Volume. XIX, No. 3
Sunday, 18 July 2004

From the pastors heart: Deacon

I rejoiced yesterday over the election of a new session. I thank and praise the Lord that He has given us God-loving and fearing men to serve in His church. I am planning to write about the roles of the session by explaining the nature and ministry of each church office for the next three weeks. In this first article, I’d like to mention about deacons.

The term deacon
The New Testament uses the term “deacon (s)” in both broader and narrower senses. In its broader sense, it means “servants” or “ministers.” In its narrower sense, it refers to a church office. In the broad sense of the word, every Christian is a deacon. For example, the Greek word for deacon, diakonos,” is used 31 times, out of which twenty times it is translated as minister, eight times as servant, and only three times as deacon.” This statistic considers only a singular form of the word. I’ll list a few verses in which we can find the word, diakonos. Matthew 20:26, “But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister [in NIV, servant]” (cf. Mark 9:35). Matthew 23:11, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (cf. Mark 10:43). John 12:26, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” Romans 13:4, “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister [NIV, servant] of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Ephesians 3:7, “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.” Ephesians 6:21, “But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things.” As we can see, the basic meaning of the word, diakonos, is servant or minister. It applies to all Christians. Therefore, having a few elected deacons in the session does not mean that the Hopefuls have relinquished their responsibilities as diakonos, servant. We must not be too surprised that the Bible refers to Jesus as a servant in Romans 15:8, “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” How much more should we become servants to one another?

In the special or narrow sense of the word, it refers to a church office. There are five verses in which we find “deacon” or “deacons” in our English Bible. The first one is found in 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.” It seems that there were multiple bishops (pastors/elders) and deacons in the church of Philippi. It supports a Presbyterian way of church government, in that the church runs by elders and deacons (in our term, the Session). The four other instances are all found in 1 Timothy 3.

1 Timothy 3:8, “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre.” 1 Timothy 3:10, “And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.” 1 Timothy 3:12, “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” 1 Timothy 3:13, “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.”

The role of deacons
It has been generally recognized that the apostles took an initiative to establish the office of the deacon in Acts 6. As the church grew rapidly, so did its administrative works including alms giving and helping the poor. For their effective ministry in preaching, praying, and teaching, they desired to have seven men to serve the church on their behalf. In Acts 6, the most significant role of deacons is to relieve the apostles from other duties in order that the latter may give themselves to their primary ministries such as preaching and praying. It is not clear whether these seven men were the first batch of the New Testament deacons. Surely, Stephen and Philip had gifts of preaching as well as administering church affairs. Philip is also called an evangelist in Acts 21:8. From these examples, I may say that deacons are assistants to the ministers of the Word and workers in the ministry of mercy. The verb form of “deacon” often refers to the ministry of mercy in the New Testament, especially serving food (Mark 4:11; 8:15; 25:44; 27:55; Luke 8:3; 10:40; John 12:2; Romans 15:25). Romans 16:1-2 give us an interesting view of the role of deacon and the role of the church, “I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchreae: 2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succorer of many, and of myself also.” Phoebe seemed to have served the saints including Paul, and Paul asked the church to assist her. It means that the congregation are not onlookers in the ministry. They are responsible to assist and support the deacons in return for their faithful ministries.

The selection of deacons
Acts 6:3 says, “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” The apostles spoke to the congregation to choose seven men. Therefore, it was the congregation’s duty to choose the right men. The verse also says that they must choose the right men among themselves. It is to keep the church from having the wrong people. Deacons have served in the church for some time. Thus, everybody knows their character and faith. The Greek word for “look out” in Acts 6:3 means “inspect, observe, examine, or review.” Acts 6:6 says, “Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.” The chosen ones were brought to the apostles for approval and ordination.

The role of deacons’ family
1 Timothy 3:12, “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” The faithful family must be behind each deacon. Each deacon must have good team work with his wife. The deacons’ wives must be willing to cooperate with their husbands in their ministries. They must be good examples to other ladies in the church as well.
It is my hope and prayer that our new session will work cooperatively in the unified spirit in the Lord. May the Lord bless Hope church through our deacons!

Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 58: What is required in the fourth commandment? The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy sabbath to himself.

Please continue to pray for Sis. Myung Ki, Rev. Peter Clements, Bro. Surish Dharmalingam, Sis Susan Varadi, Sis. Aranka Rejtoe, Sis. Irene Turner and Life Bible School (Kompong-som). “..they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses” (Psalm 107:6)

Thank God for granting journey mercies to Dn. Tony and Dns. Sally Law (Adelaide), Dn Harold and Sis. Georgina Watkins (Perth), Bro. Jonathan Yeo (Adelaide), Sis. Rowena Cheng and Bro. Terry Chong (Perth), Dn. Michael and Sis. Michelle Lee (Melbourne), Sis. Su Sim Toh (Adelaide) and Sis. Sophine Bai and Mr. Jin Weng Lim (Qld), Sis. Tracy and Sis. Jasmine Ho (Adelaide), Sisters Li Jun and Wun Chyi (Melbourne, Singapore), Sisters Ayji Chong (Canberra) and Ayli Chong (Sydney).

Please pray for journey mercies for Pastor Ki (Singapore, South Korea, Japan) Bro. David and Sis. Giok Yeo and Family (Adelaide), Sis. Min Yen Chia (Adelaide), Sis. Sophine Bai and Mr. Jin Weng Lim (Adelaide), Bro. Eu-Zjin Tan (Adelaide) and Sisters Marion Chan and Sui Ling Chong (Gold Coast), Sis. Tracy (HK) and Sis. Jasmine Ho (Perth)

Thank and Praise God for the ACM meeting and for the election of Dn. Michael Lee as Elder of Hope BPC and for Brothers David Yeo and Yaw Chiew Tan as new Deacons. Thank God also for the existing Deacons. May the Lord bless them in their term ahead.

Looking Ahead: AFG Seminars. 1. Ambition on 24 July 2004 Speaker: Dn. Michael Lee. 2. Success on 31 July 2004 Speaker: Bro. David Yeo. All are welcome to attend.

Looking Ahead: Seminar on Prayer given by guest speaker Dr. Tow on Saturday, 14 August at the Stone Mansion.

Looking Ahead: YAF Evangelism Video Night on Friday, 20 August 2004. Please invite friends and all are welcome to come.



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