"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

CROSSING The T’s STUDY in 1 TIMOTHY – Biblical Precepts and Principles for Pastoral ministry: CHAPTER FIVE

: Thus far this epistle has shown us the apostles doctrine and mission, his personal experiences as a zealous Pharisee in opposition to the church, then by GOD’s grace converted to Christ and becoming an apostle. Then he launches into counsel for both men and women in the church, extols the Person in Christ as the Intercessor for His bride; from there he outlines the qualifications for deacons and bishops. Then he addresses the purpose of this epistle (1 TIM 3:15). After this, Paul gets into the prophetic, explaining the future apostasy from the faith, as well as marking the indicators for good teachers: godliness, diligence, and the importance of meditation on the Word of GOD, along with vigilance over personal conduct.

Now we begin chapter five where he addresses the issue of widows, the duty of church elders, impartial and deliberate judgments in church government, and advice in personal and practical matters. This epistle is rounded up in chapter six with the duties of servants, separation from false teachers, warnings against covetousness and ambitions to gain wealth. Paul then solemnly charges young pastor Timothy to keep his doctrine pure unto the end and issues a similar word to the wealthy regarding benevolence and charity towards the less fortunate. He ends the first epistle with final charges of fidelity to his son in the faith.

1 TIMOTHY 5:1-2
1 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger as sisters, with all purity

This charge from Paul is not in regards to church elders, but simply to elderly men – as opposed to younger men; likewise older women to younger women. They are to be treated with the same love and respect as one would their own family. To “rebuke” (epiplesso) in this sense is to chasten or as we might say it, to give a tongue-lashing. This is something Paul says to refrain from with the older men of the church, but to rather exhort, encourage, gently motivate. This is different from what the apostle tells Timothy in:
2 TIMOTHY 4:1-2
1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching
Here, the word in the Greek (epitimao) is not at all the same thing: “to censure, admonish, to forbid – the idea here is to muzzle someone who is out of order.

How we deal with our natural families is good training for how we deal with one another in the church. This is particularly important for fathers who are being considered for the ministry as an elder and especially a minister of the Word. If they govern their own household well, chances are good that they will likewise be good caretakers of the bride of Christ (1 TIM 3:4; 1 TIM 5:17).

1 TIMOTHY 5:3-7
3 Honor widows who are really widows. 4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them [the children] first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. 5 Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God, and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. 6 But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. 7 And these things command, that they may be blameless

Speaking of family, when it comes to widows in the church, they are primarily the responsibility of their children – and grandchildren, who are themselves called upon to “show piety”. The Christian faith must be exercised first under their own roof, because any show of such in the church that is absent in the home is inconsistent at best, hypocritical at worst just as stated by Paul in verse 8.

There are those who are truly widows, having no family at all, and these are to be taken care of by the church, yet even here there is a distinction – those widows who are truly pious and trust in GOD, given to continual prayer and supplication – and others who live in pleasure (spiritually dead, but are attached to a church body, much as many today outside of the faith treat the church as a social services entity). While benevolence should be shown to all, saved and unsaved alike by the church, there is the priority of taking care of “the household of faith” first (GAL 6:10).

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever

As mentioned previously (see the study on 1 TIM 4) and in other articles, “the faith” is mentioned in ACTS 6:7; 13:8 14:22; 16:5; 24:24 (these references found in the book of ACTS alone; 40 times in total found in the New Testament) is a reference to the body of doctrines as expressed in the Holy Scriptures – this isn’t in reference to believing or saving faith; for that is derivative of hearing the Word of GOD and by faith obey it (MATT 7:24), particularly where the Gospel is concerned.

Yet this is a grave admonition, that if one doesn’t provide for their own family, they are opposing every principle on a fundamental level that the Word of GOD teaches: love, compassion, stewardship, attentiveness to duties as commanded by the LORD, honoring parents, raising children in the fear and admonition of the LORD, etc. They are worse in their conduct than an unbeliever, for the unbeliever is not indwelt nor empowered by the Spirit of grace as is the believer; the believer knows what the Word of GOD declares regarding care of the family, but the unbeliever is (typically) unaware of what GOD commands in these matters. “To whom much is given is much required” (LUKE 12:48).

1 TIMOTHY 5:9-16
9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, 10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work. 11 But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, 12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan. 16 If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows

There are certain criteria that this group of women were to live up to; seeing how they no longer had husbands to care for, they then have time and opportunity to minister to others in the church: having a good reputation as a mother, with well-behaved children (who may not be alive due to disease or tragedy; otherwise they would be expected to minister to their mother), given to hospitality, tended to the needs of the sick and injured, and have been diligent in every endeavor in which they are called upon to lend aid.

These are safe guards for the church, lest they should be taken advantage of. Jamieson Fausset-Brown has this to say:
“…let none be enrolled (in the catalogue) who is less than sixty years old." These were not deaconesses, who were chosen at a younger age (forty was the age fixed at the Council of Chalcedon), and who had virgins (in a later age called widows) as well as widows among them, but a band of widows set apart, though not yet formally and finally, to the service of God and the Church.
“Traces of such a class appear in ACTS 9:41. Dorcas herself was such a one [perhaps Anna the prophetess was a model example of the sort of women who were qualified for such a position, having served GOD with prayers and fastings day and night; see LUKE 2:36-37]. As it was expedient that the presbyter or bishop should have been but once married, so also in her case. There is a transition here to a new subject. The reference here cannot be, as in 1 TIM 5:3, to providing Church sustenance for them.
“For the restriction to widows above sixty would then be needless and harsh, since many widows might be in need of help at a much earlier age; as also the rule that the widow must not have been twice married, especially since he himself, below (1 TIM 5:14) enjoins the younger widows to marry again; as also that she must have brought up children [and to manage the house].
“Moreover, 1 TIM 5:10 presupposes some competence, at least in past times, and so poor widows would be excluded, the very class requiring charity. Also, 1 TIM 5:11 would then be senseless, for then their remarrying would be a benefit, not an injury, to the Church, as relieving it of the burden of their sustenance. 
“…. Age was doubtless a requisite in presbyters, as it is here stated to have been in presbyteresses, with a view to their influence on the younger persons of their sex They were supported by the Church, but not the only widows so supported (1 TIM 5:3,4).
“a wife of one man--in order not to throw a stumbling-block in the way of Jews and heathen, who regarded with disfavor second marriages (see on JFB for 1 TIM 3:2; TITUS 1:6). This is the force of ‘blameless’, giving no offense, even in matters indifferent.”
1 TIMOTHY 5:17-18
17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages

In regards to elders – honor upon honor is to be granted to these elders and most especially those in the teaching ministry (“who labor in the Word”), not just in obedience to their Biblically founded teaching, but also in beneficence. They are to be taken care of in temporal things by the church, just as they minister in spiritual things to the church. Paul addresses this elsewhere because there were malefactors that questioned, even challenged the apostle’s authority and the saints that ministered to his physical needs:

1 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2 If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 3 My defense to those who examine me is this: 4 Do we have no right to eat and drink? 5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord
[that would be James and Jude, the authors of the two epistles by those names], and Cephas [aka Peter who is supposedly the first Pope of the Roman Church, and yet clearly he was a married man; MATT 8:14]? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working?
7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? 8 Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about? 10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? 12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ

Lest people grouped Paul and Silas and Timothy along with others who were proven charlatans that “fleeced the flock and didn’t feed the flock”, they decided that they would pay their own expenses by laboring with their own hands, and therefore blameless concerning the ministry (ACTS 20:33-35).

1 TIMOTHY 5:19-21
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. 20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. 21 I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality

The admonition here is that none would accept an accusation (that is, a claim in alleging the commitment of criminal action) against an elder, unless there are two or three witnesses that can attest to the truthfulness of this serious misdeed on account of the elder in question.

One former pastor of a huge megachurch was discovered to have sexually assaulted not one or two, but four of the church secretaries. His fall brought about the breaking of that fellowship. Half of the elders left, the rest of the congregation was wounded terribly with damage done which no doubt resulted in lasting scars! If the witness of just one was all that was necessary (say, just the words of the first secretary), any pastor could easily be brought down by a potentially false accusation; to prevent this, two or three witnesses are required.

At the same time, according to Paul, the congregation was to witness the rebuke of those sinning against the LORD so that they would take due consideration and learn from the errors of others. No doubt this would be the case of the young man living in an adulterous relationship with his step-mother as seen in 1 COR 5, who was rebuked and (temporarily) excommunicated from the local church.

We sometimes forget that it’s not just the saints who are witnessing our conduct, and not just the world, but also angels who take note of our words and actions. Angels are extremely curious about the salvation that the LORD is working in and through us, and certainly are learning about GOD’s plans and purposes through our lives (1 PET 1:12). Yet whether saint, sinner, angel, or demon, the One that we look to for approval or disapproval is the LORD Jesus Christ, before Whom we hold the charge with the gravest of minds – as elders and pastors, we have been given the charge just as Timothy was, to feed, guide, protect and cherish this beautiful bride that’s been entrusted to our care by none other than her bridegroom, the LORD Jesus Christ!

It makes me tremble to think of this!
The fact that the LORD sees every member of His body as equally cherished and desired with no preferential treatment at all (we are all of us, His favorite!) should cause us to consider any prejudicial treatment or favor in interacting with the saints.

Timothy had the best example to follow in his mentor, Paul the apostle:
2 TIMOTHY 3:10, 14-15
10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance,
14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus
1 TIMOTHY 5:22
Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure

As discussed earlier in chapter three, it’s always dangerous appointing someone into ministry too early in their discipleship:
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devi
A novice or one newly come to the faith could easily succumb to pride if inducted into the ministry too soon and like the devil, fall because of it. It’s vital that a person be given ample time to develop good discipline in the faith, growing in the Word and leaving “the first principles of Christ” (HEB 5:12), to advance towards maturity and able to digest at least some measure of “meat” – in other words, not a babe in Christ.

For this reason, although there are those who disagree with me, I believe a person should be in the faith, from the beginning of salvation when they were born again, for a minimum of two to three years before getting involved in ministry – with the exception of sharing the Gospel and intercessory prayer, which all Christians (even novices) are instructed to engage in. They should also be rooted in a home fellowship, not given to ‘church hopping’, so that they can be looked after, and pastors and elders will be able to gauge their progress and determine whether they should be involved in ministry sooner or later.

One knows that there is something suspect about a person’s conversion to Christ when one has to just about beg them to come to church, when they aren’t all that interested in prayer, whenever the subject of the Bible comes up, they’re seldom the one to initiate the conversation.

I’ve known professing Christians like this, and it baffles me that they are convinced of their salvation, yet have no hunger for the Word of GOD, either in reading, studying, or applying it:
1 PETER 2:1-3
1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious
IF one has indeed tasted the gracious goodness of the LORD as it says in PSALM 34:8; one cannot fully express what a relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ is like. It’s far more difficult than trying to describe the flavor of strawberry ice cream. The easiest thing to do is offer you some ice cream so you can find out for yourself.

It’s just that way with the LORD. The only way a soul can truly understand for themselves what loving the LORD is like and being loved by Him is for them to partake of Him for themselves.

Anyone who has truly tasted, can’t get enough, and for those who are content with just a taste now and again, but in between times find other things more tasty? I seriously question their conversion!

The other aspect of a true conversion is a desire for purity (MATT 5:8), to abandon iniquity in all its forms (2 TIM 2:19) – to escape the corruption that is in this world (2 PET 1:4) and walk in the way of holiness, just as our LORD always did, and does (1 JOHN 2:6)!
For more on this, check out the TTUF article: SHOWCASE SALVATION – Part ONE and Part TWO!

1 TIMOTHY 5:23
No longer drink only water but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities

People who love their wine a bit too much often will quote these verses; they will point out that the LORD Jesus drank wine. One has to appreciate the history of those days before one understands the different forms of ‘wine’ that they drank.

Water sources weren’t always the purest; some water was contaminated with parasites or other contaminates and so mixing the water with a good amount of wine sufficient to kill off bacteria and other harmful agencies was a means to ensure one was safe. But it was hardly the stuff one could get drunk on.

Christians aren’t forbidden as a general rule from drinking alcohol; but we are forbidden to get drunk:
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is.18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit
I sometimes shock people when I say that I can have all the booze and drugs that I want; but that’s the point: as a new creation in Christ, I have a new nature and that godly nature doesn’t want, never desires those things!

I much rather desire to be filled with, and under the influence of the Spirit of GOD, not the spirits in various bottles! He gives far greater joy than any alcohol can, and without a hangover! Nor does an addiction to Jesus drain my finances, ruin my health, destroy relationships, cause me to lose my job. Excessive use of alcohol can and will do those things!
And deacons are instructed to consume wine only in moderation (1 TIM 3:8); elders [also referred to as bishops] are to refrain from any such substance altogether (1 TIM 3:2-3).
Timothy was instructed by Paul to use (stronger) wine for stomach related issues that a stronger wine would alleviate.

1 TIMOTHY 5:24-25
24 Some men's sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. 25 Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden

No one escapes judgment; not any living soul will be able to avoid it. Like the fish and nets parable, that catch both good fish and bad (MATT 13:47-48), the nets of time encapsulate us all and draw us irrevocably through life and bring us before GOD in judgment.

MATTHEW 13:49-50
49 "So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 "and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The blessedness for the Christian is that all of our sins were judged, prosecuted, convicted, sentenced, and punished already, upon the Person of Jesus Christ Who willingly (JOHN 10:15-17) took that judgment for our sin (ROM 8:3), taking our place and receiving the wrath of GOD so that we wouldn’t (2 COR 5:21; REV 5:9).

Not so for the unbeliever – Christ does not stand as an advocate for them, because they reject salvation through Christ. By default then, they must appear before the Judgment of GOD based on their own merit; ROM 3:19 (whereas the Christian’s relationship with GOD as our Father is based on the merit of Christ, not ourselves; ROM 3:21-26). The standard that must be matched by the unbeliever is the very holiness of Christ, which none even remotely can attain to, much less maintain.

All who are saved are written in the LAMB’s Book of Life; the atonement for our sin being paid for, the righteousness of Christ being accredited to our account, our names therefore are fitting to be placed on the pages of that Book.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire
Yet even the believer will appear before GOD in Judgment, but not at the Great White Throne Judgment for our sins, but at the Bema seat of Christ for our conduct and ministry for the LORD. The sinner as a result of their judgment will face punishment to various degrees in perfect justice according to their works. The saint as a result of the Bema Seat will face rewards (or lack thereof) to various degrees in perfect grace that the saint allowed to operate in their lives to produce good fruit.

This is what I find so amazingly generous and gracious about our LORD! The only One Who is truly good is GOD (MATT 19:17; ROM 3:12). Thus only GOD can truly produce anything good. Likewise the branch itself can’t produce grapes: it’s only as the branch abides in the Vine that it has the ability to do so (JOHN 15).

It’s as we abide in Christ and allow His Spirit to produce fruit – and good works (EPH 2:10; TITUS 2:14) that we are even qualified for rewards! Yet it’s Christ’s work in me, not my own work. My work would be wood, hay and stubble (works produced by myself, that is, my flesh; 1 COR 3:12). His work is according to the Spirit of grace – and still, He rewards us, for simply yielding to Him and let Him do what He desires in bringing fruit from our lives!

It astounds me to this day, the magnanimous nature of the Messiah!

This idea is found in another series of articles I’m writing called PONDERING The PARABLES, where the master calls forth three servants and renders to them talents, to the first five talents, the second is given three and the third is given one.
By the time the master rewards his stewards he not only authorizes the steward who had five talents (that produced five more for a total of ten) to have rule over ten cities, but the steward actually is allowed to keep the ten talents (See LUKE 19:11-26)!

Recently I did a teaching (Are You Ready for: Rapture, Reward, and Reign with Christ?) at SHINE BRIGHT Church based on a Prophecy Conference held this March at Calvary Tucson; the last teaching was by David Guzik, primarily about the Judgment Seat of Christ and I expanded on this in my own teaching which you can watch on Facebook by clicking on this link that will lead you to the TTUF teaching.

May we live our lives before the LORD in reverent fear and homage to the King and render to Him all that He is worthy of: all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength – all of our love, and devotion to the glory of GOD our Father!

Next time, Chapter Six of 1 TIMOTHY in this continuing series, CROSSING The T’s!

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