Volume. XXXI, No. 45
Sunday, 07 May 2017


From the Pastors Heart: Deacons


 Last week, we rejoiced over the ordination of a new deacon.  We thank and praise the Lord that He has given us God-loving and God-fearing men to serve as Session in His church, and we just added one more invaluable person to it.  At this time, we need to be reminded of the nature and ministry of 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 will 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 [ESV, NAS, and 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 (servant) 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 [NAS, minister, while 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, servants.  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 churches are run 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 recognised 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 Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 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 succourer of many, and of myself also.”  Phebe seems to have served the saints including Paul, and Paul asked the church to assist her.  It means that the congregation should not be onlookers in the ministry.  They are responsible for assisting and supporting 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 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.  What we know is that they should not be chosen by popularity but by spirituality.  They ought to build themselves up in godliness.

The role of deacons’ families
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.  Children must be brought up in the nurture and admonition of God’s Word from their youth so that they will learn to obey God and His ordinances.  In such a spiritual state, they will be submissive to the authorities God has set over them.

It is my hope and prayer that our deacons will work cooperatively in unified spirit in the Lord.  Their hard and faithful work for the Lord today will strengthen the future ministry of our church.  They are sowing the seeds, and fruits will be tasted in the future.  May the Lord bless Hope Church through our deacons!

Lovingly,
Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Congratulations to Elder Colin Gan & Dn Kevin Low on their ordination last Lord’s Day.
Special thanks to everyone who helped to make our 31st Anniversary Thanksgiving & Dedication a memorable event.
Mother’s Day Lunch will be held this Sat, 12pm at Koba Restaurant. For more details, please see Sis Yvone Kam.
Kenya Famine Relief Fund has been established to help our brothers & sisters there. Funds collected will be sent to IBPFM for distribution.
Junior & Adult Daily Manna Apr-Jun QTR available at the Sanctuary foyer. Donation- $1 per copy.
Kitchen Duty helpers - This week: Team B. Next week: Team C.

Prayer Items
Healing: Rev George van Buuren (heart problems); Bro Yick Ho Lam’s father (cancer & salvation); Sisters Peng Moi Gan (Sis Peng Ha Yeo’s sister), & Christabelle Selvanayagam.
God’s guidance for their future: Bro Lucas & Sis Grace Yiew.
Journey mercies: Bro Lucas & Sis Grace Yiew (S’pore); Sis Jillian Chia (Melb); & others who are travelling.

Prayer Items
Journey mercies: Dr Bob Jones III & Mrs Beneth Peters Jones (USA); Rev Mathews Abraham (Vic); Rev Mark Chen (WA); Rev Alfred & Sisters Ruth & Thoko Ngoma (Wagga); Rev Pong Seng & Mrs Way Chor Yiew (S’pore); Preacher Hai Seng Lim (Vic); Elder Jimmy Orchard (WA); Bro Ngie Joo & Sisters Sooi Chin & Joyce Gong (Rome); Sisters Jillian Chia (Melb) & Lai Kheng Chiong (Adl); & others arriving safely at their destinations.
Covenant BPC (Perth) – 7th Anniversary.
Evangel BPC (KL) – 11th Anniversary.
Graduation – Bros Jason Teng & Lucas Yiew.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063