It Is Finished Audio

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Apostle Paul's Instructions Regarding False Teachers' Beliefs and Practices PART 4


The Apostle Paul's Instructions Regarding False Teachers' Beliefs and Practices PART 4 

 Duties of Christian Leaders
            The Apostle Paul acknowledged that the behavior of Christian leaders should be exemplary and that their character should be one of great integrity. He focused on leaders being totally devoted in their walk with Christ throughout their personal life and to be of a good reputation amongst both believers and nonbelievers.[1] As Paul did with Timothy, he was descriptive of the false teachers and their heretical teachings when he encouraged Titus to definitively oppose them.[2] Timothy and Titus were to be apologists, defenders of the Gospel, and as a result, effectively solidifying believers in their faith. Only then could the believers be fortified against doubts that would possibly arise from the false teachers who sought to conquer and divide.[3] 
            Timothy and Titus were to be shepherds of Christ’s flock and were to appoint other leaders who were God chasers instead of wealth makers.[4] They were to be models after Christ who were to be spirit-filled and anointed to lead the church as future generations would follow. One of the main duties of a shepherd is to protect the sheep from wolves and robbers who may come to do the sheep harm. Unfortunately, many leaders were irresponsible and did not lead the flock correctly.[5] Therefore, Timothy and Titus were fulfilling their duties as shepherds to ensure that the false teachers who were disguised as sheep but were actually wolves would not spiritually harm the sheep. Jesus said that His sheep would know His voice and would not answer the call of a stranger.[6] The false teachers were heretical strangers that had woven themselves into the fabric of the church but were to be called out by Paul’s workers as they were the servants and representatives of Christ.


 Application for Modern Christians
            The Apostle Paul wanted the Ephesian Christians and those in Crete to be mindful that they were members of God’s household and were to live as such to avoid worldly dysfunction.[7] His goal was to be that of encouragement so that they would live contrary to the immoral leaders that were in their midst.[8] It is important for Christians even more so today to follow Paul’s instructions for the church has many leaders who are covetous, self-seeking, narcissistic, and greedy – preaching in many pulpits every week. Paul wrote about the dangers of this which centers on pride and is a trap from the enemy in his Pastoral Epistles.[9] Paul sought to remind those in leadership and the church as a whole to behave themselves as God’s household for which they are to represent truth and righteousness to the world.[10] Those who are in leadership are to be imitators of Christ with moral modeling and rightly dividing the Word of God so that the rest of the church will follow.[11]


            There are too many self-professed Christians who are compromising the word of God and leading others to do the same. Such heresies such as the Theory of Evolution was allowed to be introduced in the Church of England which is a prime example of evil compromise that encompassed the whole world in children’s schoolbooks, colleges and universities.[12] Many Christian leaders are infatuated with their flattering titles but fail to live up to the office of which they are called because they are more concerned with popularity, earthly prosperity and fame, rather than ensuring that souls are being fed the unadulterated word of God.[13] Sadly, a variety of Christian musical artists have also fallen into the trap and have watered down God’s truth in their lyrics where they will not even mention the name of Jesus. They shy away from speaking His truth when being interviewed by secular radio and television hosts for fear of being shunned by the world.[14] Countless churches have just as much sin and debauchery taking place within their four-walls as the unbelieving world. The danger is that the church is held up to a higher standard than the world and will be judged accordingly if they do not repent and turn back to doing what’s right.[15]
The Bible lets one know that the house of God will be judged first, so believers must not make the grave mistake of thinking that they will not be held accountable for what they failed to teach and how they slacked in their daily living.[16] Scripture also says, “To much is given, much is required.” Because the church has been afforded the true knowledge of who Christ is, it is her job to be a witness to the world so that they can come to know Him as well.[17] Therefore, it is important for every believer to have a relationship with Christ for themselves so that they will not be deceived by those who wish to walk down the broader path that leads to destruction, but will remain focused on Christ for narrow is the gate.[18]


Conclusion
            The Pastoral Epistles had much to say concerning false teachers and their heretical teachings. Whenever the devil can cause contention in the body of Christ, he will do so if there is an opening for him to get in. False teachers are effective operatives for the kingdom of darkness only if believers are not knowledgeable as to what to look out for regarding their false doctrines. Daily study in the Word of God and prayer for discernment is the only way to stay alert as to such people and their deceptions. Paul’s desire was to unify the body of Christ and prevent them from being scattered by wolves. This is why he gave detailed instructions to Timothy and Titus so that they could help the body of Christ grow in their knowledge of God and understand Christ’s love for them as the bride that He will one day return for.
            Salvation can never be earned through the philosophies and traditions of men, but it is only by faith through Jesus Christ that believers are able to be saved. Anyone who teaches anything contrary to this is not of God. Just as the Christians during Paul’s day had to be mindful of false teachers and strange doctrines in their midst, the church today has to be on the alert as well. The devil is using them to do the same tricks but at a much larger scale due to the advanced age of technology. He has more access now to reach the masses and is playing it like a fiddle. Nevertheless, God’s word never expires and what was written in Paul’s writings and throughout the whole Bible regarding apostate leaders and their fallacies can still be applied today. Jesus gives discernment to those who seek Him so that they will not be fooled by the enemy’s schemes. Timothy and Titus followed Paul’s instructions and were leaders after God’s own heart and Christians can model their lives accordingly so that the body of Christ can be the shining bride who is ready for His return.  


[1] Lea and Black, The New Testament, 473.

[2] Lea and Black, The New Testament, 476-477.

[3] Douglas R Groothuis, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2011), 23-25.

[4] Thomas D. Lea and David A. Black, The New Testament Its Background And Message (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2003), 484-488.

[5] Andreas J Köstenberger, Encountering John: The Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 106-109.

[6] John 10:1-10 (New International Version).

[7] Lea and Black, The New Testament, 473.

[8] Ibid.

[9] LeRoy Eims, Be The Leader You Were Meant To Be (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1996), 119-127.

[10] Kestenberger and Wilder, Entrusted With The Gospel, 198.

[11] MacArthur, Pastoral Ministry, 221.
[12] John D. Morris, "Compromise in the Pulpit," Home | The Institute for Creation Research, last modified February 1, 2009, https://www.icr.org/article/compromise-pulpit/.

[13] Rick Henderson, "The False Promise Of The Prosperity Gospel: Why I Called Out Joel Osteen And Joyce Meyer," HuffPost, last modified August 29, 2017, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/pastor-rick-henderson/osteen-meyer-prosperity-gospel_b_3790384.html.

[14] Charity Gibson, "Lauren Daigle on Homosexuality: I Can't Say One Way or the Other if It's a Sin, 'I'm Not God?," The Christian Post,Christian News, last modified December 1, 2018, https://www.christianpost.com/news/lauren-daigle-homosexuality-sin-im-not-god.html.

[15] Rev. 2:5 (New International Version).

[16] 1 Pet. 4:17 (New International Version).

[17] Luke 12:48 (New International Version).

[18] Matt. 7:13 (New International Version).

The Apostle Paul's Instructions Regarding False Teachers' Beliefs and Practices PART 3


 The Apostle Paul's Instructions Regarding False Teachers' Beliefs and Practices PART 3


Paul’s Charge to Timothy
[“Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith”
(1 Timothy 1:18-19)][1]

            The Apostle Paul was Timothy’s mentor and spiritual father. He desired for him to be efficient in the work that he was called to do as an evangelist of the Gospel. Timothy had been quite devoted to Paul, and it was with great appreciation and concern for him and the body of Christ that Paul wrote instructions to help them flourish.[2] The strength of the early believers relied heavily on those who preached and taught the gospel so Paul modeled Godly behavior himself before his associates and taught them to do the same as well as the church at large.[3] Paul took great care to give Timothy guidance regarding various challenges that would present itself when dealing with God’s people and those who sought to cause division. In 2 Timothy 2:14-26, Paul provides Timothy with a list of specific situations that he may encounter and carefully empowers him with the tools necessary to avoid any pitfalls.[4]

a.)    Timothy was to warn the church to stay away from frivolous quarrels and debates (2 Timothy 2:14).[5]
When one thinks of the word warn, it is often associated with the feeling that danger could be nearby or is lurking around. The danger that the church was facing was the division that could be caused by false teachers. False teachings were being introduced to the believers that caused those for and against it to come into conflict. Therefore, Timothy was charged with warning the believers to not allow their words to cause them to be a bad witness before others as they were to be a living example unto Christ. He was employed to encourage the believers to stay true to what they had been taught and not allow deceptive ideologies cause them to become conflicted.[6]



b.)   Timothy was to do his best to be a good servant of God and rightly handle God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15).[7]
As previously discussed, there were a lot of false teachers who were spreading heretical teachings throughout the church. These teachings were contrary to the Gospel that Paul taught. Timothy was encouraged by Paul to be a good servant who properly handled the word of God and provide spiritual nourishment to the body.[8] A true servant of God does not give his own philosophical ideas as the Gnostics did. The Lord’s servant studies line upon line and precept upon precept to ensure that God’s people are being taught the ways of the Lord properly, so that they may be a light unto a dark world possessing the knowledge of God’s truth.[9]


c.)    Timothy was to avoid godless chatter so that it would not spread like a disease throughout the church body (2 Timothy 2:16-17).[10]
One of the things that can quickly cause division in a church is erroneous teaching. Paul compares it to gangrene because it spreads quickly and rots the body. Timothy was warned not to be a partaker of it and the way he would be able to avoid it was by staying true to the word of God.[11] Avoiding unfruitful debates and unproductive conversations with those who wanted to spread their heresies was the way for Timothy to not only stay on course himself, but to not permit it to take place within the body of Christ. The false teachers considered themselves to be wise, but they were actually mindless fools because they did not have the knowledge of God.[12] Godless chatter can also consist of harmful talk that causes dissension amongst believers which Paul warned against women who were partakers of this. A Christian must learn to bridle the tongue and only allow words of righteousness to flow from within.[13]

 
d.)   Timothy was to avoid youthful temptations and pursue the ways of the Lord (2 Timothy 2:22).[14]
There are a lot of temptations that young people can find themselves in which Paul warned Timothy to be aware of. As one who was older, Paul was probably reminded of his youth when he may have not made the best decisions and wanted to help Timothy avoid similar pitfalls. As a leader within the body of Christ, it was important that Timothy rose to the occasion to be a role model for both old and younger Christians. Paul had already given instructions as to how a leader was to carry himself, but he needed for Timothy to understand that he would face various temptations and to place his trust in the Lord’s ability to help him through it. The Bible says that Jesus defeated the devil with the Word when He was tempted in the wilderness. Because Jesus is the Word who was made flesh, He is able to give the believer victory over the enemy, Therefore, Timothy was able to allow the Spirit that was within him to help him flee from temptation.[15]


e.)    Timothy was to instruct his opponents gently in hope that they will be convicted of righteousness (2 Timothy 2:23-26).[16]
Paul had a strong desire for the church to model itself after Christ. His instructions to Timothy were to help in that process. Nevertheless, Paul knew that there were those in the church who would be in opposition to what he taught. Therefore, Timothy was to try to win them over gently in love with the expectation that they would come to the knowledge of the truth.[17] The Christian is to always pray for God to help lead those to Him who are not yet of His fold before a person’s time is done on earth. God does not wish for anyone to be lost and Jesus came so that He could save the lost. No one is ever lost because they have to be, but it is a willful choice that they make. A leader’s heart should always be with the longing to see everyone saved and this was Paul’s heart for the church that he desired for Timothy to model as well.[18]


[1] 1 Tim. 1:18-19 (New International Version).

[2] Bruce, Paul Apostle, 214.

[3] John MacArthur, Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Incorporation, 2005), 221-222.

[4] Stacy E. Hoehl, "The Mentor Relationship: An Exploration Of Paul As Loving Mentor To Timothy And The Application Of This Relationship To Contemporary Leadership Challenges," Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership 3, no. 2 (Summer 2011): 37, https://www.regent.edu/acad/global/publications/jbpl/vol3no2/JBPL_Vol3No2_Hoehl_pp32-47.pdf.

[5] 2 Tim. 2:14 (New International Version).

[6] Hoehl, "Mentor Relationship," 39.
[7] 2 Tim. 2:15 (New International Version).

[8] Hoehl, "Mentor Relationship," 39.

[9] Isa. 28:9-10 (New International Version).

[10] 2 Tim. 2:16-17 (New International Version).

[11] Hoehl, "Mentor Relationship," 38-40.
[12] Prov. 18:2 (English Standard Version).

[13] Eph. 4:29 (English Standard Version).

[14] 2 Tim. 2:22 (New International Version).

[15] John 1:1 (New International Version).

[16] 2 Tim. 2:23-26 (New International Version).

[17] Hoehl, "Mentor Relationship," 39-42.

[18] Ibid.