Sunday, January 6, 2013
Temple Baptist Church - 1-6-2013
1 Timothy 5:3-16
A. This message tonight is a necessary one. As I preach through the Pastoral Epistles, which is a section of the Church Epistles, I want to deal with everything that is, has, or will confront the local church. If we want the church to be blessed, we must understand how one is to operate according to the Scriptures.
B. Last week, I dealt with the local church as a family with all of the parts of a normal family: elder men, younger men, elder women, and younger women. I intentionally left one aspect of the family out: that of widows or extended family. As a family, many of you—at one time or another—has had family other than the aforementioned living in your home.
C. In the local church, often there are widows among our numbers. It is not the work or responsibility of the local church to help everyone though we try to help our own people when they get into trouble. Many checks have been written that were benevolent in nature.
D. Many churches believe that it is their responsibility to feed the world. We do help some but it is on a case-case basis. We had a young woman walk into church just before Sunday School a month ago. She said that her parents were outside in a car and they needed money for gas and food. I told her to step outside where a man and woman sat in a car and told the young woman to tell “dad” get out of the car and speak to me. He was reluctant but finally got out of the car. I first told him that I do not like to see men send women into a church to beg for them! He was a little more than embarrassed. I then told him that if they would come into church and stay for the services that I would talk with him. He said that he would have to ask his wife so I went back into church and started SS. Needless to say, they did not come in for church.
E. So many people use churches as their welfare agency and many churches allow this to go on. I do not! The command to the local church is not to feed the poor but it is commanded to care for a “widow indeed.” I want to look at this for a few minutes tonight because most churches have at least one widow because you gals, more often than not, outlive us guys. What about widows?
1. Many of the younger women will remarry. (Verse 11) Paul gave advice to widows of this kind in another place.
1 Corinthians 7:39-40 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. (40) But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.
a. The Bible declares her eligible to remarry. She is no longer bound to her first husband and is free to marry “whom she will; only in the Lord.” I believe this is an explanation of 1 Timothy 5:5, 11. “Wanton” means to “live deliciously.” To desire the things will satisfy her personal needs. Widows, if they remarry, need to find God’s will for a new mate just as they are to seek His will regarding the first one.
b. The Bible declares that she will be happier if she remains single and gives the rest of her life to the Lord’s service. Most of you older ladies who have been married for 40+ years are probably smart enough not get into that again! Smile! If she remarries, then she is the responsibility of her new husband.
c. The Bible also says not to take a younger widow “into the number.” Paul is speaking of bringing her into the number of the widows of the church who are to be cared for. A younger woman can “make ends meet” by working to support herself.
d. The Bible declares that the younger women who is given to her needs is to marry and bear children. Women need to be under the authority of a man. I know this will make some liberated woman man but it is a biblical principle. A young woman is to remain under the authority of her father or his proxy until such a time as I ask the question, “Who gives this woman to this man in marriage?” The standard answer is: “Her mother and I.”
e. A young widow who is not given totally to God, when left by herself, will get into trouble or cause trouble. (Verses 11-13, 15)
2. Many widows within the church have family to care for them. (Verses 4, 8, 16)
a. It is not the responsibility of the local church to care for the widow who has close family. I had a man come to me years ago and ask me if the church could pay for his mother’s medicine. He was a member of our church also. His mother was a widow and had family all over Laurens. I gave him the biblical answer: your family needs to get together and pay for the medicines.
b. I will say at this point if we have a widow in our church who has a sorry family who will not help care for her, we will help her but it is a matter of caring, not biblical responsibility.
1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
c. The Bible calls such children and family members who will not care for their widows, sorry, low down, faith deniers. You may say, “Preacher, I did not see ‘sorry, low down’ in these verses.” The Bible says they are “worse than an infidel:” a heathen who is incredible and untrustworthy: as I said, “Sorry and lowdown!”
3. The local church is to care for a qualified widow indeed. (Verses 5, 9-10) Here are her biblical qualifications as not every widow indeed is to be cared for by the church. Not every “widow indeed” is the obligation of the church to care for.
a. She must be desolate. (Verse 5) This means incapable of caring for herself. Most men have such things as insurance and properties that will take good care of the wives in the case of their demise. I have tried to make sure that my wife can live independently in the case of my death. I know that I can trust God with her but I also know that He entrusted me with her. As one man used to say, “I am probably worth more dead than alive.”
b. She must be spiritual: “trusteth in God.” Her faith and expectancy are in the Lord. He must be the “love of her life.”
c. She must be faithful: “continueth.” Faithfulness in our day is a rare quality. She must be faithful in all things.
d. She must have been married only once. (Verse 9) She is the wife of one husband.
e. She must have a reputation for compassion. (Verse 10) Lodged strangers, washed the feet of the saints, relieved the afflicted, and followed every good work.