1Timothy 5:1-2 says, “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; (2) The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.” This week we will finish our series on Christian relationships. So far, we have looked at husband and wife, parent and child, and employer/employee relationships. We will now look at congregational relationships between each other, as well as between pastor and flock. Let’s get into God’s Word.
In 1Tim 5:1, the term elder is not referring to the office of an elder (pastor, shepherd, bishop), but rather to the aged man. Though these verses are addressed to young Pastor Timothy in context, they are applicable to the whole church. Lev 19:32 says, “You shall rise up before the gray head, and honor the face of the old man, and fear your God…” The old men in the church are to be respected. They are to be treated the way our fathers are to be treated - with reverence, respect, and honor. Even if they are in the wrong, they are to be respectfully persuaded, rather than rebuked as a child.
The younger men are to be treated as brothers in Christ. They should not be despised, nor looked at in an impure way by the opposite sex in the church. They are your brother. The older women are to be treated as a mother. Mothers are to be respected an honored in the home; so the older women in the church are to be treated the same way. The beauty (splendor, magnificence) of the aged is the gray head, and the glory of the young is their strength (Prv 20:29).
The young women in the church are to be treated as sisters – with all purity. The young women are not to be looked at in a sexual or impure way. They are your sisters in Christ. You look at them as you would your own sister. It is true that the church is the best place to find a spouse; however, the idea is that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ first of all. If a man and woman (of appropriate age, of course) have a Christian friendship that over time grows into something more, then that is acceptable to God – but we are not to go to church to “pick people up”, so to speak.
The Bible says to flee youthful lusts (2Tim 2:22). Run away from it. Avoid all appearance of evil (1Thess 5:22). Don’t set yourself up for sin by not taking control of your thoughts. You must think it before you do it. The battlefield is your mind, and you will win or lose in life between your ears. As a man thinks in his heart, so he is. Control your thoughts, and you control your life.
A pastor’s responsibility is to study, pray, feed the flock of God, and oversee the church (2Tim 2:15, Acts 6:4, Jn 21:15-17, 1Pt 5:2). He is to do it because he wants to, not because he has to; and not for greedy gain. He is not to be a controller or manipulator, but lead by example (1Pt 5:3, 1Tim 4:12). The Holy Spirit gives him this authority, Jesus gives him this gift, and The Father lays out the qualifications (Act 20:28, Eph 4:11-12, 1Tim 3:1-7). He is to do the work of the ministry, bringing the saints to completion and building up the body of Christ. He is to be a watchman, and guard the flock against false teachers and false doctrine.
The congregation is to follow the pastor’s example, as he follows Christ. They are to willingly submit to his authority, and obey what he says - so far as it is in line with God’s Word. The pastor is to be esteemed very highly in love for the sake of his work. When he speaks, preaches, or teaches from the Bible; it is to be received by the congregation as God speaking directly to them, and not as the words of a man. If a church member refuses to hear and obey God’s Word from the pastor, the church should not keep company with that person, that they may be ashamed of themselves - and hopefully repent (Php 4:9, Heb 13:7, 17, 1Thess 2: 13, 5:12-13, 2Thess 3:14, 1Pt 1:25).
This series on Christian relationships is not at all popular today – even in the church. Terms like “love unconditionally, humble yourself, submit, obey, etc.”, cause the flesh to rare up in opposition. However, this is God’s eternal Word. If you reject it, you reject God – for He and His Word are one (Jn 1:1). Those who are truly born again disciples of Christ embrace God’s Word with gladness, and seek to apply it to every part of their lives – even the hard parts. I pray this series has encouraged you to come up to a higher level in your Christian walk. Knowledge of Spiritual truth and practical application in the Christian’s life are never to be separated. They are one in the same. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord (Philp 4:4)!