Lesson #6 The Deacon & His Witness

Hello TMC Family and Friends!
During the month of July 2023, we received deacon nominations from the congregation. After the Board of Elders prayerfully and carefully evaluated the nominations, we are happy to report that we have two strong deacon candidates and one yokefellow candidate (deacon in preparation) that we believe God has provided to serve The Mission Church of Lexington! These three men are now being trained to serve in this important Biblical office. If once the deacon training is finished and the deacon candidates as well as the Board of Elders believe the Lord is still leading in this matter, these three men will be presented to the church during the “Information and Celebration Gathering” on December 3rd for church affirmation. The newly established Board of Deacons will begin their tenure in January 2024. Over the next 6 weeks I will be sharing with you through this blog the sessions that I am using to train and equip our deacons so they can be the deacons they want to be and so they can be the deacons that TMC needs them to be! I believe the information in these sessions have spiritual and practical benefit to every Christian and every covenant church member.
Scenario Conversation Starter:
Roland and his family attend a church in the metro area where he serves as a deacon. He is serious about being a deacon and is continuing to grow in his relationship with Christ. For the last few weeks, God has been dealing with Roland in his personal quiet time concerning being a bolder witness, but because he is somewhat introverted, he finds it difficult to engage in a conversation about deep spiritual matters with another person, especially if the situation is the least bit confrontational. The church Roland serves has an organized outreach program and is involved in missions overseas, but Roland has not yet felt comfortable being involved in either one. Sometimes he feels convicted to the point of stepping up and getting involved, and sometimes he feels condemned to the point of stepping down from the deacon ministry. Roland desperately wants help but is afraid to admit his fears to anyone- except to his wife, who has an outgoing personality and is a bold witness. She encourages him to share his concerns with the pastor, for whom both she and Roland have great respect.
If you were Roland’s pastor, and he came to you for counsel in this matter, what would you tell him?
If you were Roland what would be your next steps of obedience?
During this session we will focus on the deacon’s witness. Note the qualification the Apostle Paul writes:
1 Timothy 3:8-9 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
God calls deacons to serve, and a critical part of that service is being a faithful witness for Jesus Christ. A deacon who witnesses shares what Christ has done in his own life, and how Christ can make a difference in every person’s life.
Just as Stephen is a Biblical model of a deacon and his faithful walk, Philip is a Biblical model of a deacon and his faithful witness. Philip was one of the “seven men” chosen in Acts 6. He served the church well as a deacon, but he also became widely known as a soulwinner- an evangelist. Every time the Bible mentions Philip, he is preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Acts 21:8 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.
Bible shows that Philip was willing to go to people who were different.
Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.
Pride can cause a person to view those who are different as inferior and, therefore, unworthy of inclusion in the church. God loves people of all colors, races, cultures, and socio-economic status in the same way. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Deacons must be faithful to witness to everyone, regardless of who they are or what they have.
Furthermore, the Bible shows Philip going to people who were distant.
Acts 8:26-40 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is [a]desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.” 34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” 37 [b]Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at [c]Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.
God took Philip out of Samaria where revival had broken out everywhere and sent him a great distance to save one man. This eunuch was the first recorded convert from the continent of Africa, and God used a deacon to reach him. This speaks volumes to deacons today. A deacon who is faithful in his witness should never underestimate how God might choose to use him to reach masses of people- or even a single man- with the Gospel.
In a culture that viewed women much differently from the way they are viewed today, Philip did not let gender change the simple message of the Gospel. He shared with everyone indiscriminately.
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.
Deacons should see themselves as missionaries and those they meet as a mission field. God strategically places his servants so that they can influence those around them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today’s church experiences much greatness- great church members, great ministries, great teachers, great preachers, great music, just to name a few. We are lacking greatness, however, in the most important area of all- evangelism!
Why do deacons sometimes become unfaithful in their witness? Consider a few possible reasons: Apathy, lack of example, feel untrained and inadequate, fear, too busy, ignorance of Scripture and how to share it effectively.
Philip was a deacon who considered the Great Commission a great privilege. He was faithful to share the Gospel while traveling to his destination as much as when he arrived at this destination. While it is true that deacons- and all Christians, for that matter- can be effective witnesses through their walk, nothing takes the place of sharing Christ with words. We use words to teach, instruct, disciple, and encourage. Philip maintained a balance. He did not just discuss evangelisms with believers, he did evangelism with unbelievers. He walked that walk and talked the talk. His spiritual audio and visual match up.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
Lessons from Philip the Soulwinner
1- Philip was a pioneer in sharing the Gospel
Philip was the first to take the Gospel to non-Jewish territories. Philip was an “Acts 1:8 Christian” who took the Great Commission seriously. He is a role model encouraging other to go where God tells them to go, even if no one has gone before. Faithful men share the Gospel regardless of where the Lord directs them to go.
Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
2- Philip shared the Gospel in difficult places
Not every place a deacon is called to minister is an easy or comfortable place to be. Like Jesus, however, Philip preached in contemptible places. Recall when Jesus traveled to Samaria and witnessed to the “woman at the well” (John 4). She was an adulterer, an outcast, and a very confused woman. Yet upon talking to Jesus, she was saved and led a city-wide revival. A deacon must be willing to share Christ with anyone at any time.
Philip was a church leader and one of the chosen “seven”. If Philiip had been a prideful man, he could have considered himself too elite to go to the lowly Samaritans. But he didn’t have a problem with pride. Philip never got too big to make sure the Gospel reached even the lowliest of people. Deacons should do no less. When we love Jesus we will love what and who Jesus loves and Jesus loves the least, that last, the lost, and the left out.
In order to reach all people, a deacon must have a vision big enough to encompass all people. Philip had a great vision for everybody to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He did not confine the Gospel to the Jews only. In his mind, the Gospel had no boundaries.
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
The church needs deacons today with a heart for the world who will release the Gospel and not restrict it to certain people. The church should not keep sinners out, but bring sinners in. Deacons, therefore, should not be alarmed if the greatest of sinners come into the church. Instead, they should welcome them and be passionate about sharing the Gospel with them.
James 2:8-9 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
3- Philip did not hesitate to obey the Lord
It is important to notice in the Biblical text that while Philip was traveling southwest, the man he was destined to meet was traveling northeast. If Philip had delayed for any reason, the two might never have met. In running to meet the Ethiopian eunuch, Philiip demonstrated simple obedience to the Lord and to the Great Commission. There is much to be said for simple obedience! When Philip obeyed the simple call to go, he heard the sinner’s cry and took advantage of the opportunity to share the Gospel.
Acts 8:26-30 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is [a]desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
4- Philip used the Scripture to witness for Jesus Christ
The eunuch had the Scripture right in front of him but could not understand them until Philip explained them to him. How inspiring it is that God can use a deacon to share the truth with a sinner who would likely never discover it on his own!
In closing, Philip witnessed in his neighborhood, in his work, and as he traveled. If you as a deacon will be willing to follow this example and become faithful in your witness where you live, where you work, and where you walk, you can be a catalyst for revolutionizing the church you serve!
Discussion Questions:
1- Just how important is evangelism in the life of a Christian? Is it more important for a deacon to share the Gospel than it is for any other Christian?
2- Discuss some of the barriers you face in boldly sharing the Gospel?
3- What are some practical next steps that you should take to be more intentional and effective in your evangelistic efforts?
If this blog post has grabbed your curiosity and you would like to know more please pursue any/all of the below options:
  1. Contact me at pastor@missionchurchlex.org
  2. Check out our church website www.misisonchurchlex.org
  3. Visit us for Community Celebration and Worship every Sunday at 9am and 11am (Facebook livestreaming available at 9am) and        Mission Groups each Wednesday at 630pm. We are located at 3288 Beaver Creek Drive Lexington KY 40515.
  4. Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/missionchurch.lex
  5. Continue to read this weekly blog- “Find your Why with Pastor D”

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