Monday, March 30, 2015

Paul's Letters to Timothy - Session 8 - Introduction to 2 Timothy and Paul's Encouragement to be Faithful

The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is studying Paul's pastoral Epistles (Letters) to his protege, Timothy.  These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments in the comments below. We welcome your thoughts and prayers

Review:
Paul's Second Letter to Timothy

Last week we finished Paul’s instructions on how Timothy was to direct the way that the members of the church in Ephesus should deal with specific groups of people. Two weeks ago we discussed how the church was to deal with widows, and elders. We finished up that part of our study last week with how slaves should respect their masters. Then last week in chapter 6 Paul addressed money and the rich, in other words, find your riches in Christ.

We learned that the motivation of the false teachers in Ephesus was money, and that they thought and taught that godliness was a way to riches. What they taught resulted in envy and constant quarreling. Godliness does bring great gain but that gain is in contentment not material wealth. Paul didn’t say that wealth is a sin. It’s the wanting to be rich that's dangerous. When your desire is to gain wealth, that desire can tempt you. to do wrong things.

Those who want to be rich and make that their purpose in life will never be content. The desire to be rich will ruin and destroy them. The love of money is the strong desire to get wealth. It is greater than the desire to love and serve God. It becomes the main purpose in life.  There are people who, because of their desire to get money, have gone away from the faith.

Paul told Timothy to tell no, to command the wealthy;

1 Timothy 6:17 (NKJV) Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.


1 Timothy 6:18-19 (NKJV)18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.


We can end that discussion on finding your riches in Christ with this from Proverbs 11;


Proverbs 11:4 (NLT) Riches won’t help on the day of judgment, but right living can save you from death.


Introduction to 2 Timothy


At the end of the book of Acts, the apostle Paul was still in prison in Rome. When he came out of prison, he went to Macedonia.

1 Timothy 1:3 (HCSB) As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach different doctrine


After that, he traveled to other places. While on these journeys, he wrote the first letter to Timothy. Timothy was then in the city of Ephesus. Timothy was the leader of the church there. Later Paul was again in prison in Rome. It was from there that he wrote this second letter to Timothy. Timothy was still in Ephesus.

When and where he wrote


The first time that Paul was in prison in Rome was about AD 60. He was there for two years. Then he traveled again and he went to Macedonia. He may have traveled as far as Spain before he went back to Rome. He was in prison again and soon after that the Emperor Nero had him killed.


Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy from prison just before he died. Paul knew that the time of his death had come.
  
2 Timothy 4:6-8 (HCSB) 6  For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close. 7  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8  There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.

The Emperor Nero killed himself in the month of June AD 68. Paul asked Timothy to come to him before winter.  So, the date of the letter could not be later than AD 67.

 2 Timothy 4:21 (HCSB) Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, as do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers.


This letter to Timothy are the last words found from the Paul. 

Why he wrote


Paul wanted to see Timothy again. He thinks about him as his own son.

 2 Timothy 1:4 (HCSB)  Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy,

He also wants Timothy to bring his coat, books and papers.

 2 Timothy 4:13 (HCSB) When you come, bring the cloak I left in Troas with Carpus, as well as the scrolls, especially the parchments.


All his friends except Luke had left him.

 2 Timothy 4:11 (HCSB)  Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you, for he is useful to me in the ministry.


Paul writes to encourage Timothy.  Timothy must use the gifts that God has given to him. He must preach the gospel and teach the truth which are some of the same things he wrote to Timothy in his first letter.

Contents of the letter


This letter is much more personal than the first one
  • Paul urges him to be strong in his belief in the Lord
  • He should not be ashamed of the Lord or of Paul
  • He must be prepared to suffer for the gospel
  • As he had done in the first letter, Paul warns against the false teachers
  • Timothy must be a noble servant of Christ
  • In the last days, people will do awful things but he must continue to do what he has learned and knows.
  • He must do what the scriptures say
  • He must preach the gospel because it is urgent that people hear it
  • Paul then talks about his own life and what he expects to happen and he tells him about his situation 
  • He ends the letter with greetings to his friends and asks the Lord to bless Timothy

Now Let's Get Into Paul's Letter 


What I hope that we see today is how tough circumstances call for us not to despair, but keep the big picture and fight for what is of the greatest value.


1.  What did Paul do night and day, why did he long to see Timothy and what did Paul say about his mother and grandmother (1:1-5)?


2 Timothy 1:1-5 (HCSB)1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, for the promise of life in Christ Jesus:2 To Timothy, my dearly loved son. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day.4 Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy,5 clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also.

After his usual salutation, which is typical of all his letters, he tells Timothy that he remembers him and prays for him constantly. In praying for him he was thanking God even in his current situation in prison.  He wanted to see Timothy because he considered him his son in the gospel and he really cared for him and seeing him would make him very happy. Remember he’s in prison and everybody but Luke had deserted him.


He reminds Timothy that he had wonderful examples in his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois and the result of him following their example, the faith in Jesus that they have he also has. You remember from our study in 1 Timothy that his mother and grandmother were Jews and his father was a Gentile.


Acts 16:1 (HCSB) Then he went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek.


Acts 16:3 (HCSB) Paul wanted Timothy to go with him, so he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek.


2. What was Timothy reminded to do? (1:6-7)


2 Timothy 1:6-7 (HCSB)6 Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands.7 For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.


Paul reminded Timothy to use with fervor the spiritual gift that the was given. The gift that Paul was
talking about was apparently made manifest by the laying of hands by Paul and the elders.


1 Timothy 4:14 (HCSB) Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.


We’re not sure of what that gift was other than it was from the Holy Spirit. He was to use this gift without fear. He was to be bold in proclaiming the gospel because along with the gift he was given a spirit of boldness.  Remember in 1 Timothy Paul told him to not let anybody intimidate him because he was young?


1 Timothy 4:12 (HCSB) Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.


God by his Spirit gives power to all who need it. He gives them the power to do what he asks them to do. Timothy, and we, can be the leaders that God wants. With the gift of God provides the strength of character that we need. Paul also says that the gift of the Spirit brings with it the control of our minds.

3.  What is Paul's situation and why is he in it (2 Tim. 1:8-12)?


2 Timothy 1:8-12 (HCSB)8 So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.9 He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.10 This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.11 For this ⌊gospel⌋ I was appointed a herald, apostle, and teacher,12 and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.

Paul says that he says that he is in prison because of the gospel and he describes the gospel in verses 9 and 10.

 2 Timothy 1:9-10 (HCSB) 9  He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. 10  This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

God had appointed him to preach this gospel (holy calling). He doesn’t say he’s having a good time, in fact he says that he’s suffering but he’s not ashamed of it. He tells Timothy that he shouldn’t be ashamed of the gospel or or him because he’s in prison.


You know how sometimes we are ashamed of something that a friend or a relative has done. They may or may not be in jail but we are ashamed. Paul tells Timothy don’t be ashamed because of him.


It is remarkable but true that when Paul was imprisoned the church in Rome did not come to Paul's defense. Only one believer came looking for him.  The rest probably held back from fear or considered the imprisonment something shameful. But although he has been rejected, Paul tells us he is not ashamed. This could also be a warning to Timothy that he could be abandoned in the future too.


2 Timothy 1:15-18 (HCSB)15 This you know: All those in Asia have turned away from me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he diligently searched for me and found me.18 May the Lord grant that he obtain mercy from Him on that day. And you know very well how much he ministered at Ephesus.



Describe a situation in which non-Christian friends or pressures from the world have caused you to feel ashamed of the gospel.


4.  What did Paul tell Timothy to do with his training and what to guard? (1:13-14)


2 Timothy 1:13-14 (HCSB)13 Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who lives in us, that good thing entrusted to you.


Paul had taught Timothy the truth about God and the  Jesus. He had told Timothy how Christians should behave. He had shown him what Christians ought to believe. All that Paul taught was true. All of this was a pattern for Timothy to follow.  He shouldn't just  repeat what Paul said but his life should also reflect it with faith and love.

Timothy had to defend and teach the truth and  not let the false teachers to change it. He would not be able to do it in his own strength but he could do it with the help of the Holy Spirit.


Consider Timothy's situation: his mentor has been disgraced; many of his associates have deserted the ministry; many of his church's members are drifting from the faith or cowed by the threat of persecution. How have you struggled or are you struggling with similar situations?

 

Chapter 2:1-13



5. What did Paul encourage Timothy to do with what he had been taught? (2:1-2)


2 Timothy 2:1-2 (NKJV)1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.


Paul tells Timothy to be strong but not with just natural strength. This grace is the kindness of Christ. He gives strength to those who ask him for it. With the help of Christ, Timothy will be strong.


Timothy’s task was to preach the gospel and to teach the truth in the church at Ephesus. He tells  Timothy to pick some people that he  could trust and train them.


6. How was Timothy to do this? (3-6)


2 Timothy 2:3-6 (NKJV)3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.6 The hard-working farmer must be first to partake of the crops.


Like a soldier. A soldier accepts orders from his superior, which in Timothy’s case is Jesus. As a soldier all your physical needs are met, especially when you have been deployed, you have food, shelter, transportation, etc.


The Christian is in a war. There are enemies who fight against us and against Christ but this fight isn't against people.

Ephesians 6:10-17 (HCSB)10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest,15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.16 In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.


Paul gives two other examples what it’s like to live as a Christian, and athlete and a farmer.


The athlete is working for a prize and not just any prize but for the first prize, the gold medal.

In order to compete and to win and athlete has to train hard. To have a chance of winning they need to be very fit and strong. They must obey the rules. The winner receives the gold medal, blue ribbon whatever the prize is for first place. which is the prize.  The prize in this case is the crown of life to all who love and trust him to the end of their lives.


James 1:12 (HCSB) A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

Revelation 2:10 (HCSB) Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Look, the Devil is about to throw some of you into prison to test you, and you will have affliction for 10 days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.


The farmer is the first one to benefit from his hard work.

A good farmer has to work hard. He has to prepare the ground and sow the seed. He has to make sure that the plants have enough water. And he has to clear the weeds. Then the harvest comes when he gathers the crops.  As his reward, he should have the first share of the crop.


Christians, like the farmer, should work hard to do what the Lord wants. The results of that good work will be like a harvest. The Lord will bless those who have worked well for him. This may be in this life but there are also eternal rewards.


Which of these 3 images (soldier, athlete, farmer) seems most applicable to your life right now? Why?



7. Why was Paul willing to endure all the suffering that he had gone through and was going through at the time that he wrote this letter? (2:8-10 )


2 Timothy 2:8-10 (HCSB)8 Keep your attention on Jesus Christ ⌊as⌋ risen from the dead and descended from David. ⌊This is⌋ according to my gospel. 9 I suffer for it to the point of being bound like a criminal, but God’s message is not bound. 10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.


Paul is willing to suffer for the gospel the good news.  That good news is Jesus coming to provide forgiveness of sins for all who will believe


Romans 10:9 (HCSB) If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.


Colossians 1:14 (HCSB) We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.


God saves by this gospel. So Paul is suffering for them so that they may believe in Christ Jesus. It is true that when we believe and accept the gospel, we choose Christ. But before we came to him, God chose us and when we agree with God confess and believe we become part of the elect.

 Paul says that he endures all these things for the elect.  The elect are those who will be saved by the preaching of the gospel.
  
Romans 10:17 (HCSB) So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.


As it stands, the concept of God electing those who will be saved isn’t controversial. What is controversial is how and in what manner God chooses those who will be saved. We are not going to talk about it today but just to give you and idea about the controversy.

One view, which we will call the prescient or foreknowledge view, teaches that God, through His omniscience, knows those who will in the course of time choose of their own free will to place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation. On the basis of this divine foreknowledge, God elects these individuals “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). This view is held by the majority of American evangelicals.


The second main view is the Augustinian view, which essentially teaches that God not only divinely elects those who will have faith in Jesus Christ, but also divinely elects to grant to these individuals the faith to believe in Christ. In other words, God’s election unto salvation is not based on a foreknowledge of an individual’s faith, but is based on the free, sovereign grace of Almighty God. God elects people to salvation, and in time these people will come to faith in Christ because God has elected them. http://www.gotquestions.org/elect-of-God.html#ixzz3VkR3pBdC

The only reason that I mention this today is that you may hear both views so I want to you know what they are.  Remember that I have mentioned in the past that there are things that we as Christians can  disagree about which are unessential in our salvation.  There are some things that are essential and they are: 

  • Deity of Christ
  • Salvation by grace 
  • Salvation through Jesus Christ alone
  • The resurrection of Christ
  • The gospel ( “That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”)
  • One God
  • The Holy Trinity  


8. How did Paul encourage Timothy? (2:11-13)


2 Timothy 2:11-13 (NKJV)11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.


These words were from a Christian song or poem and Paul says that the message of these words is true.


There are four lines. Each one shows the actions of believers and the result or the reaction of Christ.


If we have died with him, we shall also live with him (verse 11)
Death with Christ will result in life with him. Death with Christ is death to sin even as Christ died to sin. It is in the death of Christ that Christians have died with him. The death of Christ has freed them from sin. As they believe in Christ, it is as if God has put their old life into his death.They receive a new life now. Christians should consider that they are dead to *sin. And they should consider that they are alive to God. The *Lord has also promised them that as Christ rose from the dead so they will rise. They will live with Christ and never die again.

If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. (verse 12)
The life of the Christians is not an easy one. They may have to suffer many things. There will always be problems that tempt them to give up. But they must remain loyal to Christ. Those who do remain loyal to Christ will rule with him. This looks forward beyond this present life to the life which is to come. Then those who have not given up will join with Christ as he rules as the king of heaven. There are those who did once claim to be Christians but then say that they are not. Now they refuse to admit that Jesus is the Christ. They did not really believe in the *Lord Jesus and they do not know him. They have turned away from him. The day will come when they will have to stand before God. Then Christ will deny them. He will say that He does not know them. They will not live with him in that day.


If we deny Him, He also will deny us. (verse 12)
The life of the Christians is not an easy one. They may have to suffer many things. There will always be problems that tempt them to give up. But they must remain loyal to Christ. Those who do remain loyal to Christ will rule with him. This looks forward beyond this present life to the life which is to come. Then those who have not given up will join with Christ as he rules as the king of heaven. There are those who did once claim to be Christians but then say that they are not. Now they refuse to admit that Jesus is the Christ. They did not really believe in the *Lord Jesus and they do not know him. They have turned away from him. The day will come when they will have to stand before God. Then Christ will deny them. He will say that He does not know them. They will not live with him in that day.


If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. (verse 13)
There are those who did believe in the *Lord Jesus but have turned away from him. Some Christians fail to trust him. But he will keep his promises to them. He will never turn away from them. He is the *Lord who does not change. He will do what he has promised to do. He is always true to his own nature. He is God. For those who do not trust in the *Lord Jesus at all, this is a serious warning. What God has said about the results of their *sins will happen. But some have believed but are weak. They may fail but this should encourage them. They may not always be true to him but he will always be true to them.


This week think about this "How should this trustworthy, or faithful saying".  How can it motivate you?


Next week we will start with chapter 2 verse 14 

 

 





Monday, March 23, 2015

Paul's Letters to Timothy - Session 7- Advice on Elders and Slaves, Love of Money and Paul's Charge to Timothy


The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is studying Paul's pastoral Epistles (Letters) to his protege, Timothy.  These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments in the comments below. We welcome your thoughts and prayers


Review

Last week in chapter 5 of 1 Timothy which we didn't finish but will finish today, Paul gave Timothy instructions in how the church should help widows, how to decide which widows to help and  he told Timothy to tell those family members who had the resources that the should provide for the widows in their family.  That can be applied to us today and not only include widows but other family members.

1 Timothy 5:8 (NKJV) But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

He included in his instructions why the church shouldn't support younger widows and those who had not fully committed themselves to the things of Christ and the church.

1 Timothy 5:5 (NKJV) Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.

1 Timothy 5:6 (NKJV) But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.

1 Timothy 5:11-12 (NKJV) But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith.

Then he gave instructions about compensating or paying the elder(s) who directed the affairs of the church. Paul said they should be given double honor including wages.

1 Timothy 5:17 (NKJV) Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

Paul then told Timothy how to handle any accusations against an elder or leader and that was to not take the word of one person but there had to be two or three witnesses and if after examination of the two or three witnesses the accusation was true then he was to rebuke the elder in front of the whole church as an example to the others.

That’s where we ended last week now let’ read the end of the chapter actually let’s read from 1 Timothy 5:22-6-2 because the first two verses of chapter 6 really fit with chapter 5

Be Careful in Appointing (Laying Hands) People to Leadership


1. What did Paul encourage Timothy to do and not to do and why? 

1 Timothy 5:22-25 (NKJV) Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure. No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities. Some men's sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.
Paul laying on hands


It can be quite difficult to know whom to appoint to a task in the church. With some people, it is clear that they are not the right choice. The decision to refuse them is easy because you can see their sins. With other people, it is not that simple. They hide their sins and they appear to be good people. It is only later that they show their true nature. This is why Timothy, and us,  shouldn't be quick to lay hands on anybody until we have observed them for a while. He should wait until he is sure that they are right. Even then with some people, we will never know and may not know until the day when they stand before God.

Paul said that it's important to be careful and not be hasty because when you lay hand on someone to appoint them to leadership positions we are  to some extent responsible for them and,e responsible for what he or she does. If we make a bad choice, we share in the faults of that person and blame for the sins of that person.

Paul digressed a little to talk about Timothy and his health 

1 Timothy 5:23 (NKJV) No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities.

Timothy did not have good health. He was often sick and had a weak stomach. He only drank water but Paul now tells him to also drink some wine. It may be that poor water was partly the cause of the stomach problems. Wine would act against the bad effects of the water. So a little wine would be like a good medicine for the stomach.

2. Why should slaves consider their masters worthy of respect?

1 Timothy 6:1 (NKJV) Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.


In the time of Paul there were many slaves. Many of the first Christians were slaves. Paul teaches them how they should serve the Lord and their masters.  Some masters did not believe in God but there were some who were believers.  Christians who were slaves should respect their masters.

The reason why the slaves must serve like this is that they belong to God. What they do shows what they believe. Their masters wouldn't  speak evil about God if the slaves have the right attitude. But if the slaves do not show their God by their actions, the masters those master who were not believers will not turn to God and they would refuse to accept what the Christians teach. They will blame the gospel for the poor performance of their slaves.

Paul does not adress the ultimate question of the right and wrong of slavery, but stresses the obligations resting on the slave, and the opportunity even in that situation to "adorn the doctrine"

Titus 2:9-10 (NKJV) Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

Paul points out that good works adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour. The character of God and the Gospel teaching will be hurt by wrong conduct. And those who have believing masters are not to fail to give full honor, but are to serve them all the better, since it is a Christian brother who is devoting himself to (or benefiting by) good service. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

Those Christian slave who did have believing masters should respect them because they serve the same Lord. They may know them as equal persons in the family of God and in the church. But they must perform the duties of slaves and give the honor due to them as masters. They must not make the beliefs that they hold in common an excuse for poor service. Instead, they should work harder and serve better. In this way, they would benefit those who were their brothers and sisters in Christ. The love of God for both slaves and masters has made them as one in his family. They must then love each other. So, the slaves should love their Christian masters and do their best for them. Timothy must teach these things to the church members. He must urge all who are slaves to give good service to their masters. They should see this as a duty given to them by the Lord. - An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Paul’s First Letter to Timothy Ian Mackervoy

Paul gives instructions to master on how to treat their slaves in


Ephesians 6:5-9 (NKJV)  Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.


The purpose of the Bible is to point the way to salvation, not to reform society. The Bible often approaches issues from the inside out. If a person experiences the love, mercy, and grace of God by receiving His salvation, God will reform his soul, changing the way he thinks and acts. A person who has experienced God’s gift of salvation and freedom from the slavery of sin, as God reforms his soul, will realize that enslaving another human being is wrong.

A person who has truly experienced God’s grace will in turn be gracious towards others. That would be the Bible’s prescription for ending slavery.

Today, while none of us is a slave, very few if any are totally "free" economically. We have to deal with employers, teachers, bills and our level of income. We often resist and resent these boundaries.
http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-slavery.html#ixzz3UIQhRoDL


Now to chapter 6 which could be titled Find Your Riches In Christ

Some well-known Christian teachers and authors tell us that being a Christian means success and prosperity. If we are faithful, God will bless us with wealth. Other Christians advocate a simple lifestyle without interest in material possessions. What does Scripture say about how we are to regard money?  In this chapter Paul concludes his agenda of how to lead the powerful and the powerless by addressing the wealthy members of the church. - LifeGuide Bible Studies - LifeGuide Bible Studies – Timothy and Titus: Do What You Have Heard.


3. What evidence do you see of a love for money among your friends or coworkers?

4. Why do you think most people are or aren’t content with what they have?

Let’s read 1 Timothy 6:3-10, actually let’s start the reading with the end of verse 2 “Teach and exhort these things.

5. What do false teachers ignore?

1 Timothy 6:3 (NKJV)
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,

They ignore the words of Jesus and the doctrine which is the gospel

Paul refers to the words of Jesus which is an indication that written Gospel narratives were well known and in circulation. Remember last week in chapter 5 verse 18 the last part of that verse say the worker is worthy of his wages and that is from Luke 10:27, so it seems that Paul was familiar with the statement made by Jesus whether it was from Luke or some other writing. The words of Christ are the basis of the doctrine Paul is talking about here.

6. What harsh words did Paul have for those who teach false doctrines and what was the result of the false teachers’ unhealthy interests?

1 Timothy 6:3-5 (NKJV) If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.


They think that they are superior. They always want to discuss things that do not help people to believe in the Lord. They ask questions. They cause doubts about what the Lord and the apostles have taught as the truth. They like to argue about the meaning of words. They waste time on things that do not really matter.

The results of what they say and do leads people to envy each other. They want to have what someone else has. When they cannot have it, they are jealous.

By their arguments, they destroy the unity that there should be in the church. Instead of peace there was spite among the members.

Where there should be trust between the members there were evil doubts.

Then there were constant quarrels.

In addition to power and reputation, money was a primary motivator for false teachers. So, according to Paul, what these false teachers really wanted was money. 

Remember when we looked at the qualifications for elders or bishops

1 Timothy 3:3 (NKJV) not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;

7. What really brings us great gain and with what should we be content ?

1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NKJV) Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

Great gain. This word appears to have the uniform meaning, "way of gain," "means of livelihood," which yields a better sense here. Paul means to say: "The Christian faith with sufficiency for this life is a mighty way of gain." He has already said that godliness is profitable in every respect, giving the promise not only for this life but also for the life to come.

1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV) For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

True religion brings much gain maybe not in this life but for sure in the life to come. We should please God and be content with what we have. Then we will receive a rich reward. - Wycliffe Bible Commentary


When a child is born, it brings nothing with it. Neither can we take anything out of the world with us when we die. We will have to leave behind all that we possess. All the wealth that a person can get will be of no benefit, in the end. Nothing that we own can add anything to us. Death will strip all those things from us and leave us naked. Then only that which God gives will be of value. He gives it to those who believe in him. So then, we should be content with the things that are necessary for life. We should only want to have the food and the clothes that we need. That should be enough for us. - An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Paul’s First Letter to Timothy Ian Mackervoy
8. What often happens to people who want to get rich?


1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NKJV) But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Paul does not say it's wrong to be rich." but, what does he say about wanting to be rich?

There are many dangers for those who want to be rich. When they want to gain wealth, their desires tempt them to do wrong things. Once they start doing those things, it is like falling into a trap. Those who want to be rich and make that their purpose in life will never be content. The desire to be rich will ruin and destroy them.

The love of money is the strong desire to get wealth. It is greater than the desire to love and serve God. It becomes the main purpose in life. That love is like a root. It is like the root from which plants grow. From that source, there come all kinds of evil. An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Paul’s First Letter to Timothy Ian Mackervoy

 It is not possible to serve both God and money. One or other of them must be the more important. Those who reach out to grab money will lose their grip on the Lord.

Having just gone through this section of chapter 6 let me ask some questions. We won’t talk about all of them but I want to you think about all of them.
  • How could someone think that godliness was a means to financial gain?
  • How do people attempt to use Christianity for their own profit?
  • Why is it hard to be content?
  • What get-rich-quick schemes (big or small) have you fallen for?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being very important), how important is money to you?
  • Why do you think that money is important or not very important?
  • How can you guard against placing too much stock in your personal possession


Now Let’s Read 11-21


9. What did Paul tell Timothy to pursue?

1 Timothy 6:11 (NKJV) But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.


In contrast to the false teachers Timothy was to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
  • Righteousness may be thought of as a comprehensive name for all the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (We had a study on the gifts of the Spirit but never on the fruit of the Spirit. We may do that some day)
  • Godliness means "godly faith," "true religion.
1 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV) And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
  • Faith may mean "believing" or "faithfulness." A full realization of love means the experience of God's love for us, as well as our loving him and others.
  • Patience means "endurance," and meekness seems to go back to the Lord's teaching and example 
Matthew 5:5 (NKJV) Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.

Matthew 11:29 (NKJV) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.


10. What was Timothy urged to fight and take hold of ?

1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

One of the things that Paul did in most of his letters was to inform and try to prepare Christians for the opposition and persecution which was coming. The good fight involves holding fast the faith and committing it to others. It is closely related to holding fast and laying hold of eternal life. The same word translated fight is used by the Lord in

Luke 13:24 (NKJV) "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

The false teachers were doing all that they could to stop the spread of the gospel. So Timothy had to fight, not with swords but by trusting in the Lord and with prayer. This is because the real enemies are not men and women.

Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

11.When did Jesus make the good confession and what was it?

1 Timothy 6:13 (NKJV)13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate,

After Jesus was betrayed by Judas and the Jewish court, The Sanhedrin, did their phony trial they sent Him to Pontius Pilate to be tried and judged by the Romans because they could not execute Him the Romans had to do that.  During the Pilate’s interrogation he asked the Jesus if He was the king of the Jews

John 18:33-37 (NKJV) Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered him, "Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?" Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

Mark 15:2, Luke 23:3, and Matthew 27:11 all record this event.

Jesus said that he was a king. But he said that his kingdom was not of this world.

Jesus did what God had sent him to do. And, because of that, he suffered and died on the cross. Paul told Timothy should obey God like Jesus did. And so should we and all others who believe in Jesus Christ. We may have to suffer and even die for this but, we must be true to the faith that we confess. One day, we will have to give an account to the Jesus who God has made  the judge of all people.

12. What was Paul’s charge or command to Timothy?

1 Timothy 6:13-15 (NKJV) I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

The command is what the Lord has told him to do. It has come in the instructions that Paul and the elders gave to him. Paul has shown him in this letter what the command means. It is to keep and obey all that Jesus and the apostles taught. It is to be and to do all that the Lord requires. This is not just for Timothy but it should be the aim of all Christians.

When Jesus returns he will take up those Christians who are alive on the earth to be with him. and he will take up those Christians who have died. Until then, Timothy, and we, must do what the Lord orders. We all fail at some point but if we ask the Lord will forgive us. When he comes we must all give an account to him of everything that we have done.

God has planned the moment when his son, Jesus, will return. And he will control that moment. The Lord Jesus will come as the champion for all who believe in him. He will defeat all that is against us. All the struggles of this life will be over.

God has in himself all blessing. He blesses his people who in turn bless and praise him. God is the real and absolute ruler of all. He is the king of all those who rule as kings. He is the Lord of all who rule as lords. 
An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Paul’s First Letter to Timothy Ian Mackervoy

13. Why should those who are rich not be arrogant or put their hope in wealth?

1 Timothy 6:17 (NKJV) Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

  • There is a danger that the rich may believe that they are better than other people. 
  • All that they have could vanish in a very short time. 
  • They can't be certain that they will always be rich. 
  • When they die, these riches will have no value for them. They will go to someone else. 
  • All the money in the world cannot buy life after death. 
  • It is foolish to trust in riches for this life and for the future life.
Instead, they should trust in God who  owns all things anyway.  He gives to us all that we need for this life. The blessings of God are true riches.

Proverbs 10:22 (NKJV)  The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it.

14. What command is given to those who are rich?

1 Timothy 6:18-19 (NKJV) Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

The command is that they do good. The rich are responsible to God for how they use their wealth. The more they have the greater their duty to use it to do what is good. Rich people have more than enough for their own needs. There is no benefit to them in owning an excess of wealth. They should share what they have. They should use their wealth for the benefit of those in need.

By doing good works rich Christians will reduce their wealth on earth, but they will be building up riches in eternity.

Matthew 6:19-20 (NKJV) "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal..

15. What was Timothy to guard and turn away from?

1 Timothy 6:20-21 (NKJV) O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge-- by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.

Paul ends his letter with some final advice for Timothy.

The way he says "turn away from godless chatter", Timothymay have been prone to the weakness which the false teachers had made a way of life. As a natural teacher, he may have enjoyed intellectual curiosities. Timothy could not lead the church without resisting his own personal weaknesses. Part of guarding the church was to pursue his own purity. Many ministries have been damaged by a leader who ignored personal weaknesses. An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Paul’s First Letter to Timothy Ian Mackervoy

Timothy was entrusted with the message of the gospel and the Ephesian church. In your own life perhaps it is people, situations, a job or role in the fellowship, as well as the gospel itself, to which you are entrusted.

You could also ask, "How does the phrase 'turn away' fit with the call to guard what has been entrusted to his care?" And "What personal weakness seems to threaten your own call to 'guard'?" -
LifeGuide Bible Studies - LifeGuide Bible Studies – Timothy and Titus: Do What You Have Heard.


Next week we will start our study in the second letter that Paul writes to Timothy.




Sunday, March 15, 2015

Paul's Letters to Timothy - Session 6 - Advice about Widows, Elders, and Slaves

The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is studying Paul's pastoral Epistles (Letters) to his protege, Timothy.  These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments in the comments below. We welcome your thoughts and prayers


Review

In the past month we have been discussing the letter that Paul wrote to his son in the gospel, Timothy, who was now the leader of the church in Ephesus. Paul writes this letter to him to encourage him in
the task of leading that church. He gives Timothy a lot of advice both for the Christians in the church and for himself.

There were some problems there, with some people who were teaching wrong things.

1 Timothy 1:3 (NLT) When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth.

Paul tells Timothy how to select the elders and deacons. He writes about the roles of men and women during worship. 

Last week in chapter 4 Paul's strategy for Timothy starts to emerge clearly. Timothy's mission was to deal with the false teachers. Paul deals directly with the false teachers, focusing on their origin and content.  He ends the chapter with how Timothy lives his life is an example that refutes the false teachers and their message.

Introduction  

This week in chapter 5 we will see the principles which guide decisions on people in the church at at Ephesus: widows, elders (leaders), and in the first 2 verses of chapter 6 which really fit with the instructions in chapter 5, slaves.  

Paul is really telling Timothy how to rebuke certain actions and sins. At one time or another all of us have probably been in a situation in which we felt that someone in our church  was sinning. Whether or not we act on the situation and how we communicate to that person has a big effect on the outcome.

Often when we rebuke others about their lifestyles, we come off as being judgmental and self-righteous. When Paul tells Timothy about specific persons and groups he needed to confront about certain issues, he is careful to show how to do so in love. Paul's teaching here gives us valuable guidance on being both direct and loving with our brothers and sisters.

Advice About Widows, Elders and Slaves

Before we get into the scripture let's start with a couple of questions. 

1.  What groups of people are treated with special favor in our society today?
  • Elderly
  • Handicapped
  • Veterans
  • Women
  • Children


2.  Whose responsibility is it to care for the needy?
  • The wealthy 
  • Government
  • Church
  • Family
3.  How much money do you think a pastor should make? Why? (Trick question...no not really because Paul talks about this in this chapter)

Commensurate with the business community.i.e. If they church has a budget of several million dollars and a large staff then the pastor’s salary should be similar to a CEO or manager in a private organization or government agency or non-profit. They have similar responsibilities for providing services, supervision of staff, fiduciary responsibility of assets. 

Now lets read the entire chapter it's a short one.

4. How should believers treat older men, younger men, older women, and younger women?

1 Timothy 5:1-2 (NKJV)1 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers,2 older women as mothers, younger as sisters, with all purity.

Timothy has a duty to teach the local church members what is true and right. He has to show them how they should live as Christians. He has to order the false teachers to stop doing it. He has to correct those who do not obey. And he has to correct those who do not live in a good way. He must be gentle and kind but firm with them all.

Where he needs to correct an older man, he should respect him like a father. He must not be strict and severe with him. Rather, he should appeal to him. And he should urge him to change and to do what is right.

Timothy must think of the younger men as his own brothers. He must not think of himself as better than them. But he should see them as brothers in the family of God. He should talk to them and encourage them to trust in the Lord. And he should encourage them to live as they should.

He should be as gentle to the older women as he would be to his own mother.

The younger women should be as his sisters. He must be most careful when he deals with these. He must be sure that his thoughts and actions are morally good.


5. To whom did Paul tell Timothy to give proper recognition?

1 Timothy 5:3 (NKJV) Honor widows who are really widows.

Honour them. There was in those times an office in the church in which widows took care of and looked after the sick and elderly under the direction of the deacons. Early on in the church we read about widows being cared for when the Greeks  thought their widows were neglected.

Acts 6:1-3 (NKJV)
1 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.

The general rule is to honour widows who were pious and devout, and not wanton widows that lived in pleasure. Paul talks about those widows who were not and why later. 

Paul makes a distinction between those who have no one to help them and those who have. The church should provide for those who have no support or family to support them

6. What should the children and grandchildren of a widow do?
1 Timothy 5:4 (NKJV) But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. 

We could extend this to nieces and nephews and maybe even cousins if the cousins were raised in the homes of the widows.  They are responsible for this care and they should not expect the church to do it.

They have a debt that they owe to their parents. The support that they give is only what is due to the widow. The support of the widow is some payment for what she has given in the past. Paul says that it pleases God when they do it.

7. What does the widow who is really in need and left alone do?

1 Timothy 5:5 (NKJV) Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.

A widow who is alone has no family to look after her. Her only hope for this life and the next is in God. She trusts God to take care of her and to provide all that she needs.

Here is a description of the true widow, who serves the church and be cared for by the church if she has no family to take care of her.

Luke 2:36-37 (NKJV)36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity;37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

8. What is true about the widow who lives for pleasure?

1 Timothy 5:6 (NKJV) But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.

In contrast with the widow who trusts in God, Paul speaks about another one. This one does not trust in God or help others. She lives only to please herself in the present. She has no thought for the future. The church has no duty to support her.

The term that Paul uses for lives in pleasure occurs only here and in Jas 5:5 and means indulgent living, which indicates a state of spiritual death.

James 5:5 (NKJV) You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.

This is the kind of life that Paul says these widows live so the church shouldn’t help and care for them.

9. Why did Paul tell Timothy to give these instructions? 

1 Timothy 5:7 (NKJV) And these things command, that they may be blameless.

Paul is referring to the families of widows  Timothy should tell the relatives to look after their widows. If they do this, no one can blame them. They are doing what is good and right.

10. Why is it important to provide for your family? 


1 Timothy 5:8 (NKJV) But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.


Paul says that failure to provide is a denial of faith.

If any men or women do not maintain their own poor relations who belong to them, they do in effect deny the faith; for the design of Christ was to confirm the law of Moses, and particularly the law of the fifth commandment, which is, Honour thy father and mother; so that those deny the faith who disobey that law, much more if they provide not for their wives and children, who are parts of themselves; if they spend that upon their lusts which should maintain their families, they have denied the faith and are worse than unbelievers. This truth can also be applied to parents who do not care for or support their children.

11. How did a widow qualify for help of the church in Ephesus?

1 Timothy 5:9-10 (NKJV)9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man,10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.
  • She must be 60 or more.She must have been living with and loyal to her husband while he was alive.
  • She must have a good character and have done good works. Those good works include; that she looked after children, 
  • When travelers came to the church or to her house she made them welcome. 
  • When anybody was in trouble, she was there to give what help she could. 
12. Why should younger widows not be put on the "list of widows"?

1 Timothy 5:11 (NKJV) But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry,

 To be on the list carries with it a promise to serve Christ in the church in some way. This means that those on the list are not free to marry. It is quite likely that at some time a young widow will want to marry again. If she were on the list, her marriage would break the promise that she had made to Christ. She would not then be loyal to him because she had promised to give herself to serve him.

There may be another reason also. 


This is what’s in the Wycliffe Bible Commentary on this verse:

The term Wax wanton occurs only here and in Rev 18:7 where it says;

Revelation 18:7 (NKJV) In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, 'I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.'

Such conduct is incompatible with salvation and would suggest that Paul does not consider these "widows indeed." The idea of widowhood may have a wider application than actual bereavement; it may mean separation from a husband. For OT background, see 2 Sam 20:3

2 Samuel 20:3 (NKJV) Now David came to his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten women, his concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in seclusion and supported them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.

and Isa 54:4-6.

Isaiah 54:4-6 (NKJV)4 "Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.5 For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.6 For the LORD has called you Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when you were refused," Says your God.


Israel is a rejected, adulterous wife and widow because of separation, not because of the death of the husband. Hence these women, who are further described as having set aside their first pledge (faith, promise, )(v.12)


1 Timothy 5:12 (NKJV) having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith.

If a widow is not on the list she can get married. Paul says that it would be a good thing if they did get married.

1 Timothy 5:14 (NKJV) Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

1 Timothy 5:15 (NKJV) For some have already turned aside after Satan.

So some of these that Paul is referring to as widows may actually be unfaithful wives who have been divorced.


All of what I just read is conjecture and the most probable thing may be that the young widow first thoughts my not always be of the church and Christ and the may burn with passion and if so they should be married and not on the list of widows to be helped by the church.

13. To what habits may younger widows fall prey?

1 Timothy 5:13 (NKJV) And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.

Today we would call Paul a male chauvinist but before you get too excited in the time when Paul wrote, most of the women had no education and no jobs. They were supposed to marry, have children and keep the home. When the husband died and the children had left home, they did not have much to do. There was the danger that these women would be lazy. Worse still, they might waste their time and that of other women. They would go from house to house. They would spend their time talking to each other. They would gossip about other people. And they would talk about things that they should not talk about. They would get involved in affairs that had nothing to do with them.

14. Why did Paul encourage Christian women to care for the widows in their families?

1 Timothy 5:16 (NKJV) If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.


First of all most of the oldest manuscripts and many translations do not include the word man. So this is the duty of the believing or Christian woman relative of the widow. We have no idea why Paul says woman and not man but he does.  The principle however applies to men and women.  Go back to verse 8.  Paul is again emphasizing the fact that believers should take care of their families and not put that burden on the church because there are some who do not have families that can care for them.

1 Timothy 5:8 (NKJV) But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

These women may themselves be widows but have the means to give support. They may be daughters or daughters in law of the widows. They could be sisters or mothers to the widows. It doesn't matter what the relationship is they should look after them. It would be wrong to leave the support of these widows to the church.

15. Paul now moves to instructing Timothy on how to deal with the elders. Of what is the elder who directs the affairs of the church worthy? (Today these people would be those in full time ministry)

1 Timothy 5:17 (NKJV) Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

Paul says these men should be given double honor.


Double honor. Honor has two meanings:

"Honor" and "honorarium" or "compensation." Both meanings are doubtless intended here. In the case of those who labor in preaching and teaching, full time, and they are deserving of compensation from the church

1 Timothy 5:18 (NKJV) For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer is worthy of his wages."

There are actually two quotes in verse 18 that describe the principle of compensation the first “muzzle the ox” is from

Deuteronomy 25:4 (NKJV) "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.

The other “laborer is worthy of his wages” is from

Luke 10:7 (NKJV) And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.


16. How should accusations against an elder be handled? 

1 Timothy 5:19 (NKJV) Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.

Paul has just said that elders who rule well are do double honor so any accusation against them must be handled carefully. Paul warns Timothy not to act on it. He should not accept it as true. But if two or three persons say that it is true, he must think about it. Timothy must decide whether they are right or not.

The rule of evidence given by Moses

Deuteronomy 19:15 (NKJV) "One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.

Used by the Lord when talking about how to deal with a brother who sins against you

Matthew 18:16 (NKJV) But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.'

17. Why should those elders who sin be rebuked publicly?

1 Timothy 5:20 (NKJV) Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.


If the bad report is true, Timothy must act on it. He must bring the sin of the elders to the whole church. Paul is eager that the sins of elders are not hidden. They should be dealt with in public. The purpose of this is to act as a warning to the other elders. The result should be that they and the members would be more careful not to sin. They would be afraid of such shame in public.

18. How did Paul encouraged Timothy to keep these instructions?


1 Timothy 5:21 (NKJV
) I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.

He’s talking about all of the things that he has mentioned in the verses about accusations against elders or leaders. The instructions on how to deal with them must be without prejudice or partiality.

To emphasize how important this is Paul warns him in a most serious manner. He says that God, the Lord Jesus and the angels are there to see that Timothy does obey. There must be two or three people who accuse an elder. Then Timothy must look at the facts. He must not act on his own opinions. He must search for what is true. He must not act from prejudice.

We will finish this chapter next week and move on to Chapter 6 the end of Paul's first letter to Timothy.  Chapter 6 is interesting because it deals with wealth and greed in the church.








Sunday, March 8, 2015

Paul's Letters to Timothy - Session 5 - True and False Ministry

The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is studying Paul's pastoral Epistles (Letters) to his protege, Timothy.  These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments in the comments below. We welcome your thoughts and prayers


Review


Last week we identified the qualifications of the kind of church leaders that would help Timothy to carry out his mission against false teachers. These should also be the qualifications that we look for today for leaders of the church because today there is false and misleading teaching going on and many Christians are lead astray or become disillusioned with the church. We learned that while ability is important the character of the leader is more important because it affects how the leader interacts and serves the people of the church. You shouldn't make a new convert a leader because they may become filled with pride plus you would not have had time to test the character of the person. 

 The list of qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:2-4 


1 Timothy 3:2-4 (HCSB) An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher,3 not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy—4 one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity.

Every one of those qualifications with the exception of the ability to teach are character trates.

Now that we have identified the kind of leaders that the church needs they can help the people discern between the real Christian ministry and the counterfeit. That’s what we are going to talk about today.

Introduction

Purpose: To draw out the key elements of real Christian ministry, and help people discern it from the counterfeit.

1 Timothy 4:1-16

With this chapter Paul's strategy for Timothy starts to emerge clearly. Timothy's mission was to deal with the false teachers. Paul sees, however, that fighting false teachers with ideology alone is fruitless. The real mission is that the church be healthy so that Jesus Christ is communicated through it. So he spoke of prayer and leadership first. With that foundation in place, Timothy will be able to turn his attention directly to the problems at hand.

1. Is there an older Christian in your family or church who has given you good advice? What was it?

For me it was my grandmother.  She was a pillar in her church and in the Disciples of Christ denomination.   She is the one that urged, no made me, read the bible everyday when I would visit her and my grandfather in the summer.  One of my grandfather's was a preacher and did a circuit of small churches in Mississippi.  I would visit them also in the summer.

My mother was the pianist in the small church where I was raised and she and my great grandmother made my brothers and me sing in her choir and participate in all the church activities.  All of these people greatly influenced me although at the time I didn't realize it.

2. Read 1 Tim. 4:1-16. "Later times" means later than Paul's ministry. This time was at hand for Timothy. Read Paul's prophecy in Acts 20:29-30. What is Paul predicting?

Acts 20:29-30 (HCSB) 29  I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30  And men will rise up from your own number with deviant doctrines to lure the disciples into following them. 

Paul predicted that troubles would come to the Ephesian church from two sources: fierce wolves would enter the church from without, and false teachers would arise from their own midst to turn disciples away from the faith. The growth of heresy at Ephesus is reflected in 1 Tim 1:3-7. -
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

1 Timothy 1:3-7 (HCSB) 3  As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach different doctrine 4  or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. These promote empty speculations rather than God’s plan, which operates by faith. 5  Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. 6  Some have deviated from these and turned aside to fruitless discussion. 7  They want to be teachers of the law, although they don’t understand what they are saying or what they are insisting on.


False Teachers

3. What is the nature of the teachings described in 1 Tim. 4:2-3?

1 Timothy 4:2-3 (HCSB)2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared.3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth.

Probably Gnostic teachings which we talked about in our first two sessions.

Gnostics believed that matter, whether it be the physical universe or the human body, is evil. God is is far removed from his creation. He did not create the material universe because it was instead created by an evil or lesser God. So He is too perfect and pure to have much to do with the evilness of the material universe.

The Gnostics saw all things in terms of two contrasting principles. On the one side was good, which was associated with the spiritual and the immaterial. On the other side was evil, which was associated with the material universe. God Himself was perfectly good, spiritual, and totally disassociated from the material. He would not pollute Himself by any such contact! The material universe was an accident or, at worst, the error of the last of a long series of supernatural beings—intermediaries—ranked between God and matter. To God, the pure Spirit, the world was alien and despicable. God become man? God take on human flesh? Never! Christ must be a lower intermediary or an "appearance"—a shadow of God cast on a screen. But God in human flesh?  Unthinkable!

Often, false teachers advocate lower morals. Yet the teachers here are advocating excessively strict morals. From church history it is hard to say which error has done more damage. In most of the New Testament, the strongest opponents of Jesus and Paul were legalistic. And in the second century, celibacy became a badge of being "truly committed to Christ." This unbiblical asceticism was connected to the gnostic teaching, which held that the material world was evil.

4. Why is this teaching—which could seem to be "super spiritual"—really a doctrine of demons (1 Tim. 4:3-4)?

1 Timothy 4:3-4 (HCSB)3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth.4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing should be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,


We know that the false teachers:

—teach from the Bible

—are effective in getting followers

—call for high commitment

—are hypocrites who suppress conscience

Some high-pressure Christian groups seem spiritual because members put in long hours and make great sacrifices. But some groups add extra-biblical rules. Few members can reach their standards, and many burn-out from guilt.

The false teachers whom the demons use seem to be good. But they speak lies. They teach things that do not agree with the truth from God. It may sound good but it is false.

These teachers should have known the truth but they chose to deny it. They have allowed the demons to persuade them that the truth is not right. They have decided to follow and to teach what is false. This has damaged their consciences. It is as if they have burned them with a hot iron. They can no longer know what is right or what is wrong. - An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Paul’s First Letter to Timothy Ian Mackervoy www.easyenglish.info

5. When you think of "false teaching," do you think of teachers who are morally too loose or too strict? Explain.

Paul mentions two of the wrong things that these people taught. They forbade people to marry. And they told them that they must not eat certain foods.

The Bible teaches that marriage is a good thing. And it is from God.

Genesis 2:23-24 (HCSB) 23  And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called “woman,” for she was taken from man. 24  This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.

 As for the foods, God created them for us to eat. Christians should know that they can eat all kinds of food. But they should always thank God for what they eat. They should be grateful to God for all that he has given to them.

Genesis 1:29-31 (HCSB)29 God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you,30 for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth—everything having the breath of life in it. ⌊I have given⌋ every green plant for food.” And it was so.31 God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.

Genesis 9:3 (HCSB) Every living creature will be food for you; as ⌊I gave⌋ the green plants, I have
given you everything. 


Mark 7:18-23 (HCSB) 18  And He said to them, “Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don’t you realize that nothing going into a man from the outside can defile him? 19  For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated.” (As a result, He made all foods clean.) 20  Then He said, “What comes out of a person—that defiles him. 21  For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, 22  adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. 23  All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”
The principles governing the right use of the supports of this life are: (a) God is the Creator and his creation is good; (b) He created food for men, and those who believe and know the truth about eternal salvation will have the right attitude toward the necessities of this life, and will neither deify the created thing nor degrade and despise it, but will accept it thankfully as the Father's wise provision - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

6. Who are the modern examples of such leaders?

Timothy's Personal Life to be and Example of Truth


7. What was Timothy's personal life to be like (1 Tim. 4:7-16)?

1 Timothy 4:7-16 (HCSB)7 But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness,8 for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance.10 In fact, we labor and strive for this, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe.
11 Command and teach these things.12 Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an
example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.13 Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching.14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.15 Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all.16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

  • Train himself in godliness - 1 Timothy 4:7 (HCSB) But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness, 
  • Put his hope in God - 1 Timothy 4:10 (HCSB) In fact, we labor and strive for this, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe. 
  • Don’t neglect his gift and practice and be committed to them. This could have been one or more spiritual gifts. - 1 Timothy 4:14-15 (HCSB)14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.15 Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 
  • Watch his life and be careful to persevere 1 Timothy 4:16 (HCSB)16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers. 
How was it to differ from that of the false teachers?

They were hypocrites whose consciences were seared. They were engaged in silly myths and genealogies not the gospel of Christ or love.

8. Why do you think you are motivated at some times and not motivated at other times for training in godliness (1 Tim. 4:7)?

1 Timothy 4:7 (HCSB) But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness,

Instructions to Timothy 


9. What instructions is Timothy given for his public ministry (1 Tim. 4:6, 11, 13, 16)?

  • "the truths of the faith" and "the good teaching," - 1 Timothy 4:6 (HCSB) If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the words of the faith and the good teaching that you have followed. 

Put the brethren in remembrance. Implies enjoining and teaching or demonstrating: Timothy himself is to be nourished by the words of the faith and good doctrine. The faith is the whole body of truth and knowledge of God. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

  •  "command and teach these things," - order them to do these things. - 1 Timothy 4:11 (HCSB) Command and teach these things. -

Timothy should order and teach these things. Timothy was a shy and quiet man. But Paul tells him to use his authority as the leader of this church. He must be strong. And he must order people to do what the *Lord has said. He must teach them the things about which Paul writes.


  • "public reading of Scripture . . . preaching . . . teaching," - 1 Timothy 4:13 (HCSB) Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching. 
Here are emphasized things which demand special attention among the people: reading (public reading of Scripture), exhortation (comfort, encouragement, admonition, exhortation, the whole area of ministry which would today be described as counseling, but here the context favors the ministry of preaching, expounding the Scriptures), doctrine (teaching). - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.


  • "doctrine." - 1 Timothy 4:16 (HCSB) Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.


10. Did Paul think Timothy's assignment would be short-term or long-term? Explain your answer from the passage.

  • "train yourself to be godly" - 1 Timothy 4:7 (HCSB) But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness, ;
  • "for this we labor and strive"; Timothy 4:10 (HCSB) In fact, we labor and strive for this, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe.  
  • "be diligent" and "see your progress"- 1 Timothy 4:15 (HCSB) Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all.   
  •  "persevere" - 1 Timothy 4:16 (HCSB) Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers. 
These things imply steady effort over time for long-term results. They are not usually recognized in the short run. The high-commitment ministries of the false teachers look more impressive in the short run.

11. Timothy was probably about forty years old at this point, and apparently some people thought he was too young. Paul encourages Timothy by citing a number of resources which are available to Timothy. What are they?

His resources included:

  • Scriptures, his personal gift for ministry - 1 Timothy 4:14 (HCSB) Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 
Teaching and counseling are mentioned together (Romans 12:7-8 (HCSB)7  if service, in service; if teaching, in teaching; 8  if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness); teachers are among the gifts of the Spirit to the Church (1 Corinthians 12:28 (HCSB) 28  And God has placed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, managing, various kinds of languages.); pastors and teachers are mentioned as a unit (Ephesians 4:11 (HCSB)11  And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers). This word meaning "gift of grace" can be applied to any gift of God through the Spirit. Here it seems to imply a charge given at ordination. Paul reiterates it and reminds Timothy here and at 1:18(1Timothy 1:18 (HCSB)   Timothy, my son, I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you, so that by them you may strongly engage in battle,)  - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

We do not know what this gift was. But it was to help Timothy in his life and work.
  • Paul who planned to visit - 1 Timothy 4:13 (HCSB) Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching. 
  • "the living God," in which was his hope - 1 Timothy 4:10 (HCSB) In fact, we labor and strive for this, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe. 

12. What results did Paul tell Timothy he could expect (1 Tim. 4:16)?

1Timothy 4:16 (HCSB) Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Paul expected Timothy to deliver the church from false teaching. The Greek text could also mean that the church would be saved through the teaching of the gospel. Sometimes the New Testament speaks of salvation as having been accomplished, sometimes as in the act of being accomplished, and sometimes as yet to be accomplished. This could be an example of the latter.

13. Timothy's primary ministry was teaching. What in this passage encourages you to develop and use your ministry gifts?

Next week Chapter 5. Implementing Spiritual Teaching


Prayer Warrior: Praying Your Way To Victory - Session 5 - Condition Yourself To Be All You Can Be

The Church of Divine Guidance Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study Group is going through Prayer Warrior The Power Of Praying Your Way T...