Title: Caring and Confronting Everyone – even your leadership!
Text: 1 Tim 5:17-25
CIT: The Church’s Responsibility in Caring for their Elders
CIS: As has been asked of you concerning those who serve you, be in prayer as you diligently consider the man or men the elders present to complete their team.
Introduction: In our passage this morning, Paul will remind Timothy and the church of their responsibility to the elders: Respecting them, Protecting them, Correcting them, and Selecting them. The Context deals with confronting and caring for people in your congregation. This is weird for me to be telling you to take care of me!
The flow: some will depart the faith – they will follow false teaching and false teachers; confront such activity in the body; teach the Truth of God’s Word; When you confront, there is a proper way to deal with your relationships! Relationships are important and these relationships are handled differently. Here’s how you confront the older men, younger men, older women, and younger women.
I. Respecting your Elders (17-18)
exp.: rd 17-18; Give respect and ‘double honor’ to the elders in your body; vb – be considered worthy is one word in the Gk; imperative verb; which elders? The ones who rule well; requirements: ministry of the Word, prayer; Here we see a big responsibility in ‘ruling”; not lording, but προί̈́στημι (proistēmi); Stand before; a beautiful picture of leadership, out front; head of household;
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13: 12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
Heb 13:7, 17; 7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. And, 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
How do we respect these men? Giving them double honor; to those who: 3 job requirements – rule well and ‘labor in the word’ and ‘in teaching’ (preach and teach); This isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination. This really just seems to me to be the work seen in public – which fits our context. The Truth is, so much of what they do is really ‘alone’ stuff or ‘one on one’ stuff or even ‘small group’ stuff.
John Newton described the ministry as ‘a sorrow full of joy’… That’s really accurate.
Some see in this text as two separate elder groups: Leaders and preachers/teachers. Note it says those who rule well, but ‘especially’ those who preach and teach. I don’t think ‘especially’ is focused on the teaching and preaching, but on those who κόπος (kopos)- labor; this is demanding work; vs 18 is the proof text (rd); I like this; Paul uses two separate passages: Deuteronomy 25:4; referenced in 24.15; The 2nd is a quote of Jesus; that’s pretty cool; Lk 10:7; Paul was very familiar with Luke; some scholars insist that Paul would have been familiar with Luke, since Luke may very well have been working on it while traveling with Paul; 2 Tim 4.11
app.: The point is this: respect, w/ double honor, your elders
t.s.: Respecting your elders…2nd,
II. Protecting your Elders (19)
exp.: rd v 19; protect them from accusation: it is a very serious matter to bring a charge against your elders; Don’t allow it, except where the process of church discipline has properly taken place;
ill.: Consider this: because the elders are very public in their service, they open themselves up to harsh criticism. They’re easy targets. That criticism can be harsh, especially when those who pass judgment don’t have all of the information in front of them. We do so much harm when we ‘accuse’ our elders of negligence because we simply disagree with their leadership; oftentimes it is simply a matter of change that upsets an individual; Someone doesn’t like a decision, a plan, a program, a change in the current system or program;
app.: Respecting our elders is seen in the protection of our elders from false or inflammatory remarks about their leadership and the decisions they make.
t.s.: However, with that said, no elder is perfect; Sometimes an elder needs to be corrected;
III. Correcting your Elders (20-21)
exp.: that is why Paul continues v 20;
ill.: Vibe magazine interviewed popular comedian and actor Chris Rock.
When asked, “Were you raised Christian?” Rock answered:
I wasn’t raised anything, to tell you the truth. My grandfather was a…preacher. He was the funniest guy. He used to curse a lot, run around, whatever. A bunch of deacons from his church got arrested for selling coke. Not selling it out of the church, but you know.
When asked, “Do you ever regret that you don’t have a connection to a long tradition of belief?” Rock replied:
That I’m not Baptist or whatever? And I don’t have this thing to pass down? Not at all. ‘Cause I do have a long tradition of belief. My belief is in working hard and treating people well. All that other stuff is nonsense.
app.: Ok, there is so much in those statements, but let me just say: Elders Cursing and ‘running around’. That needs to be confronted. Deacons selling cocaine? Elders like that need to be asked to step down. But there is a huge spectrum between an elder participating in illegal behavior and making mistakes. So, just being an elder doesn’t mean he won’t make mistakes. He will. And when he does, he needs to be corrected…
when coupled with v 19, this lines up with church discipline as we’ve been taught by Jesus in Matthew 18; We often err, by not going to the member or the elder; and discussing this one-on-one; We hurt the body when we stand in the hallway and criticize our elders (or anyone for that matter); Should one of us have a problem, go and talk directly to him (that’s first); and if he won’t listen… then 2nd, take two or three witnesses and talk this over with him; if he still won’t listen; bring your two or three witnesses and rebuke him in the presence of the body; The process Jesus gives us is for protecting us on all sides:
- It protects the person in sin, by allowing them the opportunity to repent without humiliation before the whole body. Isn’t that really the goal? Repentance and restoration?
- It protects the person doing the confronting, by allowing them to be corrected if they’re wrong. Most problems like these can be cleared up with a little understanding.
- It protects the body by strengthening these relationships and bringing healing to that one localized area.
Exp.: rd v 21; Paul reminds Timothy not to show partiality to the elders, don’t prejudge them.
t.s.: each one should be Respecting, Protecting, Correcting, and finally Paul reminds them to be careful in …
IV. Selecting your Elders (22-25)
exp.: rd v 22; caution: don’t lay hands on to quickly; 1st, this is for Timothy, not the body; The senior elder has a tremendous responsibility in leading the flock; when he lays his hands on a man who is unqualified, he ‘shares’ in their sins, past and future; κοινωνέω (koinōneō); this is the vb form of Koinonia (n); that is why he says in v 22c; keep (a watchful eye); yourself pure;
ill.: IH Marshall: this can be used of sharing in gifts and experiences or in actions; it may also be used for giving a share in something to somebody. Here the thought is clearly that by showing some kind of positive attitude to a sinner one is approving of the person and thereby sharing in that person’s sins in the sense of sharing in the responsibility and hence the guilt for them.
It makes me think of Chris Rock’s Grandfather and his leaders selling cocaine. And then Paul adds this parenthetical statement: rd v 23; issues of purity and health; So Paul brings his thoughts to a summation in vs 24-25; rd v 24-5; Here is his point: you will recognize an elder before you select them; their good deeds will go before them;
Conclusion: If you think about this, church, you’re in a pretty good place to be. You’ve chosen one elder – you chose me. But the time is coming when you’ll need to select other men from among yourselves to serve as elders. The standards were set in chapter 3. Now, you’ll need to be praying for those men you’ll ask to step up and serve in the future.
That’s my one take-a-way this morning: Pray
- Pray that you’ll recognize them by their lives and good work.
- Pray that the church closely follows God’s Will in the selection process.
- Pray that God will protect them from the enemy – who desires to destroy their testimony. That the church’s witness in the community will be fruitful.
I’ve been honored to serve with godly men in the past. I stay in touch with these men, even now. It does my heart good to hear of their continued service to the Lord. I think of John who wrote I find no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth.
As always, I want to ask you to reach out to us if you have questions. If you want to know more about Christ and what it means to be a Christ-follower, reach out to us at email@example.com