November 21, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Timothy 5:1-16

How should a young pastor treat people in the church?  How should various types of people in the church be treated?  Paul gave Timothy the answers to these questions in our passage today.

(vs. 1)Older men:  Don’t sharply rebuke, but appeal to him, or exhort him, as a father.  This doesn’t mean that a young pastor should never rebuke an older man.  By all means, some older guys need some rebuke, but the rebuke should not be harsh or disrespectful.  This is the only instance in the Bible where this Greek word for “rebuke” exists.  It’s different than all of the other “rebukes” in the Bible.  This word means “to strike upon, or to beat down.”  In other words, don’t give a very harsh rebuke that tears one down instead of builds one up.

(vs. 1) Younger men:  Treat them as brothers.  In other words, treat them as partners in the ministry.  Timothy wasn’t to lord his authority over them, but to work alongside of them as he shepherded them.

(vs. 2)Older women: Treat them as mothers.  A young pastor should gladly accept some “mothering” that comes from older women.  It’s honorable to receive this treatment from older women, and respect and honor should be returned to these women.

(vs. 2)Younger women:  Treat them as sisters.  In other words, treat them as partners in the ministry, but be careful to stay above reproach with them.  A pastor working alongside a woman needs to take extra precaution with his emotions and conduct towards her.  There have been too many instances in our society of pastors and church leaders having affairs with women in their church.  This ought not to be.

(vs. 3-16) Widows: The main idea here is to help widows who are truly in need (vs. 3).  If a widow has legitimate needs, her immediate family has the responsibility to assist her before the church does (vs. 4).  A widow who has no family and is alone, but fixes her hope on God is considered a widow indeed (vs. 5, 10, 16) and the church should be quick to assist her.  A widow who is actively involved in wanton pleasure is not to be put on the list of those needing assistance (vs. 6-7, 11-15).

How are we as the church to make application of this passage and glorify God?

  1. Treat older men and women with respect and honor.  Their life experience is very valuable for younger people, and I, personally, have much to learn from those older than me.
  2. See our younger brothers and sisters as co-workers for the kingdom.  None of us are greater or more valuable than the other.  Be intentional to work well together as brothers and sisters, but stay above reproach.
  3. Families of widows in the church must be quick to help the widow in their family.
  4. The church must take on the responsibility of helping widows in need, particularly older widows.

Posted by:Rich Duffield

November 20, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Timothy 4:6-16

Old-ScalePicture an old scale with two plates on each end. It is balanced at the center, and is used to see differences in weight. When one side has more weight than the other, the scale leans that way. When the scale has an equal amount of weight on each side, it balances at the center.

As followers of Jesus, there is a certain amount of balance we should strive for in a variety of spiritual elements. We could talk about this with evangelism and discipleship, or prayer and Bible reading, or corporate worship and private worship, or spending time with believers and non-believers, etc. But Paul addresses a different balance in today’s text that can be hard to attain: how we live and what we believe.

We must make sure that there is a healthy balance just like getting those plates to be even. Paul challenges us this way in 1 Timothy 4:13-16. At the beginning of the chapter, Paul addresses apostasy, that people in the church who participated in worship or service will fall away. He says that the Holy Spirit “clearly” tells us this will happen. We can bank on it. This is addressing the last days, but we see glimpses of it today. This ties to what Paul addresses in 13-16. To protect our church from this, we must be true to the Bible and live righteous lives. He says:

Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.

There are many morally upright churches out there today filled with people who do good things like serve in the community and donate to the poor. This is very common in the Unitarian Universalist movement. They keep a close watch on how they live but that doesn’t get them to heaven. Only Jesus can do that. Somewhere along the way, even the once rock-solid denomination of the Presbyterian Church (USA) turned from right doctrine and headed downhill quickly. God didn’t save them — or us — to just be the Kiwanis Club.

The other side has also seen this. There are people who know what they believe but don’t allow those beliefs to affect the way they live. That’s just as bad; dying denominations prove that. They forgot the importance of impacting the world for Christ. They stopped sharing that hope with those who need it, and their faith became a “secret handshake” of sorts. Sure, they kept a close watch on their teaching, but they forsook the life they were supposed to live. God didn’t save them — or us — to become theological eggheads.

Keep a close watch on BOTH how you live AND what you believe (“Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching”). Be the do-gooder because you have One living in you who did eternal good on your behalf at the cross. But don’t forget to protect and preach the sacred message of the Bible. Keep that scale balanced; it’s an indication of being a true believer (“for the sake of your own salvation”). Point others to Jesus (“the salvation of those who hear you”).

Posted by: Todd Thomas

November 19, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Timothy 4:1-5

“In the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.”  (1 Timothy 4:1)

We have been going through the book of 2 Timothy as a church and Paul deals with this issue in more detail in that book. Paul spends a great deal of his last letters to Timothy warning and describing what the last times will look like. One of the key things he talks a lot about is the idea of people following false teachings. Already, in Paul’s times, there are many false teachers and deceivers teaching things contrary to what Paul was teaching, which was God’s true word. This has become even more prevalent in our day as people are fooled into such ideas as new age spirituality, Islam, Catholicism, and other false world religions. There are even other “Christian” world views and religions that have many people fooled into believing things that are “close” to Christianity but, not quite. The health and wealth gospel, second baptism of the Holy Spirit, and movements like these have people fooled as well. The largest church in America (46,000 people in attendance!) is promoting the health and wealth gospel.  We live in a day and age where people’s consciences are certainly seared and people are being fooled left and right. So, how do we weed out what is true and what is false? Here are a few quick ways to do this:

  1. Read the Bible– The Bible tells us of a group of people called the Bereans, who were, of course, from Berea (not KY). They heard what Paul had to say but instead of just taking his word for it they studied the scriptures daily to make sure what he said was true(Acts 17:11). This is the first and most important thing you can do to make sure something is true or not.
  2. Pray- The Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit has been given to us to illuminate (or show us) what is true and right (John 16:13) We have freedom to go to Him and ask for His guidance to see what is true and what is not.
  3. Make sure it holds Jesus as Lord and Savior and as God’s Son- 1 John 4:1-2 tell us that we should test everything to make sure it is true.  John tells us how to do that by making sure Jesus has His rightful place and that He is represented truly and fully. If a belief or a theological system does not hold to this, it is not truth.
  4. Seek wise counsel- There is always wisdom in a multitude of counselors (Proverbs 11:14). Seek out people you can trust and who know the Scriptures and can give you wise counsel on what it is you are thinking about or researching.

This is not an exhaustive list but if you start here you can feel confident you will be able to weed out false teachings as they come your way.

Posted by:Robbie Byrd

November 18, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Timothy 3:14-16

I hope you’re off to a good day.  Thanks for beginning it with JumpStart.  These few verses today are potent.  Paul begins with the reason why he wrote the instructions we studied yesterday – to the leadership of the church.

So… you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth. (v.15)

Instructions on how we are to “conduct ourselves” as God’s church.  He calls us the “household of God.” God’s family on showcase for the world to see.  He goes further and reminds us of two very important things:

  1. We are the church of the living God
  2. The church is the pillar and foundation of truth

What do these mean?  First – it’s not our church to do with as we wish.  It belongs to God and He’s alive.  We must honor Him with it.  We must ask Him what He wants to do with His church.  This will stop all of the selfishness and fighting we see today.  Second – we are to be the foundation of truth.  Truth should ooze from the church in word and action.  Everyone should know that in a day of shifting sand – the church is where you go for truth.  We must not give in – back up – or shut up.  We must stand for truth (2 Timothy 4).

In verse 16, Paul summarizes the Gospel in a masterful way.  Listen to what he writes…

Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:

Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory. (v.16)

Look at his summary.  God came to earth in human form (John 1:14).  Paul expresses the miracle of incarnation.  God coming to us (John 3:16).  He was proven by the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:35)  This is undoubtedly a reference to the virgin birth.  He was seen by angels and announced to the nations (Luke 2).  The angels proclaimed the birth of a Savior to the shepherds.  He was believed in throughout the world.  The message of Jesus has been taken to the world.  People in all parts of the world believe in Him.  It’s our job to deliver the message (Acts 1:8).  Taken to heaven in glory (Acts 1:9-11).  Jesus ascended to the right hand of God awaiting the time to come back for His followers.

Thank you God for the simplicity of the Gospel.  Now… go and share it today with the people you meet.

Posted by:Tim Parsons