TEXT: Textual; 1 Timothy 3:8-13
INTRO: The Baptist Faith and Message, the SBC book on theological guidelines, says there are two (2) offices of leadership in the local church: elders and deacons..
I. ROLE OF THE DEACON.
A. The word “deacon” is a transliteration of the Greek term “diakonos” which itself comes from two Greek terms, “dia”, which means “through” and “konos,” which means “the dust.” Obviously it is a reference to something very humble. It is literally translated “servant” or “minister.”
B. It is believed by Biblical scholars that the first mention of such an office in the church is in Acts 6 where the issue of mistreatment of Hellenistic widows was addressed by the Apostles in having the church select 7 men from among them to take care of the problem so the Apostles could devote their time to prayer and preaching about the faith. The church selected these men who, according to the Scripture, were “of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom.”
Acts 6:7, “the preaching about God flourished, the number of the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith.”
Philippians, 1:1, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.”
C. Deacons are found in all Christian churches, but there selection and roles may differ.
D. In Southern Baptist churches deacons are elected by the congregation, often ordained either for life or a period of years (ordination is not in the Bible, but it means to formally set aside for God.) The work for these deacons ranges from ushering, to work on building and grounds, helping the pastor in ministering to the sick, the bereaved, the homebound, teaching, visitation, and often in financial administration.
II. THE BIBLICAL QUALIFICATIONS (1 Timothy 3:8-13; Titus 2:2-5)
A. In 1 Timothy 3:8-13 the common qualifications for deacons are listed. 1.) “worthy of respect:” 2.) “not hypocritical:” 3.) “not drinking a lot of wine:” 4.) “not greedy for money:” 5.) “holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience:” 6.) “tested first and found blameless:” Vs. 12, 7.) “husbands of one wife:” 8.) “managing their children and households well:”
B. Verse 11: “wives or women,” the Greek term “gunaikos” can be translate either way here.
Romans 16:1, “I commend to you our sister Phobe, who is a deacon of the church Cenchrea.” 1.) “worthy of respect:” 2.) “not slanderers:” The word is “diabolous:” the root being Diablos, or Devil. 3.) “self-controlled:” 4.) “faithful in everything:” loyal diligence, willing to work as unto the Lord.
Titus 2:3, “older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good.”
Vs. 13, “Those who have endured well as deacons, acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”
III. OUR CURRENT CHURCH PRACTICE.
A. In our church we have deacons = servants/ servant workers. They make up our entire church work force. They are only “servants/ deacons” for as long as they serve.
B. Why ?1.) It adheres to the Biblical process, allows both men and women to participate (which they would anyway, regardless of structure), Thus, the church controls the deacons rather than the deacons controlling the church.
2.) It works as long as the group is ruled by humility and diligence, preventing power struggles and deacons who do not “deac.”
The Bible teaches that there are at least two levels of what may be called “servant leaders.” The first is the “elders,” The second group are “deacons” or servant workers in the church attending to the labor that allows the church to function without major interruptions.