What does God Expect from A Deacon
What does God Expect from A Deacon (servant)
Scripture Reading: Acts 6:1-4
Test Verse: Acts 6:4 - And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council.
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What does God Expect from A Deacon (servant)
Often times when preachers preach an ordination message for new deacons, they use the text of 1 Timothy 3 and go over the qualifications of deacons. There is a problem with this, however, in that those qualifications are a list for the church to chose deacons (and the church is liable to chose because your family is a deacon, job, or your status in the community). Being that you have already been chosen, it is too late!
The word “deacon” means servant, nothing fancy, nothing extra-ordinary. (For all you scholars) it comes from the Greek word diakonos but it still means that a deacon is a servant. Now, this can lead to some confusion. Some people or groups of people feel that if you are called to be a servant all they have to do is sit back and be served. All of us (Christians) I don’t have enough time to deal with what that is today are called to be servants. Does God expect the deacon to be held to a higher standard then the lay member? What is the standard? The righteousness and holiness of Jesus Christ. Gerald you and your wife have been placed in a position of higher responsibility and accountability. To: God, pastor, church, community, and yourselves.
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Because when a group of people calls someone to be their servant, they begin to take the attitude that while the servant serves, they are to sit and be served. Wrong. Time and time again the Scriptures point out to us that every believer is a minister and has a job (or two) to do. Some churches have done away with deacons because they understand that everyone is called to serve in some capacity. So the question is, why have a special title for these servants? What makes them deacons, and what makes a deacon special?
All of us are called to be servants. Those who are called to be deacons are not held to a higher standard than the rest of us, for all of us are held to the standard of Jesus Christ and His righteousness and holiness. Deacons are not held to a higher standard, but they are placing themselves in a position of higher responsibility and accountability before God. I realized that I have a rule in my house, “No dumping apple juice on the floor.” I did not realize it was a rule until this week when my ten-month old daughter poured some on the living room carpet. Then later she did it again. Now while I told her, “No” and moved her from the situation, I can honestly say if my four year old had done the same thing the consequences would have been much more severe. The reason is not that the rules are different for my kids, but the expectations are different. Deacons, the expectations on you are high, for as you know more, more is required of you.
No, the benefit for you is to know that the church sees these qualities in you. I am not going to ask you to strive to match the qualities in 1 Timothy 3, but to continue to demonstrate those qualities. Today, I want you to see a different list of qualifications. I want us to turn to Acts 6 to see when the first deacons were chosen for the church. As we read this, answer two questions. Why were deacons chosen, and why were these men chosen?
(Read Acts 6:1-4) Why were deacons chosen? They were chosen because there were complaints in the church. Sounds like something straight out of today, doesn’t it? If we had perfect churches, with only perfect people, we would not need deacons. Deacons were called because there was a problem. They were called to a specific task. They were not just called and then a job was given to them later. No! A problem arose, then people were found to fix the problem.
Let me tell you something about Warren Kellum today. Last year he came to me and said we needed to talk. Now that always makes me nervous because you never know what will happen next as a pastor. Well, we weren’t able to get together before he had to leave the state because of our schedules. Well, then he liked it down south so much that he checked into the hospital for a couple of months. When he got back he sought me out and said, “I still need to speak with you.” Over lunch, he said to me, I have noticed that we have a problem at New Friendship, and I believe God has said I need to be the answer. We then began working together at putting together a comprehensive outreach program. This was before we asked him to be a deacon. Deacons are called to serve the church in areas where there may be problems.
But now we must note why these men were chosen. They were chosen because they possessed three qualifications. Now if you are reading out of the NIV, you will not see the first of these qualifications. It says the men were of “good repute.” The first part of being a deacon is having a good reputation. Deacons must have a good name. The best thing that a man can have, is a respected name. A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1 (ESV). This is backwards from what we learn in our society. Our culture tells us that we men are to work hard to provide all the great luxuries for our family. They teach us that our children should have more than we had when we grew up. We hear statements such as the ends justify the means. The Bible teaches us to work hard to make a good name, and not to worry about money.
Men are supposed to strive to be great. Can you believe you just heard that in church? Men are supposed to strive to be great. There is nothing unchristian about greatness! For years the church has been so worried people might become proud, that they have beaten men into submission. Come OUT! When the disciples were trying to figure out who was the greatest, did you know Jesus did not put them down for trying to be great? He says to them, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, “Matt 20:26 (ESV). He tells them, “Go and be great, but do it God’s way.” Men stand up. All men, stand up. Repeat after me. I am an apprentice. Jesus is my master. I will work to make a great name. I will strive to be great. But I will do it God’s way. Sit back down.
Why were deacons chosen? There was a problem. Why were these men chosen? First because they had a good reputation. Second, (and now you NIV people can join us again) they were filled with the Spirit. This one is not very hard. Do you know how you become filled with the Spirit? You ask. Luke 11 tells us that God wants to give the Spirit as a good gift to those who ask. We need to ask to be filled with the Spirit each and every day. God is excited about giving you the Spirit. It is like most of you at Christmas. I have been to your houses. I know that many of you do not wait until Christmas to give presents to each other. All you need is the slightest excuse and you give your presents early. Why? Because you love to give! God loves to give the Spirit to His children, and all they have to do is ask for it. Now remember this, God does not fill a dirty cup. Part of asking for the Spirit is asking God to clean the cup. You don’t pour a fine wine into a dirty goblet, but into fine crystal. 1 John 1:9 says If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Ask Him to cleanse you, then ask Him to fill you. You cannot do the work you are called to do if you do not have the power of the Spirit. You cannot demonstrate grace to complaining people if you are not guided by the Spirit.
The third qualification for these deacons is that they are filled with wisdom. Now I have heard since I was very
little that wisdom comes with age. If wisdom comes with age, how can someone be wise beyond their years? If you get wisdom from years, how can you have more wisdom than the years you have been alive? You can’t, and wisdom does not come with age. Proverbs tells us where wisdom comes from. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Prov 9:10 (ESV)
As you learn more and more who God is, and who you are, you will learn what it means to fear the Lord. God loves His children, and He disciplines His children. You should fear that discipline because it is never pleasant. As you are filled with the Spirit, you will gain His wisdom as He shows you who God is and who you are. He will teach you to take Isaiah’s attitude when confronted with God saying, Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips.
Now I want you to hear this. There is a proverb that speaks to every deacon, and every believer. Proverbs 15:33 says: The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” These are the qualifications of the deacon. Notice it! Jesus tells us that the Spirit will be our teacher. As he teaches us, and we grow in wisdom through the fear of the Lord, we recognize that we receive honor, and a good name through our humility.
Seek to be the answer to a problem. Go toward your task. Work to keep a good reputation, a great name through humble service. Be filled with the Spirit of God to enable you to work. And let the fear of God grow wisdom in you as you serve Him each and every day.