Sunday, December 24, 2017

Paul's Epistles – I Timothy – Part 9: Elders

Paul's Epistles – I Timothy – Part 9:
Elders
Pastor Bruce A. Shields


SERMON INTRODUCTION
This letter from Paul to Timothy will be the next “epistle” examine.

Immediately on his release from his first imprisonment before he visited Spain (Romans 15:24; Philemon 22), Paul more than likely visited Macedonia, Ephesus, etc. Not being able to stay long at Ephesus, he left Timothy to take charge of the work.

This parting was a tough trial to Timothy (I Timothy 1:3; II Timothy 1:4).

To encourage and instruct Timothy (who was sensitive and timid, and not strong (II Timothy 5:23 frequently upset stomach because of nerves), Paul wrote and forwarded this letter from Corinth.

PREVIOUSLY
False Doctrine and the Law
The Lord’s Grace and Timothy’s Charge
Pray for All
Requirements for Elders and Deacons
Paul’s Reason for writing Timothy this letter
Truth Versus Apostasy
Widows


TODAY’S SERMON
Elders
  
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE
I Timothy 5:17-24 (65 AD)
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”  19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.
22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.


The overall message of this epistle to the church is;

We are designed to accomplish” - I Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

 I. ELDERS WHO DIRECT THE CHURCH AFFAIRS ARE WORTHY OF DOUBLE HONOR
a. Especially those whose work is preaching and teaching
                                                                 i. Paul speaking of all the elders, spiritual leaders appointed in the church in general

                                                              ii. Paul directing the next verse “preaching and teaching” to the “pastor” of the church

                                                           iii. Pastors are one of the elders who leads the affairs, direction of the church as well as preaching on Sunday and teaching bible study classes or Seminary classes of some sort.

                                                            iv. “Double honor” means to respect and regard, and these should be appreciated


b. For the scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it’s treading out grain” (Deuteronomy 25:4)


c. It also says, “The worker deserves his wages” (Luke 10:7)
                                                                 i. Leviticus 19:13 “Do not defraud or rob your neighbor. Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.”

                                                              ii. Deuteronomy 24:14, 15 Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns. 15 Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin.”


                                                           iii. I Corinthians 9:3-14 “This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Peter? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?

7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? 8 Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”[b] Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?

But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.

13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.


II.        DO NOT ENTERTAIN AN ACCUSATION AGAINST AN ELDER UNLESS IT IS BROUGHT BY 2 OR 3 WITNESSES
a. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove them before everyone
                                                                 i. If an elder is truly sinning, it will be obvious to more than one person

                                                              ii. This rule is so 1 vindictive or vengeful individual could never attack a minister unjustly

                                                           iii. According to Matthew the witnesses are to address the elder in private firstly to correct the sin, if he refuses to repent, then reprove him before the congregation


b. So that others may take warning
                                                                 i. Elders (including pastors) must be corrected and rebuked before the congregation to correct err

                                                              ii. This will teach the others who may not have known, not to do so

                                                           iii. And will correct those who knew the elder was doing this and accepted it as correct


c. I charge you in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels to keep these instructions, and to do nothing out of favoritism
                                                                 i. Some elders are allowed to sin simply because he has gained favor with the congregation
                                                              ii. These are usually “ear ticklers” who have a following of sinners



III.     DO NOT BE HASTY IN THE LAYING ON OF HANDS
a. Do not share in the sins of others but keep yourself pure
                                                                 i. This is still referring to the appointing of elders

                                                              ii. If taken out of context may appear to be referring to the Spiritual Gift of laying on of hands, but Paul is talking to Timothy about Elders/pastors and correcting them.

                                                           iii. Assigning elders/pastors to a congregation was done by appointing and laying on of hands

                                                            iv. So Paul instructs Timothy not to appoint elders too quickly, they may still be dealing with sin, and if Timothy appoints them to an elder position, when that sin reveals itself (and it always does), it would appear as Timothy knew of the sin and approved anyway.

                                                               v. Paul says do not appoint quickly, take time and keep yourself pure from the sins of others


b. Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and frequent illnesses
                                                                 i. Key words in understanding WINE here; USE, LITTLE as well as the purpose; STOMACH, FREQUENT ILLNESSES

                                                              ii. To sum this up as simply as possible;
1. The bible is clear, drunkenness is sin, don’t get drunk

2. Wine is not grape-juice as some preach
a. In John 2, Jesus did not turn water into grape juice as His first miracle, when all the wedding party rejoiced saying “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine, but you have saved the best for last!”.

b. God does NOT cause us to sin, so WINE is not the sin


c. Becoming drunk is

3. In earlier versus in I Timothy, Paul tells Timothy when picking elders and deacons, one of the requirements was to chose men who were not addicted to much wine...MUCH

a. So, is this a conspiracy against grape juice?

b. Why would it matter if someone drank a lot of grape juice?

c. NO...this is obviously saying do not allow drunkards to be elders and deacons.

4. Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.”

5. Ephesians 5:18 “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit”

6. Ezekiel 44:21 “Nor shall any of the priests drink wine when they enter the inner court.”


c. The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them, the sins of others a trail behind them.
                                                                 i. before them means open to everyone’s eyes...obvious to all

                                                              ii. judgments ahead of them was because all could see the sin and openly judged it

                                                           iii. the trail of sin behind them refers to sins that are never confessed or repented of

                                                            iv. They, if not judged by others, and responded to (confess, repent) will be judged by the Lord

                                                               v. I Corinthians 11:31 “But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.”


d. in the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious, cannot remain hidden forever

                                                                 i. Good deeds too can be open and obvious to all

                                                              ii. At the judgment seat of Christ, every secret will be made manifest. Every hidden thing will be revealed. All things will be made clear.


CONCLUSION – ELDERS, HONOR AND ACCUSATIONS

So Paul’s instructions to Timothy basically teach him how elders (especially those who teach and preach) are to be held in honor and respect, but also, to hold elders/pastors accountable to the truth, and if they are in sin, they too are to be corrected.

Paul also instructs Timothy not to chose elders quickly, but allow time to reveal the deeds of one before laying hands and appointing them.

 Next Paul will talk about False Teachers and the Love of Money



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