon is not mentioned here.

2. But there is little doubt that this is the very work that is being described. Because the Holy Spirit had not yet used the designation for the work mentioned does not mean that the work of deacon is not being described. 

3. The Apostles give three qualifications here. There is little doubt that these seven would have met the qualifications laid down by Paul.  But these general qualification bear looking at as well as those in 1 Timothy  (Verse 3).

a. Of good reputation - They should be known for moral, spiritual, faithful Christian living to those in and out of the church. 

b. Full of the Holy Spirit - He should be full of the fruits of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22- 24.

c. Full of wisdom - He must have developed wisdom in his life (i.e. good old fashioned "horse sense"). There are some who are good men who have little common sense about dealing with people and getting things done.

C. Some practical qualifications (As implied from Scripture and the enumerated qualifications).
1. Deacons need to be cooperative. They will have to be able to work with elders, the other deacons, and the membership.

2. Deacons need to be able keep a confidence. There will be matters discussed between elders and deacons which do not need to be spread abroad.

3. Deacons need to be dedicated. The church should come first in their lives.

A. "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" (1 Timothy 3:13).
1. Paul says that those who serve well do two things.

2. They obtain "for themselves for a good standing" - They receive honor from their brethren for the faithfulness.

3. They obtain a "great boldness in the faith." - Their faithfulness give them greater strength in the faith. They become stronger as Christians.

B. Let us give honor to faithful deacons.
1. Romans 13:7 - Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. 

2. Let us give thanks for those deacons who work so hard to advance the cause of Christ.

CONCLUSION: Every Christian should have the characteristics mentioned here (with the exception of being married and having children). And let each of our young men seek to work toward being able to serve the Lord as a deacon, elder, or preacher.

Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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