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1 Timothy 5

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16

SCRIPTURE: 1 TIMOTHY 5

In this chapter, Paul continues with his instructions to Timothy about pastoring the church in Ephesus.  Paul talks about relationships in the church and responsibilities of the church.

The chapter begins with relationships in the church.  Paul refers to the church as a family and encourages Timothy to relate to church members as family members. 

We read about older men and older women as well as younger men and younger women.  There are a couple of important points here.  One is a healthy church will have a wide age range.  The other is everyone in the church is important.  Churches need older folks to provide stability, wisdom, and ministry.  Churches need younger folks to provide energy, vision, and longevity.  A church without both groups is not going to do well.

From there Paul moves on to talk about widows.  Throughout the Bible, God has much to say about widows.  He repeatedly tells His people to take care of the widows.  But as we read here, the church’s responsibility to care for widows does not supersede a family’s responsibility to take care of widows in that family.

Remember when Paul was writing this there were not any governmental programs to assist and provide for widows.  And since women at that time were typically not working outside of the home, a widow had to depend upon her family or her church for her support.  Otherwise, she would be reduced to begging. 

Even with all the governmental programs we have in place to care for widows, families and churches still have responsibility.  We need to come alongside of them with encouragement and support.  But we also need to be wise about how we do that.

Paul goes on to speak about younger widows.  Instead of their relying on family or the church for the rest of their lives, Paul encourages them to consider remarriage.  And in verse 14 says they should manage their homes (their marriage and family) in such a way that Satan can’t get a foothold in the family.  This is important for a couple of reasons.  One, everyone deserves to be a part of a strong family.  Two, strong families make strong churches and strong churches make a big impact on the world.

When we get to verse 17, Paul changes his topic to the responsibilities of the church.  This section has a lot to do with the church’s responsibility and relationship to the pastor.  As you might imagine this is a difficult section for me to talk about because I don’t want to appear self-serving.  So, let me just make a couple of general observations.

Verses 17-18 are about a church’s responsibility to take care of a pastor financially.  By the way, this church does a great job of that.  Verse 19 is a caution about listening to rumors or gossip or one person’s opinion about the pastor.  That doesn’t mean pastors are perfect.  We are not.  That’s the reason verse 19 speaks of what to do when a pastor does need correction.  And we all do at some point.

Pastoring is hard work.  That is not a complaint.  It is just a reality.  That would be complicated if a pastor were in bad health.  So, Paul encourages Timothy to take care of himself.  The mention of drinking wine is not permission for pastors to drink.  It was an encouragement to take for pastors to take their medicine.

The chapter ends with an admonition to us all.  Regardless of what you do – whether that is good or bad – what you do will become evident one day.  We would all do well to remember that.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

1 Timothy 4

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15

SCRIPTURE: 1 TIMOTHY 4

I mentioned at the beginning of our study of 1Timothy that this letter is one of the pastoral epistles.  The truth of that is plainly seen in this chapter as Paul gives specific instructions to young Timothy as struggles to pastor the church in Ephesus.

In Acts 20:28-31, Paul warned the elders of the church in Ephesus that false teachers would invade the church.  When Paul issued that warning I don’t know if he knew when it would happen.  I suspect those elders thought it would be a long, long time before it would happen. But as we get into this chapter it has happened.

Paul is not kind toward these false teachers.  He refers to their motivation as coming from deceitful spirits and the teaching of demons.  But it doesn’t matter what the source of such heresy is, if no one in the church believes it or the church refuses to allow it continue to happen within the church, the damage would be severely limited.  One of the problems with false teaching is there are always some who are quick to believe and even quicker to promote it.

Obviously, there were some folks who had either come into the Ephesian church or had been a part of it that fell head long into the heresy and false teaching.  We are not sure what all they were teaching.  But we do know that part of what they were teaching had to do with marriage and not eating certain foods.

The interesting thing about those two topics is they had been settled once for all a long time ago.  Marriage was established in Genesis.  Jesus reconfirmed it in the Gospels and the epistles contain a lot teaching about marriage.  What we eat or don’t eat was established by Jesus in Mark 7 where He declared all food good.  That lesson was reemphasized to Peter in Acts 10. 

So why would false teachers attack marriage and diet?  In doing so they were attacking God’s creation and creative order.  That’s the reason in verse 4, Paul reminds of the goodness of God’s creation.

In verse 6, Paul begins to give some very specific instructions to Timothy.  First, Paul said Timothy should tell the church these things.  Second, Paul said Timothy should stay focused on God’s Word and not the goofy stuff going on around him in the culture (verse 7).  Third, Paul told Timothy to work at living a godly life (verse 12).  Fourth, Timothy was to stay in the Word and be a communicator of the Word (verse13).  And in verse 15, Timothy was to be an example. 

Those five things were given to a young preacher.  But they really are good things for all of us to strive for.  We all have responsibilities for our own spiritual growth and well being but we also have responsibilities to the spiritual growth and well being of others.  We have responsibilities to live in godly ways and to encourage others to do the same.  We have responsibilities to stay in the Word and help others stay in it as well.

The Christian life is the best life but it is not the easiest life.  It doesn’t come naturally but it is the result of a supernatural effort in us.  Also the Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation.  It has always been a team sport.  Finally, we never get to a place where we can coast in the Christian life.  If we are not striving to move forward and do better, we are sliding backwards. 

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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