January 7, 2018 – 1 Timothy 5 – 6

Lesson Date: January 7, 2018

Focal Scripture Passage: 1 Timothy 5:1 – 6:12

AIM: To lead students to discover God’s guidelines for relationships within the body of Christ, and to evaluate their attitudes and commit to follow God’s guidelines.

 

Before class: Read the notes on 1 Timothy 5:1 – 6:12 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Look online or in magazines to find a picture of a happy family. Also look for a picture that portrays unhealthy family relationships, such as arguing, abuse, or neglect. Bring the pictures you find to class. Write the word “Family” on the marker board or chalkboard.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Family” written on the board. Ask: “What comes to mind when you think of the word family?” (responses will vary). Show the class the picture of the happy family. Tell them that the words “happy” and “family” seem to go together naturally, almost like the words “salt” and “pepper.” Ask: “How would you describe a happy family?” (responses will vary). Tell the students when we think of families we expect them to be happy, healthy, and nurturing.

Show the classes the picture you have brought that depicts unhealthy family relationships. Tell them that, sadly, many real-life families are not happy, healthy, and nurturing. Ask: “What are some problems that families experience? How would you describe an unhappy family?” (responses will vary).

Write the words “of God” on the board so that it now reads “Family of God.” Tell the class that another name for the church is the body of Christ or the family of God. Just as some families are unhappy and dysfunctional, sometimes relationships with the church are not what they should be. Tell the class in today’s lesson they will discover guidelines for godly relationships within the body of Christ.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the class that we are studying the New Testament books of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus.
    • Remind them that the Apostle Paul left young Timothy in Ephesus (locate Ephesus on the map) to straighten out some problems in the church.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (our spiritual diet and exercise plan).
    • Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (1 Tim. 4:12).
  2. Older and Younger Men and Women.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Timothy 5:1-2.
    • Ask the students to identify the four different groups of people named in those two verses (older men, younger men, older women, and younger women).
    • Tell the class all of the adults in the church fall into one of those four categories.
    • Remind them that Timothy was a young man, probably in his thirties. He could not just be pastor to the young people or the old people – he had to relate to all the people.
    • Ask: “How should we treat older men?” (with respect, as we would our father).
    • Ask: “How should we treat young men?” (as we would our brothers).
    • Ask: “How should we treat older women?” (with the kind of respect we would give our mother).
    • Ask: “How should we treat younger women?” (with purity, as we would our sisters).
    • Tell the students these are basic guidelines for all of our relationships within the body of Christ. If these guidelines were followed there would never be factions, hurt feelings, or immoral behavior in the church.
    • To summarize, ask: “How should we treat others within the church?” (with respect, as we would a member of our own biological family).
  3. Widows.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Timothy 5:3.
    • Ask: “Who is the next group Paul addressed?” (widows).
    • Explain the following:
      • In ancient times there were no insurance policies, pension plans, or Social Security survivor benefits.
      • Very few jobs were available for women to work outside the home.
      • Widows were often dependent upon support from family members or the charitable support of those in the community (Ruth 2:2-3).
      • To further compound the dilemma of widows in the First Century, those who accepted Jesus Christ as Savior were often disowned by their families.
      • Because of these factors, the early church included widows who needed financial support.
    • Tell the students to listen for what Paul told Timothy about widows as you read the following verses.
    • Read 1 Timothy 5:3-16.
    • Ask the students what they gleaned from those verses about how widows should be treated in the church. Their answers should include the following:
      • Younger widows should remarry.
      • Older widows who had family should be supported by their family.
      • Older widows with no family should be supported by and serve the church.
    • Stress that this support was in no way a “free ride.”
    • Explain that the early church established a “class” or “order” of widows (referred to as “widows indeed” – see verse 5) who were supported by the church and in turn rendered service to the church. (This would be a rare case today, since most widows who are unable to work receive Social Security, retirement, or insurance benefits.)
    • To summarize, ask: “How should we treat widows in the church?” (those who have family should be supported and cared for by their family; those who are utterly destitute should be supported and cared for by the church, in exchange for their service to the church).
  4. Church Leaders.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Timothy 5:17.
    • Ask: “Who is the next group Paul addressed?” (elders).
    • Explain the following:
      • In verse 1 the word “elder” was used to refer to any older man, but in this and the following verses the word refers specifically to those men who serve as elders in the church.
      • The word “elder” is used in scripture to refer to bishops, overseers, or pastors.
      • These men were the leaders of the church.
    • Tell the students to listen for Paul’s instructions concerning elders as you read the following verses.
    • Read 1 Timothy 5:17-22.
    • Ask the students what they gleaned from those verses about how church leaders should be treated. Their answers should include the following:
      • They should be accorded respect and honor.
      • They should receive financial support for their service to the church.
      • They should be given the benefit of the doubt – no charges should be heard against them unless there are multiple credible witnesses.
      • Those who sin should be rebuked publicly to serve as an example and warning to the other members of the church.
      • We should not hastily ordain a man as an elder until he has been proved.
    • Read 1 Timothy 5:23-25.
    • Explain the following:
      • In ancient times before water purification, people added a little wine to their water to purify it and kill any bacteria so it would be safe to drink.
      • Timothy was evidently not doing this (1 Tim. 3:3), so he was staying sick.
      • Paul urged him to drink a little wine in order to get well.
      • Verses 24 and 25 tell us that some peoples’ sins are evident to everyone, while others are not known until later. The same is true of good works.
    • To summarize, ask: “How should we treat elders in the church?” (with respect, support, and give them the benefit of the doubt).
  5. Employers.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Timothy 6:1-2.
    • Remind the class that the best modern-day equivalent to “masters” and “servants” are employers and employees.
    • Ask: “According to verse 1, how should believers treat their masters?” (with honor, so that God’s name is not blasphemed).
    • Ask: “According to verse 2, how should we treat bosses that are fellow believers?” (don’t expect special treatment because they are believers, but serve them faithfully).
    • To summarize, ask: “How should we treat our employers?” (with honor and give them faithful service).
  6. False Teachers.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Timothy 6:3.
    • Ask: “Who is the next group Paul addressed?” (false teachers).
    • Read 1 Timothy 6:3-5.
    • Ask: “How are false teachers described in verses 3-5?” (proud, contentious, perverse, and destitute of the truth).
    • Tell the class false teachers are any people who refuse to follow the doctrines of Christ and the God-ordained leaders of the church.
    • Ask: “According to the last part of verse 5, how should we treat false teachers?” (we should withdraw from them; in other words, have nothing to do with them).
  7. Contentment.
    • Read 1 Timothy 6:6-12.
    • Tell the class these verses deal with contentment, because lack of contentment and covetousness can wreck the fellowship within a church. For example: if I am jealous of you and covetous of your possessions our fellowship will not be sweet and godly.
    • Explain the following:
      • Verse 6 – Godliness with contentment is great gain.
      • Verse 7 – When we realize that we really possess nothing – God gave us everything we have – it sets us free to be content. See Philippians 4:11.
      • Verse 8 – We only have two real needs: food and clothing.
      • Verse 9 – Those who have an insatiable desire to accumulate wealth will fall into all kinds of trouble.
    • Ask: “According to verse 10, what is the root of all types of evil?” (the love of money).
    • Tell the class Paul told Timothy to flee these things and to pursue instead righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the class’ attention to the words “Family of God” written on the board. Remind them that through today’s lesson they have discovered guidelines for godly relationships within the body of Christ.

Remind them that the first group we studied was older and younger men and women (1 Tim. 5:1-2). Ask: “What guideline did we discover about our relationship with them?” (we should treat them with respect, as we would a member of our own biological family). Ask: “Do you follow that guideline or do you need to improve in that area?”

The next group we studied was widows (1 Tim. 5:3-16). Ask: “What guidelines did we discover about our relationship with them?” (we should treat them with love, respect, and support if necessary). Ask: “Do you follow those guidelines or do you need to improve in some area?”

The next group we studied was church leaders (1 Tim. 5:17-25). Ask: “What guidelines did we discover about our relationship with them?” (we should treat them with respect, support, and give them the benefit of the doubt). Ask: “Do you follow those guidelines or do you need to improve in some area?”

The next group we studied was employers (1 Tim. 6:1-2). Ask: “What guidelines did we discover about our relationship with them?” (we should treat them with honor and give them faithful service). Ask: “Do you follow those guidelines or do you need to improve in some area?”

The next group we studied was false teachers (1 Tim. 6:3-5). Ask: “What guideline did we discover about our relationship with them?” (we should withdraw from them). Ask: “Do you follow that guideline or do you need to improve in that area?”

Tell the class the last verses we studied dealt with contentment (1 Tim. 6:6-12). Ask: “Are you a content person or are you jealous of what others have and always greedy for more?”

Stress the fact that our relationships and attitudes toward our brothers and sisters in Christ matter! Tell them if the Lord has shown them an area that needs correction or improvement, they should confess that as sin and make a commitment to follow God’s guidelines. Lead a closing prayer of confession and commitment.

 

CONCLUSION: ask everyone to memorize 1 Timothy 6:6. Urge them to follow through on any commitment they have made this morning and to follow the guidelines they discovered for relationships within the “Family of God.”

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