Welcome to the Onward Christian Soldiers Discipleship Class. I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society and pastor of Gospel Light House of Prayer International. The purpose of this time together is to teach young believers everything they need to know about their faith in Jesus Christ and provide them with the knowledge they need to live victorious Christian lives.
Our key Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
— PRAYER —
Our lesson today is titled “How to Overcome Temptation, Part 94”
In this section of our Onward Christian Soldiers discipleship class, we are looking at specific temptations that are, as the Bible says, “common to man.” We are looking at what the Bible says about these sins so we can be aware of its dangers and so that we can hide Scripture in our hearts to use when we are tempted.
The sin that we are looking at today is the sin of “sloth.” This is the fourth sin in a list of 12 temptations that comes from two sources — one ancient and one modern. The first source is a list that was developed by monks in the early church called “the seven deadly sins” or the “cardinal sins.” The second source is a Barna survey from 2011 which tracked the top temptations Americans admitted to struggling with.
Today, we will continue looking at 1 Timothy 5:3-15. (Remember, the text of this lesson is made available online after each class, so you can go to our website GLHOPI.com, click the “Onward Christian Soldiers” banner on the home page, and begin to learn these verses by heart throughout the week.)
1 Timothy 5:3-15
3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.
8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.
10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.
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To fully understand this passage, we have been looking at its background and context from gifted theogians. What Paul is saying is that widows can be aided by the church only if they have lived faithful lives to their Lord, to His church, and to their families, and if they do not have other family members who can take care of them. On top of that, they must be over sixty years old and not have a reputation for being a busybody, a gossip, or a loose woman. Regarding the topic of sloth or laziness, the command that applies to all of us is that we should not be slack in working hard and providing for those under our care. Christians should be people who work hard, who care for their own, and who do not depend on others for their well-being as much as reasonably possible. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
Now, let’s continue where we left off as we dive a little deeper into the context of this important and often overlooked passage. Dr. Walvoord and Dr. Zuck state: “The ‘proper recognition’ of verse 3 is here made specific. Widows may be put on the list if they meet three primary qualifications. What exactly this list involved is not known. It may have been an official order for service in the congregation; more likely it was merely a roll of those widows who were to receive assistance from the congregation. In any case, to qualify, a woman had to meet these qualifications: She must be over 60. Though the age of 60 was more advanced in that day, Paul had his reasons for keeping the younger widows off the rolls. She must have been faithful to her husband. The Greek here is literally ‘a one-man woman,’ the mirror image of the stipulation for both the overseer-elder and the deacon. The translation, ‘has been faithful to her husband,’ points to the view that the words prohibit promiscuity. She must be well-known for her good deeds.
“As illustrations of the kinds of things he had in mind, Paul cited five examples, which characterize godly women. The examples span the realms of home, church, and community, and include child-raising, hospitality, washing saints’ feet, helping people in trouble, and various other kinds of good deeds. The women on the widows’ roll must be those whose reputations for godly living are well known.
“Younger widows, on the other hand, were not to be put on the list. Paul’s reasoning for this was twofold: First, unlike the older women whose active sexual lives would presumably be behind them, the younger women might be faced with normal sexual desires which would overcome their dedication to Christ. As a result they would want to remarry, bringing judgment on themselves, because they had broken their first pledge. The pledge Paul referred to was probably a more or less formal commitment, taken on joining the list of widows, wherein the woman vowed to serve Christ entirely without thought of remarriage. In this way, she could devote herself without distraction to the Lord. Remarriage would involve breaking this vow and a broken vow would incur judgment.
“Second, younger and more energetic widows would have a more difficult time resisting the temptations connected with idleness. With the congregation supporting them, their time normally given to maintaining a living would be free. Instead of giving this time to the service of Christ in visitation and counseling, younger widows would be more susceptible to going about from house to house and becoming idlers, gossips, and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. Too much time with not enough to do is dangerous for anyone except those too old to get into trouble. Hence Paul’s counsel was that younger widows should not take the vow and be added to the list; instead they should marry, raise a family, manage their homes, and by being thus occupied give the enemy no opportunity for slander.
“The ‘enemy’ here may refer to the church’s adversaries who looked for every chance to tear others down, or to the opposition of the devil himself. Perhaps Paul did not see much difference between the two. The importance of Paul’s counsel was buttressed by the fact that it came too late to preserve the congregation from some who had in fact already turned away to follow Satan. No doubt Paul was aware of specific cases in the churches where younger women had been placed on the list and then had broken their vows. Paul wanted to be certain that the instructions of verse 8 were understood to include well-situated women as well as men. The men would be the obvious objects of Paul’s directions in verse 8, but not necessarily the women. So, as a closing note to his discussion of widows, Paul specified that any believing woman who possessed the means bore the same responsibilities for widows in her family as would a man in similar circumstances. This would relieve the congregation of the responsibility so that the church could help those widows who were really in need.”
This command is pointedly directed at believers. Albert Barnes notes in his commentary that, in this passage, the ‘apostle is speaking particularly of the duty of children toward a widowed mother. In enforcing that duty, he gives the subject a general direction, and says that all ought to provide for those who are dependent on them, and that if they did not do this, they had a less impressive sense of the obligations of duty than even the pagan had. The Christian ought to think beforehand of the probable needs of his own family, and make arrangements to meet them.’
Sometimes, we as Christians forget that we are called to a higher standard in all things. Many Christians assume that our only duties are “Christian” duties. But, to the unbelieving world, our prayers, our church attendance, our evangelism all seem hollow if we are not also decent, hard working individuals who take of our families. As Christians, we must take seriously the responsibilities of work and providing for those in our care. It is what the Bible refers to as having “natural affection.” We are “worse than infidels” if we neglect these simple, human duties.
Paul says that such individuals go so far as to “deny the faith.” This denial is not a denial by our words like Peter denying Jesus; rather, it is a denial by our actions. And, as is often said, actions speak louder than words. Jesus said we will be known by our fruits. And one of the fruits of a Christian life is that it is a life of hard work, productivity, and providing for those under our care.
If you struggle with sloth or laziness, take this passage to heart and begin to use it the next time you face that temptation.
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If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Until next time, May the Lord Bless You!
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.