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Acts 6:7; 1 Tim. 3:13
THE REWARDS OF THE BAPTIST DEACON
Intro: We have spent the past few weeks considering the office of the Deacon. A moment of recap might be in order here.
We talked about the Reason for the office, Acts 6:1-7. The office of Deacon was created because the church needed men to fill a place of service so that the preachers could devote themselves to prayer, Bible study and sermon preparation.
We have also preached about the Requirements of the office, Acts 6:3; 1 Tim. 3:8-13. The requirements are very stiff. The men chosen as Deacons must be men of the highest moral character. They must be men who are filled with the Spirit of God. They must also be men who possess a servant’s heart and willingness to serve others.
Today, I want to conclude this series of sermons by preaching about The Rewards Of The Baptist Deacon. When the right men are selected and ordained certain benefits will be enjoyed by the Church, the Community and by the Candidates themselves. So, let’s look at what we can expect when the right men are selected as Deacons. I want to preach on The Rewards Of The Baptist Deacon.
I. 1 Tim. 3:13 THE REWARDS TO THE CANDIDATE
(Ill. When a man serves as a Deacon and when he serves well, he will receive certain spiritual rewards from the Lord and from the church. As a Deacon, you will not be compensated monetarily, but you will be compensated by the Lord.)
A. Spiritual Promotion purchase to themselves a good degree This phrase means they obtain for themselves an excellent rank.” The word “degree means rank or standing. The Deacon who serves the church, in the manner consistent with the teachings of the Word of God, will be exalted.
There are many Deacons who think they should be honored because they have a title. Then there are Deacons who are honored because they have earned the respect of the church. No man who is a truly spiritual man will desire to be placed on a pedestal. Yet, if a Deacon serves the church as he should, he will earn the respect of the church and they will honor him for his service. He will achieve a place of honor and will be seen as a leader, not because he demands it, but because he deserves it!
Not only will the church promote the good, faithful Deacon, God Himself will honor the man who faithfully serves others, James 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:6. The good Deacon will serve the church, not because he desires the praise of men; the good Deacon will serve the church because he has a heart for the glory of God and because he longs for the praise of Heaven.
(Ill. By the way, there are a lot of men who want to titles and the position, but there are few who are willing to be servants in the church. Some years ago a man was visiting Mother Theresa. He watched her work among the lepers in India. He watched as she bandaged sore and took care of injuries. He remarked, “I wouldn’t touch that for a million dollars! She simply replied. Neither would I.” While I am certain that her theology and mine would be as far apart as can be imagined, she understood the true essence of service. She didn’t do it for recognition or wealth. She did what she did because she cared. She had a servant’s heart!
We need Deacons who possess that same kind of heart. We need men who are willing to perform the most menial of tasks so that the church might be served and the Lord might be glorified.)
B. Spiritual Power great boldness in the faith As the Deacon serves the Lord and the church he will see the Lord use him in some pretty special ways. As the Deacon sees God use him, his faith in the Lord will be strengthened and his walk with the Lord will grow deeper and stronger. As this happens, the Deacon is emboldened to serve the Lord is even greater ways.
This phrase also has the idea of a Deacon as a witness for Jesus. As a Deacon grows in his ministry and his relationship with the Lord, he will be accepted by the church and the community as a witness for the Lord. His words will carry weight with saint and sinner alike because he has proven that his faith is real though his lifestyle and his service to others.
(Ill. Acts 6:6-8:40 speak about two of the first Deacons, Stephen and Philip. These two men were living examples of “great boldness in the faith. Stephen witnessed of Jesus before the Jewish Sanhedrin. He stood his ground and remained steadfast in his convictions even when they stoned him to death. Stephen is a good example to every Deacon. Philip was a mighty preacher of the Word of God and he was used of the Lord is a great fashion. He helped lead a revival in Samaria; he witnessed to the Ethiopian eunuch; and he preached the Gospel everywhere he traveled.
These two men served the early church. Apparently they served it faithfully. As a result, they were elevated to a place of honor by the church and they were used in mighty ways by God Himself.
If you are selected to serve as a Deacon in this church let me encourage you to learn to serve the Lord by serving others. If you will, the rewards you will reap are without measure.)
II. Acts 6:7 THE REWARDS TO THE CHURCH
(Ill. Not only to the Deacons, themselves, reap certain benefits, so does the church. In fact, the church is the greatest recipient when they have good, godly Deacons. Let me show you a few of the ways the church benefited from the ministry of their Deacons.)
A. In The Arena Of Peace The Deacons were selected because there was division in the church, Acts 6:1. Some of the widows felt left out when the daily food rations were distributed. The contention between the two groups was growing and there existed the potential that the early church could have split into two bodies. The advice to elect seven men to carry out the work of the ministry in the church please both sides of the issue, Acts 6:5. (Ill. This is the first and last time when all the people in the church were all pleased at the same time!)
Now, I know that some people aren’t going to be happy no matter what you do. Some people get upset when we spend money; some people get upset when we save money. Some people are happy with the way the church is moving; others are not happy. That is just the way things are. You cannot please all the people all the time. When the people of the church are served as they should be, there will be peace in the house of God. One of the reasons people get out of sorts at church is that they feel like they are shut out and that they do not belong. When people are ministered to and listened to, they tend to be far more content. Good, serving Deacons can help the church achieve the goal of ministering to the people in all the way they need to be ministered to.
B. In The Arena Of Provision Because the Apostles were so busy with all the duties they had, the people in the church were not getting their needs met. When the Deacons were selected and their ministry began, the needs of the people were taken care of.
As I mentioned a few weeks back, one man cannot possibly do everything a growing, going, working church needs done. He needs help. He needs men around him who are willing to help him carry the load of the work of the church. When the Pastor and Deacons are all serving as they should, the sick and shut-ins are ministered to; the visits that need to be made are taken care of; the burdens and concerns of the church are handled in an effective manner. In other words, real ministry is accomplished when enough people are on the job.
C. In The Arena Of Preaching When the Deacons were selected, the Apostles had the time they needed to pray and study the Bible, Acts 6:2, 4. Because they could pray and study as they should, the ministry of the Word of God spread in the church, Acts 6:7. The church benefitted because the preaching got better. As the preaching improved, the people were fed and the church grew.
(Ill. Churches need to understand that they can either have a man who tries to do everything in the church or they can have a preacher. They cannot possibly have both! A man who is busy putting out fires all over the community has not time to seek God’s face in His Word. He has no time to prepare relevant, biblical sermons that God can use to feed the sheep and evangelize the lost.
Don’t get me wrong, the preacher is a servant too. He is not to spend all his days sequestered in his ivory tower away from the needs of his people. He is to minister to them as they may have need. But, he shouldn’t be expected to do everything by himself. He needs help and a good part of that help is to come from the Deacons.)
D. In The Arena Of People The people were served and the Word was preached and the church grew. I am sure the word got out in the community that Gods people cared for one another. Love was their calling card and they certainly used it whenever they could, John 13:35. People want to be cared for and when they are, they will tell others. When others hear, they will come and see what’s going on.
As the Word of God was preached, the people of God grew in their faith. They were developed and sent out into the community to spread the Word of God. The capacity for ministry in the church was greatly expanded when they chose those first Deacons.
(Ill. These same benefits will come to the church that is blessed with good, godly Deacons. When we get the men God wants us to have in place and they begin to discharge their ministry, we can expect the church to prosper in several special, profound ways.)
III. Acts 6:7 THE REWARDS TO THE COMMUNITY
(Ill. We have seen that the Deacons themselves will be rewarded for their faithful service to the church. The church will also be rewarded as their needs are addressed and met by the church. It also seems clear that the community outside the church will also benefit from the ministry of the right kind of Deacons in the local church.)
A. Sinners Were Converted a great multitude came into the church because the preachers were relieved of the day to day work of ministering to the physical needs of the church. As word spread that the Lord was blessing and working in the church more people came to see what God was doing. Because the Gospel was proclaimed in more power and more clarity, many people were reached and a tremendous number of people came to Jesus for salvation.
Will our church grow as the result of electing new Deacons? Genuine church growth is a matter that is up to the Lord alone. I will say that there is a greater possibility for the church to grow if her physical needs are met and the Word of God is preached in power and clarity. Personally, I believe the church will be blessed by the Lord when it is led by the right kind of servant-leadership.
B. Society Was Changed a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith As the Word of God spread around the city of Jerusalem, many of the Jewish priests came to faith in Jesus. As a result, the entire community was altered. In other words, God used the ministry of those early Deacons to grow His church and to make inroads into the community.
Will our election today change Lenoir and Caldwell County? Who knows! When our Deacons are elected and they get busy for the glory of God, kicking up dust as they minister to the needs of the church, word will get out about it. People will come to see. As the Deacons serve the physical needs of the church, the ministry of the Word will grow and that has the potential to change the world. I am confident that the men we elect today will make a difference in our church. I am confident that their ministry will enable our church to make a difference in the world around us. I would not be surprised to see the Lord do some amazing things as a result of the decision you make here today.
Conc: Those are the rewards that come when God’s will is honored in the selection of Deacons. We can expect the Lord’s work to prosper both in the church and in the community. The Deacons who are elected can expect their own faith to grow. They can anticipate the Lord using them for His glory to serve the local church and to be a blessing to the people of the Lord.
We are blessed here at Calvary. Many churches have a hard time finding men who are qualified to be Deacons. We have many men who can serve with honor and who can serve well. We even have some men here who have served as Deacons in others churches. These men are ordained, qualified and ready to serve, if they are selected. If you are a man who has been elected as a Deacon in another church and you are ordained, still qualified and available to serve, would you please stand?
We are about to move into our business meeting. In that meeting, hopefully, we will be electing four new Deacons. Just before we go into our business session, let’s once again come before the Lord to pray for God’s men to be chosen; His will to be done and for peace and unity in the church.