Part 1 The Local Church Lesson 16
Young men treating elder men as fathers, and
young women treating elder women as mothers
I am Caleb Fielding and I have a question How do you recover if you grew up without a parent?
40% of us were born to a single mom.
If we were born to parents who were on their first marriage we have more than a 30% chance that our parents divorced, and that goes way up if our parents had us on a second or third marriage.
5% of young people lose one or both their parents to death before they graduate high school.
Even if your parents stayed together your entire childhood there is a good chance that one or both of them were bad examples.
If your parents were good examples you are in the minority and you are absolutely blessed.
The reality is that growing up most boys do not have a man in their life to show them how to be a man, and the majority of the rest do not have a good man to show them how to be a good man. God in His wisdom designed the local church so the relationships we lacked God could provide in the local church. If young men lacked a male role model or lacked a biblical male role model, God set things up so that they could get that need met in the local church.
The reality is that most of us grew up with our moms, and the reality is that for many young women their mom was not a complete example of Biblical womanhood. This has not taken God by surprise, God has in part created the local church so that the young women can find a lady to take them under their wing and show them how to be the best Christian lady they can be.
I Timothy 5:1-2 tells us how we can get this need met in our life it tells us
1Ti 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
1Ti 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
This is our final lesson on our relationships in the local church. Today we are going to talk about the relationships between young men and elder men in the local church, and we are also going to talk about the relationship between young women and elder women in the local church.
God’s Word calls young men to treat the older men as fathers, and it tells the young women to treat the elder women as mothers.
I would like to point out that the Bible does not say to call them father, or mother it says to treat them as father or mother. We are to show them just as much respect as we would show our own parents.
Whether you are a man or woman; we are to go to church and do the same thing, we consider the elders in our church, we care for them, we provoke each other to love, we provoke each other to good works, when they suffer we listen to them and suffer with them, when we suffer we share it with them, when they rejoice we rejoice with them, when we rejoice we share our joy with them. And the whole time we show them love and respect, and we get closer and closer to one another, and in that closeness we as the singles get to see examples of Biblical manhood and womanhood.
In this process of developing closeness to the elders in our local churchs and showing them the proper respect and treating them just as well as you should treat your parents, a young man will have an elder man take him under his wing, maybe formally, maybe not formally, and a young lady will have an elder lady take her under her wing, maybe formally maybe not formally. But in this we begin to meet the biggest need singles Christians have, and that is the need of discipleship.
I will be upfront with you, I lost my dad when I was 11, a drunk driver hit and killed him, and until my pastor discipled me I had no idea how to be man. I did the best I could but it was discipleship that finally taught me how to act like a man. The reality is that you are a legal adult at 18, but understand there is a huge difference between being a man and acting like a man, and discipleship made the difference for me.
Paul is a great example of a man who did not know how to act like a Biblical man. And much of his life is going to be reflected in the life of the normal Christian single.
Paul grew up going to temple where many of us grew up going to Church.
Paul Likely had the entire Bible memorized, where many of us memorized many scriptures and learned many Bible stories and basic theology.
Paul sat under the Biblical teacher Gamaliel, where as many of us sat under many Biblical teachers and preachers.
Paul was saved on the road to Damascus and then spends 3 years in Damascus being part of the church in Damascus, and serving there. Its worth noting that while there, the Bible gives us no indication that Paul ever had any converts, and near the end of his time in Damascus the Jews wanted to kill Paul, but it appears that the other Christians were safe in Damascus, as they let Paul down the wall in a basket.
Why were the Jews so mad at Paul specifically?
Paul made his way to Jerusalem and tries to join the Apostles and the Church in Jerusalem but the Apostles are afraid of Paul. Barnabas then takes Paul to the Apostles and tells of Paul’s conversion and good works. Barnabas really opens a door for Paul that Paul could never have opened for himself. And the reality is that as young men there will be times where we will need the older men to open doors for us that we could never open for ourselves, but to get there we have to develop a relationship.
Paul begins preaching to the Greeks in Jerusalem and they try to kill him, so he is sent off to his home city of Tarsus. Then the very next verse says that they had rest in “all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria” and that the church multiplied. Again we do not see Paul producing fruit in Jerusalem, in fact the fruit was produced after he left. All this can be found about Paul in Acts Chapter 9.
A few years pass and we find Barnabas in Acts 11 Seeking Paul in Tarsus. Once Barnabas finds Paul, Paul follows Barnabas. The Bible never mentions anybody who got saved in Tarsus, considering how often the Book of Acts specifically mentions that the church multiplied in the various cities that the Gospel was preached it really stands out that this is not said about Tarsus.
In Acts 11 we finally see Paul getting under the wing of another Christian and Acts 13 carries on where Acts 11 stops and in Acts 13 we find Paul’s first convert. This is very relevant to us in our day.
When Paul was growing up he was shown how to be the best Pharisee he could be. At the same time for 3 years Jesus was showing his Disciples how to be the best Christ like men they could be. Please note I used the word SHOWN, not taught. Paul was shown how to be a man by sitting at Gamaliel’s feet. The Apostles were shown how to be men by following Jesus.
Time passed Jesus died on the cross, rose again, told the disciples and apostles to go into all the world and Preach the Gospel. During this time Barnabas gets saved, originally his name was Joses (acts 4) but he had a close enough relationship with the apostles that they changed his name to Barnabas, and its very likely that during this time the Apostles showed him how to be a Christ like man like Christ showed them.
When Paul got saved, even though he knew the Bible, went to church, and served the Lord he would still have acted like a Pharisee because that’s the only type of manhood he had be shown. In Damascus the Jews wanted to kill Paul, but the other Christians were apparently safe, In Jerusalem the Greeks wanted to kill Paul but the other Christians were apparently safe, in Tarsus we find no mention of anyone trying to kill Paul, but in the first 3 places Paul ministered there is no recorded conversions. Could it be because Paul was a Christian who had not yet been shown how to act like a Christ like man?
Barnabas shows up and Paul follows him, and I would imagine starts showing Paul not just how to go to church, but how to go to church as a Christ like man, and begins showing Paul how to serve in a Christ like manner. The Bible goes from not mentioning any fruit on Paul’s account in Acts 9 and 11, to very specifically telling us how fruitful Paul was throughout the rest of the book of Acts.
When Paul’s only model and example of manhood was the Pharisees that raised him, Paul was never successful at the Christian life. But when Paul’s model of manhood became Barnabas, whose model of man hood was the apostles, whose model of manhood was Christ, Paul had success.
Some of you today are trying to serve God and it’s like you just can’t get anywhere. I have a question for you. Who modeled manhood for you? For many of us it was our mom, for others it was a dad that abandoned us, and for others it was a dad that we know was not Christ like. Perhaps the greatest need you have today is for a man to show you how to be a Christ like man. A man that will show you how to serve the Lord, who will sit down and eat with you, who will invite you to his house, a man who will work on projects with you. A Christ like man who will allow you into his life, if you allow him into yours. Perhaps your biggest need today is a Christ like man to be modeled after.
It all starts with treating the elder men in your church as your own father.
While the young men need to be treating the elder men in the local church as their own farther because they need a model of Christian manhood, young women should be treating the elder women in the local church as their own mother as they need a model of Christian womanhood.
According to Titus 2 there are 8 things the older women are to teach the younger; to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands.
I believe that the class room, and preaching and books can help address some of these issues, but there must be a living model of someone following these commands or we risk separating our Biblical beliefs from our daily life. When we see someone go through the daily stresses of life and stay obedient to the Word of God, that is where the best teaching is done.
On the one hand many women growing up did not have a mom who was a good example of some of these commands or any of these commands, and an elder lady in the local church being a living example of God’s command will be the first time those women have an opportunity to see obedience to God during the stresses of life.
On the other hand there are some super fortunate young ladies who grew up with a mom who was a great example in all these areas of life, but to a certain extent there may be a need to relearn these lessons from another lady in the local church because every family is different. Seeing how a different family obeys the same Biblical commands in a different way can be just as important as a young lady being shown how a woman can follow Biblical commands for the first time.
I think the best example of how an elder woman is to be an example to a young women is shown in the life of Ruth and Naomi.
The book of Ruth starts with Naomi and her husband and her two sons going into Moab due to famine. While she is there her husband dies, her two sons marry then they die. Naomi hears about how there is now bread in the land of Israel so she decides to head back. Her two daughter in laws follow her.
On the journey back Naomi calls her two daughter in laws “daughter”. She loved them. She told them to go back to the land of Moab and one did, but Ruth refused, and Ruth said that wherever Naomi went Ruth would go, that she would live with Naomi, that Naomi’s people would be Ruth’s people, and that Naomi’s God would be Ruth’s God. Naomi had no choice so she brought Ruth with her back to Israel.
Oh I would to God that every Christian single found a mature, godly Christian to hold to like this.
They get to Israel during the barely harvest, and Ruth goes out and starts gleaning in the field. This is not something she would have done in Moab. In Leviticus 23 God commanded that those who plant the fields were to reap in the fields a certain way so that the widows and poor could glean after the reapers and feed themselves. How could Ruth know about this unless Naomi had taught Ruth about being a Hebrew woman, Ruth would have gone hungry without Naomi’s knowledge and example. If Naomi had not taught Ruth how to glean as a Hebrew woman Ruth would never have met Boaz, as Ruth gleaned in his field.
Then later on in the book (this would have been about 2 months after they got to Israel as the Bible says in Ruth 2:23 that Ruth gleaned until the end of barley AND wheat harvest) Naomi tells Ruth to go to Boaz, who is their kindred, who was winnowing barely on the threshing floor with his servants, after they ate and drank and Boaz was asleep she was to uncover his feet and wait for him to wake up and tell her what to do. So she went down to the threshing floor waited for everyone to eat, drink and go to sleep, and once they were she went down to Boaz and uncovered his feet. Once he got cold he woke up and Ruth said that she was his handmaid, his near kinsman.
We know that this starts the process for Boaz to be her kinsman redeemer, but the truth is this is a really complicated process. To do everything Boaz was going to do he had to obey Deuteronomy 25, Leviticus 25, and Numbers 27 at least, as there was at least 3 things he had to do in this redeeming process. Ruth had only been in Israel for about 2 months when she started the process. She Likely had no idea, or very little clue as to what she started, she simply treated a Hebrew woman like that woman was her mother, and learned to act like a Hebrew woman. Even when she didn’t understand why Naomi was telling her to do what she told her to do, she simply obediently followed her advice
There are going to be things in your walk with God, and in your life that are going to be very complicated, and the elder women have gone through those issues, or been around long enough to see others go through those issues, and their role will be to guide you through a complicated issue as a Christian women. But that can only happen if you treat them like they are your own mother.
Ruth did not get a blessing because of Boaz. Ruth got a lot of blessings because she treated Naomi like her own mother, and learned how to act like a Hebrew woman through following Naomi. Her sister in law lost the blessing because she did not treat Naomi like Ruth did. How many blessings have you missed simply because you have not learned how to act like a Christian woman, because you have not followed a Godly Christian woman yet?
In conclusion I have a question. Who has modeled manhood or womanhood for you? If you have never been close enough to a Godly Christian for them to model man hood for the men, or womanhood for the women, how many blessings have you missed out on? If you have never had a Godly example I will say it’s not too late to find one now. I did not find my Godly example until I was 28, regardless of your age, why wait another day?
When we continue we will no longer be discussing the local church, In part 2 we will be moving on to the subject of Being discipled as a single.