"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


Bookmark and Share

Sunday, February 20, 2022

CROSSING The T’s STUDY in 1 TIMOTHY – Biblical Precepts and Principles for Pastoral ministry: CHAPTER FOUR

: The last verse of the prior chapter declares:
1 TIMOTHY 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory

The truth expressed here in in opposition to what is here expressed in the first few verses of chapter Four (and bear in mind that the separation of Scripture with chapters was not in the original. The parchments in Koine Greek read straight through from verse 16 of chapter Three and on to verses 1-3 of chapter four, without skipping a beat.
The Holy Spirit intentionally places these two portions of Scripture in stark contrast to each other.

Just as GOD manifest Himself in the flesh (JOHN 1:1-3,14) at His First Advent and brought to us the pure doctrine of GOD (in harsh rebuke of the false doctrines of the Sanhedrin) prior to His Second Coming, the apostasy (which started in the 1st century, but has escalated dramatically from the 19th, through the 20th and onto the 21st centuries) is marked with the doctrines of demons and spirits of seduction. Let’s examine these Scriptures and we’ll expound on them!

1 TIMOTHY 4:1-3
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth

To begin with, some commentary (summarized) from Jamieson Fausett and Brown:

The "mystery of iniquity" here alluded to, and already working (2 THESS 2:7), stands opposed to the "mystery of godliness" just mentioned (1 TIM 3:16). “Now…” In the Greek, this is a "but." contrasting to the "mystery of godliness".

“…the Spirit speaks…” [in the days of Paul] prophecies that rested on those of the Old Testament, DAN 7:25; 8:23; 11:301:30, as also on those prophecies of Jesus in the New Testament, MATT 24:11-24), and also by Paul himself, 2 THESS 2:3 (and with whom these are in accord 2 PET 3:3; 1 JOHN 2:18; JUDE 1:25. 
“…speaks expressly…" In plain words. This shows that he refers to prophecies of the Spirit then lying before him.
“…in the latter times…” in the times following upon the times in which he is now writing. Not some remote future, but times immediately subsequent, the beginnings of the apostasy being already discernible (ACTS 20:29): these are the forerunners of "the last days" (2 TIM 3:1).
“… shall depart from the faith…” The apostasy was to be within the Church, the faithful one becoming the harlot. In 2 THESS 2:3 (written earlier), the apostasy of the Jews from God (joining the heathen against Christianity) is the groundwork on which the prophecy rises; whereas here, in the Pastoral Epistles, the prophecy is connected with Gnostic errors, the seeds of which had already been sown in the Church [Auberlen] (2 TIM 2:18). Apollonius Tyanaeus, a heretic, came to Ephesus in the lifetime of Timothy.
“…giving heed..” (certain beliefs and myths that should not be given heed as in 1 TIM 1:4; TITUS 1:14).
“…to seducing spirits…” working in the heretical teachers. 1 JOHN 4:2-3,6, "the spirit of error," opposed to "the spirit of truth," "the Spirit" which "speaketh" in the true prophets against them.
“…doctrines of devils…” Literally "teachings of (that is suggested by) demons." JAMES 3:15, "wisdom ... devilish"; 2 COR 11:15, "Satan's ministers."
Rather than the church growing and bringing the world into subjection to Christ, which is too often taught from the schools of Dominionism, and more recently in the New Apostolic Reformation Movement, we see a spreading of leaven (a symbol for sin generally speaking, and pride specifically, and false teaching that is born of such), the abnormal growth of the mustard seed into a tree rather than an herb bearing shrub. This sort of growth is grotesque, rather than godly!

From the rise of atheism, rationalism and materialism (as the late Dave Hunt observed many years ago), one would suppose that the direction of humanity would continue in these trends until religion and superstition were all but obliterated. Yet this is not the case: the rise of occultism and witchcraft, along with Satanism and various eastern meditative disciplines that lead to mystical (read that demonic) experiences are increasing exponentially in this day and age.

Just recently a global event was held by Satanists that congregated in the small town of Scottsdale, AZ (the State I currently live in), and their presence seemed to be rather amicable this time around! The revealing of Luciferian powers is on the verge of happening as their ‘New Age’ is upon the Earth.
I used to think of this passage in rather abstract terms where the “doctrines of demons” simply meant that demonic spirits would plant nefarious and seductive thoughts, ideas and motives that would direct such people on a personal level into further darkness.

I used to think that, until I started researching the New Age Movement in its earliest stages by looking at Alice Bailey, Madame Helena Blavatsky, and others in the Theosophical Society, and more recently Helen Schucman who authored the diabolical book A Course In Miracles, which in turn inspired Marianne Williamson, Neil Donald Walsh, author of Conversations with God and the late Barbara Marx Hubbard to create The Peace Alliance, a New Age Think Tank and Activist group that is seeking Federal funding as an official branch of the US Government, which will oversee all religious activities, functions and ministry to ensure that none are engaged in ‘violent’ beliefs and activities, the definition of such is ambiguous and troubling to biblical Christians.

Check out Warren Smith’s YouTube channel where he addresses these issues; also check out his books here!

These doctrines are being proliferated across the globe via books, workbooks, CD-roms, downloadable information off of websites, teaching seminars and of course on such television programming like Oprah Winfrey. Truly the seductive spirits are forming into the Mother of Harlots spoken of in Revelation, transfixing, charming and ensnaring people into these practices and belief systems contrary to and forbidden by the Holy Bible!

This apostasy, a mass exodus that abandons biblical doctrine (which is referred to as “the faith”; note that this isn’t “faith” as in faith in Christ. When used in this way, “the faith” is not addressing saving faith, but the belief of the body of doctrinal, biblical truths found in the pages of Scripture; See ROM 1:5; 14:1; 1 COR 16:13; 2 COR 13:5; GAL 1:23; 2:16; 3:23; 6:10; EPH 4:13; PHIL 3:9; COL 1:23; 2:7; 1 TIM 3:9,13; 1 TIM 5:8; 6:10; TITUS 3:15; JAMES 2:1; JUDE 1:3).

Scripture states that even the demons believe (JAMES 2:19), and yet obviously they are not saved; we must therefore distinguish between belief and saving faith. A famous example I like to use in Discipleship Class is the story about an acrobat that crossed the Niagara Falls on a high wire; he then crossed a second time pushing a wheel barrel. He then asked the crowd if they believed he could put a person in the wheel barrel and take them over the high wire and they all cheered. Then he pointed at one particular young man and asked him if he believed, and the young man heartily exclaimed that he did.

Then the acrobat invited him to step into the wheel barrel, and the young man turned pale, staring at the thundering, dangerous falls and remained standing where he was.
The church today is full of ‘believers’ who, while nodding their agreement to a set of doctrinal truths, and yet falling short of a saving faith, trust, reliance, dependence on Christ and His finished work on the Cross – and they are not willing to risk their lives in His nail pierced hands! 
For an excellent 7 minute short version of Paris Reidhead’s sermons, Ten Shekels and a Shirt, go here.

And as time goes by, these who once professed Christ, will trade their belief for the alternative, oppositional doctrines of demons!

1 TIMOTHY 4:2-3a
2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created

There is an undeniable connection between doctrine believed and doctrine practiced; when one holds fundamental doctrine as true and valid, and yet lives out a life of bad doctrine, what they believe will eventually become tainted.
In other words, godly doctrine and ungodly living don’t mix. How one lives life will eventually affect what one believes and will corrupt such beliefs.

Here we have those espousing false and demonic doctrines and the fruit of such are lies and hypocrisy, and to such a degree that their own conscious becomes seared, so covered in scar tissue metaphorically speaking, that they become unfeeling and insensitive to the conviction by the Spirit of their wrong doing.

How many men like Jim Jones started out well for all appearances but ended up committing adultery with half the women in Jonestown, used pages from the Bible as toilet paper and eventually led his followers in drinking poisoned Kool-Aid?!

Among many cults, the deprivation of meats and other protein sources is denied their members, which has a detrimental effect on their minds, making them more compliant and open to suggestion. It’s my personal belief that here in America, the push towards vegan diets is promoted by the powers that be in order to bring people into such a condition.

We understand that at the beginning, consumption of meat was not necessary; the ecosystem that GOD created was such that the vegetation contained all the nutrients needed for human beings; note that it wasn’t until after the Flood that Noah was commanded by GOD (it wasn’t a suggested option; GEN 9:3) to slay and eat meat. Obviously something changed in the ecosystem so that this became necessary.

I appreciate vegetarians who understand how our livestock is being pumped full of hormones, steroids, antibiotics and who knows what else – and in a desire to avoid such chemicals, choose to eliminate meat from their diets. Others will buy organic meats, which is considerably more expensive.

For myself, I’m in the habit of praying over my food, asking GOD to “put back in what man took out and please take out what man put in”. I trust GOD on this basis to protect me from any harmful elements that have been proven detrimental to good health (vs. 5)!

1 TIMOTHY 3:4-5
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer

You hear so much about how this food or that is very bad for you, and yet this verse states clearly that “every creature of GOD is good”.
A balanced diet is essential for optimum good health.

1 TIMOTHY 4:6-7
6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7 But reject profane and old wives' fables and exercise yourself toward godliness

Paul admonishes Timothy to be a good minister – how? By instructing the brethren in all of these things.
There are those who look down on discernment ministries, and for calling out – by name – those who are teaching false doctrine, claiming that “you’re being divisive, unloving, splitting hairs, being a Pharisee, etc.”
Yet we have Paul’s endorsement that by exposing these works of darkness (EPH 5:11) Timothy is being “a good minister of Jesus Christ”. The truth of the matter is that those who teach unbiblical doctrines or practices, they are the ones who are being divisive, for it's in the Scriptures themselves and the truth that they reveal, that the church has unity (EPH 4:3,13).

To “exercise” here is from the Greek word gumnazo (gymnasium), meaning to exercise naked (something athletes did in those days).
Clothing in the Bible figuratively speaking can represent righteousness: either our own (ISAIAH 64:6) or the righteousness of Christ (ROM 13:14; GAL 3:27; EPH 4:7,13,20,24). Thus exercising ourselves toward godliness means that we strip ourselves naked of any self-righteousness and be clothed only with the righteousness that Christ provides: no other wardrobe is acceptable for the true saint of GOD (MATT 22:11-13)!

1 TIMOTHY 4:8-11
8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach

Before we developed an industrial society, when agriculture was the main occupation (or other heavy manual labor employment) people didn’t typically need exercise; life was all about labor and working hard!
In today’s world, particularly since the computer age, our exercise involves finger tapping on a keyboard, and so the need for physical exercise is apparent. With exercise we develop strong muscles, bones, heart and lungs, the release of various enzymes and hormones that boost our immune system, as well as endorphins that promote a sense of well being (the same feeling you get after a hard day’s work).

Since GOD has given us these bodies, as faithful stewards, we are obligated to care for them with proper nutrition, sleep, and exercise; to neglect them is poor stewardship. The same goes for our minds: too much entertainment in front of the Babylon Box (‘babble-on’ meaning television) dulls the mind. To stay mentally sharp we should be avid readers of good books, and there is none better than the Holy Book, as well to significantly lesser, but still useful degrees, Christian books. Other reading materials provide some marginal but significant benefit of course.

Inasmuch as we can retain a certain level of youthfulness by regular, consistent exercise, it’s still only temporary – lasting the duration of our very short lifespan of a mere 60, 70, 80 years or so. However exercising in godliness is “profitable for all things” in the here and now and also that life “which is to come” where we shall receive immortal, glorified bodies that won’t require maintenance, but retain for eternity an exuberance and vitality of which our youth have only a slight resemblance (Hallelujah! As I approach 60 years of age, I can appreciate this as never before! See 1 COR 15:53-54).

Imagine what a world we would live in if everyone was truly godly, empowered by the Spirit of GOD! It wouldn’t be heaven of course, but it would be a far better picture of such than the deplorably wretched world we see today!

1 TIMOTHY 4:12-13
12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine

By this time, after serving with Paul for two missionary journeys and then returning to his home city, then to be recruited once again as a pastor, he is probably in his early thirties, hardly a youth by our standards, but it was considered the duty of elders to shepherd GOD’s sheep, so men who were at least fifty years of age, or thereabouts.

Hence Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to let no one despise his youth. By all accounts Paul’s protégé was highly esteemed by his fellows, which was what attracted Paul to him to begin with (and the fact that he was a third generation disciple, following after his mother Eunice, and his grandmother Lois).

Spiritual wisdom doesn’t have a minimum age requirement; if any lack wisdom (whether young or old), they have only to ask GOD for some and He provides generously (JAMES 1:5). By the Word of GOD and the keeping of it, we may procure more wisdom than even our teachers and elders (PSALM 119:97-100)!

So, as with Timothy, all pastors, elders, godly leaders should be overflowing with our words, our behavior should be motivated by love, spirituality, faith and purity. It’s a shame that some modern day pastors mock godliness and account the holiness which the LORD desires to infuse His people with as “religious”.

It gives me a pang of sorrow when I see Christians coming into church without their Bibles. They’ll just listen to the pastor, or follow along on the overhead where some paraphrase is being projected. I grew up in the day that if a Christian came to the church Bible-less, we assumed they forgot it unintentionally and would find an extra copy laying about to provide for them.

We really need to give attention to reading the Scriptures, both in the church and in our homes. We never expect to eat one meal two or three times a week, and yet we virtually starve ourselves spiritually when we subsist on the Word, dependent on getting fed by the pastor. It is not the pastor’s job to see to it you are fed sufficiently, it is the obligation of every disciple (JOHN 8:31).

1 TIMOTHY 4:14
14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership

The gifts and callings of GOD are without repentance, it says in ROMANS 11:29; we are all granted spiritual gifts in the body of Christ (1 COR 12; 14) and GOD has gifted His body with the apostles and prophets who laid the ground work for the building of GOD, the church (ekklesia), and further blessed us with such gifts as pastors, teachers, evangelists, among many others.

We all have a place to work in GOD’s Kingdom and what He has gifted you with indicates where He has placed you in the body. He decides what member of the body you are, as well as the gifts that He gives you (1 COR 12:11). We would never neglect a gift given to us by one who loves us; how much more attention we give to those gifts granted to us by our LORD!

Later in 2 TIMOTHY the apostle exhorts Timothy to “stir up the gift of GOD” and there he indicates that it was given through the laying on of hands of the eldership along with himself (2 TIM 1:6). Just as we should never be complacent in the things of the LORD, neither should we concerning the gifts He has granted.

1 TIMOTHY 4:15-16
15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you

The work of salvation includes the aspects of justification, sanctification, and glorification. This work continues from justification, which is complete and entire, with nothing that can be added, and nothing subtracted. The sanctification is this aspect which with meditation on the Word, surrendering ourselves, our will, our energy and heart, our time, and resources, shall continue to save (sanctify) us.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart

No comments: