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Elders Practically: 1 Timothy 5:17-23

LASTING INSTRUCTION: The Letter of 1 Timothy  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  55:48
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1 Timothy Lasting Instruction: Elders Practically: 1 Timothy 5:17-23 Pastor John Weathersby Sunday March 24, 2019 We’re winding up Paul’s instruction to young Timothy. He’s dealt with specific issues in the church: • False Teachers 1:1-11 • The Gospel (and Paul’s conversion) 1:12-20 • Subject and Substance of Prayer 2:1-15 • Paul’s pastoral advice to Timothy 3-4 • We’ll see Paul’s heart for the people of the Church in I love the distinction this puts on how Timothy is to treat and care for people. Look, Paul cares so deeply for the Church, and for people. This shouldn’t be missed. And now - Paul will address the eldership of the church. Paul gives an outline of a loving, honoring, fully functioning Church We’ll see Paul here providing a leadership structure for the Church that is to be followed, but more than that, there is a general respect and reverence for the leadership. On the heels of the instructions for the leadership to protect against false teachers, encouragement of Paul’s salvation, on the heels of prayer instructed, Paul’s advice on how elders are to care for the members of the Church and the elders - now, the good elders of the church, the pastors and leaders, how the Church should treat the leaders. Why - because leaders are lonely. Leaders bear responsibility, and in the Church we want our leaders to succeed. We should be for leadership, not against it. Think about it, leadership works to establish a worshipful loving environment of discipleship and great knowledge of God. Don’t we all want leadership to succeed? 1 Timothy 5:17–23 (ESV) 17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. When Paul started with widows, which we studied last Sunday, he started with Honoring the widows; 3 Honor widows who are truly widows. Here Paul qualifies, “let the elders who rule well… like widows who are real widows. Paul knows that there will be false prophets, false widows, and people trying to have the position of ministry without the heart for it, or the benefits of the church membership and enrollment - without the heart for it. This is why elders and leaders are to be wise as serpents, gentle as doves - elders are to care for the flock, keeping a watchful eye for people who want to destroy the Church and hurt people. Consider this: Acts 20:30 (ESV) 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 2 Peter 2:1 (ESV) False Prophets and Teachers 2 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. Titus 1:11 (ESV) 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. Elders are to deal with this if they do the eldership/shepherding well; they’re worthy of double honor, and especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. Double honor is treatment and pay. They’re to be cared for; their needs are to be covered by the Church. I remember getting into a heated argument at a Church, which was the only Church business meeting I’ve ever attended (I think those things are goofy and unnecessary in most cases and totally un-Biblical). Anyway the subject was the pastor’s salary, there was a raise being voted on (awful - and I think in dishonor of the man to put him out like that) but anyway - someone argued that he’d be making more than he did and that didn’t seem right. I was absolutely infuriated. Why? Paul is protecting against this - what I’m doing now is awkward, why because incase it escapes us, this is me - so it’s awkward to talk this way about myself, it’s John and it’s Ed. But Timothy as he builds the Church and the Churches in this area is to remind the Churches appreciate these leaders and imagine the loving environment if we did, and if they did. Honor the teacher and leadership, the teacher and leadership will work to protect and disciple, disciples and lead well. Pastoring is a hard work - I’ve said already there are decisions to be made sometimes in terms of shepherding which can be protective and/or direction for the body that will make you very unpopular, make a few of those decisions even going to Starbucks is different - with perhaps several people who don’t like decisions you’ve made and who’ve left the church for various reasons all which center on you - and run into those folks around town - aaawwwwkwwwwaaaard. Paul says - make the Church a wonderful sanctuary, love each other leaders love your people; people of the Church love your leader. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” Paul is drawing on Deuteronomy 25:4 and 1 Corinthians 9:9, later would do the same as would Luke 10:7 and the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:10. Some link Galatians 6:6 here too when considering pastoral pay. What is the elder worthy of, *shrug - but double honor. I think we think about money a lot, I also think we’re cheap. Perhaps we’re not rich; perhaps we're loaded, so maybe we should think about honoring the leader over paying the leader. Paul gives Timothy a mandate to structure the Church to be an honoring, loving, fully functioning place. Read your own mail - how do you personally contribute to that: loving, honoring, fully functioning (perhaps your service, perhaps your money) place? Deuteronomy 25:4 (ESV) 4 “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain. 1 Corinthians 9:9 (ESV) 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Luke 10:7 (ESV) 7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Matthew 10:10 (ESV) 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. Galatians 6:6 (ESV) 6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 19 Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. Biblically this is the standard for a solid case against someone, see Deuteronomy 19:15 or 2 Corinthians 13:1, Paul is saying to Timothy, the office is worthy of double honor. The office will be attacked - however, if there is evidence of a solid case, handle that. I’m NOT about the pastor being above anything - in fact scripturally he is to be above reproach, however, we’re not going to drag that guy through the mud every time someone says something about Him, we’re going to collect the case FIRST. And I’ve personally been involved with that. Deuteronomy 19:15 (ESV) Laws Concerning Witnesses 15 “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. 2 Corinthians 13:1 (ESV) Final Warnings 13 This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. 21 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. Pastorally this is a helpful section - because guys I have to tell you, there are things or issues that have to be dealt with that frankly I’d rather not be involved in. These are tough commands to rebuke those who persist in sin in the presence of all so that the rest may stand in fear - I’d rather watch jeopardy. However, here is the reality dose from Paul: verse 21, this isn’t just your job or a good idea Timothy, this is before God right management of His Church. Verse 22: 22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. Timothy - take care of business. Don’t be freewheeling with the Church Timothy. We’ll never rush into a decision here - we’re going to take our time, God’s in no rush he LITERALLY has eternity. What’s next verse 23, I contend this is a statement of freedom. For several reasons and here are a few. For Timothy, I believe he was a cautious person; perhaps he’d completely avoid wine though it could be helpful to him. Paul doesn’t tell EVERYONE drink a little wine; he’s dealing with something in Timothy. He needed to care for himself. This is a matter of Timothy’s health. 23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) Timothy’s calling is as an elder and leader of God’s church - is to preserve his health, not hurt it by abstaining from things God isn’t concerned with. Is wine or alcohol a problem for you - stay a way from it. This is more about the freedom to pursue health, than it is about wine or any individual topics. Paul is providing the lasting blueprint for the Church, and Paul gives an outline of a loving, honoring, fully functioning Church. Whether it’s widow treatment, young men, older men, younger women, and older women - Paul desires for peaceable living. Today, he has Timothy establish Churches, who’ll establish healthy loving Churches, and take care of sin before it destroys the Church. Pray: Pray through the following questions: • Are we a loving church (am I a loving church member) • Are we an honoring church (am I an honoring church member) • Are we a fully functioning church (am I fully functioning member in service and giving, of the church) Also see: John 17 Acts 17
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