March 27, 2011 Sunday School Lesson
1Timothy 5:1-8, 17-22
The Apostle Paul taught Timothy to confront sin wherever and in whomever it occurred. In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul wrote that the young preacher should “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
To rebuke someone is to confront a person about his sins. However, there are special considerations when we rebuke. For example, those considerations include where the rebuke is made. Sometimes it is best done privately, and at other times it is better that it be done publicly.
Another consideration regards the age of the person who is being rebuked for his sins. God’s Word is clear that respect is due to elderly people. The writer of Proverbs said, “Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.”
With this is in mind, there is perhaps a better understanding of Paul when he wrote, “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father.” If an elderly person sins, a younger person should speak gently to him as if he were speaking to his own father.
When rebuking younger men, Paul said to treat them as if they are brothers. A brother would know that he was being rebuked in a godly way because Timothy had his best spiritual interest at heart.
In the same way treat the women with the same rules of consideration as the men, Paul said. Deal with an elderly woman as if she were your mother and younger women as if they were your sisters. This is wisdom, that if practiced, will always be sufficient for every circumstance.
In those days, there were some widows who lived under the care of the church. Those were women without means of support. Honor, them, Paul wrote, because they needed the compassion and concern of the church.
There was, however, a distinction among widows since some had no families and others had families who were able contribute to their support. Let those families practice charity toward their widowed mother or aunt, supporting her financially, and not leaving this to the church. It is good for family members to help the widow, and Paul wrote that it is “good and acceptable before God.”
To ignore the needs of family members who cannot provide for themselves is a denial of the faith.
Paul told Timothy to “observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.” Christians ought to strive to treat everyone fairly, not pre-judging them, and dealing with them as a people who allow ourselves to be vessels of lovingkindness under the direction of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church, Lumberton, N.C. email@example.com