SPIRITUAL GIFTS SERIES

The Spiritual Gift of Deacony

Class of Gift: Serving 

“if deacony, in the deacony

Romans 12:7

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Section One

Introduction

1.1 Every Born-Again Christian Has at Least One Spiritual Gift.  Every born-again believer in Jesus Christ has received a spiritual gift from the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Please recall also that one spiritual gift may have a variety of deaconies (“διακονιν”), with a variety of spiritual workings (νεργημτων”) (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). Therefore, if you have the Spiritual Gift of Deacony, that single gift may result in a variety of deaconies, producing a variety of workings. Furthermore, if you have the Spiritual Gift of Deacony, your ministry may look very different from another believer with the same gift of deacony. Your ministries of the same spiritual gift may produce very different workings. So, one gift may result in different ministries, and each ministry may produce very different spiritual workings. Every local assembly should be known for its deacony (“διακονίαν“), just as the Church at Thyatira was commended by God for the deacony (“τὴν διακονίαν”) there (Revelation 2:19).

 

1.2 Meaning of the Term “Deacony”. The term used to describe the gift of deacony (“διακονίαν”) in Romans 12:7 literally means acts of deacons (“διακονιῶν”). Deacons were a special class of people in the New Testament. Some people even held the Office of Deacony in the New Testament, but not every deacon held the Office of Deacon. I coined the term “deacony” to highlight the difference in words used to describe a particular type spiritual service in the New Testament. The word “servant” has been misused to translate many different New Testament terms, losing the distinctions among words in the original autographs of the New Testament.  In Romans 12:7, Paul did not define this term deacony (“διακονίαν“).  So, I conclude that Paul recognized that his readers would be familiar with the normal usage of this term “deacony,” preserved for us in Scripture, and the other uses would help us understand this Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

1.3 The Office of Deacon and The Spiritual Gift of Deacony. Strange as it may seem, not every person holding the Office of Deacon must posses the Spiritual Gift of Deacon. The Office of Deacon describes the service they perform, not the spiritual gift they possess. Deacons often have an oversight ministry, like the seven in Acts 6 concerning the oversight of feeding the widows. The apostles commanded the brethren to oversee carefully men who would be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Having found them by their careful inspection, we will appoint (“καταστήσομεν”) (referring to the apostles appointing the seven men)  appoint them over these needs (“ἐπὶ τῆς χρείας ταύτης”). Therefore, the deacony of the seven men included being in charge of the needs of widows and others needing food service daily. Becuase they seven were appointed by the apostles to oversee those needs, they had to be full o fhte spirit and wisdom, because their deacony required both. Those seven males were not required to serve the tables, but rather to oversee the needs of the saints for food. Remember, too, that the apostles had their own sphere of service (“διακονίᾳ”), ministering the word. Therefore, we must be careful to distinguish Office of Deacon from the Spiritual Gift of Deacon. Men could be appointed to the Office of Deacon without possessing the qualification of the Spiritual Gift of Deacon.  Likewise, The Spiritual Gift of Pastor does not equate to the Office of Overseer just as the Office of Deacon does not equate to The Spiritual Gift of Deacon. For example, some deacons may have the spiritual gift of evangelism (consider Philip the Evangelist; Acts 6:3Acts 8:4-6Acts 21:8). Consider also Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus. Judas received his share in the ministry (“διακονίας”), but was never born-again (Acts 1:17John 17:12). In fact, Judas Iscariot also held the Office of Apostle (“ἀποστολῆς”), and participated in the deacony (“διακονίας”) of the apostles with Christ (Acts 1:25), but was never born-again. People should not confuse the Office of Deacon with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony. In Philippians 1:1, Paul described the Office of Deacony (“διακόνοις”) alongside the Office of Overseer (“ἐπισκόποις”). As a spiritual gift, God bestows The Spiritual Gift of Deaconcy upon some saints, but not all saints (1 Corinthians 12:11). Although saints may desire the greater spiritual gifts to be present in their local assemblies (1 Corinthians 12:31), God Himself always bestows the spiritual gifts according to His will (1 Corinthians 12:11). In contrast, an unbeliever may hold the Office of Deacon, because humans appoint deacons, and they may be deceived (Acts 6:51 Timothy 3:18-13–the parallelism between 3:1 and 3:8 indicates that both “ἐπισκοπῆς” and “Διακόνους” refer to office and people holding those offices must meet the qualifications outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and 3:8-13).

 

1.4 Deacony and the Spiritual Gifts. All believers must know and use their spiritual gifts. All believers, not just the pastors and church leaders, perform the work of deacony (“διακονίας”). That “deacony” must continue until all the saints attain the unity of the faith and achieve spiritual maturity. That “deacony” also protects believers from being tossed about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, and the craftiness of deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14). While all believers must perform the work of deacony, only some believers have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony, bestowed by the Holy Spirit upon some, but not all, believers as gift of grace which works according to His power (Ephesians 3:7).

 

1.5 The New Testament Diversity of the Term “Deacon”. The Greek term (“διακονίαν”) translated as deacony in Romans 12:7  has diverse applications in the New Testament.  As you read through these varying uses of the term “deacony” and related words, please keep in mind that I interpret these passages below as examples, on the one hand, of spiritual activities all believers will do at times; but, on the other hand, the saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony in the forms described below will have a special gift from God to edify believers and build up unity in their deaconies.  Let us explore some of those uses to gain insight into the different ways God gifts people to serve in His Name and in His ministry to the Body of Christ. We will see below that the Spiritual Gift of Deacony involves different major areas of ministry. We will look at them one at a time.

 

Section Two

The Foundations of Deacony

2.1 Deacony: Basic Meaning.  Deacony has a broad range of meaning in the New Testament. It includes a monetary gift, an office, a lifestyle, an attitude, the work of a person who humbles himself to exalt God, and the acts of a person who follows the commands of others.

2.2  Jesus: The Perfect Example of Deacony. Jesus lived as a perfect example of so many spiritual gifts. He was completely and continually filled with the Holy Spirit and possessed all the spiritual gifts. He used those spiritual gifts perfectly.

2.2.1 Jesus Deacony: Deacons Me, Follows Me.  Jesus provided a very short and powerful summary of true deacony to God: “If anyone deacons (“διακονῇ”) Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My deacon (“ὁ διάκονος ὁ ἐμὸς”) will be also; if anyone deacons to Me (“ἐμοὶ διακονῇ”), the Father will honor him” (John 12:26).

Identification. If you have a deacony of following Jesus and serving Him, and being with Jesus at all times, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

2.2.2 Jesus Deacony: Deacon, Not Be Deaconed.  As the disciples argued among themselves regarding greatness, Jesus explained to them that greatness among believers comes from being the deacon of believers. Jesus then declared that He came to deacon (“διακονῆσαι”), and not be deaconed (“διακονηθῆνα”). Deacony for Jesus included giving His soul a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28; see also Mark 10:45). Jesus deaconed everyone. Jesus became a deacon (” διάκονον”) to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God so that both Jews and Gentiles may glorify God for His mercy (Romans 15:8).

Identification. If you have a deacony of serving other believers in the Name of Jesus Christ, and giving your life for them, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

2.2.3 Jesus: The Deacon of All. Jesus commanded His disciples to distinguish themselves from the rulers of the Gentiles in two important ways. His disciples would: (1) never lord themselves over others; and (2) never exercise authority over them. Whoever wishes to be greatest among His disciples must be deacon (“διάκονος”) of all (Matthew 20:26; Matthew 23:11; Mark 9:35; Mark 10:43-45). Jesus demonstrated perfect deacony in deaconing the disciples at the Last Supper. He told his disciples that the leader (“ ἡγούμενος“) must become like the deaconer (“ διακονῶν”–notice the definite article with the participle) (Luke 22:26). Jesus described Himself as the Deaconer (“ διακονῶν”) (Luke 22:27).

Identification. If you have a deacony of not lording yourself over others, and humbly serving others, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

2.2.4 Jesus Deacony: Future. When Jesus comes back to earth, He will find some ssaints on alert, expecting His return. At that time, Jesus will gird Himself and will deacon (“διακονήσει”) them, just as He did before He left (Luke 12:37; John 13:5-20).

Identification. If you have a deacony of serving other believers, while looking for Jesus to come and serve believers upon His return to earth, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

2.3 The Faithful Requirement of DeaconyPaul explained that he thanked Christ Jesus the Lord, Who strengthened (“ἐνδυναμώσαντί”) Paul, because the Lord considered Paul faithful (“πιστόν”), putting Paul into deacony (“διακονίαν”) for Jesus (1 Timothy 1:12). Therefore, we see that Jesus took a violent aggressor, blasphemer and persecutor of the Lord Jesus and put him into deacony. God considered Paul faithful and put Paul into deacony. God has called every believer into deacony to use that saint’s spiritual gift(s) to the glory of God. We must all be found faithful to God, so that God will use each of us in a deacony tailored precisely to make the most effective use of our spiritual gift(s) for the Lord Jesus. We deacon by faith. See also Tychicus, the faithful deacon (“διάκονος”) (Ephesians 6:21). Because the term “deacon” (“διάκονος”)  was applied to Tychicus, the question arises about whether Tychicus held the office of deacon. See New Testament Offices

Identification. If you have a deacony of thanking God that He put you into deacony of God, notwithstanding your evil past, and if you have a deacony  for Jesus, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

2.4 Stewardship. Paul considered himself a deacon (“διάκονος”) of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the church, according to “the stewardship from God bestowed” on him for the benefit of believers (Colossians 1:25). Paul served as a deacon of the mystery of Christ in the Gentiles, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:25-27). The stewardship also included proclaiming Christ, and admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that Paul may present the believers complete in Christ (Colossians 1:28). Likewise, Paul considered Timothy a good deacon (“διάκονος”) of  Christ Jesus, if Timothy would point out the teachings of Christ to the brethren, and so nourish himself (1 Timothy 4:6).  Because each believer has received a special gift, each believer must employ it in deaconing (“διακονοῦντες”) one another as a good steward of God (1 Peter 4:10).

Identification. If you have a deacony of deaconing God as a good steward of the New Testament Mysteries, and you point out the teachings of Christ and nourish yourself upon them, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

2.5 The Receipt and Fulfillment of DeaconyThe saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony has received a deacony, but the saint must take care to trust the Lord to bring such deacony to completion, by consistent work and labor, often with others. 

Identification. If you have a deacony and take care to trust the Lord to bring your deaoncy to completion, by consistent work and labor, often with other saints, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

2.5.1 Archippus. Archippus serves as an excellent example of two aspects of the deacony (“διακονίαν”) (Colossians 4:17). Paul commanded Archippus to “Take heed” (“Βλέπε”) to the deacony (“διακονίαν”) which you have “received in the Lord” (“παρέλαβες ἐν κυρίῳ”), to fulfill it (“πληροῖς”). The Lord bestows a deacony upon a saint as a free gift. Yet, the Lord commands us to be sure that we fulfill that deacony and bring it to fullness and completion.

Identification. If you have a deacony and take heed to the deacony which you have received in the Lord, to fulfill it; or you know the Lord bestowed your deacony upon you as a free gift, and you obey the Lord’s command to bring your deacony to fullness and completion, they you may have the Spiritual Gift of Deacony.  

 

2.5.2 TimothyConsider also Paul’s command to Timothy, the spiritual son of Paul. Paul commanded Timothy to be sober in all things, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill (“πληροφόρησον”) the deacony of you (“τὴν διακονίαν σου”). Timothy did not appear to have the Spiritual Gift of Evangelism, but he was commanded to do the work of an evangelist. Like Timothy, we may not have the Spiritual Gift of Evangelism, but we must consistently share our faith in Christ as part of our deacony. Like Archippus, Paul wanted Timothy to fulfill his deacony and not quit early, as Timothy faced hardships. We all need a Paul in our lives to encourage us to fulfill the deacony bestowed upon us. Part of that endurance to fulfill our deacony includes being sober (“νῆφε”) and enduring hardships (“κακοπάθησον”), without being so discouraged we forsake our deacony for Christ, who endured all things for us.

Identification. If you have a deacony and are sober in all things, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your deacony, and endure haredship without being so discouraged you forsake your deacony, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

2.5.3 Mark. Paul and Barnabas took Mark with them on the first missionary journey. Mark abandoned the ministry team (Acts 13:13), and separated Paul and Barnabas for the second missionary journey. Barnabas wanted to take Mark, but Paul declined to take Mark because he had abandoned them before (Acts 15:37-41). Well, much later in Paul’s life, Mark again became useful to Paul. In his closing years, Paul declared that Mark was again useful to Paul for deacony (“διακονίαν”) (2 Timothy 4:11). Often our deacony includes serving other believers in their deacony. We work together on one team, the church of Jesus Christ. Mark reminds us that we may stagger and fall at times in deacony, but God has a marvelous way of restoring believers to fulfill their deacony.

Identification. If you have deacony of joining a ministry team, abandoning that team, and then returning to the team, so that you have become useful again to the other believers on the original team, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

2.5.4 Angels. As a side note, angels serve as ministering (“λειτουργικὰ”) spirits, sent out to deacon (“διακονίαν”) to those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14). During the lifetime of believers on earth, God sends angels to render deacony to believers. The angels do not have the Spiritual Gift of Deacony, but they still perform deacony as sent from God. The saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony should consider themselves as sent from God to use their spiritual gift to the glory of God. Just as good angels perform deacony for God to believers, so also deacons of him (“οἱ διάκονοι αὐτοῦ”), referring to the devil’s deacons, disguise themselves as deacons of righteousness (“διάκονοι δικαιοσύνης”) (2 Corinthians 11:15).

Identification. If you have a deacony of being sent by God to deacon to those who will inherit salvation, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

2.6 Strength for Deacony. Peter wrote that if anyone deacons (“διακονεῖ”–present active indicative), he must do so out of strength which God supplies (“ἐξ ἰσχύος ἧς χορηγεῖ ὁ θεός”) (1 Peter 4:11). As stewards of the manifold grace of God, we employ our spiritual gifts to deacon fellow believers using the strength which only God supplies.

Identification. If you have a deacony  with strength which only God supplies, and you serve God as a steward of the manifold grace of God, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

2.7 Never Discredited. Paul remained very concerned that the deacony (“ἡ διακονία”) would never be discredited by the behavior of the participants (2 Corinthians 6:3). The saints were to live giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the deacony (“διακονία”) would not be discredited. Paul himself had great concern that, although a sinner himself, he would never be a deacon of sin (“ἁμαρτίας διάκονος”) (Galatians 2:17).

Identification. If you have a deacony to deacon as part of a ministry team, and have great concern that your behavior would never discredit the team or God, and that you would never be a minister of sin, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

2.8 The King and the Deacons. Kings spoke to their deacons (“διακόνοις”) and the kings expected those deacons to carry out their commands immediately (Matthew 22:13). The link between masters and deacons concerns obedience and doing the will of the master.

Identification. If you have a deacony of carrying out the commands of King Jesus, and expect all servants of the King to act likewise, and you live as a servant of the King, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.  

 

2.9 God Works Through Our Deacony. Paul related all the things God had done among the Gentiles through the deacony (“τῆς διακονίας “) of him (Acts 21:19). Notice that God did the work and received all the glory. The deacony (“τῆς διακονίας”) was accurately described as Paul’s deacony, without taking anything away from the work of God. God gave Paul that deacony to do. We must be certain we never lose sight of the fact that God does the work of deacony.

Identification. If you have a ministry of consciously relating your entire deacony to service for God and by God, and God receives all the glory, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

2.10 Commending Ourselves. Deacons (“διάκονοι”) of God must commend themselves as they suffer with endurance afflictions, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, sleeplessness, and hunger (2 Corinthians 6:4). They also commend themselves as deacons (“διάκονοι”) of God in purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, in the Holy Spirit, genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God by the weapons of righteousness, and in other ways (2 Corinthians 6:4-10). Believers show themselves to be deacons (“διάκονοι”) of God by the fruit they bear in all circumstances. Paul and the other apostles suffered tremendous hardships as deacons of Christ (“διάκονοι Χριστοῦ”) (2 Corinthians 11:23).

Identification. If you have a deacony in which you commend yourself as you suffer with endurance afflictions, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, sleeplessness, and hunger, and you also commend yourself as a deacon of God in purity, knowledge, patience, and kindness, doing all in the Holy Spirit, with genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God by the weapons of righteousness, and you bear fruit showing yourself to be a deacon of God, and you  have sufferecd tremendous hardhsips as a deacon of Christ, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

Section Three

The Deacony of Meals

3.1 Meal Preparation.The Spiritual Gift of Deacony includes preparing meals for other people. Preparing meals may distract a person from listening to Jesus. Believers should always choose the good part of sitting with Jesus (John 10:38-42). In contrast, Mary’s sister Martha was distracted with all her deacony (“διακονίαν”); while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, Martha was busily preparing the food for the dinner guests. Although Martha worked hard, she was distracted from Jesus (Luke 10:40). Any time our deacony us from sitting and listening to Jesus, we may have a very big problem where our deacony has caused us to lose touch with Jesus Himself. The saint with The Spiritual Gift of Deacony may be found sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to Jesus, but ready to prepare a meal when Jesus requests the same.

Identification. If you have a deacony of preparing meals for other people, without being distracted away from Jesus, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

3.2 Others First. The Spiritual Gift of Deacony means that the deacon deacons  others first, particularly before they eat and drink themselves. Jesus told the story of the slave coming in from the field (Luke 17:1-9, page 1634). He emphasized that the master will say to the slave that you serve (“διακόνει””) first, and only then may the slave eat and drink. The saint with The Spiritual Gift of Deacony often eats and drinks after using their spiritual gift to benefit others first.

Identification. If you have a ministry of fulfilling your obligations to your Master before you meet your own needs and desires, like eating and drinking only after you have ministered to your master by providing food and drink for your master, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

3.3 Selective Deacony. Not long after Jesus ascended to heaven, a complaint arose in Jerusalem that the widows of the Hellenistic Jews were being overlooked in the church’s daily deacony (“διακονίᾳ”) of food (Acts 6:1). The twelve apostles declared that it was not desirable (“ἀρεστόν”) for them to neglect the word of God in order to deacon (“διακονεῖν”) tables (Acts 6:2). The apostles issued a command to the brethren: you oversee (“ἐπισκέψασθε”–aorist middle imperative, second person plural) spiritual men regarding the daily deacony (“τῇ διακονίᾳ τῇ καθημερινῇ “) regarding food (Acts 6:3). The seven men were to oversee the deacony of feeding thousands, seeing to it that no one was overlooked. Meanwhile, the twelve apostles would devote themselves to the deacony of the word (“τῇ διακονίᾳ τοῦ λόγου”) (Acts 6:4). Meal preparation requires the faithful deacony of many people, each with their own deacony, just as the twelve apostles devoted themselves to their separate deacony of the word. The person with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony will often labor under the direction of others, but perform their service to the glory of God, just like the others performing their deacony. The interplay here between the work of “overseeing” and “deacony” provides insight into the relationship between the Office of Overseer and the Office of Deacon.

Identification. If you have a deacony of deaconing saints under the direction of other believers, and perform your deacony to the glory of God, just like others perform their deacony to the glory of God, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

Section Four

The Deacony of the Word

4.1 The  Deacony of Apostles. In the early church, the apostles devoted themselves to the deacony of the word (“τῇ διακονίᾳ τοῦ λόγου”) (Acts 6:4). The apostles did not want to deacon tables (“διακονεῖν τραπέζαις”) (Acts 6:2). The person with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may be devoted to the deacony of the word through preaching in difficult circumstances and bearing witness for Christ before tribunals, with the prospect of persecution and death.

Identification. If you have a deacony of putting other believers in charge of other deaconies so that you may devote yourself to the deacony of God’s word and prayer, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

4.2 The Deacony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul also described himself as a deacon (“διάκονος”) of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:23). The person with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may have an evangelism ministry, and possess the Spiritual Gift of Evangelism. In Paul’s case, his deacony included spreading the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ all over the world.

Identification. If you have a deacony of evangelism, and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

 

Section Five

The Deacony of Money

5.1 Relief for the Poor. The church at Antioch commissioned Paul and Barnabas to take money from the saints at Antioch to the Jerusalem church to help relieve the effects of the famine. In proportion to their means, the saints sent a deacony (“διακονίαν”) to Jerusalem (Acts 11:29). The saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may have the special deacony of raising and delivering money for the work of Jesus Christ, particularly in providing money to relieve the struggles of the poor or famine afflicted.

Identification. If you have a deacony of raising and delivering money for the work of Jesus Christ, and particularly in providing money to relieve the struggles of the poor, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

5.2 The Mission of Money. Paul and Barnabas returned from Jerusalem having fulfilled their deacony (“διακονίαν”) to deliver the contribution from the saints at Antioch (Acts 12:25). The saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may have the special ability to perform missions for Jesus, delivering money or other things for the glory of God. Likewise, Macedonia and Achaia later in the deacony of Paul made a contribution for the relief of poverty in Jerusalem and sent it by Paul. Paul considered his part in raising and delivering that gift to be part of his deacony (“διακονία”) for Jerusalem (Romans 15:31). As Paul went to Jerusalem, he considered such work “deaconing to the saints” (“διακονῶν τοῖς ἁγίοις”) (Romans 15:25). Similarly, Paul wrote the church concerning the deacony for the saints (“Περὶ μὲν γὰρ τῆς διακονίας τῆς εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους”), referring to collecting funds to support the saints (2 Corinthians 9:1). The churches of Macedonia were imploring the ministry team for the grace and fellowship of the deacony which is among the saints (“τὴν χάριν καὶ τὴν κοινωνίαν τῆς διακονίας τῆς εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους”) (2 Corinthians 8:4). The person with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may have the special ability to encourage believers in distant lands to raise money, and then the deacon delivers the money as intended.

Identification. If you have a deacony of deaconing to saints through encouraging believers in distant lands to contribute to the needs of the saints, especially the financial needs, and then bringing those gifts to people in need, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

5.3 The Administration of Money. The Corinthian church had raised a generous gift to help the poor. Paul took precautions that no one would discredit the ministry team in the deacony (“διακονουμένῃ”) of that gracious gift (2 Corinthians 8:19). In this case, Paul understood that the raising, handling and delivery of the gift required careful deacony, to avoid the appearance of impropriety (2 Corinthians 8:20-21).

Identification. If you have a deacony of avoiding the appearance of impropriety in the raising, handling and delivery of gifts for the poor, and you exercise great care in the administration of that gift, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

5.4. The Blessings of Giving. The deacony (“διακονία”) of supplying the needs of the saints results in overflowing glory to God. That deacony (“διακονίας”) provides proof of their obedience to their confession of Christ (2 Corinthians 9:13).

Identification. If you have a deacony of supplying the needs of the saints to overflowing and you strive to do all things to the glory of God, and so prove your obedience to the confession of Christ, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

Section Six

The Deacony of Testimony

6.1 Testimony for Christ. Paul received a deacony (“διακονίαν”) from Jesus to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). We see an overlap between the spiritual gifts at times. In this case, Paul did the work of an evangelist and apostle, both spiritual gifts. He considered the work he performed to be a deacony, which he received from Jesus. The deacony he considered a gift from Jesus Christ. The saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may have the special calling to perform a ministry, such as preaching the gospel of grace, and team functions with the gifted saint.

Identification. If you received a deacony from Jesus to testify solemnly of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and you are part of a team with the same purpose, and you know your deacony is a gift of God, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

6.2 Tychicus. Paul sent Tychicus to the Ephesian church to testify to the circumstances of Paul while imprisoned. Paul considered Tychicus a beloved brother and a faithful deacon in the Lord (“πιστὸς διάκονος ἐν κυρίῳ”) (Ephesians 6:21). Paul trusted Tychicus with a specific mission: (a) to make known to the Ephesians everything about Paul’s circumstances; and (b) to comfort the hearts of the Ephesians (Ephesians 6:22).

Identification. If you have a deacony of visiting people to learn and testify about their physical and spiritual condition, and you perform that deacony as a faithful and beloved brother, and saints can count upon you to perform your deacony to comfort the hearts of the target audience, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

 

Section Seven

The Deacony to Saints

7.1 The Household of Stephanus. Paul preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Achaia (1 Corinthians 16:15). The Romans divided Greece into Macedonia and Achaia. Paul identified the household of Stephanus as the first fruits of Achaia. The household of Stephanus devoted (“ἔταξαν”) themselves to deacony (“διακονίαν”) of the saints. In this case, the context helps us understand what it means to be devoted to the deacony to the saints. First, the saints at Corinth should be in “subjection (“ὑποτάσσησθε”) to such men and to everyone who helps in the works and labors.” The original text emphasizes the terms “fellow-workers” (“συνεργοῦντι”) and “laborers” (“κοπιῶντι”). Not only did this household work, but they worked very hard for the saints. Stephanus also brought monetary support (“what was lacking”) and spiritual refreshment (“ἀνέπαυσαν”). The person with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may function as part of a ministry team devoted to providing for the physical needs of the saints, as well as directing the efforts of others through coordination of different relief and supply efforts. The result of such deacony may provide monetary support and also refreshment for fellow-workers and laborers in the ministry. Such men should be acknowledged (“ἐπιγινώσκετε”) (1 Corinthians 16:18).

Identification. If you have a deacony as part of a ministry team devoted to providing for the physical needs of the saints, as well a directing the efforts of others through coordination of different relief and supply efforts, all to the glory of God, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

7.2 The Deacony of the Hebrews. The writer to the Hebrews commended the Hebrews for their work and love shown toward the name of God. That love and work were described as “having deaconed” (“διακονήσαντες”–aorist active participle) and “deaconing” (“διακονοῦντες”–present active participle) to the saints. The Hebrews were known for their past work of deacony and their continued work as saints who continually deacon for the name of God, a very Hebrew expression referring to the honor and majestic deity of God (Hebrews 6:10). The saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may be known for both their past and present deaconing to the saints, implying that they perform not only isolated acts of deacony, but they perform continual, loving deacony for the saints as a way of life, using their spiritual gift. As always, all the saints are called by God to perform such deacony, but the person with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony will excel in this ministry to the saints continuously.

Identification. If you have a deaony known for your past and present deacony to the saints, with continual and faithful service as a way of life, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

7.3 Timothy and Erastus. Paul sent Timothy and Erastus, two of the one deaconing (“τῶν διακονούντων”–present active participle) to him, to Macedonia (Acts 19:22). Paul relied upon the faithful deacony of people to refresh him, help him, and carry gifts to and from him. The saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may be just like Timothy and Erastus in their deacony to Christ.

Identification. If you have a deaoncy of serving a believer, and then being sent by that believer to deacon to other believers, so that you follow a pattern of deacony to believers in different places, and supporting their ministry and providing for the physical needs of the saints and reporting about the life of other saints, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

7.4 The Deacony of the Women. At the cross of Jesus, looking on at a distance, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee, and other women, witnessed the death of Jesus. They had been deaconing (“διακονοῦσαι”–present active participle, nominative feminine plural) to Him (“αὐτῷ”–notice the dative with the participle) and had followed Him from Galilee (Matthew 27:55). Those women apparently joined other women, including Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, who were contributing to the support of Jesus and His disciples out of their private means (Luke 8:1-3). Some women possessing the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may contribute to the support of believers out of their private means. Therefore, we should be careful to remember that many women deaconed to the needs of Jesus and His disciples, so that Phoebe, for example, would not necessarily hold the Office of Deacon, but she may have the Spiritual Gift of Deacon (Romans 16:1).

Identification. If you have a deacony of contributing to the needs of the saints from your private means, and also support the ministry of others through deaconing the needs of the ministry team, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

Section Eight

The Deacony Reconciliation

8.1 The Rebirth and Reconciliation. Every believer becomes a new creation at the moment they are born again by faith alone in salvation through Jesus Christ. At that same moment, every believer receives the deacony (“τὴν διακονίαν”) of the reconciliation (“τῆς καταλλαγῆς”) (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Identification. If you have a deacony of the reconciliation, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and drawing people to Christ, and deaconing them in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

8.2 The Deacony of Reconciliation. God gave all believers the deacony (“τὴν διακονίαν “) of the reconciliation (“τῆς καταλλαγῆς”). Reconciliation (“καταλλαγῆς”) means that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. More precisely, God was not counting the trespasses of sinners against them, but rather seeking the repentance of sinners so that they may be brought into a new relationship with God based upon saving faith. Because of sin, man must be reconciled to God. God has put in us (“θέμενος ἐν ἡμῖν”) the word of reconciliation (“τὸν λόγον τῆς καταλλαγῆς”). We must act as ambassadors for Christ. We beg (“δεόμεθα”) people to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20). The saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony will have a special ability to beg people to come to Christ and serve Christ as an ambassador, performing the deacony of reconciliation in bringing people to Christ as Savior.

Identification. If you have a deacony of acting as an ambassador of Christ, pursuing the deacony of the reconciliation, and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and begging them to be reconciled to God, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

Section Nine

The Deacony of Deacons

9.1 The Office of Deacon. In the New Testament, the local assembly had two offices (and perhaps others): overseers and deacons (“ἐπισκόποις καὶ διακόνοις”) (Philippians 1:1). Writing to his child in the faith Timothy, Paul first discussed the Office of Oversser and Paul then turned to the Office of Deacon (1 Timothy 3:1-13). In 1 Timothy 3:8, the term “deacons” (“Διακόνους”) refers to males who hold the Office of Deacon, but as we have seen above, this deacony may take many forms. Among the qualifications of deacons (“διάκονοι”), they must be husbands of one wife (1 Timothy 3:12). The Office of Deacon had special spiritual qualifications, which Paul described with particularity. The New Testament contains many references to the term “deacon” and it most often refers to the general work of deacons or their actions and not a specific office or spiritul gift. In other words, the majority of times you read about a “deacon” in the New Testament, you are not looking at someone holding the Office of Deacon or The Spiritual Gift of Deacon, but rather someone doing the work of a deacon. That “deacon” may have the Spiritual Gift of Deacony or the Spiritual Gift of Deacon, or both, but all believers are called to be a deacon of Jesus Christ.

Identification. If you hold the Office of Deacon and you have its spiritual qualificaitons and you fulfill your obligations well, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

9.2 The Rewards Deaconing Well. Those who have deaconed well (“καλῶς διακονήσαντες”) obtain for themselves a high standing in the faith and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 3:13).

Identification. If you have deaconed well and you have obtained for yourself a high standing in the faith and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

Section Ten

The Deacony to the Imprisoned

10.1 Onesimus. During Paul’s imprisonment, Paul wrote to his friend Philemon, who had a church in his house (Philemon 1:2). Paul wrote about Philemon’s runaway slave named Onesimus, whom Paul had met in prison. Paul sought the permission of Philemon to keep Onesimus with Paul. Paul wanted to keep Onesimus so that, on behalf of Philemon, Onesimus may deacon (“διακονῇ”) to Paul (Philemon 1:14). The exact tasks Onesimus performed remain unclear, but they can be described as “deacony.” The person with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may render deacony to an imprisoned saint, like Paul.

Identification. If you have a ministry of deaconing to a saint in prison or otherwise confined, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

Section Eleven

The Deacony of Care

11.1 The Deacony of Care. Paul reminded the Corinthian assembly that they were a letter of Christ, having been “deaconed to (“διακονηθεῖσα”) by us” (2 Corinthians 3:3). Paul meant that Christ’s ministry team to Corinth had planted the seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ at Corinth, others watered that seed, and God gave the increase. Paul described his apostolic work at Corinth as deacony. The New American Standard Bible translated the word for deacony as “cared” in this context. The work of deacony includes an expression of care for the welfare of the believers. The person with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may take special spiritual care to ensure the development of spiritual maturity in the lives of a particular group of believers.

Identification. If you have a deacony of caring for believers and seeking their welfare, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

Section Twelve

The Deacony of the Holy Spirit

12.1 The Deacony of Death. Paul drew a stark contrast between the deacony of death (“ἡ διακονία τοῦ θανάτου”) (2 Corinthians 3:7) and the deacony of the Spirit (“ἡ διακονία τοῦ πνεύματος”) (2 Corinthians 3:8). The deacony of death consisted of letters engraved on stone and came with glory and resulted in the condemnation of men (2 Corinthians 3:9). Even so, the deacony of death came with glory, so that the face of Moses shone with the glory of God.

Identification. If you have a deacony of living the ministry of the Spirit by rendering spiritual and physical service to the glory of God, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

12.2 The Deacony of the Spirit. The deacony of death came with glory, but the deacony of the Holy Spirit has even greater glory. Although the deacony of death resulted in condemnation, the deacony of the Holy Spirit results and abounds in righteousness (2 Corinthians 3:9). The saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may have a deacony of proclaiming the work of the Holy Spirit with great boldness, particularly resulting in salvation.

Identification. If you have a deacony of proclaiming the work of the Holy Spirit with great boldness, particularly resulting in salvation, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

12.3 The Deacons of the New Covenant. Directly related to the Deacony of the Spirit, the deacons (“διακόνους”) of the New Covenant perform the deacony of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:6). God makes the deacons of the New Covenant adequate to perform the deacony of glory in sharing the blessings of the New Covenant. The saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may have the deacony of sharing the blessings of the New Covenant. 

Identification. If you have a deacony of sharing the blessings of the New Covenant, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

Section Thirteen

The Deacony of Slavery

13.1 Roman Slavery. The Roman empire accepted slavery and the New Testament provides instructions for slaves. If a slave (“δοῦλος”) can become free, then become free. But if a man is called to salvation while a slave, he should not worry about it. Every slave is the Lord’s freeman; likewise, every man not in human slavery is Christ’s slave (1 Corinthians 7:20-24). Paul did not tell Christian slaves to revolt and leave their masters.

Identification. If you (often as a slave yourself) have a deacony to slaves (slaves, employees, servants, etc.) reminding them that they serve Christ, and you encourage them to be free if possible, but if not, to serve their human masters as they serve Christ, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

13.2 Christian Slavery.  At the wedding in Cana attended by Jesus, His disciples and His mother Mary, Mary gave orders to the deacons (“διακόνοις”) to obey Jesus. Jesus then gave orders to the deacons. Those deacons (“διάκονοι”) knew that Jesus had turned water into wine (John 2:1-12). At times deacons understood things others never knew. Likewise, in the Book of Philemon, we can read about a runaway slave who served Paul. Paul informed Philemon, the owner of the slave, that Onesimus, the slave, had become useful to Paul during his imprisonment. Paul then entreated Philemon to allow Onesimus to continue with Paul so that he may deacon (“διακονῇ”) to Paul in his imprisonment (Philemon 1:13). Slaves often were commanded by their masters: deacon (“διακόνει”) me (Luke 17:8). Servants were also commanded to deacon their masters with the fear of God, even if their masters were unreasonable (1 Peter 2:18). The person with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may have a special ability to deacon a master in humility, as they work for the Lord and His blessing.

Identification. If you have a deaconing to Christ by serving your master (without disobeying Christ), and you do so even when your master is unreasonable, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

Section Fourteen

The Deacony of Church Planting

14.1 The Deacony of Church Planting. Paul traveled around the Mediterranean world directed by the Holy Spirit. Paul often went first to the synagogue at a particular location, and there preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of the people in those local synagogues repudiated the word of God and deemed themselves unworthy of eternal life and rejected the Gospel (Acts 13:46). But as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed the Gospel (Acts 13:48). Paul and Apollos became deacons (“διάκονοι”) through whom the Corinthians believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:5). Paul planted, Apollos watered, and God gave the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6). Therefore, saints with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may have a deacony of deaconing to God through church planting.

Identification. If you have a deacony of visiting places where the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not been preached for the purpose of planting a church there, and you serve those people as deacons of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (often without pay), then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

Section Fifteen

The Deacony to the Local Assembly

15.1 The Deacony of Phoebe. Paul recognized Phoebe as a deacon (“διάκονον”) of the church at Cenchrea (Romans 16:1). She was a helper (“προστάτις”) of many people, and of Paul himself (Romans 16:2). The term for “helper” (“προστάτις”) apparently includes helping people from your own resources, as a richer person benefits a person in financial need. Phoebe performed her notable deacony at Cenchrea, a local church. A saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may use their finances to benefit other people in need of financial support. Please recall that calling Phoebe a deacon does not necessarily mean she held the Office of Deacon or that she had The Spiritual Gift of Deacon. Remember the women who deaconed to the Lord during His public ministry. See the women from Galilee who deaconed to the needs of the Lord (see Section 7.4 above). Those Galilean women did not posses The Spiritual Gift of Deacon because spiritual gifts were not given until Pentecost following the Ascension of Jesus. Likewise, the Office of Deacon did not begin until the church age, which began at Pentecost following the Ascension of Jesus.

Identification. If you have a ministry of deaconin to Christ by using your resources to support the local church and deacon to that local church as fitting for a female while giving  all to the glory of God, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

 

Section Sixteen

The Deacony to the State

16.1 The Deacony of the State. Paul described the government as a deacon (“διάκονός”) of good, appointed by God for good. He also described the government as a deacon (“διάκονός”) of God, who bears the sword, and acts as an avenger of God, who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Believers must submit to government because of wrath, but also for the sake of conscience (Romans 13:5). The person with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony may participate in government to serve the purposes of God.

Identification. If you have a deacony of working in the government for the purpose of bringing the wrath of God upon the ones who practice evil, and you encourage people to obey the government not only for the sake of wrath, but also because of conscience, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

Hallmarks of The Spiritual Gift of Deacony

Deacony: Understanding the Spiritual Gifts. The saint with the Spiritual Gift of Deacony deacons in many ways, but all the time deaconing to other people for the glory of God. They serve the Godly, the unGodly, the reasonable and the unreasonable. They take orders from others without disobeying Jesus their Lord.

Please review this entire chapter to understand The Spiritual Gift of Deacony and then see if you have that spiritual gift.

If you want to examine yourself regarding The Spiritual Gift of Deacony, then see if you have a special joy and effectiveness for Jesus when you participate in the activities listed below.  You may have The Spiritual Gift of Deacony.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers prepare meals for people.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers serve others first, before themselves.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers often labor under the direction of others.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may deacon the word of God, at times bearing witness to Christ before tribunals even as they face the prospect of death or imprisonment.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may also have a ministry of evangelism.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may raise and deliver money for the work of Jesus Christ, and particularly, at times, providing money for the poor and famine afflicted.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may raise money in distant lands for the relief of other believers facing hardship or death.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may handle and deliver money, while being careful to administer such gifts carefully, while avoiding the appearance of impropriety.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may supply the needs of the saints, resulting in overflowing glory to God and providing proof of their confession of Christ.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may be part of a team proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may have a deacony of delivering news of a believer’s circumstances so as to comfort the hearts of others concerned about the believer’s condition.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may be a part of a ministry team running errands (even to other countries), delivering reports, and meeting the physical needs of the ministry team.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may perform continual, loving service to others as a way of life.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may refresh another believer.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may carry gifts from place to place, or person to person, church to church, or from a person to a group.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may contribute from their private means to the support of the ministry by giving money to God.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may have a ministry of reconciliation, working as an ambassador, with God using them to appeal to people to be reconciled to God, and begging them to be reconciled as needed.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may be a male believer holding the Office of Deacon.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may have a deacony to the imprisoned.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may take special spiritual care to promote the spiritual maturity of other believers.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may have a deacony of proclaiming the work of the Holy Spirit with great boldness, resulting in salvation.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may have a deacony of sharing the blessings of the New Covenant.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may know special things about the works of Jesus, and they carry out their service with quiet obedience in humility.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may deacon to God through church planting.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may use their financial abilities to benefit other people.

♦ Deacony-gifted believers may deacon in government to the glory of God.

Conclusion

As with many other spiritual gifts, The Spiritual Gift of Deacony intersects and overlaps other spiritual gifts. No spiritual gift operates in isolation. They work together for the common good of people, and often particularly for believers. The Spiritual Gift of Deacony involves people deaconing to Jesus Christ as Lord and Master, performing services for Him by deaconing to  other people at work, in distant lands, by traveling, supplying physical and financial needs, working in government, and doing many other acts of obedience to Jesus Christ, because they love Him and love to deacon to Him as a way of life devoted to God.