In the day in which we live there is a great need for Timothys
For spiritual men and women who triumph amidst the the turmoil and tragedy of 'departure'(4:1) from Christ, from the truth.
Men who triumph not because of who they are or what strengths or abilities they possess.
Men who triumph not with the strength and confidence of a Samson but rather with a faith that overcomes the fear of a Gideon, with dependence that springs from the vulnerability of a David.
As Timothy meets the challenges, it is not with self confidence, or natural strength: (1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6-8; 2:1ff; 1Co 16:10).
All that he has for the task is:
- Truth (4:6, 13-16)
- Trust (4:10) – Faith in Christ
- Touch of heaven (4:7,8) – Godliness, seen in a character consistent with his profession (4:12)
It is in the crucible of crises that the man for the moment arises.
Gods man for the crises at Ephesus.
A man like:
- Joseph for his famine stricken family
- Moses for the children of Israel
- Joshua for a wandering nation
- Esther for the time of danger and persecution
- Samuel for dark days of departure
- Nehemiah in days of captivity
Timothy – Gods man for the moment!
It is an ancient doctrine of scripture and of Christian teaching that man is fallen and that fall goes back to Genesis chapter 3!
Yet in 1 Timothy chp 4 we read the less than encouraging words that man has further to fall!
Why tell us this?
Don't be surprised
Don't be deceived
We haven't discovered new truths which were missed generations ago!
New truths regarding:
- Male and female
- Person of Christ
- Identity of God
- Nature of the resurrection
- Work of Christ
We haven't got smarter, we've just 'apostatised'- “departed from the faith”(v1)
The later times are not times of deepened spirituality and insight.
The later times are just times of backsliding
Don't be discouraged
We need to read beyond verse 5
If we stop at verse 5 – discouraged
There is a message beyond verse 5!
Verses 6 to 16 amongst other things tell us in a fresh way of something fundamental which we all know, we have always known.
The gospel has been successful for 2000 years not because it:
People are stupid
But rather the message of the gospel, the Person of Christ, meets a basic human need and meets that need very well.
Whilst verses 1 to 5 trace 7 steps down
Verses 6 to 16 cut across the need of mankind that results from the fall with 3 great spiritual resources / attributes that powerfully engage with a lost world!
- Touch of heaven
7 downward steps:
- Departure from the faith (v1)
- Deception by Spirits (v1)
- Demonic doctrines (v1)
- Deception by men (v2)
- Double standards and hypocrisy (v2)
- Depravity (v2) : “conscience seared”
- Distraction (v3) of aestheticism / legalism (v3)
The 7 downward steps:
Departure from the faith (v1)
Departure “from the faith” - this is a negative statement!
Departure to what?
That is the problem.
When we depart from the truth
where are we? Lies – defined by the absence of truth
When we depart from reality
where are we?
When we depart from love
where are we?
When we depart from light
where are we?
Darkness defined only by the absence of the light!
When we depart from life
Where are we?
Death defined only by the absence of life!
To depart from the faith is easy.
To discern, to understand to fully appreciate to what we depart to is not so easy!
Lies, delusions, death are all defined by the absence of substance – truth, reality and life
Where are we? Nowhere! Lost! Empty!
“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”(John 6:68)
One of the great deceptions of Genesis chp 3 is giving up what you have in God – a relationship with God for what Satan will give you – for what you will gain!
You gain nothing!
You lose everything!
It is God, not Satan and not the world that holds all of the positives!
“all this will I give you”
Give you what?
The world of death / darkness and despair?
A world separate from God!
Departure from the faith is:
road to nowhere
highway to hopelessness
destiny to despair
end in emptiness
Thus believers with substance are believers who can make an impact on this world.
Believers with substance
Believers with a message
Believers who believe the message that they preach are believers who can make an impact on this world
These are men and women with substance
This is more than:
Throwing out a few doctrines
Deception by Spirits (v1)
This is a spiritual battle and not purely a human one
Seducing spirits – because sin is attractive:
lust of the flesh
lust of the eyes
pride of life
Why does Satan do us the kindness / do us the favour of giving us what we desire?
Why offer material things to the materialistic Demas?
Why offer financial prosperity to the rich farmer?
Why offer silver and raiment to Achan?
Why offer financial gain to Gehazi?
Why offer wives to Solomon?
Why offer sensual distraction to the bored David?
Why offer the occult to the desperate Saul?
Why offer idolatrous indulgence to the wandering in the wilderness?
Let us appreciate this; Satan isn't really interested in:
Satan is deceiving for destruction.
Achan was burying his treasure, he was digging his grave
Solomon was building his hareem he was rotting his soul
Gehazi was profiting from Naman's cure he was being robbed by Namaans curse
David laid eyes and hands on Bathsheba he ceased to be untouchable, given over to the judgement of God
Saul looked into the future he looked forward only to his own death!
Demonic doctrines (v1)
What do you learn in the school of demons?
What do demons teach?
Disrupt fellowship – between man and God (Gen 3 + 1 Co 10), between men and women (Gen 3); believers (2 Co 2:10ff)
Discourage (cf the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem)
Destruction of believers – by pride and sin (1 Peter 5:8; 1 Co 5:5; Luke 22:31)
Defile (Numbers 25)
Distraction – of worship from God to the demonic (1 Co 10:20ff) – idolatry and materialism.
Disrupt the Gospel – 1 Thessalonians 2:18 ''Satan hindered us”
In the disruption of the gospel, what could be more effective that the corruption of the message of the gospel itself?
Fall of man
salvation by grace through faith
person and work of Christ
work of the Holy Spirit
resurrection of Christ
Deception by men (v2)
Double standards and hypocrisy (v2)
Saying one things and then doing another!
Ananias and Sapphira
Lack of reality in the Christian life – lack of substance to satisfy
Depravity (v2) : “conscience seared”
Conscience – the first act of grace in a fallen world?
The sense that sin is wrong?
Conscience seared - 3rd degree burn – pain free!
Burn long enough and hard enough – feel nothing!
Terrifying how far a man can fall
Distraction (v3) of aestheticism / legalism (v3)
To the external / material / ritualistic / routine
External to cover up the lack of internal reality
Against the background of all of that need: Timothy:
All that he has for the task is:
Truth (4:6, 13-16)
'good servant of Jesus Christ nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine' (v6)
'reading, exhortation, doctrine' (v13)
The objective truth of the word of God (v15-16)
Trust (4:10) – Faith in Christ
Touch of heaven (4:7,8) – Godliness, seen in a character consistent with his profession (4:12)
Be thou an example in:
'word'- like Josiah (2 Kings 22:3ff)
'conversation' – like Elisha plowing, like Samuel serving in the temple
'in love'- Ruth and Rebekah
'in Spirit '- Daniel (Dan 6:3) “excellent Spirit in him”
'in faith'- cf. David the Shepherd boy in the valley of Elah
'in purity'- cf. Joseph in Potiphars household