The Apostle Paul wrote this as a letter to Timothy, but that doesn’t mean that some or all of it can’t be applied to our lives in some way.
For, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV).
1 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV
“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.”
This passage gives examples of these liars who depart from the faith as those who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. That is just one small aspect of the lies being taught, though.
There are so many liars and deceivers out there teaching so many different false doctrines and false gospels, that it would be impossible to cover them all in a single devotional. And I am certain I am not even aware of a lot of them, so I can only share what I have been exposed to and what I know.
The most grievous of them all, I believe – though I know that there must be many out there that are extremely Satanic and which do much harm to people – is the cheap grace gospel. The reason it is the most grievous is because it is lying to people, and it is sending them to hell, but while it promises them forgiveness of sin and eternal life with God.
God’s grace is not cheap. It cost Jesus his life on a cross so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God so that we would now honor God with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15, 21).
And God’s grace, which brings salvation, trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (Tit 2:11-14; Eph 4:17-24).
But many of these liars are adulterating the gospel, and they are teaching that God requires no turning from sin, no obedience, and no submission to him as Lord of their lives, or else they are implying that God’s salvation is secure regardless of how we live our lives. But that is a lie from hell.
1 Timothy 4:6-10 ESV
“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”
Paul was talking here to Timothy, who was a man, and who was a fellow worker in the ministry of the gospel who had divine authority over those whom he taught in the faith. Most of us are not in that position, and I believe Scripturally that women are not to be in authority over men.
Nonetheless, we are all encouraged in the Scriptures that we are to instruct one another (women not instructing men in positions of authority over them), that we are to use our gifts God has given us to minister his grace to the body of Christ, and that we are to exhort one another so that we all reach maturity in Christ as each part (all of us) does its work.
So, we all have a responsibility to share with the body of Christ what God has given us to share in the Spirit, to use the Spiritual gifts given to us to edify, to urge, to exhort, and to encourage our fellow believers in their walks of faith. And we are to speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, too (Rom 12, 1 Co 12, Eph 4-5).
We are all to be salt and light in the world, and to share the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. We are not to be ashamed of our Lord or of his gospel. We are to speak truth to one another in love. And we are not to participate in the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather we are to expose them.
We are also to guard our own hearts against false doctrines and things made up by these liars and deceivers, and we are to train ourselves for godliness, which holds promise for the present life and for the life to come. For, without it, we will not have eternal life with God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; Gal 6:7-8).
So, it is to this end that we should toil and strive in the Lord, and not for ourselves and for the things and the pleasures of this sinful world.
1 Timothy 4:11-16 ESV
“Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
Again, we are not all in positions of authority over others to where we can command others to do what is right and to not do what is wrong. But we have the authority of the Scriptures which we can speak to others and they command holiness and godliness and the forsaking of our sinful ways.
God has put his word and his Holy Spirit within each one of us who are in genuine relationship with him via faith in Jesus Christ. And we are to give out that word, not hold it inside us. And we are to share with one another what the Lord is teaching us and what he is doing in our lives, too.
And we must not let others intimidate us or make us feel less valuable or as though we have not a voice or as though we must remain silent so that we don’t offend others with the truth. The Spirit gifted us all, and it is God who assigns our body parts and who has called us and equipped us to specific areas of ministry God prepared for us to do.
But it must not be all talk. We must be walking the walk and setting the example for others in how to live the Christian life. Not one of us will do it perfectly, for we are mere clay vessels in the Potter’s hands. But lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for deliberate habitual sin. We must walk (in conduct) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.
Seek the Lord
An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”