Work and qualities of Deacons
Biblical leadership continues
Biblical leadership continues
We have looked at he Elder (Bishop, Pastor, Shepherd, Overseer). Today we will continue to look at biblical leadership with the office of the Deacon (minster, servant). Paul goes in to detail the qualifications of a Deacon and some principles about the work a Deacon does in the church.
The qualifications/qualities of an elder are seen (1Tim3:1-7)
The qualifications/qualities of a Deacon are seen in (1Tim3:8-13)
(Insert: Deacon in the Greek picture here)
The word Deacon is sometimes translated as Minister or Servant. They are interchangeable.
In the Greek it is the word Diakonos, and the literal meaning ins one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master (Thayer bible dictionary)
Paul in our passage will state that Deacons obtain for themselves a good standing (Ref: 1Tim3:13)
So, what exactly are the qualifications and the work of a deacon?
(Transition) so this morning I want to look at:
The work of a Deacon
The qualifications of a Deacon
Qualifications of a Deacons wife (or women)
The work of a Deacon
The work of a Deacon
Just as the office, position of an Elder is important, so is the office, position of a Deacon. As we look at the passage and also the qualifications you will see many similarities, though the work is different.
8 Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
10 These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.
12 Deacons must be husbands of only 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.
When you look at scripture you can find the first description of a deacon, without name found in Act6:1-6, and the necessity of them. We will get to that passage shortly, but that is the first mention of them, but not naming them.
When we look at the work of a Deacon in the we can find some good scriptural references
First in the organization of the Church:
1 Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:
Paul acknowledges Deacons (Php1:1)
As you can read above they were acknowledged a part from the saints (the body of believers).
Paul qualifies Deacons (1Tim3:8-13)
No reason to put up the qualities, or qualifications at this time we will look at them, many are similar to that of the Overseer, Bishop, Elder, Pastor.
Peter calls for Deacons (Act6:1-6)
As i mentioned a moment ago about the call, the first call for the position of deacon, though not called that at the time is found in act6.
1 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. 2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.
3 “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4 “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. 6 And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.
As you know from our look at Elders there was a plurality and it would now seem that there was a plurality of assistants to help in the ministry . These assistants were qualified and tested and we will discuss that more shortly.
In the service (ministry) of the church:
They were to assist the elders in urgent matters, needs of the body.
B.W. Johnson (Commentator and evangelist in late 1800’s) states
“Their office seemed to have been to look after the temporal matters of the church, and especially to car for the poor and the widows.”
College press commentator Alan Barnes concurred with Johnson saying
“The word here evidently denotes those who had charge of temporal affairs of the church, the poor, etc.”
(no reason to read the one below, we have already looked at the scripture above; it is there just for the outline)
First mention (Act6:1-6)
though not mentioned by title here they were named and purpose given. So that the apostles could focus on the spiritual matters.
The work of a deacon was not to preach, per se (Act6:5, 8:4-5, 21:8)
in our passage we do not see the qualification like the Elder “apt to teach” though some of the early deacons did preach and teach.
As noted in Act6:5 we see the early ones named and then
4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.
we see one of them Philip was preaching (proclaiming). And he was seen doing that in Act21:8 too.
Commentator John Phillips said this in his N.T. commentary
“The work of deacons is to administer to the physical needs of the church.”
(transition) It is an important work that cannot be neglected. And those who use the office must be qualified and tested for the office.
Qualifications/qualities of a Deacon
Qualifications/qualities of a Deacon
Even though the Deacons do not have the authority that the Elders do, there is still qualifications/qualities to be seen in them. Some thing being a deacon is a step from becoming an Elder, though that is not necessarily the case.
Scriptural positive qualifications/qualities
8 In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money.
Reverent, respected, have integrity (v.8)
A deacon should be worthy of respect because of life style, a person of good character worth imitating and who takes the office seriously.
Holding to the mystery of the faith with clear conscience (v.9; 1Tim1:19; Ref: rom16:25-26; Eph3:3-5; Jude3)
9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.
This is the mystery once concealed now revealed as mentioned in (Rom16:25-26 and Eph3:3-5). The true doctrine, the doctrine of faith is concealed from those outside of faith, but by faith are revealed to those who trust the Lord. Deacons must know and obey the doctrine with a clear conscience. Even the physical ministering of the church has spiritual elements and must be in line with God’s word, and be fulfilled by godly men.
Tested and being found blameless, beyond reproach (v.10; Act6:3)
10 And they must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons.
So do the job, then be put into the job. They need to be trustworthy, dependable and of good reputation
3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;
How about a few more biblical examples of those tested and proven before positioned to minister?
Joseph: was a slave/servant in Egypt for 13 years before become second ruler in Egypt
Moses was a sheepherder for 40 years before God called him through the burning bush to be a prophet
David was still a tender of sheep when Samuel anointed him as king and 14 years before he became king of all of Israel.
Jesus was a carpenter and came as a servant to offer his life as a ransom for many.
Paul, well was a tent-maker before an Apostle.
An untested Christian is an unprepared Christian.
More qualifications to remember
Husband of one wife (v.12)
This too goes with the same qualification of an elder, so won’t get into this one today.
Ruling household and children well (v.12)
So must have children
Must have children under control like the Elder (see v.4)
(Transition) so there are some pretty specific qualifications for the Deacon. That brings us now to some negative qualifications, or things not to have.
Not double-tongued (v.8)
This would be saying one thing to one person and something else to someone else. Maybe another way to say this is someone who is a hypocrite, a liar according to IBID
Not addicted to much wine (v.8; Lev10:9)
Barnes says “It may be remarked here, that this qualification was everywhere regarded as necessary for a minister of religion.
I.e. the pagan priests could not drink when entering the temple
The Jewish priests were forbidden from wine and strong drink.
9 “Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die—it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations—
So, think about that, if it was not OK for Jewish priests or even pagan ones, it is not OK for a New Testament minster, servant, deacon.
Not fond of sordid gain (greedy of filthy lucure) (v.8; Jn12:6)
B.W. Johnson said “Men who are covetous and unscrupulous as to modes of getting money are not to be chosen.”
You can see Judas as an example of this issue.
6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.
(Transition) did you think I did a Passover of (v.11)? nope that is our next point the deacons wife.
Qualifications of deacons wife (women)
Qualifications of deacons wife (women)
Some good godly qualities, qualifications for a Deacons wife, or is it good qualities for women in general? Let’s look together.
11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.
Now, if you looked at many of the bible verse variations you will see that the word women is replaced with wives in some versions.
The Greek word “gune” (women) is the word used in this verse
Defined by Thayers Bible dictionary as:
A woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow
A wife; of a betrothed woman
Varying opinions on the use of the word.
Barnes says “the wives of deacons (and perhaps wives of elders)
Chrysostom says “Women who serve as ‘deaconesses.’”
Clarke claims it is “women in general”
With the varying opinions if you come to a place of believing it is referring to a female deacon (deaconess) you can see that used in (Rom16:1-2) referring to Pheobe as a servant (minister, deacon) of the church.
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; 2 that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.
If you are a history buff, in the post-apostolic church a servant is the word deaconess, one who would assist, minister to other women at baptisms, and widows, etc. (Apostolic Constitutions from 390 A.D.)
Copeland draws this conclusion:
N.T. evidence is not sufficient to require deaconesses
N.T. evidence is not sufficient to condemn deaconesses
Now there is conditions on the later that there is no violations of the limitations given regarding women in other places in scripture such as
11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
or you can look up and consider 1Cor14:34-37 which goes hand in hand with the Timothy passage just expands a little more.
(Transition) Either way about it, there are some good qualities to be found in women or deaconesses
Qualities/qualifications of deacons wives:
They should be dignified (reverent, grave, serious)
They should not be gossips (slanderers, malicious) (consider 1Tim5:13)
13 At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.
They should be temperate (sober)
showing moderation or self-restraint
being of right mind, clearheaded
They should be faithful in all things (consider 1Tim5:7-10)
Faithful, above reproach, look at what is said regarding women widows
7 Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9 A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, 10 having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.
(Transition) We still have one more verse to deal with regarding the qualifications and work of a deacon.
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.
Oh let me give you another one of the interpretive versions I think expands beautifully.
For those who have served well as deacons gain a high standing [having a good reputation among the congregation], and great confidence in the faith which is [founded on and centered] in Christ Jesus. (AMP)
There are people who serve in the capacity of a deacon or deaconess without the office, without the title, and they are needed in the physical ministry of the body.
(Insert life in the church Picture Here)
Life as the church, Paul has given some great instructions to Timothy thus far and may we be reminded of some of them as we prepare to close today.
Remember in our life as the church, Jesus Christ is our hope
Doctrine, teaching matters for there are those who are not teaching the truth and we need to know it. Know it by knowing the truth.
The command to love, love from a pure heart with a clear conscience
Fight the good fight of the faith and for the faith
Prayer is a priority in the church as the church not to be taken lightly
Women are to be modest, just as the men are to be meaningful in their prayers
The biblical leadership consists of
Christ as the center, the cornerstone
Elders as the Spiritual leaders of the spiritual needs of the local congregation
Deacons are the assistants, ministers, servants of the physical needs of the local congregation.
First you have to be in the church, which means you need to be in Christ
(invitation slide - In Christ) (Song) (Prayer)