Dr. Steve Viars March 14, 1992

Intro - the Nt recognizes two offices for local churches.
We've been talking about one (the pastor/ teacher/ elder/
bishop/ minister)

- now we're going to study deacons

- let's take a minute and look at a couple of passages that
   show that there in fact, two and only two offices

- Phil. 1:1, I Tim. 3:1-13

- we mentioned four sources of biblical information for the
   pastor, we'll look at three sources for deacons

   1) the actual meaning of the term
   2) the biblical duties of deacons
   3) the rewards of his faithful service

I. The Meaning of the Word Deacon

    INPUT - when folks in the world think of a deacon--what
      kinds of concepts would they think of?

    - often times in our deacons retreats, we go through a
       study which lists every biblical use of the word
       "diakonos" and it's derivitives
    - in that study, we look for three things in the passage:
         - does this refer to the function of a deacon or the
              office of a deacon?
         - does this refer to a physical or a spiritual
         - does this indicate that the deacon is involved in
              a service or a decision-making capacity?

    - when you study the passages that way, you find that the
      best definition of the biblical word "deacon" is

      cf. Matt. 20:26, John 2:5, Matt. 22:13

    - now you might say--but those passages didn't speak
      specifically about the office of deacon

    - that’s exactly the point
       - when God wanted a word that described a deacon--he
         chose the word "servant" - WHY? - because thats what
         deacons (and their families do)

       - cf - why do we call a mechanic a mechanic?

II. The Biblical Duties of Deacons

    - read Acts 6:1-7

    A. Help meet physical needs of those in the congregation
         - Acts 6:3-"whom we may appoint over this business"

    B. Free up the pastor - Acts 6:4 - "but we will give
         ouselves continually to prayer and ministry of the

    C. Be examples - Acts 6:3 - "men of honest report, full
         of the Holy Spirit and wisdom"


    D. Provide counsel to the pastor

        - I mentioned earlier that as we study the various
          usages of the word "deacon," you'll never find an
          example of deacons involved in decision making as
          part of their office

        - a natural question that flows out of that is:
           - "Isn't it true that our deacons are involved in
              decision making?" (cf. the deacons and pastors
              are recommending..."

           - it is true, but not because that is part of the
             office of deacon

           - it has more to do with our form of church
           - it would be impossible (or at least
             inappropriate) to begin the decision-making
             process for every decision at the floor of the
                1) the time involved (cf. the length of the
                   average deacons meeting)

                2) it's good to "bounce" ideas off a smaller
                   group to look for flaws

    - what's the most natural group to fill that role?

           - as a congregation, we choose the 18 men who are
             most spiritually qualified to serve in that
               - they must be spiritual men
               - they must be leading their families well
               - they must be serving and ministering

           - they are the most natural group to provide
             counsel to the pastors before issues are brought
             to the floor of the church

           - it doesn't mean that everything that the
             pastors/deacons recommend is automatically
             right-but it does mean that 22 of the men that
             the church elected as godly men have thought the
             issue over and are making the recommendation
             after careful thought and study

    E. Not:

        1) not a representative of each "group"

        2) not a member of a "board" that supervises the

        3) not setting the agenda that the pastors follow

III. The Rewards For A Deacon's Faithful Service

    A. A good standing

    B. great boldness in the faith

        - dev. - when you think of our deacons, should think:

           1) these are good men (who, along with their
              wives) provide invaluable service to our church

           2) God has been good to us in the deacons He has
               given us



- we're going to "shift gears" here and take the rest of our
  time discussing baptism
- we're not discussing baptism simply because we're a Baptist
   church, we're discussing baptism because it's a major
   Bible doctrine

I. Baptism Was Ordained By Jesus Christ

    - some folks have a condescending view of Baptists or
    - its important to see that baptism isn't the product of
      human thinking/reasoning--it's was and is our Savior's

    A. Instituted by Him

        1. Great commission - Matt. 28:19-20

        2. apostles understood - Acts 2:41

        3. NT Practice - Romans 6:3-5

    B. Intended to be universal and perpetual

        1. Jesus recognized John's baptism from heaven
            Matt. 3:2-3

        2. His submission shows obligation

        3. His disciples continued it - John 3:23, 4:1,2
        4. the commission is binding

        5. therefore, no church can repeal

II. Mode of Baptism: Immersion

    A. meaning of "baptizw"

        Liddell and Scott Greek Lexicon - "to dip in or under

        Sopocles Lexicon (140 BC - 1000 AD) - "to dip,
          immerse, sink"

        International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - "It may
          be remarked that no Baptist has written a lexison
          of the Greek language, and yet the standard
          lexicons, like that of Liddell and Scott, uniformly
          give the meaning of baptizw as "dip" or "immerse."
          They do no give "pour" or "sprinkle", nor has
          anyone ever adduced an instance where this verb
          means "pour" or "sprinkle."

    B. NT usage

        1. Every passage where the word occurs either
           requires or allows for immersion.

           cf. Mark 1:9-10, into the water, up out of the

        2. the word is never used in a passive sense

           - cf. never "water was baptized on someone"

    C. the symbol requires immersion

       Mk. 10:38 (symbol of death)
       Luke 12:50
       Rom. 6:3-5

       point is - the image is destroyed by any mode other
                  than immersion

III. Who Can/Must Be Baptized?

    - must be believers in Jesus Christ

    Matt. 28:18-20
    Acts 2:41
    Acts 8:12
    Acts 16:14-15, 33-34

    - note implications to infant baptism

IV. Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation?

    A. no--or salvation would be of works

        Eph. 2:8-9, Titus 3:5

        Acts 2:38 (and others passages which seem to indicate
          that baptism is part of salvation?)

          for the remission of sins - for="because of"

          - no question that the issues were closely related
            in the NT

    B. But it is a natural first step of a believer who
         wish to obey Jesus Christ

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video