Summary: The church family
Caring for the Family - 1 Timothy 5 - 11/2/08
Join me in turning to the book of 1 Timothy, chapter 5. Timothy is towards the end of the New Testament, in the second half of the Bible. We have been going through this book together.
I once heard a story about a little second grader who had to do a report for school about his family. He went to his mother and asked her, “Mommy, where did I come from?” The mother was not quite prepared to talk about that with him, so she used the old line, “The stork brought you.” To which he replied, “Mommy, where did Daddy come from?” She used the same line, “The stork brought him too.” and then she hurried off to her cleaning. Not to be put off, he went upstairs to Grandma’s room. He said, “Grandma, where did Grandpa come from?” She looked at him and thought that really his parents should be the ones to talk with him about those things and said, “They found him out in the cabbage patch under a leaf of cabbage.” The second grader walked downstairs to his room, pulled out a sheet of paper, and started his report: There has not been a normal birth in our family for the last three generations!
I'm sure if we would ask for stories, we could spend the whole day telling funny things that have happened in our families. Few words carry such emotional meaning and depth as the word "family." For many of us, family is everything. But for many, their family is filled with dysfunction. Ronda had a close friend whose parents would not talk to each other at the supper table. They’d each turn to the daughter and say, Michelle, would you ask you father to pass the salt. Michelle, would you remind your mother the plumber is coming tomorrow. Some families face other types of dysfunction. Some home have topics that are not discussed. Some relatives and their issues are never mentioned outside of the immediate family. I have done funerals before where two brothers would come in to the funeral home, shake hands, and then go to seperate corners for the rest of the day. But that dysfunction is never what God intended for families. God desires functional families.
And when we think about families, we understand that the family is one of the metaphors -- visual word pictures -- that God uses to describe the church, the body of Christ. God pictures the church as a holy nation, a prieshood, a kingdom, a vine and branches, a body, a temple, a flock, and in 1 Timothy 3:15, God calls it a family, the household of faith.Our desire is to be a functioning family, not a dysfunctional church family. And that is the desire that Paul gives to Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 4.
We saw that this is a letter from the Apostle Paul to Timothy, his young protegé. Paul left Timothy at Ephesus to straighten out the problems in the church there. Ephesus was a city filled with idol worship, sexual immorality, and false teachings.
Timothy, though, is a young man and sometimes people in the church did not follow his leadership and give him the respect he deserved. Timothy was timid and shy. He sometimes was sickly, or at least was so troubled by the problems in the church that his stomach bothered him. The tension in the church had him to the point of giving up. But Paul gives him a letter to encourage him to keep on going.
Some of the church members in Ephesus had followed after the doctrines of false teachers. We saw Paul give three commands to Timothy in chapter 1:
1. Teach Sound Doctrine 2. Preach the Gospel 3. Defend the Faith
Some women were trying to usurp the leadership roles that God designed for the church. We looked at chapters 2&3 and saw what pleases God? We saw that
God is pleased when men are PRAYING! And
God is pleased when women are PROPER! And
God is pleased when leaders are PURE! Some of the men aspiring to leadership were not qualified. Paul says to test them first. We talked about leaders in the church, elders and deacons, and how they need three traits:
Desire, Character, and a Good Reputation. And we talked about some steps we each could take, even if we aren’t leaders: We can . . .
Respect the leadership of the church; Pray for the leadership of the church
Encourage others to follow God’s call on their lives; Assist the leadership of the church, and
Make yourself available for leadership
We saw last week in chapter 4, that we are to be both physically AND spiritually fit. We saw, . . .