Serve faithfully, without partiality
Scripture: I Timothy 5:1-8, 17-22
Aim: To give pastoral instruction regarding relationships with various individuals in the church.
Golden Text: “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality” (I Timothy 5:21).
In this chapter, Paul gives Timothy instructions concerning relationships with groups of people within the church. Paul was serving in Macedonia at this time. He had sent Timothy to Ephesus to encourage the saints to remain faithful and to instruct them in their Christian profession and life.
I. Paul gives instructions regarding the treatment of various groups of people (I Timothy 5:1-8). Warning is given that the elders should be dealt with as though they were fathers. This requires honor, respect and giving preference to them in love and devotion. (Elder and Bishop is used by Paul to refer to the same individual and is the same as pastor. Here Paul refers to the older members of the congregation). Elders are to be respected because of their experience and age.
The second group Paul instructs Timothy regarding is young men. The are to be treated as younger brethren. Timothy’s position, as teaching elder sent from Paul, was to be respected, and the young men in the congregation were to be treated as brothers; that is, in love, respect and proper guidance (vs. 1).
The third group is the elder women (vs. 2). They are to be honored as mothers (some may not have been mothers, but all the elderly women were to be respected and honored).
The fourth group is the younger women (younger than the elder women). They are to be treaded with honor as sisters. This relationship is specified to be maintained in “all purity.”
The pastor and church leader must always deal in kindness, honor and respect with the women. They must not even appear to be inappropriate in the relationship with the women in the congregation.
Fifth, widows are to be treated with the utmost respect (vs. 3-7). If they have children or other family members who can take care of them, they must not be a burden on the church. Children are responsible to care for parents who are needy as they grow aged.
Widows in the congregation can be a blessed aid to the church in the service of God. They trust God, depend upon Him, spent much time in pray and supplications. The older folks can be a great boost to a church when trained and respected properly. That is the way it ought to be.
An important warning is given here (vs. 8). Each individual is responsible to “provide … for his own.” Not to take care of those within the family is to be one who “denies the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” God holds families responsible to care for their own families.
II. Paul gives instructions regarding elders (I Timothy 5:17-22). Elders (pastors) are to be honored. The are laborers in “the Word and doctrine, that is the teachings of the Word.” They are to be cared for and provided for (vs. 18). One must not accuse an elder without two or three witnesses (vs. 19). The elder is a representative of God Himself. (What a responsibility!)
Those individual Christians who sin publicly are to be publicly rebuked in order that all may be corrected and the blessings of God may be upon the congregation as well as the sinner (vs. 20).
Paul instructs Timothy to prefer others, do nothing with partiality, lay hands suddenly on no person, do not be partaker with others in sinful actions, and to keep himself pure.
It is important that each believer be careful to maintain his Christian testimony in word and in deed. Each should maintain habits and actions of a faithful servant of the Most High God.
Howard Tillery is the pastor of New Ochlocknee Baptist Church in Grady County. He lives in Cairo.