A Few Example Posts:

  • "The End of Faith: A Short Response to Sam Harris"
  • See also:
  • "A Long Response to Sam Harris' The End of Faith, by Neil Shenvi"

  • "Is John Piper the Best Answer to Emergence and Postmodernism?"

  • "Captured"

  • "The Storm is Over"

  • "If Golfing Were the Pursuit of Moral Perfection"

  • 9.14.2005

    Honor Widows Indeed: 1 Timothy 5:3-16

    Text: 1 Timothy 5:3-16
    3 Honour widows that are widows indeed. 4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. 5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. 6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. 7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. 8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. 9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, 10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. 11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; 12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some are already turned aside after Satan. 16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.

    * Aid Widows Indeed
    * Employ Older Widows
    * Exhort Younger Widows

    Theme: God Cares for Widows. The Church Should Too.

    Exposition:

    I. Aid Widows Indeed: Verses 3-8

    A. Honor Widows that are Widows Indeed: (vv. 3, 5)

    3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
    5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.

    B. Remind Families of their Godly Responsibilities: (vv. 4, 8, 16)

    v. 4 Piety = Reverence to one’s responsibilities. It is the same root for the word “godliness.”
    v. 4 Nephews = Grandchildren
    v. 4 Parents = Parents/Grandparents

    C. Discern the Godly Widows from the Ungodly Widows: (vv. 6-7)

    v. 6: Living in Pleasure. The selfish pursuits of one’s own way are a way of death.
    v. 7: Charge them to live blameless lives.

    II. Employ Older Widows: Verses 9-10

    A. Enroll them on the list. v. 9. καταλεγεσθω: “It is a technical term for being placed on a recognized list or catalogue.” - J.N.D. Kelly. A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles. Black’s New Testament Commentaries. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1972.

    B. Examine their Qualifications. v.9-10.

    1. Faithful in Marriage: One Man Woman. Similar to the requirement for elder/deacon.

    2. Faithful in Ministry: She is Well-Reported: Others can witness to her character.

    a. Since she has brought of children.
    b. Since she has lodged strangers
    c. Since she has served the saints: washed feet.
    d. Since she has been diligent to good works.

    III. Exhort Younger Widows:

    A. Refuse them for the list. v.11-12. Being put on the list may put them in a difficult situation:

    1. They may be tempted to remarry: “Wax Wanton” = From a root word that has been used to describe an animal trying to get out of its yoke.

    It also speaks of the impulse of desire.

    2. They may cast off their “first faith” or pledge: v. 12

    This pledge apparently was to not remarry and to devote themselves entirely to an active ministry during the later years of their life.

    3. They may be tempted to idleness: v. 13 As Paul Speaks, think about these temptations that may appear in our own lives now...

    a. They learn to be idle: Their full time work, of which they made a study, was to be idle. Not working.

    b. Wandering about from house to house: Misusing opportunities of service and ministry (Guthrie)

    c. Tattlers: “Gossipy loose talkers; i.e., babbling out whatever might come into their mind (Fairbairn). A “bubbling out.”

    d. Busybodies: “The word marks a meddling habit, a perverted activity that will not content itself with minding its own concerns, but must busy itself about with those of others (Ellicot; s. 2 Thess. 3:11) Overly concerned about insignificant or inappropriate matters.

    e. Speaking Unnecessary Things: “It takes serious-minded, mature, godly women to minister in homes to women and families. The secrets and problems of those families would be safe with them. For those reasons, as well as the danger that they will abandon their commitments to Christ, Paul forbids younger women to be put on the list.” - J. MacArthur, p. 212.

    B. Encourage them to remarry: v. 14

    1. Bear Children:

    2. Guide the House: Administrate their duties. Rule the house

    3. Live Above Reproach. No occasion to the adversary; some have turned aside after Satan.

    Speaking of False Teachers: 2 Timothy 3:6 "For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts..."

    False teachers were apparently taking advantage of these widows who had made themselves vulnerable to an ungodly lifestyle.

    Paul recognizes that the schemer who wants to destroy these useful people is Satan.

    Note: The List was of qualified widows who would dedicate themselves to the service of God for the remainder of their days. This dedication, or pledge, was reserved for those who could keep that commitment. Younger women are protected from making a commitment they may regret later, when they really should have remarried in the first place. Each widow, young and old, is different; however, these general principles serve as guide posts to help them order their lives.

    Lessons to Learn: Here are some General Principles from Today’s Message:

    1. God expects the church to help and guide the vulnerable in her midst.

    2. The Church is not required to give long-term support to unqualified people. This is not a government program guided by the rules and expectations of the modern welfare state. We are called to discern and discriminate the moral track record of these widows.

    3. God has moral expectations for the lives of his people. The fulfilling or denying of these expectations has consequences.

    4. If God does not want older folks to fall into the temptations we’ve listed today, He does not want younger people to fall into them either. I remember what one of my college professors said in class: “You are what you have been becoming.”

    5. Pray for your elders. Recognize the responsibilities of the elders and deacons who will be discerning these issues.

    6. Not all widows will need financial support. But all widows need honor and care. We must weave this into the life of our church.

    7. God does not expect anyone to retire from His service. The later years are really a time of great usefulness to God.

    “It has been my experience in three different pastorates that godly widows are a ‘spiritual powerhouse’ in the church. They are the backbone of the prayer meetings. They give themselves to visitation, and they swell the ranks of teachers in the Sunday School. It has been my experience that, if a widow is not godly, she can be a great problem to the church. She will demand attention, complain about what the younger people do, and often ‘hang on the telephone’ and gossip.” -Warren Wiersbe.

    8. Children and Grandchildren: If you do not think ahead, plan, and make provision for your parents or grandparents, You have denied the faith. You are worse than an unbeliever in your actions. You may not be able to personally provide for all medical care, but you have got to be a part of the planning and foresight of your family's care. You are to be involved. You are first line of defense. And you are to learn how to take this responsibility on.



    John’s Thoughts on the Issue of Widows in 1 Timothy 5:3-16
    -------------------------------------
    * Wife of One Husband = One-man-woman (Faithfulness.) This phrase cannot mean “marital status.” It must mean “personal character” of people legitimately married. The Bible does not hold a second marriage of a widow as less valuable. (Romans 7, 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Timothy 5:14.) If Paul wills that the younger widows marry again, then the second marriage is honorable. The second marriage, if lived well, also becomes the basis for being accepted as a ministering widow in the future should her second husband die.
    If we hold to the understanding of “one marriage only,” then, widows who married, legitimately, the second time would be deemed unworthy of ministering as a widow when she is older and widowed again by her second husband--after having been encouraged by the Holy Spirit to marry the second time. Does God disqualify a person from future ministry because she obeyed at an earlier point in her life?

    --------------------------------------
    Considerations on the Category of “Ministering Widows" as a separate group from "Aided Widows:"

    * There must have been a “category” of ministering widows. The Greek word speaks of enrolling into a category, marking down. Later in the text, there seems to be a pledge that the women 60 years and older would make. This pledge would include singular devotion to Christ in His church, and an expectation not to marry. According to MacArthur, the early church did function in this way.

    * Women Under Sixty, who are μεμονωμενη, would continue to be desolate. In light of other Scripture texts? Is this God’s meaning? i.e. James 1:27; Galatians 6:10, and others.

    * Women over Sixty who wished to Marry Again someday would also be excluded from aid. The pledge in this regard would precede aid given by the church.

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