01/09/11 Men of GOOD Reputation

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, January 10, 2011 Under: Sermon

Deacon Ordination Service

Text: Acts 6:1-6 (HCSB) 1 In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. 2 Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to wait on tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry.” 5 The proposal pleased the whole company. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte from Antioch
. 6 They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

"But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant!" Mark 10:43 

Intro: “Outline for Deacon Qualifications”

It hasn’t changed so I won’t try to change it: The scripture lays forth what a deacon should do when seeking the office in the local church. A man full of faith and the Holy Spirit! Is a good place to start; the bible leads us to a good example with Acts Chapter 6 and the choosing of these servants and the needs of the church.

The Bible provides a clear picture in Acts 6 of a godly deacon’s walk in one of the seven men selected to serve the early Church – Stephen. Stephen was serious about God’s business, and deacons today should be just as serious as he was.  Needless to say, Stephen certainly met all the qualifications for a deacon. The scripture single him out from the six men – vs. 3, 5

It takes a godly walk to respond like Stephen did. A deacon who desires to live as God wants him to live should follow the biblical model. Three characteristics of Stephen’s life teach deacons how to walk in a way that fulfills the ministry for which they have been singled out. Stephen’s Godly walk should be every deacon’s walk!

1. Stephen’s Walk of Fullness:

“Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And they must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons.” 1 Timothy 3:8-10 (HCSB)

The early church was grateful that God had placed men in their midst whose walk with God was Characterized as fullness. When the church “looked out among them”, they were looking for those whose reputations had been time-tested and proven. In prayerfully thinking through the situation, the Apostles identified six specific character qualifications, and Stephen met all six.

1. Men known to be honorable. A deacon’s conduct and character ought to stand out in such a way that people both inside and outside the church count him as an honorable man.
2. Men who would serve with others on a team. – “seven men” Men on a team must be able to serve together. Deacons who focus on the will of God and the good of the church do not insist on getting their way when decisions need to be made. Instead, a good deacon insists that church work worth doing is worth doing together.
3. Men who were of “good reputation.” Deacons must be men with an impeccable reputation.
4. Men filled with the Spirit of God. – “full of the Holy Spirit.” A deacon should spend quality time alone with God reading the Bible, allowing God to mold his character; and seeking guidance, wisdom, cleansing and fresh grace to live each day.
5. Men who were wise and competent. – “full of wisdom.” A wise deacon handles people and their needs with proper care, knowing that unrest and disharmony within the church quench God’s glory in the church.
6. Men who were responsible and diligent. – “whom we may appoint over this business.” Being a deacon is not about status; it is about service. It is not a position to hold; it is a work to do!

2. Stephen’s Walk of Faithfulness:

Stephen’s life was marked by fullness and faithfulness. Remember, it is recorded twice that Stephen was “full of faith”. He was faithful to the Gospel, faithful to his testimony, and faithful to the truth of Scripture. The biblical record shows three ways faithfulness characterized Stephen’s walk.

1. He was faithful with God’s ministry.  Acts 6:8 “Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people” Notice that the passage said he “did great wonders and signs.” If God has given us a ministry, then He expects us to do something with it. Stephen was faithful to carry out what God had given

him and gifted him to do. Remember, deacons are given a work to do more than a position to fill.
2. He was faithful with the gospel message. Acts 6:10 “But they were unable to stand up against the wisdom and the Spirit by whom he spoke” Stephen knew the Bible! “but set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 3:15 (HCSB)
3. He was faithful with good motives. Acts 6:15 “And all who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his 
face was like the face of an angel.” Stephen’s countenance glowed from the inside out. That’s just the way it is: one’s inner life cannot remain hidden. Not only must a deacon’s heart be pure, but a deacon’s motives must be pure and undefiled as he serves the church that ordained him.

3. Stephen’s Walk of Forgiveness:

Stephen’s life was marked by fullness, faithfulness, and forgiveness. Stephen practiced the teachings of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount about forgiveness.

43 You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? Matthew 5:43-46 (HCSB)

Look at the life of Stephen here is a man that was about to be stoned and he still forgave?

A deacon who is going to be all God wants him to be is a deacon like Stephen. His walk will be characterized by the fullness of the Holy Spirit, faithfulness in serving both God and the church, and forgiveness in his relationship with others.

BEING A DEACON IS NOT ABOUT STATUS; IT IS ABOUT SERVICE. IT IS NOT A POSITION TO HOLD; IT IS A WORK TO DO.

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