Summary: Paul's charge to Timothy to overcome his fears and pass down the true faith that has been distorted by gnostic heretics
PASSING CHRISTIANITY DOWN AN EXPOSITION
OF FIRST TIMOTHY
B. The Faith Polluted (1:1-20)
(a) The Protectors of the Faith
(1: 1-3; 12-20)
TIMOTHY - PASSING THE FAITH
“Watch out for false prophets.” (Matt. 7)
“Guard yourselves and all the flock of God. After I leave horrible wolves will come in and will not spare the flock. Even from your own group men will rise up and distort the truth.” (Acts 20)
(Paul to the pastors of Ephesus years before)
When Paul assigned Timothy to correct false teachers Timothy had to be “urged” (v3). The term means strong persuasion. Timothy did not feel he was the man for the job. But Paul knew that when God appoints, God anoints. When God sends us God strengthens us. Paul himself once said of his ministry, “Who is sufficient for all this?” (2 Cor. 2:16) He answered his own question in 3:5, “We don’t have the right to claim we have done anything on our own. God gives us what it takes to do what we do.”(CEV) Let’s see what Timothy needed and received.
THE BELIEF NEEDED
False Teachers in the Church
Timothy’s first assignment was, “Warn teachers to stop spreading false teaching.” (v4)The motto of every Pastor should be, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.”
The Christian church has been called to fight a war on two fronts, against the unbelievers on the outside and false believers on the inside.
The church is a Trojan Horse inside of which the devil places some of his best (or worst) warriors. In the Apostolic Band Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one inside the band. The people of Israel most responsible for His death were the Bible teachers (Scribes), the church pillars (Pharisees) and the priests- people leading the Jewish church. mockers on the outside and Bible deniers on the inside. Paul told the Pastors from Ephesus- from your own group men will rise up and distort the truth.
Satan is a formidable opponent. He persecutes us from without and attempts to change the truth of the gospel from within. If you were the devil where would you put your best people, in the bars or in the churches - In the pews or in the pulpits?
From day one men not called of God have assumed the position of Pastor or Bishop or Pope and turned from the Word of God to preach lies instead of truth, speculations instead of revelations, what is logical instead of what is written, what is popular instead of what is scorned and what is profitable instead of what is costly to everyone who proclaims it.
Sheep in the pews are easy prey for such men who come with eloquence and worldly wisdom and flattery. When people come into the Christian church they bring their false beliefs and practices with them. They are baby Christians (1Cor. 3; Heb. 6), morally and intellectually. Some do not grow intellectually, because they do not change their beliefs to fit the Bible; they change the Bible to fit their beliefs.
False Teachers from the Beginning
Much of the NT was written to expose and do away with false teachings. When converts from the Jewish faith were told the old laws and rituals were no longer binding they threw away some moral laws. The Book of James was written to say true faith produced moral and ethical “works” of a godly life (Ch. 2). This is the heresy of “antinomianism-against law”, that pops up all the time in Church History and says it safe to sin because we are saved.
The Book of Galatians was written for the opposite reason. Jewish converts to the Faith were saying true Christians would keep on obeying Jewish laws and rituals. Galatians 2:21 says,“If being right with God can come through works, then Christ died for nothing” (2:21). This is the heresy of legalism. On and on it goes, men changing the Word of God to fit their own beliefs.
False Teachers in Ephesus -3:16 (Gnostics)
When Christianity moved into Asia Minor (Modern turkey) because of the missionary journeys of Paul and others, many Gentiles were won to faith in Christ.
A very popular Gentile belief was there that later came to be called “Gnosticism” (Knowledge). It wrestled with the difficult problem of how a good God could create a sin filled and sorrow filled world like this one. Its solution was than the Creator had very little to do with this world. He created through level after level of inferior beings called aeons. God, they said, was pure “spirit” and pure “goodness and love”; and He would have nothing to do with this evil physical world. He would not look at it, have anything to do with it and certainly not touch it.