Church (3)

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Introduction: Recap of series.
If we are going to pattern ourselves after the Biblical descriptions of church, then somewhere along the way we begin to recognize those among the members of the body who Jesus is raising up to be leaders. The Bible describes two primary offices of leadership; deacons and elders. Deacons serve the members of Christ’s body in practical ways, helping with the ongoing functional and organizational needs of the church. Elders, are called upon to shepherd the members of Christ’s body by teaching and overseeing the ongoing spiritual needs of the church. The deacons and elders work together to care for the body. They serve and shepherd their fellow members in a way that brings glory to Christ and equip the body to mature in love for one another.
Transition: Today we are focusing attention on deacons, serving members of the body.

Deacons, serving members.

Transition: The first point to consider is…

Recognized Authority

Where did this role of deacon originate? Acts 6:1-7
Point: The first officially recognized deacons were called upon by the church to respond to the particular needs of the church. This didn't pigeon hole these men into isolated ministry, but rather delegated the responsibility to qualified guys who would make sure the task was accomplished. For example, we see in Stephen a man that did so much more than distribute provisions to widows. The rest of Acts 6 and 7 contain the impact of his ministry.
Also, the authority to serve in this role was ultimately given by Jesus as the Holy Spirit had marked these guys by conforming their character to that of Christ. These were men who were full of the Holy Spirit. Meaning, the Holy Spirit was controlling their lives and they were plain demonstrations of living a life yielded to the Holy Spirit.
It was the collective members of the body of Christ who recognized those character qualities and chose them to serve in this capacity. There is obviously a certain amount of authority that comes with the position or role of deacon, however, that authority is something delegated from Christ, and recognized by the members of Christ’s body.
As the head of the church, Jesus is the one who makes a man qualified to serve as a deacon. It is the members of the church responsibility to recognize those qualities and choose them to serve in that capacity.
Transition: How do members recognize the qualities necessary to serve the responsibilities as a deacon?

Qualified Responsibility

Looking more closely at the character qualities that must be recognized before affirming a deacon. (I Timothy 3:8-13) See nine qualities that should help identify potential deacons.
Go through questions regarding the appointment of deacons. (read each verse and the following questions.
Do not need a title to serve. The title doesn't make the servant. The verb of serving must precede the noun of position. There are general and practical ways for all of us to be involved in serving one another. However, there are always certain tasks that arise periodically from the collective body that we need identified persons to see to it that the task is handled responsibly. A deacon serves first as a member of the body. (Like we looked at last week) But he must also serve some particular needs that may arise. .
For example: deacon of benevolence, deacon of hospitality, deacon of finance, deacon of facilities, deacon of administration. Deacon tasks could include everything from administrating the organizing an event to replacing shingles on the roof.
Transition: It is emphatic that a man be growing in maturity in theses areas prior to being given the office of deacon. One reason why is because its not hard for us as members to submit to the servant leadership of a guy who is submitting to Christ. It is very dangerous to gloss over character problems in a person thinking that after given a title he will come along. The title doesn't make the man, Jesus makes the man , and the title is given in recognition of the sanctifying work of Christ. The responsibility that comes with the title may very well make a deacon more conscious of his need to depend on Christ, but serving in the role will not perform the deep character work of the soul that only the Holy Spirit can do. Example is that of marriage. (explain)

Joyfully serving and being served

From an earthly perspective we may look at the role of deacon and think that is a very lowly position, its a pitiful role, its a door mat function. However, from Jesus perspective there is great joy in identifying with Him. It is a joy to function in a role that causes you to be like Jesus. Mark 10:45 It is a joy to sacrifice, to lay down your life for others, to be called upon to respond to the needs of others, to deny self take up your cross and follow Jesus. This is great joy to serve in a deacon role because it is always more blessed to give than to receive.
Mark 10:45 ESV
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
From a member perspective. It is a joy to have deacons showing an example of Christlike service. It is a joy to be share needs knowing that they will be served. It is a joy to know that someone is responsible to see that the ongoing practical needs of the church are being met. Its a joy to be asked to serve along side another member of the body who has been recognized by the church and delegated with task to accomplish.
Not jealousy, suspicion, skepticism. But being built up in love by seeing the joints of the body functioning so that we are built up together in love.
Closing: the role of deacon is a good work of Christ in the life of His church. Pray for our the guys currently serving as deacons.
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