WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15
SCRIPTURE: 1 TIMOTHY 4
I mentioned at the beginning of our study of 1Timothy that this letter is one of the pastoral epistles. The truth of that is plainly seen in this chapter as Paul gives specific instructions to young Timothy as struggles to pastor the church in Ephesus.
In Acts 20:28-31, Paul warned the elders of the church in Ephesus that false teachers would invade the church. When Paul issued that warning I don’t know if he knew when it would happen. I suspect those elders thought it would be a long, long time before it would happen. But as we get into this chapter it has happened.
Paul is not kind toward these false teachers. He refers to their motivation as coming from deceitful spirits and the teaching of demons. But it doesn’t matter what the source of such heresy is, if no one in the church believes it or the church refuses to allow it continue to happen within the church, the damage would be severely limited. One of the problems with false teaching is there are always some who are quick to believe and even quicker to promote it.
Obviously, there were some folks who had either come into the Ephesian church or had been a part of it that fell head long into the heresy and false teaching. We are not sure what all they were teaching. But we do know that part of what they were teaching had to do with marriage and not eating certain foods.
The interesting thing about those two topics is they had been settled once for all a long time ago. Marriage was established in Genesis. Jesus reconfirmed it in the Gospels and the epistles contain a lot teaching about marriage. What we eat or don’t eat was established by Jesus in Mark 7 where He declared all food good. That lesson was reemphasized to Peter in Acts 10.
So why would false teachers attack marriage and diet? In doing so they were attacking God’s creation and creative order. That’s the reason in verse 4, Paul reminds of the goodness of God’s creation.
In verse 6, Paul begins to give some very specific instructions to Timothy. First, Paul said Timothy should tell the church these things. Second, Paul said Timothy should stay focused on God’s Word and not the goofy stuff going on around him in the culture (verse 7). Third, Paul told Timothy to work at living a godly life (verse 12). Fourth, Timothy was to stay in the Word and be a communicator of the Word (verse13). And in verse 15, Timothy was to be an example.
Those five things were given to a young preacher. But they really are good things for all of us to strive for. We all have responsibilities for our own spiritual growth and well being but we also have responsibilities to the spiritual growth and well being of others. We have responsibilities to live in godly ways and to encourage others to do the same. We have responsibilities to stay in the Word and help others stay in it as well.
The Christian life is the best life but it is not the easiest life. It doesn’t come naturally but it is the result of a supernatural effort in us. Also the Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation. It has always been a team sport. Finally, we never get to a place where we can coast in the Christian life. If we are not striving to move forward and do better, we are sliding backwards.