Deacons– Men Full of Faith
This term is not directly stated but it is non-the-less necessary quality needed of a deacon to be a good and faithful steward of his office. As we looked at Stephen last time, we saw the evidence of his character with the good “quality” of being “full of faith.” The evidence of this faith is seen in the man whose emphasis in life and service is in the right place, and you are able to clearly see where his priorities are. When called upon to serve he stepped forward as a soldier who “put on the whole armour of God,” (read Eph. 6:11-18,) standing firm in the face of those who were opposed to Jesus Christ and the gospel, he preached the truth even in the face of death.
Since these first deacons were without doubt men who were full of the Holy Ghost, it is evident to us that they were also men who were “full of faith.” For we have the witness of scripture that “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb 11:6), and we understand that “whatsoever is without faith is sin,” (Rom. 14:24). We as Old Baptist more than anyone understand the necessity of exercising and relying on the faith that God has given to us as His gift of grace.
Again looking at the deacon Brother Stephen, and as we look at him we find that he was standing before the high priest and the Jewish council, and that “they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake” (Acts 6:10). As the words came from his mouth they that opposed him were not able to resist him because he was filled with that very wisdom that comes only by and through the Spirit of God, and because he was “full of faith.”
In verse eleven, they were “suborned men, which said, we have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.” Now we will learn that this word “suborn” as it is used in this text comes from the Greek word “hupoballo” (hoop-ob-al’-lo) which means to come in with “stealth;” which means that they were very sly, sneaky and that they were masters of concealment. And these evil men stood, before all natural eyes to behold in the world, as pretended men of righteousness, but inwardly they were “ravening wolves.” These men came in with lies and bore false witness against Brother Stephen. Along with them they brought in the best lawyers that their money could buy, but it was all to no avail, as they were fighting not against men, but against God Himself. When these efforts failed to bring about their evil results, they brought in other false witnesses like themselves to stand and accuse him before the judges.
And being unable to resist the wisdom of his words, in the end they turned to that which is of the “natural man” that we read about in 1 Cor. 2:14, who “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God,” and ran forward and they murdered Stephen. And even as they were casting the stones at him, and as he was taking his last breath, “he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55-56).
Consider this today, brothers and sisters, we have deacons chosen today by the Old Line Churches of God, and are upheld by the power and grace of God, and committed to the New Testament order of the Church of Christ Jesus, and are led by the Holy Ghost, and have the welfare of the church in their mind. Will we not like the first church move forward and have the full blessings of God to reside with us? Yes, I believe that we most certainly will!
Yes, beloved the cost may be very high, even as our brother Stephen paid with his own life. Are we, each one of us in the house of God to give no less, and especially the ministry and the deacons? The answer most certainly is yes!
The next time we will try to focus in on the “business of the deacon.”