Service Times

Worship Service
Sun. 9:30am - 10:30am

Sunday School
Sun. 10:45am - 11:20am

Prayer Meeting & Bible Study
Wed. 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Crusaders Club (Seasonal)
Thurs. 3:00pm - 5:30pm

Crusaders Teens (Seasonal)
Thurs. 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Stay in the Word

Ephesians 4:1-6

This is my last sermon summary because on Thursday I am retiring from full time pastoral ministry. I am not sure what new ministry opportunities God will show me, but I am sure He will reveal it to me in His own perfect time. I would like to thank those of you who have been so encouraging to Linda and me throughout the last 13 years and 9 months. We also thank all those who blessed us with your presence, kind words, and well wishes this past Sunday at our reception. I also thank the Royal Center Record for publishing these sermon summaries. It is God and God alone Who has so blessed His ministry at Baptist Christian. I am humbled and privileged to have been only the tool He used to accomplish His work! To God be the glory forever and ever. Here is the summary of what I shared this past Sunday.

There are many farewells in Scripture. Abraham said farewell to his family and followed God. After the death of Naomi’s husband and her 2 sons, Orpah said good-bye, but Ruth stayed with Naomi. You remember when Jesus was teaching about the cost of following Him, one man He called told Him, I’ll follow You, but 1st let me say good-bye to my family. Paul said farewell to Aquila and Priscilla when he left Corinth to go to Ephesus. After Paul had been in Ephesus for at least several years, he said good-bye and left for Jerusalem. Farewells and good-byes are part of our lives today, as they have been in everyone’s life since Eden! I don’t want to focus on farewell this morning, I want to focus on staying; more specifically, your staying! I want to talk to you this morning about a strategy that will result in sound Biblical doctrine, sound Biblical wisdom and understanding, and sound Biblical ministry for BCC! 1st and most important:

I. STAY IN THE WORD. You know when Moses died Joshua was commissioned by God to lead Israel into Canaan. God told Josh exactly what to do to insure God’s continued guidance and protection for Israel. Read Josh. 1:1-9. V. 8 is the focal verse of this passage. When God says, “this Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth…” He is telling Israel, that there must never be a time when Scripture is not at the forefront of their mind. Scripture is the filter of the soul through which all life flows! The doctrine of staying in the Word is taught in both O/NT; and is how a person, a family, a local NT church, a nation – stays in a position where God can and will bless them, protect them, grow them, and prosper them. God tells us every facet of our life is to be determined in the light of Scripture. Jesus teaches this same doctrine in the Sermon on the Mount in Matt. 5-7. Beloved, in all that you do as individuals, as families, and especially as a fundamental, local NT church I implore you – stay in the Word, for in it you find the deep truths and secrets of God that bring to your heart more than all you can imagine or ask! Next:
II. STAY ON YOUR KNEES. How important is prayer to a Christian? A true Christian will tell you, it is as important as oxygen is to life! I said a few weeks ago prayer is the breath of life from a Christian to The God Who called and redeemed and is now sanctifying for His own use. Yes, prayer is that important! King David said, “Look to the Lord and His strength, seek His face always; 1 Chron. 16:11; Luke 18:1 records Jesus teaching us “to pray always, and never give up.” Again He teaches us, “Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Jn. 16:24 Paul teaches “keep on praying for all the saints.” Eph. 6:18 You know he told the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing.” 1 Thess. 5:17. If you stay in the Word, it will teach you to stay on your knees! A Christian life without prayer is very simply not a Christian life! A Christian cannot live – as a Christian – without constant and consistent prayer. Both private and public prayer is taught throughout Scripture. The Savior Himself is our best example of both private and public prayers. Any student of the Word will tell you if Jesus thought both kinds of prayer were important, any Christian who is walking with the Lord will also think both kinds of prayer is important. The point is corporate prayer is taught as a necessary and normal part of a Christian’s life. Then finally I encourage you to:
III. STAY IN THE PEW. When God gave Moses the 10 Commandments, God made it clear in the first 4 commandments we are to worship no one, nor anything other than God Himself. In both the Old and New Testament, worship to God is the expected norm for God’s people. Worship to God is a way of life for Christians. Just as Quiet Time/Bible study and memorization; and prayer are to be a normal part of every Christian’s life, both private and public, so is worship. Here is a news flash for you! Worship is never about you, Worship is always about God! A true Christian comes to Sunday morning worship to bow down, humble themselves, submit to, and sit quietly before The Lord God Almighty! If you haven’t come to meet and worship with God as the Sovereign, Holy God He is, you came for the wrong reason!! God always fills a heart that comes to worship having been deliberately emptied of self. Worship is a heart attitude and activity! It only happens in a heart redeemed by the blood! If worship is not changing your life, you 1st need to change your heart, by emptying it of you, and let God fill it with His Holy Spirit. My Beloved, I implore you to stand fast! Stay in the Word and fill your heart with its truths; Stay on your knees and let the power of Almighty God lift you to the realms of glory; and stay in the pew praising and thanking God that He called you to a life of worship! And do all those things until the Lord Himself comes down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God and we are all caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, and we will be with Him forever!  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all! Amen!

Heresy vs. Happiness

1 Timothy 6:3-19

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. In this concluding section Paul returns to his concern for Timothy and the believers in Ephesus. The main theme of this letter has been the effect of the gospel on the hearts of those who are true Christians. A saved heart wants to become like the Christ Who redeemed it. It longs to be completely new in holiness and righteousness. Paul closes this letter to Timothy by comparing 2 of the most defining characteristics of the continuing battle between salvation and sin! Paul shows us how

I. HERESY IS PRACTICED. He defines it by exposing 2 traits of all heretics and commands Timothy to teach his congregation to recognize them. Since this is Biblical truth, it is just as valid for us today, as it was for Timothy. The 1st trait of a heretic is teaching false doctrine. You will remember from a few weeks ago that false doctrine is any teaching that is contrary to Scripture in any way! In vs. 4-5 Paul defines in detail what a heretic is. It is important to notice that everything about such a person is infected by the desire to be wrong! One of the most revealing truths about heretics and their heresy is that their false doctrines never point people to Christ as Redeemer. Neither do they ever talk to people about their need of salvation by grace. They are not aware of Proverbs! Look at v. 9-10. The 2nd trait of a heretic is their false deity! False doctrines always leads to a false deity! Notice in v. 10 it is the “love” of money that is the root of all kinds of evil! Not money but the love of money, or establishing money as what is worshipped, sought after with all one’s h/m/s/s. To a heretic “enough” is always “just a little more.” Two key words in these verses are “harmful desires…” A harmful desire is any inward feeling or thought that drawsa person into themselves. An ungodly or unsaved person begins to focus on whatever desire might come to mind, and because their heart is controlled by the sin nature, they naturally begin to expand and exalt their own self-image into whatever is being desired. You can read how that process works beginning in Rom. 1:18. You will see the ultimate end of sinful or harmful desires is that God gives them up to a reprobate mind to do what ought not to be done! Now under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul tells us how
II. HAPPINESS IS PROMISED. How many of you can say – from your heart – you are happy with your life right now? I don’t mean there are no flaws, or things you can and want to do better, we all have those issues, don’t we! I mean, when you consider your life as a whole, you know God has blessed every part of your life and you are joyful or happy with the way God has blessed you.

Paul tells Timothy to focus on 3 activities that result in steadfast happiness and joy in a Christian’s life.

Paul is telling us here, as he tells us in all his letters, 1. “true sufficiency is Christ-sufficiency.” Is that how you look at this life? Do you find your greatest contentment in Christ; in all things God; in being who God

wants you to be; doing what God wants you to do? So how does one learn to be content with godliness?

Look at v. 11-16. When we find our contentment in those things God expects of us, we find we learn by making those activities the focus of our lives we are in active Pursuit of Christ-likeness! You will notice 2. God clearly tells us we cannot pursue anything God until we flee all the ungodliness addressed in various parts of this letter. The word “flee” means to run from as though running for your life. Look at v. 11. Notice how Paul says “flee these things; what is the next word? “Pursue!” Here is another example of how God is telling us we cannot take something evil out of our life without replacing it with something righteous! Flee sin, run from sin; pursue, run to those virtues in v. 11 – and all other virtues given throughout the Scriptures. There are only 2 reasons a person would think their life is not happy! 1 = they are not really saved! They are pretending to be saved, and perhaps even know some of the language. However, in their heart they are unhappy and unsettled! No one, I don’t care how smart or cunning they think they are, can fool God! An unsaved heart cannot be consistently joyful and happy with all of life, including the occasional confrontation God allows for spiritual growth.

The 2nd reason a person is not happy of joyful in their heart is because their salvation is nothing more to them that a way to stay out of hell! They are saved, but that’s all they are! You can testify to the fact there is great gain/benefit in contentment as a result of your pursuit to be Christ-like! May God grant that we, His adopted children, find our contentment in Him and Him only!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

Family Relationships

1 Timothy 5:1 – 6:2

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am.

The early church was very keenly aware of the brother/sister relationship among Christians. They also held that relationship in high regard, and valued it as much as they did their filial family relationships. Beginning in chapter 5 through 6:2 Paul addresses the family relationships within a local body of believers. His reasoning is two-fold; he is teaching young Timothy how to minister to the various groups so Timothy will avoid being disrespectful, or mistreating anyone in any way. The 2nd reason the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write these instructions is so we, today, would have a clear understanding of how God expects us to act toward others in the church family. I have said God never tells us what to do, or what not to do without telling us exactly how to, or not, to do whatever. 5:1-2 are examples of that principle. Paul begins by telling Timothy how to

I. HONOR AND RESPECT OLDER MEN AND WOMEN. Verse 1 is an excellent example of how God teaches us Biblical principles. Here is how Scripture teaches us to honor older men and women. 1st = the negative – do not rebuke; 2nd = the positive – but encourage; 3rd = how – as you would a father.The word “rebuke” means “harsh insensitive treatment.” It describes a severe verbal pounding. In other places in the NT we are told not to slander, defame another person’s character, do not misrepresent the truth to make us look good, and someone else to look bad. Timothy would certainly experience times when older men and women would need to be corrected. Whether dealing with an older man or woman, young Timothy was to minister to them with all the respect, honor, and love that one would show their own father or mother. The 1st commandment that deals with our relationships to other people is “honor your father and your mother.” That is also the 1stcommandment with a promise connected to it; and that promise is that you may live long on the earth. There is never a time in Scripture when a child is allowed to dishonor their parents. In this text God is telling Timothy, he is to treat older men and women with the same honor he would show his parents. He can, as the pastor, correct an older person, but it must be done in such a way that it never hints of dishonor, but encourages them to change direction and pursue the holiness and righteousness expected of all God’s adopted children. So, those of you who think your life has more pits, hardships, garbage, or a severe lack of blessing, or whatever you may think is lacking – look closely at your real attitude toward your parents. I mean the one God sees deep in your heart! The point here is rightly stated by one writer who says, “Paul did not want Timothy only to give admonitions, he also wanted Timothy to provide an example which other Ephesian Christians could imitate.” Which might cause us to think – am I living the Christian life in such a way that it causes others to want to imitate my life and lifestyle? Why would anyone want to misrepresent the Savior who rescued them from an eternal hell? Do you have an answer God will buy? Now Scripture tells us how to:
II. HONOR AND RESPECT TRUE WIDOWS. In the common Greek world “widow” meant “forsaken, left empty desolate.” However, we can never forget Scripture teaches God is always a protector and shelter for widows. In the NT Jesus elevates widows to an even higher level of honor and protection. Paul holds much the same theology as the Lord, teaching true widows are to be cared for and honored. A true widow was a woman who had no surviving family at her husband’s death that could provide for her needs. It is those woman Paul is focusing on in this passage. Next is:
III. HONORING AND RESPECTING ELDERS. We have dealt at length with elders so we need not repeat it here. As Christianity grew, elders became leaders in local churches as they had always been in the synagogue. V. 18 simply says, pay the man in such a way as is honoring to God. Paul closes this section telling slaves proper behavior as Christians is publicly revealing in:
IV. HONORING AND RESPECTING MASTERS – 6:1, 2. There is the thought among conservative writers, that Paul may have witnessed bad behavior among slaves that became Christians. His fear was that the false teachers may have caused some slaves to think that because they were spiritually free in Christ; they were also free from slavery. The point is: respect toward authority may result in reverence toward God and His Word. That is a good philosophy for all Christians (who are bond slaves to Christ) to have toward those in authority at work or anywhere else. Part of Paul’s concern here is that any dishonor or disrespect toward God and His Word be avoided. Everyone and every group of people in the church are affected by the gospel! The best way to remember that is to remember Jesus’ parable of the soils. Reread the first nine verses of Matthew 13, and you will be reminded of what kind of soil your heart is made of! If you want the very best God has to offer you, do all you can for as long as you can to make sure your heart is only good soil!
If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

A Dedication to the Faith

1 Timothy 4:6-16

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. Do you have a strategy for living your life as a Christian? Paul gives Timothy a strategy for personal growth and dealing with the ungodly among and around him, and the believers of that day. Last week we looked at Paul’s warning about how in these last days some will depart from the faith. Today we are studying how all true Christians display a:

I. A DEDICATION TO THE FAITH. Look at v. 4. Everything created by God is good! That statement requires no further commentary! The “nothing”- “is to be rejected” would include sound Biblical doctrine and the teaching of sound Biblical doctrine. A truly saved heart would never think of departing the faith by rejecting sound Biblical doctrine; but make every effort to be as dedicated to it as is humanly possible! Nothing, would also include prayer. A true Christian looks forward to their time in the Word and prayer time with God! Daily QT listening to God speak is life, health, riches, wisdom, understanding, knowledge, security, and a treasure trove of jewels from God our Heavenly Father. Prayer is the breath of life from a Christian to The God Who called and redeemed and is now sanctifying for His own use. True Christians do pray without ceasing! Paul continues describing dedication to the faith in v. 6-11 telling Timothy how to be a Good servant of Jesus Christ, then in 12 -16 he tells Timothy how to guard his service to Christ. Listen, listen carefully! If you preach the truth but don’t display that same truth in your daily life, you are a hypocrite like the P/S’s. If you live without practicing Biblical truth, you are a heretic like the false teachers we see here. Now watch as Paul teaches Timothy how to be dedicated to the faith. 1st he must be
II. A GOOD SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST. Notice 1st a good servant is Properly Trained – v.6 7. A man called by God into pastoral ministry must be properly trained. An overseer must have a heart – on his own – to study diligently, continuously to learn the deep, rich truths of Scripture. In v. 7 Paul’s point is sound, Biblical training is necessary to recognize and reject profane (unbiblical, ungodly) heresy. A good servant must also display Persistent Tenacity! V. 8 – 11. Godliness or Christ-likeness is what Solomon tells us to search for as we would silver, gold, or precious stones; Prov. 1, 2 are entire chapters dedicated to be-coming like Christ. In Ps. 119 David says he meditated on God’s laws continually; In Ps. 1 he tells us the man of God meditates on God’s word day and night. The point here is that as a minister of the Gospel, Timothy, and all true men of God who are called to be pastors must fearlessly, faithfully, and continuously preach the truth of Scripture-nothing else! Lest you think you are off the hook here because you are not a pastor, look back across the page to 3:14-16. Every Christian is held accountable for “putting the truth of Scripture” before all people around them to draw others to Christ for salvation. So how are you doing in your own personal presentation of the truth of Scripture in your daily life? I said earlier this is a conditional statement. If Timothy consistently and continually presents the truth of Scripture to all around him, “then” and only then, is he considered a good servant of Christ! Once a person has committed to becoming a good servant of Christ, he recognizes the high calling of God into ministry and he makes every effort to:
III. GUARD HIS SERVICE TO CHRIST V. 12-16. So how does an overseer guard his service to Christ? In v. 12 learn an overseer is to be a pattern. The word Paul uses here is the same word Christ used when He told His disciples “For I have given you an example, that you should also do just as I have done.” V. 13 explains how an overseer is to be a pattern for others when he is told to be persistent. An overseer is able to teach because his determination, and dedication to being a student of the Word has developed the man so he must teach what he has learned. In order to stay focused on his ministry an overseer must be perceptive in his service to Christ. Look in v. 14. God expects His overseers to always be growing and learning; we see that in v. 15 when Paul tells Timothy he must be progressive. There is nothing in Scripture that ever hints at the idea a Christian, overseer or not, is exempt from progression toward maturity. Paul tells Timothy to immerse himself in his Christian growth so others can see his progress. An overseer is also to be protective! See v. 16. True overseers will fight to the death for sound Biblical doctrine! Why? Because as Paul told the Galatians, any other doctrine/gospel is no doctrine or gospel. It is blasphemy and heresy that leads people into hell.
If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

Departure from the Faith

1 Tim. 4:1-5

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. Do you see yourself as living in the last days? Do you expect Christ to return at any moment, even today? The truthful answer to those questions for most of us is “no!” Because we are 2 millennia removed from Calvary and when Christ and the Apostles were on earth, we have become at least to some degree lethargic and complacent in our theology and view of the return of the Lord. *We believe in our theology He can come today, but we live as though He won’t! That is how the folks in Ephesus lived when Paul was writing to Timothy. You and I cannot forget we are living in the last days! In chapter 4 The Holy Spirit inspires Paul to show us how some will depart from the faith, and how Christians are to be dedicated to the faith! Notice there are two very clear truths stated in verse 1: I. A DEPARTURE FROM THE FAITH. The word “depart” means simply to remove – from a relationship or from fellowship with a person. When we are talking about The Universal Church as we are here, this has serious implications. Depart can also mean: to seduce or to win away; to fall away. The departure is not an action or decision toward a person, it is an action by a person to remove themselves from the relationship or fellowship! Read Deut.7:1-5. I want to show you two serious dangers of such departure.

1st the departure is a choice made by a person within their own deceitful and demon controlled heart! Look again at v. 1. How do people make the decision to depart from sound doctrine or the faith? By devoting themselves. A personal choice on their part. The 2nd danger is that these wolves in sheep’s clothing always drag others with them. Malcontents are never satisfied just to go away by themselves! They want to drag others with them. What makes a person turn to such ungodly activity with such determination to destroy? Look at v. 1 again. The departure from the faith is caused by devotion to deceitful spirits and demonic teachings. Devotion means to consider carefully, implying agreement, to hold firmly, to continue to give oneself, apply oneself! Do you see the demonic and deceitful activity there? Now, someone might ask, can a person who professes to be a Christian really turn from their faith and sound doctrine? Yes, they could! Watch what one writer says concerning this passage; “A mere profession of faith does not guarantee the actual possession of eternal life.” Mark 4:5 records where Jesus describes this kind of heart when He describes how some seed fell on stony ground. It sprouted and began to grow, but when the sun became hot, because it had no depth of root, it withered and died.

A true Christian cannot devote themselves to deceitful spirits and demonic teachings! They cannot! The indwelling Holy Spirit will not allow it. He will not allow a redeemed heart to be filled with the works of the devil. He will only allow a redeemed heart to be filled with fruits of the Spirit! Those “some” in v. 1 were professing Christians in the Ephesian church! One of the most revealing truths about a liar and hypocrite is that their empty profession of faith becomes clearer and clearer to all those who are true Christians the longer the hypocrites are in the body! The fact they forbade marriage and required abstinence from food are examples of how these cold-hearted liars were distorting Biblical doctrine. The heresy was, that those who abstained from foods and marriage were somehow more spiritual and closer to God! The problem with that whole idea is that is pure legalism! The lying hypocrites were teaching spirituality is a result of works. Scripture teaches throughout that legalism drives people from God; and the Holy Spirit draws people to God by helping them understand what sound Biblical doctrine really is.

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

The Deacon and His Family

1 Timothy 3:11-13

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. I believe one of the most important lessons we can learn from our study to this point is that being a leader, i.e. an elder, overseer, pastor, or deacon, in a NT local church is not easy, nor is it something to be sought after for personal gain. Scripture sets high standards for all leaders in Christ’s body, The Church. It is sad but true that many godly men are not able to serve as officers because their wives disqualify them. In v. 11 Scripture gives 4 qualifications for a deacon’s wife. When we were studying the qualifications for an elder, the qualifications for a wife were not specifically given as they are for a deacon. However, godly women are implied when saying an elder must manage his own household well. An ungodly wife makes managing a household in a God-honoring way impossible! If you want to see that principle read through the Proverbs and note how many times Solomon refers to the positives and negatives of a godly wife! Please notice that Scripture says a deacon’s wife must be. That is exactly the same verb in exactly the same form as “must be” for an elder or deacon. These character qualities must now be present in the woman’s life. Notice 1sta deacon’s wife must be:

1. DIGNIFIED. You remember a man who is considered to be dignified is a serious minded man whose character merits respect. For a woman to be a deacon’s wife, she likewise must be a serious woman whose character merits respect. Just as God expects His elders and deacons to be men above reproach, so He expects their wives to be of the same high moral character. A deacon’s wife must:

2. NOT BE A SLANDERER! In v. 4 addressing the elder managing his family with dignity; in v. 8 addressing the character of a deacon, and here in v. 11 Paul uses the same word in each case. The point being made here is that a woman cannot be the helpmeet of a man whose character has defined him as a leader. A godly man must now have a wife whose character is void of the desire to slander and desecrate others. She must, like her husband, do all she can to draw others to Christ. Next a deacon’s wife must now be:

3. SOBER-MINDED. The use here is not in association with the use of alcohol—rather it has to do with self-control. This is where we learn how a woman can disqualify her husband, no matter how godly he may be, if his wife does not display an attitude of self-control, she is not leadership material. Yes, you heard right, a deacon’s or elder’s wife is in a position of leadership in a NT local church. If she does not meet the qualifications here, and if she does not have a reputation as a godly woman, not only does she disqualify herself, she disqualifies her husband! Paul continues to teach us the consistency of the Christian life when he tells us deacons’ wives must be:

4. FAITHFUL IN ALL THINGS. Like their husbands, deacon’s wives must be dedicated to living a life in harmony with God’s Word in every aspect. God does not differentiate between people when it comes to living as He expects His adopted children to do. Just as an elder or deacon may be approached by someone for counseling, advice, direction, or as a prayer partner, so his wife may be approached by a woman. The wife must be just as ready to help as her husband would be. There are as many excuses people use to avoid spiritual partnerships as there are people! The point is everyone needs help once in a while. I believe for the most part women are somewhat less restrained and will share with a woman they trust! It should be common knowledge among the local church family that any leader’s wife is faithful in all things, and worthy to be trusted as a sister in Christ. It is also true, however, that a leader’s wife must also be a woman of the Word, a woman of prayer, a student of the Word if she is going to be seen as one who can be trusted to sound Biblical advise in any situation! Women have a powerful ministry in a NT local church. That ministry has many different parts, but they all affect the family in a local church. God does not allow women to be any less mature or qualified to serve in His family! For that reason every woman in the congregation as God’s child has a personal obligation to grow into spiritual maturity. You can read that in Eph. 4 and many other places through the NT! But those women who are married to officers in a local church have a greater obligation to grow in Christ with their husbands. More often than not ministry involves husband and wife serving together. May that always be the standard by which God’s called leaders live.

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

Deacons: God’s Servants

1 Timothy 3:8-13

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. You have heard me say from time to time every man who is a Christian ought to be a deacon in training; and every deacon ought to be an elder in training! I say that because as you read the qualifications for a deacon, you have to wonder why every man who has accepted God’s gracious gift of salvation, would not want to show his gratefulness by becoming a man of character who constantly studies to show himself approved to God, a workman who is not ashamed. Paul turns his attention to the requirements that must now be present for those men who serve as deacons. All of the nine listed requirements that must now be present in a man’s life for him to be qualified to serve as a deacon are very similar to those for an overseer. Six of the requirements are stated positively- “a deacon must be”; and three are stated negatively; “a deacon must not be!” As he did with elders, Paul begins with what might be considered an “umbrella” character quality.

A deacon I. MUST BE DIGNIFIED. This is the same word Paul used to describe how an elder lives before his family at home, and in front of other people. In this instance “dignified” is defined by one writer as “seriousminded men whose character merits respect.” The point is that no matter what the man is doing, he is doing it in such a way it does not bring reproach or dishonor to the name of the Lord or the meaning of the word “Christian!” The dignity of a man who ministers as a deacon is defined by what the man is NOT! 1st he is not: A. Double-tongued. We might say such a person is talking out of both sides of his mouth or is simply a hypocrite. The term also means a man would never be guilty of spreading rumors, or slander and defame the character or ministry of the Apostles. A dignified man was NOT B. a drunkard. Here is another repetition of the character of an elder. A drunkard is addicted to alcohol. A leader in the local church needs to be addicted to Scripture and Christ-likeness, which will in turn addict him to ministry! A man of dignity is also NOT: C. dishonest. In its simplest form the word translated “dishonest” means not given to questionable money-making. I like the way one author sum’s up Paul’s meaning. The use of a spiritual office (elder or deacon) for material benefit, even if no illegality or dishonesty was present.” A deacon is not to be perceived as dishonest in any way.

In v. 9 We see a deacon, like an elder, must be II.  DOCTRINALLY SOUND. You will notice this command is positive. Deacons must (now) hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. This is perhaps one of the most overlooked qualifications in NT local churches today. The “mystery of the faith” means those deep truths of the faith that were hidden, or not revealed, before Calvary, but are now are made known. The “faith” Paul is referring to here is what makes up the Christian religion. It is pure and objective Biblical truth! Conscience is defined as: that inner guide to life that demonstrates the spiritual maturity required to show obedience to God.

For a man to be considered for the office we have learned he must be dignified, doctrinally sound; and finally, a deacon must be: III. DEDICATED. V. 10 says deacon candidates are to be tested before they can serve as deacons.  The root of the Greek word, from which “testing” comes, means “tested in battle.” Itcarries the idea of “a man who is tested, significant, recognized, esteemed, worthy.” A man who would beconsidered to serve as a deacon must first give evidence of genuine salvation. The change that is the normal and expected response to a real salvation experience is radical, and consistent. Testing is not an event, it is a process that has been observed in a man’s life over a long period of time, and found to be accurate in its portrayal of Biblical truth. Paul closes this section by saying that when a man is found blameless and Biblically qualified to serve as a deacon, and they serve well, will gain a good standing.

There are 2 promises. 1st = good standing. The good standing is most likely to be understood as a good reputation and respect from the church for a job well done. The 2nd is the receipt of great assurance. The best interpretation is most likely confidence that they are honoring God in their ministry because of their maturity in the faith, which compels them to serve the Lord and Savior Who brought redemption to them. Deacons, like elders, are given a grave responsibility in the ministry of a NT local church. Neither office is to be taken lightly.

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