Thesis: God's care and concern for widows reveals his nature.
1. OPENING STATEMENT: "Moses wrote laws to protect them; the prophets thundered against those who abused them; and Paul set out policies for meeting their needs. Jesus had many among his followers; and the early church nearly split over them. Who are they? Widows. [LaVonne Neff, "Three Women Out of Four," CT 29 (8 Nov. 1985):30.]
2. Statistics about widows: 3. This lesson will have 2 parts:
a. 11 mill. widows in the U.S. a. Widows in Scripture.
b. 1 of 6 women over age of 21. b. Practical Suggestions.
c. 3 of 4 women will be widows!
I. WIDOWS IN SCRIPTURE.
A. Provisions for Widows in the Law:
1. Deut. 10:17-18 ...................... Close to God's heart.
2. Deut. 14:28-29 ...................... God's people to provide for.
3. Deut. 16:11, 14 ..................... Included in social/religious activities.
4. Deut. 24:17-22 ...................... Special allowances made for them.
B. Widows in the New Testament:
1. Jesus treated widows kindly:
3. Paul developed comprehensive system for care (1 Tim. 5:3-16).
II. PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS REGARDING WIDOWS.
A. For Widows:
1. Be reminded you are close to God's heart.
2. Allow your family to do for you (1 Tim. 5:8).
3. Allow the Church to do for you (1 Tim. 5:9).
4. Recognize your special opportunities for ministry (1 Cor. 7:8, 32-35).
5. If you remarry, it must be "in the Lord" (1 Cor. 7:39).
B. For the Church:
1. Be mindful of widows (God's concern; prayer).
a. Only widows indeed (1 Tim. 5:3).
b. Only faithful widows (1 Tim. 5:10).
c. Only older widows (1 Tim. 5:9).
3. Give them some "space."
a. Don't allow to become "topics of popular discussion."
1) "Husband's hardly cold in ground--already dating?!"
2) "What she really needs is another man."
b. Allow them to grieve at own pace (3-5 years!)
1. God's care and concern for widows reflects something about his nature.
2. May we share God's concern for this not-so-rare group of people.
(This sermon largely derived from the LaVonne Neff article cited earlier in this lesson.)