ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRUST
Lord, allow me to interact with total impartiality within and without the church.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 5:17—6:2
17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.
22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.
6 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.
False Teachers and the Love of Money
These are the things you are to teach and insist on.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Pray for those who lead in your church. Ask God to show you how to pray for them in any private battles they may have.
Restoring proper relationships within God’s household is the primary focus of today’s passage. Paul is concerned to restore a proper respect for those who hold leadership positions (“elders” in verse 17 possibly covers both overseers and deacons).
The removal of some leaders from office because of false teaching will have shaken church members. Their replacements have not yet been found and those appointed will find trust initially in short supply. Given this, Paul urges respect for those who preach and teach, an especially critical role as the Gospel is once again proclaimed where false teaching has had a foothold (17). That respect should extend to financial support as these elders give themselves to their special work (18).
Given the recent turbulence and the possible resentment at Paul’s decisive action, Timothy is to be on guard against false allegations, perhaps from disgruntled supporters of deposed leaders: only a serious and corroborated allegation will be considered (19). However, Timothy has to follow through on the other side of restoring trust as well. If he has to defend the leaders, he must also defend the people. If an accusation is proven, Timothy must publicly censure even the most visible of leaders: church members need to see discipline applied to all, even to those Timothy himself has appointed (21). Church leaders need to understand that they will be held accountable and must honor the Lord in the way they lead (20). The requirement to restore trust in leadership in a church that has been shaken means that Timothy must be cautious over whom he places in authority (22), using discernment and allowing the truth of people’s character and motives to emerge (24,25).
We have become so individualistic that many struggle to be accountable to anyone. How is the need for accountable relationships expressed in your discipleship (e.g., small group, prayer triplet)?
Lord, please keep our leadership straight, always reminding them of their higher degree of accountability before You.
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