1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope: 2 To Timothy, my true son in the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach false doctrine 4 or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. These promote empty speculations rather than God’s plan, which operates by faith. 5 Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
Paul told Timothy to instruct people not to teach false doctrine or pay attention to myths and endless genealogies
3 As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach false doctrine 4 or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. These promote empty speculations rather than God’s plan, which operates by faith.
Myths are legends that people tell that are obviously not found within the Scriptures. It reminds me of something else Paul said to the Corinthians
6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying: “Nothing beyond what is written.” The purpose is that none of you will be arrogant, favoring one person over another.
Nothing beyond what is written.
We are to place our faith in “nothing beyond what is written.”
We are to place our confidence in “nothing beyond what is written.”
We are to give our greatest allegiance to “nothing beyond what is written.”
We are to take pride in “nothing beyond what is written.”
We are to boast about “nothing beyond what is written.”
I will give my life to “nothing beyond what is written.”
This was a saying that was common in Pauls day, and I believe it should be a saying that we make common again in ours.
Paul told Timothy that one of his main responsibilities was to guard true doctrine and refute and correct false doctrine because the consequences are grave. False doctrine can have eternal consequences over people’s souls. Paul said that false doctrines promote empty speculations rather than God’s plan, which operates by faith.
4 or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. These promote empty speculations rather than God’s plan, which operates by faith.
So you see that true doctrine teaches what is God’s real plan of salvation which operates by faith. We are saved by faith, not by works. We are not saved apart from faith, or before we have faith, we are saved by and through faith. Faith is the means that God has chosen to give us the choice of accepting Him or rejecting Him. He did not chose a plan of salvation that operates by works, He chose a plan of salvation that operates by faith.
He said that goal of our instruction, or the goal of our doctrine is love
5 Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
This is the goal of our instruction --
Love that comes from a pure heart
Love that comes from a good conscience &
Love that comes from a sincere faith
Only when we have these things, a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith will we make the greatest impact in the world we live in.
Paul goes on to warn about those who turn away from sound doctrine because of their own sinful desires
6 Some have departed from these and turned aside to fruitless discussion. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, although they don’t understand what they are saying or what they are insisting on. 8 But we know that the law is good, provided one uses it legitimately. 9 We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for slave traders, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which was entrusted to me.
Paul says that in pursuing our own desires that God has declared sinful we turn away from sound teaching/doctrine. We abandon what God has said to be true and we declare what we believe to be true instead and we declare God to be wrong, and anyone who follows Him is wrong as well. But Paul was not shaken by what people thought about him. Paul was not shaken by the many many many people who abused, beat, and tried to kill him. He knew that God was good and loving and merciful, and he pressed on in sharing that good news with everyone, who wanted to hear it or not, in order that they might be saved. He went on:
12 I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry—13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
That’s what Christmas is all about.
15 This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them.
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and I am the worst of them. That is the attitude we must all have if we are to reach this world.
To live peaceably in the world, to pray for our government leaders, to love everyone, and to align our hearts with God’s heart.
A few sentences later he goes on to say
1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.
God wants everyone to be saved, Everyone!
And that is why it’s so important to guard the teachings of God, true doctrine. He commanded Timothy again:
3 If anyone teaches false doctrine and does not agree with the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching that promotes godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest in disputes and arguments over words. From these come envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant disagreement among people whose minds are depraved and deprived of the truth, who imagine that godliness is a way to material gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. 8 If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Guarding the doctrine is one of the primary responsibilities of an Elder. Because it is true doctrine that results in a church body made up of people who love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith that will honor God the most.
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy he said this
24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
This is the attitude we must have with those who oppose us. With those who disagree with what we believe and hold dear. With those who hate us and can’t tolerate us. This is how we are to communicate the gospel with them. Why? So that they may escape the trap of Satan and be released from his captivity and be saved, which is what God wants of every person on this planet who has ever lived and who ever will.
We will finish by looking at one more thing that Paul told Timothy.
1 I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of his appearing and his kingdom: 2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. 3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear. 4 They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But as for you, exercise self-control in everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 There is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved his appearing.
Paul understood very clearly and was very concerned with the church being led astray not only by the desire of the Pastor who was in the ministry for the wrong reason, but also by the church body itself.
Jesus said many things that we don’t want to hear. But aren’t we glad He came to say them anyways?
He told us that we can’t live any way we want to live. He told us that we don’t get to declare what is right and what is not, only he does. He told us we must turn from sin and change how we live, and we didn’t like that, but aren’t we glad he came and said those things anyway? Even though we would have rather lived however we wanted, are we glad he came and told us we can’t, because by coming, he died, and by dying, he rose from the dead, and by doing that for us, we can live forever with him with no pain, or sorrow, or heartache ever again, and without Him dying for us, we would be without hope forever.
So even though there are many who don’t want to hear the name of Christ this Christmas, and will instead opt to say happy holidays, and make Christmas all about Santa and giving gifts to others, we know the greatest gift of all was from God who gave His Only Son so that whoever would believe in him would not perish, but have eternal life.