Sunday, September 30, 2012

1 Timothy 5:20-21

Summary retelling of 1 Timothy 5:20-21

Paul tells Timothy that he should rebuke sinful behavior.  He even tells Timothy to do it so that others might be take the Christian path seriously in their own life.  Then Paul tells Timothy that he needs to be careful when acting in this kind of authority.  Timothy needs to act without partiality and without prejudging.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul’s words are clear.  Rebuke sinful behavior.  Now, this doesn’t mean we need to do it maliciously.  We don’t need to be mean and offensive.  However, we do need to make sure that we assert a godly agenda to life.  We need to make sure that we let others know of expectations – God’s expectations.  We need to be confident and rise up to defend the idea that God’s ways are better than our own ways.

Why is it important to stay strong about resisting sinful behavior in a community?  What are some strategies that you can use to remain strong?  Why should we be careful to not be mean or malicious when rebuking sin?

Second Thought:
Paul tells Timothy to be sure to rebuke sin “in order that the rest should have fear.”  Literally, this is what the Greek says.  However, we need to remember that Biblically speaking fear doesn’t only mean “afraid.”  In the Bible, fear means a mix of fear and awe.  We do need to teach people to have a genuinely healthy respect for God.  We also need to make sure people understand just how serious God takes our response to Him.  We don’t want people to be afraid of God; neither do we want people to think that because of grace what we do doesn’t matter.

Is it easy to make people afraid of God?  Is it easy to give the idea that because of grace we can do whatever we want?  Who in your life has been able to walk this balance?  How can you learn from those people who have come before you who have been able to genuinely instill awe of God’s ways without driving you straight into fear of God?

Third Thought:
Paul points out to Timothy that being impartial is very important.  It is important to stay strong.  It is also important to do so with consistency.  It is important to not go into a situation with your mind already made up.  It is important to not play favorites.  People need to know that they can trust their leaders so that when issues do come up they believe that the issue being dealt with is being done in their own best interest.  If we want to lead – and be respected in that leadership – we absolutely must be fair and consistent in our leadership.

What happens when leaders are not fair?  What happens when leaders are not open to hearing all sides and motivations behind actions?  What happens to people when they don’t believe that they can trust their leadership?

Passage for Tomorrow: 1 Timothy 5:22-25
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