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Sermons From First Timothy - The Care Of Widows (5:3-16)


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                     "THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"
                      The Care Of Widows (5:3-16)
INTRODUCTION
1. In the New Testament church, the care of widows was an important
   concern...
   a. The church at Jerusalem made sure none were neglected - cf. Ac 6:
      1-7
   b. James described caring for widows as "pure and undefiled religion"
      - Ja 1:27
   c. Paul charged Timothy to "Honor widows who are really widows"
      - 1 Ti 5:3
2. Yet it was not a responsibility simply to be thrust upon the
   church...
   a. The local church has its limitations
   b. Family members have their obligations
   c. Even widows themselves bear some responsibility
[In the text for this study, 1 Ti 5:3-16, the apostle Paul instructs
Timothy regarding "The Care Of Widows."  We first note the care to be
given widows...]
I. BY THEIR FAMILIES
   A. TO SHOW PIETY AT HOME...
      1. "...let them first learn to show piety at home" - 1 Ti 5:4
      2. "The word is commonly used to denote piety toward God, but it
         is also used to denote proper reverence and respect for a
         parent." - Robinson
      3. This is one way that children "honor" their parents - cf. Ep 6:
         1-2
   B. TO REPAY THEIR PARENTS...
      1. "and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable
         before God" - 1 Ti 5:4
      2. Think of the care and sacrifice parents make for their children
      3. "This debt can never be wholly repaid, but still a child should
         feel it a matter of sacred obligation to do as much toward it
         as possible." - Barnes
   C. TO PROFESS TRUE FAITH...
      1. Refusal to provide for one's own family is a denial of true
         religion - 1 Ti 5:8; cf. Ja 1:27
      2. Even unbelievers care for their own:  "Every man should take
         care of his own family" - Cicero
      3. Dare we do any less?
[Families should care for their widows, for "widows indeed" are those
who are left alone and trust in God through prayers night and day (1 Ti
5:5).  They are certainly not ones who "live in pleasure" (1 Ti 5:6-7),
of which Paul will say more later.  Next Paul writes of the care given
to "widows indeed"...]
II. BY THE CHURCH
   A. THEY MAY BE TAKEN "INTO THE NUMBER"...
      1. I.e., included on a list of those cared for by the church
         - 1 Ti 5:9; cf. Ac 6:1-7
      2. From the qualifications (see below), some conclude these widows
         would be given special duties to fulfill for the church
      3. Since it was not uncommon for the church to provide for its own
         on special occasions (cf. Ac 4:34-35), this appears to be list
         for those given long-term care by the church
   B. PROVIDED QUALIFICATIONS WERE MET...
      1. Over sixty years old, the reasons for which given later - 1 Ti
         5:9
      2. The wife of one man - 1 Ti 5:9
         a. Assumed by many to mean one husband at a time
         b. Otherwise Paul would later tell younger widows to do that
            which disqualify them for any help in the future - cf. 1 Ti
            5:14
      3. Well reported for good works - 1 Ti 5:10; cf. Dorcas, Ac 9:
         36-39
         a. Brought up children
         b. Lodged strangers
         c. Washed the saints' feet
         d. Relieved the afflicted
         e. Diligently followed every good work
[Such qualifications were required because the church does not have the
ability to help everyone (cf. 1 Ti 5:16).  For younger widows
especially, Paul writes of the care given to widows...]
III. BY THEMSELVES
   A. YOUNGER WIDOWS ARE TO BE REFUSED...
      1. The church is not take younger widows "into the number" - 1 Ti
         5:11; cf. 5:9
         a. That is, into long term care by the church
         b. Though short term care might be provided along with others
      2. Reasons to refuse younger widow
         a. They will want to remarry, forsaking the commitment expected
            of those taken into the number - 1 Ti 5:11-12
         b. They will become idle gossips and busybodies, saying and
            doing things they should not - 1 Ti 5:13; cf. 2 Th 3:11;
            1 Pe 4:15
   B. YOUNGER WIDOWS ARE ENCOURAGED TO REMARRY...
      1. This is what Paul "desires", it is his opinion or counsel
         - 1 Ti 5:14
      2. For younger widows to marry, bear children, manage the
         household - cf. Ti 2:4-5
      3. To give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully
         - cf. Ti 2:5,8
      4. For some have already turned aside to Satan - 1 Ti 5:15; cf. Ph
         3:18-19
CONCLUSION
1. "The Care Of Widows" should be an important concern for us today...
   a. Such care is a mark of pure religion
   b. Such care is an expression of due respect toward those who have
      done so much
2. Yet the church has many obligations, it cannot afford to become
   burdened by this one - 1 Ti 5:16
   a. For this reason families must accept their responsibilities
   b. Younger widows must accept their own responsibility
   c. Today, even governmental assistance is often available
For those who are "really widows", left alone, trusting in God, and who
meet the qualifications listed in our text, then "The Care Of Widows" is
a duty not to be neglected by the Lord's church...
 



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