Category Archives: Timothy and Titus

Pay Attention

1 Timothy 4:13

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

Paul has given all the instruction we have studied so far to help Timothy care for the church at Ephesus until he would be able to return. Paul had no idea how soon he would return, so he decided to write this letter rather than wait until he could return. He knew of the background of the churches at Ephesus and that there could be trouble with doctrine and choosing leaders so he entrusted Timothy to make sure all went smoothly. Timothy carried out his charge well.

Paul wanted to make sure that the major areas were covered so he told Timothy to “give attendance” to three things. This is the same as saying to pay attention to these three things. When I look at this list, I wonder why Paul did not include prayer in the list. It would be my guess that Paul did not worry about Timothy’s prayer life. He knew he had told Timothy how important it was to stay on his knees before the Lord in prayer. He knew Timothy would be praying much.

I must admit that my prayer life is not quite so trustworthy. It seems I get going on a good routine only to have it interrupted by the affairs of this life. I wish for a better prayer life all the time. I make plenty of prayers throughout the day as God brings things to my attention. But I am not good at having a set time of prayer. Paul would not have had so much confidence in me. This is an area I need to work on.

The first thing Paul wanted Timothy to pay attention to was the reading of scripture. At this time the only scripture they had was the Old Testament Torah and that on a limited basis. It is unknown how many copies and of which scripture would have been available. Plus there were Paul’s letters which were not considered scripture yet, but were filled with great wisdom. It is also stated that Timothy was well versed on the scriptures from his youth, so he had been taught well how the scripture of the Old Testament pointed to the life of Jesus Christ. In 2 Timothy 3:15 Paul says that Timothy had known this from infancy.

I am also sure that Paul imparted a great deal of wisdom to Timothy while they travelled together. Paul would preach and Timothy would probably sit and take notes on the way the Old testament pointed to Christ. This was also a part of his reading. I have a lot of notes on old sermons that I heard through my Christian walk. Occasionally I go back and read through them, many times spurring new insights into the relevance of scripture in my life. We need to pay regular attention to the Word of God and good biblical preachers in order to keep abiding in the vine!

The second area Paul tells Timothy to Pay attention is in exhortation. An exhortation is an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something. Paul never wanted Timothy to lose his zeal for the things of the Lord. He did not just say to communicate or to preach, but used the word exhort to express his desire that Timothy would be urgent in his preaching and in his message. Timothy was responsible for making sure the churches were following correct doctrine, assigning Bishops and Deacons and making sure they ran smoothly. His message had to have an urgency about It that they maintain the standards that pointed to righteousness and holiness. Nothing short of this was acceptable to Paul.

Is our preaching done with this type of urging? I have to ask myself this question all the time. Am I conveying the truths of God in a way that makes people be compelled to follow? I was at a conference last weekend where a good friend of mine was ministering to a group of pastors and evangelist. I watched him before the service and noticed how he looked like a caged tiger just waiting to be unleashed. There was no doubt he was well prepared to deliver what God had given him and he delivered it with a strong sense of urgency. I have known this young man since he was a teen and was amazed at how he had grown in the Lord, and at how his preaching had improved so much. God is with him because he preaches with a sense of urgency. I need to do the same!

The third area God tells Timothy to pay attention is to doctrine. Much like today, Timothy faced many challenges in this area. The Judaisers were one of the main groups trying to impose doctrine on the churches back ion that day. They believed that to be saved one had to be circumcised. They were widespread in this preaching and scared people into believing their lie. Timothy had to fight this doctrine all the time and make sure that no other doctrine came in except that which was given by Jesus, Peter or Paul. Timothy’s task was to keep the church pure and undefiled, a bride waiting for her groom!

Today there is false doctrine everywhere we look. Jesus said in the last days even the very elect will be deceived (Matthew 24:24). It is not just the church, but all false doctrine we have to be wary of. Islam is a false doctrine, as is Hinduism and Buddhism. Eastern mysticism is finding it’s way into the church today, with many so-called Christian leaders selling trinkets, charms and other things that they call sacred. Yoga, martial arts, transcendental meditation, and other such things do not belong in the church.

The grace movement is a scary thing and has birthed the New Apostolic Reformation. While it is true that we are saved by grace and we are under grace, we should not sin so that grace may abound. The grace movement says it’s OK, just confess and do what you want to do. This is not what Jesus said. The NAR assigns bishops, prophets and apostles who can add to the scripture or subtract from it because they are “ordained” to do so. This is nonsense but they are very deceptive.

There is also Mormonism, Jehovah’s witnesses and other so called Christian sects that follow a man’s doctrine and don’t even know the scriptures and what they say. I had a couple of them come to my door this winter. When I started to share scripture with them, they marveled I knew scripture so well, but tried to change the subject back to their way of thinking. Of course, I did not go there.

We must stay in sound doctrine, and we must teach sound doctrine. I could give many more examples, but the main thing to look at is scripture. Is there anything in scripture that says we should pray to the dead? Is there anything in scripture that says we should worship any other than Jesus Christ and God the Father? Is there any place in scripture that says an earthly priest can be our intercessor to absolve sins? False doctrine is all around us. It is so entrenched that people overlook it easily. The famous phrase “we have always done it this way” allows this doctrine to continue. The thought that we must have something new and exciting allows false doctrine to become main stream.

Let us stay with Biblical principles, not man’s doctrines. :Let us preach with urgency the truth of the Gospel. Let us keep reading the scriptures and absorbing ourselves in the truth. If we maintain solid doctrine and stay in the word, we will not be deceived.

1 John 1:7
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin

Be An Example

1 Timothy 4:12

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.

Here is the Lord’s heart cry to all of us. Be an example. Let others see what Christ is like by all that you do. The word example is defined two ways in Webster’s dictionary. The first is a thing characteristic of its kind or illustrating a general rule. That means this example needs to be in the image of what it is trying to show to others. We need to conduct ourselves like Christ would. Remember the old saying “What Would Jesus Do?” This became very popular in the 1990’s and actually became part of pop culture. Unfortunately, it just became a popular saying, not a popular thing to do necessarily. People wearing WWJD bracelets and T-shirts would be just as sinful as the world, and that is not what Jesus would have done. Our example must be like the spotless Lamb of God.

The second definition of example is a person or thing regarded in terms of their fitness to be imitated or the likelihood of their being imitated. This means we should live a life that others could imitate in their walk with the Lord. Paul said that the things we have learned, have received, have heard and have seen in him we should do (Philippians 4:9). Paul set an example for others to follow. Are we setting this same example? Would we want others to live the same kind of life we do in a successful walk with Christ? This should be the pattern for our lives.

Paul then goes on to tell Timothy there are 6 areas of his life this applies to. The first way we should set an example is in our words. One of the first things God did when I got saved was that he took swearing out of my language. It was just gone. All those 4 letter words that I used in every sentence vanished from my vocabulary. It even amazed me that suddenly these words were no longer used. Those words have no place in a Christian’s vocabulary. They set a bad example. So does telling dirty jokes. There is no room for these either. Nor lying, dishonest statements or saying things with the wrong motives in mind. Gossip, backbiting, slandering and many more ways seem to be part of our culture today. Each of these creep into the church, and into our lives, at different times. All of the above mentioned issues with the words we speak show the church to be nothing more than a bunch of hypocrites. The church has become too much like the world in our words.

Our words should be loving, merciful, forgiving, forbearing, patient and reverent. They should show us to be lovers of men, ready to lay down our lives for those less fortunate than we are. Our words should give comfort, joy, peace, nurturing and grace to those we are speaking to all the time, not just some of the time. These words should be honest and truthful at all times, spoken in love to anyone we approach. There should be no hint of ungodliness or unrighteousness in the things we say. James 3 is a great chapter on taming our tongue. Basically, James says if we can bridle our tongue, we enter a realm of perfection. Let us guard our speech at all times.

The second way Paul asks Timothy to be an example is in his conversation. We can get confused if we see this word meaning the words we have between one another. In biblical terms, the word conversation means lifestyle. Our lifestyle should be one that everyone sees as pure and undefiled. We should set an example by the places we go, the choices we make and the manner in which we conduct ourselves. Do we take correction easily? Are we quickly offended? Do we forgive people if they wrong us? Do we ask for forgiveness if we have hurt our neighbor in some way? All of these things are part of our conversation.

Ephesians 4:1 tells us to walk worthy of the vocation to which we are called. It does not matter if you are a preacher or the church custodian or a clerk at Walmart or flipping burgers at McDonalds. You might be a corporate executive, or retired or maybe a CPA or an MD. Maybe you just write blogs, work on mapping, sell insurance occasionally and help out at your church (this is me in a nutshell). Whatever your vocation, whatever you do day in and day out, you should walk worthy of that calling. Our jobs are part of our calling, and we must show ourselves as an example of Christ in everything we do.

The third area Paul says we should be an example is in charity. I think we all know charity means love. I like the use of the word charity because that word means giving something without expecting a return. The word love is so misused and abused in our society that it gets a bad wrap most of the time. People don’t know what real love is. Many have never experienced a true loving relationship except with their parents, and even there a lot of people are abused by that word. When we as Christians think of the word love we should always think of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth

To translate briefly, love is patient and kind at all times. It does not become jealous or covetous and does not boast of its accomplishments but is humble. Love never portrays a non- Christian attitude and does not try to get things for itself. Love does not get angry easily and never thinks evil of someone else. Love rejoices in the good fortune of others and in the truth always being in the forefront. It bears with anything and believes in the other person with the hope that will endure to the end. Love never fails. This is the kind of love we should have at all times to set the example Paul is talking about here.

The fourth area we should be an example is in spirit. This talks about the attitude with which we live our lives. Are we positive and uplifting, or are we a sourpuss all the time. Do we speak words of grace to everyone (Eph 4:29) or are we sarcastic and cruel. Do we wake up in the morning refreshed and renewed, ready to take on the day? Or are we just trying to get through the day and bring our cloud with us as we go through our routines? All of these things reflect the spirit with which we approach life. I love the quote from Charles Swindoll, renowned Christian author, speaker and pastor.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

To me, that says it all!

The fifth area Paul tells Timothy to be an example is in faith. Do we show others that we trust God in all things, even in the most difficult of times in our lives? Do they see our faith arise as we go through those times and continue to rely on God to bring us provision, strength and guidance in the midst of the storm? Has our faith risen to the occasion when someone needs prayer and we are quick to pray with them on the spot instead of the old line “Yes I will pray for you.”

When I was going through my cancer battle for three years, people noticed how upbeat I stayed most of the time. Many would ask me how I could face such a difficult test with such a good attitude. I would tell them it is because I have an undying faith in my God! I knew he would not fail me. I knew He would use this test for my good. I knew he would sustain me and keep me even in the hardest of times. People saw my faith in action. They saw my example of faith. How often do they see yours?

The last area where we should be an example is in purity. This talks of moral and behavioral excellence. We should be above anything that seems filthy, raunchy, rowdy, or anything else that would be deemed impure. Our lives should reflect the Bible and it’s moral standard in every way. The worlds moral compass has gone haywire, and we must show what the standard should be or it will be lost to all. We leave in a world that has put purity aside for pleasure. They do not even see how they have gone wrong, or that they are even doing wrong. The low morals and impurity are out in the public eye and no one seems the least bit concerned except those who want morality brought back into our lives. If we do not keep the biblical standard it will further erode this society and Christians will be even more weird in the worlds eyes.

Christians are already being persecuted for righteousness sake, as Jesus told us we would. We should rejoice in this (Matthew 5:12) But greater persecution will come as the world drifts farther and farther away from Christian values. I am a part of Pew Research in that I take survey’s for them once a month. One of the questions on the last survey asked if I thought social media should be allowed to take off offensive material. I said no, mainly because the world is starting to see parts of the Bible as offensive and I do not want our face squashed by a social media company. Some of my own blogs would disappear! Those of us who stand up for Christian values, for pure values, must never let this world dictate what we write or preach.

With all my heart I want to be the type of example Paul asked Timothy to be. I fail often, but I must each time pick myself up and keep on going. Paul does not tell Timor=thy he has to be perfect and part of our example should be seen as a flawed human being with difficulties and challenges. If we can remember to forgive and accept forgiveness, that will go a long ay to developing us an example of what Christ would want us to be.

Exercise Unto Godliness

1 Timothy 4:7-11

7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
8 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.
9 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.

I am terrible about exercising, I admit. I can get on my exercise bike one day and then just get too bored to get on it again. My granddaughter and I got a one month pass to the local fitness center with very good intentions. But she has used it only once and I have not used it at all. I’m guessing I won’t renew the membership. I do walk the dog faithfully and this is about the only exercise I get. To my dismay, that means my weight stays where it is, which is about 15 pounds more than I would like it to be. I did lose that weight once by a combination of a good diet and more exercise, and I need to do that again. Being lazy like I have become sets bad habits into place, and I need to get rid of them. If I don’t, my health could be jeopardized even further, I will have more shortness of breath and I will have other problems with my body that I would just as soon not face.

Our spiritual life is no different. It too needs exercise and a good diet. I need to regularly exercise my spirit by praise and meditation. I need to utilize the prayer language that God has given me to pray for those needs I don’t have all the information about. I need to exercise the spiritual gifts that God has placed in my life to edify my church. And I need a steady diet on the Word of God, which is the bread of life. Not just reading it and meditating on it, but studying out principles that God lays on my heart. I must make sure I am not just relying on others to interpret the word for me, but ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to me as well. There are many untruths in our world today as we have discussed. I must be able to tell the difference between what is true and what is false. This is a must for all of us.

Old wives fables can include anything that has been a doctrine or custom of the church that is contrary to the Bible. Do you have those things in your church? Are there things you do just out of habit that have been that way for a long time, yet you question whether it is right or not? When you bring it up to someone they just say we have always done it that way and you just let it rest. Or maybe it’s a teaching of your church, or a doctrinal statement that is just not Biblical, although it sounds close. Maybe within yourself you have questioned it for a long time but have never spoken up. Maybe it’s time you do! People can be misled by old habits as fast as they can from new doctrine. We must regularly exercise our faith and our spirit to abide in the vine as Jesus asked us to.

You see, when we practice Godliness it is good for all those around us, even if they don’t believe. Imagine a world where all the Christians always practice Ephesians 4:29 and never spoke a foul word but always said things that ministered grace to the hearer. Imagine a world where all Christians turned the other cheek and walked the extra mile. Imagine a world where we were never worried, but always prayed with thanksgiving. Imagine a world where we forgave every offense and put it behind us, choosing to love instead of holding a grudge. Imagine a world where we could bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endured all things. Imagine a world where we always thought on things that were true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy about other people. Do you see a better world being formed? Do you see how this would profit all men?

These things and many more should be our way of life because we know the Savior. We know the one who taught us how to live this life and how to enter the kingdom of heaven. He showed us the way to walk on this earth, loving the unlovable, reaching out to the outcast, bringing healing to the sick and maimed and bringing life to those who are dead, both in body and in Spirit. As we exercise Godliness, we touch lives. We become Jesus to them. We live through the reproaches they might bring into our life because we trust God to see us through.

Exercising our Spirit will bring us closer to God and closer to the perfection He asks for. Without it, we will wither away in our spiritual walk and not have the power God expects us to walk in. We will not have the strength to stand up to temptation. We will forget the words that can bring us through trials. Our witness will become cold and dim in a world already filled with darkness. Let us not be weary in well doing. Let us exercise the faith that we entered into as babes, yearning for more and more. He nurtured us and taught us by His Holy Spirit. He guided our steps to where we are today. It’s time we step up and do all that He wants us to do! Walk in the power and strength of the Lord!

Be a Good Minister

1 Timothy 4:6

6 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.

We have an awesome responsibility to our brothers and sisters in Christ. That responsibility is reminding them what God has said. We cannot take for granted that they know what God has said. Paul has asked us here to put the brethren in remembrance of these things. God knows we are flawed human beings and that our flesh wants to gravitate toward the things and ways of this world. Because of this, He has commissioned us to be ministers of the Gospel and the ministers of His doctrine. Not the doctrine of this world, but His doctrine.

What things do we have to remind our brothers about? I would go back to chapter three and everything from there on is what we need constant reminding about. Chapter three deals with the qualifications of our church leadership. I would dare say that some churches and denominations have lost sight of many of these qualifications. The first and foremost is choosing bishops and deacons who are seasoned in the word. These men and women have the daunting task of keeping the church on course in their pursuit of Christ. If they are not seeking out the truth in scripture and applying it on a day to day basis, they can easily slip away from that truth. When that happens, they can erode the fabric of a church if false doctrine should creep in. You may remember our discussion on seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Just as in Paul’s day, these are rampant in the church today. Our leaders must be aware of what the Word says and where these false teaching miss the mark.

Then there is the mystery of the gospel, spoken of in 1 Timothy 3:16. It is imperative that we continually remind ourselves of the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the foundation of the church and of our lives. The great salvation He purchased for us must be renewed in us on a continual basis. This is the reason we have set aside holidays to celebrate these events – so we will never forget. That Christ came down from heaven to be born of a virgin is nothing short of miraculous mercy and grace. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords gave up His throne in heaven to come and die for me. He did not come with much fanfare, but in a lowly stable to a couple who were poor. No royalty met Him when He arrived, but shepherds that had heard of Him while watching their flocks at night. God chose them, the meek and lowly, to first witness His Son. He grew up unknown and wise, at one time questioning the temple leaders as if He had the wisdom of God. Until He was in His early 30’s, no one followed Him.

But then John the Baptist recognized who He was. Many heard the voice from heaven speak and say “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ Many saw the dove fly down from heaven and land on His shoulder. Many heard John say “I must decrease and He must increase.” It was a changing of the guard and the people started following Jesus. His teaching angered the religious leaders but brought comfort and joy to the common folk. He healed everyone who came to Him, cast out devils, fed the masses and raised the dead. More and more people followed Him through the next three years. He chose 12 disciples to become His closest friends and He taught about the Kingdom of God. He talked in parables which confounded the wise but spoke to the simple. Thousands followed Him wherever He went.

Then He came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey just before the Passover. The crowd spread palm branches before Him and cried “Hosanna, hosanna. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” The Pharisees were outraged, but He told them if the people did not praise Him, the very rocks would cry out. The next day He walked into the marketplace and overturned the tables of the crooked moneychangers. Over the next two days He taught in more parables, spoke of the end times and cried out woes to the Pharisees and Scribes, calling them hypocrites and whitewashed sepulchers. They were furious and started plotting His death. They convinced a disciple named Judas to betray Him. His disciples found a place to have the Passover meal by following what Jesus had told them. Their fourth day in town they sat down to share the meal.

But this was no ordinary meal. At the beginning, Jesus got up and washed all of their feet, much to the protests of Peter. He told them if they wanted to be great, they must become servants to all. Then He told them one would betray Him, knowing what was to come. He broke the bread and passed the cup, saying this was His body and His blood. They did as He said, but did not understand what was happening. He told Peter that he would deny Him three times before morning light. As they walked to the Garden to pray that night, He told them He was going away to prepare mansions for them and they could not come with Him, but they would see Him later. He told them He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. He told them He was the vine and they were the branches, and that they must abide in Him. He told them He would send the comforter to help them to remember the words He had spoken and He left His peace with them. He told them so many things that they did not understand at the time. Then He prayed for them that the Father would keep them safe.

Once at the Garden, He asked Peter, James and John to pray with Him for an hour. He knew His death was soon. He knew the one who betrayed Him would be coming. He knew he would be beaten, scourged, spit upon, crowned with thorns and crucified. He knew the pain He would have to endure. He knew the disciples would not be able to bear the test that was about to come, and wanted them to pray not only for Him, but for themselves. Then He bowed to the Fathers will. Two times He went back to find the three disciples, His closest friends, asleep while He was praying. The third time, Judas came and betrayed Him with a kiss. Peter tried to fend off the soldiers, but Jesus told them if He wanted to be freed He could call ten thousand angels to come right now.

The guards took Him into the judgment hall where they slapped Him, jeered at Him, spit on Him and called false witnesses against Him. They took Him to Pilate who said He found no fault in Him but had Him scourged anyway. A wicked whipping with a bone laced whip that dug deep into His back. Pilate sent Him back to Herod, but soon He was right back before Pilate, this time with a crown of thorns the soldiers had placed on His head. Pilate still found no fault in Him but decided to give the people a choice between Him and a zealot named Barabbas. They chose Barabbas and cried crucify Jesus. Pilate found himself in a no win situation, so He told them to take Him and crucify Him and washed His hands of Jesus, saying His blood was on the Jews. He had to carry His own cross, falling under the weight of it and requiring help to finish the long walk. Once at the top of Golgotha, they nailed His feet and hands to that cross and dropped it in the ground. The gambled for His robe, gave Him vinegar to drink, and challenged Him to come down off the cross. But He was there willingly. He was there for you and me. He was there to set us free. Isaiah 53:5 puts it so beautifully “He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. Surely the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.” He spoke “It is finished” signifying the completion of the plan of our redemption from sin. Then He gave up the ghost. They pierced His side to make sure He was dead.

They took Him down from the cross and placed Him in a borrowed tomb. The Pharisees had heard that He said He would rise on the third day so they asked Pilate to put a guard on the tomb and seal it tight. He did so, and all thought it was over. There was no more hope for a new kingdom to be set up. Roman rule would continue. But on the third day, the women came to anoint the body with spices and they saw the stone rolled away. They saw an angel sitting where Jesus body should have been. They saw His grave clothes neatly folded. The angel told them He was alive! The women ran back to the disciples with Mary lagging behind. Jesus appeared to her and told her He was alive. He is still alive today, to be our friend and our provider, to walk with us and talk with us, to heal us and to comfort us. The cross made a way for our redemption. We cannot stay on the front side of the cross. We must go through the cross to the back of the cross because:

On the front of the cross is agony on the back of the cross is peace
On the front of the cross is sorrow on the back of the cross is joy
On the front of the cross is pain on the back of the cross is healing
On the front of the cross is bondage on the back of the cross is freedom
On the front of the cross is sin on the back of the cross is forgiveness
On the front of the cross we are stained with sin
on the back of the cross we are white as snow
On the front of the cross is defeat on the back of the cross is victory
On the front of the cross is death on the back of the cross is eternal life
If we stay on the front of the cross, hell will be our destination
When we go through the cross, and come to the back, our destination is heaven

All is only achieved if we go through the cross. Where are you standing? Are you still seeing Jesus from the front of the cross, or have you accepted that sacrifice as your own. Have you identified with His death and come to the other side of yourself? Is Christ alive in you today?

This Easter season, let us put everyone in remembrance of these things. Let us make sure we tell all those around us of the saving power of Jesus Christ. When, we do, we are sure to be called good ministers of Jesus Christ.

Let Them Eat Meat

1 Timothy 4:3-5

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

There are some who believe the clergy and those in spiritual authority should not marry. In fact, they make it their doctrine. They use the verse where Paul says those who remain unmarried care for the things of the Lord, while those who are married care for things that are of the world, how they may please their wife (1 Corinthians 7:32-33). Paul says this because he sees from his own lens, where he is unmarried and is able to put the gospel first in all things. Earlier in 1 Corinthians, Paul says he wishes all men were unmarried like him (1 Corinthians 7:7). I’m sure even Paul knows how ludicrous a statement that is if taken literally. If it were, there would be no children! Another thing we see in 1 Corinthians 7 is that Paul goes back and forth between writing what he says the Lord commands and what he believes is right and profitable. Verses 32-33 come in a section which carries Paul’s thoughts and not necessarily the Lords.

God instituted marriage for several reasons. First, man needed a helpmate. He needed someone alongside to help him through life. A wise pastor I once had told me God gave a wife to man so that she could help him see his faults. It took me years to discover this truth. My wife is very good at seeing when pride is rising up within me and she is quick to point it out. Until I learned that she was there to help me in this area, I ignored her. In fact I argued with her that I was not prideful at all (one of the surest signs that I was!). Jealousy, anger, sorrow, fear – all of these can be seen by a woman much easier than a man will see them, or acknowledge them. She is my helper to make me into the man God wants me to be.

God gave a woman to man so that he would not be alone. Man needed companionship and God knew that. After all, He created man. If God gave woman to man, why would He ever say they should not marry and be together? God did not see a problem with man getting married. He did not think this would take man’s mind off of His creator. If God had thought that., He would have come up with a different plan! After all, God still came to the garden to fellowship with man after the fall, and woman was with him then.

Marriage was also instituted so mankind would continue. This is an obvious one. Without the two, none of us would be here. God told man to leave his father and mother can cleave to his wife, and they would be one flesh. They become one in spirit and soul when they are married, and all kinds of hurt and trouble come about when divorce comes up, which was only agreed upon by God because man’s heart was hard (Matthew 19:8). God intends us to stay together. Marriage was given by God and is a blessing to Him. Any who say man should abstain from marriage should go back and study this out. They are not following God’s true calling for man. I agree that some are called to chastity. If that is their calling then they should by all means fulfill it. But I do not believe the scripture condones dictating chastity.

Abstaining from meat has become very popular in our culture today. Many will tell you that meat is dangerous to your health and you should eliminate it altogether, replacing it with other proteins like nuts and beans. Others warn against eating too much meat or that we should only eat lean meat. Their reasons vary, from the fact that it will increase green house gases to the possibility there will not be enough to go around in 30 years. Whatever the reason, science has turned to a platform of little or no meat as the dietary norm. Too bad God disagrees.

The truth is that God said “It was good” from the moment He made it. He said all the animals, plants, insects, fish, birds and anything else on this earth was good for mankind to use as he sees fit. We have dominion over all of it. Should we treat animals with respect? Of course, but not to the point that we forbid to eat them. Should we be humane? Certainly. People who do not treat animals with respect or proper care should face consequences.

But when we start to put the animals before the humans, we turn God’s word upside down. When we start to think that we know better than God, we become fools in His eyes. The problem is that the world has fallen into the devilish doctrine of evolution. This doctrine says that we should praise the creature more than the creator, or His creation. Evolution says that man is no more important than a spotted owl or a lowly lizard. God says we are made a little lower than the angels. Evolution discounts God’s hand in anything. Evolution says the word of God is wrong and man is right. What a foolish thought that is!

Everything God has put on this earth was put here for the express purpose of providing for mankind. Why do you think the water came before the plants? So the plants could be provided for! Then the sun and moon came so the plants could grow and reproduce. Then the animals were created, and they were sustained by the plants. Finally mankind came and they were sustained by it all. All of this was created by His Word for the profitability of the only creatures He molded with His hands, Adam and Eve. Nothing else in all of creation was made by God’s hands except Adam and Eve. Mankind must be very special indeed!

The last note Paul makes about this is the importance of blessing our food. He says it must be received with thanksgiving, and that it is sanctified by prayer. This cannot be stressed enough. We should raise our voices and our hearts to our wonderful creator for giving us all these blessings. We should not neglect blessing our food and asking it to bring nourishment to our bodies. We should always be grateful for what the Lord has provided from the beginning of time. He is Jehovah Jireh, our provider and His grace is sufficient for me!

Don’t Depart From the Faith

1 Timothy 4:1-2

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;

This warning was never more true than it is today. Paul has just finished giving Timothy instruction on how to choose bishops and deacons for the churches. One of the requirements is that they would not be novices in the faith and that they would have the ability and knowledge to hold onto the mystery of the faith. He goes on to tell them the mystery of the gospel is found in Jesus Christ crucified and risen again. This is the basis we must build our faith on and anyone that does not preach these truths has departed from the faith Paul preached (2 Corinthians 11:4).

Jesus also taught that many would come claiming to be Christ (Matthew 24:5). He said that we should be careful not to be deceived (Luke 21:8). He even told us that the very elect will be deceived (Matthew 24:24). I am not sure exactly who the very elect are. After reading many commentaries I am still am not sure. Many think it is the Jews. Some think it is people who have been chosen by God to be deceived in the later days. Others think it is those who have been taught the rigid Gospel by the law and not the Spirit, knowing the scripture but not knowing how to apply it. Whatever the case, I do not want to be counted as one of them!

In our world today there are many seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Seducing spirits are those that would look and sound a lot like the true gospel only to draw people further and further from the truth as they get more involved. Once they are that far in, it is hard for them to break away because their mind has been filled with such deception they have a hard time seeing they are deceived. They think the lie is the truth.

The seducing spirit that comes to the top of my mind first is the LDS church. To those who are not well versed in the bible, the LDS church can sound very good. They come to your door and talk about Jesus Christ and His salvation. Then they will talk about the earth being restored and becoming the kingdom of God. They draw you in using what sounds very Biblical. Once you are involved they start to teach you the book of Mormon and before you know it the book of Mormon has replaced the Bible. They no longer teach from the Bible, but only quote the book of Mormon.

My best friend recently had the opportunity to talk to a large group of elders from the Mormon church. He was invited by a friend who had converted to Mormonism, convinced that it was the true way that God had planned. They started to ask him questions about his Christian faith and he answered with the scripture. When he asked them about their faith, they did not use scripture at all. They would only quote from the book of Mormon. They led him to a teacher who taught the book of Mormon. The service he went to never even opened a bible.

The truth here is that the LDS church are followers of Joseph Smith, not Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith founded the church in 1826. He dictated the Book of Mormon which he said was a translation of golden tablets he had found in upstate New York. He claimed to be a prophet and that these tablets were buried there by a native American long ago. He drew a small following and as persecution arose he moved to Missouri and Brigham Young picked up the movement. Mr. Young then went to salt Lake City, where the LDS church flourished and is still headquartered today. Joseph Smith was seduced by a spirit and a whole movement was started that is not centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The second Seducing spirit today is the New Apostolic reformation, or NAR church. It is sweeping through Christianity like a flood and taking many good meaning Christians with it. I remember back in 2008 when I heard two men give a warning about this movement and how subtle it was. They said that at that time 8 of the top 10 Christian best selling books were NAR books. That is a scary thing! Are you wise enough not to be deceived by this movement? I am no expert, but here is a link to an article that contains several links to inform you about the NAR. I suggest you acquire knowledge about this before your church starts to slide down the slippery slope. https://bcooper.wordpress.com/2019/01/22/an-indepth-study-of-the-new-apostolic-reformation-movement/

Doctrines of demons to me means that the church, in the later days, will start to make doctrines of those things that are devised by the enemy to split apart the church. These could also be classified as seductive, but these become doctrines within churches that still ascribe to the gospel. Unfortunately they twist the words of the Bible or ignore them altogether, in order to take on these devilish doctrines, Once they take them on as doctrine for their church or denomination, it is hard to reverse course and the people are led astray, being drawn away from the truth of the Bible.

I can think of several of these devilish doctrines. One is the LGBTQ agenda. God loves every single person, no matter what they have done or how they have acted. His love is all encompassing. To receive salvation, a soul must turn from there sin and not return to it. Jesus never sanctioned that a person could stay in sin and be saved. He preached repentance, and then the Father would forgive. But the LGBTQ community does not want to turn from their sin, which is clearly spelled out in the Old and New Testaments. Romans 1:26-28 and Leviticus 18:22 are just two examples. Genesis 2:18-25 tells us marriage is between a man and woman. That is what God intended.

I just did a search for warning against LGBTQ in the Bible and it came up with the above verses, but also many verses that tell us we must love one another and not judge each other. Most of the verses that came up had nothing to do with the homosexual lifestyle, but were included to make us think that we should just accept them as they are. It amazes me that a Christian can turn their eyes away from the truth about this sinful lifestyle. Do they ignore other sins that are clearly spelled out in the Bible? All sin requires a sacrifice, and all sin must be turned away from in our lives. Paul asked if we should sin more so that grace will abound? He emphatically answered NO to this proposition. (Romans 6:1-2). Grace does cover sin, but we cannot continue to sin once we are saved. That is what this community wants to be able to do. It is a doctrine of devils.

Another doctrine of devils is the grace movement. Grace is a powerful thing. It is what gives us the faith to receive Christ in the first place (Ephesians 2:8-9). When we are saved we must turn from our sin. The grace movement says we can continue in sin and grace will cover us. The grace movement says once we are saved, no matter what we do, we will go to heaven because we have said a few words that line up with scripture. They miss the fact that Jesus said if we do not do His commands, we will not go to heaven even though we call Him Lord (Matthew 7:21). Jesus said we should be perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Paul said we must forsake all to follow Him (Philippians 3:7-8). The disciples forsook all to follow Him (Luke 5:11). Are we to do any less? NO! His grace does cover sin, and His blood paid the sacrifice for sin. But once we have given our sin to Him, we must repent and become living sacrifices for Him (Romans 12:1). We are not once saved, always saved.

When man’s doctrine replaces the word of God, that is considered a doctrine of devils. God’s word should be the basis for any doctrine the church decides to follow. In our church, ever one of our doctrinal statements is backed up by scripture. In case you’re wondering, here it is:

What We Believe
The Holy Bible is inspired by God and is an infallible guide for our personal and corporate conduct

There is One God eternally existent in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Man was created in God’s image, but he has fallen short of God’s glory through the sin of the first man, Adam. Therefore, a man/woman must repent unto God for the forgiveness of sin

Jesus Christ, being born in the flesh, has died so that man/woman may receive forgiveness of sin through repentance and faith in Him.

Water Baptism by immersion is commanded by our Lord by everyone who believes. By this baptism, we identify ourselves with His death, burial and resurrection.

Holiness is God’s standard for His people

Sanctification subsequent to the new birth comes through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, through the Word, and by the Holy Spirit.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit is subsequent to the new birth, and is evidenced by speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance

Divine Healing is provided for all in Christ’s atonement

The Resurrection of the righteous dead and the catching away of the living saints to heaven before the tribulation. The subsequent return of Jesus and all His saints to reign on earth for 1,000 years

Hell is the eternal destiny of both the living and the dead who have not accepted Christ in their life

Heaven is the eternal destiny of all those, both living and dead, who have

I did not include the scriptures that back these up, but there are plenty. If you have a problem with any of these, I wish you would study it out and then comment. I will certainly reply with the biblical basis for whichever one you struggle with.

What are your church’s doctrinal statements? What do you believe? Are they all scripturally based? I urge you today to cheek out your own church and make sure you have not been taken in by seducing spirits or doctrines of devils. Be grounded in the Bible and do not be deceived or drawn away.  Do not fall for their lies.  Their conscience has been seared.  Keep a pure conscience before the Lord and you will do well!

The Mystery of Godliness

1 Timothy 3:14-16

14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

We see now the purpose of Paul’s letter. He wanted to make sure Timothy knew how he should behave in the house of God. I would say that not only Timothy, but all should behave this way. We talked about this as we went through the characteristics of a bishop and deacon, that all these things should also apply to us. I believe we often think those who are in the pulpit or serve as deacons or elders in our churches should live to a higher standard than we common folk do. Nothing could be further from the truth. We should all live holy lives, set apart for God. Jesus did not die so we could still live in sin. He died so we could be free from sin! He died to give us the strength and power to say no to sin. Living the way Paul describes in this chapter is for all of us.

I challenge you to go back to the beginning of this chapter and read it several times. See where you stand with each characteristic Paul describes. Are you grave, keeping things serious and truthful? Or do you joke around a lot and poke fun at people? Are you living in a way that people cannot blame you for something that would be ungodly? Are you apt to teach, ready to give a good word when someone needs it? Do you have your own house in order and are you faithful in all things? Are you not given to much wine and do you have a good report from those outside the church? There are a few here that I need to work on. How about you?

Why are these things important for all of us? Because we are the church and this church is the house of the living God. Paul says the church is the pillar and ground of the truth. Why is the world caving in around us right now? Why is morality falling to desperate lows? Why are things like abortion and gay rights winning the battle for our children? I believe it is because the church has been in a shifting position on these things. They have not spoken out enough on these issues, and the pillar of truth that the church must be has shifted to a lie that does not line up with the Bible. When the church falls into a lie, the world will gladly follow and embrace it. If the church becomes ungodly, the world will go further into ungodliness.

It starts with each one of us. What do you have to do to become more like the bishop and deacon described here? Once you get it right, then you are ready to teach others what is the right way to go. We can turn the church around one person at a time, but it will take all of us. It will take a concentrated effort on the part of every true believer and follower to make this happen. If we do not act now, the church will continue to crumble and turn from the righteousness of God to the ways of the world. I realize that we are all the church, and not the buildings that sit all over this world. But there are so many in this church that are walking contrary to scripture. They must be shown the right way.

What is the right way? What is the mystery of godliness? It is Jesus Christ and what He did to redeem us and give us eternal life. He is the central figure for all of history. He came and showed us what godliness was. He came and healed everyone he touched. He delivered every person who came to Him. He always taught the truth and did not back down from the pious religious leaders. In fact He challenged them to follow the spirit of the law and not the letter if the law. Every time they met with Him, they were baffled by His answers to their questions. His godliness showed in everything He said and did because He was justified in the Spirit. Are we?

The mystery to me is why we don’t follow His example more often? Why don’t I pray for the sick people that come into my life so they can be healed? Is it because I lack the faith to really believe God will heal them? Or is it that I don’t want to risk offending them by praying for them in public? Or is it because my pride says that if I pray and they don’t get out of that wheelchair, I will look bad? Jesus just knew they would be healed if He asked the Father. He had no doubts, so He did not worry about the result of His prayers. Once He prayed, the matter was in the Fathers hands. Every time, His Father answered. I need to have that kind of faith so that God will be glorified every time I pray.

The mystery of godliness is that He was preached unto you and I, the Gentiles, and we believed. We believed that He did what the word says He did. We believe he was born of a virgin in a manger, baptized by John and tempted in the wilderness. We believe He healed the sick, cast out demons, opened blinded eyes and deaf ears and raised the dead. We believe the words He preached and the parables that show us how we should live. We believe He was betrayed, beaten, scourged, rejected and crucified for our sins. We believe He died, was buried and rose again to give us eternal life. We believe He is coming back for the redeemed one day and that we shall rise to meet Him in the air. We believe it all.

It is a mystery to the world. There are so many out there who may believe one part or another, but not all that Jesus did and said in His life. That is a shame, and will cause them to miss heaven because they did not understand the mystery of godliness. They did not understand why He came, what He lived for and why He died. He came, lived and died to show us what godliness was. Jesus Christ is the mystery of godliness to the world, but not to those of us who know Him personally. To us, He is the way, the truth and the life. We come to the Father through Him. We know godliness, and can live godly lives, because of who He is in our lives. It is no mystery to us!

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, now is the time. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, then repent and turn away from them. Give Him authority over your life by making Him Lord. Get into the word of God and start fresh with it, reading it like you have never read it before. Soak it in and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal it’s truths to you. Allow Him to guide you every step of the way. Be born again today!