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.