The Introduction

The Text

1 Timothy 5:17-25 (CSB) The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says: Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain, and, “The worker is worthy of his wages.”>

19 Don’t accept an accusation against an elder unless it is supported by two or three witnesses. 20 Publicly rebuke those who sin, so that the rest will be afraid. 21 I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels to observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing out of favoritism. 22 Don’t be too quick to appoint anyone as an elder, and don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. 23 Don’t continue drinking only water, but use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. 24 Some people’s sins are obvious, preceding them to judgment, but the sins of others surface later. 25 Likewise, good works are obvious, and those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden.

The Meditation

Romans 8:29 (CSB) For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Christ, Our Eldest Brother: in ministry

19 The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says: Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain, and, “The worker is worthy of his wages.”

Let me remind that the Son of Man himself had no home to call his own and was completely reliant on his friends for shelter:

Matthew 8:20 (CSB) Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Christ is our firstborn example on what it is like to minister to others. But by no means is this the only way.

As the New Testament church spread and grew, Paul is telling us: provide for you elders and ministers. Now, Paul also received support in some churches and refused support in others. (1 Cor. 9:12-18) and we know that Paul was able to work as a “tentmaker” (Acts 18:1-3).

What then shall we make of this?

Provide for those ministers who has responded to Christ in John 21: “Do you love me? Then, feed my lambs,hepherd my sheep, feed my sheep.”

Most ministers won’t need support. God has provided for them in other ways. Much like the Levitical priests of the Old Testament, God will some ministers' portion and lot.

Christ, Our Eldest Brother: in discipline

1 Timothy 5:19 (CSB) Don’t accept an accusation against an elder unless it is supported by two or three witnesses.

This is not to super protect pastors. This means don’t be slandering. Be careful of jumping on social media and slamming other pastors from other churches. If they are in sin, the Bible calls on the people of that church to come forward and confront those in sin. They don’t need any help from us in the peanut gallery.

Now this is tough. Because we have too many wolves acting like shepherds and preying upon the sheep of the Good Shepherd. And their wicked sins against the congregation, God will not sit idly by for “he will swiftly grant them justice” (Luke 18:8) and he will put down the false shepherd and prophet in order to protect his little lambs. (See Jeremiah 23). Nonetheless, if even one of you has been hurt in any way by any leader, don’t wait for two to three witnesses. That is not what the text is saying. Tell somebody. Let the people and your leaders know that there is a wolf in their midst. Out of your bravery, I know that it will prompt others to be brave. There you will get your two to three witnesses. How do I know this? Wolves don’t feast on one kill and go about their business. They will try to hunt the others in the flock. And our Good Shepherd will put them down and protect his lambs.

If you have ever been hurt by someone in the church who called themselves a leader in any capacity and used that to fool and manipulate you and twisted God’s holy word to get you to terrible and wicked things to you, I am so so so sorry. Tell a leader. And keep telling someone until someone listens.

Matthew 23:8-12 (CSB) But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers and sisters. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 You are not to be called instructors either, because you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Christ, Our Eldest Brother: confront sin

20 Publicly rebuke those who sin, so that the rest will be afraid

We live in a day and time where:

  • people grew up church where people where publicly rebuked in their sin
  • people were afraid

I think it is quite easy to rebuke others when sin is running rampant in other peoples' lives and their lives are a wreck.

But look at the ministry of Christ and all the apostles in the Bible. How did they rebuke sin? They preached the full counsel of the gospel.

The full counsel is this:

  • we have broken God’s law
  • Christ is our Redeemer and our righteousness
  • go and sin no more

When you see sin, rebuke it. And I am not talking about social media. Be in a church. See sin? Rebuke it. But don’t just address the problem but be prepared to proclaim the gospel so that we will have real rest for our weary souls!

Christ, Our Eldest Brother: showing no favoritism

21 I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels to observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing out of favoritism

Romans 2:9-11 (CSB) There will be affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no favoritism with God.

James 2:1-7 (CSB) My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. 2 For if someone comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor person dressed in filthy clothes also comes in, 3 if you look with favor on the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor person, “Stand over there,” or “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” 4 haven’t you made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 Yet you have dishonored the poor. Don’t the rich oppress you and drag you into court? 7 Don’t they blaspheme the good name that was invoked over you?

You know what favoritism is? It is two things:

  • fear of man over the fear of God, which is sin
  • not loving your neighbor as yourself, which is also sin

Show partiality to one person over another where God himself shows no partiality. Are you racist? Sexist? Prejudice? Bigotry? Right now would be the time to repent to God and turn away from that sin.

Christ, Our Eldest Brother: tested and tried in character

22 Don’t be too quick to appoint anyone as an elder

They should not be young in the faith, as we just got through reading in chapter 3, “or he might become conceited and incur the same condemnation as the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:6 CSB)

Christ, Our Eldest Brother: holy and set apart

22a and don’t share in the sins of others–Keep yourself pure

If others slander, don’t share in that. If others gossip, don’t share in that. If others steal, don’t share in that. If others are dishonest in their dealings, don’t.

Christ, Our Eldest Brother: to run the race and finish well

23 Don’t continue drinking only water, but use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses

You could make this “can we drink alcohol” type of debate. But I think is a more of a call for self-care. I know that this can go overboard for some people. What does God say?

1 Peter 5:8 (CSB) Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.

Take care of yourself. If you do drink, remain sober-minded. Why? Because Satan is on the hunt.

Christ, Our Eldest Brother: fled from sin

24 Some people’s sins are obvious, preceding them to judgment, but the sins of others surface later

This is why we preach the full counsel of the gospel. We might not know everybody in the church but God does. Some are struggling in sin. Others are wallowing in their sins and they don’t see it as sin. Preach the gospel and let the Holy Spirit do his work in them.

Christ, Our Eldest Brother: encourager to all

25 Likewise, good works are obvious, and those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden

Remember Paul’s greeting to the church in Rome:

Romans 1:8-12 (CSB) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because the news of your faith is being reported in all the world. God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in telling the good news about his Son—that I constantly mention you, always asking in my prayers that if it is somehow in God’s will, I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I want very much to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is, to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

Hearing about the faith of others and the good works of others is an encouragement to the entire body. Be quick to give a word of encouragement. Be quick to give a prophetic word. The Spirit is at work. Join him in that work like Christ has commissioned us to do.

The Gospel

Christ is our example

1 Peter 2:21-23 (CSB) For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth; 23 when he was insulted, he did not insult in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.

Christ is the Good Shepherd

John 10:11-13 (CSB) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf then snatches and scatters them. 13 This happens because he is a hired hand and doesn’t care about the sheep.

Jeremiah 23:1-4 (CSB) “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” This is the LORD’s declaration. 2 “Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds who tend my people: You have scattered my flock, banished them, and have not attended to them. I am about to attend to you because of your evil acts”—this is the LORD’s declaration. 3 “I will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands where I have banished them, and I will return them to their grazing land. They will become fruitful and numerous. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will tend them. They will no longer be afraid or discouraged, nor will any be missing.” This is the LORD’s declaration.

1 Peter 2:25 (CSB) For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Psalms 23:1 (CSB) The LORD is my shepherd;
I have what I need.

Christ is the Head Pastor of the Church

Ephesians 1:20-23 (CSB) He exercised this power in Christ by raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens—21 far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he subjected everything under his feet and appointed him as head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

Ephesians 5:22-24 (CSB) Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, 23 because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.

Colossians 1:18 (CSB) He is also the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that he might come to have
first place in everything.

Christ is the holy one of God

John 6:68-69 (CSB) Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Christ is the Son of God

John 3:16 (CSB) For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Colossians 1:19 (CSB) For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,

Christ is God

John 1:1-2 (CSB) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

Colossians 1:17 (CSB) He is before all things,
and by him all things hold together.

Christ is Creator

Colossians 1:16 (CSB) For everything was created by him,
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through him and for him.

John 1:3 (CSB) All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.

Christ was the first among many brothers and sisters

Romans 8:29 (CSB) For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Colossians 1:15 (CSB) He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.

Christ died for us

1 Peter 2:24 (CSB) He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

Colossians 1:20-22 (CSB) and through him to reconcile
everything to himself,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace
through his blood, shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds as expressed in your evil actions. 22 But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him—

The Prayer

Our Eldest Brother
 
In your word, you have called some to lead and guide your church. But those callings are to be tested and tried that they would be found qualified in the sight of the people--that your people would see what you see.

We trust you, Lord. Thank you for giving us clear instructions on how to be a part of your church. Thank you for your grace to do your will and trust you more. 

We will forever praise your holy name.

Amen.

Media

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