Volume. XXII, No. 4
Sunday, 22 July 2007

From the Pastors Heart: Deacons

1 Timothy 3:13 talks about the blessings of being a deacon: “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.”  Though it is a bit hard to understand the verse, there are at least two significant promises for faithful deacons.  The first promise is to purchase to themselves a good degree.  Its interpretation is difficult.  There have been so many interpretations on this promise.  The Greek verb, “purchase,” means to obtain, acquire, win, or preserve.  The tense of the verb indicates that the benefits of the ones who have been ministering faithfully as deacons are coming to themselves.  In other words, their service and ministry will eventually benefit them.  Their office as deacon will help their churches and congregations, but they will not lose their portion of blessings.  They will receive what they deserve by the grace of God.  A difficulty to understand the meaning of this promise comes from a phrase, “a good degree.”  The Greek word for “degree” means “step,” “base,” or “degree.”  The best possible interpretation is something like “good standing before God and man.”  The faithful deacons will get their rewards in heaven, but at the same time they will receive good reputation in the church.  The second promise is that the faithful deacons will obtain great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.  In other words, by being faithful deacons, they will have better ideas of God and of themselves.  As a result they will have a better spiritual standing before God.  Their faith will be strengthened, and they will walk closely with the Lord.  Some people have lost their spiritual closeness with the Lord after they were appointed as deacons, which is a very sad phenomenon.  Once they were seemingly zealous believers and appointed as deacons, but later they even left from their churches or do not show their spiritual fervency any more.  They are probably one of two cases: one is that they were not ready to take up the office yet, but they were somehow chosen to be deacons.  They just could not handle spiritual issues yet.  The other is that their appointments were good, but they did not continue their spiritual journey with faithfulness.  As a result, they fell into traps and spiritual temptations.  They could not recover themselves any longer.  If we can think of one more possibility, it is the case like the righteous Lot.  He lived in the most sinful cities.  He was longing for the presence of the Lord and tried to live by faith.  Likewise, it is possible that sincere man suffers in the association with a wrong crowd.  As a result, he was deeply disappointed and disillusioned about the ministries in the church.  That’s why we need to find a good home church where we can serve, and we need to choose right people for church offices.  When we vote for our leaders, we want them to be our blessings, but at the same time we want them to be blessed in their ministries, too.


We need to think of the qualifications for the office of deacon.  We must begin with the fact that there are qualifications to become deacons.  This idea may be foreign to some people and churches.  However, these qualifications are not the product of human inventions, but the teachings of the Spirit of God.  Not all believers are to become deacons, but only those who meet the qualifications.  Verse 10 says, “And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.”  Before a man is asked to serve as a deacon, he must prove himself as a worthy man to be a deacon, and at the same time, he needs to be observed over a period of time to see if he is qualified for that ministry.  In other words, deacons are not volunteers but called by God and their congregations.  If a man is found to be beyond reproach (if there are no violations in the qualities needed to serve), he may then be chosen to serve as a deacon.  This is a warning against hastily choosing men for ministry for whatever reason (the pressure of needs, to fill a quota, etc.).  Time is needed so his qualifications can become clearly demonstrated to the eyes of his people.  The qualifications are related to (1) their character, (2) spiritual life, and (3) home life.  Basically, they are to be examined internally, not externally.  There is no mention of wealth, riches, or looks.  There is even no mention of excellent speeches.  Family or educational backgrounds are not mentioned, either.  There is no mention of physical qualifications such as health or handicap.


Concerning their character, verse 8 says, “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre.”  First, they must be grave, which means “serious; of good character, honorable, worthy, respectable.”  Therefore, “being grave” does not mean austere, but seriousness of mind that earns respect from the fellow believers.  Second, they must not be double tongued.  “Double tongued” means “double faced,” or “insincere.”  We cannot imagine that people in the church offices spread conflicting stories or show two faces.  Deacons are not to be hypocrites, but honest and sincere people.  Third, his mind needs to be sober.  He is not to be given to much wine.  As 21 century believers, we may have a hard time to understand this qualification.  Why Paul did not talk about total abstinence but rather the moderate use of an alcoholic beverage?  One of the main reasons was that in Paul’s days wine was the most common beverage.  We must keep it in mind that there was no purified water.  There was not so much drinkable water available.  Therefore, much diluted wine was used for drinking purpose just like our purified water.  At the same time, the Bible also warns of drinking undiluted strong wine, which is very harmful.  As we are aware of the dangers and social evils related to alcoholic beverages, it is good and right for us to abstain from drinking alcohols.  By drinking if any brother is stumbled, we’d better not drink alcohols for his sake and for the sake of our testimonies.  Just look at social evils related to the use of alcohols.  Fourth, he should not be greedy of filthy lucre.  In other words, he is not attempting to serve both God and mammon at the same time.  What Charles Erdman says in The Pastoral Epistles of St. Paul (5th ed., London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1853, p. 48) is very much educational: “Judas was not the last treasurer who betrayed his Lord for a few pieces of silver.”  Deacons must have clean hands on financial matters. 


Concerning their spiritual life, verse 9 says, “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.”  Probably, “the mystery of faith” refers to the body of truth Christians must believe.  In other words, deacons must be sound in doctrines.  At the same time, they must have a clean conscience.  It may means that they must nor only believe the Biblical truth but also practice what they believe. 


Concerning home life, verse 12 says, “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”  “The husbands of one wife” means to be faithful to one wife.  Deacons must be faithful and caring husbands and be able to rule their children and their own houses well.  At home, every pretense is dropped, and they shall be seen for what they really are. 


Please pray for the election for a new Session.  Thank the Lord for our good Session members during the current term.  May the Lord bless them as He has promised!


Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope




ACM & Session Election on Sat, 28 July, 7:30pm sharp. All members expected to attend. Reports for ACM for members available from Dn Edwin D’Mello.

Candidates standing for Session (2007-2010) Election: Pastor Ki, Elder Michael Lee, Deacons Edwin D’Mello, Tony Law, Yaw Chiew Tan & David Yeo.

All keys to the Stone Mansion to be surrendered at ACM to Dn Tony Law.


Looking Ahead

Christmas Concert on Sat, 8 Dec. All interested participating please contact Dn David Yeo.

National B-P Youth Camp, 11-15 Dec.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies - Bro Gabriel & Sis Grace Lee, Bro Daniel Volvricht (Adl) Sis Charlotte Lin (Adl); & all who have arrived safely at their destinations.

Blessed VBS in the past week & for speaker: Bro Gabriel Lee, helpers & all those who provided meals. Average attendance: 25/day.

YAF & BSAG Bible Study groups.


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Winston Selvanayagam, Hans Ziegelman; Sisters Mariam Atijatuporn, Shu Ai Cho, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Aranka Rejtoe, Chrisanthi Selvanayagam, Juanita Tong, Susan Veradi, & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction.

Cambodia Missions - Bro Sam Nang & Sis Chulamy.

Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim.

Journey Mercies - Bro Gabriel & Sis Grace Lee (Perth), Bro You Wen Yeap (Adl); Sisters Nikki Ching, Lydia Fan, Amanda & Amelia Tan, Grace Tan (Adl), Purdee Yeo (USA), & all those travelling this week.

Jobs - Sisters Nikki Ching, Gillian Ong & Juanita Tong.

Sister B-P Churches in Australia & S’pore.

Believers suffering persecution.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041