1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 
Five years ago I preached three sermons about life within God’s Church. Elders Lead us into the Light. Deacons Lead us into Acts of Mercy. And the Women Lead us into the Joys of Family Life.
This morning we are installing three deacons charged to lead us in our to love God and others.
Acts 6:1-4 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose that certain widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
Deacons lead the church into acts of mercy. They strategize the best use of our collective resources for the health of Christ’s Church.
This requires that they be men of good character. People who are growing in godliness and love for the Lord. Their heart can’t be in love with stuff.
I have a new favorite catch phrase when parenting.
At night cereal bowls randomly are set out. At one spot is a green bowl, at another spot is a blue, yellow or maybe a red bowl. So in the morning the first person up switches the bowl to get their favorite color. Well, when the other child comes down they are heartbroken that someone is using their bowl.
They come running to me looking for social justice, and I tell them, “I want you to stop caring so much about that sort of thing.” “I don’t really care, and I want you to learn not to care. Grow up.”
This last month my kids have bought tablets with their Christmas money. And they will sit for hours staring at them, playing games and such. And when we ask them to put them down we get expressions of extreme anguish that they have to walk away from their tablets.
So as parents we say, “I need you to stop loving that so much. Some day you will look with contempt on that device. You won’t care if it is broken, used by your younger brother, or lost. It won’t matter. You won’t care about it. I want you to start feeling that way about it now.”
That’s what the Apostle John is telling the Church in this verse. He’s saying, “I need you to stop loving the things that are not of eternal value.”
This is hard to imagine, but someday soon you will have no respect for gold. It will be of less value than street bricks or pavement. In heaven you will walk on it and not give it a moment’s notice. So, start feeling a lack of love for gold now.
The great preacher Solomon made this his primary message in Ecclesiastes.
This world is not worthy of your heart. Money? It’s vanity. Food? Vanity. Social power? Public influence? If not used for eternal purposes, then all these things increase only for temporal pleasures and temporary gain.
John is saying to STOP loving the world. He isn’t a naïve parent. He knows we love the world. We are in the world, we want to be a part of it.
He knows how we are. We are like children. Someone took my spot, Someone didn’t say hello to me. I was next in line and the waitress served the other person first. Why are people not putting me above themselves?
Why has God not given me what they have? Why are they getting things in life that I want?
“Goodness gracious!” John says. How can we love God if our hearts are filled with love of earthly things?
Two categories. There is the love of the world system and the love of things.
Rome was the world of their time. All the cultural pressure, political correctness, the social elites, economic groups and clicks were just as seductive then as they are today.
John says, STOP working to get ahead in the rat race of the world. No one wins. We all die and take nothing with us.
There is a whole different reality if you know and love God. There is a new world order. A new kingdom. There is a kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of God. The two are opposed to one another. They don’t peacefully coexist.
Stop trying to be loved by the kingdom of this world.
Make progress in God’s Kingdom.
Maybe you have just come into a relationship with God and are still filled with the wonder of your sins being forgiven.
Great, now become useful. Growing in godliness. Overcome the darkness and help build the church. Pray that someday you will have the maturity of the leaders in God’s Kingdom who live for one joy, one love and one purpose: intimate fellowship with the Father.
Second, John says to stop loving the things of this world. Stuff, stuff, stuff. How much stuff do you have in your house? Are your closets full yet? Are the corners piled with more stuff? Is your garage filled with stuff?
And do you spend lots of time and energy taking care of that stuff? Are you a good servant? Do you polish and protect that stuff? It’s so sad how much more we want when we don’t use what we already have for God’s glory.
And that’s the problem with stuff. We only have lasting joy in stuff if we use it to glorify God.
How much joy is there really in a set of dishes if they are always locked up in a cabinet? Why not bust it out and use to serve the people you love? Why not? Do we hide our stuff out of fear that something might get broke? How silly are we?
And John points out that we can’t love God with our whole heart if we love our stuff too.
Imagine how much joy you would have inviting some deacons, maybe some women of the church, over to your house to go through old boxes and closets in search of things that might be used in a service project to the community in hopes to bring unchurched people into a relationship with Jesus Christ?
The joy that your stuff is bringing you right now would pale in comparison to the joys you will have now and for eternity if your stuff were to be used for the glory of God.
John points out that you can’t be loving the world, as a habit of life, as a guiding principle of your heart, you can’t be in love with the world and the world’s stuff AND live for God.
Light and darkness don’t coexist peacefully. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
And deacons are in the church for one purpose. They help us take our collective stuff and use it for the glory of God, for the building up of the body of Christ and for acts of mercy to people who are outside the church in the hope that we can bring them in.
We need people like Terry Newman who took his leather working hobby, connected with Tyler, and started teaching him how to make leather wallets and small items for others. Thank you Terry. You are an example to us and I appreciate your servant’s heart.
And we need men like Dr. Weist who is happiest sitting on the carpet in a room of children playing with Legos and green army men. Jesus was defined by service to twelve men. Jesus ate with them, talked with them and washed their feet. He wasn’t too good for that kind of small ministry.
Dwight, you exemplify the love of Jesus to the least of these and we look forward to your help loving others like Jesus loved.
And Dr. Starr, your willingness to upset your peaceful retirement that others might be given a stable home in which to rebuild their life is the kind of sacrifice we all need to make in love toward our fellow man.
Your talents for organizing educational resources for the benefit of others is desperately needed by your pastor. I have videos that need editing. I can’t do it without your help. I pray that this will become your niche as you take our resources and connect us with this world for Jesus sake.
You men tell yourself to stop loving the world and the things in the world. You are not perfect, but you are exemplary. Help us do the same. Help us as a church to gain eternal benefits in the use of our resources, our talents and our time.
Lead us to live for God’s glory. Show us how to love God’s kingdom more than this world. Lead us in acts of mercy and compassion. And may God bless you now as you take on these official titles and duties.
Have Paul Benedict and the current elders come forward and sit on the front row.
Invite the three Elect Deacons forward.
Questions for Deacon Installation:
- Do you believe in one God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and do you confess anew the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, and acknowledge Him Head over all things for the Church, which is His Body?
- Do you reaffirm your belief in the Bible, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of the living God, the only perfect rule of faith and practice, infallible in all that it teaches, and inerrant in the original manuscripts, and to which nothing is to be added and from which nothing is to be taken at any time or upon any pretext?
- Do you accept the doctrines of this Church, contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, as founded on the Word of God and as the expression of your own faith and do you resolve to adhere thereto?
- Do you accept the government, discipline, and worship of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church?
- Do you accept the office of deacon in this congregation; and do you promise to perform faithfully all the duties of the office; and do you promise to endeavor by the grace of God to live your life in Christian witness before the church and in the world?
- Do you promise to submit in the spirit of love to the authority of the Session and to the higher courts of the Church?
- Do you promise in all things to promote the unity, peace, purity, and prosperity of the Church?
Looking up and asking the congregation:
Do you, the members of this congregation, acknowledge and receive Terry Newman, Dwight Wiest and Bob Starr as deacons, and do you promise to give them all the honor, obedience, encouragement, and assistance in the spirit of love to which the office, according to the Word of God and the Standards of this Church, entitles them?
Invite Dr. Wiest and Dr. Starr to kneel. Lay hands on them praying:
Almighty God, who through Jesus Christ calls from among us those who lead your Church in mercy and service to others, enlighten your servants with your Word, strengthen them with your Spirit; and enable them to lead to the glory of your name and the advancement of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Minister shall then say:
By the authority given to his Church by our Lord Jesus Christ, we ordain and install you as deacons, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you: The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ will be with you always. Amen.
The Minister shall say:
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Head of the Church, I now declare you duly installed into the sacred office of deacon.
The Members of the Session shall take the new officers by the hand, saying:
We give you the right hand of fellowship to take part in this ministry with us.
A record of the service of installation shall be entered in the minutes of the Session, and the names of the officers shall be reported to Second Presbytery.
Reverend Anthony R Locke Clerk of Session
 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.