1 Timothy 5:1-2 (NKJV)1 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.
God in His grace and mercy and wisdom has called us to be part of a family. Not only has he ordained marriage as the foundation for human society – with children being the fruit of it – but he has also, in Christ, united the Church to one another as family. In the text before us today, Paul reminds Timothy to treat the other members of the Church as extended family. He is to treat older men as fathers, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters. The Church is a family.
Because the Church is a family, there are lessons that all members of the family teach one another. All members of the body of Christ, male and female from infancy to old age, teach and instruct one another. It is for this reason that the trend in the modern church to separate folks according to age is so detrimental. Whether this manifests itself in children’s church, in contemporary versus traditional services, or in youth groups that capitalize on juvenile behavior, each robs the Church and undermines her long term health.
Today, therefore, we begin a short series of exhortations on lessons learned from different portions of the family of God. What do infants teach us? Children? Young boys and young girls? Young men and women? The middle-aged? The aged?
As we look at the Word of God, we will see that every member of the family of God has incredible significance. Each has a lesson to teach – and this, of course, means that everyone has a lesson to learn from them all. And so the questions come to us this morning – how are we doing? Are we considering the important role that we play in teaching the rest of the people of God? And, on the flip side, are we learning from all members of the family?
Paul expects us to treat one another as family – to love and cherish one another, to show respect where it is due, and loyalty at all times. But I fear that this is often not what happens. We hasten to hide away some members of the family. We don’t want the inconvenience or embarrassment associated with them. Old Uncle Charlie gets shuffled down the stairs to the basement and junior gets tossed in the nursery. We ignore Freddy’s pertness and pray that little Sally won’t say “Amen” too loud. But in the process we miss what God is teaching us and fail to see the true wonder of His glory.
Reminded of our failure to treat one another as family, to love one another and be loyal to one another, let us kneel and confess our sins to our heavenly Father.