Transforming Ordinary People into Extraordinary Followers of Christ

1st Timothy – Part 5 – Spiritual Leadership in the Church – June 18, 2017


Sermon Summary Paul identifies two primary leadership roles in the church in 1 Timothy Chapter 3: elders and deacons. Last week, our focus was on elders. Today, we will be focusing on the office of deacons. We first see the role of deacon emerge in Acts Chapter 6. At this point, the church was still in its infancy, but its influence was spreading rapidly. One of the ministries of the church at Jerusalem involved the care of poor widows. Apparently, the Hellenistic or Greek-speaking widows in the church were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. To address this issue, the apostles selected seven men to handle the practical matters such as the distribution of food, so they could continue to focus exclusively on their calling as apostles. This is where the ministry of deacons began. At TCC, we call those who are serving in deacon-like roles “ministry heads.” They give leadership to ministries like the café, parking team, setup team, men’s ministry, women’s ministry, outreach care teams, and our AWANA program. This text makes it clear that those who wish to serve as deacons must be men and women of high character. In fact, Paul laid down various criteria that potential deacons should meet. We see those criteria in chapter 3, beginning in verse 8: “Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued…” They must not be “two faced,” stating one thing to one person and something else to another. In other words, deacons must be honest and straightforward in their dealings with others. He goes on to say they must not be addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain. Please note that in these verses Paul doesn’t say anything about the duties of deacons. Deacons have no predefined set of tasks which apply to every church body. Deacons are servants, who faithfully and gratefully do whatever needs to be done. Paul’s focus here is not on the duties of deacons, but rather on their character. What is required is a combination of correct doctrine (right beliefs) and a pure life. In all, there are 15 requirements listed for elders and 12 for deacons. Both are to be people of high character. A point of interest is that whereas the office of elder is limited to men, it seems that the office of deacon is open to both men and women (v.11, Romans 16:1). Here at TCC, we have many women who serve in that role. Those who serve in this capacity—both men and women—should be honored because of the great impact they are having.

ELDER / OVERSEER                                        DEACON / SERVANT
Above reproach                                                  Above reproach

Not double-tongued
Husband of one wife                                                 Husband of one wife
Temperate                                                                   Temperate
Respectable                                                          Person of dignity
Able to teach
Not addicted to wine                                                 Not addicted to wine
Not pugnacious
Free from the love of money                                   Not fond of sordid gain
Manages his household well                                   Tested
Not a new convert
A good reputation with those outside the church
Holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear                                                                                                 conscience
Not malicious gossip
Faithful in all things

Notice the familial terms Paul uses to describe the church (v. 15):

[1] The Household of God This first description depicts the church as a family. At its essence, the church is not a business. At its heart, the local church is a family, and we should view one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have a common faith, common goals, common morality, and a common destiny. We are a family.

[2] The Church of the Living God Paul says that we are the church of the Living God. God is not dead…he is very much alive, and He is with us. In fact, one of the titles given to Jesus is ‘Immanuel’, which means “God with us.” The same God who raised Jesus from the dead is at work to redeem us from sin’s penalty and to transform us into the image of his Son. We serve a Living God who is active, powerful, and on the move.

[3] The Pillar and Support of the Truth Paul also describes the church as the pillar and support of the truth. Church, it is critical that we perceive ourselves this way. The church’s role is to hold up Scripture as a reference point and standard of God’s revealed truths. These truths are collectively referred to as “the Gospel.” The word gospel literally means good news. The good news is that there is a loving God out there who has created all of this, and he wants to have a relationship with us. As the church, we are stewards of this message and much more. In the Scriptures, God has revealed his nature and will for mankind. He has revealed who mankind is. We are creatures created in his image, both male and female.

Church, we are stewards of these gospel truths. We are to proclaim them and protect them (2 Timothy 4:2-4). Unfortunately, our culture has rejected Biblical truth and Biblical morality. Now is not the time for us to be silent. We are the pillar and support of the truth. We must not abandon our God-given role in the world.


  • What needs do you observe at TCC that are going unmet? How can you be part of the solution? We believe God created us to Love Him and Love Others.  In doing this one of our core responsibilities is to serve others and build relationships so that they can have a relationship with Christ. Learn more here about serving on a Ministry Team or an Outreach Care Team.
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  • We are the church of the Living God. Choose to live and worship, aware of God’s presence.
  • The church is the pillar and support of the truth. Courageously and lovingly stand for truth.
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