Faithlife Sermons

Believer and Beloved

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1 Timothy 5:1–16 ESV
1 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 3 Honor widows who are truly widows. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. 5 She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, 6 but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. 7 Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 9 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, 10 and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. 11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 15 For some have already strayed after Satan. 16 If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.
1 Timothy 6:1–2 ESV
1 Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things.
The key verse in this passage is 1 Timothy 6:2.
Paul encourages slaves not to take advantage of their masters who are also Christians, rather, serve them even better because they are believers and beloved.
We have had people who have said, “I don’t feel the love in this church.” I would ask those same people, “Who have you loved?” We often feel we can take advantage of other Christians because they will understand. Familiarity breeds contempt. Chaucer wrote this around 1386 in his Canterbury Tales, the second of which is, “Tale of Melibee.” It is still true today.
The contempt comes at this very point, when we take advantage of our Christianity to treat other Christians less that we would want to be treated ourselves.
It’s hard. I know some pastors who expect a pastor’s discount on everything. If people, out of respect for the office, want to give someone a break, more power to them. But when it is demanded, the person demanding the free ride is often unaware of how it might affect the person they ask. The situation becomes awkward at least.
Christians expect a break from other Christians when it comes to goods and services. If they don’t get them, they are offended. In truth, God says that we are wrong when we expect other Christians to give us a free ride just because we are Christians. That is self-centeredness at its best.
The Bible is very clear that we are to do good to other Christians.
Galatians 6:10 ESV
10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
The priority, according to what the Bible teaches, is that we are to take care of one another as Christians.
This works in two ways. Some people are offended that no one takes care of them, but they have never taken care of anyone themselves. They wonder why no one visits, but they have not visited anyone. They wonder why no one prays with them, but they have never prayed with anyone.
What happens if you started to live like you think others should live? You would become for others the church you always wanted the church to be. You would start to change the whole culture of the church. In other words, as Paul encouraged Timothy, you would be a great example of what Christianity should look like.
If a person is a “believer”, they should be “beloved.” This is illustrated by three groups that Paul identifies to Timothy.
The three groups are the general population, widows and slaves.

General population

1 Timothy 5:1–2 ESV
1 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.
The Christian congregation is divided into two parts. The first part is those older than you. There is only one person in this congregation that fits that bill. The second part is those younger than you. Only one person is that young. Even twins have a birth order.
If you deal with an older man, don’t rebuke him, encourage him like you would your father. If you deal with an older woman, treater her as if she were your mother, assumed a good mother.
If you deal with a younger man treat him as a brother. If you deal with a younger woman, treat her with absolute purity as you would your sister.
In other words, don’t take advantage of any of these relationships. Treat others in this congregation with utmost respect, as believers and beloved.

Widows

Following the general population, he goes on quite a while about the treatment of widows. Verses 3-15 are all about widows, that is 12 verses in this short book.
The early church was a loving church. From the book of Acts we find them organized to love God as spearheaded by the elders and organized to love God, spearheaded by the deacons.
One of the first problems the church faces was the unequal distribution to the widows. The Jewish widows from Jerusalem are taken care of, the widows from away are neglected. What this tells us was the even before the controversy, the care of widows was a priority for the church.
Paul reinforces that here. In all my time of ministry I have heard this preached on, mentioned by pastors and Christians, but have never seen a church that focused on taking care of widows.
I have heard of churches that focus on youth. They believe that in order for a church to be strong, they need to reach out to young people. They feel that older people who don’t jump on board are obstacles that are best removed if they are in the way.
In looking at the text, I have some questions after we read the text.
1 Timothy 5:3–8 ESV
3 Honor widows who are truly widows. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. 5 She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, 6 but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. 7 Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Do you honor widows?
Do you honor your parents or grandparents?
Do you know who in our congregation is truly a widow, left all alone?
Do you know the spiritual habits of any true widows in our church?
Is the church willing to help true widows?
What were some of the qualification for true widows that the church would support?

No family

Remember, a true widow does not have family to support her.
1 Timothy 5:9 ESV
9 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband,

Female

Second, she must be female. No provision is mentioned for men. I don’t know exactly why, but this whole passage speaks about the church helping widows, not widowers.

60+ years old

Third, she must be sixty or older.
It’s possible that some exception might be made for physical handicaps. The problem here is that these widows need financial help.

Devoted to her former husband

Fourth, she must be the wife of one husband.
Scholars debate the meaning of this. Some say she must only have been married once. This raises some problems for me in that what if she met every other criterion, but had three husbands that died? He will tell the younger widows to remarry, so there might be a better way to look at this.
Was she a good wife? What she faithful and loving to the husband or husbands that she had? Was she a one-man-woman, which the Greek has as a literal translation?

Good works

Fifth, she must have a reputation for good works.
She must be female, over sixty, a one-man woman, and also have a reputation for good works.
Some illustrations are given in this passage.
1 Timothy 5:10 ESV
10 and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.
In other words, the church should recognize those godly women who have contributed to the life and health of the home and the church.
1 Timothy 5:11–12 ESV
11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith.
The emotional and economic pressures that young widows faced might cause them to stop serving the Lord. They might choose to remarry unbelievers. Anyone who has lost a spouse knows the intense loneliness that ensues. Paul said, “We will help older women over sixty, but younger women should take time to grief and leave open the possibility of remarriage.
1 Timothy 5:13–15 ESV
13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 15 For some have already strayed after Satan.
You may scoff at this, but Paul had seen this trend already in Ephesus or other places that he ministered. When people had time on their hands, they went visiting. When they went visiting, they share information with others. When they shared information with others, both people would stop working to talk. Some of the information that was shared should never be shared. A person doesn’t need to be a widow or a woman to have this happen. But he had seen it happen with younger widows.
1 Timothy 5:16 ESV
16 If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.
He ends by saying, the family is the first line of defense. The ESV says believing woman, in other words, a Christian woman. The KJV uses both men and woman. In other words, though Paul may have been highlighting women as caregivers in this passage, earlier he made it clear that all children should be involved in taking care of the financial needs of their parents or grandparents.
How are you doing with that? In our society many parents or grandparents don’t need financial help. In our society we trust the state to do what the family used to do. In the Christian church, we should help the widows in our family and the true widows in our church for two reasons. They believe and are beloved.
If they believe and are not beloved, there is a problem that needs to be addressed. If they don’t believe and are beloved, the family needs to step up to the plate.
So we need to treat the general Christian population with respect. We need to treat widows with respect. If they believe, they need our love.

Slaves

The third group is identified in chapter 6.
1 Timothy 6:1–2 ESV
1 Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things.
We don’t have slavery today, but we are people who are under a yoke. We have entered into an agreement with our employers that says we will do certain work in return for certain pay or benefits. That contract is a form of yoke, especially for the believers.
We need to honor those we work for.
The Christian should not be involved with workplace backbiting. The Christian should not slack off but give a full days work for the agreed upon pay. It affects our spiritual reputation.
1 Timothy 6:1 ESV
1 Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.
If our boss or the owner of the company is a Christian, we must not take advantage of our Christian relationship. In fact, we should put out more if they are believers.
Why? Because our work may not benefit ourselves, but it does benefit a brother or sister in Christ.
1 Timothy 6:2 ESV
2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things.
Who benefits by your good works at work? The boss, the branch, the company. If these are believers, then they benefit. If they are believers that you love, you will be glad that they benefit for the sake of the kingdom of God.
Beloved believers. This is the motivation behind respecting all, honoring widows, and working under Christian bosses. In other words, the more we view ourselves as family and act on it in godly ways, the more we please God.
Paul’s purpose for this letter was,
1 Timothy 3:15 ESV
15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
They will know we are Christians by our love. They will know we are Christians by how we treat men and women who are older than us and younger than us. They will know we are Christians by the help we give to the elderly in our family and in our church. They will know we are Christians by the way we work our jobs. They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. They will know we are Christians by our love.
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