I Timothy 1-6: The Danger of False Teachers

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus

that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies,

which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,

I Timothy 1:3-6, NKJV

 

One of the most consistent problems that has plagued Christianity since its inception has been the prevalence of false teachers. False teachers arise from a number of motives and for a number of reasons. Some come about because they want to serve Christ, but in slightly different ways than have been commanded, because they want to do their own thing. Others seek power, so they twist the Scriptures in such a way as to make that happen.

 

Some don't really have bad motives, they are just ignorant of what the commands are because they do not have a depth of study. They latch on to their favorite verse or philosophy and simply do not add to their knowledge. Others still want everyone to be saved (just as God does), but they want to tweak the commands so that they are easier for everyone.

 

Whatever the reason or motive, whatever the intention or lack of purpose, the result of these false teachers is always the same: They are teaching a different doctrine than commanded, and this has the effect of placing their souls in danger. On the other hand, the purpose of God's commands to hold to the truth is "love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith."  

 

And God does not want us to stray from these virtues because doing so will cause us to stray from His path of salvation. You may have noticed in your readings so far that just about every book and letter of the New Testament contains warnings against false teachers. If God thought this to be such an important warning as to inspire the New Testament writers to bring it up so often, then it would be wise for us to heed that warning. And the best way to avoid the false doctrine of these false teachers is to be aware of what the truth is. This can only be discovered through the Word of God.

 

This is why we are reading it!

 

The readings for the next few days is from I Timothy 1-6. The teachings contained within this short letter will help guard us from the pitfalls of following false teachers and their dangerous doctrines. 

II Thessalonians 1-3: Ignorance is Bliss... or is it?

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.

He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus

They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.

I Thes. 1:6-11, NIV

 

One of the easiest things to do in our modern religious world is to not get too carried away with our Bible study. After all, we are busy people and ignorance, as the saying goes, is bliss... isn't it?

 

Of course the answer to that question is that there are hardly any areas of life that are made better through ignorance. I don't know anyone who would want a heart surgeon who had such a philosophy, nor can I conceive of anyone wanting their children's teachers to adopt such a belief. Just try to go before a traffic judge with the defense that you were ignorant of the law and see how far that will get you.

 

Why then should we think that God would accept such an excuse of ignorance? The One who gave His only begotten Son that we might live as well as the Christ who gave that life, are worthy of our efforts to find out all that we possibly can about the gospel of our Lord. In fact, according to the passage above, God will inflict the ultimate penalty upon those who do not believe or obey. That is why, as Paul writes to the church in the passage stated above, that He was praying that they would live lives that were worthy of their calling. God does not want us to be lost and knows that ignorance of His Word will place us in peril. The cure for such ignorance is knowledge, and that knowledge can only be found within the pages of His holy Word.

 

We have been given the same charge today. How will we respond to this responsibility?

 

The reading for the next few days is from II Thessalonians. It is filled with both promises of reward and of punishment, as well as the call to make the right choice.

I Thessalonians 1-5: Give Thanks

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,

give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you

I Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV

 

You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly.

The streams of God are filled with water

to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.

Psalms 65:9, NIV

 

Last year Happy, Texas experienced it's third lowest rainfall since records began in 1880. We received a little over 10 inches of rain, and this came after the two previous years had lower than normal rainfall. The first five months of this year were not much better. As the farmers and ranchers could tell you, we were in trouble.

 

In the past week, Happy has received more rain than we had for the entire prior year. The Happy draw is filled with water, just like David said of all of God's streams in the passage above. And while we are a bit water logged now, the land is healed and there is hope for this region.

 

And we are thankful!

 

But the rain of the past week is not meant to be the focal point of this article. Rather, the focus is upon the last 3 1/2 years of drought. Were we thankful then? The reason I ask is that we had much to be thankful for during the previous years because God blessed us richly during that time and He carried us through!

 

Through sickness and turmoil and drought, God rescued us!

 

And just as we are to be joyful and prayerful and thankful for the showers of blessing we have received this past week, we were to be just as joyful and prayerful and thankful for the blessings that God gave us during the times of trial. Maybe more so, when you think about it, for it is the hard times that truly display the power of God and which prove our faithfulness. Anyone can be grateful when times are easy and they are getting just what they want, but it is times of testing that builds servants who are indeed worthy to serve.

 

The fact is that we need God as much during hard times - sometimes more so - and He has never let us down.

 

And we are thankful!

 

The reading for the next few days is from Paul's 1st letter to the church at Thessalonica. It teaches us how to be thankful in all situations. 

Colossians 1-4: The True Head of the Church

And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent...

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church

Colossians 1:18 & 24

 

From the foundation of the church, men have fought over who is to be its leader. It seems that nearly every religious body that professes Christ as Lord has men who would be its master. The irony should not be lost on us whenever we see men trying to gain power in the church. The church is the body of Christ, for it was He who was crucified that this body might live.

 

But what do we see today? We see men mass together to vote on who will be the head of some of these so-called churches. We see conventions and conferences and assemblies where men meet together to see what the new rules should be for these religious organizations. It is hard to conceive that men could be so blinded by their own lust for power that they could actually believe they have the right to set even one rule for Christ's church, but they not only believe they have such authority, they have even convinced their followers that they have the right to claim it.

 

Years ago, I asked a good friend who had just come back from just such a meeting as to how it went. His reply was that, while Jesus was still Lord, it was by a much smaller vote. I think that he was only half kidding.

 

The fact is that God Himself has set Christ as the head over the church and there is nothing that men can do to change that fact, nor should there be. Further, it was God and Christ Who set the rules for this church, and no man has been given the right to challenge that authority, nor has any man been given the power to make even one minor change to any of God's rules for the church. The reason that we are reading the Word of God is because we believe that He is God indeed, and we are mere servants who are subject to His Rule.  

 

It can only be when we recognize that Christ is the head of His church that we can begin to be pleasing to the Father and the Son. Until then we must recognize that any man or woman who claims to be the head of a church is not only self-deluded, but a genuine threat to those who would accept their false claims.

 

Jesus is the head of the church. Everyone else who claims that authority should be recognized for the imposter that they are.

 

The readings for the next few days come from Colossians 1-4. Along with the rest of the Bible, they reveal truths about the church that can be found in no other place.

Philippians 1-4: To Live Is Christ

as it is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:20-21

 

One of the hardest things in life is realize that the main part of our existence is not in this physical world, but the spiritual. It is a fact that God created each one of us with a soul that was designed to be eternal. His desire for us is to be with Him in Heaven for that eternity. Since this is the case, it makes no sense for mankind to put so much focus on our physical lives, and so little on our eternity.

 

I think that this, at least in part, is what the Apostle Paul was trying to reveal to us in the passage above. At the time of writing his inspired letter to the church at Philippi, Paul was in prison. He was also aging and knew, therefore, that his life was getting closer to an end. But whether his life was to be taken as a result of the perils that he faced or by the natural fading of his physical strength brought on by age, Paul knew that it did not matter. For him, to live was Christ, and to die truly was gain. For he, just like you and me, is eternal.

 

This perspective helped Paul through all of life's difficulties, including the one he faced of being in prison and in danger. In this same letter, Paul indicated that if he lived it would mean fruitful labor, but if he died he got to be with Christ, which was far better. Furthermore, which ever God chose for him, Paul was determined to live a life that was worthy of his calling.

 

Would this type of attitude help you? 

 

The reading for the next few days is from the letter to the church at Philippi. It is filled with perspectives that will help us all live lives that are more worthy of the calling we have been given.