W. Austin Gardner
Biblical Picture of a Deacon
Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3 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. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
He is to be of honest report Acts 6:3 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.
What do people that know him say about him, what would their testimony about him be
Do people speak positively about this person
Would people praise his character, his family, his work ethic, his knowledge of God and the Bible
Is he considered a man of integrity, seen as faithful, trustworthy, morally upright and trusted by all
What do you need to be working on right now to improve your testimony
Are you in your place consistently and faithfully?
Do you fulfill your ministry?
Do you handle your money faithfully? Do you pay your bills?
Do you faithfully tithe and give to missions?
Have you read your Bible through? How many times?
Do you share your faith?
Do you have moral victory in your life? Do you live in spiritual victory?
He is to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom! Acts 6:3 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.
Does he have a reputation for being filled with the Spirit and wisdom?
That speaks of proven character
It means to be controlled by the Spirit of God not sinful nature and selfish desires
Do you live in awesome respect, fear of the Lord, which would indicate the beginning of wisdom
Does he esteem the ministry of the Word and prayer above the practical needs of the church
The purpose for these early deacons was to see to it that the apostles could fulfill the ministry of the Word and prayer
Their job was to free up the apostles to do the ministry of the Word and prayer not be in competition with it
There are practical needs that must be attended to but God is more important than man, eternity more important than time
Is there evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in his life Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
As a deacon deals with tough issues he will need to have the power of the Holy Spirit
He will need to be surrendered to truth and the Holy Spirit
Potential deacons should not stir up strife but settle it
Does the potential deacon gossip.
Do people that deal with the potential deacon feel genuinely loved and treated well when they interact with him
Is there evidence of Spirit filled inspired wisdom James 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Does he have discernment, insight, and sound judgement
Is he slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to get angry James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Does he consider the ideas of others or is he so committed to his own ideas that he will not pay attention Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
He is to be a servant Acts 6:3 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.
They were taking care of the widows, serving the tables
Our goal must be that we are here to serve Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
We are to humble ourselves Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Are you ready for the menial tasks and duties that get little glory and very little applause