An Expositional Sermon
1 Timothy 3:8-13
“The Marks of a Deacon”
Theme/Big Idea: Local church deacons lives must exhibit marks.
Aim/Appropriation/Application: Pray that God would give and let’s pursue to identify those in our church who may be qualified as deacons.
(1) Deacon Marks #1-6 – Public Life (1 Timothy 3:8-10)
(2) Women Marks #1-4 – Public Life (1 Timothy 3:11)
(3) Marks #7-8 – Family Life (1 Timothy 3:12)
(4) The Outcome of a Faithful Deacon (1 Timothy 3:13)
Questions for Further Reflection
(1) As you consider these marks, don’t only consider how others might have these qualities, but ask how the Holy Spirit is or isn’t bearing out the fruit of these in your own heart and life.
(2) Mark #1 Dignified – Is the candidate for deacon someone who the members of our church should think on in a Philippians 4:8 sense? Can this person’s discipleship in Christ be imitated? And consider their graveness or gravity. This doesn’t mean that they can’t ever tell a joke. But, are they sincere? Do they make everything into a joke? Are they serious about things that they should be serious about? As shock-absorbers for the ministry of the local church, and as a practical extension of the authority God has entrusted to overseers through the congregation, is this a person who submits to the overseers? Is this a person who is dignified?
(3) Mark #2 Not Double-Tongued – Is this person deceptive? Do they mislead and lie? Are the passive aggressive and manipulative? Can their words be trusted? Do they use misplaced guilt-trips and use shame to motivate people to serve?
(4) Mark #3 Not Addicted to Much Wine – Is this person given to getting drunk with alcohol? Do they always talk about wine? Is wine an obsession of their heart? Are they being ruled by the wine rather than exercising dominion over this aspect of God’s good creation? Do they give a lot of their attention and passions to wine, even if they aren’t getting drunk?
(5) Mark #4 Not Greedy for Dishonest Gain – Here are some helpful questions from Thabiti Anyabwile: Does the potential deacon exhibit godly generosity and self-denial or greed in his or her personal financial matters? Does the potential deacon encourage others in generosity or does he foster selfishness and financial self-concern in others? Does the potential deacon demonstrate care and self sacrifice when interacting with others in need? Is the potential deacon honest in his financial dealings? What is the potential deacon’s attitude toward wealth?
(6) Mark #5 They Must Hold the Mystery of the Faith with a Clear Conscience – “The faith” is an entonymy/synecdoche for body of doctrine and outline of everything it means to be in Christ, a follower-disciple of Christ, or a Christian in the Bible. Some of the things that the New Testament outlines as part of the “mystery” of the faith is: (1) that God’s kingdom may not look like much on earth, but it is greater than any kingdom (Mark 4:11); (2) the union of Jews and Gentiles in Christ (Eph. 3:3; cf. Rom. 11:25); (3) that there will be a final resurrection from the dead (1 Cor. 15:51-53); (4) that God’s purpose is to unite all things in Christ (Eph. 1:9-10); (5) that Jesus saves and marries the church and this is reflected in marriage between one man and one woman (Eph 5:32); and (6) that by faith alone we have a hope of glory, that Christ is in us (Col. 1:26-27). What is this person’s understanding of these things? Can this person articulate an understanding of the gospel? Are they a Christian?
(7) Mark #6 Tested First & Serve if Prove to be Blameless – Is this person able to be charged with not meeting the qualifications? Does this person have any legal charges against them?
(8) Women Mark #1 Dignified – this is the same as Mark #1 above…
(9) Women Mark #2 Not Slanderers – Does this person tear down with words or build up? Do they rightly represent others in their conversations? Do they give the benefit of the doubt or demonize those they disagree with? Is this person a shock-absorber? How does this person handle criticism? Christian ministry and serving in a local church is working with people, so we don’t want to have deacons who use their words to deceptively. Also, as they serve, deacons will know information about people’s lives that should not necessarily be made public. Can they be trusted to steward what they learn with discretion and care?
(10) Women Mark #3 Sober-minded – This is similar to deacon mark #6’s “clear conscience”. It’s also the same quality of an overseer in 1 Timothy 3:2. Here are the questions based on that mark from the sermon on Overseers:
(11) Women Mark #4 Faithful in All Things – Do they trust Christ in the midst of everything that they face? Are they faithful to Christ in all things, and does their faithfulness to him overflow in being dependable to do what they say they will do?
(12) Mark #7 One Woman Man – This is the same qualification of overseers in 1 Timothy 3:2. Here are the questions based on that mark from the sermon on Overseers:
(13) Mark #8 Manage Their Children and Households Well – This is the same qualification of overseers in 1 Timothy 3:4. Here are the questions based on that mark from the sermon on Overseers:
(14) Are we approaching the office in such a way that the motivation is to serve each other, not for the applause of men, and not for the recognition of others in the church, but to please your heavenly Father who sees in secret? Is our thinking about the office of deacon leading to the encouragement to our serving the body of Christ is fruit that Christ has borne in us by His Spirit? Is our thinking about the office of a deacon giving great confidence to those who serve in their faith that is in Christ? If faith without works is dead (Jas. 2:14-26), then the works that God is bearing in the life of the one who serves as a deacon that adorns their trust in Jesus Christ’s work alone to justify you before God’s judgment, should be a great encouragement to their perseverance in the faith.