1 Timothy 1-5; the beginning of what has been called “the Pastoral Epistles.” Paul the Apostle and missionary is writing to his Son in the faith – Timothy. Timothy joined Paul’s missionary cadre in Acts 16. His mother is a Jew and his father a Greek. We know that Timothy was well taught the Gospel by his grandmother [Lois] and his mother [Eunice], Paul took Timothy in as the two became like father and son. Paul has left Young Timothy at Ephesus. The Church at Ephesus was a strong established church. It must have had an older contingents of congregational people, for there was a problem of Timothy’s youth. [1 Tim 4:12] So as we look at this church we actually find that it is a tough church to pastor. It is a second generation believers church; yes there were charter members still alive; but the original “core” was passing away. They could remember the glorious things that had been done in the establishing of the work in Ephesus. In Fact they could boast of Apostle Paul as the church planter, the beloved Timothy as the first pastor, then having the Patriarch John the Beloved Apostle and Jesus’ own mother part of the church. What a grand heritage! Yet we find in Revelation 2, that Ephesus had grown into a very orthodox church, looked good, believed all the right things, but they had lost their passion and first love. Imagine a church with all the things 1st Baptist Church Ephesus had going for it; yet it had lost its love for Christ. I see Ephesus as a church that needed revitalization. It had been hot after the things of God, but was languishing in what HAD been done rather than what COULD be done. Now place a young 30 something pastor in that midst, and can you see the problems he had to face. “We have never done it that way before, that now the way we do things here.” I am convinced that the church environment at Ephesus caused ulcers for Timothy. I am sure he tried to pastor and resolve conflict, but all this was taking its toll on him. “No longer drink just water, drink some wine for your stomach.” [1 Tim 5:23] Wine would be a stomach soother for the gastric acids of stress and worry.
These pastoral epistles have become of most importance for preachers and church ministers. How to deal with church people and problems. Often the established church is a buzz-saw for young fresh seminarians. Often they last less than 18 months, having been chewed up and spit out by staunch resistant congregations.
Paul must have been familiar with timothy’s struggles and writes to advice him on many church dynamics. It is clear that young Timothy is a called man of God. He has been discipled by his family and Paul. Timothy having escorted Paul of his 2nd and 3rd missionary trips was intimately aware of ministry pitfalls. It is one thing to move from place to place starting churches, quite another being in one place for an extended time. Revivalist can get away with saying things that the home pastor would never even consider speaking.
In these first chapters we find a sort of laundry list of items that an established church must put in place for the organizational structure. First is the necessity of an Elder/Pastor/Bishop. In various denominations these are all still the same person, so I will use the name Pastor to identify this leadership position. The Second is the establishment of deacons. We have seen that Paul placed, overseers at the churches, and the necessity in Acts 6 for deacons to do service to the people. The character traits of both are almost exact. The leadership must have an “above reproach” personal life both in and outside the church.
Inf one was to look at Chapter 2: 9-15; you would think that Paul was sexist and against women. He said the same thing to the Corinthians. Obviously there must have been a similar problem. Paul spends chapter four is describing how women are to be in the church, and what services should include. In Chapter 5, the care or relief of widows is clearly outlined as far as who and what that ministry should look like.
Paul the “spiritual father” is instructing his son in pastoral ministry. In closing this week, Paul knew that Timothy could not do the work alone; he had to have help. chapter 1:18, invest in like-minded men who can take up the good fight with you. This enables Timothy to gain some much need relief, but also creates a legacy of passing on the Gospel. Oh Pastor listen today to the sage advice of an Elder statesmen of the Gospel – you can’t do it alone!