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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.

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

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