Because Paul loved the church he wrote to the younger pastor at Ephesus, Timothy, with many instructions on how Timothy should manage church life and various sub-groups within the church. According to 1 Timothy 5:1-16, Timothy was not only to preach the Word faithfully but show resepct and honour to all, treating older men as he would his father, younger men as his brothers, older women as he would his mother and younger women as sisters. There is an inter-generational aspect to the church that is special and unique. But Timothy was also to especially care for and help the widows in his congregation. With no pensions or other social security offered to them, their needs were great. The church is to be a place where people ‘be the church’ to each other. Our witness to the world only begins when we truly show the love of Christ to one another.
The verses of 1 Timothy 4:11-16 form some of Paul’s main instructions to Timothy as a younger pastor of the church at Ephesus, describing the kind of ministry Timothy was to exercise over his flock. It is very clear from what Paul wrote that of the many things Timothy was expected to do, the main calling upoon his time and energies was to be given to preaching and teaching the Word of God. This was not to be done in a vaccuum or with no reference to the needs of his people and was also something that Timothy would need to do to himself. He would need to ensure that his own faith, discipleship and service for the Lord were all an example for the rest of the flock to follow. These instructions of Paul’s are also applicable to all God’s people, whether they preach or not. All are called to model the gospel of Christ to a watching world.
1 Timothy 4:9-10 forms the third of Paul’s five ‘faithful sayings’ that are found in the Pastoral Epistles. These ‘faithful sayings’ were truths that Timothy, and other young pastors like him, could trust and depend on. This particular faithful saying deals with hope. On the one hand, by it, Paul gave Timothy hope, reminding him that the believer’s hope in this world is to be fixed on God and Him alone. Paul also spoke of hope for the world by reminding Timothy that the saving power of Jesus and the fruit that the gospel brings is not limited to Timothy’s area but includes the whole world. And then Paul also gave all believers hope by reminding Timothy that the Lord Jesus is especially the Saviour of ‘all who believe’. We love Him because He first loved us and God’s people, His Church, know Him because of what the Apostles taught and because of our experience of His grace.
Because the Apostle Paul cared about and loved the Word of God, the truth, in 1 Timothy 4:6-8 he gave Timothy the responsibility of proving himself to be a ‘good servant of Jesus’. This was not something to unique to Timothy, but is for all believers. As a good servant of Jesus, Timothy was to be very careful; to watch out for and guard his flock from the error of the false teachers, yet he was also to nourish himself and his flock on the ‘solid’ food of God’s Word. And rather than spend his days at the gym doing physical training, Timothy was to apply himself to spiritual training, exrecising discipline over his body, applying himself to growing in godliness and building up the flock by his own example. All of God’s people are called to grow in this way. It takes time and effort, but the eternal rewards are better than any gain from physical exercise alone.
Because the Apostle Paul cared about and loved the Church, he warned Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:1-5, that days would be coming when people would turn away from the faith and that this would take place in the ‘last days’. One notable fall from faith has been Billy Graham’s former co-evangelist, Charles Templeton, who now denies that Jesus is the Christ. There are many factors that contribute to this, but the one that Paul speaks of in the text is the way in which people give time and attention to listening to false teaching. Not all who speak for God do so with accuracy or honesty. And just as Timothy was to guard his people against this, so also God’s people today need to be careful with what they hear and stay within the ‘safe paths’ of God’s Word. To wander off those paths is to court with spiritual danger.
Because the Apostle Paul cared about and loved the Church, he went to great lengths in 1 Timothy 3:14-16 to ensure that Timothy also continued in that same vein. After instructing Timothy in what to look for as in those he sought to appoint as elders and deacons, Paul then wrote of the way he expected Timothy and the other believers at Ephesus to conduct themselves as the Church, the household of God. As the household of God, the Church represents God on earth and therefore its conduct must always be ‘above reproach ‘. As well as that, if the Church is the ‘pillar and foundation of the truth’ then the truth of God’s Word cannot be let go at any stage. And because Jesusis the Head of the Church, the Church must always proclaim Him, crucfied, risen and ascended again to the whole world. The challenge for God’s people in this world is to be the Church’ not just ‘go to Church’.
Because Timothy needed to strengthen the Church at Ephesus, Paul gave him explicit instructions in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 about the role and qualifications of those who would be chosen to serve as elders and deacons of the church family. These roles are not just for any man who puts up his hand for the job, but are for those whom Timothy might discern as being spiritually mature men who live lives that are above reproach, have shown they can manage their family well and can teach the truth of the Word of God. Such men could be trusted with the tasks of leadership in the Church and such men would require extra prayer because being in the service of the King and closer to Him, they would be targets of the enemy.
Because Paul’s letter to Timothy was written in order to help this young pastor get the church at Ephesus back on track, after writing of the priority of prayer and God’s intent and actions to save all kinds of people through Jesus, Paul then continued in his instructions to Timothy about men and women in the church. According to 1 Timothy 2:12-15, Paul did not allow women to have teaching and ruling roles in the church over men. Though he has been much maligned because of this, Paul meant what he wrote for two reasons, both of which have been around since creation. God made man (Adam) before woman (Eve) and it was the woman (Eve) who was deceived before the man (Adam), though it could be argued that Adam should also bear the brunt of that blame! Because God has left only two institutions on earth – the church and marriage – both reflect the same design where men lead and teach and women follow while both men and women can belong to God’s family by coming to Jesus as repentant sinners
Because Paul’s letter to Timothy was written in order to help this young pastor get the church at Ephesus back on track, after writing of the priority of prayer and God’s intent and actions to save all kinds of people through Jesus, Paul then gave Timothy instructions about the special callings of men and women in the church in 1 Timothy 2:8-11. The men were particularly encouraged to put aside anger and violence and lift holy hands to God in prayer. The women too were encouraged to see beauty as something that is from within rather than an outward show of ‘bling’. As well, the women were to be respectful in worship by their attentiveness to what is taught from God’s Word. In all of these actions, Jesus, the head of the Church is glorified as men and women combine their separate callings as part of God’s Church.
After reminding Timothy of the fact that we are to pray because God is in ultimate control of all world leaders and because he is the only God there is, in 1 Timothy 2:4-7, Paul reminded Timothy that we can only approach God through the one Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Though we live in a pluralistic world which maintains there are many roads to God, there is only one way of approach that God has ordained. God esteems all mankind to be lost, however He desires all kinds of people to come to Him to be saved through Jesus. The gospel is for the whole world but has a very narrow focus and a singular entry point. The Apostle Peter said, ‘There is only one name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:12)