HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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Theme: Duties of officers in the churches
Chapters 5 and 6 will deal with the very practical matter of the duties of officers in the church. This gets right down to the nitty-gritty of church life today. This is very realistic and meaningful for us.
Relationship of Ministers to Different People (1 Timothy 5:1-25)
1 Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; (KJV)
Rebuke not an elder . . . but treat him as a father. The first relationship discussed is Timothy's relationship to elders. I think Paul is speaking of a mature child of God (father, 1 Jn.2:13-14), and a man who occupied a certain office, for the simple fact that an elder was an older man.
But entreat him as a father . . . Timothy was NOT to rebuke an elder publicly, but he was to plead with him privately. Since Timothy was a young man, he needed to be very considerate in his relationship with these older men in the church. He was not to take the position of a know-it-all or a dictator over these older men. He was to encourage them and have a word privately with them IF it was necessary.
And the younger men as brethren . . . a kind, loving relationship should exist between Timothy and the older men, and also with those of his own age or younger.
1 Timothy 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. (KJV)
The elder women as mothers . . . the same caution should also be used to older women.
The younger as sisters . . . and also to younger women too, considering our relation and equality in Christ (Gal.3:26-29).
With all purity . . . a pastor of a church should be very careful in his relationships with the opposite sex. Nothing hurts a church more or has more often wrecked the ministry of a church than sin in this area. Consider this sin in our times! Horrible! So many priests and pastors are dirty old men! Sexual predators! When a minister has to leave a church because of this problem, the spiritual deadness in the church is quite noticeable. Nothing can destroy the spiritual life of a church more than this kind of an experience. BEWARE!!! The so-called new morality CANNOT and will NOT work in the church.
Paul now comes to Timothy’s relationship with a third group,
1 Timothy 5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed. (KJV)
Honour widows . . . give respect to those who have lost their husbands, with a regard to that honorable estate of marriage in which they have been formerly, and do not only pay them a due respect, but afford them a maintenance (Acts 6:1).
That are widows indeed . . . Christians are known to be tenderhearted, and there are a lot of people today who have their hands out to us. We need to be very careful. The early church took care of widows, but they did not do it in some chaotic, emotional way. The deacons were to investigate to see who really were widows, where the need was, and how much need there was. There are not many churches who are taking care of the widows in their midst. This is a much neglected area today.
I think today’s government is in total disorder. They pay people NOT to work! IF a person is able bodied, they should support themselves! NOT expect the government to do it.
2 Thes. 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (KJV)
See end of chapter for comment on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.
1 Timothy 5:4 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. (KJV)
But if any widow have children or nephews . . . who would be dependent on her care, and who might themselves contribute to her support. The word nephew now usually means the son of a brother or sister, but the English word also meant grandchildren, or descendants of any description. It embraces only those in a direct line.
And to requite their parents . . . the investigation should determine whether the widow in question has children, and if so, WHY aren't they supporting her? Does she have grandchildren? They also have a responsibility toward her. This was God's method, and I think it still is God's method.
For that is good and acceptable before God; . . . and this is good, just, decent and commanded by God, and acceptable in His sight, for the precept: Honour thy father and mother, is the first commandment with promise (Eph.6:2; Ex.20:12). This Law is excellently explained by this text, both as to the act commanded, which this text teaches is to be extended to upkeep as well as respects.
1 Timothy 5:5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. (KJV)
Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate . . . the apostle Paul opens here the term of widow indeed (verse 3); a widow that is one that is alone, destitute of any to help her, a husband, or children, and being so,
Trusteth in God . . . she is a believer, resting her trust and confidence in God.
And continueth in supplications and prayers night and day . . . she spends her time in prayer and devotion. Not that other persons that are poor and desolate should not be regarded and taken care for, but the church is not so much concerned in them, as they are the widows.
1 Timothy 5:6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. (KJV)
But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth . . . she that is wanton, she that spends her money in needless costs, as to meat, drink, or apparel, is spiritually dead, dead in sin, while she lives a temporary voluptuous life, in vanity and luxury, and impurity of flesh and spirit. (Rom.13:13; 2 Tim.3:4; Jam.5:5)
1 Timothy 5:7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. (KJV)
And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless . . . Paul is telling Timothy to make it very clear to the church, so that they might act in an honorable way in these matters, that they may be blameless, especially the widows supported by the Church.
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. (KJV)
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house . . . by his own Paul means his relatives, by his own household, he seems to mean those who share a house with him. The apostle Paul states that he who is careless of providing for his family, as far as he is able, but especially for the latter, has denied the Christian faith, meaning the practice of it, even though in words he professes it (hypocrite), he does not obey the rule of the Gospel.
He hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel . . . an infidel is someone who has no belief or faith in Jesus. He is worse than a heathen, that does not believe, because many kind heathens take care of their own, and even those heathens who do not do it, are more excusable, because they are strangers to the obligation of the revealed law of God in the case.
I don't know how this could be made any stronger than it is right here . . . the widow is to be taken care of by her own flesh and blood. If professing ‘Christians’ are not taking care of their own, they have no testimony for God. They are worse than infidels. Scripture is extremely clear here . . . you might miss some things in Scripture, but you CANNOT miss this. BEWARE!!!
I volunteered in nursing homes, teaching Bible classes, for over 20 years. I would still be there, but health problems stopped me. I saw many terrible things. People would bring their parents in, dump them there and never ever visit, even on holidays. One tall, elderly, kindly black man never missed a class. He lived to be 104. He was sharp as a tack for his age. Charlie told me once: “Me and my wife raised 24 children, none of our own. Not even one ever got a parking ticket.” I asked him if they ever came to visit, because I had never seen anyone visit him. It was then he broke down and cried. Not one of those unthankful brats ever visited him.
1 Timothy 5:9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, (KJV)
Let not a widow be taken, into the number under threescore years old . . . into the number refers to the group of widows which were to be helped. Why was there an age limit? Because if she was under that age she could still work and take care of herself. The caution of their age was very wise: #1. Because younger widows could work for their living, and should not burden the church. #2. Because younger widows probably might marry again. #3. Because with older widows there could be no great fear of scandal from their immorality and lack of self control.
Having been the wife of one man . . . this condition seems harder to understand. Although in former times, amongst the Jews and pagans, men were allowed more wives than one at the same time, yet there were no laws that ever allowed the woman to have more husbands than one. This may mean, having lived in marital fidelity with her husband; or having had but one husband at a time; or, perhaps having never been but once married.
1 Timothy 5:10 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. (KJV)
Well reported of for good works . . . if she was a person of good reputation for actions concerning others which are in agreement with the will and commandment of God.
If she have brought up children . . . in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
If she have lodged strangers . . . if when persons that are Christians have come from other places, and could not amongst pagans find a convenient inn, her house be open to them.
If she have washed the saints' feet . . . she was ready to do the lowest job for the servants of God, of which washing of feet was a custom in those hot countries, where they had not the benefit of shoes, either to cool, or refresh, or cleanse them.
If she have relieved the afflicted . . . if to her ability she had relieved such as have been in any kind of distress.
If she have diligently followed every good work . . . if though it may be she have not had ability, or opportunity, to do all the good works she would, yet she have carefully followed them, doing what she could. A widow like this, was one to be put into the list of those whom the church will relieve, honor and help.
1 Timothy 5:11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; (KJV)
But the younger widows refuse . . . by the younger widows the apostle Paul seems to mean those that were younger sort of widows, not past child-bearing. There did seem to be extraordinary circumstances such as sickness, lameness, or the want of their senses. These would be maintained by the church. But Timothy was to refuse to take on the roll younger widows because they were able to work and most likely would remarry.
For when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ . . . wax wanton against Christ means that their fleshy, sensual desires might overwhelm their devotion to Christ, or they might disregard and neglect their vow to Christ. Wax wanton properly means either the lustful or the headstrong temper of beasts. Against Christ, is against the rule of the Gospel, and their profession of Christ, and then
They will marry . . . younger widows would put themselves into an incapacity to serve the church in the place of widows. It seems that many older widows worked in the church to help with the cost of what they received.
1 Timothy 5:12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. (KJV)
Having damnation . . . damnation is actually "judgment," they have cast off their first faith, their pledge to Christ and His church. But that injury would be done if they were admitted among those who were widows indeed (verse 3), who were supported by the church, and who were entrusted with a certain degree of care over the younger females, and then they should leave to marry.
Because they have cast of their first faith . . . this does not mean that they would lose all their faith, or totally fall away, but that this would show that they did not have strong faith, were not dead to the world, they did not depend on God (verse 5). The desire which they had, to be weaned from worldly cares and influences, which they once had, had now returned.
There is the danger of remarrying for the wrong reasons. There is the greater danger that she will forget all about her faith. The church must be very careful and check out young widows.
1 Timothy 5:13 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. (KJV)
The apostle Paul gives some more reasons, why he did not want widows too young taken into the ministry of the church.
And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house . . . they being young, and having no business at home, nor any husbands to conduct and govern them, are subject to be gallivanting all around.
And not only idle, but tattlers also . . . gossiping in vain and impolitely, busybodies, neb-nosing in the matters of other persons and families.
Speaking things which they ought not . . . they are likely to speak things which they should not speak. In other words, they carry garbage from one place to another, and that garbage is gossip. There is danger for the young widow, who has been relieved of the responsibility of being a wife and homemaker (perhaps having no children), that she will become a regular gadabout.
1 Timothy 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. (KJV)
I will therefore that the younger women marry . . . Paul tells Timothy, I give this as my opinion, this is my advice. If they do not have the gift of self-control, if they cannot restrain themselves from any scandals, let them marry.
Bear children . . . and not only bring forth children, but take care of their spiritual education.
Guide the house . . . governing their families, which is the woman's proper area. Yes, I believe this! I am a woman, an old one, and I think a woman’s place is in the home.
Give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully . . . give no reason to Jews or pagans (enemies of Christian religion), to speak of the church, or any members of it judgmentally, as living beneath the rules of morality and decency.
Paul is saying that there were enough scandals already, Timothy needed to pay heed that there were no more. Some young women already are apostatized (abandoned the faith), and possibly, for the sake of such marriages, went to Judaism or paganism . . . or, it may be, to a loose and lewd course of life, not suiting the profession of Christianity.
1 Timothy 5:15 For some are already turned aside after Satan. (KJV)
For some are already turned aside after Satan . . . some young widows, meaning that in the conditions mentioned above in verse 13, they had followed the great Tempter, rather than the Lord Jesus. This is why they should not be admitted into the number of the widows who were to be maintained at the expense of the church.
1 Timothy 5:16 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. (KJV)
If any man or woman that believeth have widows . . . have widows . . . widowed mothers or grandmothers, or any other widows whose support would naturally pass to them. If any men or women that are Christians have any widows that are closely related to them, if they are able,
Let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged . . . let relatives them support them; do not put the burden on the church. This was a clear rule of duty (verse 8). Nothing can be more unreasonable than to leave those who are properly dependent on us to be supported by others, when we are able to help them ourselves. To require, demand or expect the church to support those whom we ourselves should support, is to rob the poor, friendless, disabled or elderly. This is a sin.
That it may relieve them that are widows indeed . . . widows indeed (verses 3,5) that so the alms of the church may go to relieve only those who are desolate, having neither husbands nor any other near relations to provide for them.
With reference to Elders
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. (KJV)
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour . . . the apostle Paul had given full instructions concerning bishops (1 Tim.3:1-7); deacons (1 Tim.3:8-13); widows (1 Tim.5:3-16); and here he proceeds to state the duty of the church towards those who stand as the office of elder. The word used . . . elder or presbyter, properly refers to age, and it is then used to mean the officers of the church, probably because the older men were first entrusted with the administration of the affairs of the church.
Especially they who labour in the word and doctrine . . . but specifically those that take pains in preaching the Gospel Truth.
1 Timothy 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. (KJV)
For the Scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox . . . this is offered as a reason why a church should show all due respect and care for its ministers. Since God took care to make provision for the laboring ox, much more attention should be paid to those who labor for the welfare of the church (Deut.25:4; 1 Cor.9:8-10).
And, The labourer is worthy of his reward . . . this expression is found in Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:7. It does not occur in so many words in the Old Testament, and Paul presents it evidently as a quotation from the Scriptures, and as authority in the case. It would seem probable, therefore, that he had seen the Gospel by Matthew or by Luke, and that he quoted this as a part of Scripture.
1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. (KJV)
Against an elder receive not an accusation . . . whether an elder in years or in office, though the latter being the persons formerly spoken of, seen here to be mainly intended.
But before two or three witnesses . . . (Deut.17:6), the meaning is, unless supported by the testimony of two or three persons, an elder was not to consider an accusation against a presbyter as proven, if there was just one witness in the case, no matter how positive he might is in his testimony.
1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. (KJV)
Them that sin rebuke before all . . . all those who sin publicly and scandalously, with no thought to hide it,
Rebuke before all . . . rebuke NOT privately, but by a public correction before the whole church.
That others also may fear . . . that they be kept from committing the same offence (1 Pet.2:14).
The result of punishment is NOT the satisfaction of the private feelings of him who administers it, but the prevention of crime.
1 Timothy 5:21 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. (KJV)
I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things . . . Paul wanted Timothy to consider that all he did should be done as in the sight of God, the Father of the spirits of all flesh; in the sight of Christ, the Saviour of sinners, who purchased the Church with His own Blood; and in the sight of the holy and eminent angels, whose office it was to minister to the heirs of salvation (Heb.1:14).
Without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality . . . without prejudice. Endorse no man's cause; do not make up your mind on any case, until you have weighed both sides, and heard both parties, with their respective witnesses, and then act fairly.
1 Timothy 5:22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure. (KJV)
Lay hands suddenly on no man . . . do not be in a hurry to appoint any one to the sacred ministry; make sure the person is well proven before he receives the laying on of hands.
Neither be partaker of other men's sins . . . it is a sin for any improper person to plunge himself into the sacred office; and he takes part of the sin who introduces, helps him forward, or sanctions him in it. Their laying careless hands "on heads that cannot teach, and will not learn;" while they probably refuse to receive others who well qualified for the Christian ministry.
Keep thyself pure . . . from this and every other evil, Paul tells Timothy (and us), to keep pure.
1 Timothy 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. (KJV)
Drink no longer water . . . not entirely, as many did in those countries, and as Timothy probably did, not because he was not able to buy wine, but as a discipline to keep under the flesh.
But use a little wine . . . but mix some wine with the water. Wine mingled with the water was a common way of drinking wine in the East.
For thy stomach's sake . . . to help thy digestion. It was not for the pleasure to be derived from the use of wine, or because it would produce cheerfulness or excitement, but only because it was regarded as necessary for the promotion of health; meaning, a medicine.
And thine often infirmities . . . in regard of Timothy’s weakness and frequent infirmities. It seems that Timothy may have had some infirmity of body or some frailty of his makeup; but beyond this there is no information in regard to the nature of his illnesses. Many commentators say this verse seems out of place. Maybe Paul just happened to think of Timothy’s illness, and placed in here.
1 Timothy 5:24 Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. (KJV)
Some men's sins are open beforehand . . . I think this statement is to be taken in connection with the general subject of introducing men to the ministry (verses 17-22), and is to be regarded as a afterthought. The apostle had given Timothy a duty concerning the character of those whom he should ordain. He here says, in reference to that, that the character of some men was clear, and there was no way to hide what they were.
Going before to judgment . . . at times God will judge a Christian's sins here and now, but if He does not judge a person immediately . . . it does NOT mean that God is not going to judge him. My friend, God will eventually move in judgment, if not in this life time, then on Judgment Day! http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_judgment_sure.htm
Paul had written to the Corinthians because there were some who were not honoring the Lord's Supper (Communion) in the proper way. 1 Cor. 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (KJV) . . . Paul said that some were already being judged by God. Some were actually sick; others had died as a judgment of God. Paul also told them: 1 Cor. 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (KJV) . . . When a Christian sins, he can judge himself. That does not mean he is just to feel sorry for his sin. He is to deal with it . . . IF his sin has hurt someone, he is to make it right; and he is to repent and turn from that sin. If he does not do these things, he has NOT judged himself, and God shall judge him.
1 Cor. 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (KJV) . . . The world (unbelievers) commits these sins, and God judges. My friend, a Christian is not going to get by with sin! You either judge yourself, or God will judge you! IF you judge yourself, the matter is settled. If not, His sure judgment will settle it! Sometimes that judgment will be here and now, if not, it will be before Judge Jesus one day!
And some men they follow after . . . some people conceal their plans; they are deceivers. They appear different from what they really are. The character of such men will progress, and they will be judged according to their works (Rev.20:12-13). There is NO hope of escape! Although they have tried to hide their evil deeds, their evil deeds will follow after them to the judgment, and will meet them there. The meaning, in this connection, seems to be, that there should be caution in judging the qualifications of men for the office of the ministry. It should NOT be decided from quick, favorable appearances. There could be no doubt about the character of such men, and Timothy should not be accessory to their being introduced into the office of the ministry.
1 Timothy 5:25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid. (KJV)
Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand . . . the character of some men is clear, and correctly understood. There can be no doubt, from their works and words that they are good men. We do not need to wait for Judgment Day to decide that, but may treat them here as good men, and introduce them to offices which only good men can fill. The idea here is, that their character may be so certain and undoubted that there need be no hesitation in setting them apart to the office of the ministry. The idea is, that there are some good men whose character is known to all. Their deeds spread a glory around them, so that no one can mistake what they are.
And they that are otherwise cannot be hid . . . this is true also of evil men. They will in due time be revealed for who they are. Something will happen that they may be clearly understood for what they are. Timothy was to be on guard in selecting men for the ministry, against those whose character for evil, who might be concealing their plans and practicing secret sins, so he was to try to search for the mild, modest and unobtrusive men, and those who, although now unknown, were among the outstanding of the Earth, and bring them forward to a station of usefulness where their virtues might shine on the world.
Apart from the reference of this beautiful Passage in verses 24 and 25 to the ministry, it contains truth important to all.
- The character of many wicked men is now clearly known. No one has any doubt of it. Their deeds go before them and are recorded in the Books that will be open on Judgment Day. The Universe would agree in the sentence of condemnation.
- The character of many wicked men is concealed. They hide their plans. They practice secret sin. They do not want the world to know what they are. The majority of the actual immorality in the world is concealed from human view; and for the majority of the population who go up to the judgment, there is a huge mistake as to their real character.
- Every man in the last day will be judged according to his actual character. No one, however successful he may have been here, can hope to deceive Judge Jesus.
- There is a rightness in the FACT that there shall be a Judgment Day. There has to be such a judgment, in order that God may be fair and just. The characters of men are not fully progressed here on Earth. Many are removed before their schemes of iniquity are accomplished, and before their real characters are understood, but God knows all.
- The modest, the reserved, the humble, and those that here on Earth are unknown, will NOT be overlooked on Judgment Day. There is much good in the world, BUT there is also much evil in the world, that is now concealed. We are not to suppose, that all that is concealed and unknown in the world is evil.
- There will be amazing developments on Judgment Day. The exposure of the secret deeds of evil will be so clear that human nature is extremely corrupt.
Sometimes God will judge an evil man’s sins here on Earth, BUT . . . if God does not judge that person immediately . . . it does NOT mean that God is not going to judge him. My friend, God will eventually move in judgment, if not in this life time, then on Judgment Day!
And sometimes God blesses a believer down here for something he has done for which God can reward him, while others are going to have to wait until they are in His Presence to receive their reward, which will be the case of many TRUE Christians.
*** WHY the Roman Empire Fell ***
Gibbon, the historian concluded that there were five reasons for the decline and fall of Rome. Gibbon was not a Christian, but this is what he states was the cause of why Rome fell:
- The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
- Higher and higher taxes; the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace.
- The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting, more brutal, more immoral.
- The building of great armaments when the great enemy was within; the decay of individual responsibility.
- The decay of religion, fading into mere form, losing touch with life, losing power to guide the people.
When any nation departs from the true and living God, when it gives up great moral principles which were based on the Holy Word of God, when it goes into idolatry, these causes eventually lead it into gross immorality and into political disorder. SOUND FAMILIAR?
ch.1 . . ch.2 . . ch.3 . . ch.4 . . ch.5 . . ch.6 . . Special Comments