With this post, I am finishing the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to Timothy, with a few interjections and thoughts.
1 Timothy 5:17 NLT Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching.
Elder is the Greek word presbuteros. To the Jews hearing this, it was directly associated with members of the Jewish council or Sanhedrin. In early times, the rulers of the people, judges, etc., were selected from older men.) From: Thayer’s Greek Definitions
I cannot merely say this is talking about older church members, although the more senior members will probably have sage wisdom and expertise because of time and experience. The mere fact that Paul refers to these persons preaching and teaching tends to point to church leadership. Just saying the phrase “church leadership” leaves a bad taste in my mouth, as several church leaders caused me great emotional harm. Others are clearly into leadership because it holds the opportunity for significant monetary gain within the mega-churches. Apparently, with COVID 19, those days are gone.
Let’s talk about the monetary aspect for a moment. Though relatively simple in this translation, the passage tells us that those who do their work well should get paid well, especially if they are also teaching and preaching.
Can you be a teacher or preacher and be bad at it?
That seems to have possibilities, but why wouldn’t others, such as church leadership or the audience in general, weed you out if you were terrible at what you were doing?
In my own experience, our former church deacon board voted to bring on a pastor, who was primarily a Christian school administrator before coming to the church I was at back then. We know this about him because he boasted about the paddling board that hung in the Principal’s office and how often he used it. As a pastor, he was lousy. His teachings were all oriented toward acceptable business practices and principles. He refused, for at least two years, to speak of salvation and the price Christ paid for our sins at Easter. He maintained his position as the pastor for at least 15 years, and by the time he left, the church had dwindled from about 250 people to about 80.
Considered worthy is the same Greek word said twice, now go figure that out. It is the word axioō and carries the meanings of 1) to think meet, fit, right. 2) to judge worthy, deem, deserving
Double is the Greek word diplous and means two-fold: – double.
Honor means value or money paid.
The NASB tells us, all this should happen, especially for those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
Now, look once again at what I witnessed; that pastor may well feel that he was working hard. And I would never dispute that he put together a satisfactory harvest festival, but he was NOT a good preacher, nor was he a bible teacher.
1 Timothy 5:18 NLT For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.”
So the result is, the elder who is doing their job well should get paid twice what the others get paid.
Does anyone else see the potential for conflict?
Well, even if you don’t see it, it is there, for what do you use as the standard for what is good, and there were plenty of people at that little church, 80 to be precise, that thought he did a fine job.
1 Timothy 5:19 Moffatt NT (19) Never let any charge be brought against a presbyter unless it is certified by two or three witnesses.
Do you see a dominant word in this sentence?
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Well, I do, and it is the word NEVER.
The NASB puts it this way, “Do not receive an accusation against.” It almost comes across as though the pastor and the elders are somehow protected.
Only days ago, the current date is 11/13/2020, the pastor of Hillsong New York was removed and effectively fired. Wisely, they did not tell us the details but simply stated that he had a moral failure.
Another of the churches I attended announced that a particular man was coming to try out as pastor. When they mentioned his name, I retorted, I know that man. He, too, had been removed from his pulpit for a moral failure; actually, it was a rather public and catastrophic failure. Several of the men I sat with at Bible study said, we will never have this man here. I said in response, you will. In doing that, I was merely telling them what I heard the Holy Spirit say. And guess what, he was voted in, even after having an open forum and telling the audience, in response to a couple of questions, that he had passed naked pictures of himself across the internet while he was pastor at the other church. It almost seems as if the current twisted Congress had voted him, despite common sense.
The idea of never letting a charge be brought against someone like this seems absurd. Ah, but there is a reasonable solution, and it has everything to being supported by two or three witnesses (CJB.)
1 Timothy 5:20 NASB Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.
Do you get the impression that this church is out of control?
Remind yourself why Paul wrote this letter.
1 Timothy 1:3-4 NASB As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, (4) nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
Obviously, this was happening, and YOUNG Timothy has been ordained to straighten out these people in Paul’s absence. By the way, Paul may never be back.
Strange doctrines are anything we teach in opposition to what Paul taught. This makes me think that Paul was the standard for what teaching looked like. I wonder how many people actually experienced that?
“so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.”
In the last few years, there has been a cry from the 80+ crowd for sound preaching that convicts people of their sins. Having sat under this style of preaching for what seemed like forever, I can see images in my head of what that sounds like. For me, a focus on hell tends to focus you on hell. Does that make sense? Focus on the mercy and grace of God, and maybe you would long for the mercy and grace of God. In 1 Timothy 5:20, where Paul tells Timothy to rebuke them openly so that the rest will be fearful of sinning, tends to imply that the public embarrassment would be enough to stop others from sinning. I will add that the word sinning is italicized in the NASB, but if you look up the word fearful, you will find that fear is the Greek word’s intended meaning.
Wasn’t that the purpose of the stocks, public torture, meant to bring about pain and humiliation. If it is so effective, why not return to the stocks once again?
Because, as Paul told Timothy, be gentle with them. Rebuking someone publicly doesn’t sound so gentle; it is for this reason that we need to revert to the origins of the words being used, for these words were the interpreter’s idea of what was being said; that and, they were under pressure to produce a product that suited the king and the “state church.”
The word rebuke is the Greek elegchō, and it also means to confuse, admonish, convince, and reprove.
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Confute, according to Webster’s, is to disprove; to prove to be false, defective, or invalid. By argument or proof.
It sounds like this is not so much meant to humiliate, but to instruct; this is what Christian Apologists do, they confute. In this heated political atmosphere of 2020, we here in America have a young man named Charlie Kirk. He is an apologist on so many levels, including history, religion, and law. You will rarely find him losing ground in a rational argument. I used the word sane because many will try to argue, but they are merely screaming and have NO intelligent debate.
If you are going to be honest, many of these concepts and instructions seem harsh. Perhaps the rest of Paul’s instructions will relieve that tension.
1 Timothy 5:21 NLT I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the highest angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone.
So all this is to be done without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone. No one gets an advantage, and NO ONE should be abused simply because they disagree. On that note, Paul, with no other written word but the Law and the Prophets. Consider that the Holy Spirit taught him mercy and grace from those books, books that many learned to hate (I have since unlearned that hatred.) God, in the Law, did not show favorites. He was kind and showed mercy to those who followed after the Law. Alright, many have stated bickering already, as they only see God killing so many those who followed Moses out of Egypt. The problem is that “God’s people” brought Egypt along with them, which included offering their children to a made-up god called Moloch. Notice that the slaughtering of innocent babies is detestable to God, and He promised to make those who do such things pay.
“You must not murder.” Deuteronomy 5:17 NLT
The more direct approach.
Deuteronomy 18:10a NASB “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire,”
What was God talking about?
Roasting your children as sacrifices, specifically to Moloch.
How do we do it today?
We murder babies and call it women’s reproductive health.
1 Timothy 5:22 GW Don’t be in a hurry to place your hands on anyone to ordain him. Don’t participate in the sins of others. Keep yourself morally pure.
Keep in mind the story I told you of the pastor who had the moral failure. Although he went through rehab for two years under the watchful eye of a proven older pastor named Tommy Barnett, how do you know the pastor with the moral failure is right in his head? I don’t know a man that does not struggle with sexual sin in some way. If they tell you they don’t, they are lying. It is that simple. The problem is that we who have been in religion for any length of time develop an attitude that says crush them and don’t waste your time trying to get them healed up; that tends to make us want to cover up our sins with lies and deception. However, like an alcoholic, or a smoker, the drive to do those sinful things rarely leaves (By the way, gluttony is a sin, so we all need to calm down.)
Going through recovery helps, mostly because it gives you tools to fend off such problems – one of those tools is a sponsor. Sponsors come in all shapes and sizes – I am trying to make a point here, as some, from what I have been told, are harsh and demanding, while others will not press you to make right decisions.
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I am a huge man, and I often see myself as a Grizzly bear which no one wants to get near. Appearances can be deceiving, as I have lived my life as a scared human being that tries to keep unsafe people at a distance; therefore, no one would ask me to sponsor them for a couple of years.
When a young man finally did ask me to sponsor him, I told him, you know what I am like; to that, he responded, “you are exactly what I need.” I met with him weekly for several years and watched him grow in spiritual strength. Yes, he had a lot of emotional damage, but he began to learn to give it over to the Lord and set it aside.
The truth is we are all like this young man in some ways, trying to hide behind from damage that afflicts us. Is it possible then that our sins (weaknesses) could erupt to the surface?
Well certainly, and it is just a matter of patiently watching people to see if the Life in Christ is feeding the tree (we are each a tree that needs some pruning, feeding, and care.) An appropriately cared for grove of apple trees will produce good fruit, consistently, for years – well into your old age. To the point that those who know you will say you have always been stable and full of wisdom, even though the truth is, you have had your slip-ups. This is precisely what the grace and mercy of God do for us.
Now, just because you came to know the Lord doesn’t mean that junk goes away. Sin, unfortunately, is like some genetic damage, and we all have it. It motivates all of us. This inability to free ourselves of sin is why Jesus gave Himself for us, poured out His blood for us, and now sits on the right hand of the Father, continually making intercession for us. Dear Lord, we need it. He brought forgiveness before you ever accepted it, but you did, and now you eternally belong in His loving arms – no matter what the enemy does to you. Once you ask Him, He never lets you go, even if you think He did.
1 Timothy 5:24-25 GW The sins of some people are obvious, going ahead of them to judgment. The sins of others follow them there. (25) In the same way, the good things that people do are obvious, and those that aren’t obvious can’t remain hidden.
“The sins of some people are obvious, going ahead of them to judgment.” What a peculiar statement. You might think that if these people were destined for hell, their sins would precede them, which opens the door to the idea that God will destroy all evil.
If the above statement were a question, then the answer would be yes, but when will that happen?
At some point during the last battle of Revelation.
Watch this process starting in Revelation 20.
Revelation 20:3 MSG (God has dumped Satan) dumped him into the Abyss, slammed it shut, and sealed it tight. No more trouble out of him, deceiving the nations—until the thousand years are up. After that, he has to be let loose briefly.
So Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet are locked up and unable to influence people for a thousand years. You might think that there will be no sin at all during this time, but there is, and here is the proof.
Blessed are those who wash their robes so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
(Revelation 22:14-15 NASB)
Notice that this happens during the thousand-year reign of Christ. Does this mean that these people will be bullying and killing just like before? No, because this is the time of peace. Judges and this includes Jesus, will sit upon thrones judging cases and dispatching rapid justice. It is, finally, a time of peace that will reign from the beginning and throughout eternity. Isaiah 9 speaks of this.
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There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7 NASB)
All those fools and there will be myriads of them because people have been reproducing for a thousand years, not having turned their hearts to Jesus, will be deceived by Satan, just as before.
Revelation 20:7-9 NLT When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations—called Gog and Magog—in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle—a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them.
The passage above mentions those “magic” words, Gog, and Magog. Since Ezekiel 38 and 39 also speak of Gog and Magog, and the destruction or death of Gog on the hillsides of Israel, is Revelation 22 merely depicting what Ezekiel talks about?
The answer is NO, as Ezekiel, for all practical purposes, describes what appears to be a nuclear war. The reason for this thinking comes from Israel NOT touching the bodies but merely placing a marker to indicate one fallen in battle. Those who tend to the bodies do not touch them until six months is passed. I am not sure that makes sense, but then I am not a nuclear waste removal expert. There is one other thing about what Ezekiel describes; the citizens of Israel use the weapons to heat their homes for seven years. This arouses many questions, but no one has been able to answer these questions for me adequately.
This attempt at a battle against God, His city, and His people are resolved hastily once it starts.
And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:9-10 NASB)
Let’s finish off chapter five.
1 Timothy 5:25 NLT In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light.
If your bad deed can follow you, much like a reputation, then so can your good deeds. It seems that no one cares about the good things you did anymore. God does, and He will bring them to light – not for people to pat you on the back, but then that might happen during the millennial reign. There, we are to be rewarded, not punished as some would tell you; and there would be an appropriate place to make sure those deeds you did in private will come to light as a beacon of mercy and grace.
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