Christ’s Promise to Deacons


God gives two special promises to deacons in 1 Timothy 3:13. It is easy to quickly read over the verse and not appreciate the depth of the promises. The promises of Christ are never small or insignificant. Christ gives two promises to deacons who serve well. First, they will have good standing, and second, they will have great confidence in their faith.

A Good Standing
The first promise to faithful deacons is that they will have a good standing. Men who have been examined, found blameless, and appointed to service are tremendously valuable to the church. The harmony of the church seen in Acts 6:7 occurs today when elders and deacons follow biblical leadership and bless the church. Faithful deacons are the humble servants managing appointed, necessary tasks from the elders for the body to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). They often serve behind the scenes. At other times they are more visible, helping to manage groups of people to achieve necessary tasks for the church.

When faithful deacons are serving in this manner, Christ promises they will have a good standing, specifically, within their church body. The saints will witness the proper operational harmony of Christ’s two-office leadership structure resulting in the spiritual growth of the church. When these things are clearly manifested, a deacon will be esteemed in an appropriate manner. He will have a good reputation and have the respect of the church body.

The context of having a “good standing” is primarily within the local church and within the community of believers. It can, however, flow over into other areas of a deacon’s life. The strong moral character of a deacon will be respected in the workplace, around the neighborhood, by extended family, friends, and all across the unbelieving world he touches. At the same time, the world is fickle in its estimations of moral excellence. Biblical character can also be held against a believer. This corrupt world will accept a moral man one day and reject him another. Regardless of the world’s view of a faithful deacon, Christ’s promise remains. He will be blessed by God and esteemed by his local church.

Great Confidence in the Faith
The second promise is “great confidence in the faith.” Why would Christ give his deacons who serve well an increased confidence? Sin is always trying to divide saints against each other. Church leaders are prime targets (1 Tim 3:6-7). If Satan can weave divisiveness within elders and deacons, and thereby create splits within leadership, then Satan can gain a foothold and divide the church.

Satan may target a deacon personally. If he can get a church leader to disqualify himself, this too can wreak havoc in the local church. A deacon or elder who mishandles alcohol, has an affair, or any other compromise of the qualifications, will bring on a tremendous burden and sadness to their church and may create a flood of problems.

It is important for a church and its leaders to have unity and not allow Satan to gain a foothold. Christ knows that Satan will attack his leaders. Christ strengthens deacons for the attack by having the Holy Spirit embolden their faith. “A great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 3:13) is a bountiful gift for deacons. A great and supernatural confidence in faith helps deacons face issues that will inevitably come. Christ knows the weight and stress of leadership. He knows how Satan will attack his leaders (Luke 22:31; 1 Pet 5:8). Christ gives a great promise that his deacons will be honored by the saints of the local church and be given supernaturally strong faith to withstand the trials of this fallen world and the challenges that Satan brings.

Editor’s Note:
This article is adapted from our Equip book, 
Deacons: Clarifying the Biblical Role by J. Robert Douglas.

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