Deacons: Origins and Characteristics
Scripture: Acts 6:1–6:7, 1 Timothy 3:8–3:13
Key Truth: The growth of the Church is connected to the cultivation of leaders in the image of Christ to serve the various needs that arise from the fulfillment of God’s redemptive promises.
Q: Does your life affect the life and future of the church?
“The office (of deacon) is one of sympathy and service, after the example of the Lord Jesus; it expresses also the communion of the saints, especially in their helping one another in time of need.”
The Book of Church Order of the PCA, 9-1
The Origin of the Diaconate: The Gospel Creates a Need:
“Mercy ministry is not an end, but a means to an end—the spread of God’s kingdom. The goal of mercy cannot be simply to feed as many people as we can, but to bring Christ’s lordship over their whole lives and the social systems in which they live. Thus mercy ministry cannot “compete” with evangelism or the gifts, energy, or money of the church. Mercy and evangelism have the same goals.”
Timothy J. Keller, Ministries of Mercy: The Call to the Jericho Road
Q: What impact is your reputation and evidence of being filled with the Spirit and wisdom having on the growth of the Kingdom of God?
The Characteristics of the Deacon and His Wife: The Gospel Lived Out:
1 Timothy 3:8-13
“Paul expected close contact between believers and unbelievers, and the evaluation of those onlookers…of what could be seen and known about the church was crucial to the mission of the church. Consequently, the emphasis on the prospective leader’s public respectability and reputation was a function of the interface that the believing community was to have with the surrounding world….And it is for this reason—for the reason of the public legitimacy of the gospel—that leaders must be able to project the reputation of integrity and seriousness beyond the church’s walls.”
Philip H. Towner, The Letters of Timothy and Titus
Q: What is your attitude toward being a servant in the church for the glory of God? How is your attitude affecting your faith in Christ Jesus?
Acts 6:1-7 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13 teach us that:
-Gospel growth necessitates cultivation of leadership which facilitates further growth
-how we live out the Gospel affects our faith and the faith of others in Christ Jesus
“If it is true that what the leadership is in microcosm, the congregation will become in macrocosm (and it is true!), then the character of those who fill the office of deacon as well as that of elder is of utmost importance. We must pray for such leadership. We must seek such leadership. As is the leadership, so is the church.”
R. Kent Hughes & Bryan Chapell, 1-2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit