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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE OFFICE OF A DEACON

1 Tim 3:8-13 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 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.

Opening his letter to the church of Christ in Philippi, Paul addresses all members of this congregation, especially noting the bishops (elders) and deacons that fill these scriptural leadership offices (Phil. 1:1). We learn reasons the office of deacons was necessary, in the body of Christ, from Acts 6:1-6. Here it was evident that the primary duty of the elders, of a congregation of God's people, is to teach and administer the word of God to its membership - to prayer, the ministry of the word. Because of this necessity, many other responsibilities were being neglected, such as filling the temporal needs of widows and other acts of charity, referred to here as serving tables. By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and at the recommendation of the twelve apostles, the office of deacon was created to administer to the physical needs of the members of Christ's church, allowing elders the opportunity to minister to their spiritual needs.

Likewise, or just as elders, deacons must have certain qualifications, and meet necessary Christian standards, in order to be appointed to this office within the body of Christ. A deacon must ...be grave. Their deportment must be serious minded and somber; not given to continuous frivolity. When carried out, their duties must be seen as necessary acts of pure love and kindness for others - acts that should be emulated by the whole congregation. A deacon must be ...not double-tongued. Truthfulness is a required personal trait of each deacon. To speak with a double-tongue, is to speak deceitfully - to speak a thing to one person and something contrary to another. The things said and done by a deacon must be reliable, in all occasions, and at all times.

Just as an elder, a deacon must be ...not given to much wine. To be given to wine, is to be given to its intoxicating affect on one's ability to think and act in a righteous and sober manner. One known to indulge in alcoholic beverages of any kind, is an improper characteristic, that serves as an evil influence on others that observe it, deem it to be proper, and emulate it. Such is not the righteous influence that a deacon should have to hold this responsible office in the church of Christ. A deacon must be ...not greedy of filthy lucre. Men that are driven by an innate, covetous desire for wealth, must not be appointed to the office of deacon. The evil characteristic of greed must not be found in Christian workers entrusted with funds, or other things, belonging to the Lord's church.

A deacon must hold the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. This mystery of the faith is no longer a mystery. That Jesus Christ was the Son of God, crucified on the cross of Calvary to redeem all repentant sinners, and gave the hope of eternal salvation to all that submit to God's will, was a mysterious prophesy from the beginning of time. Through the Holy Spirit, this mystery was made known by Christ's apostles on the Day of Pentecost following the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ, and His ascension back into the Heaven, from which he first descended to earth as a human being. To be suitable for the office of a deacon in the church of Christ, a man must be a member of the body of Christ, and faithfully hold this scriptural tenet of belief firmly and with a pure conscience. To demonstrate one's knowledge and understanding of God's word, and His plan of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, is a quality necessary in every deacon in Christ's church. There must be no doubt in the minds of all, that witness deacons, as they carry out the work of the Lord.

A deacon must ...also first be proved, that is, he must be tested by God's standards, as found in His holy word, and proven to be guided by, and living obediently, to the expectations of those standards. A deacon must, by experience, demonstrate to his fellow Christians that he is living a righteous life before God and his fellow man. Just as it is required of an elder to lead a blameless life, a deacon must also be found blameless. His conduct before others must never bring doubt or reproach upon the church of Christ.

Deacons must ...be the husbands of one wife. There can be no simultaneous multiple marriages, or marriages found to be unscriptural, in the life of a deacon. The experience gained in a marriage to one wife, and, together with her, ruling their children and their houses well, is a commandment explicitly spelled out by God in His holy word. This, as well as other godly life experiences, proves one's ability to assume, and effectively discharge, the duties inherent in the scriptural office of a deacon.

Carrying out the duties and responsibilities, that were assigned to them by good elders of a congregation of God's people, is extremely rewarding to each zealously faithful 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. All deacons that rightly perform their assigned Christian tasks for the benefit of the membership of the body of Christ, will receive Christian dignity and respectability to a good degree, and with it, they will be given God's greatest reward - that of eternal life in heaven. With every success achieved in discharging their duties, the faith, zeal, confidence, and assurance of a deacon will grow into a great boldness in the service of the Lord. What a great example of Christian living, a faithful deacon leaves, for every member of the church of Christ.