1 Timothy 8
1 Timothy ch.4.
Intro: - Dangerous rip at Scarborough - protect against danger by: Education, Example.
- Paul returns to the subject of false teaching (cf. Ch.1) - urgent exhortation because not only was it false it was actually demonic!
- read 4:1-16
Apostasy: - contrast to church as pillar and foundation of truth is a serious warning against deception and error
- the answer to error is always the truth - taught and lived out in the lives of God’s people particularly leaders. Godliness i.e. Divine truth and love realised in mature Christian experience is always the answer to the onslaughts of error and heresy
- church infiltrated by demonic teaching [Acts 20:28-30 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.] “from among you”i.e from leadership of the church!
- ? End time revival - no, end time apostasy (word for fall away) - those who say something else are teaching a lie
-We should not be surprised by the mushrooming of false teaching that pervades the church, for this is precisely (ῥητῶς) what the Holy Spirit revealed would take place: [Luke 18:8 However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”Matt 24:4-5, 11, 13, 23-26, 45 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him .For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 45 Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? (Teaching again) 2 Tim 3:1-7, 10, 13-17; 4:2-5 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Thes 2:3, 9-12 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.]
- some will fall away [1 Tim 1:19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.] remember Hymenaus and Alexander
This means that we are in the end times - Christ’s return is near! (Luke 21:28) It should not fill us with despair as if something were going terribly wrong - no, this is how God knew it would be, everything is happening according to plan. Man’s plans are different - they see an end time revival, the church going from strength to strength, presenting the Kingdom to Christ when He returns. The Scripture paints a different picture - many falling away, faith disappearing, love growing cold, false teaching of demons propagated and some falling away from the faith.
- rise of mysticism and the systematic denigration of the place of Scripture (Bill Randles’ “Beware the New Prophets”)
- not irreligious, spiritually active, but not the Spirit of Truth Y other spirits, evil spirits, demons
- False teaching is demonic in origin - it’s not just mistaken human ideas. It is a spiritual assault from the pit of hell!
- These demons deceive, they lead people astray. Is this not what we see today - "Christians" totally taken up with supernatural experiences? They think it is the Holy Spirit, but these spirits have deceived them. People are turned inward seeking an experience for themselves - the motivation is selfish! - contrary to the truth which calls for us to deny self.
- This will be the cause of some falling away from the faith! It is serious!
- The utter falseness of this teaching is emphasized: "deceitful," "hypocrisy," (play actors - guise of religious zeal and fervour) "liars." The devil is the "father of lies" a "liar from the beginning" (John 8:88). The work of his minions is true to his nature - the teaching of demons is lies, it deceives, leads astray, fools people, it is not true but deludes people into thinking it is - deception
- deception - satan’s most powerful weapon - when you’re deceived you don’t know it (personal testimony - two photos developing turn out utterly different) sincere but sincerely wrong! [Irenaeus: (180 AD) Error indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest it being thus exposed, it should at once be defeated. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced more true than the truth itself.]
- sensitivity to the Spirit lost when you live a lie - They teach lies to the people without a twinge of conscience because it has long since been rendered inoperative by continually overriding its voice [every time the fuse of conscience is blown by a lie they replace it with a thicker one - now there is a 6" nail in the fuse of conscience that will never be blown no matter how outrageous the lie]
- Only one with a seared conscience can so blatantly promulgate absolute falsehood (e.g. say I am anointed i.e. Christ!)
- their error was not to lead people into vice but to redefine it - go beyond what God had said, super-spiritual, holier than God! In their punctiliousness they go against God’s word saying what God had declared was good was actually evil -gnostics despising the physical world as evil ÷legalism ÿ ingratitude
- false asceticism [Colossians 2:16-23 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.] - appealing to spiritual pride.
- take what God has given and is good and pervert it into something nasty - Christians and food fads, temperance, celibacy of the clergy - marriage and food both made by God and are good [1 Tim 6:17 fix our hope on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Gen 1:29-31; 9:3 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.]
- What God created is good! He made it for us. If we truly know this truth we will be truly thankful, have complete assurance of faith and will receive all things, rejecting nothing. Nothing will harm us, for whatever we partake of will be made holy, clean, will not defile or harm us because of the truth of God’s word (declaring it created by Him and therefore "good"); and by our prayer to Him - acknowledging Him as our Provider, the Giver of good gifts, with gratitude for His goodness- To forbid certain foods is to declare "bad’ what God says is "good" - you are calling God a liar and robbing Him of thanksgiving
- gratitude not legalism We should not abstain but rather give thanks to God for His good gift to us. What we receive with thanksgiving, in faith and acknowledgment to God as Provider is wholesome.
- Gratitude is the key to a Christians relationship with God. No longer are certain foods "profane," "unclean" - now all are "clean." "holy" - fit for consumption through our dependence on God - His word, through our relationship to Him, by prayer. The "prayer" here indicates a close relationship with God - if we are close to Him, He will keep things from harming us.
-Do we trust Him to look after us and do good? It is a matter of our faith, the closeness of our relationship with God.
Teaching: -nourishment comes not from pedantic eating but from God’s word (“man shall not live by bread but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”)
- The exposing of false teaching as outlined in (1-5) is a vital function of a faithful servant of Jesus Christ - it is not to be ignored or allowed to carry on unchecked. It must be countered with sound teaching - teaching the words of faith which nourish the Church, enabling it to grow and develop. The pastor is to guard the flock against false teaching. The pastor is to nourish those under his care with the "word of faith" - the Scriptures, the Word of God which engenders faith (Rom 10:17).
- Sound teaching is not just theoretical study - it is to be followed, lived out, put into practice. Teaching is only nourishing food if it affects your life (don’t be a spiritual bulimic!), gives you strength to live the Christian life. Teaching must be put into practice (Jas 1:21-25; Luke 6:46–49). In contrast, false teaching is mere fables - empty words which don’t affect the life (cf. v.7).
- On one hand we are to utterly reject stories and superstitions that have no basis on truth (that is what is unclean, not food) but, rather, on the other, in contrast, we are to train ourselves for the goal of godliness - this requires discipline- refusing the false, holding to and building yourself up in the truth.(cf. 1 Cor 9:24-27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.; Heb 5:14; 12:10-14). Godliness requires training - it takes determined, disciplined, hard-work - bringing every effort to bear to attain the goal (cf. Phil 3:7-15).
- Physical bodily exercise has some benefit but it is limited - the exercise Paul is talking about - spiritual exercise, training of godliness - is of far greater profit extending to eternity.
- training in godliness - we are weaving now the garments we shall wear in glory - we labour not for an earthly goal but an eternal one (where are you investing your effort?) There are very few things we can take with us when we die. We expend so much of our resources on such a small proportion of our life - our life here on earth (cf. fable of the king sending his fool to find the greatest fool in the world)
- verse 9 refers to the previous statement, emphasizing and emphatically endorsing its truth and reliability - it is faithful and worthy of full acceptance that: "exercise in godliness is profitable for all things - it holds promise both for the present life and the age to come." Training ourselves, discipline and exercise in godliness is the most worthwhile investment of our time, energy and resources that we can make. Where are you investing your energy and talents? Train yourself in godliness! It is an investment in eternity - its benefit lasts forever!
- need to toil arduously and earnestly strive for this. These two words speak of Paul’s tremendous efforts and exertions in the proclamation of the Gospel and training in godliness - This training requires hard work, determination and effort. It makes us weary so that one might be inclined to give up and slacken our effort. But what keeps us in this taxing training program is eyes fixed on the glorious goal! We have our hope fixed on the Living God, our Saviour, on the Salvation to be revealed! We look to the promise of life to come! This inspires, strengthens and motivates us. What a glorious hope. We will see our Lord face to face and will become like Him!! Hallelujah! (1 Tim 6:17) (2 Cor 1:10; 1 John 3:1-3; Rom 8:23-25) (1 Peter 1:3-21).
- we have set our hope on the Living God, Who alone can bring us to such spiritual maturity - becoming like God Himself! (The mystery of godliness) He indeed is the Preserver of all men, being their Creator, Sustainer, Provider, Saviour, Redeemer.
- just as a healthy body is the most effective safeguard against disease, so too a warm , vibrant spiritual life prevents against spiritual disease.
- Timothy was to command this training in godliness and forsaking superstition. How different to today! Authoritative direction is not given in the church today, and if it is, it is not welcomed - we are rebellious, each doing what seems right in his own eyes. No wonder the church has declined to such a weak state with such pitiful knowledge of Scripture and doctrine.
- Paul’s instruction regarding exercise in godliness wasn’t just for Timothy - he was to pass these instructions on to the church, command and teach them to do likewise. First you command to get the people into action, but you don’t leave them to fend for themselves, you then teach - training them, helping and enabling them to carry out what you have commanded.
- Until Paul came Timothy was standing in as interim pastor until Paul could take over the shepherding of the flock. So these three things are duties of the pastor of a church. Not fund-raising, administration, entertaining, counseling, visiting, not even outreach. His primary responsibility as shepherd is to the flock to feed them (cf. v.6) - cause them to grow and develop, be strong and healthy. The flock are fed on: 1/ the Word of God - hence the Scripture must be publicly read [private citizens would not have had a copy of the Bible, they relied on it being read publicly or studying it at the synagogue];
2/ by exhortation i.e. preaching, inspiring, encouraging, motivating and prompting to live according to the principles of the Scriptures - to put what had been read into practice - apply it to their lives, exhorting them to live it out;
3/ teaching - systematic, logical expounding of the principles of Scripture into a simple form so that it can be taken in and absorbed by the flock, in order that they learn and know its principles so that they can do them (cf. v.6.11).
- not only teaching the truth but live it. To teach authoritatively it must be lived out in practice
- what a man is is far more important than what he does. A leader’s personal life, his home and social life, determines the quality of his service for God. What he is has a quiet authority over those with whom he mixes - authority lies in example - hence the great emphasis on life. You have to earn the respect of and the right to lead people.
- authority doesn’t depend on age but in conduct: faith and love in action, exemplary life of purity. Timothy was in his early 30's
- example in: SPEECH [Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.]
CONDUCT - what a man is
LOVE - seeking the highest spiritual good of all
FAITH - reliance on Christ alone - also in faithfulness
PURITY - separate from fleshly, carnal, worldly
- The gift is a χαρίσματος, the result of grace (χαρις). Spiritual gifts (cf. 1 Cor12) may be imparted through the laying on of hands by God appointed leaders. Laying on hands was used to commission someone to a specific task - to impart the authority of God to the undertaking. This wasn’t something he was doing off his own bat, he was under the authority of God appointed leaders who were imparting Divine authority. - ? Timothy’s gift - not told, ? Teaching.
Although God gives us gifts, it is possible for us to neglect them, to not utilize them thus disadvantaging the well-being of the church. They need to be stirred up again into action (2 Tim 1:6 - ἀναζωπυρειν present infinitive = "to stir up smoldering embers into a living flame," "kindle afresh."). The gift needs to be exercised or else the ember may grow cold and die out and we lose that precious gift. God has given us a precious gift (cf. 1 Cor 12:7,11), how can we be unconcerned about it and let it lie idle?
- Timothy in danger of neglecting his gift [2 Tim 1:6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.] - if we have slipped from where we once were we can rekindle the flame
- gifts are for the edification of the church - use what God has given to develop it otherwise it will atrophy
- Paul has spoken to Timothy about authority (11); character (12); the Word of God (13); and about his gift (14) now he urges him to throw himself fully into these things - whole-hearted devotion and involvement is needed to progress. Careful attention to his pastoral duties was required
- even leaders don’t have it all together - Timothy had been with Paul 13 years and was still growing in spiritual maturity. Once we stop growing, progressing, we are dead!
-God has given us each a specific task - we must take pains to develop and carry it out with all diligence. It takes effort and application - for though we have been equipped with a supernatural gift from God still we are required to develop and progress - ever onward!
- It should be obvious to all that we are growing, progressing, becoming more like Christ. We don’t have it all together when we are saved - we receive life and every living thing grows, matures, it isn’t fully formed at birth. If there is no growth, no obvious progress, we must question "is there any life?"
- close attention to our own life, our spiritual walk is needed - not only all out effort - but keep it up! Persevere!
- if you take heed it will not only benefit your own progress but others also who will be saved by observing your example
- truth in theory and in practice - if you’re not living it others will not be convinced by what you preach
Good, true, sound, spiritual teaching is vital! But it is rare in our day, hence the proliferation of false teaching.
- note the verbs that exhort diligence: discipline yourself, labour, strive, give attention, don’t neglect, take pains, be absorbed, pay close attention, persevere - All through, constancy and application are exhorted.The verbs are all present imperative - continual, habitual activity
- we need to apply ourselves diligently to the pursuit of godliness, of sound Biblical teaching
- a falling away will occur we need to be diligent to avoid being caught up in its subtle demonic deception
- why does apostasy come at the end? - because of a lack of teaching.
- why does apostasy come at the end? - because of a lack of disciplined godly living.
- let us pay close attention that we do not neglect these - this is our protection against the deception that will come.
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things