1 Timothy 4

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Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Passage

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Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

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.

For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

If thou put the brethren in remembrance 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.

But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.

10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

11 These things command and teach.

12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Analysis

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Seducing Spirits and Doctrines of Devils

The Holy Spirit and Christ himself told us that a time would come where many would fall away from the faith and be misled. Christ warned of men saying “here is Christ” or “there is Christ”, and both Paul and Peter warned about false teachers preaching another Christ and another gospel. Satan can masquerade as an angel of light, and he can twist Scripture to suit his purposes, and many devils and seducing spirits have spoken in the hearts and minds of men to spread falsehoods among the faithful. Among these falsehoods are the basic aspects of what we call “Churchianism” – the doctrine of “love” without obedience to God, works-based salvation (that is, going to church or completing some other rituals), the doctrine that God is a prayer-operated vending machine that dispenses good things if you’re a good enough Christian, and more.

These false teachers speak lies in hypocrisy and have seared their consciences. Many so-called “Christians” consort with spirits and practice pagan rites which are forbidden among the Jew and the Christian alike, and if they know that this is sin and blasphemy they simply ignore that fact (I know this, for I was once among them). Others attempt to sell spiritual gifts – the sin of Simony – preying on the credulity of many young Christians to take their hard-earned money and lead them astray. Still more preach celibacy while fornicating, preach faithfulness in marriage while going through their fifth divorce, preach tolerance while hating the discerning, and other hypocrisies too numerous to recount.

They forbid that which the Lord has not forbidden, laying an unnecessarily heavy burden on the faithful. When God showed Peter the vision of “unclean” meats upon the blanket, he told Peter not to call unclean what God has made clean. Paul says, “All things are permissible, but not all things are expedient,” meaning that while we are forgiven a great many things we ought not to continue to do what is not beneficial. Those who forbid the faithful to marry (as the Catholics forbid marriage for their clergy) and those who forbid the consumption of meat (as many vegan “Christians” are wont to do) are seduced by false doctrines.

Receiving Gifts

We need not refuse food offered to idols, nor foods given by militant vegans, nor any other food should it be received with thanksgiving. We are sealed for the Lord; his word dwells within us, and we pray to our Lord at all times and places. There is no food that can condemn us, for our Lord Jesus Christ has said, “It is not what goes into a man’s mouth that makes him unclean, but what comes out of it.”

If we remind our brothers of these truths, we are working a good ministry for Jesus Christ. The brethren do not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

Worldly Wisdom

God’s word is good, and it profitable in all things. We are not to heed profane and old wives’ tales, which can contain as much falsehood as truth, but rather adhere to godliness in all things.

Bodily exercise is good – it brings strength of mind and body, restores the immune system, and reinforces the will. However, this benefit is small compared to the benefits of godliness. Godliness conveys all God’s promises in the lives we have now, and the lives in the world to come. Therefore, while we ought still to do good things like eat well and exercise, we ought to focus all the more on exercising godliness.

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.

Labors in Godliness

We labor and are looked down upon because we seek after godliness. The Amish seek to adhere to nonviolence and shun technologies that they fear will weaken their resolve, and they are brutally mocked for it. The faithful are mocked for giving charity and favoring right living over draconian law. But we trust in the Living God, the Savior of all men. We who believe and seek to obey our Lord are promised his love and protection in this life, and resurrection into glory in the next. This is what we command and teach.

Many look down on the young, especially when it comes to wisdom and learning. They forget that Solomon became wise in his youth, that a twelve-year-old Jesus Christ astounded the rabbis in Jerusalem, and that a comparatively young Timothy was upright and filled with the Holy Spirit. The young may not be conferred automatic respect for their faith, but they ought still to strive to be an example to the brethren in their preaching, in their conversations, in their charity, in their spirit, in their faith, and in their purity.

Further, the young who are blessed in the Spirit must focus on their reading, exhortation, and doctrine. By this, they develop the gifts which the Lord has given them and make it apparent to even the most stubborn that the Lord is with them. Further, there is foolishness in youth that is not found in the Word, and so by meditating upon the Scripture this foolishness may be reduced under the weight of truth and wisdom.

The Spirit gives gifts as it will. We ought to meditate upon and give ourselves fully to these gifts we are given, that these gifts be made apparent and of benefit to all. This reflects a worldly wisdom of emphasizing your strengths over your weaknesses, training yourself not to be average in all things but rather a master of some things. We brethren ought not only to seek to master and dispense our gifts, but also to master ourselves and our doctrines to bring them into alignment with the Word. In this, we save both ourselves and those that hear us.

Let us Pray

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Oh Lord, my God, when I in awe-struck wonder consider all the works thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed. And then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee, “How great thou art! How great thou art!”

Lord, grant us evermore the gift of discernment. Wolves wander amongst the sheep, and robbers come seeking to take from among your flock. But we know, Lord, that the master comes in by the gate while the thief comes over the fence. Let us always be certain of Your voice and quickly discern the voice of any other, that we might flee from those who would do us harm. May your Holy Spirit, which you have given to be with us, be always present among us to remind us of what You have said and warn against false spirits and doctrines of devils, that we might be welcome into your Kingdom when you return in glory to judge the quick and the dead.

Teach us wisdom, and guide us from profane and old wives’ fables. Guide us and encourage us in godliness. Reveal unto us the gifts You have given, and make us to apply them toward the works that You have prepared in advance for us to do.

We are Yours, O most holy and jealous God. We know that we err and stray, yet you have loved us. Not one of your flock has been lost, nor shall any be lost. You have made us new creations, holy and pleasing unto You, that we might obey your commands and do that which you desire for us to do. Help us foolish and insufficient servants at all times, O Lord our Father.

We ask these things for ourselves and the whole brotherhood of believers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is seated at the right hand of the Father, who came to be with us and died for us that we might be spared your wrath.

Amen.

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I have been a false Christian and a pagan, but now I seek to serve the Lord.