The final sermon in our short series during August dealing with some of the things that the Bible designates as “PURE”.
We are all familiar with receiving a prescription from our doctor; well here we have a prescription given by the Apostle Paul to his young protégé Timothy as he pastors the diverse “liquorish allsorts” church in Ephesus, with its variety of differing groupings made up of the following:-
Male & female, young and old (Chapter 5 v 1 – 2.)
He is to serve across age group and gender treating the men as fathers and brothers, the women as mothers and sisters.
Widows (chapter 5 v 3 – 16.)
He is to minister to older widows who cannot be cared for by their family, providing that they meet certain criteria; while younger widows are to be encouraged to remarry and concentrate on homebuilding.
Slaves (chapter 6 v 1 – 2.)
He is to care for slaves, who in turn are to treat their masters with respect; to work in a way that honours the faith; and not to take advantage of the situation if their master happened to be a Christian.
Elders (chapter 5 v 17 – 25.)
He is to relate well to his fellow church leaders and is instructed in three specific areas:-
A – Payment – They are to be well paid so that they can get on with what God has called them to do without financial worries (1 Corinthians 9 v 14.)
B – Discipline – Any accusation against an Elder must be brought by a minimum of two witnesses. If the Elder has “fallen into sin” then he is to be publically rebuked with a view to restoration and as a deterrent to others (Titus 2 v 15.)
C – Appointment – Candidates for the role of Elder need to be carefully screened over a period of time, with no rush appointments, because sometimes sin can be well disguised and hidden (1 Timothy 3 v 1 – 7.)
Pause 4 thought – Just take a moment to reflect on the sheer diversity of the local church, and for those called to lead it.
As he ministers to all these groups, Paul then reminds Timothy – “Keep yourself pure.” He is not to share in the sins of others, but instead pursue Christ likeness, this being one of the greatest characteristics of any church leader (1 Peter 1 v 16.)
But not only is Timothy to relate to all these groups, but he is to do it in a certain way – “without partiality, and to do nothing out of favouritism.” There is to be no bias, no preferential treatment, no ignoring the needs of one group, rather even handed treatment of all groups (James 2 v 1.)
Such a demanding ministry can take a physical toll, and seems to have done so in the case of Timothy, who was encouraged not to take wine as a beverage, but as medicine for his upset stomach and seemingly weak constitution.
Pause 4 thought – Take some time out to remember those in prayer who are suffering physically due to the stresses and pressures of local church ministry.
Theme: “The prescription!”
Reading: 1 Timothy 5 v 17 – 25
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Bev Sills