Sunday School Material 3-27-11: Worship Inspires Service
(I Timothy 5:1-8, 17-22; 3/27/11)
Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School material is that the church should be known for godly interactions. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on how we interact with one another.
Read I Timothy 5:1-2
I. Service in Human Relationships. Paul urges Timothy to treat people right. He has instructions for how to treat the aged. And he has instructions for how to treat the younger.
- Dealing with sin in the family. Notice in vss. 1-2 of our Sunday School material the importance given to treating people right. The aged men and women are to be treated as parents (i.e., fathers and mothers respectively), even when they need to be rebuked. And the younger men and women are to be treated as siblings (i.e., brothers and sisters).
Additionally, when a male Pastor has to deal with younger women, there is the need to make sure that one is being pure. First, there is a need for those who are out of order to be addressed, no matter what age they are. No one is so important that they should be allowed to simply continue to be out of order.
Second, the church, with all of its spiritual business and warfare, must also be a place of love. Relating to one another as extended family can help take some of the stress out of correcting those who are out of order.
Let's work on nurturing the family like relationships needed to deal with sin in a loving fashion.
Read I Timothy 5:3-8
II. Service to Widows. In this second part of our Sunday School material, Paul gives instructions regarding the care of widows. There are some who are "widows indeed" – godly and without other means. And then there are some who are not "widows indeed" – either ungodly or who have other means. Family should take care of family, before the church has to take care of a person.
- Supporting "widows indeed." Notice in vss. 3-6 of our Sunday School material the idea of honoring and providing financial support to those who are "widows indeed." The key ideas being a "widow indeed" are godliness and lack of other resources. There are many widows who are not godly.
And there are those who have other means of support. But those who are godly and lack others means should be able to find some help at church. We do much better with honor – distributing titles like "mother," giving out flowers, and showing affection – than we do with money. Often the lack of money given out is the product of so little money coming into the church. Let's work on doing our part to care for "widows indeed."
This application calls for the church's spiritual courage to segregate "widows indeed" from those who don't meet the criteria, the members' paying their tithes and offerings, and the actually distributing of needed funds.
In determining the need for funds, we should also consider how in the text, there were no social services provided by the government. Because government support may be available, such should be factor in, when we try to discern needs (as opposed to wants).
- Financial stewardship. Notice in vss. 4,8 of our Sunday School material the wisdom of financial planning. Believers should strive to earn high, spend low, invest, and pass wealth on – all to the glory of God. Often widows can be in positions to take care of themselves, if there is proper financial planning.
Life insurance, investing, being employable, and financial literacy are things to consider in this area. Ideally, there should be no need for widows to have to come to the church. Husbands and wives are often able to provide for themselves, even if one of them dies.
Furthermore, if the children and other relatives live by the same ideas aforementioned then they will have the resources to help take care of the needs of their own. I should also add that the "have not's" should not expect to live as well as the "have's."
The "have's" should make sure that the needs of the "have not's" are met. The "have not's" should work on doing the hard work needed to meet their own "wants."
This is an important point, especially, when children and other family members have worked their way into middle or upper classes and are called upon by family members who yet live in poverty (sometimes because of their own irresponsibility, but often because of systemic oppression, and mostly because of a combination of the two).
Let's work on being profitable and benevolent stewards of what God has placed in our trust.
Read I Timothy 5:17-18
III. Service Regarding Elders. In this third part of our Sunday School material, Paul talks about compensating and honoring what we would call the Pastor. He goes on to talk about how to handle accusations and discipline of church leaders. And then he closes with a suggestion regarding Timothy being prudent about what he gets involved in.
- Pastoral compensation. Notice in vss. 17-18 of our Sunday School material the idea of pastoral compensation. The Pastor's job (i.e., elder in this text) is to feed and lead the church. When he does a good job then he should be compensated "generously (i.e., with double honor)."
When the church strives to generously compensate her Pastor and the Pastor is not greedy then there should be no stress about pastoral compensation. Let's strive to generously compensate our Pastor, as taught in the Bible.
On one hand, the Pastor should not be an overly heavy financial burden to the church. On the other hand, the Pastor should not be neglected by the church. In many cases, some percentage of revenue being used as a guide will prove helpful.
- Pastoral discipline. Notice in vss. 19-20 the idea of pastoral discipline. First, if there are not two or three witnesses supporting a charge and bearing witness to the offense then the issue against the Pastor should not even be heard. If he is sinful but slick enough not to do his sin in the sight of witnesses, God will handle it.
Second, if the Pastor proves to be sinning and in need of discipline then discipline should be administered. In most Baptist churches, this can be a challenging.
It is hard to have Deacons or Associate Ministers to take the lead on this, especially, if they are guilty of worst sins than the Pastor, because they normally operate as assistants to the Pastor.
Often special councils are called, if the sin is deemed significant enough. A council of respected and wise Pastors can prove to be very helpful, when the unfortunate occasion of disciplining a Pastor is needed. Each church needs to work on how to apply this text in their situation.
Let's work on encouraging godly living, even with our Pastor. Notice the goal is to create a culture that fears God enough to live by His standards, not simply to punish the sinners.
- Appointing leaders. Notice in vss. 21-22 of our Sunday School material the idea of leadership selection. The Pastor is responsible for leadership selection. He should take it very seriously, because he will be held accountable to some extent for those who he selects.
Consequently, he should take his time in selecting (i.e., as opposed to laying hands on people quickly). And he should not partake in anyone's sins.
In other words, if he doesn't think the person is worthy of the position then he should not partake in the sin of putting the person in the office, even though people are pressuring the appointment.
Let's pray for and support the Pastor's appointing of godly leaders. On one hand, the Pastor needs to appoint someone to help him, because he cannot do it all.
On the other hand, appointing the wrong person can create a situation in which the help that is rendered by the appointee is out weighted by the trouble that he/she causes.
Conclusion: Based on our Sunday School material, let's work on how we interact with one another. God has much for those who obey His will.
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