The introduction of the Deacon Ministry in the New Testament (Acts of Apostles 6) was the critical need for committed people who can faithfully handle the serving table when the foreign Jews complained about how their widows were being neglected in the food distribution.
The qualifications stated by the scripture is a clear indication that Deacons and Deaconesses are expected to be a Vessel of Light and Love to people around them and in the church. (1Timothy 3: 8-12)
This year’s retreat theme is very timely and instructive, looking at the present state of the church in our convention. Our discussions on the theme are as follows:
- Dishonorable things to avoid being a Vessel of Light and Love
- The personality of a Deacon that will be a Vessel of Light
- God’s challenge to His Deacons
- Lastly, the blessings of being God’s Vessel of Light and Love
1. Dishonorable things to avoid being a vessel of light and love (II Timothy 2: 20B)
Diaconate Ministry is a calling. All Deacons and Deaconesses must understand this. Your ministry involves a lot of sacrifices to stand out as a good example for the church members. Deacons and Deaconesses that will be a Vessel of Light in the Deaconate Ministry must avoid the following dishonorable things:
- The lust of the flesh (Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, wrath, strife, hatred, etc (Galatians 5: 16, 19-21)
- Disobedience to God’s words and instructions (1 Peter 2: 7-8)
- Worldliness (Love of worldly designs, slang, ridiculous haircuts, makeup, etc. (John 2:15-17; Titus 2: 12)
- Love of money more than God (1 Timothy 6: 9-10; Matt. 6:24; Hebrew 13:5)
- Pride (Proverbs 8: 13; 11:2; Isaiah 25: 10-11)
- Membership in a secret society
However, Deacons and Deaconess should present themselves as Vessels of Honor to the church and the world.
2. The personality of a deacon or deaconess that will be a vessel of light and love
he Deacon and Deaconess that will be a Vessel of Light to the world must possess the following personalities.
- Deacon or Deaconess that will be a Vessel of Light must have experienced Jesus Christ that is the Light of the World (Philippians 3: 10; John 8:12)
- He or she must be dwelling in the light of God (Acts 13: 47)
- He or she must be walking in the Light of God (1 John 1: 6-7; Genesis 17: 1)
- He or she must possess the Light of God (Thessalonians 5: 5-7)
- He or she must be a good example of the Light of God to the entire world (1 Timothy 4: 11-12)
Again, a Deacon and Deaconess that will be a Vessel of Love to the church and the entire world must adequately possess the following personalities as well.
- Such a Deacon or Deaconess must accept the love of Christ (John 3: 16)
- He or she must understand what the love of God means and stands for (1 Cor. 13: 1-8)
- He or she must walk in the path of Jesus Christ who came into the world to die for our sins. (11 John 5: 6; 15: 13.)
- He or she must be living in the love of God to the people around him (3 John 6)
- He or she must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 14: 15)
- He or she must believe and uphold the principle of love as shown by Jesus Christ (Luke 6: 27-32; 35)
3. God’s instructions and challenges
In every step that will be successful in life, there is a tendency of certain challenges to face. But if one can endure and press forward, one shall overcome any challenge that comes on one’s way. The following instructions and challenges are of great importance to the life of a Deacon and Deaconess that will be a Vessel of Light and Love in the church and the whole world.
- Purification of one’s life and the family (v21, 2 Corinthians 7: 1)
- Make your life, family, and ministry presentable for noble purposes (v21, Rome 12: 1)
- Always be a faithful steward to the Lord (1 Corinthians 4: 1-2)
- Be an obedient servant of God (Deut. 13: 4; Exodus 19:5)
- Be a good ambassador of the gospel of Christ to the entire world (2 Corinthians 5: 20)
- Dwell in Christ and His word always (John 15: 1-2)
- Make your life, ministry, and family useful for God, the church, and the entire world (v21)
- Prepare yourself, your family, and your ministry for good works (v21; Ephesians 2: 10; 2 Timothy
4. The rewards of being a vessel of light and love
As Vessels of Light and Love people know you, you will explore the blessings of God if you perform your duties as God wants, not necessarily to praise man but to satisfy God. God’s blessings await all His servants who commit themselves or themselves to be Vessel of Light and Love, which are as follows:
- You will continually enjoy the favor of God.
- You will continually enjoy the glory of God (Isaiah 60: 1-2)
- You will receive God’s divine help as you serve him with your heart (Isaiah 41: 10, 14)
- You will always enjoy the presence of God as you do His will (Exodus 33: 13-14)
- You will receive a heavenly reward (Revelation 2: 12)
- Lastly, you will inherit the kingdom of God (James 2: 5)
5. The Helper in the Vineyard of God
The deacons and deaconesses should aid the pastors in the important task of administration and oversight just as the first deacons in the Jerusalem church relieved the apostles for ministering to the needy. The pastor should lead by overseeing and by equipping those under their oversight for various ministries of the church. The churches do need proper organization, delegation, equipping, and oversight for the local body of Christ to function effectively. It is important to observe that this Biblical portrait shows a very high regard for deacons and their ministries. The qualities required for the diaconate ministry are very similar and close to that of overseers.
It is very important to note that Deacon’s ministry is full of responsibilities, commitment, and great sacrifice, looking at the personalities of Deacons and Deaconesses that will be Vessels of Light and Love to the world. However, there are rewards for being a Vessel of Light and Love (Revelation 22: 12). Somebody has said that the single main distinction between successful endeavors and sad failures; is the team, the quality of the team, and the support it offers. Pastors and deacons in a local church would help a local church to achieve growth if they worked together as a team.
D. Douglas, N. Hullyer, and D.R.W. Wood (1996). New Bible Dictionary. Enter-Vasty Press, Leicester, England
Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Watter Wessel, and Ronald Youngblood (2000). New International Version Reflecting God Study Bible. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, M149530, USA
This Sermon was presented by Rev. Zachariah A. Onifade at Emmanuel Baptist Association Deacons Annual Retreat on the 12th of November 2022
Minister: Rev. Z. A. Onifade