7/31/17 Honor And Support Widows

“Our Messiah has taught us to treat women very differently from the way society in general has treated them.  We are to honor and respect them as mothers or sisters, especially those who are widows.  Most widows are left helpless and must make do in the world as best they can, scraping together whatever they can sell to make enough money to live on.  But we are called to support each other as members of God’s family, especially widows and orphaned children.  We are to honor them and care for them as if they are our own mothers and our own children.  However, if a widow has children or grandchildren, any family able to support her, we must let them do it, for two main reasons.  First, our funds must be prioritized so that we may do the most good we can with them.  Those who have nothing and no one to help them must be put first.  And second, it is good for a widow’s family to support her.  In this way, they learn the responsibility of taking care of one’s family first, and they will be blessed through the love and care they show for her.”

 

1 Timothy 5:3-4

7/30/17 Relationships Within The Church

“Now that we have spoken of your public office as church leader, and the conduct and responsibilities as such, let us move on to discuss your relationships with individual members of the church.  Having advised you not to let anyone tell you that you are too young to hold such an important position in the church, I must caution you to remember, when dealing with brothers and sisters who are older than you are, to hold them in high regard.  There will be many times when you see elder church members doing and saying things that are not quite in line with their faith.  I want you to be mindful of the fact that you have been a Christian since your youth, and as such, have been brought up in the way a Christian is to live his life.  But many of the elder members of the church have lived their whole lives as unbelievers, following the customs and traditions of the society in which they live, until coming to faith in Jesus fairly recently.  Be patient with them, and instead of chastising them for these habits that have been ingrained in them for a lifetime already, give them gentle and respectful direction, as a son might do for his father or mother.  Likewise, you should treat younger men and women, or those of your own age, as brothers and sisters, not just in the way that we are all brothers and sisters in Jesus, but as if they were of your biological family.”

 

1 Timothy 5:1-2

7/29/17 Instructions For Timothy’s Conduct

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too young to hold such an important position in the church.  Use your life to demonstrate your worth, working hard to live out your faith in all that you say and do.  Show the strength of your faith in the way that you love those you serve, in your pure heart, in your obedience to God’s will as revealed to you by His Holy Spirit, and in your actions.  In this way, you will both prove yourself worthy of your office and be an example to the brothers and sisters of the way we ought to live as Christians.  Until I am able to come to you again, be sure to incorporate reading of scripture, along with earnest teaching on the meaning of the scriptures read, into each meeting of the brothers and sisters.  This way, everyone can understand and apply what they learn to their lives.  Remember the gift that was given to you through prophecy , when the church elders laid their hands on you and prayed over you, and be sure to use it to God’s will.  Think about these things, and practice them persistently, so that your gift may grow and be respected by all, and be used to further God’s kingdom.  Be sure to remember these two most important things – to always conduct yourself in a way befitting a leader in the church, and to make sure your teaching is exemplary.  If you are faithful in this, you and all those who hear your teaching will be rewarded in Heaven.”

 

1 Timothy 4:12-16

7/28/17 Stay Strong In Your Faith And You Will Be Rewarded

“Timothy, my son, if you will faithfully teach the brothers and sisters of Ephesus all these things, you will be honored as a good minister of Jesus, continually seeking after God’s will through studying His word and exercising your faith, which is like nourishment for the soul.  I know that you have done this ever since you first came to faith in Jesus, and I pray that you will continue in this way for the rest of your life.  Stay away from gossip and anything that will tempt you away from your faith, and keep to what you know is right in God’s sight.  When you exercise your body, you will be physically more healthy.  But when you exercise your love and obedience to God, it is so much better, because it benefits every part of you and those who depend on you, and you have the promise of eternal life in Heaven as your reward.  Here is another saying you may have heard that rings with truth:  It is for this, the promise of Heaven, that we struggle and fight for our faith, willing to endure anything  for the sake of the living God, Savior of all, in Whom we trust and believe.  Teach the brothers and sisters to live out their faith, to be doers of the word and not just hearers.  This is a command for all of us.”

 

1 Timothy 4:6-11

7/27/17 Guard Against Satan’s Subtle Traps

“Though we, as Christians, hold this truth as a treasure in our hearts, still we are told by the Holy Spirit that from now until the time that Jesus returns to take His own to be with Him in Heaven, there will always be those who abandon their faith, who listen to the lies of Satan’s demons and believe them.  He does not come to tempt us away from our faith like an invading army, with trumpets and drums and fanfare.  He is subtly devious, whispering doubts into our ears, setting up traps that most people would never recognize as such until it is too late, and they have become ensnared.  He will sow seeds of worry in our minds, making us question our faith and slide back into believing that we must keep the Law in order to be saved.  Many have already fallen into these traps, and are now being used by Satan to undermine the church, asserting that certain foods are off limits or that certain people are not suitable to marry, among many other things.  But we know that God created everything, and all that He created is good.  We are to receive what God creates for us as gifts, with thankful hearts.  If we approach everything that comes to us in this way, with prayer and thanksgiving to God through Jesus, in faith, there is nothing that is forbidden to those of us who know and believe God’s truth.”

 

1 Timothy 4:1-5

7/26/17 The Glorious Mystery Of Our Faith

“I write these instructions to you so that you will have some direction in establishing leaders in the Ephesian church.  It is my hope that I will be able to come to you soon, and if so, I will help you in this area, among others.  But with all that has been happening lately, the growing persecution of Christians, it may not be possible for me to come.  In that case, I want you to know how you, as the leader of the Ephesian church, and those who you appoint to lead with you, should conduct yourselves as leaders and representatives of God’s church.  Remember that we, and our brothers and sisters in the church, are the house of God, because He lives within our hearts in the form of the Holy Spirit.  Because of this, we must be the foundation of His truth and his light for the rest of the world.  Oh, without a doubt, the mystery of God is great, and this mystery has been revealed to us, His children, through His Son, Jesus!  God came to us as a human being in Jesus.  Everything Jesus said during His time on earth, His claim to be God’s Son, was proven to be true by His own Spirit, through His death and resurrection.  The angels are witnesses to the truth of His divinity, having seen all that He did here on earth and His rise to Heaven to be reunited with His Father.  His message is being preached all over the world, both to Jews and to Gentiles, just as He said.  When He arrived in Heaven, His Father received Him triumphantly and joyfully.  And now, all over the world, people are hearing His message and believing in His power to save us all from the penalty for our sins.”

 

1 Timothy 3:14-16

7/25/17 Qualifications For A Deaconess

“Likewise, women who desire to be deaconesses must possess similar qualities.  They, too, must have respect for their church and their position.  They must dress and behave modestly and humbly.  The light of their faith should shine through them in all that they say and do, and their joyful hearts in the Lord should be evident to all who know them, so that they might be an example to all.  They must be careful to watch their tongues, staying away from gossip and slander.  She must be passionate about her faith, but have good control over her passion and her temper.  She should stay away from alcoholic beverages, and from anything that might be seen as inappropriate for a woman.  She must be responsible and faithful in all that she says and does, in her work for the church and in her own private life, holding a good reputation in her community.  She, too, is responsible for handling the money given to the church to care for those in need, and must be a woman of honesty and integrity.  A deacon or deaconess must be, as a bishop must be, monogamous in his or her marriage, and able to run his or her household well.  Remember, he or she who faithfully does the work of the Lord now will be greatly rewarded by Him, with the courage and confidence to continue on in their work here on earth, and with unimaginable glory in Heaven.”

 

1 Timothy 3:11-13

7/24/17 Qualifications For A Deacon

“Deacons in the church must meet similar qualifications.  They must treat the church and the office of deacon with deep respect, as is fitting for one who is employed in the carrying out of God’s will for His people.  But at the same time, he must have a joyful heart, secure in his faith.  He must be careful with what he says, especially since deacons have the important work of visiting the brothers and sisters in their homes.  He must take care not to gossip, and not to contradict himself, telling one person one thing and the next person the complete opposite, simply to appease them.  He must be honest in all that he says and does, speaking the truth in love, and choose his words wisely.  He must be careful in his personal life to maintain sobriety and a reputation for good self-control over temptations.  He must be careful not to hold money in high esteem, especially since a deacon is responsible for the money given to the church to distribute to those in need.  He must have wisdom and knowledge of God and of His Son and of the Holy Spirit, and a deep understanding of the mysteries of our faith revealed in Jesus, so that he is qualified to teach the brothers and sisters and to counsel them in their walk of faith.  And he must live out his faith for all to see, in good conscience, and be a doer of the Word, not just a hearer and believer.  Let any man who seems to possess these qualities and desires the position of deacon be tested in the position for a time, to show whether or not he is a good fit for the position, and after a time of probation, if he shows himself worthy of it, let him serve as deacon.”

 

1 Timothy 3:8-10

7/23/17 More Qualifications For Bishops

“One who desires the position of a bishop in the church should be patient, fair, and gentle when dealing with his brothers and sisters.  He must have good control over his household, which is shown through the obedience and respect of his children.  This is important because he must show proficiency in taking charge of his own household, or he will not be able to take charge of God’s church.  He must be well established in the church, not a new believer.  New believers are filled with zeal, on fire for God, but are easily swayed, since their faith is not very deeply rooted and they have just begun to learn about God and His church.  So they are apt to fall into the trap of being prideful, leading to the same condition as Satan.  A potential bishop must not only be above reproach and have a reputation of integrity among his own brothers and sisters in the church, but also among outsiders, those who do not share his faith.  Otherwise, those who knew him before he became a believer, upon hearing of his new appointment as bishop, may attack his character and the character of all in the church.  If this were to happen, Satan would certainly be waiting to attack the church as a wolf lies in wait, hoping to catch a shepherd off guard so that he may attack the sheep.”

1 Timothy 3:3b-7

7/22/17 So You Want To Be A Bishop

“I’m sure that you have heard this saying, ‘If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.’  This is a saying that is faithful and true.  You know as well as I do that the position of a bishop in the church is not one to take lightly.  It is hard work, and dangerous, especially since persecution of our brothers and sisters is growing everywhere.  So let me define the qualifications for the office of bishop, so that you may be certain to give the position to the right person.  A bishop must live in such a way that he is above reproach, and be well known in his community for his integrity.  Polygamy, sexual relations outside of marriage, and divorce have become prevalent everywhere, to the shame of our society.  But if a brother would be a bishop, he must be above all of this.  He must be a husband of one wife, and must treat his wife with the love of Jesus for His church.  He must have good self-control in all areas of his life, be discreet in matters that call for discretion, and conduct himself well in public.  He must be hospitable, generously opening his home and belongings to those in need.  He must be a good teacher, willing to instruct those in his charge when needed.  He should not be a man who enjoys raucous parties, obscene language, or fighting, either physically or with words.  Money should not be an idol for him, but merely a means to procure what is needed for his family and his church.”

1 Timothy 3:1-3a