Instructions for Godly Relationships in the Church
1 Timothy 4:12-16; 5:1-2,
Part 7, In Pursuit of Godliness Series
The Bible provided instructions on how to build godly relationships within the body of Christ. So, here’s how…
1. Set an example for others to follow.
“12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness. 13 Until I come, give your attention to the public reading, to exhortation, and teaching.” 1 Timothy 4:12-13.
· Timothy was in his thirties when Paul assigned him to pastor the Ephesian church.
· Timothy was born to a Jewish mother and his father was Greek.
“Greek culture placed great value on age and experience. Since Timothy was in his thirties, still young by the standard of that culture, he would have to earn respect by being a godly example.”
· The Ephesian church has both Jews and Gentile converts, increasing the possibility of cultural and religious tensions in the church.
· Before the birth of the New Testament church, the Jews were very condescending with the way they spiritually deal with non-Jews and even mix-race like Timothy.
· Being young and inexperienced, people could have had undermined Timothy’s ministry competency.
· Paul gave Timothy five areas in his life wherein he could offset his disadvantage of being a young pastor.
· Timothy would have to model spiritual competency in these five areas of his life namely: words, behaviour, love, faithfulness, and purity.
· Let no one look down on your youthfulness” does not mean lashing out on people for their demeaning attitude toward us. It doesn’t mean getting back at them, or punishing them, or to be critical at our critics.
· Timothy was to respond in a godly way, not break the fellowship of believers, nor create more tensions within the church.
2. Personal improvement is key to leading others to godliness.
“16 Pay close attention to yourself and to the teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:16.
· Timothy must constantly assess himself if he was living in the Word.
· Living in the Word of God promotes godly relationships in the church.
· Verse 15 contains the challenge of Paul to Timothy to continue assessing his progression in the work of a pastor.
· The church wasn’t looking for a perfect pastor, but they need a shepherd who continues to improve in the work of godliness leading all people groups to greater unity.
3. Practice the appeal approach to inspire others.
“Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father,and to the younger men as brothers, 2 to the older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.” 1 Timothy 5:1-2
· Rebuke in this verse does not mean humiliating someone in public.
· A sharp rebuke will create a wide gap in our church relationships and lose the opportunity to teach.
· New King James Version, 1 Timothy 5:1 is rendered this way, “but exhort him as a father.” (parakelei in Greek)
· Exhort in Greek carries the notion of coming alongside someone to lead him or her in the deeper truths of God.
We don’t lash out on someone when they oppose us, or when people don’t follow us, or when they misunderstood the Bible. Rather, we act like the Holy Spirit (parakletos), in all love and patience, we come to their aid, be with them on their journey towards understanding.
 John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary, 1791.