By Johnie Edwards
The place of deacons is very vital to a successful working church. A man who had been a deacon for some twenty-five years once asked me, “Just what is the work of deacons? I’ve been one for twenty-five years and I do not understand what I am supposed to be doing.” Realizing many deacons may not have the proper concept of their work, we study:
Qualifications For Deacons
The qualifications for deacons are found only one time in the Bible. Please take your Bible and read 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Please do that right now. It can be seen from this reading that deacons can be out of place.
(1) Double-tongued. A deacon must not talk out of both sides of his mouth. He must be a man who is stable in his speech. It is like Paul told the Colossians, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6). A deacon must not say one thing and mean something else!
(2) Drink. A deacon must not drink. Can you imagine the influence a deacon would have on others if he drinks. One appointed to serve as a deacon must not be 44given to much wine.” Does this mean he can drink a little every now and then? The wise man said, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov. 20:1). It would be difficult to drink even a little and observe the admonition which says, “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” (Prov. 23:31-32).
(3) Greedy of filthy lucre. A man who serves as a deacon must not acquire his money or possessions by base gain. He must be honest in his dealings. A greedy deacon would not have time to do his necessary work in the church and thus would be out of place.
(4) Deacons are not elders. A deacon is out of his place when he tries to be an elder or do the work of an elder. A deacon is a deacon, is a deacon, is a. . . ! Deacons do not have the oversight of anything; oversight belongs to the elders (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-3).
The Place of Deacons
The qualifications for deacons also teaches us something about the place of deacons. It is the place of deacons to:
(1) To be grave. Deacons must be honorable men who are respected by others in the church. They must be men of dignity who are sober minded and reverent in decorum.
(2) Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. A deacon’s place is to have a good attitude toward the truth. He must be sound in the faith. Too often there has been a continual struggle between sound elders and liberal minded deacons in regard to the work of the church.
(3) Blameless. It is the place of a deacon not to have any cause for blame in his life. This does not mean that he is to be sinlessly perfect. It does mean that his life must be above reproach as he uses the office of a deacon.
(4) A family man. It is the place of a deacon to be the husband of one wife and rule his children and house well. The family of a deacon can disqualify him from serving as a deacon. The wife of a deacon must “be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things” (1 Tim. 3:11). A deacon must have the respect of his own family in order to have respect of others.
A Deacon Is A Servant
The work of deacons does not involve oversight but service. The office of a deacon is not an honorary position but a place of serving. The deacons arc to serve the local church under the oversight of the elders. Deacons are like minutemen – ready to serve at a moment’s notice. If a man does not want to serve, then he ought not be a deacon! There are a number of things that a deacon can surely do in his serving. The deacons can help the elders in carrying out some things such as: seeing that the church building is open and closed, that the building is cleaned, that things are in place for worship; maintaining the grounds around the building, the baptistry, ushers, work in the area of benevolence, keep attendance records, keep the tract rack filled, be a treasurer, see about the sick, serve tables and the list goes on. It is not stated that those men in Acts 6:1-6 were deacons but certainly deacons would do well to help serve in this business. Of course, a deacon has other responsibilities because of his relationship to Christ as a Christian.
The reward of one who serves well as a deacons is worthwhile. “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” (1 Tim. 3:13).
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 7, p. 197
April 7, 1988