“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:1-5
While celebrating the church as the pillar and foundation of the truth, and the glorious reality of Jesus Christ, Paul cautions the church to always be on their guard against the inevitable error that will be endemic to Christian living until the return of Christ.
• “Some will depart from the faith.”
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” 1 John 2:19
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13
• Why do some depart from the faith?
They surrender their minds to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons (that which is clearly against the authority of God’s message).
• How does deceitful teaching get into one’s life?
Through hypocritical liars (those who greet you sweetly, but deceive you behind your back), whose consciences have been cauterized/seared so that there is little discernment between truth and falsehood.
• What is the message of hypocritical liars?
They forbid the joy of intimacy in marriage and advocate minimalism in enjoying food.
1. We will always deal with error. —> Therefore, be on your guard.
2. Error comes when people “devote themselves” (surrender their minds) to falsehood. —> We should give ourselves to the apostolic teaching and application of the word of God. They devote themselves to error. This error includes “let’s get beyond Jesus.”
3. Those who walk in error eventually have a seared conscience (reaching a point in life where their conscience no longer bothers them and live as if their conscience does not exist at all). —> We should labor to have a tender conscience which is responsive to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. (1 Timothy 1:5)
4. Regarding the forbidding of marriage —> We should be glad and thankful for the good gift of marriage and the joy of intimacy in that union.
5. Regarding the hypocrites’ message of abstinence/minimalism of some foods —> We should delight in God’s bounty.
6. Believers should be known as those who celebrate the good gifts of life.
1. If one is backslidden/moving away from faithful living, what two errors should be avoided?
2. Is it possible to be “devoted” to a non-biblical worldview without being aware of it (non-intentionality)?
3. How do we keep a tender conscience to the things of the Lord?
4. How does a “hyphenated Christian” play into the attitude of those who say “Let’s move beyond Jesus”?
5. Consider this quote from CS Lewis in The Screwtape Letters (notes from a senior demon): “What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call ‘Christianity And’. You know—Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring.”
6. How do we show a positive delight in the good gifts of God?
“It is incumbent on married couples to stay close to the Holy Spirit. We must present ourselves regularly to his humbling breezes. We must run up the sails every day to catch anew the full force of his powerful winds. We must avoid the doldrums, steering clear of anything that might diminish spiritual refreshment, becoming so convinced of our need for heavenly assistance that we discipline ourselves to look intently at the glory of the Lord and feast on revelation of Jesus Christ in the Holy Scriptures. It is a discipline that the Holy Spirit will use to transform us into the image of the Lord, from one degree of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18).” Tim Savage, No Ordinary Marriage