Respecting Others--1 Timothy 5
Intro: Aretha Franklin sang, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me.” What does that word mean to you? Do you know when you are disrespected or respected? How does it feel when you are treated either way? Do you know when you treat people with respect or maybe when you slip up and act disrespectful to someone in your speech or actions?
Church is about community. It is about coming together with people that may or may not be similar to you living and working together for a specific purpose; spreading the good news of Jesus Christ that he died to reconcile people to God. In Jesus says 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This sounds easy in theory, Loving people is what a lot of people want to do. Just love yourself and Love each other. but as Paul is explaining to Timothy, This is a lot harder to do when you have to deal with people. But as God is building his church with us, it is important that we see how each piece fits together with the others and why they need to do so.
Paul probably got word from Timothy himself or someone who was going back and forth delivering letters that people were not being treated with respect or love. Paul addresses the treatment of several groups in the Ephesians church; the different ages, widows, both young and old and those who served as leaders.
Read Verses: 1-16
MP: God Cares for all of His People
I. God Wants us to Respect Our Family (1-16)
This is the first application point.
The first groups that Paul advises Timothy is people of different age groups. In the previous chapter, Timothy is told to Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Paul is giving Timothy practical advice on how to deal with the groups of people that may despise Timothy in his leadership position.
First the older people. In many societies, age is a Sign of wisdom. The wise man is the old man with a long beard on top of a mountain giving advice and saying smart things. When you go to the doctor, how happy are you to see the older doctor over a young one who may look like they just graduated High school.
Age is synonymous with wisdom or at least knowledge and experience because experience is wat you get when you don’t apply the things you have learned in school.
So Timothy is encouraged to listen to the wisdom and experience of the older men and women and treat them like you would your Treat father or mother Hopefully your parents for all of his faults has passed on some nuggets of wisdom. The book of proverbs is really a father passing along wisdom to his son.
In the military, the new lieutenants are encouraged and advised to listen to the old Senior NCOs because they have the experience and wisdom to teach them about leadership, the people in the unit, how things work in the world and other things that officers need to know. Some heed the warning and others don’t. The ones whose egos get in the way do not respect other people enough to listen and learn and it can be costly.
Paul goes on to encourage Timothy to treat people his own age or younger as siblings because we are now apart of the family of God.
Next, Paul explains how to deal with widows. If they are older, and have no one to care for them, then the church should care for them, but if they are younger or have family to care for them then those people should care for them. Paul wants to take care of those who cannot do so but also not drain the church’s resources and allow others to shirk their duty in fulfilling their family responsibilities.
Basically if you respect others in the church, who will
Listen to people more experienced like your parents
Listen to others who have different experiences like your siblings
Help those who cannot help themselves and seemingly have nothing to give back
Ensure those who can help their own smaller family units and keeping people from freeloading.
All of these actions go into or are specifics of the second commandment of loving others as yourself. You want people to respect you and listen to you. You want help from others when you need it but you should lose not wan to just take all the time.
All of our actions of respect should be driven by love for others and ultimately a love for God above all others. The first commandment.
TS: When we get into the mindset of respect for our families, God also wants us to respect the people who lead or have led the families.
II. God Wants us to Respect the Leaders (17-25)
Paul moves from elders referring to age to elders as in a leadership sense.
Leadership is not for the faint of heart. As a parent, you are the leader of your children and we all know how trying it can be to get a few people to do what you say. This is why Paul gives requirements of an elder to lead his family well. If he is a tyrant at home he will be tyrant with the rest of the church. You must take the time to get to know the person before they become a leader.
For those people who have served well, they deserve a double portion but there may be people who do not like the decisions that were made.
Paul wanted to protect leaders from people who may try to talk bad about them or accuse the elder of some wrongdoing or sin. One commentator says “The church leader should enjoy at least as much protection as the ordinary Jew had under the law (see ; ).”
But it is not a get out of jail free card. Because the leaders must be held accountable and so Paul tells Timothy to publicly rebuke those who sin so that others may be afraid. But not afraid of being called out or being punished by Timothy or the church council, but so they would have the proper fear of the Lord. The proper respect of God and His word and the act of His Son Jesus Christ.
Paul encourages Timothy to take it slow with picking new elders or leaders.
But why do we need to respect the elders? Because with people some sins are obvious and others take time to surface. Other people who do good work’s deeds will be evident.
There are advantages of respecting the elders.
1) They earned it.—they served with distinction and probably worked through difficult situations, counseling people, guiding the church. For those of you who have dealt with people,sometimes it can be mentally draining. Why? Because you are dealing with real life. People’s very real, very messy lives.
“Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged.
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future
2) They are still in the church—It’s not like they moved to a different job. They are still in the congregation.They are valuable to the church because they are probably still serving and people will come to them for advice still.
Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked. By asking the elders and treating them with respect,he is humbling himself and learning from others who went before him.
3) Respecting people does not mean be a push-over
Timothy must be on the lookout for good leaders and bad ones and keep people pure and safe. This extends to the rest of the church as we grow and look for potential leaders or deacons, so we can rightly identify and nominate them.
TS: These actions make up a healthy, Godly church.
(1, 2 Timothy, Titus (NAC)): Paul’s advice focused on the three terms, respect, compassion, and responsibility. Both with different groups of people within the church and the group that lead or formerly lead those people.
This is addressing some specific issues in the Ephesians church, but the bottom line is that everyone is worthy of our respect. Older people because they have been there before, people our age or younger because we know what they have just gone through.
Jesus said and did as much when he ate with sinners, talked to people who were not welcome or unclean. He respected Jairus enough to top and listen and he had compassion on the man and his sick child.
This is how we are commanded to act because we are commanded to emulate Jesus. We. Are to be Christ-like in our actions. We can respect people, we can show compassion and we can make sure
The action to work on this week is how do you show respect for others? Everyone has an elder or someone who is older. Is it a mere courtesy or is the respect driven by your love of Christ and your transformation in being more like Him? Are you praying for your leaders?
We are bricks in this church and we have to know how to get along and serve side by side, to learn from one another, make sure we are being compassionate, yet keeping people accountable and responsible for their own actions because on the last day we are all judged as individuals.