The Cosmetics of Christian Faith

1 Timothy 5 –6:2 [class outline]

 

I.                     Large Context for Instructions concerning Instructions

A.       Cosmetic from Cosmos meaning proper and purposeful arrangement of all things

B.       The goal is for the church to reflect a world of order  in a world of corruption and confusion

C.       This comes about by a focus on heavenly attitudes toward earthly conditions and confidence in the reconciling work of Christ

II.                   Equitable and responsible treatment of different age groups

A.      Men – Fathers and brothers - continued analogy of a family [“Household of God” 3:15]

B.       Women – treat as sisters and mothers

C.       Widows

1.       The foundational principles for these prescription 3-8

Ø       Distinction between widows of marriageable age and those pious but destitute 3

Ø       Means of care for widows in ways that relieve the church of monetary responsibility

i)         children and grandchildren are immediately responsible 4

ii)       women [perhaps nieces] are next in the chain of responsibility 16

2.       Widows marked out as the special care of the church 9, 10

Ø       Older than 60 with no family support

Ø       Reputation for true piety and presently is an example of faithfulness 5, 10

3.       Young widows and non-dependent widows 11-16

Ø       Young widows must not be placed in a position that calls for mature, disciplined spirituality  11, 12

Ø       Their tendency is toward worldliness and sensuality if their time is not filled with duties appropriate to their propensity by creation 11, 12

Ø       They must marry, therefore, to fulfill their God-ordained role as women and avoid the sins endemic to young unmarried females 13, 14

III.                 Evaluation of Elders 17-25

A.      appropriate honor for elders

1.       Proper respect is included because of the goal of the task cf. 4:16

2.       Sufficient pay is specifically warranted with its basis in Scripture [cf. 1 Cor. 9:8-14]

B.       equitable discipline for elders [Timothy as an apostolic messenger ha special obligations here, but the principles for the church would still apply

1.       No purely private and prejudicial vendetta are to be given credence but only substantial accusations affirmed by two or three witnesses  19

2.       If found to be true, and not corrected by private admonition [implication of the phrase “continue in sin”]  rebuked openly; for rebuke see Gal 2:14; Eph 5:11; 2 Cor 9:8-12

3.       This will be healing and protective not only to other elders but to the congregation

C.       Be careful in their [re?]admission 22

1.       He possibly is speaking of the readmission of elders in consequence of their repentance

2.       Perhaps morel likely he is speaking of the care that must be taken in setting them aside initially in order to avoid the situation just contemplated

D.      Deeds, both worthy and unworthy of the office, might be evident in this life or might await revelation in the day of judgment, but all will be open 24, 25; Lk 12:2, 3

IV.                 Proper deportment of slaves  6:1, 2 [Question for consideration; could a slave be an elder?]

A.      Regard the master as Worthy of honor – not a begrudging servitude but an honorable position arranged by God’s providence

B.       Believing masters should be served with even greater affection and esteem, not denigrated because of equality in the Lord

C.       Reasons

1.       name of God – ostensible devotion to God must not give an impression of carelessness toward human honor – Acts 26:2, 3, 25; 1 Peter 2:13-17

2.       truth of the gospel – cf Titus 2:1, 5, 8, 9-10; 3:1, 2

3.       seek the prosperity of other believers

V.                   Applications – Think of ways in which the Gospel and its redemptive and reconciling reality might express itself in your home, your extended family, your job, your church.

 

The Cosmetics of Christian Faith

1 Timothy 5-6:2  [Teaching Outline]

I.  Larger Context for Instructions

A.       Cosmetic from Cosmos meaning proper and purposeful arrangement of all things – the title I have give to this lesson reflects the idea that God is restoring his intended order to the created order, cosmos, through the redemptive work of Christ.  Every bit of instruction is designed to involve a part of this restorative process to be brought completely to pass only in the new heaven and the new earth.

B.       The goal is for the church to reflect a world of order in a world of corruption and confusion.  The fall subjected the world to corruption and vanity See Romans 8:19-23.  It awaits the revelation of the sons of God and finally the glorification of our bodies.  But substantial healing may take place presently as God’s children conform to his holiness and more and more show themselves to be the Sons of God that they are.  Also look at 1 John3:1-3 in this regard.

C.       This comes about by a focus on heavenly attitudes toward earthly conditions and confidence in the reconciling work of Christ.  Working out the transforming impact of the Gospel, therefore, has cosmic implications and has been given to ministers of the Gospel as constituting their calling.

II.                   Equitable and responsible treatment of different age groups

A.      Men – Fathers and brothers - continued analogy of a family [“Household of God” 3:15]  Though the minister has authority granted with his position as overseer, and has eternal truth as the content of his message, he must see himself in proper perspective.  He must not lord it over anyone [see 1 Peter 5:2,3]  No son under the influence of natural affection would be rude or commandeering to his father; not would a mature person be condescending toward his brother.  So must it be with the spiritual relationship in the church.

B.       Women – treat as sisters and mothers – The same idea of family relationship applies in these cases.

C.       Widows

1.       The foundational principles for these prescription 3-8

Ø       Distinction between widows of marriageable age and those pious but destitute 3 – The word honor probably refers to the giving of monetary aid similar to its meaning in verse 17;  In Matthew 15:3-6 Jesus applies the commandment to honor father and mother as specifically including giving monetary assistance when needed.

Ø       Means of care for widows in ways that relieve the church of monetary responsibility.  As a matter of personal responsibility, Paul sees the natural relationship so compelling here that even unbelievers can see how right it is for one to care for his own family.  Christians should do no less and if they do less they have “denied the faith.”   Again we must see how clearly Paul assumes the naturalness of affection in the earthly family as foundational to church relationships.  If we are to regard spiritual family ties as we would natural family ties [review verse 1, 2], then we must realize that the family of husband, wife, children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, is a god-ordained unit of human society and  makes legitimate demands of love, care, sympathy on all humans.  Those ties are not destroyed when one becomes a Christian, although the relationship established in conversion is built on more precious blood and looks forward to an eternal family re-union.

iii)      children and grandchildren are immediately responsible 4  Paul insists the giving pecuniary support is an act of piety and acceptable in the sight of God.

iv)     women [perhaps nieces] are next in the chain of responsibility 16

2.       Widows marked out as the special care of the church 9, 10

Ø       Older than 60 with no family support

Ø       Wife of one man – since second marriages are not forbidden to young widows, but virtually commanded, this refers to widows that had never put away a husband and married another.  Jesus called this adultery Mark 10:12, and probably should also be determinative of the meaning of the husband of one wife in 3:2.

Ø       Reputation for true piety and presently is an example of faithfulness 5, 10  This is a woman who has cast herself on the care of God in that she has no earthly family responsible for her care. Verse 5  Her spiritual family comes, therefore, into the position of the responsible family.  It is important to note also that Paul gives warrant for such care only to those who have previously demonstrated  a genuine affection for the gospel and its attendant privileges and duties. 10  This case is far different from the one who pursues the way of death through giving over to the desire for immediate temporal fulfillment.  She has no savour for the life that is life indeed [6:19] and thus is dead spiritually and has no claim on the gracious honor of the church. [verse 6]

3.       Young widows and non-dependent widows 11-16

Ø       Young widows must not be placed in a position that calls for mature, disciplined spirituality  11, 12  Their desire to marry is not wrong, but right; but seeing that such in likely to happen and they are yet strong they should provide for themselves until opportunity for marriage presents itself.  At their age they should not profess to give themselves up to supplication and prayer when the pleasure of married life is still a live option.

Ø       Their tendency is toward worldliness and sensuality if their time is not filled with duties appropriate to their propensity by creation 11, 12

Ø       They must marry, therefore, to fulfill their God-ordained role as women and avoid the sins endemic to young unmarried and idle females 13, 14  Support by the church would give them time on their hands that probably would not be managed to the greatest edification of the body.  Paul’s command to marry stands in stark contrast to the false teachers of 4:3 who forbid marriage, and perhaps the worldly fables of “old Women” [4:7] who presented the young women with the Gnostic non-sense of female deities and the evil of entering into a marriage relationship.  This only made them prey to the natural familial and sexual desires designed for marriage, but now in their assumed celibate state, to be fulfilled outside of it.

III.                 Evaluation of Elders 17-25

A.      appropriate honor for elders – this word is used synonymously with overseer, or bishop, and is a local church officer, qualified as described in chapter 3.

1.Proper respect is included because of the goal of the task cf. 4:16

2.Sufficient pay is specifically warranted with its basis in Scripture [cf. 1 Cor. 9:8-14]  The church can transfer earthly mammon into spiritual good through the proper material support of an elder/bishop that teaches well and labors in that task.  Look at Galatians 6:6-10 for the use of monetary “seed” given to those who teach as a means of gaining spiritual harvest.  Se also the parable of the unjust steward and Jesus application from it in Luke 16:9-13.  We make friends for eternity with the unrighteous mammon.

B.       equitable discipline for elders [Timothy as an apostolic messenger ha special obligations here, but the principles for the church would still apply

1.        No purely private and prejudicial vendetta are to be given credence but only substantial accusations affirmed by two or three witnesses  19  It is not legitimate for any group in the church, including deacons , to cut a deal with a minister and entice him to leave over issues that do not rise to the level of public accusation.  A minister who leaves under such a circumstance is not teaching his people the God-revealed way of dealing with the elder.

2.        If an accusation is found to be true, and not corrected by private admonition [implication of the phrase “continue in sin”] the minister should be rebuked openly; for rebuke see Gal 2:14; Eph 5:11; 2 Cor 9:8-12;  In the case of Peter since the error was immediately admitted and corrected, no discipline was necessary nor interruptin of ministry.  Many a person can be corrected on doctrinal issues without the necessity of dismissal.  Minor errors concerning personal relationships {“He appeared to be rude to the person that asked a question.”}, perceived failure in some duties {“He does not visit the hospital enough”} may be corrected immediately and pastoral growth results.  Severe moral failure, however, or outright uncorrected heresy,  should result in accusation and dismissal.

3.        He solemnly charges Timothy to operate in the realm of truth, and not in personal preference.  Notice the invocation of God, Jesus Christ and the elect angels.  The church is the church of the living God, it is purchased with the blood of Christ and it is presently ministered to by angels, Hebrews 1:14.  The context of the charge, therefore, gives an overtone of eternal importance in consideration of how seriously the charge is given.

4.        This will be healing and protective not only to other elders but to the congregation

C.       Be careful in their [re?]admission 22

1.        He possibly is speaking of the readmission of elders in consequence of their repentance

2.        Perhaps more likely he is speaking of the care that must be taken in setting them aside initially in order to avoid the situation just contemplated

3.        Deeds, both worthy and unworthy of the office, might be evident in this life or might await revelation in the day of judgment, but all will be open 24, 25; Lk 12:2, 3

IV.                 Proper deportment of slaves  6:1, 2 [Question for consideration; could a slave be an elder?]

a.     Regard the master as Worthy of honor – not a begrudging servitude but an honorable position arranged by God’s providence.  When we consider Peter’s instructions that even unbelieving masters who are unjust should be honored ‘with all respect” how would such a view change our workplace?  If we worked in constant realization of Christ’s humiliation and of the privilege we have of emulating him, our attitudes toward difficult employment situations

b.      Believing masters should be served with even greater affection and esteem, not denigrated because of equality in the Lord

c.      Reasons

1.        name of God – ostensible devotion to God must not give an impression of carelessness toward human honor – Acts 26:2, 3, 25; 1 Peter 2:13-17

2.        truth of the gospel – cf Titus 2:1, 5, 8, 9-10; 3:1, 2

3.        seek the prosperity of other believers

V.                   Applications – Think of ways in which the Gospel and its redemptive and reconciling reality might express itself in your home, your extended family, your job, your church.