:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I Timothy Chapter 5

I Timothy Chapter 5

vs. 1-2 Family

- Paul is giving Timothy some basic advice on keeping a church family together. As a young pastor, Timothy probably was in need of some advice in dealing with a lot of different kinds of people. As Christians, this is good advice for all of us in maintaining relationships with one another.

- “Never speak harshly to an older man... Treat older women as you would your mother” Those who are older than you, as a general rule, have more life wisdom than you do. Even if you are older than they in the faith, you are still to respect your elders just as you would your parents. With their age, they have earned the right to your respect.

- “Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers... treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.” Those your own age or about your own age or younger than you should be treated as siblings.

- We as churches can avoid many improper attitudes toward each other in our churches by seeing each other as our fellow members in God's family.

- Your family members are the closest people to you. They live with you, they know you intimately, and you all have to learn to live with each other in harmony... otherwise... it's just not a fun place to be... and the same can go for the church.

- A lot of the above has to do with thinking before you speak. What are some ways that you can “train” your brain to think first?
- Some days are just plain bad days... even on those days, we need to be aware of how our words and actions effect those around us. If you're having a bad day, go find someone you love and tell them how much they mean to you.

- Leviticus 19:32
- Titus 2:1-15
- Proverbs 23:22, 24-25
- Ephesians 6:1-4
- Hebrews 13:1-3
- I Peter 1:22, 3:8-12

vs. 3-16 Widows

- Take care of widows if they have no one else to care for them. Paul says if they have children or grandchildren, that their first responsibility should be to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them.

- Both of my great-grandmothers ended up in nursing homes before they died. One because she had a severe stroke, and the other because her Alzheimer's kept getting worse. In going to visit them periodically, we met a lot of different people... and sadly... there were a lot of residents who just seemed to be kind of dropped off... there were a few whose families never came back to visit... They were there on their own...

- When Paul is talking about taking care of the widows... these are the people I think about in today's society. Those who can't care for themselves anymore or who have been forgotten... there's no one in their lives who are willing to care for them.

- And also for those who are caring for an elderly parent or grandparent... it's hard to take on the responsibility of taking care of someone else... and it's even harder to have to care for the person who raised you... sometimes as if they were a child (depending on mental state). Those people sometimes need to be given relief... a break... help of some kind to relieve some pressure...

- So even those who have someone looking after them... sometimes still need a little extra help and attention.

- It is good for children to take care of their own parents. Sometimes that means getting a full time nurse to stay with them, or putting them in a home or assisted living where they can have around the clock professional care.

- Matthew 15:3-9

- Towards the end of both of my great-grandmothers' lives... it was hard for me to go see them. They weren't themselves. The one with Alzheimer's couldn't remember us... didn't know who we were... and there were times when I wondered why we even went... until she'd light up when she was talking... she didn't have a clue who we were... but it brought joy to her to be able to tell stories and talk about things...

- footnote- “Because there were no pensions, no social security, no life insurance, and few honorable jobs for women, widows were usually unable to support themselves. The responsibility for caring for the helpless naturally falls first on their families—the people whose lives are most closely linked with theirs. Paul stresses the importance of each family caring for the needs of its widows and not leaving it for the church. The church can then care for those widows who have no families. A widow who had no other family members to support her was doomed to poverty. From the beginning, the church took care of its widows, who in turn gave valuable service to the church.”

- Paul gives a few examples of different kinds of widows: the true widow, the widow who seeks pleasure, and the young widow.

- The true widow is a woman who is truly alone in this world. Someone without a spouse or children to help her. But despite being alone, she has placed her hope in God. She prays night and day asking God for His help. She seeks His will for her life. She is a woman of God. These are the widows that Paul told Timothy to give aid to.

- Paul said that they were to be of at least 60 years of age. They were to have been faithful to their husbands. They must be well respected by everyone because of her good life—“Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers and served other believers humbly? Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good?”

- Acts 9:36-43

- The widow who seeks pleasure is one who lives only for pleasure. She is spiritually dead. She doesn't care for the things of God. She is concerned only with herself and things that pertain to her life. These people who are of the world, Paul tells Timothy not to give any aid to.

- The young widow, Paul urges to remarry. A young widow who is still of an age to be able to marry and have children to help her in her old age has no need of church assistance. She still had the means to support herself through marriage.

- Paul says that the younger widows shouldn't be on the list because their physical desires will overpower their devotion to Christ and they will want to remarry... Then they would be guilty of breaking their previous pledge. (Which was to serve the church faithfully. The church would provide basic needs in return for service .) Paul also included the idea that if young widows were on the list, that they would learn to be lazy and instead of spending their time productively, they would end up spending their time going from house to house gossiping and meddling in things they shouldn't. Young widows needed to remarry basically to keep themselves busy and industrious so the enemy couldn't have anything to say against them.

- I Corinthians 1:8-9
- II Thessalonians 3:6-15
- I Thessalonians 5:12-22

- Paul was afraid that some had already started to stray away back to the world.

- This seems a little cold perhaps... however Paul had good reason to supply Timothy with this advice.

- footnote- “Paul wanted Christian families to be as self-supporting as possible. He insisted that children and grandchildren take care of the widows in their families; he suggested that younger widows remarry and start new families; he ordered the church not to support lazy members who refused to work (II Thessalonians 3:10). Nevertheless, when necessary, the believers pooled their resources; they gave generously to help disaster-ridden churches (I Corinthians 16:1-4); they took care of a large number of widows (Acts 6:1-6). The church has always had limited resources and has always had to balance financial responsibility with generosity. It only makes sense for members to work as hard as they can and to be as independent as possible, so they can adequately care for themselves and for less fortunate members. When church members are both responsible and generous, everyone's needs will be met.”

- Paul asked that women who were believers who had relatives who were widows, that they would take care of them instead of laying the burden on the shoulders of the church. So perhaps aunts, or cousins who didn't have any family to care for them or who didn't have believers in their family who were willing to care for them. In this way, it was still a family member caring for the widow.

- Is there an elderly person in your church who needs some help? Who maybe needs some maintenance done on their house? Or would like to have help with cooking sometime? Or who maybe just needs some company?
- Is there a nursing home in your area where you can “adopt” a “grandparent”?
- Would your youth group or bible study group be interested in taking a day a month or so to go spend some time at a nursing home?
- Is there a way that you can help out those who are caring for their parents or grandparents in your church?

- Galatians 6:8-10
- Isaiah 1:17
- James 1:22-27

vs. 17-18 Elders' job description
- If you do a job, you expect payment for the work that you've done. If you do really well, you may even be able to expect a raise or a bonus. Your production should determine your wages.

- Paul is saying that the same concept applies to elders. If they do their work well, they should be rewarded with the respect of those around them. In the Greek, the next part says that they “should be worthy of double honor.”

- Paul quotes a couple things from other places to say basically, that just because they're working for God and just because this may be their calling, doesn't mean that they shouldn't receive some kind of payment in return... even if it's simply the love and respect of their congregations.

- “Especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching.” Aren't those the same thing? Not really...

- footnote- “Preaching and teaching are closely related. Preaching is proclaiming the Word of God and confronting listeners with the truth of Scripture. Teaching is explaining the truth in Scripture, helping learners understand difficult passages, and helping them apply God's Word to daily life. Paul says that these elders are worthy of double honor. Unfortunately, however, we often take them for granted by not providing adequately for their needs or by subjecting them to heavy criticism. Think of how you can honor your leaders who work hard at preaching and teaching.”

- If you look at the above for a second with me, there's a lot to be drawn here...

- Preaching is shouting out the Gospel. “Jesus came! He died for us! He rose again! And He is GOD! There is hope for our eternal salvation!” And it is also getting down in other's faces and saying “you're wrong, and this is what is really true, and here's why.” Brings a whole new meaning to “stepping on your toes.”

- Preaching is great. But by itself, it can get really legalistic and really annoying... if someone is constantly telling you where you're wrong and how you're wrong and that you need to change something in your life to be on track with God... you're going to eventually just tune them out.

- But coupled with teaching... oh boy...

- Teaching is explaining, understanding, and application. Teaching sits down and tears scripture apart to help you understand it. Our pastor calls it “unpacking”. Taking out each detail and looking it over... just as you would if you were dissecting something for science. Everything is important and everything has meaning... it's just knowing how to look at it and what to take from it.

- Then after you have gained knowledge and understanding about the scripture, teaching shows you how to apply it to your daily life. Without this application aspect... what good is it to know scripture? Head knowledge is great... but James 2:14, 17-19 says “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?... So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don't have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.”

- It's like being on a battlefield, having a gun, knowing how it works, but never firing it at the enemy... even when they're closing in. What good does it do you to have it, to understand how it works... but never knowing how to use it?

- Paul says that elders should be respected... especially those who work hard at BOTH preaching and teaching.

- It's easy to tell someone they're wrong... not always so easy to explain how better to go about it.

- Consider yet again a soldier analogy. Consider a preacher/teacher to be a drill sergeant... He teaches you how to go to battle. Gives you all the knowledge and understanding about putting something into application. Maybe even walks you through battlefield training in scenarios as close to real battle situations as is possible. (I texted soldier friend of mine... terms for this could be: Field training exercises, situational training exercises, or practical applications... the last one I think fits my train of thought better...) He helps you overcome your fear. He helps you learn to think clearly in confusing situations... but he also tells you when you're wrong and how to fix it. It might mean a lot of work on your part, but he's always right there beside you with your best interest at heart whether you appreciate his methods at the moment or not. He knows that in the long run, your life and the lives of your comrades could depend on how well you've been trained—to understand and to apply.

- This is not to say that preacher/teachers should constantly be yelling at their students/congregations... but a pastor or an elder who is teaching or preaching, should be trying to combine the aspects of the two jobs in order to be more effective in their discipling.

- What are some ways that you can get ready to teach? How can you apply simple teaching strategies to your daily life?
- In order to be a good witness, you have to be ready to explain your faith, so how should your study time reflect that thought?

vs. 19-21 Elders continued

- “Do not listen to accusations against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses.”

- Elders or pastors are not sin-free. They're still human and they still mess up occasionally just like the rest of us... however, if there is something major in their lives that requires correction... then it needs to be faced just like anybody else in the congregation who needs correction. However, if it is an elder or a pastor... Paul says to not even listen to the accusations unless it is confirmed by more than one witness.

- Matthew 18:15-20

- Those in leadership positions constantly run the risk of having their name slandered because of ill feelings. Somebody who holds a grudge against them for saying something or for doing something... that may have been in the process of teaching or correcting... could come up with a way to retaliate through slandering that leader.

- If the accusation can be confirmed by more than one person... then action should be taken and they should be reprimanded in front of the whole church... ouch... public humiliation much? But it will serve as a strong warning to others.

- Casting Crowns had a song called “Stained Glass Masquerade.” It talks about sitting in church and feeling like you're the only one feeling so small... because everybody around you seems so strong and so much better at this than you. So... “Are we happy plastic people, under shiny steeples, with walls around our weakness, and smiles that hide our pain, but if the invitation's open, to every heart that has been broken, maybe then we close the curtain on our stained glass masquerade.”

- Just because we're saved and we're Christians... doesn't mean that life becomes easy... or that we have no sin in our lives... James 5:16 says “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

- To humble yourself and be able to go to someone else... who may seem stronger or better than you... and bare your weaknesses in front of them... is hard... but without doing so... how can they know that when they are struggling (because all of us struggle... maybe not at the same time... but we all struggle...) that they can have a place to come to bare THEIR weaknesses.

- One of my friends and I have had some fun with this one... It seems like every time we sit down with a struggle that we've been having to talk to the other about... the other has either just been through almost the exact same situation, or are going through it right at the same time. And it's the same with our happy times... sometimes we even get the same scriptures or are studying in the same place at about the same time... or our pastors will preach almost the same message back to back. And we usually only get to talk about once a month anymore... and it's still the same... : )

- And it's not just her... there are other friends that that's happened with periodically... but she and I are almost ALWAYS on the same page... which I think is rare...

- But how would we have ever known that without first baring our hearts to one another? When you are struggling with something what do you do? Do you hide it all underneath a plastic exterior and hope that no one sees how weak you really are? Do you cry alone wondering why you're alone in your pain? What's holding you back from reaching out to someone? Fear of rejection? Fear of being seen as small or weak or faithless?

- If we are all one family... all in unity together... one's weakness is all of our weakness... Just as we should seek to build ourselves up in Christ, so should we seek to build EACH OTHER up in Christ. We are all working towards one goal and one purpose... the furthering of the Kingdom... If a soldier is wounded in battle... as a unit... you don't expect them to do surgery on themselves, or remove bullets from themselves... there's a medic team in place, or you as a unit try to do your best for the injury...

- As a church, this should be our response. We shouldn't look at the injured one and say “well what'd you get shot for! Don't you know you're supposed to dodge bullets!”... We can't always dodge the bullets... so be kind in your reprimands and graceful in your building back up of the injured one...

- If a leader falls, sometimes there's more condemnation than forgiveness because we expect more from them... And while it is true that “with great power comes great responsibility”, (thank you Spiderman...) we need to remember that they're not supermen. They are still human. They still mess up and they still need help in this faith just like the rest of us.

- “I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the holy angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone.”

- How should you respond to someone who has fallen?
- Do you know someone who needs encouragement in the faith? Do you know someone who is struggling?
- Are you struggling with something right now? Who in your life can you go to, to bare your heart and seek support?

vs. 22, 24-25 Leadership and Sin

- “Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader.”

- When my pastor died last year, we were suddenly without that leadership position. We are a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, so our methods of pastoral appointment may be different than yours, but I am speaking from my own experience.

- About a month after Doug's death, our district superintendent started the pastoral search process. He got a list of interviewed candidates together for our elder board to interview. If the elders approved of the candidate, then he came to speak before the church so he could meet us and get a feel for the community and so we could see if he would fit us as well.

- This process took 10 months and a whole lot of prayer before we finally had a guy come who we felt God had in mind for us and us for him. About 7 or 8 months into this process, I started to get a little anxious about it. I felt like a boat without a captain. Yeah we had interim pastors speaking and the elders were still in place... but there was no constant pastor...

- As I was working on the bible study, I stumbled across this scripture... and the more I thought about it the more it just made sense. A church is a family... and this pastoral process, was like trying to find a spouse... and at that point in time... it still felt (to me anyways) like we were trying to find a spouse for the sake of the children... Like a widower trying to find a wife to help him take care of his kids... And that's not the way it was to be...

- This pastor needed to fall in love with this church and its people in order to be accepted and useful. If we had just picked the first guy that came along and he had just decided that, yep, this seemed like an okay place... God could have used it... but it may not have gone as well as it COULD go.

- Because we prayed, and waited... God brought a man who I think is shaping up to be a great addition to this church and who I think will be a great leader for us as a whole. It truly feels like a God-appointed marriage between he and us.

- Also- footnote- “Paul says that a church should never be in a hurry about choosing its leaders, especially the pastor, because major problems or sins might be overlooked. It is a serious responsibility to choose church leaders. They must have strong faith and be morally upright, having the qualities described in 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9. Not everyone who wants to be a church leader is eligible. Be certain of an applicant's qualifications before asking him or her to take a leadership position.”

- Titus 1:6-16
- I Peter 5:1-11

- The last half of this verse says to not share in the sins of others but to keep yourself pure.

- Even if a sin is committed by your church leader... we are not to share in the sins of others... our walk and our relationship with Christ depends on us... not on everybody around us.

- I know when Jimmy Swaggart, a famous TV evangelist, was caught soliciting prostitutes... There were and still are a lot of people who look at that and say... well if they can fall, what hope is there for me? Or why should I try?

- Yeah Jimmy Swaggart and others have failed in very public ways... it doesn't mean that they didn't have a walk with God. You look at David, or Samson. Men who walked with God, but who failed and later repented... God still cared about them and He still honored them. He called David a man after His own heart... after murder, and adultery, and lying...

- We all fail... in much the same ways most of the time... just some are more publicized than others... more well known...

- Even if a leader is very well known... his/her sin is no excuse for us to condone our own sin...

- We are to keep ourselves pure. It's on our shoulders. Our responsibility.

- Ephesians 5:1-20

- However, we should also remember that we are to forgive just as Christ has forgiven us. When someone falls, it's not our job to judge them... but it is our job to lovingly correct them and help them back to Christ. We need to keep in mind that God said he chastises those He loves. If He didn't love us when we fall into temptations and sin, He would allow us to keep our sins hidden and maybe never repented of and then we would be judged for those sins. But because He loves us so much, He will allow us opportunity to repent and if we don't He will bring our sins out in the open so we can repent.

- Matthew 18:21-35

- Paul says that the sins of some are obvious and some that will only be revealed later.

- If we look at Jimmy Swaggart or David in their sins... and then look at the man who commits adultery... but no one ever knows... or the closet porn addict who stays up all hours of the night surfing the internet for a fix... there is no difference... it is a sexual sin born of lust... and all sin is equal in the eyes of God. Jesus in Matthew said that if you LOOK at a woman with lust then you have committed adultery with her in your heart...

- They will all be judged. Some may be judged now, on earth, by others, or by God with very obvious consequences... others, may not be judged until the Day of Judgment before the throne of God.

- Judgment still comes.

- Hebrews 12:1-13
- Proverbs 13:1

- In the same way that sin is apparent, so good deeds are also obvious. Good deeds done in secret... like secret deliveries of money or food... they will also be revealed on the Day of Judgment. And yet again we have the verse in James... show me your faith with your works... even your secret ones.

- I John 3:1-10, 14-24
- Revelation 14:13-20, 20:11-15

vs. 23- A LittleWine

- Okay this verse is highly controversial... so I read through a bunch of commentaries...

- The general thought seems to be this: To not drink ONLY water, but to add a little wine. A common Eastern medicinal practice was to mix a little wine with water for constitution sake. So if you had an upset stomach, or you couldn't sleep, or you were feeling a little under the weather, you were to drink this mixture. Even in the 1700's or so, common Western practice for a bedtime tonic was to heat up a little wine/water mixture to help you sleep if you were sick... kind of like Nyquil, a cough medicine. (It was also used to calm “hysterical” women... but that's a whole other story...)

- We don't know why Timothy was sick, or what caused his sickness, but it is supposed that it could have been caused by bad water in the area, or the job of pastoring itself was causing something akin to stomach ulcers or really bad indigestion.

- Paul was simply giving Timothy some fatherly advice. Timothy was obviously a temperate man. He apparently wasn't drinking any wine for Paul to have to tell him to drink a little...

- Paul didn't tell him to drink wine when he felt like it or drink it to be social... it was for his stomach's sake. For his health... not for his social life.

- And the little that they're talking about is a medically proven fact. Just like vinegar or yogurt, a few ounces of wine a day helps your digestive system. But it's like 4 oz. Not a half a bottle or anything. A few Tablespoons of vinegar has the same result when mixed with water... although the wine probably tastes a little better... : ) (However tests with other alcoholic drinks did not have the same effect... the sugar and caloric content in beer had no benefits for the body... it actually has enough empty calories to promote the body to store up fat cells galore... so even if you don't gain weight right that second... when you do start gaining weight... it really kicks in... producing the phenomenon of the beer gut... Whiskey had some benefit similar to that of wine, but the wine was much healthier in the long run.)

- Everything in moderation. I do not hold that wine in and of itself is a problem or is evil. However, the misuse of wine or any alcoholic drink leads to sin... like drunkenness, angry outbursts, murder, or most definitely injury to our Christian witness.

- Just as food is good and even necessary for the body... but an overindulgence leads to the sin of gluttony...

- Proverbs 23:19-21, 29-35
- Romans 14:20-23
- I Corinthians 5:9-13, 6:9-20

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