Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes -

1 Timothy: God's Ministry Roles For Church Leaders And The Local Church
Part XVI: Understanding A Church Leader's Biblical Way To Relate To Other People
B. A Church Leader's Responsibilities Relative To The Truly Financially Helpless
(1 Timothy 5:3-16)
  1. Introduction
    1. Especially with our current "Great Recession," many people are experiencing significant difficulty in earning a livelihood, and, in a few cases, some find it truly impossible to make an adequate livelihood.
    2. At times the truly financially helpless can include believers, and 1 Timothy 5:3-16 instructs us on if and how the local church is responsible to bear their livelihood needs, a lesson we do well to heed as follows:
  2. A Church Leader's Responsibilities Relative To The Truly Financially Helpless, 1 Timothy 5:3-16.
    1. Paul's 1 Timothy 5:3-16 directives concerning widows applies to all truly financially helpless believers:
      1. "(T)he lot of the widow seems to have been a very hard one in Biblical times" (Zon. Pict. Ency. Bib., vol. Five, p. 928): she had lost her husband and provider, she had no skill or experience to earn a living in business in her era, and she often lacked the youth to be a laborer in Ancient Near Eastern societies.
      2. So, for our application, we can apply the term "widow" here to any truly financially helpless believer.
    2. Thus, in 1 Timothy 5:3, Paul called Timothy to lead the church to support truly worthy, financially helpless believers, a concept he more fully explained in 1 Timothy 5:4-8 as follows:
      1. If a needy believer had believing relatives who could help, the relatives were to help them, 1 Tim. 5:4.
      2. Truly worthy financially helpless believers always hope in God and pray for His help, 1 Tim. 5:5 NIV.
      3. However, unworthy widows, financially hurting believers who are unworthy of the local church's livelihood support, live in self-indulgence and are thus spiritually dead as they live, 1 Tim. 5:6 ESV.
      4. A pastor like Timothy is to command and teach these truths so that all involved might be above reproach, that the testimony of all involved, including the local church, not be harmed, 1 Timothy 5:7.
      5. However, if believers who had the ability to make a livelihood did not support their financially helpless believing relative, they had denied the faith in ruining their testimony, and were worse than unbelievers who at least would support their needy relatives, 1 Timothy 5:8.
    3. This discussion leads to the question of who is truly worthy of the local church's financial support as a financially helpless believer, so Paul provides that answer in 1 Timothy 5:9-13 (as follows):
      1. A truly worthy financially helpless believer is described in 1 Timothy 5:9-10 as (a) one who has entered a state in life where he is not humanly capable of earning a livelihood, 1 Timothy 5:9a. (b) He also has been faithful to his marital partner (1 Timothy 5:9b), (c) he has a record of godly works like ((1)) having properly reared his children, ((2)) shown hospitality, ((3)) humbly helped other believers (washing the feet), ((4)) cared for the afflicted and ((5)) been devoted to every good work, 1 Tim. 5:10.
      2. However, a believer not worthy of the church's support is described in 1 Timothy 5:11-13 as (a) one who can solve his livelihood need via a Biblically-sanctioned means so he can obtain livelihood support (like a young widow who can remarry, 1 Timothy 5:11) and (b) who is vulnerable to heeding godless lusts so as to sin and hurt the testimony of the church that supports him, 1 Timothy 5:11-13.
    4. Paul's solution for the needy who can help themselves is that they change their lot in life to gain the support they need (1 Timothy 5:14) that they not turn aside into sin and following Satan, 1 Timothy 5:15.
    5. Also, those who can support their financially needy relatives must do so to unburden the local church in being better able to support the truly worthy, financially helpless believers in their midst, 1 Timothy 5:16.
Lesson: God wants financially needy believers to have their needs met first by Biblically changing their lot in life to gain livelihood provisions, and, if that is not possible, to see believing relatives who are able to address their needs support them so the church will be able to help truly worthy, financially helpless believers. Those qualifying as worthy for local church financial support must be unable to earn a living or to gain a livelihood by changing their lot in life or have no believing relatives able to support them, and have a good marital and family record, and a record of faithful ministry unto other believers.

Application: May we all adhere to this guidance that our testimony as a local church be upheld.