Office of Deacon II
Office of Deacon II
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
1. Some basics to review (1) Deacons and Elders are the offices in the church. The offices are distinct. Elders are not deacons. Deacons are not elders. (2) The terms, Elder, Pastor (shepherd), and Overseer (bishop) are used synonymously in the New Testament.(3) In the New Testament, elders had the role of the general oversight of the church.(4) In the original language, the word, Deacon, means Servant (the title itself, is as descriptive as any job description could be.) (5) The Office of Deacon was created for the purpose of handling the ministry of mercy.
2. The Biblical account is quite clear on the founding of the deaconship and nowhere does Scripture repeal the original purpose:
“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. 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. 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. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.” Acts 6:1-6
3. The Office of Deacon was established to free the Apostles (who functioned as the first pastors) to pray and to prepare to minister the Word. The Apostles, in dealing with the benevolence ministry problem at the Jerusalem church, told the congregation that
"It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word." Acts 6:2-4 (KJV)
4. Some have understood this passage to mean that it is the role of deacons to oversee the business of the church. First, the text says, “this business,” not “the business” and this business being referred to is the business of benevolence. Second, this would be a misrepresentation of the meaning of the word: To prevent any misunderstanding of the word “Business” we must go back to the original which is the Greek word “chreia” and basically means ‘need.’ It is translated this way twenty-five times in the New Testament and this is the only place it is translated ‘business.’
5. So what do deacons do? To find this out we have to look at the proper role for deacons by their spiritual qualifications. 1st Timothy 3 and Acts 6 expound the qualifications for the office of deacons; the later contains what could fairly be called the "core qualifications": "Men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom"(Acts 6:3) "And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit"(Acts 6:5)
6. Often, when someone is discussed as a possible deacon one hears a remark such as, "He attends regularly and is a good giver." But God has set spiritual and moral qualifications which cannot be determined by some superficial man made way.
7. Deacons are to be capable of serving the Lord in spiritual ways. The original seven deacons were people who were able to serve the Lord in ways which were more spiritual in nature than merely delivering food. Stephen was a man of spiritual power: "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people" (Acts 6:8). Philip shows that some deacons were gifted in evangelism (Acts 8:5-7).
8. The office of Deacon requires a firm grasp of sound doctrine. A church is content oriented, and therefore by definition it is a doctrinally driven community, built upon truth. Every member should have this approach in the fellowship; leaders such as deacons, more so. "They must hold the mystery of the faith [Christian truth as hidden from ungodly men] with a clear conscience" 1 Tim 3:9
9. The presence of Deacons should advance the unity of a Church and not cause disunity. When the Apostles laid out the plan for the creation of this office, "And what they said pleased the whole gathering" (Acts 6:5). The complaints about the benevolence ministry stopped. And it is still true today that any time a church has deacons who are properly doing their jobs, the church is more likely to be at unity.
10. What is the Biblical pattern for deacons? Some of the duties of deacons are: (1) To be the ministers of mercy in the church. Providing for widows and orphans and needs of the local congregation. (2) They are to visit the sick and those in prison. (3) Deacons are to help disciple new converts (4) Keep watch over the church members, reporting any who seemed about to fall away (5) They are to also work at restoring those who are out of fellowship.
GracePointe Baptist Church
2209 N Post Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73141
Phone: (405) 769-5050