OceanSide church of Christ
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QUALIFICATIONS OF DEACONS
Victor M. Eskew
A. According to Matthew 16:18, it was Jesus who built His church. He is the divine architect.
B. It was designed and built according to His specifications in every area, including church organization.
1. The church has six offices that have been or are occupied by members of the church: apostles, prophets, pastors, deacons, evangelists, and teachers. (NOTE: The offices of apostles and prophets are filled by the apostles and prophets of the first century. They carry out their role through their writings found in the New Testament of Jesus Christ).
2. In our lesson this morning, we want to focus on the office of deacon.
I. THE NAME
A. The term “deacon” is a transliteration of the Greek word “diakanos.”
B. The word can be used in two senses.
1. In a general sense, it refers to anyone who is a servant.
a. Of disciples (Matt. 20:26).
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.
b. Of household servants (John 2:5, 9).
c. Of civil governments (Rom. 13:4).
d. Of women who served the church (Rom. 16:1-2).
2. In a very specific sense, of an office, or work, within the local congregation.
a. Philippians 1:1.
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.
b. I Timothy 3:8-13, especially verse 13.
For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
II. THE QUALIFICATIONS
A. The qualifications for deacons are found only in I Timothy 3:8-13.
1. One commentator states correctly: “The qualifications of a deacon mean something, or they would not been given” (The Deacon and His Work, James D. Bales, “The Deaconship,” p. 12).
2. Note: These qualifications are not optional. They are essential (I Tim. 3:8a).
Likewise must the deacons be…
B. There are nine qualifications that must be met before one can assume the office of a deacon.
1. Grave (4586).
a. Honorable, venerable, serious.
b. A deacon is one who knows that life is serious business and lives his life as proof of that understanding.
c. His Christian life and service are also viewed as serious.
d. This is very important because the deacon must take his assigned role in the church very seriously. The Lord, the elders, and the church are counting upon him to do his duty.
2. Not double-tongued (1351).
a. Literally: not one who tells a different story, saying one thing to one person and another thing to another person.
b. A deacon is not a politician; he is a servant.
c. He will deal with many people in the church. His yea should be yea and his nay, nay.
d. His words are the same whether he is in an elders’ meeting, at a restaurant with other members, at the office with a member, or on the phone with a dissenter.
3. Not given to much wine (4337).
a. Given: to hold the mind toward, pay attention, be addicted to, to attach one’s self to.
b. Paul is not considering social drinking here. He is setting forth a qualification of a deacon. He cannot be one whose mind is turned upon wine.
c. To do his service, the deacon must be sober, right thinking, and rational. His thoughts do no need to be impaired by wine and strong drink.
4. Not greedy of filthy lucre (146).
a. He is not to be one who is eager for base gain or greedy for money.
b. The deacon’s position will often require him to access to church funds. He may also have to collect money for various works. Such money could become a temptation for him to use for personal use or gain (i.e., Judas, John 12:6).
c. The deacon’s office is one from which to give unto others, not to get.
5. Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
a. The mystery of the faith is the gospel of Christ.
1) In ages past it was not revealed and was a mystery.
2) Now is has been revealed (Eph. 3:3-4, 9-10).
b. To hold means to possess in the mind. Thus, the deacon must have a proper understanding of the truth.
c. Note: This truth is to be held in a pure conscience. In other words, he must live in harmony with the mystery of the faith that is within his mind.
d. A deacon is to both know and practice the Word of God in his life.
6. And let these also first be proved…being found blameless.
a. To prove.
1) To test, scrutinize to see whether it is genuine or not.
2) The man being considered must have been a Christian long enough to have been tried.
3) Others have examined his manner of life long enough to see whether his profession of faith is genuine or not.
b. The end of the test is that he might be found blameless.
1) He is not accused. He is irreproachable.
2) He is not perfect, but nothing prohibits his being in the office of a deacon.
3) Hendricksen: “…by means of a consecrated life he must furnish a testimonial of character.”
c. Many factors could arise in the testing period that could raise red flags with regard to his appointment: slothful, anger issues, an eye for the ladies, money problems, dishonesty, family problems, etc.
7. Let the deacons be the husband of one wife.
a. They must be men, not women.
b. They must be married men.
c. They cannot be polygamists or involved in unlawful marriages.
d. They are to be one-wife husbands.
8. Ruling their children and their own houses well.
a. To rule means “to stand over, to preside.” It involves caring for, protecting, and giving aid.
b. This is to be done well, that is, excellently, commendably, no room for blame.
c. The deacon is to be the head of his house and have control of its affairs.
1) The wife is not to dominate.
2) The children are not “in control” or “out of control.”
d. The deacon will be presiding over programs and leading people. He must have some measure of leadership ability that is demonstrated in the home.
9. Qualified spouse (I Tim. 3:11).
Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
a. Grave: Serious and conscientious in living.
b. Not slanderers; control of her tongue, not a false accuser and gossip.
c. Sober: temperate, vigilant, abstaining from wine.
d. Faithful in all things: trustworthy, reliable, faithful in business and in service to God.
C. When we seek out men among us to be deacons, they must meet all of these qualifications. Don’t hedge on them. Don’t make excuses as to why one of the qualifications is not met.
III. THE WORK
A. The work is inherent in the title.
1. Literally: to kick up the dust.
2. A servant, one who labors and completes the tasks assigned to him in any given area.
B. The basic process:
1. The deacon is given his assigned area of work or a task to be completed.
2. He develops a plan of action to accomplish his work: money, supplies, workers, date, time, etc.
3. He works the plan and gets the job done.
4. He is then held accountable for the work that is to be done (Efficiency? Timely? Effective?).
C. Laziness, irresponsibility, neglect, sabotage, passing the buck, etc. should not be part of the deacon’s demeanor.
A. The church at OceanSide is in need of additional deacons, men who will eagerly and proudly tackle some major areas of work.
B. The church has submitted names and one has said he would be willing to serve, Mike Wencel. During the next two weeks please reflect upon this lesson. If you do not feel Mike is qualified, please go to him and discuss these matters. If they cannot be resolved, please inform one of the elders.