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Characteristics of the Last Days

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1 Timothy 4:1-5

Religion in the Last Days

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.[1]

God’s Spirit speaks explicitly concerning the state of religion in the last days.  Though the Apostle recognised that he was even at the time of his writing living in the last days, he nevertheless anticipated an increase in wickedness and the rise of even greater evil.  Who could have anticipated a church without convictions on issues of righteousness?  Who could have foresaw a church which would mouth the words of grace even as she rejected the doctrines of grace?  Paul specifically focuses on what religion will be like in those closing days of the Age of Grace.  It behoves us to study his description so that we can be prepared in light of the proximity of Christ’s return.

In order to discern more clearly the face of the times and to avoid condemnation with the world, the people of God must look to the Word of God.  We must be informed of the will of God.  And we must be strengthened in the way of God.  Focus attention on the apostolic warning issued through the first pastoral letter to Timothy.  Join me in careful study of 1 Timothy 4:1-5 to discover the characteristics of the last days.

A Laodicean Church will Dilute the Faith.  A church which is best described as Laodicean will arise in the last days.  Though you have no doubt heard the term “Laodicean Church,” what does the term describe?  The concept arises from the last of the seven churches of Asia to whom John wrote in the Apocalypse.

As I have taught through the Book of Revelation during our evening services, I have again affirmed the teaching that the seven churches of Asia are at the same time practical, perennial and prophetic.  That is, the letters were meant to address literal churches and the conditions that then existed within those churches.  At the same time, the problems addressed in these churches are problems which infect churches to this day, and thus the call for self-correction are ongoing throughout the age of grace.  However, the letters also anticipate the course of church history throughout the Church Age.

If the churches of the apostolic era are represented by the Church of Ephesus, then the days immediately prior to the rapture of the church are represented by the Church of Laodicea.  If we study the conditions addressed in the letter to the Laodicean Church, we will have a measure of understanding of the conditions which will mark the general state of religion in the last days.  In order to understand the religious tenor of the last days, it will be beneficial to study the church era which immediately precedes the Laodicean era.  We need also to understand the Church of Philadelphia.

 The Philadelphian Church is often referred to as the Church of the Open Door.  This Philadelphian Church is commended by the Son of God, who also says to them, Behold, I have set before you an open door which no one is able to shut [Revelation 3:8].  This is the church of missionary advance through whom the Gospel will be proclaimed widely throughout the world.  This is also the church which has received a promise of greatest comfort.  Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth [Revelation 3:10].

Judgement is coming upon this fallen world.  Indeed, those who are lost are already under the judgement of Holy God.  This is the obvious meaning of John’s words.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  …Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him [John 3:16-18, 36].

The judgement in view in Revelation 3:10 is what has come to be referred to as the Great Tribulation [see Revelation 7:14].  The stage for awesome, world-wide, cataclysmic judgement is set by a missionary church era in which churches advance the cause of Christ throughout the world.  I suggest to you that that era of missionary advance began with the great Baptist mission causes ushered in by William Carey and Adoniram Judson at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century.  That era has continued until sometime near the present as a transition has already begun.

The Laodicean era will be marked by the conditions Christ outlines in his letter to that seventh Asian Church.  “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.  For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realising that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see’” [Revelation 3:14-18].

In the Laodicean Church, we witness a tepid church, which can neither reject the trappings of religion nor yet embrace the cause of Christ.  Therefore, it continues to mouth the words of righteousness, but without daring demand adherence to those same great teachings.  It is a church which possesses wealth, but has no power with God.  It is a church with vast holdings, but which has sacrificed character.  It is a church which enjoys a rich heritage, but is oblivious to godliness.

In this penultimate letter to the young pastor at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul envisions wholesale departure from the Faith as church members devote themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.  This departure from the Faith is promoted among the churches by deliberate insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.  The dark picture is that of a church whose pulpit is occupied by liars intent on deceiving the Faithful.  Paul is pointing to a church which has rejected her doctrinal moorings, appointing people to pastoral oversight on the basis of credentials or connections instead of character.  Consequently, they teach which is convenient instead of what is needful.

Idolatry is demonic, and the Church of the Laodicean era is an idolatrous church.  By this, I mean that they have supplanted God on His throne.  In order to understand the meaning of my words, I invite you to consider the instruction provided in Romans 1:18 ff.  The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles [Romans 1:18-23].

The words which follow are immediately applicable to the conditions about which Paul warns Timothy.  God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!  Amen.  For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions.  For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error [Romans 1:24-27].

A church which exalts tolerance over purity will increasingly worship mankind’s own sexuality.  The teaching will become incessant and insistent that Christians must be tolerant, accepting that which is against all nature and that which offends Holy God.  Sodomites and Lesbians will increasingly be accepted as normal within the church, the negative impact of paedophilia will be downplayed, serial adultery through multiple marriages will be ignored, and personal pleasure will be elevated as the greatest social good.  Whenever you witness these conditions becoming normalised, look up.

The great, overarching qualification which is necessary for appointment as an overseer is that he must be above reproach [1 Timothy 1:3:2; Titus 1:6].  Among the criteria by which the churches are to determine if an individual is above reproach is that the man must be self-controlled and respectable [1 Timothy 3:3], in addition to being upright, holy and disciplined [Titus 1:8].  Sodomites and lesbians cannot meet these qualifications since they are subject to reproach because they are in rebellion against Holy God, undisciplined in their lifestyle, unrighteous and ungodly.  Therefore, they are not respectable.  More than that, it is impossible for such individuals to be well thought of by outsiders [1 Timothy 3:7].  Even the world condemns the sodomite priests of the Catholic Church, despite the media attempts to portray the problem as one of paedophilia, it is in fact a problem arising from permitting homosexual priests to provide oversight of their institutions.

How does a church become Laodicean?  What conditions would lead a church to exalt wickedness and glorify impurity?  When the church looks to the world for approval, it is moving away from being Christ-centred.  When the church seeks to exchange worship for ritual, it is moving toward apostasy.  When the church denigrates grace and emphasises works, it is already moving away from righteousness.  When human thought trumps the Word of God and there is no longer a doctrinal basis for fellowship, that group ceases to be a church and becomes just another religious organisation.  Far too many of the professed churches of Christ the Lord are nothing but religious societies.

When a professed Christian turns from a doctrinal foundation for faith and practise and begins to do what makes him feel good, he reveals that he is not a Christian.  Likewise, when a church scoffs at the doctrinal foundation for membership and begins to exalt feelings and emotions, it demonstrates that it has no spiritual depth.  Listen to what the Spirit says.  In later times some will depart from the Faith.

Laodicean Christians want to be religious and they want to be acceptable to their fellowman, but if forced to choose between acceptability to the world or Christ, they demonstrate their religious ignorance by insisting that a God of love approves of their apostasy.  They first begin to preach a message of blind love which invites people to be religious without being transformed.  Consequently, they soon have a church populated with professing individuals who live lives openly rebellious to the will of God.  Refusing to address their own sinfulness, they move steadily toward confrontation with Holy God, ever ignorant that they are living in a state of self-induced spiritual catatonia.

God’s love is easy, but it is demanding.  That is, God readily receives the sinner as His dearly loved child.  However, having received the sinner into His Family, God will change the sinner.  Child of God, professing Christian, if your life is unchanged since you professed faith in Christ, know that you are flirting with death.  You are deceiving only yourself.  It is not in professing Christ that one is saved, but rather it is in possessing Christ that one is saved.  That one possessing Christ will discover that God is at work and the life will be transformed, increasingly becoming like the Son of God.

Let me be specific.  The Laodicean church will be an egalitarian church.  Just as society has become increasingly feminised, so the church of the Last Days will be feminised.  Women will be fully equal in all respects.  Thus, women will serve as elders, despite the clear Word of God prohibiting such action.  Religious leaders will insist upon promoting women in pastoral roles to demonstrate that they are not bigoted.  They will not be able to account for the loss of power or the absence of male worshippers, but they will rejoice in the sensitivity displayed and openness demonstrated by the congregation.  The people will want it so, because they are tolerant and magnanimous in their love.

The Laodicean church will be a polished church.  It will emphasise performance instead of insisting upon biblical teaching.  The people will go to church to see the performance and fail to worship.  They will feel no particular attachment to a church, shopping for whichever church provides the best show for the least dollars.  Commitment will be to how one feels instead of commitment to Christ and His cause and His church.

The Laodicean church will be a sensitive church.  This church would never make anyone feel uncomfortable.  They dare not speak of those who are lost as “sinners,” as “outsiders,” or even as being “lost.”  Instead, they will call them “seekers,” as though God no longer seeks us, but instead we seek Him.  They will not speak of sin as offensive to Holy God.  The only sins which will be pointed out are those awful sins of intolerance and bigotry.  Those attending the Laodicean church will be more concerned with how people feel than with how God views their service.  Consequently, the services will be designed to make people feel good about themselves.

The Laodicean church will be a spiritual church.  Spirituality will be emphasised, but the Spirit of God will be absent.  People will insist that they have great spiritual experiences—seeing visions, performing miracles, signs and wonders, and “feeling” the presence of God.  However, long before this day, God cautioned that not every spirit was the Holy Spirit, and the people of God are to test the spirits.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.  By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.  This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already [1 John 4:1-3].

The Laodicean church will be an attractive church.  This church will not be concerned about biblical doctrine, but will make every effort to ensure that what is taught is in accordance to the latest sociological fad.  There will be an undue emphasis upon “self”—self-fulfilment, self-worth, self-acceptance.  People will feel good about themselves, even though they are destined for destruction.  Perhaps the motto of that Laodicean church will be “Laughing all the way to Hell.”

Not every individual who dons clerical robes is approved by God as a herald of the Faith.  Some, unfortunately, are manipulated by deceitful spirits, and thus they deliver the teachings of demons.  I have not hesitated to warn that the actions of liberal churches throughout the latter portion of the past century and during the opening days of this current millennium approximate the church of the last days.  However, I increasingly see that the spirit of the age has infiltrated and contaminated the churches which delight to call themselves “evangelical.

I had hoped that Baptists would hold the line, remaining true to the Faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.  However, I witness increasing indications that even among the churches to which we are tied are swift movements toward utter and abject apostasy.  I am watching the actions of denominational leaders carefully to see how they react, praying that they are men of character and men of God instead of mere toadies.

What Will Apostates Teach in the Last Days?  Throughout the letter to Timothy, Paul has been addressing the dire subject of false teachers.  In 1 Timothy 1:3-7, he addressed the fact that they were self-appointed teachers, willing to promote myths and speculative genealogies.  These false teachers were masters of sophistry and speculation.  They had rejected the foundations of sound doctrine, according to Paul in 1 Timothy 1:18-20.  In chapter two, it would appear that the false teachers were attempting to promote women as preachers, necessitating apostolic clarification.  In chapter three, the false teachers appear to have promoted themselves as overseers, failing to present godly criteria for promoting themselves into that position.

Do you wonder how these false teachers can function, seemingly without concern for the damage they do?  Paul says their consciences are seared.  The word for seared is the Greek term καυστηριάζω.  It sounds like our English word cauterised.  These false teachers—perhaps seminary professors, perhaps pastors, perhaps religious leaders—have so ignored and so abused their ethic that their consciences have become like scar tissue, insensitive to injury.  They are unconcerned for the ultimate fate of their hearers, focusing only on the adulation which they themselves will receive during this present time.

Peter, also, spoke of these false teachers.  False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.  And in their greed they will exploit you with false words [2 Peter 2:1-3].

Now, focus on the content of apostasy.  Anything contrary to Scripture can serve as an entry point for demonic teaching.  It is for this reason that it is vital that the smallest detail of Scripture must not be ignored.  As a preacher of the Word, I take great pains to ensure that I speak the truth, so that I will not be guilty of leading any astray.  More than that, I do not want what I teach to become the means by which Satan gains a foothold.

However, the most careful preacher must have an audience.  Here is one of the great responsibilities imposed on the people of God.  You bear responsibility to study the Word and to hold the preacher accountable.  You are not to put your mind on cruise control and simply ride along.  Instead, you are to engage your minds and interact with what is preached.  You are responsible to look in the Book, checking the veracity of what is taught.  Call for biblical accountability in all that is taught.

Since small errors can serve to introduce demonic influence, you would think that Satan would tackle the great themes of Scripture, that he would attempt to deny and distort the difficult doctrines of the Word.  You would expect demonic powers to deny the Triune Godhead, or perhaps to cast into doubt salvation by faith.  However, Paul says that the false teachers will focus on seemingly innocuous teachings, such as marriage and fasting.  If you grasp this point, you will be well served by this message.  The dangers to the Faith come through seemingly minor teachings, which, in turn, lead to grave error.

Singleness is not wrong.  Paul spent considerable time teaching the Corinthians of the importance of accepting those who are single.  In fact, we are to encourage them as they honour God through their service [see 1 Corinthians 7:25-35].  Likewise, fasting is an important accompaniment to prayer [cf. Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14, 15].  The deception comes when these practices are elevated to the position of mandatory actions required in order to please God.  Whenever human effort becomes the means of salvation or even the means of pleasing God, you have the primary mark of false teaching.

The emphasis is upon external religion.  In other words, ritual is exalted and there can be no worship.  If an individual tells you that you cannot be a “real” Christian unless you jabber in gibberish, know that such an individual has opened a door for the entrance of demonic powers to manipulate and destroy.  Whenever an individual tells you that only through prescribed prayers, the recitation of predetermined prayers, may one draw near to God, know that such teaching serves as an entry point for demonic powers.  William Barclay provides insight into this issue.

This was an ever-recurring heresy in the Church; in every generation men arose who tried to be stricter than God.  When the Apostolic Canons came to be written, it was necessary to set it down in black and white: “If any overseer, priest or deacon, or anyone on the priestly list, abstains from marriage and flesh and wine, not on the ground of asceticism (that is, for the sake of discipline), but through abhorrence of them as evil in themselves, forgetting that all things are very good, and that God made man male and female, but blaspheming and slandering the workmanship of God, either let him amend, or be deposed and cast out of the Church.  Likewise a layman also” (Apostolic Canons 51).  Irenaeus, writing towards the end of the second century, tells how certain followers of Saturninus “declare that marriage and generation are from Satan.  Many likewise abstain from animal food, and draw away multitudes by a feigned temperance of this kind” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1, 24, 2).  This kind of thing came to a head in the monks and hermits of the fourth century.  They went away and lived in the Egyptian desert, entirely cut off from men.  Then spent their lives mortifying the flesh.  One never ate cooked food and was famous for his “fleshnessless.”  Another stood all night by a jutting crag so that it was impossible for him to sleep.  Another was famous because he allowed his body to become so dirty and neglected that vermin dropped from him as he walked.  Another deliberately ate salt in midsummer and then abstained from drinking water.  “A clean body,” they said, “necessarily means an unclean soul.”[2]

Paul pointedly rejected such teaching in an earlier letter to the Colossians.  Therefore let no one pass judgement on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.  These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.  Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?  These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh [Colossians 2:16-23].

Dear people, never forget that the Faith of Christ the Lord is not external.  Rather, it is of the heart and it transforms the life.  The Faith will be reflected through the manner of life, but the life is not the Faith.  We seek to honour God through living righteous and holy lives, but the lives we live do not make us Christian.

What is the Error of Apostasy?[3]  The great, overarching error of apostate teaching is that it rejects divine revelation.  All false teaching is a denial of God’s Word.  Throughout the Pastoral Letters (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus), the Apostle has confronted false teachers, emphasising their deceitful handling of the Word of God.

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.  The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted [1 Timothy 1:3-11].

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.  He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

…O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you.  Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.  Grace be with you [1 Timothy 6:3-5, 20, 21].

Other passages which demonstrate this same apostolic concern to address false teachers can be found in 2 Timothy 2:14-18, 23-26; 3:13-17; 4:1-4; Titus 1:9-16; 3:9-11].  The examples Paul uses in our text serve to instruct us.  Marriage is good.  God created marriage for our benefit.  According to the Genesis account, marriage serves as God’s divinely appointed means for making one complete.  Woman is to complement man, and man serves to complement woman.  Marriage provides a means for procreation, for companionship, and for pleasure.

Similarly, God gave to man every form of plant and herb and tree for food.  I will even concede that beets may be eaten … by people (though I personally avoid them).  Likewise, the animals are given that man may eat and enjoy them as food.  Frankly, peta notwithstanding, whenever I see a deer, I see venison and pigs are bacon on the hoof.  I rejoice in God’s rich provision for us in this great nation.

All that God made was pronounced good.  Good means more than that creation was complete and in harmony.  Good means that God saw that what He had provided was for man’s benefit and for God’s glory.  God instituted marriage and He provided food for those who believe and know the truth.  In marriage we glorify God as we strengthen one another and as we rejoice in His goodness.  In eating what God has provided for our benefit we glorify God thankfully receiving His bounty.

Take special note of that final statement in our text.  Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.  Your marriage is blessed—declared holy—because God Himself instituted the union and clearly, His Word has blessed what He brought into being.  If we give thanks for our spouse as a precious gift from God, we are blessing both our spouse and God for giving us the one who ensures that our life is made complete.  Likewise, the food which He has given us is from His hand and is thus declared good.  If it is received with thanksgiving, we in turn bless God for providing it.

To fall into apostasy is to deny the Word of God.  Whether it is condemning that which God says is good or whether it is substituting ritual for worship or whether it is denying grace in favour of works, ultimately apostasy is denial of the Word of God.  Mere externalism does not, indeed—cannot—please God.  Neither does such external effort promote genuine spirituality.

How will we avoid apostasy as a church?  Through adhering to the Word of God.  Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them [Hebrews 13:9].  Make a commitment to Christ as Lord.  Believe His Word and follow Him in baptism as He has called you to do.  Make a commitment to His church.  Put your life in the fellowship of the Body.  Make a commitment to the Faith.  Amen.

How does a church become Laodicean?  What conditions would lead a church to exalt wickedness and glorify impurity?  When the church looks to the world for approval, it is moving away from being Christ-centred.  When the church seeks to exchange worship for ritual, it is moving toward apostasy.  When the church denigrates grace and emphasises works, it is already moving away from righteousness.  When human thought trumps the Word of God and there is no longer a doctrinal basis for fellowship, that group ceases to be a church and becomes just another religious organisation.  Far too many of the professed churches of Christ the Lord are nothing but religious societies.

This was an ever-recurring heresy in the Church; in every generation men arose who tried to be stricter than God.  When the Apostolic Canons came to be written, it was necessary to set it down in black and white: “If any overseer, priest or deacon, or anyone on the priestly list, abstains from marriage and flesh and wine, not on the ground of asceticism (that is, for the sake of discipline), but through abhorrence of them as evil in themselves, forgetting that all things are very good, and that God made man male and female, but blaspheming and slandering the workmanship of God, either let him amend, or be deposed and cast out of the Church.  Likewise a layman also” (Apostolic Canons 51).  Irenaeus, writing towards the end of the second century, tells how certain followers of Saturninus “declare that marriage and generation are from Satan.  Many likewise abstain from animal food, and draw away multitudes by a feigned temperance of this kind” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1, 24, 2).  This kind of thing came to a head in the monks and hermits of the fourth century.  They went away and lived in the Egyptian desert, entirely cut off from men.  Then spent their lives mortifying the flesh.  One never ate cooked food and was famous for his “fleshnessless.”  Another stood all night by a jutting crag so that it was impossible for him to sleep.  Another was famous because he allowed his body to become so dirty and neglected that vermin dropped from him as he walked.  Another deliberately ate salt in midsummer and then abstained from drinking water.  “A clean body,” they said, “necessarily means an unclean soul.”


----

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright Ó 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

[2] William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (Revised Edition): Daily Study Bible, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, PA, 1975, 93-94

[3] I am indebted for substantial portions of this final point to John MacArthur, Jr., 1 Timothy: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1995, 154

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