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Family Relationships

1 Timothy 5:1 – 6:2

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The early church was very keenly aware of the brother/sister relationship among Christians. They also held that relationship in high regard, and valued it as much as they did their filial family relationships. Beginning in chapter 5 through 6:2 Paul addresses the family relationships within a local body of believers. His reasoning is two-fold; he is teaching young Timothy how to minister to the various groups so Timothy will avoid being disrespectful, or mistreating anyone in any way. The 2nd reason the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write these instructions is so we, today, would have a clear understanding of how God expects us to act toward others in the church family. I have said God never tells us what to do, or what not to do without telling us exactly how to, or not, to do whatever. 5:1-2 are examples of that principle. Paul begins by telling Timothy how to

I. HONOR AND RESPECT OLDER MEN AND WOMEN. Verse 1 is an excellent example of how God teaches us Biblical principles. Here is how Scripture teaches us to honor older men and women. 1st = the negative – do not rebuke; 2nd = the positive – but encourage; 3rd = how – as you would a father.The word “rebuke” means “harsh insensitive treatment.” It describes a severe verbal pounding. In other places in the NT we are told not to slander, defame another person’s character, do not misrepresent the truth to make us look good, and someone else to look bad. Timothy would certainly experience times when older men and women would need to be corrected. Whether dealing with an older man or woman, young Timothy was to minister to them with all the respect, honor, and love that one would show their own father or mother. The 1st commandment that deals with our relationships to other people is “honor your father and your mother.” That is also the 1stcommandment with a promise connected to it; and that promise is that you may live long on the earth. There is never a time in Scripture when a child is allowed to dishonor their parents. In this text God is telling Timothy, he is to treat older men and women with the same honor he would show his parents. He can, as the pastor, correct an older person, but it must be done in such a way that it never hints of dishonor, but encourages them to change direction and pursue the holiness and righteousness expected of all God’s adopted children. So, those of you who think your life has more pits, hardships, garbage, or a severe lack of blessing, or whatever you may think is lacking – look closely at your real attitude toward your parents. I mean the one God sees deep in your heart! The point here is rightly stated by one writer who says, “Paul did not want Timothy only to give admonitions, he also wanted Timothy to provide an example which other Ephesian Christians could imitate.” Which might cause us to think – am I living the Christian life in such a way that it causes others to want to imitate my life and lifestyle? Why would anyone want to misrepresent the Savior who rescued them from an eternal hell? Do you have an answer God will buy? Now Scripture tells us how to:
II. HONOR AND RESPECT TRUE WIDOWS. In the common Greek world “widow” meant “forsaken, left empty desolate.” However, we can never forget Scripture teaches God is always a protector and shelter for widows. In the NT Jesus elevates widows to an even higher level of honor and protection. Paul holds much the same theology as the Lord, teaching true widows are to be cared for and honored. A true widow was a woman who had no surviving family at her husband’s death that could provide for her needs. It is those woman Paul is focusing on in this passage. Next is:
III. HONORING AND RESPECTING ELDERS. We have dealt at length with elders so we need not repeat it here. As Christianity grew, elders became leaders in local churches as they had always been in the synagogue. V. 18 simply says, pay the man in such a way as is honoring to God. Paul closes this section telling slaves proper behavior as Christians is publicly revealing in:
IV. HONORING AND RESPECTING MASTERS – 6:1, 2. There is the thought among conservative writers, that Paul may have witnessed bad behavior among slaves that became Christians. His fear was that the false teachers may have caused some slaves to think that because they were spiritually free in Christ; they were also free from slavery. The point is: respect toward authority may result in reverence toward God and His Word. That is a good philosophy for all Christians (who are bond slaves to Christ) to have toward those in authority at work or anywhere else. Part of Paul’s concern here is that any dishonor or disrespect toward God and His Word be avoided. Everyone and every group of people in the church are affected by the gospel! The best way to remember that is to remember Jesus’ parable of the soils. Reread the first nine verses of Matthew 13, and you will be reminded of what kind of soil your heart is made of! If you want the very best God has to offer you, do all you can for as long as you can to make sure your heart is only good soil!
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