The Selection of Deacons (Acts 6:1-7)

The Acts of the Apostles  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Welcome & Announcements

Pre-Thanksgiving Love Feast on Wednesday, November 23rd in lieu of Bible Study & Prayer. Dinner starts at 7pm and will include the Lord’s Supper.
Pastor Daniel and Natalie will be away December 8th-10th. They will still be reachable via cell or email. In case of emergency, please contact Deane Herbst.
On December 11, 2022, Austin Burton, intern at BRN Next (the Baptist Resource Network’s collegiate ministry at Penn State University) will be preaching during the Sunday AM Worship service.
Let me remind you to continue worshiping the Lord through your giving. To help you give, we have three ways to do so, (1) cash and checks can be given at the offering box. Checks should be written to Grace & Peace; debit, credit, and ACH transfers can be done either by (2) texting 84321 with your $[amount] and following the text prompts or (3) by visiting us online at www.giving.gapb.church. Of course, everything you give goes to the building up of our local church and the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Prayer of Repentance and Adoration

Call to Worship (Ps 66:16-20)

Our Call to Worship is going to finish up Psalm 66 for us this morning with David calling on God’s people to essentially hear his testimony of how God has worked in his life. He speaks of crying out to the Lord for help and God listening and hearing his prayer. You’ll note something as we work through these verses, that David makes it clear that if David had cherished or held onto his own sin, God wouldn’t have helped him. Please stand and read with me Psalm 66:16-20. I’ll read the even-numbered verses, please join me in reading the odd-numbered verses.
Psalm 66:16–20 ESV
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. 17 I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19 But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!

Congregational Worship

How Great Thou Art (5)
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (104)
My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness (374)

Scripture Reading (Gen 9)

Our Scripture reading this morning is Genesis 9, which includes several different events going on in an almost rapid succession. We see God blessing Noah and promising not to judge mankind in the same manner again—He institutes this promise while utilizing a rainbow as a reminder of the covenant. We see the institution of capital punishment, and we see Ham commit sin that results in a curse. This chapter of Genesis ends with the death of Noah 350 years after the flood. Deane can you read Genesis 9 for us?
Genesis 9 ESV
1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. 6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. 7 And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.” 8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.” 18 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed. 20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” 26 He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. 27 May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.” 28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died.

Preaching of God’s Word (Acts 6:1-7)

Introduction

If you have your Bible, please turn it to Acts 6:1-7.
This section of the text continues in the narrative of the book of Acts, but it’s almost like it’s a bit of a rabbit trail. So far, we’ve seen sermons about the Gospel preached, people coming to know Jesus, and the continuous opposition from the Sanhedrin concerning the Gospel and the apostles’ preaching.
In this morning’s section of the text, Luke records something concerning the need of the apostles for additional help—it’s brief, but it’s vitally important because it introduces a role that we continue to have in the local church to this day.
Let’s read Acts 6:1-17 together.
Acts 6:1–7 ESV
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.” 5 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. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
As we study this passage, we’re going to break it into two primary parts: (1) The Complaint and the Solution (1-4), which gives us the primary problem at hand and what the apostles decided to do to remedy the situation—in addition, we’re going to take a bit of time to discuss a bit more comprehensively what the purpose of and what the qualifications are for deacons. (2) shows us the Continued Growth in the Church (5-7). This morning, we’ll see the purpose of deacons, why they’re so important for a local church; and we’ll see how deacons help the church’s mission by serving the church.
Pastoral Prayer

The Complaint and the Solution (1-4)

What we’ve seen as we’ve continued in the book of Acts and we’ve read about the Gospel being proclaimed throughout Jerusalem is that when the Gospel is rightly preached—people tend to repent and believe.
That’s at least the pattern that’s occurring and in the book of Acts, God seems to be blessing the apostles’ efforts significantly and Luke points this out periodically by reminding us that thousands of people were coming to know Jesus Christ.
In fact, the very first verse of ch. 6 starts by telling us that the disciples were increasing in number. Or put another way, the group who truly had repented and believe in Jesus was swelling in size.
And anyone who has had any experience in any sort of ministry knows that when the number of people within the local church increases, it becomes harder and harder for a few pastors or elders to keep track of everything going on.
That’s exactly what’s going on in Acts 6:1-7. We see in v. 1 that the number of disciples was still increasing rapidly and there was a complaint. The complaint is that the “Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.” There are a number of details needing pointed out here:
At this time in the early church, the church itself was made up of Jewish people—it isn’t until Acts 10 when we see the Holy Spirit descend and indwell on and in Gentiles that the church in Jerusalem really expands beyond just the Jewish people.
During this time in history, in this location, it was common for the people to speak various languages—if you’re Jewish, you would probably speak Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek; but how well you could speak the various languages differed between person.
Those who primarily spoke Greek were known as the Hellenists; those who primarily spoke Hebrew, were known as the Hebrews.
And of course, just like in our modern-day culture, when there are significant differences of language, there is a divide between the people.
In Acts 6:1, that divide between the people caused the widows of the Greek-speaking Jews to be neglected during what’s called the “daily distribution.”
Remember, that during this time in world history, the Roman Empire didn’t really have social services for those that needed help—because of the lack of social services, many would be relegated to begging for food, sustenance, and shelter.
The early church recognized this problem and in the case of widows, the church would provide daily sustenance that would be distributed, but since the numbers of disciples had grown so much, the apostles weren’t able to distribute the food themselves and for whatever reason, the other disciples weren’t getting the job done.
This is the complaint at hand.
Of course, this is a problem—people are going hungry, so what’s the proper response to this situation? Should the apostles take up more responsibility in this role? Should the apostles start handling the food distribution to all the people?
You might hear me ask those questions and wonder why the apostles wouldn’t start doing these things—in fact, you might consider pastors that you know of today that would do just this.
They would drop whatever they were doing and they would immediately start going around to the hundreds of widows and provide the food that they need.
And they would tack this on to the other responsibilities that they already carry and many of them would do it without complaint.
The common sentiment in churches today is that since the pastor is paid by the church, it’s his responsibility to not just preach and teach, but also take care of any help-based or mercy ministries that the church has, along with all the other ministries that the church has.
And I’m certain that during the first century, there were plenty of people within the first church that also carried the same sentiment—shouldn’t the apostles be handling this for us?
But vv. 2-4 tell us otherwise, “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.’”
Now, don’t misunderstand this and don’t think that these men who were appointed to “serve tables” are of any lesser value than the apostles who were to preach the word of God and pray.
It can be easy to misread this passage to assume that the brothers selected to serve aren’t as important as those who preach and teach, but that is truly a misreading of the passage.
The reality is that the apostles recognize that there are spiritual gifts given to people—and people ought to serve the church according to their spiritual gifts—the apostles were gifted to teach and to preach. For them to neglect teaching and preaching to serve in other ways would be wrong.
And the reasoning for that is simple—if they neglect preaching and teaching, the church suffers because the church needs preaching and teaching.
But if they don’t have people serving by handling the daily food distribution, the church suffers because the church needs people serving in this capacity—how do we know the church would suffer if people didn’t serve this way? Because it already was suffering—the Greek-speaking Jews were complaining because their widows were being neglected by the church.
It isn’t that the apostles are too important or too good to serve tables and help with the food distribution—it’s that God had gifted them and called them to preach, teach, and focus on prayer.
By trying to do that in addition to providing the daily distribution, they weren’t able to do both well—the distribution was suffering because they weren’t able to give it the attention that it needed.
And if they were to shift their focus to the distribution, the preaching, teaching, and prayer would suffer because they wouldn’t be able to give it the attention that it needed.
If you remember your Old Testament, you would remember that Moses had to do something similar with the nation of Israel.
In addition to all Moses did to lead the people of Israel, he was taking on the task of judicially ruling Israel for every single issue that came around.
His father-in-law saw the issue at hand and pulled him aside and basically said that Moses couldn’t continue doing this—it was too much work for one person—and tells him to select people to judge over smaller groups of people so that Moses would only have to judge cases of extreme importance—so that he could focus on other needs. (Exodus 18, by the way, we see a similar system in our own nation—the Supreme Court doesn’t decide on every case; there are lower courts that handle most problems. The Supreme Court only handles larger issues.)
It isn’t that the apostles thought they were too good to wait tables or serve in that manner, it’s that they realized that they couldn’t do everything and because of this, the church was suffering.
And to fix this problem—the solution isn’t for the apostles to spend more time serving with the daily distribution, but rather, the solution is for the church to have people serving in that way officially.
The fix to the problem is for the apostles to delegate the task of handling the physical needs of the local church to biblically qualified men who can focus their spiritual gifts on taking care of these problems.
We see some of these qualifications in v. 3, “pick out from among you seven men” and here are the requirements focused on in Acts 6, “men of good repute, full of the Spirit, and of wisdom.”
The men that were selected to handle the daily distribution of food to the widows were men that had to be characterized in three different ways according to Acts 6:3.
They needed to have a good reputation: meaning those inside of and outside of the church ought to think of these men as men who are trustworthy, kind, caring, and genuinely upstanding people.
They needed to be full of the Spirit: meaning that these men are Christians who aren’t nominal in nature—they truly care about God and His Word and they’re continuously being filled with the Holy Spirit. They’re growing in truth and their growth results in them acting and living as one who is full of the Sprit.
And they needed to have wisdom: of course, this is referring specifically to wisdom that God supplies—not what we typically mean by earthly or human wisdom. Or in other words, those who serve in this way ought to be knowledgeable enough about God’s Word to have true, genuine wisdom.
You can see that the apostles, and really God, took seriously who serves in an official capacity within the church—it can’t just be a random person pulled off the street, it can’t be someone who is known to have a bad reputation, it can’t be someone who is foolish or not already seeking God.
And truthfully, this isn’t the full list of requirements for people who serve in this way, these are just the attributes that were highlighted by the apostles and recorded by Luke—we’re going to talk about the rest of the list when we get into our application later.
But for now, the disciples looked for those “of good repute, full of the Spirit, and of wisdom” to be appointed to this duty, so that the apostles (according to v. 4 could devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word. Again, not because the apostles thought they were above serving tables or taking care of the food distribution, but rather, they realized that they couldn’t do it all alone—and it would be better for them to take care of preaching, teaching, and praying (what we would consider spiritual needs) while others who are gifted differently, would take care of physical needs (including what we might call congregational care).
The disciples looked for people to fill these positions, and they found them—the text continues by telling us of those whom were selected and how the church continued to grow. Let’s look at vv. 5-7 again.

Continued Growth in the Church (5-7)

Acts 6:5–7 ESV
5 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. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
The people understood that the apostles couldn’t do everything by themselves—and the idea of certain people being chosen to serve and handle the issues that the apostles couldn’t focus on was pleasing to the whole group.
Or in other words, there was a realization made by the people themselves—they understood that there were a lot of things that needed handled within the church, especially since the church had grown so large, so rapidly.
They realized that the apostles had been gifted by the Holy Spirit to preach and teach; and they realized that other people within the church were gifted to serve and take care of other needs.
They realized that if the church was going to be effective, if the church was going to keep growing—they all needed to participate through serving in various ways.
And in the case of the seven chosen to serve here in Acts 6, it was that they could serve the church best by handling some of the physical needs or the temporal needs of the members of the church.
Vv. 5-6 tell us who they chose and how the apostles commissioned them to the task of serving the church, “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.”
Note, that the requirements for this position are repeated through the names—not every name is described but two of them are—Stephen is described as “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,” both requirements listed in v. 3 and Nicolaus is described as a “proselyte of Antioch,” which just means that he was from Antioch and he had a reputation as being a genuine believer in Jesus Christ.
The fact that the others aren’t given significant descriptions isn’t something that should be read into—don’t think that Luke not recording descriptions of these people is a vital detail, he just chose not to record details about them.
The fact that he did record some details about two of them is something worth noting because it shows us that the people took seriously the requirements given to them by the apostles—they didn’t pick random people, they picked people that they genuinely thought matched the requirements given by the apostles, “men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom.”
It is important that people who serve in official capacities within a church meet the requirements that Scripture gives concerning those positions—in this case, “men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom.”
Note also, that the apostles are the ones who had the final say on the men who were chosen. Though the congregation recommended these men, the apostles are the ones who the men are set before, the apostles are the ones who prayed over them, and the apostles are the ones who laid their hands on them.
When the men were set before the apostles, the implication is that the apostles vetted them—they talked with them, they checked them to be sure that they met the qualifications requested.
When the apostles prayed over the men, the implication is that they were trusting God that these were the men that ought to be serving in this capacity.
When the apostles laid their hands on them, they commissioned them or set them aside for this role.
Patrick Schreiner, “The seven then stand before the apostles. The apostles pray for them and lay hands on them. They are set aside for service. Laying of hands also echoes the patriarchal blessings (Gen 48:14), Moses’s commissioning of Joshua (Num 27:23; Deut 34:9), and the people setting aside priests (Num 8:10). (Patrick Schreiner, Acts, Christian Standard Commentary, Holman Reference, 2021, 219)
The last bit of detail that Luke gives us concerning the selection of these seven men to serve in this way is found in v. 7, “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”
What we see is that when people within the church serve in the way that God has gifted them to serve, the church grows.
We see that particularly when we compare other translations of the Bible. In the ESV, we read “And the word of God continued to increase.” In the NIV, CSB, and NLT, it’s “So God’s message continued to spread.”
The Greek word is και, which can be translated as and or so, but in this case, it seems that what occurs in v. 7 is a result of vv. 1-6. That the church grew because the people already in the church recognized that they could and should serve in the ways that God has gifted them.
Or in other words, because the apostles realized that they couldn’t do everything on their own; because people better gifted to serve in different ways stepped up; and because the congregation affirmed this whole process:
The word of God increased, the number of disciples multiplied, and many priests became obedient to the faith. Let’s look at these results separately:
The Word of God increased: meaning more people heard the Word and learned the Word of God—how is this possible? Because the apostles were able to focus on teaching and preaching and prayer while the seven chosen focused on more temporal needs of the church.
The number of disciples multiplied: meaning the people within the church increased—how is this possible? Because the apostles were able to spiritually feed the people effectively taking care of their spiritual needs; the seven were able to physically feed the people effectively taking care of the physical need; and God utilized their service to Him to bring more people to Him through the ministry of their church.
and many priests became obedient to the faith: meaning those who were previously entrenched in the service of the temple recognized that the Gospel was true and obeyed the Gospel—how is this possible? Because those within the church of Jesus Christ recognized how best they could utilize their spiritual gifts to serve Jesus. Those who taught could focus on teaching, those who preached could focus on preaching, those who were gifted with evangelism could focus on evangelizing—even those within the temple itself.
What we see in Acts 6:1-7 is that when everyone in the church utilizes their spiritual gifts together, God uses them to grow His church.
And when believers aren’t utilizing their giftedness from the Spirit of God, the church suffers—whether that’s temporal needs not being met or spiritual needs not being met.
Now, in Acts, Luke doesn’t tell us what these men were called but as you continue in the New Testament, you see those that serve the church in this capacity called deacons, which comes from the Greek διακονος, which is translated as servant—one who serves the church officially.
Unfortunately, because there are many churches today that don’t utilize the term deacon correctly, there’s much confusion as to what a deacon does in the church, so let me help you with this briefly before we talk about application.
In today’s churches, deacons typically are looked at in one of two ways:
Either they’re viewed as the board that exists to keep the pastors in line
Or, the role of deacon is viewed as a stepping-stone for those who are not yet ready to be elders, but are on their way to eldership.
The issue is, neither one of those ideas are what Scripture teaches:
Deacons don’t exist to keep the pastors in line, deacons exist to help the pastors by serving the church.
The role of deacon isn’t a stepping-stone for those not yet elders, it is a role within the church that has a very important purpose—to serve the congregation by meeting the physical needs of the congregation while the pastors focus on meeting the spiritual needs of the congregation.
I think you can tell, that when deacons don’t serve the church correctly—the church suffers. People are neglected, people go in need, and the pastors end up taking on more than what they can handle trying to meet all the needs of the people instead of focusing on preaching, teaching, and prayer.
So, what exactly do deacons do?
The Lexham Bible Dictionary has a good definition for deacon, “One who serves in an official capacity in the church . . . the office of deacon may parallel the roll of the assistant of the synagogue. There are two primary classes of church offices in the New Testament: that of the overseer and elder [commonly referred to as pastor today] and that of the deacon. Deacons do not hold teaching or ruling authority in the church but exercise responsibility for the physical needs of the congregation. The complementary service of overseers and deacons is analogous to that of the apostles and the seven in Acts 6:1-6.” (Brian J. Tabb, “Deacon,” The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016)
Deacons serve by meeting the physical needs of the people so that the elders can focus on the spiritual needs of the people. That doesn’t mean that deacons will never preach and teach nor does it mean that elders never serve to meet the physical needs of the people—all it means is that elders focus on the areas that they’re gifted in while deacons focus on the areas that they’re gifted in.
And when all God’s people within a church focus on their giftedness and utilize their spiritual gifts, God grows the church—and I mean that primarily spiritually.
A truly biblical church is elder led, deacon served, and congregationally affirmed—meaning the elders focus on teaching, preaching, and leading; the deacons focus on meeting the needs of the congregation elsewhere, and the congregation affirms the elders who lead and the deacons who serve. This is the pattern for the New Testament church and this is how we strive for our local church to be.
One last detail that I want us to look at concerning deacons—I mentioned that Acts 6 doesn’t give a full list of qualifications. There is a full list in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and I’d like for us to read it before we wrap everything up in application. “8 Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not insincere, not prone to drink much wine, not greedy for money, 9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 These men must also first be tested; then have them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11 [Their wives] must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”
Those selected to be deacons have an important role within the church and because their role is so important, they must meet biblical qualifications. I’m not going to spend a lot of time here because we’re actually working through 1 Timothy on Wednesdays and we’ll get here in a short time, but consider what Paul tells Timothy to look for in a man for deaconship.
He must be dignified, authentic, not a drunkard, not money-hungry, and he must be firm on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
He must be tested and if they are above reproach, which doesn’t mean they’re perfect, but they have a reputation in which people don’t think of them as those consistently in sin, then they may serve.
Paul switches gears and speaks of some qualifications for a deacon’s wife:
The deacon’s wife must also be dignified, they shouldn’t be the town gossip, they should be temperate, which means they aren’t liable to fly off the handle.
They are to be faithful in all things, which speaks of not just their spiritual faith, but also their ability to be dependable.
And then Paul switches back to deacon qualifications:
Deacons must be the husbands of one wife, which isn’t the best way to translate that. Literally, the Greek says “a one woman man,” which just means that anyone who serves as a deacon is to be dedicated to their wife if they’re married. Regardless of if they’re married, it means that they aren’t womanizers, they don’t try to date multiple women at the same time, and if they’re dating or they’re married, their affections are for only that one woman—not multiple.
They have to be able to manage their children and their household—of course, there’s a bit of grace here. That doesn’t mean that if a deacon’s son or daughter goes off the deep-end when they’re adults, that the deacon has to be removed. It means that while the deacon’s children live at home, they are mostly well-behaved. The management of their household typically views whether they can keep their affairs in order—whether that’s financially or through different aspects of household management.
You can see how important deacons are because there are high qualifications for the position within the church.
Don’t misunderstand, don’t think that these qualifications mean that the deacon needs to be perfect and don’t think that there won’t be times when a deacon slips up and sins.
This just means, that the majority of the time, the person is thought of as dignified, sincere, not a drunkard, not greedy or money-hungry, firm on their faith, above reproach, and good managers of their household.
This bring us this morning to our application. And you might have been sitting here thinking about all that I’ve been saying wondering what exactly deacon qualifications have to do with you or what exactly this means for you. So, I want to give you application in two ways: (1) I want to help you understand why the deacon qualifications are so important and (2) I want you to see how best to apply a passage like Acts 6:1-7.

Application

Let’s start with the deacon qualifications, which is really broad application. The deacon qualifications are important for two reasons:
First, it tells us what we’re supposed to look for when we ask someone to serve as a deacon in our church.
As mentioned before, we’re not expecting people who serve in this capacity to be perfect, but when we compare and contrast a deacon candidate with the passages that speak of what deacons are supposed to be like and what deacons do, we ought to see those ideas represented in the person.
When we look at a candidate for the office of deacon—is he dignified, respectable, is he sincere, is he full of the Spirit, not greedy, not addicted to wine. Is he firm in his belief, with a good reputation. Is he a one woman man who manages his house well, and if he’s married, is his wife dignified, not a gossip, sober-minded and faithful in all things.
Or in other words, when we’re looking at candidates to serve as deacons within our church, we need to take seriously whether the person actually fits the qualifications—we can’t just place people in positions just to fill the position, we need to know that they match what the Bible tells us we’re supposed to look for.
Again, not that the person is to be perfect, without any sort of flaw, error, or sin—it’s really more that when someone thinks of that person, the person has a reputation of being respectable, sincere, faithful to both his belief in God and his wife, and as one who can manage his home well.
Don’t lessen these requirements for anyone
And keep those who are serving as deacons accountable for these same requirements.
Second, though these are qualifications for deacons, they’re really all attributes that every believer ought to strive for.
Everything required of deacons is really expected out of everyone who claims to be a believer—no one in their right mind would say, “I’m not a deacon, so I can be a liar or a drunk, or a slanderer.”
Every qualification of a deacon are attributes that you, as a believer, ought to resemble.
So, ask yourself—am I respectable? Am I full of the Spirit? Do I stand firm on faith, with a good reputation? Do I manage my house well? Am I a gossip? Or am I sober-minded and faithful in all things?
Again, not that you’re ever going to be perfect on this side of eternity, but rather, you recognize what Jesus expects of you, and you’re seeking to live how He would have you to live.
The deacon qualifications show us what to look for in our deacons and it gives us an idea of what we need to look for in ourselves—so, you need to seek to live so that these qualifications can be said about you and you need to hold our deacons present and in the future accountable to these qualifications.
Concerning more specific application, Acts 6:1-7 is important because it shows us very clearly that one person can’t do everything in the local church. We need deacons, we need elders, and we need church members who get involved and serve in various capacities.
What Acts 6:1-7 does is it forces us to understand that Christianity isn’t a spectator sport, it is something in which everyone needs to get involved and serve.
Which is the opposite of how most people in the American church think—we all can admit that because we all know several people who think just attending church is sufficient and that they don’t actually need to volunteer or serve within the church.
But when Scripture is rightly understood, it’s clear that the idea that we could attend a church service and not get involved with serving God and serving others is simply nonsensical.
The church isn’t a place that we go to—it is the body of Christ actively following Jesus and serving others.
And what we see in passages like Acts 6:1-7 is that when there’s something missing concerning people serving, the church suffers in some aspect.
In Acts 6, the fact that there were so many people and only a few people serving meant that many people were neglected that shouldn’t have been neglected.
It isn’t until the seven men were chosen, prayed over, and sent out to serve that all the people’s needs were met.
The apostles couldn’t do it all on their own, they needed others to help because church isn’t a spectator sport.
So much so, that we’re all gifted by the Holy Spirit with spiritual gifts that are meant to help us serve the church.
Which then forces us to question whether we’re serving the way that God has gifted us to serve—consider how God has gifted you and then ask yourself if you’re serving in our church utilizing those gifts.
And be honest about this—don’t try to deceive yourself. If you’ve never bothered to serve with your areas of giftedness, don’t think, “nah, it’s alright, I’m sure someone else can handle it.”
Or, if it’s been a long time since you’ve last served, don’t think, “oh, well I did it once—two years ago, it probably doesn’t need done again.”
Just like the first century church needed deacons to handle the distribution of food, the 21st century church needs you to serve wherever the Holy Spirit has gifted you.
And if you aren’t serving, consider the simple truth that our church is probably suffering in the area that you’re meant to serve and unless you are serving in that way, you aren’t fulfilling God’s calling in your life and our church will continue to struggle in that area of ministry.
Just like the first century church was suffering because people weren’t serving, the 21st century church suffers when believers refuse to use the gifts given to them by the Holy Spirit.
And let me be abundantly clear, if you are refusing to use the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives you, you also will struggle and suffer—in particular, you’ll find that your spiritual growth gets stunted.
God does not allow for spectators in the church—everyone serves because everyone has gifts that are needed within the body of Jesus Christ.
You need to serve the local church using the spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit has given you—not because God needs you to do this, but because the local church needs you to do this.
Our church, Grace & Peace Bible Church, needs you to serve how God has gifted you to serve.
Put simply, what we learn from Acts 6:1-7 is that one person can’t do everything, the church needs everyone. So you need to (1) serve how God has gifted you to serve and (2) encourage those around you to serve how God has gifted them to serve.
Pastoral Prayer

Congregational Singing

Yet Not I, but through Christ in Me (Lead)
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