Higgins Lake Baptist Church
Kevin A. Pierpont
In his book, The Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren makes a very simple yet profound statement. He says this; “People are not looking for a friendly church as much as they are looking for friends.” 1
This is something we’re going to be thinking about more as we discuss what it is the Lord would have us be as a church. We are going to have to realize that we can be a friendly church and still not meet the basic needs of those who decide to visit Higgins Lake Baptist Church.
What we will need to understand in the days ahead is that we are going to need to be a friend to people if we want them to meet our Savior. We all have many felt needs. We feel like we need certain things to be happy, to be satisfied in life. But what we all really need is Jesus Christ in our lives and to live in obedience to Him. We are going to have to help meet people’s needs, as friends do, if we truly want to impact them for Christ. If we aren’t able to show ourselves as being willing to be a friend, develop a caring relationship, we may lose the opportunity to minister to others real needs; the need for a Savior!
The truth is that without Christ we cannot truly live life in contentment. To minister to peoples real needs we’ll not only need to be a friendly church on Sunday but we’ll need to be willing to be friends with folks on Monday through Saturday if we want to reach people for Christ.
Let’s remember this today as we look at how Timothy was instructed to conduct himself in his relationships with those in the church in 1 Timothy 5:1-2.
Let’s understand something important. The church is a family. We know that God is concerned with the way we get along in our families. There are passages that instruct us in God’s Word as to how we conduct ourselves as fathers, husbands, mothers, wives and children. Just as God has instructed us how to get along in our families, He has also given us direction in getting along with our church family.
Getting along with others is important in the church. We are going to look at some guidelines that Paul gave Timothy to help him as he related to others and apply them to ourselves. Look at 1 Timothy 5:1, 2.
5:1 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers,
2 older women as mothers, younger as sisters, with all purity.
The story is told of a little old lady named Mamie who made frequent trips to the neighborhood post office. One day she arrived to find a long line of people who were waiting for service from the postal clerks. Mamie only needed stamps, so a helpful observer asked, “Why don’t you use the stamp machine? You can get all the stamps you need and you won’t have to stand in line.” Mamie said, “I know, but the machine can’t ask me about my arthritis.” (Source unknown)
We all want someone to care about us and our difficulties don’t we?
“On her 80th birthday, a woman from Brooklyn decided to prepare her last will and testament. She went to her pastor to make two final requests. First, she insisted on cremation.
“What is your second request?” the pastor asked.
“I want my ashes scattered over Bloomingdale’s.”
“Then I’ll be sure that my daughters will visit me twice a week.”
Woodrow Kroll in his book Lessons on Living From Moses: Living in the Valleys, comments that…
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of truth in that humor. In Japan, for instance, a company is offering actors to play the part of family members. The actors will visit elderly parents as surrogates for the real family members. In Oakland, California, a 62-year-old man who could neither walk nor talk was found abandoned on a flight from El Paso, Texas. A note was pinned to his clothing saying he needed medical attention.”
We live in a society where many do not show respect for those who are older. We live in a culture that tends to worship youth and disregard what the older generation might have to teach us. God’s word takes a different view of those who are older, Leviticus 19:32 (NLT) says,
Show your fear of God by standing up in the presence of elderly people and showing respect for the aged. I am the LORD.
Proverbs 16:31 – Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.
Righteousness is rewarded with longevity. This proverb presents the ideal, of course, for the saying does not include evil old men. While [Proverbs 16:31] presents a simplified observation, there is something commendable about old age that can remember a long walk with God through life and can anticipate unbroken fellowship with him in glory. 2
What Leviticus and Proverbs point out is noteworthy. Those who have lived a long life are worthy of our respect.
John MacArthur has said that a…
“General regard for people in their senior years is of grave concern to God. How you treat your father is a matter for God to even discuss in the Commandments, the Ten Commandments. In fact, the death penalty was required for disrespect, for hitting, striking your father or mother or for cursing your father or mother according to Exodus chapter 22…chapter 21 verses 15 and 17. Those who are older are to be treated with kindness and love and honor and respect.
So when you confront an older man because of his sin, you do it graciously. You come alongside and appeal to him with the respect that you would give to a father.”
Listen to 1 Tim. 5:1 (NASB) again,
1 Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers
Matthew Henry said,
Here the apostle gives rules to Timothy, and in him to other ministers, in reproving. Ministers are reprovers by office; it is a part, though the least pleasing part, of their office; they are to preach the word, to reprove and rebuke, 2 Tim. 4:2. A great difference is to be made in our reproofs, according to the age, quality, and other circumstances, of the persons rebuked; thus, and elder in age or office must be entreated as a father; on some have compassion, making a difference, Jude 22. Now the rule is, 1. To be very tender in rebuking elders-elders in age, elders by office. Respect must be had to the dignity of their years and place, and therefore they must not be rebuked sharply nor magisterially; but Timothy himself, though an evangelist, must entreat them as fathers, for this would be the likeliest way to work upon them, and to win upon them.
Paul wasn’t telling Timothy he should never correct an older man, but he was making it clear that respect should be shown for his age and it should be done with kindness and in a gentle manner. What was true for Timothy is applicable to all pastors and extends to all of us in the family of God. God’s word makes it clear that we are to honor our fathers and to respect those who are older. Timothy was encouraged to treat older men in his congregation as fathers. Older men are given a special status in God’s household and because of that we need to be respectful in the way we treat them and treat them as we would our fathers.
In the second part of verse one, Paul instructs Timothy in the way he should treat younger men – he is to treat younger men as brothers.
I often remind my sons that as brothers they have a special relationship. They can and should enjoy friendship with one another. My boys enjoy playing together. They are companions for one another. There are certainly times when they don’t get along but there is also a special bond they enjoy and they have lots of fun and good times together.
When Paul instructs Timothy to treat younger men as brothers, he is reminding them of the family relationship in the church, once again. Younger men are not Timothy’s enemies but his brothers. There is to be care, concern and respect shown for them just as we would care for our flesh and blood brothers. There have been times in my life when there was a concern I needed advice or encouragement over. In those times I went to my brothers and communicated openly and honestly what was on my heart. I felt safe and secure in opening up to my brothers and seeking their advice. That is the way it should be in the body of Christ. Among the younger men there should be a close relationship like that of brothers in a family. When we treat one another in this way, we deepen our relationships with each other.
My brothers know many of my flaws as I do theirs. We have seen each other at our best and worst. But no matter what, we will always be brothers. Nothing can break the family bond we share. As brothers in Christ, we also share a bond that cannot be broken. If we are recognizing our relationship as brothers, we will be concerned for one another, we will seek to encourage and edify one another.
Timothy was to treat older men as fathers, and younger men as brothers. Verse 2 speaks to how Timothy was to relate to women. Paul tells Timothy to treat older women as mothers.
Often the advice is given to a young lady considering whether or not to marry a man to watch how he treats his mother. If he treats her well and with respect, then that is probably a good indication that he will treat his wife properly. If he doesn’t treat his mother well, then it’s likely he’ll not treat his wife well either.
Here are a couple of men who had deep respect and love for their mothers:
“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.” — Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” — George Washington (1732-1799)
The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:28 is described this way,
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her
We see that her children call her blessed. They respect and value the role of their Godly mother. As we grow and mature, we become aware of the many sacrifices made on our behalf by our mother. A fitting response to that is to honor and respect our mother, isn’t it? We certainly should treat our mothers in a way that is appropriate to their role and influence in our lives.
Paul instructs Timothy to treat older women as mothers. Because of their standing as older women in the church, they deserve to be treated in the same respectful way we treat our mothers.
Have you ever noticed during a televised football game or other sporting event, when the camera zooms in on a player on the sideline, how he mouths the words, “Hi, Mom”? Have you ever seen an athlete say, “Hi, Dad”? No – it’s always “Hi, Mom”. A mother has a special place in his heart and he wants everyone to know that she is special to him.
It should be the same in the church. We need to treat the older women in the same respectful way that we treat our mothers.
Also in verse 2 Paul instructs Timothy to treat younger women as sisters, with all purity.
Ron Hutchcraft comments on this phrase, “treat younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”
That is not how our culture tells young men to treat young women. It’s more like “treat the younger women as conquests . . . as lovers, or something like that.” God says they should be treated as your SISTERS.
What does that mean? To tease them mercilessly? Argue with them? I don’t think so. The love of a brother for a sister is, after all is said and done, PROTECTIVE LOVE.
Now THAT is the heart of real manhood. Protecting a woman from being hurt, being used, being exploited, being devalued – especially by you. There is a critical shortage of that kind of manhood. The man who steps up to this kind of brotherness is a rare treasure – and like anything rare, he is very valuable. He stands head and shoulders above all the other men who are much more takers than givers.
How does this brotherness work out practically? It means that a young man focuses on developing friendships with women, not romances.
If you’re a young man, you need some SISTERS! Treat her like family – God’s family . . . like your sister. The manliest men in the world are the men with whom a woman can know she’s safe . . . that she’s respected . . . that she’s treasure to be protected from anything that could spoil her.
Every sister needs that kind of brother. Let it be you. 3
I remember Carolyn telling me of a time when she, as a teen was going to a youth fellowship and riding in a car with a couple of older teen girls. It was a snowy night and as they were traveling on I-69 they hit a slippery overpass. The car fish-tailed and nearly lost control. They ended up stopped on the side of the road. Moments later, Carolyn’s older brother came along in the car he was driving and insisted that Carolyn get out of that car and ride with him. Why did he do that? Because he was her older brother and felt a certain protective concern for her. For one thing, he knew that if something happened to his sister, he would ultimately answer to his father. The same thing is true for us as younger men in the church. As we relate to younger women, we need to do so as sisters. We need to have a protective concern for them because we too have a heavenly Father who is watching us and our relationships with one another.
Not only does Paul instruct Timothy to treat younger women as sisters, he also goes on to say “with all purity.” He was to make absolutely certain that his behavior toward younger women was always above reproach and pure.
God is concerned with the way we treat each other in the church. Paul clearly instructed Timothy in how he was to conduct himself with older people and with younger people. He gave clear instructions on his conduct with men and women. The church is a family. We are to treat older men as fathers and younger men as brothers. We are to treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters.
How do we measure up to God’s Word? Do we treat older people with the honor due them? Or has the culture crept into our lives? Are we disrespectful of those who have lived longer? We can gain much wisdom from those who have experienced more years on this earth than we have. Often times young women today will go to their pediatrician for the latest parenting advice or to the latest book with the newest techniques on raising children. But Scripture gives us a different pattern. In Titus 2:3-5 it says:
3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
God’s design is for the older women to teach the younger women. Why? Because they have a wealth of experience from their years. They have “been there, done that.” They are the real experts. It’s easy to understand why God expects us to treat older women as mothers and older men as fathers. They deserve our respect and if we are not respecting them as we should, we are displeasing our Father in heaven who has made it clear how we are to treat them.
From today’s passage, we also learn that younger men are to be treated as brothers. It speaks of a special bond and close relationship. We need to be concerned for one another just as we would those in our family. We also learned that younger women are to be treated as sisters. We live in a society where there are many problems with the way men and women relate to each other. We need to guard our relationships with younger women in the church. We need to treat them and be protective of them as we would our sisters.
We all have our own role in the family of God. Some of us are older and we need to treat those who are, like mothers and fathers. Some of us are younger and we need to treat one another like brothers and sisters.
We hear a lot about dysfunctional families and the chaos that results. Let’s see to it that our church is characterized by healthy family relationships. A family that is seeking to please the Lord, where parents are respected and genuine concern is shown for each other, is a great testimony isn’t it? People take notice when a Godly family shines its light. It can help draw others to Christ. That is how it works in the church as well. If we are living as a family according to God’s guidelines, others take note. They will long to have what we have and to know the Savior we know.