Deacon Ordination Sermon

Title: Deacon Ordination Sermon

Bible Book: Joshua 24 : 13-15

Author: J. Gerald Harris

Subject: Deacon Ordination


[Editor's Note: To see material on creating a solid deacon ministry, click on the following link: The Biblical Deacon ]

Tonight I want to use an Old Testament passage of the Scripture to challenge these men who are going to be ordained as deacons. Look in Joshua 24:13-15 (read).

I want you to know that I am excited about what is happening in the church, because I am excited about what is happening among the men in our church. I have long believed that when you reach the man in the family, then normally you reach the entire family. I appreciate organizations like The Christian Businessmen’s Committee, and Promise Keepers and The Brotherhood, because their ministry is geared to reaching men.

I’ll tell you what to do. You reach a man; you win a husband and a father to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the chances are that his wife and his children will follow his example and follow his leadership. Now, that’s not always true. But the majority of the time, it is true. How glorious it is when a man will commit his heart and his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Almost without exception, that wife will be saved and those precious sons and daughters will be saved.

So God wants men. God needs men. And I love to see men coming to the church and bringing their families with them. You see, I believe if there is anything the devil hates, he hates family religion. He hates to see a man who will commit his life to Christ and then lead his family to be followers of the Lord Jesus. I believe the devil hated it when Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

I’m just saying that the devil hates to see men take their rightful role in the home, and their rightful role in the church, and their rightful role in society. But I love it! I love to see men come to church. I love to see men stand up for Jesus Christ. I love to see men who read and study the Bible. I love to hear men sing. I love to see men witness. I love to see men stand tall for God.

And I want our deacons to become not only servants of the church, but I want them to become leaders of men.

In fact, there are five things that I want to challenge you men to be.

I. An Exemplary Man

Our deacons need to be good examples. In Acts chapter six when the first deacons were selected, the apostles told the disciples to “look for seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.” And so they looked for men who had good character. They looked for exemplary men.

And I want you men to be examples to the rest of the church-examples- examples in terms of faithfulness, examples in terms of attendance, examples in terms of stewardship, examples in terms of prayer, examples in terms of Bible study, examples in terms of witnessing, examples in terms of service.

Several years ago I had an opportunity to go to a banquet that was provided by Chic-Fil-A. The purpose of the banquet was to install the new manager and operator of the Peachtree Corners Chic-Fil-A restaurant. Now, of course you know that this is a Christian organization. This is their corporate purpose statement: “To glorify God by being faithful stewards of all that is entrusted to us and being a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chic-Fil-A.”

Now, at this banquet a representative of Chic-Fil-A addressed the manager of the new store, and he said, “Mr. Truett Cathy, who is the owner of Chic-Fil-A is a Christian. And he has established his corporation upon Christian principles. You will become a representative of Chic-Fil-A and of Mr. Cathy. Remember, his reputation is in your hands.”

And, you know, in a sense, men, the reputation of Jesus Christ is in your hands. Others will judge Him, and others will judge Eastside Baptist Church by virtue of your stewardship of the office of deacon. I want to challenge you to be a good example.

II. An Encouraging Man

You know, those first deacons were selected because the Grecian widows were discouraged. They were being neglected in the distribution of food. Their hearts were drooping. Their bodies were growing weak. Their spirits were losing enthusiasm. And the deacons were selected to minister to them, and to encourage them, and to see that the murmuring ceased, and that instead of murmuring, there was provision. There was joy that the needs were being met.

Let me challenge you deacons to encourage the staff. Sometimes they get discouraged.

I’m thinking of Derek Redmond, a 28 year- old British runner, who was in the semifinals of the 400 meters in the 1992 summer Olympics. He had disciplined himself and dedicated himself to a rigorous training routine for this monumental event. He thought that he had a good shot at the gold medal, and the least he expected to win was the silver medal. He rounded the first bend in the lead. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain in the back of his leg. He fell to the track in agony, grabbing his torn hamstring. But his hope of winning was gone.

Hopelessly out of contention, he struggled forward to complete the race. The determination that had gotten him to Barcelona had purged the word “quit” from his vocabulary.

As Derek hopped down the final stretch, a rather large man in a T-shirt, khaki pants, and a ball cap emerged from the crowded grandstands. The middle-aged man brushed aside a security guard and rushed to Derek’s side. The older man was Jim Redmond, the father of the injured runner. Arm in arm and shoulder to shoulder they stayed in Derek’s lane and persevered to the end. By the time they had reached the finish line, the security guards had backed off. The other runners had turned to see this display of encouragement and fatherly love. Every eye in the crowd was riveted upon the dramatic scene. Practically every spectator was standing in the awe of this tender moment in Olympic history.

Derek Redmond didn’t walk away with the gold medal, but he walked away with an incredible memory of a father who provided support and encouragement at perhaps the most difficult moment in his life.

Be an encourager. Encourage the staff. Encourage the members. In Hebrews chapter ten where the Bible says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another.” The word “exhorting” there is a translation of the Greek work “poaraklesis” which is the same root word from which we get our word “comfort” or “encouragement.” It is the word from which we also get the word “Holy Spirit.” And we know that the Holy Spirit is the one that God sent alongside us to comfort and to encourage us. And that’s what you deacons can be, encouragers, exhorters, comforters.

But I want to challenge you men to not only be an exemplary man and an encouraging man, but I want to challenge you to be:

III. An Engaged Man

You need to be engaged in ministry. You need to be involved in ministry. That’s why the deacons were selected in the first place; to be ministers, to be servants.

Do you know what was happening in the church in Jerusalem? It was growing like wildfire. And if a church is a real New Testament church, and if it gets on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ, it is going to grow.

In fact, if you look in Acts chapter six where it tells about the selection of the first deacons, the very first verse in that chapter says, “And in those days, when the number of disciples was multiplied…” That’s a great blessing, isn’t it? Isn’t that a wonderful blessing when the church is growing? Don’t you like to be around something that is growing, something that is moving on; something that is increasing? “The number was multiplied….” It’s a great blessing when things begin to multiply. But, you know, along with blessings there are also special needs attached. When churches begin to grow and multiply, large ingatherings of people bring special problems and special needs. Young converts bring special circumstances and situations.

It’s just like it is in your house when little ones come along. It changes everything at your house. When that first child is born, it’s never again the same at your house. Then when that second one comes along, it’s never the same. Our first child was born and less than three years later we had twins. Now, if you don’t think that will create some change, I’m convinced you have a room to rent upstairs unfurnished. I mean, your elevator just doesn’t go all the way to the top.

I mean, you should have seen Martha Jean. She had two high chairs and she’d sit in the middle with that baby food. And she’d pop this one, and this one would be crying. And she’d feed it, and this one would be crying. She’d try to feed it. I tried my best to her home for feeding time to do my part.

Then at night one of them would start crying and wake up the other one. Then both of them would cry and wake up their sister. They’d want milk. I don’t know how you young couples provide milk for your babies. But I’ll tell you, it wasn’t easy then. In the middle of the night you have to get up, rub your bleary eyes, go to the refrigerator, get the bottle out, put the pot of water on the stove, put the bottle in the pot of water, turn it on until the water started to get hot. There were no microwaves then. At three o’clock in the morning, sometimes you’d get it too hot. And then you had to run cold water over it to get it cold. Sometimes the bottle would break under the cold water and you had to start all over again.

I’m just saying that it changes things at the house. Babies makes messes, don’t they? I’m telling you that babies make messes and create problems. They change the way a house looks. And they change the way a house sounds. And they change the way a house smells. They are messy and they create problems. And it’s just opportunities for service, isn’t it? Opportunities for service!

That is exactly the way it is at church. Oh, it’s an exciting thing when a church grows. But always keep in mind that it brings problems.

The same thing is true in a church. When there are relatively large numbers of people who gather, it creates problems. When you are a part of a large group of people, that means that you have to sacrifice personal desires for the larger good.

So you deacons are going to be given opportunities to engage in ministry. Get involved. You have been selected to be servants, not celebrities. The truth of the matter is that we’ve all been called to be bond slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But I not only want you to be exemplary men and encouraging men and engaged men, I want you to be:

IV. An Enthusiastic Man

I hope you’ll get fired up about being a deacon. I want this year to be such an exciting year on the deacon fellowship that it will become the goal of every man in this church to serve as a deacon.

I heard about this old boy that was getting ordained to the ministry in Red Rock, Mississippi. Now, I don’t even know where Red Rock is, but he was getting ordained. There was an old fashioned preacher there who was going to pray the ordination prayer. And this is what he prayed:

“Oh, Lord, give thy servant the eyes of the eagle and the wisdom of the owl. Connect his soul with the gospel telephone in the central skies. Illuminate his brow with the Son of heaven. Possess his mind with love for his people. Turpentine his imagination. Grease his lips with possum oil. Loosen his tongue with the sledgehammer of thy power. Lectrify his brain with the lightening of the Word. Put petual motion on his arms. Fill him plum full of the dynamite of thy glory. Noint him all over with the kerosene oil of thy salvation, and set him on fire with the unction of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

That’s the kind of enthusiasm we need in the deacon fellowship. We don’t want your service to be a burdensome duty, but a liberating joy. We want to be known as “Excited Eastside” once again.

V. An Enduring Man

When you’re ordained to the office of deacon, you’re ordained not just for three years, but for a lifetime. This church has selected you to be a deacon. You’ve had a chance to pray about whether or not you should serve. You have responded positively. And, therefore, I have concluded that God has called you to serve the church in this capacity. In Romans 11:29 the Bible says that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”

The Bible says “be thou faithful until death and thou shalt receive a crown of life.” I hope that through the years you will continue to make yourselves available to service as deacons.

The story is told of an interesting event that took place in a far country. There were a band of minstrels who traveled from town to town presenting music to make a living. They had not been doing very well. The times were hard. There was little money for common folks to come and hear the minstrel, even though their fee was small. Attendance had been falling off. And so early one evening the group met to discuss their predicament. One said, “I see no reason for opening tonight. To make things even worse than they may have been, it is starting to snow. Who will venture out on a night like this?”

Another disheartened singer said, “I agree. Last night we performed for just a handful. Fewer will certainly come tonight. Why not give back their meager fees and cancel the concert. No one can expect us to go on when just a few are in attendance.”

A third one said, “how can anyone do his best for so few?’ Then he turned to another sitting beside him and asked, “What do you think?”

The man appeared to be older than the others. He looked straight at his troupe and said, “I know that you are discouraged. I am too. But we have a responsibility to those who might come. We will go on and we will do the best job of which we are capable. It is not the fault of those who come that others do not. They should not be punished with less than the best we can give.”

Encouraged by his words, the minstrels went ahead with their show. They never performed better. When the show was over and the small audience gone, the old man called the troupe to him. In his hand was a note handed to him by one of the audience just before the doors closed behind him. “Listen to this, my friends!” Something electrifying in his tone of voice made them turn to him in anticipation. Slowly the old man read: “Thank you for a beautiful performance.” It was signed very simply- “Your King.”

Let me encourage you and challenge you to serve as an exemplary man, as an encouraging man, as an engaged man, as an enthusiastic man, and as an enduring man; one who will continue to press on in service to God. Because, after all, the One who will be most concerned about your service as a deacon will be the King of Kings. Amen



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