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Posts Tagged ‘deacons’

Verse 6: “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”

A male church leader and a female church pianist once confessed to the pastor of an affair with each other (both were married to other spouses). The church was shocked; the pastor, with the support of the deacons, took appropriate action. The church leader stepped down from his leadership role as did the pianist from hers. They were both genuinely repentant and sought help in mending their marriages. In this manner, the church had to defend against the corruption of sin into its membership, and two families were ultimately restored.

Paul had an opposite problem here; it was reported to him that a brother in the Corinthian church was guilty of active sexual immorality. The difference here is, not only had the brother not repented of it and was still sinning, and not only had the Corinthian church not acted to discipline him, they actually were proud to the point of acceptance of it! (The verse quoted above is NKJV; NIV translation uses the phrase above “Your boasting is not good”.

Paul couldn’t believe his ears! Corinth historically was a city that had an open acceptance of loose and open sexual lifestyles (page 80, Deeper Discoveries, A. Sexual Immorality (5:1), in Holman’s New Testament Commentary of I & II Corinthians). Paul reminded them that the church, although ministering to sinners and unbelievers, is supposed to be different from the world. When people see the church tolerating sin that they supposedly are against, they cry “hypocrite!” It hurts the ministry of the Gospel when the church tolerates sin, worse when it brags about it! When ministering to a member about their sin, if they are unrepentant, the church has to take action. Sometimes that action is to dismiss them from the fellowship (in verse 5 of this passage, Paul calls on the church to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”). Hopefully when the fallen member comes to repentance, then we should be faithful to welcome them back.

Reading that passage about historical Corinth calls forth comparisons to the modern world and some churches we have today. We don’t need to let Satan poison the whole church with one little piece of bad “leaven”. We should always confess our sins to God and seek our church family’s help in repenting of that sin.

Something to think about.

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Verse 5: “And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Phillip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch,”

One became the first Christian martyr. One embarked on several missions, especially one concerning an Ethiopian eunuch. Some are only mentioned in history as later having positions in the church. Others are never mentioned again. And one unfortunately became associated with hedonistic followers that Paul himself congratulated other early churches in opposing.

Names are interesting labels, and the names of the first deacons are intriguing. Like other Christians then and now, some stayed faithful to God, and some did not. Of those that were faithful, some had more known of them, and some did not. Regardless of how history records what you do in the service of the Lord, remember that in God’s eyes, it will never be forgotten.

Something to think about.

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Verse 3: “Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;”

There’s an older gentleman in our church who ought to have his name in the dictionary, next to the definition of the word “servant”. He is retired and is a widower, but yet faithfully takes care of our church grounds and buildings daily. I’ve never heard him complain, never heard him get angry, and he is always glad to see you and ask how you are doing, how your family is, and ask about life in general; a man of quiet humility. When his wife died, the church made sure he had time to take care of family duties, bereavement, and obligations; there was a signup sheet to pitch in and to volunteer to do one or more of his duties. Let me tell you, the pastor said it best when he welcomed this man back during morning service when he returned from leave: he told him that it “took a whole church to do your job, brother!”

This man faithfully did a task that was important, but one that not necessarily the pastoral staff could have taken care of, in addition to the other duties they attended to as pastoral staff. Now, yes, there are small churches where the pastor is a one-man show, sometimes doing all the jobs. But the point is, although the disciples could’ve seen to the care of the widows who were being overlooked in daily care, they needed help, so that they could stay focused on evangelism and preaching. They ordained the first deacons to take care of this. Though “deacon” has been seen as an office of leadership in the church, we all should remember that it is a position of “servant” leadership…where the serving comes first.

Something to think about.

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