Archive for February 5th, 2011

1 Timothy 5

  1 Timothy 5 gives us some insight into how people should relate to one another.  Paul begins with some great words that apply to me: “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father”.  I am looking for a bunch of encouragement to fly my way!  But we truly do need to learn to encourage older folks – they have much to share and wisdom that can only be learned over the passage of time.  Who have you encouraged today?  He goes on to tell us to “treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in all purity”.  The theme is pretty clear – we are family.  We need to treat each other that way – and take care of one another.

In fact Paul really drives home that point in the middle of this chapter as he exhorts us about caring for widows.  He has some pretty strong words for us about our responsibility: “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”.  That family theme gets deep here – we are responsible to care for those of our household.  I really saw this in action when we visited China last month.  They do care for their own and there is a deep sense of reverence and respect for them.  How did we get so far from that in the US?  We have a charge – to care for those in our family – and we need to really consider what that means.  He didn’t say to do it if it is convenient or easy – Paul tells us if we don’t we have really denied the faith and are worse than an unbeliever.  Our actions matter and how we live in regard to family is an important part of God’s expectations.

He goes on to speak about sin.  We prefer to just sweep that discussion under the carpet which is what the church in America has become pretty good at.  But listen to these words: “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear”.  The church needs to be very clear on sin.  God can’t stand it, Jesus died for it, and we can’t just tolerate it and pretend it doesn’t matter.  Paul is writing here about elders and how to deal with them should they fall into sin, but the reality is that each of us has a responsibility to protect God’s truth and not let it be watered down by ignoring sinful behavior.  Rebuke is a word and action no one likes to be part of – seems too harsh – might hurt someone’s feelings – just isn’t how we should act today.  Not true according to scripture.  Where there is sin – there must be rebuke leading to confession and repentance.  We need to speak strongly for truth and not tolerate sin.  It is impossible to stay free from the impact of sin around us if we let it go unchecked.  It will gradually penetrate everything in its wake.  Don’t hide your head and let it ride.  Stand firm on God’s truth!

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