In his first epistle to Timothy Paul instructed Timothy to charge some that they teach no other doctrine in the church that was in Ephesus. False doctrine was rearing its ugly head through the proliferation of false teaching. This false doctrine, as is always the case, was in complete contradiction to the good doctrine that God has reserved for us in His Word, the Bible. After his exhortation to Timothy, Paul then gives examples of false doctrine and its deadly effects. Paul’s commandment to Timothy to charge some that they teach no other doctrine was rooted in love for the brethren and love for God.
3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia-remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. 5Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. 8But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully. 1 Timothy 1:3-8
Those who are in positions of leadership in the church must reject fables which cause disputes to occur between brethren rather than godly mutual edification. However, in recent history some “Christian” leaders have done the exact opposite. Their support of three recent films from Hollywood geared towards the “Christian” market reveals their duplicity in the faith. Each of these films was based upon fables, things that are made up, rather than the truth from the Scriptures. Some leaders within the “Christian” community promoted the pictures, encouraging “Christians” to pay to see these fallacious films. They actually joined in making merchandise of believers, sharing in the sins of others, something Paul warned Timothy against. These fables were not fabricated out of thin air; instead the premise for the films was taken from Scripture. Like these films, much of what is being promoted within the visible church today takes grains of truth from the Bible and then puffs them up, distorting them with the foolish beliefs, vain ideologies, worldly philosophies and devilish doctrines utilized to distort God’s Word and lead many astray. This promotion of fables leads to discord and disputes among the body, where faith and love are cast aside, along with the Word of God, and instead fleshly behavior reigns supreme. Those who try to warn others with the Word of God are castigated and spurned, being labeled haters, when the truth is those who hold to these fables are the dividers and haters, rejecting biblical faith and godly fellowship which centers around Jesus Christ and His Word and results in loving edification. At the other end of the continuum of false doctrine is the teaching of the law in the place of grace and love found in and through Christ Jesus.
5Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. 8But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,11according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. 1 Timothy 1:5-11
Trying to know, love and serve God through the observance of the law is impossible. The law exposes our sin; the law is designed to show us our need for Christ and lead us to Him as we despair of ever being adequate to make ourselves worthy of the love of God and right in His sight. The law makes us feel guilty and alienated from God. It is only faith in Jesus Christ that makes us righteous in God’s sight. He is our righteousness. Those who try to resort to the law and us it to exhort others to godly living are placing a burden upon the hearts and lives of those they are enslaving with an instrument that is meant to condemn us because of indwelling sin. The law is good but we are slaves to sin and incapable of living lives pleasing to God since the law actually excites sin within us because of the depravity of our sin natures. Those who exhort God’s children with the law are brutalizing them with an impossible obligation that can never be met by man. Jesus Christ sets us free from the law’s requirements and establishes us in His grace through faith. He gives us the promised Holy Spirit and as we walk by faith in the power of the Spirit we faithfully please God and are not under the law. Self-righteousness through observance of the law feeds the flesh and brings condemnation. Instead walking in the Spirit and walking in love, which is a fruit of the Spirit, brings us out from under the law and then fulfills the heart and intent of the law. It is necessary to quote numerous Scripture to endorse the biblical doctrine that I have written.
19Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:19-20
22But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:22-26
4Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another-to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6But now that we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. 7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. 13Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 14For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. Romans 7:4-14
1There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin the flesh, 4that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4
30But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God-and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-31that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
16I say them: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to on another so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. Galatians 5:16-18
For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. Galatians 6:8
8Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Legalistic law teaching is practiced within much of the visible church today; the homeschooling movement is especially prone to this error which causes much harm. Children reared under the tutelage of the law do not learn about the love of God given to them in Christ Jesus. They do not learn about the grace of God given to them in Christ Jesus. They serve a hard taskmaster that only grimaces at them and whips them as they fail, and fail they do for the invalid flesh fruitlessly fights to control sin through the law. Unabated flesh flourishes under legalistic teaching so that all manner of wickedness abounds. These are those who have a form of godliness but deny its power. We are to turn away from these false teachers who enslave others by the wrongful use of the law because they have no confidence in the victory over sin that is ours in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:5)
There is an abundance of those who endorse fables, teach legalism and listen to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. The apostasy within the visible church is deep and wide. The false doctrines that abound are too numerous to list, but they all originate from the father of lies, Satan. He deceives and leads astray. These heresies are whispered in the ears of those who are primed for deception because they do not love the truth, God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Instead they lust after the latest greatest thing that will cause a sensation and bring them a following.
1Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines o demons, 2speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 1 Timothy 4:1-7
Our protection against the onslaught of false teaching is to build ourselves up on our most holy faith by godly living and adherence to the truth, which is the Word of God. We can protect ourselves from the lies of the enemy by being informed through diligent study of God’s Word and rejection of teaching that doesn’t conform to the godly doctrine of the Scriptures. That means meticulous study of the Scriptures so that we understand the Word of God by the Holy Spirit and then can reject the lies, reprove the liars, and exhort all with the Holy Scriptures of God, including our own selves.
Those who teach lies reject the words of Jesus Christ and teach doctrine that is contrary to godly living. Instead their prideful, ignorant false teaching results in disputes, arguments, envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions and useless wranglings. They are in it for the money and care nothing for Christ or for His precious flock. This aptly depicts what is happening in many churches today and throughout the “Christian” community. What a sad and deplorable situation for those who claim to be believers in Jesus Christ. We must reject these false teachers and remove ourselves from their sphere of influence.
3If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. 1 Timothy 6:3-5
Finally false teachers and false brethren falsely profess knowledge and so leave behind the faith they once professed. This knowledge can come from seminary, theological works, “Christian” seminars and conventions. This knowledge can come from the scientific community, the popular culture, the New Age, or any other information stream that teaches what is contrary to the Holy Scriptures. This false knowledge is foolish, rejects the truth and tries to place the ignorance of man over the wisdom of God found in the Bible. The end result will be the same no matter the source, falling from the faith that was once professed. Paul exhorts Timothy, and us, guard what is committed to our trust. Guard the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Hold fast to sound doctrine! Cling to the Word of God! Cry out to God for His protection and deliverance! These are perilous times in which we live in. Truth is condemned as false; and falsehood is elevated as truth. This is happening within the visible church. Take care that no man deceives you! May God’s grace be with us to protect and guide us in these perilous times.
20O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge-21by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:20-21