July 19

Today's Bible Readings
     Judges 2
     Acts 6
     Mark 1
''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; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." (Acts 6:3-4)
            It was inevitable in the life of the church that some practical problems would arise. Some of the Gentile members were concerned because their widows were being neglected in favor of Jewish members. The Apostles, of course, were called to a ministry of sharing the Word of God. All of their time was required for prayer, study, and ministry, so a very anointed and practical action was taken. Seven men, commonly believe to be the first deacons, were set apart for this task of practical service, so the Apostles could give themselves to the ministry of the Word.
            The original purpose of these deacons has been abused and misused many times over the years with great sadness and grief in the life of the church. In some cases, they have become church government, dictating policy to men of God and to the church, but in the original purpose of the deacon, there was no higher calling nor nobler purpose than these seven godly men gave themselves. In fact, one of them, Stephen, became the first martyr of the church and was honored by the only occasion mentioned in the Bible where Jesus stood in Heaven in honor of a homecoming saint.
In the Greek New Testament, the word deacon takes on three forms:
Diaknos- from which we get Deacon.
Diakonia- usually translated ''service'' or ''ministry. "
Diakoneo- the verb formwhich means ''to serve."
            However you look at the word, it denotes the matter of serving. In no stretch of the imagination could the word ever mean a governing body or board. It has always been a reference to one who serves, often in a way more demeaning than dignifying. What a great office and ministry since the main ministry of our Lord was that of a servant.
            The commitment and dedication of these first seven deacons, elected in Acts 6, have also dignified this word. The influence of two of them was so powerful that much space is given to their ministries in the Book of Acts. Philip and Steven were outstanding deacons who shared their faith everywhere they went. What a noble heritage the New Testament deacon has.
            So only the men of the highest spiritual caliber, and with the humility to serve with faithfulness and loyalty, should ever be set apart to the office of deacon. There should be a multitude of these men, totally committed to Jesus Christ and serving faithfully by those who minister the Word.
            The servant spirit of the deacon should be the characteristic spirit of the entire church; then the church will have no difficulty seeking out those to take various assignments and responsibilities in exercising their spiritual gifts for the edifying of the total body.
Only about 6,000 people live on the island of St. Pierre, and most of them are Roman Catholic with only a nominal faith.
Pray for many to come to a vital personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. 
''Our severest temptations will come to us after our greatest blessings."
A. B. Simpson