Romans 12:7: The Gift of Serving: Part Two
- The importance of the word
- The importance of administration
- The importance of the needy
- The importance of character
When I said last week that we were going to do a whole sermon looking at the office of deacon today how many of you were excited to come to and listen? I know of two men who were terrified of this week’s sermon because they would no doubt feel under the spot light. But this look at the gift of the office of serving, deacon, is a most important topic for all of us. It is not only something relevant for those who are deacons, but the whole church. I am tremendously annoyed at those who think that sermons on things like deacons are unimportant, it reveals to me that they have no appreciation for what the bible emphasises but are only interested in their own opinions. We will be spending most of our time today thinking about Acts 6 and 1 Timothy 3, the portions of scripture that speak the most deeply about deacons. Here are the four things I think that every Christian needs to learn from the bible’s teaching about deacons. Firstly, the office of deacon exists to free up the ministry of the word, to count deacons irrelevant is to imply the word is irrelevant. Secondly, the office of deacon shows us that administrative issues like office are important for a healthy church. Thirdly, the office of deacon should impress upon all of us God’s concern to care for the poor and needy in the church. Fourthly, the office of deacon reminds us that godly character is the norm for Christian service. Before we turn to Acts 6 let’s consider Romans 12:7 to see why we are talking about the office of deacon at all.
‘If service, in our serving.’ You will notice that this is sandwiched in between prophesying and teaching. Some have suggested that because the word ‘minister’ often refers to messengers of the gospel that Paul lists four speaking gifts in a row in his list, prophecy, ministry, teaching and exhortation. However, the word is also used of the ministry of mercy. And since the gift is sandwiched between two other office gifts, prophet and teacher, some have assumed that it refers to the office of deacon. In this case Paul would be calling for the faithful fulfilling of one’s diaconal responsibilities. As we have said last week, it is a viable interpretation.