FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

THE BODY OF CHRIST

THE ORDER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST – PART 21

 

Deacons

 

Philippians 1:1Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons

The English word “Deacon” is derived from the Greek, “Diakonos”; however, it is translated in many other English forms – “Minister”, or “Servant”. Used in its generic sense, it is very un-specific and can render the meaning of service in virtually any kind of arena of life.

There is however, based on the context of use, a definition that is set apart from the generic use. This definition would be, ‘One who executes the commands of another’.

Jesus used the word “Diakonos” in just this fashion In Matthew 22:13; when He told the parable of the wedding feast. The king had his servants take the unprepared attendee out of the wedding and cast him into darkness. This is an example of the word “Diakonos” in light of the definition we want to look at.  

In the above passage of scripture from Paul to the church in Philippi; we see a Body of Christ completely ordered as intended by God. As such, we note that the deacons are mentioned here last in the order given. We already know from our previous study that it is the elders tasked with the oversight of the local Body of Christ (here referred to as “Bishops”).

Since deacons are tasked with the execution of the orders of another, it can be noted that the elders in this list would be the only ones with the authority given to assign the execution of these orders (even knowing that their authority is limited to that which the Head has given in established doctrine).

This is further supported by the subsequent absence of qualifications for deacons in Paul’s letter to Titus. In Paul’s charge to Titus, he was to teach concerning the necessary order of the Body of Christ that was lacking in the churches of Crete; which included elders.

Titus 1:5For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you”  

Since these churches did not have those charged with oversight, they would not then need those committed to serve those with the oversight.

Now to Timothy (1 Timothy 3:8-13); who is evangelizing in Ephesus, and this Body of Christ already having elders (Acts 20:17-38), could then have by the qualifications given, have those to execute the instructions of the elders.

The work of a deacon is not specified other than historically they were simply elder-helpers and since the elders of the Body of Christ are charged with the spiritual shepherding associated with this, they may exist to take from the elder’s menial physical tasks (care for the poor, distribution of benevolence, etc… just as examples).

Paul does state that these men who serve in this capacity, obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith, note:

1 Timothy 3:13For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

In the early Body of Christ in Jerusalem, at the earliest onset of the work of the Body of Christ, we see an example that follows this same pattern of order. The Apostles of Jesus Christ, not wanting to be distracted from their given commission from the Lord, to be physically responsible for the daily distribution to the needy widows among them, would have seven men appointed to this work by qualifications from among the brethren (once again, chosen by the brethren, by the given qualifications).

The Apostles were not elders; however, they were at this moment in time, shepherding the Body of Christ. No; these men chosen were not deacons by the qualifications from 1 Timothy 3:8-13; however, they did execute the instructions of the Apostles to take care of this specific need. It does, in this sense only, become a pattern for understanding of just how the deacons by the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:8-13, may serve the elders of a Body of Christ.

Acts 6:1-7Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit 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 the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.

7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.”

We can know beyond doubt that deacons were not to have authority over the Body of Christ, as this would be charged to the elders alone.

Acts 20:28Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

In addition, they shepherd the Body only within the given authority of established doctrine.

Acts 20:32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

Next: “Qualifications of Deacons!”