Jump Start # 2620
1 Timothy 5:21 “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.”
The words within our verse today have a very serious tone to them. It’s a call to order. Timothy was charged in the presence of God and His angels to keep the principles Paul had laid upon him. Contextually, the subject is dealing with elders who lead God’s people. A positive and a negative are found here. Those that are doing well, deserve honor. Some may even be paid for what they are doing. But then there are those who are not doing well. There is sin among them. People know. Accusations are made. Leaders are not perfect. Some would rather stay in the sin than change. Those leaders that refused to change would be rebuked by Timothy. Then comes our verse about keeping these principles without partiality or bias.
Here are some thoughts:
First, it is very likely that the men filling the roles of elders would be older than Timothy. For a young man to rebuke an older man takes spiritual courage and backbone. That wouldn’t be easy. Some would not take that well. A real dog fight could follow. Age doesn’t give a person a pass on living as they should. Age doesn’t mean a person knows more than a younger person. Timothy had Scripture on his side. It wasn’t Timothy vs. the sinful elder. That wouldn’t go well. It was the word of God pointed towards a disciple that was not walking as he should have been. Elder or not, he was not where he ought to be.
Second, the temptation to look the other way, especially towards those in charge can be a real problem. Twice in this verse Paul warns about that. Do not show bias. Do nothing in a spirit of partiality. Don’t play favorites. There are no double standards. Many preacher kids years ago felt like there was two sets of rules. The preacher’s kids had to live proper and good and all the other kids in the church could be as mean as devils. That double standard ruined a lot of kids whose dads preached. No one is above the law. No one gets a pass because they have years in the congregation. The idea of a founding member, charter member doesn’t carry any weight with the Scriptures. We all must walk by the same standard and the same rule. That applies to the leaders, the deacons, the preachers, their wives and everyone else. Sometimes the wives of the leaders can be the hardest ones’ to deal with. Don’t show partiality. Don’t allow them to threaten you to the point that you back down and back away. Shame on us when we misuse our position to get away with gossip, unkind acts, selfishness and rudeness. The Bible reads the same, no matter whose hands it is in.
Third, when we do what is right, wonderful blessings take place. A spirit of love, joy and unity fills the air. Trust abounds. We feel safe, cared for and watched over. But when there is sin in the camp, especially among the leaders, trust is shattered. Hope is lost. Everyone starts looking out for themselves. Tongues begin to spread negative things when people know the leaders are doing wrong and no one will do anything about it. Often, the flock is so intimidated and fearful of the leaders, that no one would dare try to say anything. Ezekiel rebukes the shepherds of Israel who used force to dominate the people. Fear and guilt will cause people to line up and be quiet. But what a terrible, terrible way to lead God’s people. This is wrong and this has gone on for decades. Preachers get fed up and leave. Some get the nerve and break away and start a new congregation. Everyone else just cowers in fear, hoping they are not the next one to get taken to the woodshed for a verbal spanking. Such men ought never to be placed in a leadership role. They don’t get it.
In a right setting, one would hope that the elders would police themselves. That if one is caught in a sin, the others would rise up and stand with the Lord and lead the man to either repentance or resignation and discipline.
Fourth, in the setting of this passage, cheap shots are not allowed to be taken of God’s leaders. Accusations are to be based upon two or three witnesses. This keeps a person from making up stuff just to throw darts at the leaders. The two or three are to be witnesses. They are not two or three that have heard the gossip and have rallied around the one who is making senseless charges. What if two or three are not found? Then, either go talk one on one with that elder or keep quiet. For far too long this admonition as been ignored. Get a group of disgruntled members together and before dessert is served, they are roasting the elders and trash talking about how terrible they are. These leaders are God’s anointed. David understood that role when his men offered to kill King Saul who was causing trouble to David. David would have no part in that. He knew God would deal with Saul in time. Respect for the office is what David understood. And, it could be that so few want to serve in the leadership role because they have seen and heard what people say about the other leaders. This kind of talk needs to stop. If there is a problem, address it in the Biblical fashion. If a person doesn’t want to do that, then hush.
Finally, we all need each other. The leaders need the flock as much as the flock needs the leaders. When one has been charged with sin it is an embarrassing, and guilty feeling. However, when things calm down and he sees the love behind it and that people want him to do well and go to Heaven, he ought to be thankful that they care enough about him. Sadly, there are those who choose to stay wrong rather than repent and do what is right. This is true of leaders. This is true of the church. Some have gone to serve Satan. They have joined the enemy and have changed allegiance. That is a sad day for the church. Discipline will soon follow. Influence and good has been lost. Years of good are now washed down the drain. It is beyond reason why one would sell their soul to the Devil, but some do. They would rather have the immediate joy of sin and not think about the consequences. What they lose is a wonderful fellowship with God’s people. What they lose is the grace of God. What they lose is the hope of Heaven. The world becomes darker. A sad atmosphere covers the church. Others may be hurt by the wrong choices of this one.
Being part of God’s family brings blessings as well as responsibilities and obligations. One can’t have the blessings without also fulfilling his role in what God expects. We can’t live like a sinner and die like a saint. Solemn words about serious situations.