Deacons – Promoters of Church Harmony
Looking back again in Acts chapter six we find that there was some “murmuring” in the church at Jerusalem. This “murmuring” came right on the heals of a great and wondrous miracle of the healing of a man who was born “lame from his mother's womb” who every day was carried out and “laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple” to beg. And as Peter was passing by the he looked down at him saying “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:3-8).
But now it seems that there was a “disharmony” that had found its way into the body of the church. This was a trouble came to them as it does to us even here today as a result of the nature of our human condition, and along with Satan who brings in a discord, bringing in dissension and conflict. And this disharmony that crept in was in need of healing. These first seven men who were chosen out and ordained by the elders of the church as deacons were God the Holy Ghost’s answer to aid in the healing of this breach and thus restoring the peace and fellowship of the church. But this is not always true in churches today. Sometimes a faction in the church is “deacon led.”
We understand that it is necessary for them, and for us here today, (because God does not change,) to carefully and prayerfully pray to God for His guidance in the matter of choosing of our deacon’s with those who have the “qualities” of character of that of being good, humble and faithful men. These are men who will follow only after the glory of Christ and His people in the Kingdom of Heaven in all that they undertake to do. Seeking not to promote their own selfish will and motives, but seeking first and foremost the will of Christ; to the support of the gospel ministry, and that of the whole body of believers.
The Godly man who is chosen and placed into the office of deacon loses one privilege that he here afore had, when he enters into the office of deacon he losses his right to “speak his mind.” When such a man becomes a deacon, he is provided by the Holy Ghost, chosen by the church, and the laying on of hands by the elders and dedicated by his own personal choice to serve in the office, at that moment he gives up his right to promote himself in any way, promoting any and all a divisions which will bring disharmony into the life of the church body.
One of the most critical duties of a deacon is the promotion of church fellowship between each member of the body of Christ. When conflict and division comes, and as long as we live in the flesh here on this earth, and Satan is free to harass the church, bringing in the most grievous disharmony, it’s then that, a deacon must be the first person to stand up and say that “we can’t do things this way in this church.”
That’s not to say that he will sacrifice the truth for the sake of peace. No, and in fact he is always in the word of God, seeking the guidance of God in his studies and meditation, understanding the organism of the living body of the Church. He fully understands that Christ set up and established the Church, with all that is needed and that she is perfect in her doctrine and practice. In times of trouble and discord he goes to the scriptures and not to popular opinion, no matter how popular or how famous the holder of such opinions might be.
He will stand up and say, “we will rely on thus sayest the Lord.” He understands and stands strong knowing that we must have harmony and peace if we are to give proper honour to Christ.” It is clear that if deacons were needed to promote harmony in the first church, than they are needed today to do the same thing! In the world today which has never been a friend of the church, there is a need for these good and faithful men to serve as deacons!
Theirs is that duty that first and foremost is to care for the welfare of the church, her members, from the least little ones to the eldest. Remember again the sixth chapter of the books of acts? They cared for the “widows” at the church at Jerusalem. One very critical reason for the selection of the first seven deacons was to provide for and promote the welfare of the church membership. These men then, as it is today, are those who undergird ministry in the particular service in which they were called to do.
They are ever watchful and listening, feeling the “pulse” of the church, and when it is known that there is a person in need within the bounds of the congregation, and they step up and see to that need. And if need be they will first bring to the attention to the pastor, and then they will bring it before the church, that they too may labour in the ministry as well. I say again, they are in the front lines, not to be above, but to serve. What a wonderful blessing is the office of deacon, and those who serve in that office.
I’ll close this thought by reminding those who tend to lift up their elders and pastors, placing them upon a pedestal, that they are only men, and it is impossible for them to be aware of all of the needs of the church under his watch care. We ought to thank God for His providing the deacons, who serve a wonderful service, in order that no person who is on the church role will ever be forgotten or neglected.
Next we'll look in Acts chapter six, at the original pattern setting forth the “qualities” of the first seven deacons and show how that applies today.