Summary: # 9 in a series on 1 Timothy this message deals with how the social responsiblities of the church to its members.
“Living For Christ In A Confused and Confusing World”
A Study of Paul’s Letters to Timothy
“How To Treat Church Members”
As we began our study of the first letter to Timothy we stated that the letter addresses six main topics, (1) church doctrine (1:3-20), (2) Church’s worship (2:1-15), (3) church leadership (3:1-16) (pastors & deacons) (4) Church’s moral behavior (4:1-10) and now the Church’s social responsibilities (5:1-6:2).
General Principles (vv. 1-2)
“Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, (2) older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.”
First, Treat Older men as you would your father. (v. 1). “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father.” Your relationship with your father is to be the standard for how you treat other men. The point is not that older brethren should never be rebuked, but rather the emphasis in this verse is on how he is rebuked. The text literally reads “do not harshly or sharply rebuke an older man.”
In Galatians 6:1 when dealing with reproving a brethren Paul says, “… restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.” The word “restore” means to mend or repair and was used in the New Testament of fisherman mending their nets.
There was a time that Paul was called upon to reprove his elder brother in the faith, Peter. Almost twenty years after the resurrection Peter was behaving foolishly and so Paul determined that he would have to this elder brother in the faith and put things right. We read about it in Galatians 2:11-14.
“Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; (12) for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. (13) And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. (14) But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?”
While Paul did confront Peter with his error, he nevertheless did so with respect.
Second, Threat Younger men as you would your brother (v.1) “….younger men as brothers.”
What are the marks of a brother’s love for a brother? Brotherly love means that I recognize younger men as fellow believer, and that as a believer I want to promote his welfare. That although I may not always agree with him; that as a fellow believer I will always judge him charitably.
Patrick M. Morley suggests ten marks of brotherly love in his book, "The Man in the Mirror":
“When things turn sour you have these people to turn to with the problem.
You can express honest thoughts to them without appearing foolish.
They will let you talk through a concern without giving you advice. They are happy to be just a sounding board.
They will risk your disapproval by suggesting that you are leaving your priorities.
They are prepared to tell you that you are doing wrong.
When you have fallen into sin you know they will stand by you.
You know that together you are facing the future. If she is a woman you can share with her friend the struggles that are uniquely a woman’s, while a man can share with his friend the struggles that are uniquely a man’s.
You can trust them implicitly so that if you share a confidence with them it stays confidential.
When you appear vulnerable and weak to them they will think no less of you. You will sometimes end a time together with them by praying (see pp.118 and 119).
Solomon wrote in Eccles. 4:9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. (10) For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.”
Third, Treat Older women as you would your mother (v.2) “older women as mothers”
The general principle is that senior members of the church (male or female) are to be given the respect due to age and the affection due to parents.
Fourth, Treat Younger women as you would your sister. (v. 2) “…younger women as sisters, with all purity.”
Younger women are to be treated with “all purity” literally absolute purity that means never doing anything that would cause that person harm – mentally, spiritually or emotionally. It means being concerned that they continue to grow spiritually.