Let’s turn to 1 Timothy chapter four as we continue our journey through the Word of God.
Now in the verse preceding, verse sixteen of chapter three, Paul talks about this great mystery of godliness, being like God, and the enabling power is through, the fact that God was manifested in the flesh, He was justified in the Spirit, He was seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. So the glorious gospel that Jesus is the Son of God. God manifested in the flesh, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world and received up into glory.
Now (and the word, now, could be translated, but, in contrast to the solid doctrine) the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Now this, “in the latter times”, needs to be distinguished, from, “in the last days”. In the next letter that Paul will write to Timothy, he will write to him of conditions that will exist in the last days, that is, the days just before the rapture of the church. But in these latter times, is a reference to those times, then. From the time of the birth of the church, these are generally known as the latter times, in contrast to the last days. It would be the last days of the latter times. So in the latter times.
When Paul was with the elders in Ephesus and Timothy is at Ephesus when Paul is writing him here, Paul warned the elders, concerning men who would creep into the church, bringing heresies, damnable doctrine. And that there would rise up even from within the church itself, men who would rise up, seeking to draw others after themselves. And Paul warned them about these conditions that would come upon the church in Ephesus and did come in the church of Ephesus. In fact as Paul is writing to Timothy, some of these seeds of dissention were already beginning to sprout. And so he speaks about the Spirit and is speaking expressly that some are going to depart from the faith as they give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.
You remember back in the Garden of Eden, when God had given to Adam and Eve the freedom of enjoying all of the trees that were in the garden, the fruit of all of the trees, with the exception of the one tree, there in the middle of the garden. The tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which God said if you eat of it, you will surely die. And we remember how that Satan came along in the form of a serpent. He began to temp Eve. He said, hath God said, that you can eat of all of the trees that are in the garden? Eve responded that we can eat of all of the trees except the tree in the middle. If we eat of that, God said we will die. And Satan said, you will not surely die. And so this is doctrine of the devil, that you can disobey the commandments of God and somehow live. That you can rebel against God’s authority in your life and get by with it. And these are the things that are being taught.
It is interesting that today that in this New Age movement, as you read and we will read in a moment, some of the teachings that Paul is going to warn against. And the very things that we see being taught in the New Age movement. It is interesting that much of the teaching of the New Age movement comes from what they call channelers. People who give themselves over to a spirit that purportedly speaks through them, the wisdom of the ages. And what is that but doctrines of demons or doctrines of devils?
In the latter times, the Spirit speaks expressly, saying, that some will depart from the faith. Jesus expressed, of course, the fact that one of these signs of the last days, would be some of the false teachers that would proclaim themselves to be Messiahs and the deceivers that would come into the world.
The shocking thing, of course, is when Satan is able to take a man who once was so influential in the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and bring him down. But as the book of Proverbs said, a whorish woman can bring a man to a crust of bread. And it’s tragic when we see it happen. But the Spirit speaks expressly of the later days or later times. And some will depart from the faith as they turn to the doctrines of seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.
Now there are practices that are cyclical (they are sick!) but they have a way of reoccurring every few years. They become sort of a fad-kind of a thing, but they pass. One of these cyclical doctrines is the deliverance teaching. Not that deliverance is wrong. God does deliver from the powers of darkness. That’s the gospel. But the teaching that Christians can be possessed by demons and Christians need to be exorcised. They have the prayer meetings in which they get involved in the exorcising of the demons that are in the believers. It’s sort of a dangerous kind of company to be in, because if you yawn, then everybody is going to over be laying hands on you and praying that God will deliver you from the demon of lethargy. Obviously, that demon has taken over because you yawned while someone was praying, you know.
Or if you burp, then hands are laid on you to deliver you from the demon of gluttony. And you know, its one of the things about this particular doctrine is that so much of it is based upon experience. There’s no Scripture to base it on, so it’s all based on experience. And you read the books. They will tell you about this experience as they were casting the demon out, the demon said. So they now are predicating the doctrine on what the demon supposedly said as he was being cast out of the individual. Well if a demon said it, how can you know it’s true? Satan is the liar and the father of all lies. And so, you know, it’s a doctrine of demons. You are basing your position on what a demon possessed person supposedly said when the demon was in control and all. So much, if you read their books as they write on these subjects, it’s always quoting what the demon said before it was cast out or while it was leaving and so forth. And the whole doctrine is predicated upon those kinds of things. So Paul warned against that.
The seducing spirits and doctrines of devils that are Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; But these people have their conscience seared with a hot iron. That is, somehow they can so sublimate their conscience that their conscience no longer speaks to them. They can sin with impunity. They can sin without a sense of guilt. They justify their position, even as Chuck Templeton seeks to justify his position, even writing a book, Farewell to God. As he seeks to justify why he no longer believes the Bible, why he no longer believes in Jesus Christ, and he seeks to justify his position—conscience seared with a hot iron. He couldn’t in good conscience do these things, say these things, unless the conscience has been so seared.
Now here are some of the things that would be taught in these demonic kind of cults. The 3Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, Marriage is being put down. And of course, we’ve got these people now who are going around—vegetarians—telling you that we shouldn’t eat meat. It’s an influence of Hinduism.
This week’s magazine, Time Magazine, this week, has a full-page story of a gal who calls herself Butterfly. She’s been sitting on an eight by eight platform a hundred and eighty feet high in a redwood tree, up in northern California. She hasn’t come down in an hundred and eighty days. She’s perched up there in the tree.
She said that one night during El Nino, when the wind was blowing about forty miles an hour. She thought she was going to be blown off of her perch up there. It was freezing rain. She was certain she was going to die. And so she grabbed hold and began to hug the tree trunk. And the tree spoke to her in a very soothing, calming, female voice, and said, think of the trees. She said, I am thinking of the trees. Why do you think I’ve been perched up here? And she said, the tree answered and said, no, think of the trees, how they sway with the wind. I will protect you and nothing will harm you. And she said she felt such warmth and comfort as she was hugging the tree.
Now of course she’s a vegetarian too. It talks about how she raises the vegetables up on ropes and so forth.
Paul warns that, you know, this kind of stuff, the forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them, which believe and know the truth. There is nothing wrong with eating meat. God has created them for us to receive with thanksgiving. Now, in the Old Testament there were certain meats that were forbidden. God gave laws concerning what kind of meat could be eaten and what kind could not be eaten. But as we look at the meats that God put on the forbidden list, from our knowledge today, our scientific knowledge, we realize that the meats that God prohibited, do pose a potential danger.
For instance the shellfish, poses a potential danger, because there are certain months in the year, the months that do not have an “r”, interesting enough, in the spelling in that month. If there is not an “r” in the spelling of that month, then at that time, these shellfish, the clams and so forth, are excreting a deadly poison. So during those months you are not to eat them because they are deadly poisonous at that time. So God put them on the forbidden lists. Now we know the cycles and so forth. We know what months that these are edible, so we have clam chowder.
The pork. God forbid the eating of the pigs. We know now that if you don’t cook pork sufficiently, you can get trichinoses. That there is a certain worm in the meat that has to be, you have to really bake it long enough to kill the thing. So that if you don’t, you are in danger. So the raw pork, in other words, you don’t have a raw pork chop or a rare port chop. You don’t want that. But we know that now. We know that if you are going to have pork, you better really see that it’s well cooked.
I believe, and Paul, you know, came to this understanding of the liberty that we have in Christ, concerning meat. I believe that when we get to heaven we’ll discover that Paul enjoyed, probably, pork chops. You know, he said, if you ask God to bless it, you know and you receive it with thanksgiving, it’s fine.
4For every creature (he said) of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: So with the eating of meats, this cultic group was teaching the forbidding of eating of meat but yet, nothing should be refused if we take it with thanksgiving.
5For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, (if you remind the brothers of these things) thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
In contrast to these doctrines of seducing spirits, doctrines of devils and some of the weird cultic things, just put the people in remembrance. Solid doctrine. Nourish them in the truths of God. You will be a good minister.
7But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. There a lot of fables that go around, a lot of stories. And somehow these stories live on. I don’t know how they survive but they live on. I can remember back in the forties. There was a story of a couple in Burbank, who were going home from church. There was a fellow hitchhiking and though they never picked up hitchhikers, somehow they were sort impressed to do so. They pulled over. The guy got in the car. He got in the back seat. As they started to drive along there in Burbank, he said you know that the Lord is coming soon. They were coming home from church. They said yes, we believe the Lord is coming soon. He said He’s coming sooner than what you think. They turned around and he had disappeared.
That story, I mean, it was passed around. You know, it happened to an uncle, a friend you know. It happened to a friend. Then that story reoccurred under a little bit of different circumstances. In fact, one time I even heard it that Kay was the one that was driving the car. And though I had told her never to pick up hitchhikers, she did. And it happened to her, you know!
Crazy, old wives’ fables, how they just get passed around. People, you know, the clouds. There was Jesus in the clouds, you know. I heard a dozen different stories how the picture was taken. When they had it developed, they saw an interesting, you know, clouds and snapped the picture. When they had it developed, here was Jesus standing with outstretched arms like in Solomon’s painting of Christ. But, crazy things, that get passed around.
He said, avoid those things, these stories. The story of the fellows who were drilling this deep hole. They let the microphone down and they heard the cries of hell, you know. Supposedly it was authenticated you know.
Now there is no Biblical basis. It’s not solid doctrine. They are just stories that get passed around. Don’t teach those things. Teach solid doctrine, Timothy. Avoid these stories, these fables, that somehow get started and are awfully hard to stop. Avoid those! Refuse the profane and old wives’ fables and exercise thyself rather to godliness.
8For bodily exercise profiteth little: Now, it isn’t putting down bodily exercise. It’s just saying there is limited profit to bodily exercise. It profits a little. There is some profit to it. But you would be much better off to exercise yourself Spiritually.
but godliness is profitable unto all things, So godliness is profitable unto all things. There is a little profit in bodily exercise and think of how many people get so deeply involved in bodily exercise. Of course in not quite—it was a fad, too, but it’s sort of passed. You used to go by and these people doing their thing, you know. It was a popular thing for a while. But there is little profit to it. The real profit is in godliness.
having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Godliness is not only beneficial now. It enhances you now! But of course it prepares you for eternity, the life that is to come.
9This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. So this is a faithful saying. It’s worthy of everyone accepting it. So when Paul prefaces a remark with, “this is a worthy saying”, and it’s worthy of all acceptation.
10For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God Now we do know that we do suffer reproach because of our belief in God. We believe in the living God. And oftentimes people will look upon you with scorn. They will put you down in some kind of a mental incompetence, because you believe in God? Really! You mean you actually think that there is a God that made all of these things? And so we suffer reproach, he says, the reproach of the world, because we trust in the living God. That’s more than just trusting in the living God. And you know, a lot of times people will really put you down, if you trust in God. Oh, you can believe in it, but you know, if you are trusting in God, when you know, things are going bad and you’re not really worried and your not really upset, and that you’re not sitting there wringing your hands, and wailing, when things are looking really bad and they come in and they say, boy, you’re going really going through it aren’t you?
Well, yeah, I suppose, but you know, the Lord is going to take care it. I’m just trusting in Him.
Oh come on, now! Get real, man! You know, you mean, you’re not doing anything.
What can you do?
Well, you could worry! You know, you could fret. You could at least stay awake at night, worrying about it.
Oh no, trusting in God. He’s going to take care of it.
And you don’t care! You really don’t care, do you? It really doesn’t matter to you.
And the scorn that we often get because we put our trust in the living God.
who is the Saviour of all men, That is, God has provided salvation for all men. When Christ died, He died for the sins of the world. The invitation to receive the gospel is to all men! Whosoever means whosoever! It means anybody who will believe, can be pardoned and cleansed from their sins. And (Rev 22:17) whosoever will, let him come and drink from the water of life, freely! God’s offer of salvation is open to all men! He is the Savior of all men. That is, He has provided salvation for all men.
But not all are saved, and specially of those that believe. In other words, there are many called, but there are few that are chosen. And thus though salvation is available for all men, not all are saved, those that believe. So he is saying, the salvation is for all, specifically, really for those who believe.
11These things command and teach. So Paul says to Timothy, these are the things that you are to command the people and that you are to teach.
12Let no man despise thy youth; Now it wasn’t that Timothy was just a stripling. It had been fifteen years since Timothy had joined with Paul in the missionary journey. He was probably somewhere, eighteen to twenty years old, when he joined up with Paul. So he is well into his thirties by now. And yet there were certain tasks that a person could not fulfill until they were over forty years of age. And so he is looked upon as a youth, and of course from my perspective, just a kid. So he said, let no man despise thy youth, as there is that tendency to just pass off what a young man says because you say, well, he doesn’t have the experience yet. He’ll learn one of the days. You know, he’ll grow up. His ideas will change. And things of that nature because wisdom isn’t always recognized or respected in youth. It’s sort of recognized in age.
So being a leader, being a teacher in the church, don’t let anybody despise your youth. Now, what are you to do?
but be thou an example of the believers, You are to be an example. In other words, let your life speak because they may discount what you say because of your youth, but they can’t discount how you live. And so let your life be the witness. And let your life be the confirmation of the truth of the things that you are teaching.
So be an example of the believers, and as we pointed out this morning, the Greek word, translated of the believers, could also be translated, to the believers. And some of the translations, the NIV, and some of them say, be an example to the believers. Either one is correct. Either one is allowable in the Greek. So the one idea would be, be an example to the believer. You are a young man. You are ministering to them, but let your life also be an example to them. Or be an example of the believers. And that’s in your living before the world, that the world might see how a believer should be living. Let your life be exemplary, an example of true Christianity.
So these are the things in which he was to be an example, in word, Not only the words that he says and that’s definitely something where we need to be an example. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt. Let no filthy communication come out of your mouth.
I received a letter this week from a lady who was sitting here in church, and she said one of our assistant pastors came up and was talking to the people next to her. And she was shocked at his language, the things that he said. She was very offended. And that should not be! We should be careful in our language. We shouldn’t let any filthy communication come out of our mouth and especially, as a minister. We should be an example in our speech.
I listen many times to the various Calvary Chapel pastors on the radio. Often times in their sermon they will be using slang. And it’s, I sort of cringe, because I was taught from a child that slang was only substitute words for words that are bad. And thus, I wasn’t allowed and I don’t use slang. And it sort of shocks me when I hear pastors using slang. And I think that is something that pastors should watch. I often will write to them and sort of encourage them to be careful in the use of slang from the pulpit. I don’t think it’s a good example. Be an example to the believer. And thus I think that we need to be extremely careful in our word.
But then also, it is an example in word, that is, in your knowledge of the word. Have a good working knowledge of the Scriptures. Be an example. You are teaching these people the Word of God. Now, be an example in your grasp, in your understanding and in your knowledge of the Word. As he said, you know, in teaching doctrine, and giving yourself to doctrine. Be an example.
in conversation, In your conversation and that literally means, in your whole manner of living. It doesn’t mean, just as you are conversing with someone. But it means in your manner of living, your manner of life. Let your life, itself, be an example of a true Christian, following the example of Jesus. Paul said, be ye followers of me even I also am of Jesus Christ. And so let your life be an example, so that you can, with Paul say, follow me also as I follow Christ, setting the example in the way you live.
in charity, And in your love and as we encouraged this morning, read 1 Corinthians 13, once a month, at least, to discover how God wants you to love. The characteristics of this Greek word, agape, which is defined for you in 1 Corinthians 13.
Be an example in spirit, Have a gentle spirit, a sweet spirit, rather than a mean spirit, a critical spirit. You know there are some people who are just mean spirited.
It’s true of dogs too. You know, there are some dogs that are very sweet spirited, you know, they come up with their tails wagging. They want to be petted. They are just sweet dogs. What a sweet dog, just loving. And then there are dogs that just snarl. You get close they’ll snap at you. They are mean spirited dogs.
And then there are people, like dogs. They snap at you.
Be an example in your spirit, the meekness of your spirit, the quietness of spirit, the gentleness of spirit.
Then be an example in faith, And as we pointed out this morning, this can be in your faith, that is your faith that you have in God.
Or the same Greek word, can be translated, faithfulness. Be trustworthy. Be an example of a person you can count on his word. You are trustworthy.
That is one of the characteristics of the love when it says the fruit of Spirit is love and then as it’s defining that agape, again, it’s joy, it’s peace, it’s longsuffering, it’s faith. And the word, faith, there, is faithfulness. It’s not talking about your faith in God, but it’s talking about the fact that you are trustworthy. But it can be both. And I think it is both. We need to be examples of our trust in God. We need to be examples in a person who is trustworthy.
And then be an example of the believers in purity. There is a lot of temptation. Timothy is unmarried. He is in his thirties, living in Ephesus at the time, which was a pagan city filled with all kinds of vice, sensual pleasures easily, available through the prostitutes in the temple of Diana. But be an example of purity, Timothy.
13Till I come, give attendance (diligence) to reading, That is the reading of the Scriptures to the people. Now a part of the early church service was just reading Scriptures. They sort of picked that up from the Jewish synagogue, where every Sabbath day in the Jewish synagogue, they bring out the Torah and they read from the Scriptures. Then they bring out the other scrolls from the prophets. Every week in the synagogue, there is the reading of the Scriptures.
As you go through the Book of Acts, you will remember Paul would go to the synagogue. When the Scriptures were read, sometimes they would hand the Scriptures to Paul to read. After the reading of the Scriptures there was the exhortation. But a lot of the service was just taken up in the plain reading of the Scriptures.
That’s why on Sunday morning, we read the Scriptures. We read a chapter out of the Scriptures as a general rule, each Sunday morning, in a responsive meeting, because that’s just a part of the early church service, was the reading of the Scripture.
So being faithful, give attendance to the reading of the Scriptures and then to exhortation, Following the reading of the Scriptures, exhorting the people to follow now the Scriptures. God says, to trust in Him. Now put your trust in God! Quit worrying! And you exhort them. God tells us in everything with prayer and thanksgiving to let your request be made known unto God. So you exhort the people, now we need to pray more.
So, it’s a part of the ministry, the reading of the Scriptures, then the exhorting of the people to obey or to follow the teaching of the Scriptures.
to doctrine. That is the clear, unfolding of the teaching of the Word as you are teaching doctrine, what the Bible says about God, what the Bible says about heaven, what the Bible says about man, what the Bible says about sin, what the Bible says about salvation and these basic doctrines, what the Bible teaches about these different things. So you give yourself to these things. You are not negligent in the reading of the Word, in the exhorting of the people and in the teaching of the solid doctrines of the Scripture.
And then Paul said, 14Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Or when the elders laid hands on you. The prophecy that came forth in which God declared to you, the ministry that He was giving to you, the gift of ministry. Now, don’t neglect the ministry that was, the gift that was given to thee. So a gift for the ministry.
In the second epistle, Paul tells them in verse six of chapter 1, to stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. So Paul was one of the elders that laid hands on Timothy to more or less ordain him for the ministry. As hands were laid on Timothy, a prophecy was given, guiding and directing his ministry. So don’t neglect the gift that you received, when the hands were laid on you by the presbytery, and now stir up this gift.
So he was gifted but he had a tendency not to use the gifts. And I believe that there are many people who have received gifts of the Spirit, but over a period of time there is a tendency to sort of neglect the gift of the Spirit that they have received. We sort of just get to the place where we start doing things on our own and we neglect the gift. So the exhortation. Don’t neglect that gift, that was given to you when the elders laid hands on you and prophecy was given.
15Meditate upon these things; So meditate now. So he is to give attendance to, the reading and exhortation. He’s not to neglect the gift. But now he is to mediate on these things, that is the ministry, the things that I am talking to you about. Meditate on purity and on the Word and on, you know, your faithfulness, meditate on these things.
And give thyself wholly to them; Commit yourself, Timothy, to these things.
that thy profiting may appear to all. That is, that in your example before the people, that they might all see the profit of living a holy, separated life unto the Lord. That they might see the fruit of committing yourself fully unto the things of God.
16Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; Don’t neglect these things. Take heed to them.
continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. So, it’s not only for your benefit but also the benefit of those that hear you. But not only just the benefit of those who hear you as you do these things, it’s for your benefit, you’ll save yourself and those that hear you.
I read of a man who was living in the northeastern part of the country. There was a severe blizzard that lasted for several days. He finally was trying to wait out the blizzard, but he had run out of wood. He had run out of food. So he decided to go over to a neighbor’s house to get some help. But the blizzard was one of those blinding blizzards and he soon lost his way. And as he was fighting against the fatigue and the sleepiness that was overcoming him, as he was just trudging through the deep snow, being blasted by the wind and the chill, he was just about to lie down.
This, they say is a tendency for a person who begins to freeze to death, to just sort of lie down and sleep. You get extremely sleepy.
And he was just almost ready to give up and lie down, which would have been fatal. But as he just thinking, well, I’ll just lie down and rest a moment, he stumbled over something. So he dug into the snow to see what it was and it was a body that was there, lying there in the snow. He felt and realized that there was still a pulse. So he picked up the body and began to carry it. Somehow he got extra energy, the emergency, the adrenaline, of finding a person who was almost dead. He threw the person over his shoulder and began to carry them through the snow. And it wasn’t fifty feet further that he came to the house. They got in and of course got the dry, warm, clothing and so forth, but he discovered that in saving this other person, he actually saved himself!
And so that’s basically what Paul is saying. You know, in saving others, you are diligent in these things. Take heed to the doctrine. Continue in that, because in saving, in doing this, you’ll not only save yourself, but you’ll save those that hear you. The benefit comes back to you, in your own walk, in your own life.
So these are good exhortations, not just for Timothy, but for each of us because all of us are involved in the ministry. All of us are involved in the ministry in one way or another. God has a ministry for each of us, that we need to be diligent in fulfilling that ministry. And we, all of us, need to be examples, of the believers and to the believers, of what true Christianity is all about. May God help us.
Father, we thank You that we have the opportunity of representing You before the world. But, Lord, we realize that it’s more than just an opportunity. It’s an awesome responsibility that we properly represent You before the world, that we don’t give people a wrong impression of what You are, because we’ve misrepresented You in our manner of living or in our not being trustworthy or in the language that we were using. God, help us. We long, Lord, to be like You and to be a true witness of Jesus Christ. So Lord, make us like You, by Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Transcribed from “The Word For Today”, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8195, (KJ Version)