About Jesus Steve Sweetman
1 Timothy 4
To Timothy (ch. 4: 1 - 16)
in verse 1 changes the subject to things that will happen in “latter
times”. He mentions
that “some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and
things taught by demons”. These
people give up their trust in Jesus, which means they are no longer saved,
since it is this trust that brought salvation to them in the first place.
They substitute true faith with things taught by evil spirits. It is not
the evil spirit that is actually doing the teaching, but a person who is
being influenced by the evil spirits.
The way in which the teaching is set forth is “deceptive”, Paul
says. This means that people
get caught in a deceptive trap, perhaps without knowing it.
The only way in which this could happen would be if that person was
not properly grounded in Biblical truth in the first place.
also speaks of the "abandoning of faith" in 1 Thess. 2:3.
In that passage he calls it "the rebellion". (NIV)
I actual like the KJV's wording better.
It calls the rebellion "a falling away".
I think this term suggests a clearer picture than
from the faith and falling away are the same thing.
verse 2 Paul says that this teaching comes from “hypocritical liars
whose conscience has been seared…”, thus the doctrine of demons is
taught by men who are hypocrites. Paul
certainly doesn't beat around the bush with the way he puts this.
If we said the same today, and it certainly applies today, we'd be
criticized for being too negative. These
men’s consciences have been totally destroyed so that they do not know
truth from evil.
gives a couple examples of the teaching that such men set forth.
He says that some teach that people
should not marry. Paul calls
this teaching demonic. Another
teaching is that Christians should not eat certain food, food that God had
created for us to eat.
the teaching forbidding people to marry, I wonder what Paul would think
about the Catholic church not allowing their priests
to get married. Would Paul
call this teaching a “doctrine of demons”?
I think he would.
think one modern and prevalent doctrine of demons in today's Evangelical
church is the philosophy of "post-modernism" that has been
allowed into the church. This
teaching devaluates the importance of the Bible, and sees it more or less
as a devotional book. I know
this is a simplistic point concerning "post-modernism.
I won't discuss
"post-modernism" here, because I've done that elsewhere.
Tampering with the Word of God is one of the most serious offenses
we can make as Christians.
believe that before people will accept major departures from Biblical
thinking, they first accept minor departures.
There are many false teachings in the church today.
They concern secondary issues of our faith.
That means, if you accept these false teachings,
you won't lose your salvation.
The problem is that this will put you on a road to reject the
primary teachings of the Bible that will affect your salvation.
verses 4 and 5 Paul says that “everything that God created is good”.
If this is the case then, all food can be eaten.
We should only be thankful for the food that God has provided for
us. Our prayer of thanksgiving
“consecrates” the food we eat. What
does the word “consecrate” mean? It
means to set apart for the purposes of God.
When we give thanks for our food, we are actually telling God that
we are eating this food to “His glory”.
This food will sustain our bodies in order for us to carry out
God’s purposes in our lives.
verse 4 the NIV says, “everything God created is good”. The KJV says,
“for every creature of God is good”.
The interlinear Bible says, “because every creature of God (is)
good. The NIV gives a slightly
different picture by its word usage. The
NIV says that “all creation” is good, while the other two translations
say that “all creatures”, as in animals are good”.
In my thinking, the last two translations would best fit the point
Paul is making here. He was
constantly battling with those who believed that eating meat was wrong.
Here Paul is saying that if you give thanks to God for the meat,
you are in fact consecrating the meet, or giving it over to the purpose of
God in your life, and there is nothing wrong with that. Whatever
is the case, whether creation or creatures, we know all things that God
made was good in the beginning, that is, until he cursed creation because
of man's sin.
should put a whole new light on eating food.
We eat the food in order to maintain a healthy body so we can
represent Jesus to the world in whatever way He sees fit for us.
verse 6 Paul tells Timothy that if he “points these things out to the
brothers, he will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the
truths of the faith”. Our
faith, or our trust in Jesus leads us into the truth that Jesus is.
Timothy has followed these truths from his youth and now is putting
them into practice by teaching others. It
is important to note that part of the job of an elder, which Timothy was
being encourage to be, was to distinguish between good and bad teaching.
Sometimes today, we stay away from distinguishing between good and
bad teaching because we don't want to disturb people, or get involved in a
theological debate. Many
people don't think right teaching is important anyway, but you can
certainly see that Paul doesn't think that way.
you read Paul's letters you will see that he uses the word
"truth" a lot, as he does here. Truth mattered to Paul and it
should matter to us. The way
to find Biblical truth is to devote yourself to the study of the Bible,
something that many Christians don't do these days, and it certainly shows
in our lives.
verse 7 Timothy is encouraged by Paul to stay away from “myths and old
wives’ tales.” Instead of
being caught up in things that are not true, things that are more fable
than anything else, he must live a Godly life. This is ultimate in being a
servant of God.
too should deal in truth and stay away from fable-like teaching.
In this year, 2010, many Evangelicals are using Mayan religious
thinking to support their end time views.
I'd call this one of two things.
It's either fables, or doctrines of demons. I think we should stay
away from such teaching, unless we address them and explain how they are
speaks to the topic of “physical exercise” in verse 8.
He says that it has some value, but what is of utmost importance is
godliness, for it has value “for all things’.
Physical exercise is good to keep your body and mind in good shape.
Paul is not saying that such activity is wrong.
He is saying that it has its limitations when compared to
“spiritual exercise”. “Spiritual
exercise” (Godliness) effects one’s spirit, mind, attitudes,
relationships and a vast multitude of other things. It can also effect
your body. Some illnesses are
brought on by not living a Godly life, by not exercising yourself in
spiritual things. As Prov.
17:22 says, “a merry heart does good like a medicine,
but a broken spirit dries the bones”.
Spiritual wholeness is more important that physical wholeness,
although that should not be an excuse not to be physically whole.
says that spiritual wholeness holds promise, not just for this life but
also for the next. Our
physical condition effects this life only.
Our spiritual condition effects this life and into eternity as
well. So as we continue to
exercise our physical body, we should not neglect to exercise our spirits
as well. We should therefore
view physical exercise as we view eating.
We exercise in order to maintain a healthy body so we can be good
representatives of Jesus and do what He wants us to do.
verse 9, for the third time Paul mentions a “trustworthy” statement.
This time the statement is that “we have put our trust in the
living God, who is the Saviour of all men, and especially of those who
believe”. The point here is
that Jesus died and rose from the dead, paying the price for everyone’s
salvation, but only those who “believe” will receive this salvation.
Once again, the word “believe” means more than to simply
mentally agree with the gospel. It is giving yourself to the gospel and to
Jesus, the one who offers this good news.
Paul uses the phrase "God is the Saviour", in a round about way
he is alluding to the Deity of Christ.
Technically speaking, Jesus is our Saviour because He is the one
who died on the cross. That
being said, God was in Jesus, and Jesus was God.
Therefore, in that sense of the word, God is our Saviour too.
Thus again, we see the Deity of Christ.
verses 11 and 12 Paul tells Timothy to teach these things and not to let
anyone put him down because of his youthful age.
He basically tells Timothy that even though he may be young, he
should prove to all men that he is mature in the Lord “by his speech,
his life, his love and his purity”. Timothy,
although being young in age, was expect to be old in his faith.
verse 13 Paul tells Timothy “to devote himself to public
reading of Scripture, and to preaching and teaching”.
I believe there is a
difference between preaching and teaching, and I think Paul believed the
same because he separates the two here.
Teaching is more detailed. Than preaching.
I think Jesus preached to the masses, and taught the disciples.
verse 14 Paul tells Timothy not to neglect the gift God gave him, “when
the body of elders laid their hands on him”.
This gift came through the laying on of hands by the “body of
elders”, not just one elder. It also was accompanied by a “prophetic
prophetic laying on of hands can be seen in some Pentecostal and
Charismatic circles but is ignored by much of the Evangelical world.
Many churches have commissioning services where they lay hands on
those entering the ministry, but there is no prophetic words associated
with the laying on of hands as stated by Paul in this verse.
This prophetic word is a gift of the Holy Spirit as seen in 1 Cor.
verse 15 Paul continues his admonition by telling him to “be diligent in
these things so that people may see your progress”.
Once again, Timothy may have been a little younger than some, but
by giving himself to the gospel with all diligence, people would see the
growth in his life and come to respect him.
verse 16 Paul says to “watch your life and doctrine closely”.
To me this is interesting. Paul
puts doctrine, or right teaching up with life experience.
This is something I feel in our modern church has been lost.
We do not put life and doctrine in the same sentence.
We do not put life and doctrine on the same level of importance.
Paul goes as far as to say that if you “persevere in them”,
that is both life and doctrine, you will save both yourself and those you
speak to. This would imply
that if Timothy did not persist in both life and doctrine, he would be in
danger of loosing that which he already had. If
we as Christians today don't uphold both doctrine and life, we will suffer
for it, which I believe many are. We
cannot lay aside doctrine. The
word doctrine in many circles has become a bad word, but that should never
be. I think if you study the
words of Paul, you will agree with me, that he viewed right doctrine, or,
right teaching, as extremely important.