1 Timothy 1:3-7
Tim Challies Quote:
Tim Challies Quote:
False teaching has consequences.
“Satan’s greatest ambassadors are not pimps, politicians, or power-brokers, but pastors. His priests do not peddle a different religion, but a deadly perversion of the true one. His troops do not make a full-out frontal assault, but work as agents, sneaking into the opposing army. Satan’s tactics are studied, clever, predictable, effective.”
That quote is painful, but I am afraid it is true.
So many pulpits around our country and around the world are filled with men who are impostors.
And what do imposters do? They seek to kill from the inside. and they do this through false doctrine.
“False doctrine confuses truth and error, prevents godliness, promotes sin, elevates ungodly leadership, permits false teachers, removes God’s blessing, debilitates the church for times of difficulty, and weakens her for the future. Sound doctrine distinguishes truth from error, promotes godliness, prevents sin, qualifies godly leadership, protects against false teachers, ensures God’s blessing, equips the church for times of difficulty, and strengthens her for the future.” Tim Challies
I believe Tim Challies is correct, and I believe this was true in Paul’s day and it is true in ours.
This is why the first thing Paul calls Timothy to do in this letter is to maintain doctrinal fidelity.
Recap Last Week.
As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,
Paul and Timothy are facing the hard reality that discipleship often brings.
The hard part of Discipleship is oftentimes the leaving the disciple on his own to make disciples.
When Paul left for Macedonia, the text here says that Paul urged Timothy. He implored him. Essentially, he begs Timothy to stay.
Here is where we see Paul loves the church. He loves it more than he loves his own comfort and his own desire to keep Timothy close.
This could not have been easy for Paul. He has poured his life into Timothy (True child in the faith), but making disciples often and even most of the time means sending those disciples off. Training them for when you are not there.
Paul isn’t leaving Timothy just for the sake of leaving him.
Paul trust that Timothy is read
He is leaving him for a significant and specific purpose.
We see the same thing in the life and the discipleship and the ascension of Jesus.
Jesus spent 3 years with the same men, training them (discipling, correcting, rebuking them), and then he leaves them. And he left them for a specific purpose.
To go and do the same thing that he did with them.
Make disciples for when they ain’t there no more.
Train up faithful available and teachable men and send them out.
Thats what discipleship is. Training to send out.
Whether it be our biological children, or children in the faith, our job is to faithfully train them so that when the time comes for them to be alone, they have a foundation rooted in Christ and able to withstand through difficulty.
Paul gives us a model of discipleship because he is able to leave Timothy.
He is leaving Timothy to continue in faithfulness, and he believes he can, or he wouldn’t leave him.
So He tells him.
Remain at Ephesus. But remaining for Timothy doesn’t mean inaction. Just because Paul is leaving, ministry is not over.
Paul is going somewhere new, and Timothy will stay in a familiar place, but neither job nor neither man is dispensable.
Pauls job in carrying the Gospel to a new place is important.
but Tinothy’s job in pastoring and maintaining fidelity in the church of Ephesius is just as important.
Sometimes, we consider some positions in the kingdom as more significant, when at times the most significant thing we can do for the kingdom is remain where we are and continue to preach and teach faithfully.
Paul leaves Timothy with a vital kingdom task. its not less important than Paul’s task, but he has to stay.
If Timothy leaves, who is going to maintain the doctrinal fidelity?
because false doctrines are rampant.
Wrong doctrines were already being circulated at this early stage in the church’s life, and this is a reminder that in every age truth is challenged by counterfeits.
They are circulating this early in the life of the church, its present today and it has been present throughout the last 2000 years, and this should remind us that false doctrine and fighting off false doctrine is a role of the church in every age.
It happened in Timothy’s day, and it happens today. One of the enemy’s greatest and most familiar tools and ploys from the beginning has been to call into question and to distract from the truth of the Word of God.
This is why Timothy is tasked with a heavy responsibility: Guarding the saints of Ephesus from false doctrines.
And he gives Timothy some specific instructions.
He is (verse 3) to instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrine.
Timothy’s job a pastor/elder was to not just to preach, provide pastoral care, not just to pray, but also to provide instruction and oversight with regard to the things being taught.
Couple things for consideration here:
One job of the pastor is to protect the church from false doctrine.
This is an aspect of shepherding the church. Fending off the wolves.
These wolves come in many shapes and sizes but the goal is the same.
Its important that we recognize false teachers.
Three categories of false teachers- (probably more but these are broad enough to where I think they encapsulate)
1. Heretic- a person who blatantly teaches what is false to introduce error and to lead the church astray.
Common heresies of today
1. Prosperity Gospel
2. Works based salvation (Adding to the Gospel)
3. Denial of the Deity of Christ
4. Denial of Trinity
Swindler-a person who uses deception to deprive (someone) of money or possessions
Common Movements that house these people
New Apostolic Reformation- NAR
Word of Faith Movement
These are all people who are peddling false doctrine, and they do so while they become rich.
Speculator- a person who gives themselves to speculation rather than studying God’s Word
Whatever category they find themselves in, False teachers seek to destroy the church through error and false teaching.
Paul recognizes this. He also knows that Timothy must speak against false doctrines.
-It’s not permissible to remain silent with regard to false teaching. When preachers of truth remain silent, the noise of false teaching grows louder and more people are led astray.
-It is not permissible to allow false teaching to happen in the church.
I take this very seriously. I try and be discerning and very cautious in who I allow to preach here, because one of my jobs is to guard the body from false teaching.
(This may get awkward at times, but, Timothy has been appointed to a position of authority that at times, will mean he must speak with authority over anyone who is seeking to be heard within the church. )
The pastor’s job is to shepherd.
Timothy has been appointed to a position of authority that at times, will mean he must speak with authority over anyone who is seeking to be heard within the church.
The pastor’s job is not to entertain.
The pastor’s job is not fill the building up with people.
Timothy’s job is not to keep everyone happy. Timothy’s job is even to be liked by everyone.
Timothy’s job. The pastor’s job is to care for the sheep.
Feeding the sheep the Word of God.
Protecting the sheep from the wolves.
And if necessary, silencing those who seek to lead the sheep astray by false doctrine.
That is why is necessary for the pastor to study, to be informed, and to address issues when things are taught, preached, sung, or posted that are false.
Just this week I saw someone shared a post from a pastor in Gainesville Georgia named, Jenetzen Franklin.
“Our greatest battle is not Satan, Sin, or Society. Our greatest battle is boredom.”
he goes to explain that the reason the church is struggling is because of boredom.
The problem with that isn’t that he called out Christians for being bored, the problem is that he minimized the battle that Scripture calls to us fight.
Again he said…Read Quote.
Scripture on the other hand teaches this:
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
You see the problem here, and I can’t help but think that telling that church that their problem is not Satan, sin, or society, is exactly what Satan would have him tell them.
Our greatest battle is sin. It is Satan, and at times it is the society and world around us that seeks to conform us to it.
Thats false teaching, and the pastor’s job is to correct these things.
This is serious, because its something that one day I will answer for.
And there is divine accountability that comes with this task.
There is divine accountability that comes with this task.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
God will hold me and every other pastor accountable for what we allow to be taught, sung, or practiced.
I’ll be honest: This is frightening, but it makes sense.
Christ died for the church. He is building the church. And his desire is to have it free from error.
Paul goes on...
nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
1 Timothy 1:
The false teachers were calling the attention of the believers to speculations rather than being firmly established in what is true.
Paul says, Instruct them to Not pay attention to myths and genealogies. The false teaching he is dealing with here are people who had taken the genealogies of the Old Testament and were making crazy and erroneous claims and connections that were not there.
In other words, rather than paying attention to the truth of the Gospel and what we know to be true, they were focusing on things that in reality were unverifiable.
Its not even worth listening to. It creates speculation.
Speculation is dangerous, because it has no foundation. It comes from the human mind which is prone to error rather than the truth of God’s word.
God desires that we follow that which he has set up as truth. He doesn’t need our additions. He doesn’t need us to speculate. In fact, Paul warns against this and we should take note at this point as well.
He needs us to trust and to firmly root ourselves in what he has already said.
for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
Some folks think of the Bible as a gigantic confusing puzzle to be put together, a code to be cracked.
and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
The Bible is not any of that.
There seems to be a big market in the church for speculative books. About Christ, the Bible, the end times.
Paul tells Timothy the goal of teaching is not to leave with more questions than answers.
Paul says elsewhere in 1 Corinthians-
for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
The goal is to teach what Scripture teaches clearly, and to let more clear Scripture interpret the less Scripture where things are less clear.
Then and only then will we be able to teach from a pure heart and conscience.
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
True biblical instruction doesn’t produce speculation and confusion, discord and disunity. Thats what false teaching produces, and worse yet, false teaching leads to hell where all false teachers will be assigned.
True biblical instruction produces love.
Love for Christ. Love for the church.
True Biblical instruction produces that love from:
1. Pure Heart- the Word rightly taught is a purifying agent. It exposes sin. It aligns our wills with God’s, and it creates a pure conscience.
2. And A Pure conscience- A truly clear conscience is a result of truly being forgiven. That only happens through faith in Christ.
3. Sincere faith.
The goal is love that flows from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.
That doesn’t come from false teaching. It doesn’t come from shallow teaching. It comes from biblical instruction.
God desires these things to be apart of the believers life, and he desires that they come from instruction in the biblical truth.
That doesn’t come from false teaching. It doesn’t come from shallow preaching. It comes through faithfulness to God’s Word.
And false teaching has consequences…
For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.
Some men- strayed from these things, turned aside, and are now involved in fruitless discussion.
Counterfeit - FBI
Pastor. I need to study, be informed and be vigilant about things being taught.
Congregations need to study the real in order to discern the fake.
Examine everything according to the Bible.
We need to be like the Bereans in
The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.