1 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
The church is described in the New Testament by many metaphors and analogies.
- A holy nation, (1 Peter 2:9) emphasizing that we are all citizens of heaven.
- Revelation 5:10 calls the church a kingdom, reminding us that we must all bow and worship Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
- And it goes on...a priesthood, a temple, a body, an assembly, a flock.
The church has also been referred to as a family, and Paul has this thought in mind as he writes to Timothy.
Family carries the understanding of intimacy, care, openness and love for one another (at least in functional families). Love is truly the backbone of the church family. We have come to think of love in the context of this gushy, give them everything they want, kind of mentality, but real love also shows itself in the confrontation of sin. A family that loves one another understands that disobedience must be dealt with because true love cares that others enjoy the blessings of God that comes with obedience.
Paul loves the family and exhorts Timothy to show love through confrontation as a good leader of the spiritual family. Members of the Ephesian family of believers...
- Had abandoned truth and godliness (1:5-6).
- Some women were trying to take the spotlight by the way they were dressing (2:9-15).
- Some men wanted to be leaders without the proper qualifications (chaps 3 and 5).
- Some people were teaching false doctrines (4:1-5) and as we read today,
- Some widows were living impure lives.
There was some sin that needed confrontation - sin not dealt with destroys intimacy with God, just ask Adam and Eve. A little sin in the family will affect the whole family and can spread like a disease.
It was part of Timothy’s role as a leader in the church to confront sin, so Paul gives him advice on how to confront in love and tenderness. But keep in mind that just as Timothy was responsible to confront lovingly and without hesitation the person being confronted needed to accept the rebuke and choose to let the Holy Spirit go to work in them. Too often when people are confronted they choose the get angry and walk away instead of letting God go to work in them drawing them to Him.
Let us choose, as the family at DSC, to love deeply enough to confront lovingly and to also be open to rebuke, allowing God to use it to make us in His image and likeness.