The Work of the Church

January 17, 2007

My pastor has been doing a series in 1 Timothy. He has been going through it for more than a year now. He preached on 1 Tim. 5:3-16 a while ago, but I still wanted to share it with you. You can listen to his sermons at Christ Reformed Baptist Church and click on the Sermons link.

The passage is this:
1 Timothy 5:3-16:
3 Honor widows who are truly widows.
4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.
5 She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day,
6 but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.
7 Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach.
8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband,
10 and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. 11But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry
12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith.
13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.
14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.
15 For some have already strayed after Satan.
16 If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are really widows.

He spoke of how the church is to be the provider for widows who have no family, and are responsible, and are righteous. There is a whole other sermon that he preached on that, but he spoke of something else today.

He spoke of how the world looks at the church as a “charity”. He gave an example of how a lady had called him this week to ask if there was anyone at our church who could come and clean her house for her. It is absurd to think that the church ought to provide for the needs of everyone! Yet many churches succum to this notion!

The purpose of the church is not to be beneficiary to all, but to be a “light in the darkness”, and a “city upon a hill”. We are to take the Gospel to the world and give it to them, not money or other things. Acts 3 says:

Acts 3:1-10:
1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.
3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.
4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”
5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.
6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God,
10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Peter did not have silver or gold to give to the man. Even if he did have money, he would not have given him any. Peter, as an apostle, set the example that the church should follow. We are not to give money, food, and clothing to the world, but we are to provide for our own who need providing for, and to give them what they truly need: Jesus Christ!

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