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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Timothy's Instruction to the Church

Behavior in the House of the Lord
Koinonia Study

I Timothy 5

Caree Connolly

We know that Paul is a spiritual father to Timothy. He has often called him his son, in the faith. Timothy currently is in Ephesus to oversee the church that Paul established there. Paul wrote this epistle, to instruct Timothy in things of the church. He wrote these things in order that he might know how he ought to behave in the house of the Lord. All these were to help Timothy's dealings with elders, younger members, and widows. 
Treatments of Church Members
1 Timothy 5:1
Rebuke not an elder, but in-treat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

Paul was giving Timothy instruction on how to speak to elders in the church. Timothy was a young man and a minister of Christ, so he was Paul was teaching the proper tools on being head of a church. We learned from 1 Timothy 4:12 not to let his youth be a hindrance.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Now Paul is letting him know to not rebuke an elder. The word rebuke means: to criticize sharply. Although 2 Timothy 4:2 says; [Preach the word; be instant in season,out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.] There is a difference in the reproofs made, according to the age, quality, and other circumstances. And elder in age should be in-treated as a father. Showing due respect to the elders in age and elders by office, and given the dignity of their years. Speaking to them as you would a father. And in speaking to younger men, reprove them as brethren. If you start out looking for faults, or picking quarrels, you only build up resentments. Meekness is important in reproving a brother. This can be done with love and tenderness. We have elders, and brethren, but Paul doesn't exclude women. To treat the older women as mothers. His mother and grandmother probably taught early on proper conduct on his behavior. And to treat the younger women as he would a sister. The Bible doesn't say whether he had siblings, but this verse entreats him to in-treat them with purity. In essence; with a lack of guilt or evil thoughts.

Honor Widows

1 Timothy 5:3-7
Honour widows that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

I found about 38 verses in the Bible where God speaks of care and conduct of widows, with 6 references in Timothy alone. Paul is writing to Timothy in this case of the direction needed concerning the widows in his church. Widows were employed by the church as a means to give them the respect and tenderness due them. {Psalm 68:5} Many times, they were used to tend the sick and the elderly. In Acts 6 We read that the apostles noticed the widows were being neglected and not utilized in the church. But if these widows had children, who were able to take on the care of their parent, it placed less of a burden on the church. I think too often today, the elderly are forgotten and put aside. I remember in high school and the Key Club (a branch of the Loins Club) and we visited a home for the elderly. The lady I spoke to, was probably in her 90's. She had worked as a switch board operator. She really enjoyed our talk, but it was sad because her family rarely came and saw her.

This verse uses the word 'piety'. Piety is a; fidelity to natural obligations (as to parents)

Having the children or grandchildren caring for a widowed parent shows that parent honor. And shows honor to God. One of the 10 commandments in Exodus 20:12 states:” Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee”. Ephesians 6:1-3 also reminds us to: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor your father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou may live long on thee earth”.

Some of the widows though, were more desolate. Alone in the world. Either she didn't have children, or her children just didn't care. But in this verse, she put all her trust in God, and continued to be constant in her prayers. Anna, shows us in Luke 2:36-37 of her dedicated prayers to God. But Paul warns Timothy of the widows who lived in pleasure. Meaning that she lived a wanton, loose, and promiscuous life-style. Paul tells Timothy that she is dead spiritually. It says in {1 Thessalonians 4:3-5}

Timothy is charged again in verse 7, that gives instruction on the maintenance for widows, for the children caring for their families, and for the widows to stay in prayer and not live in sin. These are all the things that the world sees. To be blameless. Living as God wills. 

1 Timothy 5:8
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
As we have seen throughout-out the Bible, many times verses are repeated. It's a great reminder of instructions or tools God wants us to remember. Verse 8 is for those who do not honor what verse 4 said; 'let them learn to show piety at home,'.
We see now, the consequences of not providing for his household. Especially those in the faith. Paul says that, he is worse than an 'infidel'. The definition of 'infidel is: one who acknowledges no religious belief'. Some of the commentaries speak of the fact that even the world or unbeliever is taught to care for the elderly. We should be again reminded of the commandment: Honor thy father and mother. Much more important that being an infidel.
1 Timothy 5:9-13
Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man. Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
This portion of verses goes deeper into widowhood. The church had offices for the widows within the church. Positions like; deaconesses. Titus 2:3-5 gives a good account for the behavior and conduct of a deaconess. The aged women likewise, that [they be] in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, Verses 9-10 of Timothy emphasize that widows going into a position of church, to 60 years and above. Sixty was considered 'old age' than. They needed to have had one husband. This was stated since polygamy was practiced than. Not just by the men, but also women. And her character needs to be up-rightly. With her children, her works, and her counsel. Reminds me a little of the Proverbs 31 women.
Continuing with 11, as we read before, that widows of a certain age and charcter were given duties in the church. Paul lets Timothy know that the younger widows were, due to age, still able to marry, and provide for themselves. But they also went more toward the loose and wild behavior. We read about that in verse 6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
These widows were being idle, busybodies, and gossipers. Today’s media has shows like: Housewife’s of Atlanta, The Kardashians, etc. Not shows I watch, but just the clips on up-coming episodes detail all the things in their life, which include: gossiping, busybodies, and going from house to house. Interesting..nothing new happening from back than to now.
1 Timothy 5:14-16
I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan. If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
The instruction set forth in 14 was for the younger widows to marry and have more children. 1 Corinthians 7:39-40 also speaks of re-marriageThe remarriage here is recommended as an antidote to sexual passion, idleness, and the sins noted in 1 Timothy 5:13
Some of the widows had already gone to the path of un-Godly behavior. It's the idle hands that the enemy seems to easy to get hold. 
"Idle hands are the Devil's playground." Author: Unknown
1 Timothy 5:17-20
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
In the Bible Study Tools commentary,  instead of 'rule well', the writer uses 'preside well'. 'Oversee' can also be used here. As elders, overseeing, with wisdom, ability, and loving faithfulness was an important duty to have, especially as ministers of God's Word. { I Thessalonians 5:12, Galatians 6:6 } all speak of the double honor, regarding the labor of being in the Word and doctrine. These elder were part of the ministry. I had some trouble trying to understand verse 18. I finally found a commentary by Ron Daniels, a pastor of Calvary Chapel Cheyenne. Verse 18 is speaking of wages. This verse is quoting Deuteronomy 25:4. “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing." 
Basically, if an ox is threshing wheat, he should be allowed to eat some of that wheat. A minister is teaching the Word. It is fitting for them to receive the wages due them, especially if this is the calling God placed them in. 1 Corinthians 9:14 says “ the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living”
Paul continues, concerning the elders, in cautioning Timothy against someone accusing an elder of wrongful conduct. Not to jump to conclusions or a judgment call. This stands for anyone. Deuteronomy 19:15 “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.
Accusations of church members or officials come often in these days. The sad part is, three or more witnesses are generally seen through the eyes of the media.
For Timothy, if an elder is established to be unrepentant, he would be rebuked before the church.

Matthew 18:15-17
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

We are reminded that we are not to be partial. Pastors are the ambassadors for God. Making like decisions God would make. God doesn't compromise about sin. A pastor shouldn't either.
1 Timothy 5:21-25
I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure. Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
In these final few verses, Paul is advising Timothy against being partial. We know from James {3:1} the seriousness of the job of leaders in the church; they serve an eternal God and must please Him first in everything they do. It also says in {Ephesians 3:7}
Regarding partiality, James 2:1-9 gave us God's view on partiality. Galatians 3:26-29 lets us know that we are the same in the eyes of God.
Timothy is cautioned to wait before appointing leaders immediately. Give them time to show themselves approved by God. I've mentioned this before, but I think pastors jump into the ministry thinking there ready, or that its easy.
Verse 23 probably could get into a debate about the use of wine. I will just mention that in Timothy's case, he had problems with his stomach. Paul is letting him know that a little wine would be helpful.
Finally, ending with 24 and 25, we see that there are 2 contrasts. One where men's sins are openly apparent, some are hidden and not seen, but will be in judgment. And the other is similar in that some works are open and broad cast, and others keep their works quiet.

So what can we see is the nugget of truth in this chapter to take with us. 
We don't always see what is not shown, 
but God does, because He sees what's in the heart.

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