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Sermon notes for the seventh sunday after epiphany (2/19/17)

Preaching: Elder Troy Martin

Title: Deacons

Texts: Ex. 23:11, Lev. 25:39, Deut.  15:7, Es. 9:22, Job 29:12, Ps. 12:5, Pr. 14:31, Is. 3:14-15, Jer. 22:16, Ez. 22:16, Amos 2:6-7, Mal. 3:5, Matt. 25:35, Lk. 14:13, Gal. 2:10...

Today’s sermon is thematic. Our church is used to a steady, healthy habit of preaching books of the Bible. But having finished Titus as preparation for bringing on elders, let’s make quick excursus into the importance of the office of deacon.

In looking at the image of God in the office of the deacon, let’s look at fifteen verses which display the overwhelming devotion God has for caring for the poor before we look at the creation of deacons in Acts 6.

 

Implications of the above verses and Acts 5:42 - 6:5

Above    God himself is intensely interested in providing physical relief to the poor and desperate.

Ac 5:42    The office of deacons was born to provide for the physical relief to the poor in the church when that church grew too big for the apostles to do it.

Ac 6:2, 5     Some take this division of labor as a sign that deacons can’t teach. However, one of the greatest teachings we have is from Deacon Stephen.  

Ac 6:3    While Stephen did teach, his job description is to serve tables. This is not unremarkable. John 13 and Luke 22 show table service as Jesus’ greatest display of the gospel after the cross. These tables are at the center of the church’s mission to the world.

 

Imagination and Application

The first deacons were created to provide for the widows of the first church, however, that office and its mission quickly disappeared in the history of the church. By the 4th century deacons only had ritual functions with the utensils of mass. Not until the Reformation did deacons regain their scriptural calling. Calvin’s diaconate can inspire us with a scriptural vision...

  1. Imagine what deacons can do. Calvin took Rom 12:8 to refer to two offices of deacon; those that give and those that care. The first was charged with helping church members in need, the second was called to the mercy ministries of the community. What community needs could our diaconate meet?
  2. Be led by deacons. St. Abe’s was born as a diaconal dream; to supply a way of educating the children of local pastors in the light of Christ. May this school not be the last dream of this church. How else can the  diaconate lead our congregation in strategic service?
  3. Pursue a family diakonia. The danger of preaching church offices is that sometimes officers are thought to operate as substitute for our own service. It is untrue. Each family might try to prepare its own help for the needy.

 

Questions for Household Growth

  1. How has God invested himself in the care of the poor?

  2. What’s a deacon? In what ways is our Lord a deacon?

  3. How can our family prepare for those in need?