In this sermon by Matthew Sheffer, we delved into the crucial role of deacons within the church, underscoring the theme “The Deacon” in this sermon series. The discussion was timely, following the church’s nominations for Elders and Deacons, prompting a deeper reflection on the scriptural basis and the significance of the deacon’s role in supporting the church’s mission.
Deacons: Servants of the Church: Deacons, by definition, are servants. The term itself is derived from the Greek word ‘diakonos,’ meaning servant or minister. This role is not just an office but embodies the essence of Christian service. Every believer is called to a life of service, mirroring the example of Christ Himself, who is the ultimate Deacon. His incarnation represents the pinnacle of service—God becoming man, not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.
Biblical Foundation: In this sermon, we focus on Acts Chapter 6, where the office of the deacon is first introduced in response to a practical need within the early church. The selection of deacons was aimed at ensuring that the apostles could dedicate themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word without neglecting the equally important task of serving the community, particularly in the distribution to the needy.
Deacons are crucial for the health and growth of the church. It allows for a balanced ministry where both spiritual and practical needs are met. This balance ensures that the church is not just a place where the word is preached, but also where the love of Christ is manifested through acts of service and care for one another.
Character Over Office: While discussing the characteristics of deacons, moral character is paramount. Deacons must exhibit a life of integrity, reflecting Christ’s character. The qualifications outlined in the New Testament highlight the importance of a godly character for those serving in this capacity. It’s not merely about the ability to perform tasks but about embodying the values and principles of the Kingdom of God.
The Incarnation as a Model for Service: Reflecting on Jesus’ actions at the Last Supper, where He washed the disciples’ feet, we were reminded that true greatness in the Kingdom of God is measured by one’s willingness to serve. This act was not only a demonstration of humility but also a powerful illustration of the incarnation—Christ setting aside His glory to serve humanity.
Conclusion: The sermon “The Deacon” serves as a reminder of our collective calling to serve within the body of Christ. Deacons play a pivotal role in the church, addressing practical needs that facilitate the broader ministry of preaching, teaching, and evangelism. Their service, grounded in a Christ-like character, is essential for the thriving of the church. As we strive to fulfill our roles—whether as deacons, elders, or lay members—let us remember that we are all called to serve, following the example of Christ, the ultimate servant leader.