Opening Prayer Thoughts.
Praise God for the privilege of worship on the Lord's Day. Give thanks for the fact that God is our refuge and strength and, even though the journey on the 'narrow road' is hard, that Christ is with us and what awaits in heaven is glorious. Psalm 46, Matthew 7:13,14.
Confess the sin of thinking and expecting the Christian life to be easy. Pray that the Lord would provide the wisdom and help to walk the road set before us with joy. Matthew 7:7-11.
Please ask the Holy Spirit's help as you come to his Word.
Please read 1 Timothy chapter 5:1-25
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Daniel Hempkin, Minister of Hebron RPCNA, with some slight amendments.
Ch 5:3-8. Providing for Relatives.
We saw last week that Christians are to treat each other as family. Along with that, we noted that our equal spiritual standing in Christ does not mean we treat all Christians the same. Related to that fact is the understanding that we still have earthly families, toward whom we have responsibilities. For example, a Christian son is to honor his father and mother, whether they are believers or not. In today's passage we find that churches have a responsibility to care for members who cannot provide for themselves (as would happen in any responsible family). However, such care begins with the earthly family. In other words, the church in general is to care for widows who are truly left without any family to care for them. If a widow has adult children, they should care for her before the church takes on that responsibility. In James 1:27 we learn that true religion involves caring for widows and orphans. That is, a person who is truly saved will do good things as an outgrowth of his/her faith, including caring for those who cannot care for themselves. If a Christian refuses to do this, even for his own family according to the flesh, he is showing that he has little interest in living out his faith. Therefore, Paul says a Christian who has the means to care for his own family but refuses to (and, thus, leaves it up to the church), is not only unnecessarily burdening the church, but "has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever".
Ch 5:9-16. True Widows.
In these verses, Paul reinforces this instruction that the church is to care for widows who are truly left without any other means of support. Some women are technically widows but are not left all alone without any ability to make their way in the world. This would include women whose husbands have died, but who have adult children or other close relatives who can care for them. Yesterday's passage showed that Paul condemns Christians who do not take care of the widows in their families. In verse 16, Paul says those who do not take care of the widows in their families are unnecessarily burdening the church with their care. Not only does this create a strain on the church in terms of time and money, it takes away from widows who truly have no other means to support themselves. Paul says a widow is to be enrolled (that is, put on a list to receive permanent aid from the church) only if she is truly without family to help her, of an age at which she will not likely remarry or find another means to care for herself, and has shown herself to be a believer by having borne fruits of faith and repentance in her life. Local churches do not have unlimited resources and, thus, cannot care for every widow or person in need. We should help as many in need as we can, but churches cannot give permanent aid to unbelievers, widows with children to help them, or who are young enough to support themselves or to remarry. Furthermore, permanently supporting younger widows would not only create an undue burden on the church's resources, it would encourage able-bodied women to live lives of idleness. In such a situation, not only might she be tempted to fill her time with gossip and meddling in the business of others, but Satan would use it as a means to slander the church, as it would appear that the church's policies promote wickedness.
Ch 5:17. Ruling and Teaching Elders.
Back in chapter 2 verse 12, we learned that the teaching and ruling office in the Church is reserved for men. In chapter 3, we learned of the qualities a man must have in order to be ordained to the office of overseer (which we saw, by considering Acts 20 and Titus 1, is also known as the office of elder). Then we saw in I Timothy 4:14 that Christ rules His Church on earth by means of a plurality of elders. Here we learn that there are two types of elders. Paul says, "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor.". Next week, LORD willing, we will study what it means to give double honor. For now, we note that elders have the role of ruling in the Church. That is, all elders have governing authority. However, Paul goes on to say, "especially those who labor in preaching and teaching". While all elders rule and every elder is to be "able to teach" (I Timothy 3:2), some elders labor in preaching and teaching. The word "labor" indicates a man's means of livelihood. In other words, some elders make their living preaching and teaching. They are paid to dedicate their time and efforts to the Word of God (as Paul commanded Timothy in chapter 4) that God's people might be well-taught. Elders who are set apart for the ministry of the Word are thus known as "ministers" or "teaching elders". All other elders are known as "ruling elders".
Ch 5:17-18. Those Who Labour.
While all elders have ruling authority in the church and every elder should be able to teach, some are called 'teaching elders', 'ministers', because they labor in preaching and teaching. That is, they are supported by the church so that they may dedicate their time to preparing to preach and teach God's Word. Paul says that all elders who rule well are worthy of double honor, and that this is especially true of those who make their living as a minister. We see in verse 18 that the honoring of ministers involves paying them fairly for their labors. He cites Deuteronomy 25:4 to point out that if even an ox deserves to receive benefits from his labor as he helps to provide food for people, certainly those who labour to feed us with the Word of God should receive a salary commensurate with their work. He then quotes Jesus, who said, "The laborer deserves his wages" (Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:7). From these statements, we learn that it is important that churches pay their minister according to the work he does, and that the man whose work bears visible fruit, i.e., who do well, deserve to be paid with double honor.
Another thing of note in verse 18 is that Paul quotes both the Old and New Testaments and calls them "Scripture". Contrary to what many have been taught, it is clear that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written by the time Paul wrote this letter (in the early 60s A.D.). Furthermore, that Paul calls his quote from a New Testament book "Scripture" tells us that Christ's Apostles considered the New Testament to be equally the Word of God with the Old (see II Peter 3:15-16; II Timothy 3:16).
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 39B. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
Ephesians 2:4-8. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved”
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 14 – What is sin?
Answer – Sin is any failure to measure up to what God requires, or any disobedience to his commands.
Comment – There are things we omit to do and things we do that we should not. But all must be measured by God’s standard not by our feelings. Sin is not just a matter of actions but extends to our thoughts and desires as well.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Thank God for the responsibility which Christ has given the Bride to care for older widows and orphans. Pray that we would be thoughtful in this matter and fulfil this privilege.
Thank God that he provides his Bride with men to preach and pastor His people.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC