19. Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses.
20. Those who sin should be reprimanded in front of the whole church; this will serve as a strong warning to others.
21. I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the highest angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone.
1 Timothy 5:19–21 NLT
Today’s Passage, which was set up by Paul’s instruction in yesterday’s Scripture, where he talked about the Honor Christian Leaders should receive for the hard work they put in for the Church, takes a different avenue as it comes to the subject of Personal Responsibility for a Leader.
Whereas yesterday was about Recognition of Service, today is about Recognition of Offence. As with all things within the Church, there are specific stipulations to dealing with the transgressions of a Christian Leader. Paul gives Timothy very explicit rules when it comes to dealing with the sins of his Leaders.
First of all, Paul makes it clear that no accusation against a Leader in the Church should ever be made without there being 2 or 3 witnesses present. This is to ensure that there can be no mistake as to the validity of the accusation but there is also another implied stipulation here as well that is not expressly stated.
That prerequisite is that the elder that is brought the initial accusation does not dismiss or conceal the indictment. There must be transparency within the Leadership Structure of the Church or when a real allegation does emerge, it may be given the opportunity to fester and grow into something that cannot be easily staunched. Not to mention the potential erosion of trust that could otherwise result.
Once an accusation has been levied against a Leader and it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in front of the proper witnesses, the Leader’s transgression must be exposed to all. This is to ensure that there is no partiality shown within the Church, even toward one of its Honored Leaders.
There is another important reason to have the sin presented in front of the entire Church. It’s because this humbling chastisement will signal to the rest of the Leaders that this is what awaits those who transgress within the Church. It is meant as a deterrent to the potential of future occurrences.
It must be known within the Church by all those who both attend and serve that if sin is exposed, you will be held responsible to account for it, especially those in Leadership positions. None will be shown favoritism, if God Himself is no respecter of persons, we should be no different.
Paul went from talking about the Honor that should be shown to Christian Leaders, to the Discipline that should be levied against them and the proper way to apply it. He is making sure that Timothy has every tool he will ever require to Lead the Church at Ephesus. He wants him to be a success.
The only way for any Church to be and remain a success at Delivering God’s Message to the world, is for the sins of all the members, even the Leaders, to be called into account. No one is immune from Judgment and no one should be afraid to keep even Church Leaders Honest. In the Family of God, it is always better, to be Honest and confess your mistakes than to be guilty and discover the hard way that, “your sins will find you out!”
Have a Fantastic Friday and Stay Safe out there!