Tuesday, May 1, 2007

What we are called to here in the first few verses is to respect others in the church, that is, the local assembly of believers. This is what Paul writes:

1 Timothy 5:1-2 Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, 2 the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.

Paul begins by commanding young Timothy not to sharply "rebuke" an elder. The word for rebuke is epiplesso which means to "strike at," "to rebuke sharply." The root from which this word is derived is also found in Revelation eight during the events of the Tribulation:

Revelation 8:12 12 And the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten (plesso), so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.

It is in this kind of hard, stern, smiting way that young Pastor Timothy is to respect his elders - not only functionally in his body of believers but also in terms of age as well. Those who are older are to be respected as fathers.

Second, the younger men are to be exhorted as brothers. Timothy is to exhort the young men (from neos) as one would a younger brother. These are the "youthful" men that need the loving, tender and authoritative counsel.

Third, it is the older women (the presbuteras - feminine form of presbuteros, "elder" in v.1) are to be respected and exhorted as one would treat his mother. Do you treat the older women in your congregation with the tenderness, the love and the respect that you would your own mother? If not, we should. This is the biblical mandate.

Finally, this final one is of emphasis. Timothy - the young Pastor at the hedonistic and pagan city of Ephesus is commanded by Paul to exhort and encourage the younger women as one would a sister. But Paul elaborates with a short phrase further explaining what he expects. Timothy must treat all these women as sisters with absolute purity. There must not even be any hint of sexual impurity going on in the "exhorting" from Pastor Timothy.

In the pagan and Hellenized city of Ephesus, they certainly knew sensuality. The boys and girls certainly were familiar with sexual immorality - for it was everywhere at that time. Timothy is exhorted - as their Pastor - to be absolutely above reproach. Do with the women in your congregation what one would do with his sister. Treat them with respect. Love them. Nurture them. Guide them. Counsel them. Be tender with them. Teach them. But do not even give a hint of impurity with them.

May we as Pastors heed this advice and be all the more careful to never let a hint of this sexual temptation creep into our ministries. For after all, Jesus Himself said:

Matthew 5:28-29 28 but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 "And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

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