Pick your leaders carefully.

1 Timothy 5:24 Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. 25 Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.

From my commentary:
These words are meant to be a caution to Timothy in his appointing of leaders. Sometimes what one sees on the outside isn’t really an accurate picture, so we need to take it slow, so we can wait on God for discernment.

This is why it is imperative to use the Holy Spirit and ask for wisdom every day. On our own, we are incapable of making decisions that will lead to long term success. There are too many unknown factors. Even as I write this, I pray for a continued flow of wisdom.

I know this relates to picking leaders, but it could also be the friends you hang out with, the company you keep and even people you work with. We need to be cautious and keep a dedicated prayer life.

Here we go again…

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

Conflicting statements…
So the first part of the commentary reads:
Use a little wine: Timothy was probably abstaining from alcohol for the sake of setting a good example. However, this abstinence was hurting his health – wine was safer to drink than water. So, Paul told Timothy that it wasn’t wise to sacrifice his health for the sake of this abstinence – he would do more good for the Jesus and His kingdom by taking care of his body in this circumstance.

The next commentary says:
Your frequent infirmities: Timothy was the victim of frequent infirmities; yet Paul did not simply command a healing on apostolic authority, or even send him a handkerchief with healing power

If I read the first part correctly, Timothy’s infirmities were due to him not properly taking care of his body. This is why Paul tells him to drink a little wine. Telling Timothy to drink a little wine IS the healing aspect. Timothy in his zeal to be “holy” was not drinking wine. Well, potable water was hard to find back in the day. So in this case wisdom was needed as a remedy, not a healing. The wisdom would lead to a life WITHOUT the chronic ailment.

People love to present the “God doesn’t always heal” argument using this scripture, but it’s simply incorrect. It appears Paul’s wisdom WAS the remedy needed so that Timothy could continue doing God’s work. If Timothy had NEEDED a miracle to continue God’s work, I guarantee it would have been provided, based on other scriptures.

This article states it well:
If Paul actually believed that Timothy’s frequent illnesses were God’s will, then he should have been saying something like “This physical illness and suffering are from God.  It is part of His mysterious plan, and He is using it to teach you something.  So, don’t do anything that would relieve your symptoms.  Timothy, if you want God’s will to happen, you need to be as sick and miserable as possible.”

Of course, that is ridiculous on many levels, and the hyperbole is intended.  But it does make a point.  If sickness is God’s will for Timothy, then it would be wrong for Paul to provide medical advice. 

But why is he advising him to “stop drinking only water,” but to add some wine into his diet?  Why is he not ministering healing to Timothy, or telling Timothy to believe for his own healing, etc?

If you live in an area with unclean water, and you drink that water, and you aren’t used to it, you are likely to have frequent stomach problems.  However, if you use wine or some other beverage with antiseptic qualities, you can decrease your chance of getting sick.  This is what Paul was telling Timothy to do.  

That tells me that sometimes some good advice on how to avoid getting sick in the first place is appropriate. But It absolutely does not tell me that sometimes God wants people to be sick.

Thou Shalt Not Ignore

1 Timothy 5:21 I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the [g]elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality. 22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.

Of all the pieces of scripture here I am going to focus on the end comment:
From my commentary:
Nor share in other people’s sins: We all have enough sin of our own; we do not need to add to it by partaking in the sins of others. There are many ways we can do this.
· We can share in the sins of others by setting a bad example before them.
· We can share in the sins of others by approving of them or ignoring them.
· We can share in the sins of others by joining a church that spreads dangerous teachings.

The two here I will focus on, is approving/ignoring and setting a bad example.
As leaders in the church, and as elders, we have a duty to call out that which is not beneficial. We have to be careful about avoiding confrontation in the name of keeping peace. Sometimes, it can have a worse affect.

We must set an example to be followed. We must show with our actions what is expected. Then we must lovingly address the other situations that arise in our lives.

This must be done in love.

Follow the Leader

I know I am late writing today. I was a little unsure what to post.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

These scriptures are far from popular now days. No one is accountable to anyone anymore.

I want to bring attention to WHY there is hierarchy like this in the Word of God. (There are more reasons, this is just one.)

My job is to lead my family. I am to love them, nurture them, provide for them and most importantly help them on a path towards Christ.
EVERYTHING I do should reflect this goal. However, if those I am to take charge for, do not trust my decisions, they will choose to do what they want in an effort to better themselves or their living situation. That is the natural thing.

For example, if my father never fed me, I would seek out food on my own. This is not a bad reflection on me, but of my father.

I pray that I learn to lead in a way that makes me easy to follow. I pray that my example is that of Christ and discipline. If I tell you to run a mile, I want you to see me run 2 miles.

Be the leader that you want to be led by.

Make an Example

1 Timothy 5:19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. 20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

From my commentary:
those whose business it is to correct others will usually have many enemies; great caution, therefore, should be used in admitting accusations against such persons.” (Clarke)

We need to be acutely aware that there are many enemies to the gospel. One way they attack the Word of God, is by smearing the messenger. Do not allow yourself to be a party to this.

However, if leaders are in sin, it must be addressed forthrightly – with public rebuke, to promote a fear of sin among the leadership and the entire church.

If there is found to be sin, the church has an obligation to bring attention to it and root it out. This is almost like a public shaming. The goal is to strike fear in the other leaders regarding harboring sin.

So where is the mercy?

Preachers and elders are held to a higher standard. Therefore, to maintain the integrity of the church, discipline must be extreme. That does not mean a pastor or elder cannot repent. However, their position of power and authority will need to be re-earned.

Another quick one from my commentary to close:
Many congregations have had great trouble because sin in the leadership was not forthrightly dealt with. It’s important that everyone understand that leadership in the church does not shield one from accountability; it makes one even more accountable.

Worthy of Wages

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

From my commentary:
In this context, double honor means financial support. Paul already stated that certain widows were worthy of honor (1 Timothy 5:3), speaking of financial support. Now he added, let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. Some think the church should not support pastors and staff, and that the paid ministry is an abomination – they say that the church instead should be using the money to support the needy. This is an attractive way of thinking; but it isn’t Biblical. If the needy (that is, the truly needy) are worthy of honor, then those who properly rule and teach in the church are worthy of double honor.

I have long held a strong opinion on this matter. I feel the church should value those who put in the time while serving Christ. It is more than just the Pastor. While the church should not operate like a business, it should however, operate like it understands people need to eat and live.

If a volunteer spends all their efforts and time serving in the church building, how are they to provide for their family? This is where the church should provide food, or housing, or money.

Here is another from my commentary:
White paraphrased Paul’s idea: “What I have been saying about the support of widows reminds me of another question of Church finance: the payment of presbyters. Equity and scriptural principles suggest that they should be remunerated in proportion to their usefulness.”

It is imperative that the church BELIEVE for the abundance to bless and compensate those who add value while serving Christ.

The Young Widows Part II

Today’s message is a little longer. However, I feel it was impossible to break up.

1 Timothy5:11 But [c]refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, 12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first [d]faith. 13 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. 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 

From my commentary:
They desire to marry, having condemnation: Paul did not condemn young widows for wanting to get married, only observing that many unmarried women are so hungry for marriage and companionship that they don’t conduct themselves in a godly way in regard to relationships.

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

This sums up truly what Paul is telling Timothy in regards to helping:
The first responsibility for support is at the home; the local church is to support the truly destitute who are godly.

Our homes, and our families should be our support tool. If you don’t have family, join a church! That is how you can find your family. Let the church be for those who truly have no one and no way to support themselves.

The Young Widow

1 Timothy 5:9 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.

Refuse the younger widows: As a general rule, these were not to be added to the support roll of the local congregation, because they generally could provide for themselves and could remarry.

It is rules like this, that help the church determine very quickly who to render assistance, and who should be able to provide for themselves. The church also has discretion. If the Lord puts a certain individual on the Pastors heart, exceptions can be made.

Working Hard

1 Timothy 5: 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.

If anyone does not provide for his own: God’s normal way of providing for the needy is not through the local congregation, but through our own hard work.
He has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever: In the strongest terms, Paul emphasized the responsibility of a man to provide for his family – to do all he could to support them.

Our JOB is to work hard for provision. This is part of the curse.
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, `You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.

We must work and sweat and put in effort every day for provision. We do all we can, then we tithe and ask God to bless all of it. Through that, the Lord is able to bless us abundantly more than we are able to work.

It all starts with a good worth ethic, knowing we must provide for those who are in our car.

Harsh Truth

1 Timothy 5:5 Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. But she who lives in [b]pleasure is dead while she lives. And these things command, that they may be blameless.

From my commentary:
any who come to the church for assistance are in need because they have lived their lives for the pleasures of alcohol, drugs, or whatever; now they are in need and they want the church to help. It’s legitimate to say, “No; you have lived in pleasure and now suffer the consequences. The resources of this congregation are not for your help in this case.”

Wow! That seems harsh, but I agree with the thought surrounding it. Now I know this was directed at widows, but I believe you can apply this universally. If you need assistance, you should not be living with luxuries. Anyone that needs help paying their phone bill from, in wisdom, should not have the newest iPhone. Anyone that needs assistance with paying their rent, should not have a $400 cable package.

Here is the scripture from the Message:
You can tell a legitimate widow by the way she has put all her hope in God, praying to him constantly for the needs of others as well as her own. But a widow who exploits people’s emotions and pocketbooks

We should choose to live BELOW our means, while saving money and helping people.