Summary: Old and new ideas constantly circulate and are repackaged; they can distract us from the truth; we must be on-guard or they will slither into our hearts and minds.

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The Right Focus

(I Timothy 4:1-13)

1. Not all problems are difficult to solve.. Morris went to a psychiatrist. "Doc," he said, "I've got real trouble. Every time I get into bed, I get his weird feeling that there's somebody under it. I look under the bed, to check it out, but then I think there's somebody on top of it. I go back and forth, all night long, on top, under, on top, under... You gotta help me, Doc, I'm going crazy!"

"Just put yourself in my hands for few years," said the psychiatrist. "Come to me three times a week, and I'll cure your fears." "How much do you charge?" "A hundred dollars per visit." "I'll think about it," said Morris. Six months later the doctor met Morris on the street. "Why didn't you ever come to see me again?" asked the psychiatrist. "For a hundred bucks a visit? My teenage son cured me for free." "Is that so! How did he do that?"

"He told me to cut the legs off the bed!" [source:]

2. Most problems are more complex and not as easily solved. They are sneaky and insidious and creep in as bits and pieces, gradually embedding themselves.

3. This is also how error creeps into a Christian’s mind — and into churches. They begin with ideas — either old or new — that, at first, seem innocent.

Main Idea: Old and new ideas constantly circulate and are repackaged; they can distract us from the truth; we must be on-guard or they will slither into our hearts and minds.

I. The Wrong Focus: An ERA of Apostasy (1-5)

Apostasy is defined as, “the abandonment or renunciation of a religious belief”

A British physician writes, “Today, I attended an elderly patient's funeral. He died of a heart attack after his daughter, as his care-giver, stopped all of his meds in favor of a half-cup of garlic a day. Apparently she'd "read an article" about the healing power of garlic, which trumped my 6-year degree.”

A. Prophesied to happen between the Messiah’s COMINGS (1a)

Could refer to previous Scripture, Jesus’ teaching, etc., but probably a prophetic revelation given to Paul…. “clearly” distinctly made known

“…what is predicted in the future is conceived of as already operative in the present…” (Donald Guthrie)

B. Inspired by DEMONS and people with SEARED consciences (2)

Like a red hot iron has cauterized their conscience

Titus 1:15, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.”

One goal of Christian life: not allow our conscience to become calloused

C. One example: error can take an ASCETIC turn

1. Challenges from FADS and trends (forbidding marriage)

2. Challenges from TRADITIONS and antiquity (Kosher laws)

People do a lot of ridiculous things in the name of tradition. One gal writes, “Today, I had to yet again tell my mother-in-law that I wasn't going to name my unborn baby "Ermintrude" after her late mother. My husband told me to stop being difficult, and that he agrees that it would be nice.

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