1 Timothy

1 Timothy - Lesson 5A

Chapters 4:8-16; 5:1-7

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  • Tonight we finish Chapter 4 and head into Chapter 5 of Paul’s letter to Timothy

    • And in these chapters we find some of the most practical and timeless advice on church life

      • Paul directs his advice to Timothy as the leader who must carry out the instructions

      • And it begins with specific instructions for how a pastor must conduct himself in the face of opposition

      • But Paul quickly moves to addressing how every member of the body must conduct themselves

    • And in all cases, these commands serve to fulfill Paul’s statement in vs.8-9

      • Let’s briefly revisit that passage from last week

1Tim. 4:8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
1Tim. 4:9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.
  • Paul compared pursuing physical strength to pursuing spiritual strength

  • And Paul noted that the pursuit of physical strength was of limited value, eternally speaking

  • Because the body eventually dies, and with it all the strength we gained

  • But the spirit is eternal, so the strength we obtain spiritually will persist into eternity

    • Therefore pursuit of spiritual strength, which Paul calls godliness, is a much greater call

    • It brings benefits now and into eternity

    • Pursuit of godliness is our highest goal and must take priority over any other pursuit

  • Paul says in v.9 this is a trustworthy statement, meaning this is a biblical truth that we cannot deny and should not ignore

    • Today we might say this is “for sure” or “you can bet on it”

      • In the moments of life when we make an earthly sacrifice to obtain godliness, it may not feel like we’re making the right choice

      • We may feel like we’re being cheated out of something good

      • Like when we sacrifice income to serve in the church

      • Or when we drop bad habits or resist certain temptations to please the Lord

    • But the Bible says you can trust you made the right call

      • In eternity, the wisdom of your sacrifice in pursuit of godliness will become evident

      • The things you gave up, the persecutions you accepted, the mocking you endured, and the effort you made in service to Christ will bring a reward worthy of your sacrifice

  • So now Paul gives specific ways the church makes sacrifices to reach an eternal goal

1Tim. 4:10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.
1Tim. 4:11 Prescribe and teach these things.
  • Paul says for “this” we labor and strive

    • “This” refers to Paul’s trustworthy statement concerning the eternal value of godliness

      • We labor and strive for godliness

      • The two Greek words for labor and strive carry subtle meaning lost in our English words

      • To labor means to grow weary

      • To work so long and hard that we reach a point we feel like quitting, when we’re exhausted from the effort

    • And to strive really means to fight and struggle

      • The fight is both against our own flesh and against a fallen world

      • We fight the enemy, we fight temptation, we fight opposition to the word of God

  • This is the reality for anyone seeking godliness

    • We will work until we’re sick and tired of the struggle

      • We will get discouraged at times and we will grow weary

      • There will be many days we want to quit the fight

    • And at every turn, we face an enemy that opposes us

      • Attacks will come from every direction

      • And there will be casualties along the way

      • But Paul says we labor and strive in this way because it’s worth it in the end

    • But if we’re going to survive, it will only be because we fix our hope on the living God, Christ Himself 

      • If you expect to come through this life with your testimony intact, then you had better be resting on Christ and not your own power

      • Practically speaking, you have to work with Him, not against Him

      • Talk less, pray more

      • Plan a little less, and seek God’s will more

    • Most of all, understand this pattern is in God’s will and good purposes for us

      • We can’t allow the difficulty of serving Christ and growing in godliness become our excuse for not pursuing the path

      • We know it’s going to be hard

      • And the difficulty serves God’s purpose in us

      • As James explains

James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
James 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
James 1:4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
  • James says we should consider trials to be a good thing

    • They are good because they produce changes in us

    • Changes like endurance, patience, humility, repentance

    • And these changes will bring about a perfect result

    • We will become perfect and complete, lacking nothing in eternity

    • That’s our incentive for pressing ahead in this life, seeking to please and emulate Christ

  • And then Paul adds that this Christ we serve is the Savior of all men, especially believers

    • This statement has driven some confusion and debate because of Paul’s language

      • The phrase especially of believers could be rendered “exceedingly for those believing (or faithful)”

      • Understanding this statement depends on staying in context

    • Paul’s context is that of fixing our hope on Jesus as we endure in our pursuit of godliness seeking eternal profit

      • His context is not salvation, so we can’t stray into that topic

      • By the context we conclude Paul says Jesus is the savior for everyone (all believers)

      • But He’s especially the Savior for those who live in a believing (or faithful) way

    • Obviously, the Lord remains Savior for all believers regardless of whether we pursue godliness or not

      • Even the most disobedient believer among us still has the assurance that Jesus is their Savior

      • Christ justifies His children from the moment of our faith, and nothing can separate us from the love of God

      • Simply put, salvation doesn’t turn on our choice to pursue or not pursue godliness

  • But for those believers who do pursue godliness, fixing their hope on Jesus, for these Jesus is exceedingly their Savior

    • For them, Jesus is even more a Savior, because they are not only saved in Him, but they are living for Him

      • Just as we could say that our country’s president is the president of every citizen, yet he is especially the president of those who voted for him

      • Likewise, Christ is the Savior for every Christian, but He is exceedingly a Savior for those who live in obedience to Him

    • Moreover, Christ will be exceedingly a Savior to those pursuing godliness because He will be that much more real in their life

      • They will know Him better as they see Him at work in their lives

      • And in eternity Jesus will be an even greater Savior because they will receive a greater profit for having pursued godliness

      • In all these ways, He is exceedingly the Savior of those who are believing or faithful

  • So with that introduction Paul asks Timothy to prescribe and teach these things

    • The “things” refers to everything in the letter, both those things before and after this statement

      • To prescribe means to set a requirement before the congregation

      • And to teach means to explain the reasoning behind the requirement so that the church will have good reason to obey

    • Paul is exhorting Timothy (and all teachers and preachers) not to shy away from sharing the difficult truths of our faith

      • Paul reminds us that we do not have the latitude to cherry pick what the church hears

      • We are under order to teach the whole counsel of God’s word

      • Including teaching about the need to pursue godliness

      • And the opportunity for eternal reward

      • And of course all the other details Paul covers in this letter

    • Paul seems to have known that bad times were coming for the church as he said at the outset of this chapter

      • Times when pastors would stop teaching these things to their congregations

      • Today, most believers, even mature ones, have little appreciation of these things

      • And if we don’t appreciate the need to labor and strive for godliness, how likely are we to pursue it?

  • Paul’s first prescription is directed to Timothy and all leaders God raises up in the church

1Tim. 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
1Tim. 4:13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.
1Tim. 4:14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.
1Tim. 4:15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.
1Tim. 4:16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
  • Because most of us aren’t preachers or pastors, I’m going to run through this list highlighting a few key principles

    • First, a pastor’s or teacher’s authority isn’t found in physical qualities or earthly achievements

    • Paul says in v.12 that Timothy couldn’t let his weaknesses in that respect cause him to shrink back from his mission

    • Others might accuse him of being too young or unqualified, but Timothy should know otherwise

  • In v.14 Paul reminds Timothy that he was installed according to the Spirit, Who manifested God’s approval of Timothy through the presbytery

    • The presbytery refers to the council of elders

    • God bestowed Timothy with a spiritual gift 

    • And Timothy was ordained by laying on of hands, as we discussed in Chapter 1

    • And prophetic statements were made concerning his future in the church 

    • These things alone were enough to validate Timothy

  • Paul’s first point is that if God is for you, who can be against you?

    • The carnal within the church will only respect a certain kind of leader

    • But God selects whoever He desires, and often the one you didn’t see coming

    • Even Paul himself faced the same kind of resistance

2Cor. 10:10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.”
2Cor. 10:11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.
2Cor. 10:12  For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.
2Cor. 10:13 But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you.
  • Secondly, Paul says that because Timothy will always be under attack and scrutiny, he must be diligent to serve properly in God’s power

    • First, Timothy must continue in the ministry of God’s word

      • Specifically, read the word publicly, exhort the church to obey and teach them why these things are right

      • All three steps are part of the ministry of God’s word

      • A church that fosters personal Bible study but never reads and preaches God’s word from the pulpit is not obeying this command

      • Or a church that has readings of scripture during the service but never explains it, much less commands us to obey, is wrong also

      • We must move in all three areas

    • Reading the word publicly reminds the body of Christ that the authority for our gathering is found in God’s word

      • By reading it out loud before the congregation, we ensure that all hear it as it was written, without editing 

      • We can then judge the pastor’s teaching against what was read

      • And we come to see that the pastor’s instructions are the natural outworking of God’s word

    • Secondly, the pastor exhorts us to obey

      • We all receive many instructions from many directions

      • Don’t run, no right turn on red, please recycle...

      • Please take out the trash, or do your homework...

      • But with each direction comes a choice of whether to obey, and we all know that our obedience isn’t guaranteed

    • But if we have someone who cares for us calling for our obedience, then the chances we will heed what we hear go way up

      • In this case, Paul says Timothy must exhort the word of God 

      • Proper exhortation means emphasizing the intended response to the word of God

      • It requires the teacher explain the meaning of the text properly and then apply it in keeping with the author’s intentions

      • When we do this, we speak with true authority, because we echo the intentions of God Himself as reflected in His word

      • Such exhortation works to elicit the correct and necessary response from the congregation

  • But also, notice that reading and exhorting is not enough either

    • The body of Christ is called to obey Christ’s commands, but not out of  ignorance

      • In His grace, the Lord has equipped teachers and pastors in the church to ensure we have an understanding of why we should obey

      • So Paul asks Timothy to teach God’s word

      • Teaching is making scripture understandable in a way that encourages our obedience

      • As God told Israel through the prophet Isaiah

Is. 1:17  Learn to do good; 
Seek justice, 
Reprove the ruthless, 
Defend the orphan, 
Plead for the widow.
Is. 1:18          “Come now, and let us reason together,” 
Says the Lord, 
             “Though your sins are as scarlet, 
They will be as white as snow; 
Though they are red like crimson, 
They will be like wool.
Is. 1:19          “If you consent and obey, 
You will eat the best of the land;
  • That’s the Lord’s heart for His people

    • Just as we encourage our children’s obedience by giving them an understanding of why our rules are sensible, so does the Lord explain Himself in His word

    • The more we understand in His word, the easier obedience will become

    • It’s always a struggle, but -  

  • When a pastor commands his flocks to obey but withholds a biblical explanation for why, they will either misrepresent scripture or they will make obedience harder

    • Many false teachers make a living out of issuing exhortations without (proper) biblical explanation or support

    • And even in the best cases, a preacher who exhorts but doesn’t teach the Bible is speaking without authority

    • And he isn’t helping his congregation gain an appreciation for the authority of the word

  • Likewise, Paul tells Timothy not to neglect his spiritual gift, which was likely evangelism or pastor-teacher

    • To neglect a spiritual gift means to set it aside, to refrain from operating in it

      • For example, if someone has the gift of evangelist but doesn’t spend time engaged in witnessing, they are neglecting their gift

      • On the other hand, it’s possible to pursue to use of a gift while still neglecting it

      • For example, if someone has the gift to teach but failed to spend the necessary time in study, they are neglecting their gift

      • They may still teach, but they come unprepared

      • Because the gift of teaching is a gift to understand and relate scripture, but like all gifts it depends on an exercise of effort in diligence

    • Paul’s warning Timothy not to get distracted

      • Don’t get so busy defending himself or building the church or accomplishing other mundane earthly tasks that he forgets the main thing

      • And the main thing is to serve God in the gift He assigned Timothy

      • And certainly this is an ever-present threat to pastors

      • Many pastors today become mini-CEOs of their churches, wrapped up in everything except teaching the Bible

      • Many of them are neglecting their spiritual gift, I fear

    • Instead, Paul tells Timothy and all pastors to take pains with these things

      • This verse is translated in a loose way owing to the difficulty of the original Greek language

      • It could be translated “study these things, give yourself over to them...”

      • “These things” refers to the proper duties of a pastor, teaching, exhorting, operating in his gift

    • In other words, Timothy didn’t need a hobby or another job or any other distraction

      • He needed to be completely absorbed in becoming a man of God leading the flock by teaching God’s word

      • Here again, a sober reminder to pastors today that they should not lost focus on the one thing they are called to do

  • Finally, Paul tells Timothy that he must conduct himself as an example to those who believe, that is to the church

    • This command is the lynchpin of everything Paul has said to Timothy

      • Timothy is already swimming upstream in his role as pastor

      • He’s young, inexperienced

      • Half Gentile, half Jew and untrained

    • Yet he’s going to have the burden of exhorting those under his charge to obey the word of God even as he explains it

      • So it’s vital that Timothy show himself to be an example to all who believe, to those he pastors

      • If he gives them any ammunition, they will surely take shots

    • And how can he expect his audience to listen to his counsel if he doesn’t comport himself in the right way?

      • He doesn’t have natural authority to stand on

      • He only has the word of God and his own integrity as a man serving God

      • So if he becomes known as a hypocrite, he’ll lose the credibility to exhort others

  • First, Paul tells Timothy in v.12 to watch his speech, conduct, love, faith and purity

    • Speech refers to poorly chosen words, whether unkind, hurtful, coarse or indiscrete...

      • Everything a pastor says is being measured and observed

      • Even a single idle word can undermine a pastor’s ability to lead the flock 

    • Conduct refers to the pastor’s lifestyle

      • A pastor’s lifestyle should comport with his teaching 

      • His lifestyle should exhibit self-control and modesty

      • A pastor should strive to lead a modest life, avoiding excess

      • He need not adopt an austere life, but neither should flaunt his wealth (should he be especially blessed in that regard)

    • And love refers to having a caring selfless attitude toward all people, especially those under his care

      • Love is an action, not an emotion

      • So it’s about showing love to others, even when we don’t feel it

      • That’s an essential quality for a pastor and teacher

    • And faith is demonstrating a life of courage and peace consistent with a faith in Christ and a hope in His eternal promises

      • A pastor easily rocked by life and unstable in his ways isn’t the best person to encourage his flock to face life’s trials with faith

      • We need pastors who are good examples of faith lived out

  • Furthermore, Paul tells Timothy in v.16 that he must pay close attention to himself and to his teaching

    • To watch yourself means means to guard your personal life from giving cause for accusations, if even only the appearance of sin

      • Obviously, a pastor may take steps to protect himself against his own sinful tendencies, and so he should 

      • But no one can truly guard himself without help

      • It’s like putting the fox in charge of the hen house

      • So guarding oneself means also seeking outside counsel and accountability to ensure we are truly guarded

      • We need to do whatever is necessary to ensure that we remain above reproach for the sake of the mission

    • Furthermore, Timothy must guard his teaching Paul says

      • This is an equally important and even more difficult task in some ways

      • Guarding one’s teaching means being careful to maintain a correct view of scripture while rejecting bad influences

      • Otherwise, we risk straying into false teaching

    • Guarding the teaching also means remaining humble and teachable in our heart

      • If we become proud and self-assured in what we think we understand, then we become unteachable

      • As a result our teaching will slowly or quickly drifting away from orthodoxy and become increasingly foolishness

    • Finally, guarding our teaching means the pastor maintains proper discipline in his preparation and delivery

      • Putting in the necessary time to properly prepare a teaching

      • And developing our craft to ensure we communicate properly

      • If a teacher fails to guard himself in this way, he will begin to “mail it in” each week

      • Soon his teaching becomes little more than a collection of “greatest hits” because repetition replaces godly insight

  • Taken together, Paul asks Timothy to be courageous, diligent, Spirit-led, and smart

    • He has a difficult job but one God has equipped him to accomplish

      • All that remains is for Timothy to work in his gift, without shrinking back knowing eternity is on the line

      • Paul says that doing so will ensure salvation both for himself and for those who hear him

    • Obviously, Timothy is already saved because of His faith in Christ

      • No further work was required to bring Timothy the salvation that comes by faith alone

      • Therefore, we know Paul isn’t talking about eternal salvation here, for if he were he would be suggesting a work is required to be saved

    • Instead, we must consider the word salvation in a different context

      • Based on the context of chapter 4, salvation means salvation from stumbling

      • Salvation from the troubles that might come if Timothy didn’t guard himself or his teaching

    • And more than just himself, Timothy is guarding the flock from stumbling as well

      • If a pastor fails in his duties, there is more on the line than simply his own testimony

      • If he fails to guard himself, his sin may embroil the congregation in controversy, lead to its division or even threaten its existence 

    • And if Timothy doesn’t guard his teaching, the church will depart from the truth of God’s word as far as the pastor’s mistakes takes them

      • If our own disobedience will bring a consequence, imagine how much is on the line for pastors that fail in their duties?

      • That’s why Paul tells Timothy to take his responsibilities so seriously

  • From here, Paul begins to move through a series of direct orders to the congregation, which Paul expected Timothy to prescribe and teach

    • The first group of instructions regulate the different socioeconomic groups within the church

      • Remember, Ephesus was a relatively wealthy city

      • And so the church had a mix of economic backgrounds

    • Normally, outside the church these groups would almost never mix

      • So when they came together inside the church, it could cause some awkward or disruptive patterns that needed to be addressed

      • Yet in the church we must find a way to balance love and charity with personal responsibility and duty

  • So Paul begins with the most respected members of the church

1Tim. 5:1 Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers,
1Tim. 5:2 the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.
  • First, Paul explains how Timothy is to approach those deserving the greatest respect

    • This is the natural starting point, because as Timothy implements Paul’s instructions, he must do so diplomatically and with respect

      • And the first order of business is how would Timothy work with someone who is his senior

      • In ancient cultures, age was inherently worthy of respect, certainly more so than today

      • Therefore, it was out of keeping with social norms for a younger man to rebuke or counsel an older man

    • And yet, as Paul just said, Timothy couldn’t let physical age differences get in the way of doing the job called him to do

      • Obviously, God knew what He was doing when He called Timothy to pastor, so evidently age was not the highest rule

      • Nevertheless, Timothy had to act with respect and caution

    • My Bible says tells Timothy should not “sharply rebuke” an older man, but in Greek it simply reads “do not rebuke” 

      • A rebuke was a public censure that brought a degree of shame

      • And there is a time and place for rebuking members of the body

    • But Paul says Timothy may never rebuke and older man in the church

      • Obviously, if an older man was wrong or needed correction in the church, Timothy couldn’t ignore the situation

      • So Paul says Timothy needed to act with wisdom seeking to win that man over

      • Make an appeal to him like one would to his father, Paul says

    • Speaking to an older man like a father meant speaking with respect, patience and deference

      • And if that didn’t work, Timothy would have to work through the counsel and support of other older men

      • Just as he couldn’t censure his own father, neither could Timothy act unilateral to rebuke an older man

      • He needed to find the right way to get the job done, for that was the loving approach 

  • Likewise, Timothy needed to see every relationship in the body of Christ in familial terms

    • If he needed to counsel a younger man, then to not lord over him or talk down to him

      • Rather speak to him as an older brother might speak to a young brother he loves

      • And older women should have the respect we show to our mother

      • And younger woman as to a sister

    • If Timothy remembered these guidelines, he would speak in love showing charity, patience and kindness 

      • And these qualities would greatly increase the chances of gaining a positive outcome

      • On the other hand, a young, untrained pastor who tries to bully older men and speak dismissively to others will typically have a very short career

  • Paul’s remarks on how to deal with older men and women now get applied in the next set of instructions

    • Paul tells Timothy how to regulate the behavior of two groups apparently causing trouble in the Ephesus church: widows and elders

      • First Paul deals with the widows1Tim. 5:3  Honor widows who are widows indeed;

1Tim. 5:4 but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.
1Tim. 5:5 Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.
1Tim. 5:6 But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.
1Tim. 5:7 Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach.
  • Widows in ancient times were among the most vulnerable members of society

    • A woman’s ability to provide for herself was severely limited in ancient times

      • She generally couldn’t own land or conduct business transactions on her own

      • So a woman without a husband was almost entirely dependent on others for care

      • And if her family couldn’t or wouldn’t step up to support her, she became dependent on charity

      • Often this meant a miserable life and an early death

    • Within the church, widows found an extended family willing to shoulder the burden as a demonstration of Christ’s love for His children

      • But with such charity came the opportunity for abuse

      • Some widows and widow’s families took advantage of the church’s generosity

      • Freed from money concerns, some widows became party girls, so to speak, bringing shame upon the church

      • And some families with the means to support their own widows, withdrew their support in the expectation that the church would pick up the slack

  • Obviously, such behavior was sin and risked tearing the church apart, as those stuck with the bill began to resent those living high on the church’s resources

    • So Paul tells Timothy to nip this in the bud

      • First he says that the family maintains the first position of responsibility for family members in need

      • A widow’s children or grandchildren should learn piety, Paul says

      • Piety means literally to show God worship and respect

      • In this context Paul means the family should show respect to the widow as an act of obedience to God

    • Furthermore, charity inside the family is “payback” to parents, Paul says in v.4

      • A child or grandchild has been given food, shelter and care for many years before they left the home

      • So when a parent or grandparent is in financial need, the child should feel an obligation to assist

      • This is a general rule, and we can certainly imagine exceptions (eg. a parent who gambles away money or is otherwise irresponsible)

    • The point is that honoring your parents means financially as well, which is acceptable in the sight of God

      • Even though the church can be a safety net for the body of Christ in times of need...

      • It does not replace the family’s responsibility to care for its own as far as it is able

    • And in general, we need to be careful about extending charity merely because we see need

      • There will always be more need than the church can address

      • And any time we extend charity, we’re taking money out of the pocket of our church family, whether directly or indirectly

      • Moreover, the church’s charity is supposed to be directly to the needs of the body, primarily and above other needs

      • But only after the family’s left with no other option

  • But the charity the church gives its members comes with strings attached

    • Paul says a widow may receive support if she passes four tests

      • First, she must be a widow indeed

      • That is she must be alone, truly without support

    • Simply put, the church must be her last option

      • The reason the church is to be the last option is simply because charity places a burden on other members

      • So out of respect and love for all concerned, we don’t extend charity within the body without justified need

    • Secondly, the woman must have fixed her hope on God

      • While this phrase could be understood in several ways, I believe it’s best to understand this as a test of identity

      • In other words, Paul is referring to a believing widow as opposed to an unbeliever

      • So the second test is that the widow be truly Christian

    • Church charity should be focused on the believer

      • The church is not an ATM

      • Nor is it a humanitarian relief organization

      • It exists to serve the spiritual needs of the world 

      • And it provides limited support for the physical needs of those who have placed their hope in Christ

  • Finally, she must serve the body in keeping with her confession of faith, which Paul describes as giving prayers night and day

    • The basic concern is that the widow is actively engaged in the life of the body in service to Christ

      • She doesn’t simply show up to cash her checks and then disappears until the next Sunday

      • Rather we want someone who is supported by the church in this way to give back in spiritual ways to the limits of their ability

    • And for most widows, the only reasonable thing they could do would be to pray for the body of Christ

      • An older widow living on church support has little to offer – by definition

      • She would have no money, probably little strength or skills

      • But she has time, and prayer requires nothing but a heart for God and His people

    • It’s the reverse principle of the one Paul gives for supporting teachers 

      • Paul says teachers give to us spiritual things, so we should be willing to give them earthly things as an offering of thanks

      • Similarly, the church is giving the needy widow earthly things  (ie. money, food, etc.)

      • So she should be willing to repay the congregation in spiritual things (prayer)

    • So if the church gives charity to widows or anyone, we should demand they meet these tests

      • They must be believers

      • They must seek to take the church’s support only after exhausting all other avenues of support

      • And they must return the church’s material support with spiritual support

      • If they meet these tests, then we can offer support

  • Finally, Paul adds a fourth condition that continues to apply even after the  support begins

    • He says in v.6 that if a widow happens to abuse her income, then she isn’t to be viewed with the honor of a widow

      • Wanton pleasure means to live in luxury

      • So should widows live in an excessive way, especially if she were seeking church support, then she is to be viewed entirely differently

    • The wording at the end of v.6 is hard to translate

      • The most literal translation would be: “and she who is given to living in luxury — has died”

      • It’s a play on words 

      • Paul means that she is to be left for dead, though obviously she isn’t in danger of dying physically

      • He means that she is living a spiritually dead lifestyle and therefore the church has no obligation to care for her

    •   We’ll end today with Paul’s words to Timothy

1Tim. 5:7 Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach.
  • Once again, Timothy was counseled not to shy away from this teaching

  • If Timothy shared this truth, then the whole body of Christ may be seen to be above reproach

  • The needy would be helped, the self-sufficient would not become a burden and the reckless are left to their own

  • In all these things, the name of Christ is glorified among the nations