They'll want to serve the Lord better as they observe your beautiful life for your lovely Lord.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, it’s your friend Bob Cook. I’m glad to be back with you. I consider it a high and holy privilege to be on the radio on these many stations speaking with you concerning the Word of God.
We’re looking at first Timothy chapter three, you and I, and we’re right in the middle of verse 10, 3:10. Said, these deacons, if you want to be a deacon, he said, you first have to be proved. Now what does mean?
Well, I was talking with you about what it means, just as we went off the air the last time. You have to teach people to pray, teach them how to feed on the Word and maintain themselves in the Word of God, teach them how to live victoriously over temptation, teach them the elements of soul-winning, how to lead another person to Christ, teach them the basics of Christian stewardship and giving and sacrifice. Then, well, let’s turn over to Acts chapter six, shall we? Because that’s where the first deacons were appointed. And it grew out of a church fuss, incidentally, which reminds me that, pastor, if people are having an argument about anything, trust God to make a blessing out of it. That’s what they did here.
It says there was a “Murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.” They got taken care of last, when everything was gone. They were upset about it. “So the twelve called the multitude of the disciples, said, ‘Now it’s not reasonable that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables. Wherefore, Brethren, look out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.'”
Now, men of honest report. That means your reputation is clean. I often say, there’s room for the occasional misunderstanding where people misunderstand what you’re trying to say. But what people say about you over 20 years will be precisely the truth. When this says honest report, it means what have they been saying over the last 10 years? Because what people say about you over a period of time will be precisely true. There’s room for the honest misunderstanding now and again, but your reputation is built, piece by piece, across the years. You know that. A good reputation.
And then, full of the Holy Ghost. Now, different denominations have different points of view on this doctrine of the Holy Spirit, but all of us agree on certain things. For example, from Presbyterians and Episcopalians to Pentecostals and back again, I think there’s agreement on the following things: Number one, the new birth is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. Number two, when a person is born again, the Holy Spirit of God comes in to dwell in your life. Number three, the Bible commands that we be filled with the Spirit, and this command was issued to people who were already Christians. So it’s something that you do, that you allow the Holy Spirit of God to do, in your life by faith. Your dealings with the Holy Spirit of God are not based on something you do or promise or try, but on faith. He that cometh to God must believe that he is. Without faith it’s impossible to please Him. All right?
And the Holy Spirit of God is the only one that can do two things. Number one, create Christian character. Galatians 5:22, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” And number two, only the Holy Spirit can give you a powerful, effective witness for Christ. “Ye shall be witnesses unto me. After that, the Holy Ghost is come upon you,” Jesus said.
Only the Holy Spirit can make you an effective witness. Only the Holy Spirit can make you a genuine Christian. He does it. And He wants to fill every room in your heart-house. Think of your life as a house with many rooms and by faith, you open every room in your heart-house to the blessed Holy Spirit of God. Now, that’s one of the qualifications for being a deacon. Every part of all of your life yielded to the Holy Spirit of God. And then it said, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom. Common sense. I’ve met many a church official that was spiritual but didn’t have a horse sense. Have you ever met people like that? They were so heavenly minded, they were no earthly good. And they would come up with the wildest ideas, either in a deacons’ meeting or in a church meeting or whatever it was. They didn’t have good sense.
Well, you want to look for people who have, what my father used to call, horse sense. Common sense. Wisdom. And build them into the leadership of your work. And then it says they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost. And so there’s another qualification, faith. The ability to believe God.
Many a deacon’s ward seems to operate on the idea that it’s our job to put the brakes on the preacher, so he doesn’t go too fast, too far. It’d be great to have a deacon’s board where every one of them was full of the Holy Spirit and full of faith, wouldn’t it? Well, believe God for it, and start looking for people of that kind, and He’ll provide it for you. I learned long ago, in 18 years in the pastorate, that if you need somebody in the church in any given office, you start to pray about it, and God will bring them to you. God will give you that, just as He gave to King Saul people whose hearts God had touched. So He will give to you, my brother, my sister, people whose hearts God has touched and brought them into your life. Now, there you have the qualifications of a deacon.
Prayer, the Word, holy living, victorious living, soul winning, a good reputation, the fullness of the Spirit of God and good common sense and wisdom. And then the ability to believe God, faith, a direct wire to Heaven so that you believe God for things. That’s the qualification for a deacon. Then it says, then let them use the office of a deacon having been found blameless. Now, what I’m interested in is the verb here, “Use,” it says not hold, we talk about holding office, don’t we? You stand for an election, and you hold office, and both of those verbs seem to be devoid of any dynamism and motion, but Paul says, “Let them use the office of a deacon.”
How do you use that office? You use it by helping people pray. You use it by helping people understand the Word of God. You use it by helping people learn how to combat temptation and live a victorious life. You use the office of a deacon by winning other people to Christ. You use the office of a deacon by making wise decisions. You use the office of a deacon by teaching other people how to believe God.
You see, it’s more, beloved, than supervising the deacon’s fund, the benevolence fund, that sends a bouquet of flowers to somebody or a basket of food on Thanksgiving. A great deal more than that. Deacons are important people. They are the extension of the pierced hand of our Lord to the congregation. So if I’m talking to anybody who is a deacon or a deaconess, you’re important, be sure that you measure up and be sure that you start using the office, not just holding it. Peter says, “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” See, the things that God has given us, either by way of responsibility or by gifts in our personality, are ours to use for His glory, not just to hold. You don’t have anything that is yours in a proprietary sense. “What hast thou that thou has not received?” Paul says.
Nothing that you and I have, either by way of our position or by way of talents that we may have, nothing that we have is ours in a proprietary sense. Paul says, “He, that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
Alright, now he says, “Even so must their wives, the deacon’s wives, be grave.” There’s that word again. Serious about the things of God. Grave doesn’t mean gloomy. It means serious about the things of God. Not slanderers- that’s gossip- sober, that’s our word a saved mind, having a saved mind. It’s a combination of two words, sos and froneh, saved mind. Faithful in all things.
Now, there’s an interesting thing-faithful. See, one of the things that characterizes a good many people who are in responsibility in the local church is that they get either discouraged or distracted. If things don’t go too well, they get discouraged, they say, “I quit.” And so, they come up missing or they get distracted by other things and they say, “Oh, I couldn’t get to the meeting because this or that or the other thing.” “Faithful,” it says, “In all things.”
Now lady, if you’ve promised to do something, carry it through. If you’ve promised to give something, be sure that you do. If you’ve promised to prepare something whether it’s for a church supper or a Sunday school lesson or whatever it may be, carry it on through. “Faithful,” it says. That’s interesting, isn’t it? They didn’t say that about the deacons or the pastors, they said it about the deacon’s wives, why? Because you are the greatest motivation, lady, for your husband and for the rest of the church, if you live for your blessed Lord faithfully day by day.
Other people are gonna see that. They’ll be ashamed of their own perfidy and carelessness. They’ll want to serve the Lord better as they observe your beautiful life for your lovely Lord. Alright?
Then he goes on to say, “Let the deacons be the husband of one wife ruling their children and their own houses well, for they that have used-” there’s your verb again- “Used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” You see, if your life is properly regulated, your home is a Christian home, and your character and your ministry is one that is under the control of the Holy Spirit of God, you can speak out for your Lord without any problem whatsoever.
It’s pretty difficult to win souls when people say behind the back of their hand, “What is he talking about? His boy is out tearing up the town.” It’s pretty hard to win souls and to lead the church when people know that you’ve been feuding with your wife and your marriage is breaking up. These sorts of things, you understand me? If you’ve got a house, a home, that is under the control of the Spirit of God, if you got a character that is guided by your blessed Lord and His Word, if your life is filled with the Spirit of God, if you’re a man of prayer and of faith and you’re really working and living for the Lord, then you can speak out without any fear whatsoever because you know that your testimony is effective. You follow that?
Now, he said, “These things I write unto thee hoping to come unto thee shortly.” Small thought here: there’s nothing sinful in making plans, but just make your plans flexible enough so God can get into them. He says, “I hope to come to you soon, but if I tarry long… ” “I hope to come soon, but if I tarry long.” There’s nothing sinful in making plans but make them flexible enough so God can get into them.
On an August day about… It was August 14, 1953, we had rented the Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo and the city was just plastered with advertising, advertising this big meeting. We were anticipating many thousands of people coming to a Gospel rally, and it rained all day. I prayed from 4:00 in the morning on as hard as I knew. It kept on raining. Finally, the manager of the stadium offered us a rain date for August 28. We took it. And meanwhile, we went out in different Gospel-preaching teams. My own campaign was in Osaka, had ten days of good meetings there, came back. And the other people came back from victorious meetings, and their hearts were filled and blessed. And so, we had to start all over again and advertise the meeting which we did and had a great time. Many people saved, and it was beautiful weather, and our hearts were blessed. God’s timing was His own right way. Make your plans, but be flexible enough so God can get into them.
Dear Father, help us to be the kind of people that help other people serve the Lord well. I ask in Jesus’s name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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