Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stop Teachings that are Contrary to Truth

1Tim. 1:1-11 NLT 
   1  This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope. 
   2  I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. 
   3  When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth. 4 Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God. 
   5 The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. 6 But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions. 7 They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently. 
   8 We know that the law is good when used correctly. 9 For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. 10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching 11 that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.

Paul gives wise instruction to his young associate pastor, Timothy, in these books we call the "Pastoral Epistles." While Paul moved on to evangelize elsewhere, God lead him to leave Timothy there as a pastor-teacher. In these passages we see instruction to a younger believer who has been called upon to be a powerful spiritual influence against the forces of evil that are attacking the new church of Jesus Christ. You and I should never hesitate to step into such roles when God opens such doors to us. God will equip us and we, too, can follow these instruction of Paul to Pastor Tim.

Stop Teaching that is Contrary to Truth (v3)
In Christ's church-- the body of all obedient believers-- among thousands of local congregations, and among denominations or non-denominational groups, we must hold all teaching up to the scrutiny of the Bible-- the inspired Word of God. When we find teachings that are misaligned we must correct them. We are obligated to do so, but always in the Spirit of Christ-- Love.

Don't Waste Time in Endless Discussion (v4)
Week after week we may just sit in our groups 'discussing' the truths of scripture. That is good, right? However,  have you often heard a topic discussed in these Bible study groups that you have heard and discussed multiple times before? How often should we listen to the same teachings about the same scriptures before we put some feet to those truths and engage the battle? If the Battle Belongs to The Lord, as the saying goes, then all we need to do is 'just show up for that battle.' But are we showing up? Or are we still back in the safe places of our discussion study groups?

Some People have Missed the Point (v6)
The Apostle teaches us to minister to others, along with what he taught Pastor Tim. He teaches us that our preparation is to become "filled with love. . ."  This infilling love, he said, comes from a "pure heart."  It comes from that heart augmented by a clear conscience. That heart and conscience come from a genuine faith" in Christ. Reversing that, we should be able to say that 'through faith in Jesus Christ, my conscience has become clear, purifying my heart, and filling my live with the same unconditional love that was exhibited by Christ.

They Don't Know What They are Talking About (v7)
There might be persons within Christian church groups and organizations who have been designated as teachers, pastors, leaders by human procedures within those organizations, but who may not have a genuine infusion of the Spirit of God. Why? Perhaps because they seek to be leaders and to control others, rather than to be servants obeying God's leadership? Perhaps their efforts are not to lead in Christ's name but to dominate in their own. Once who are changed by the pure heart, conscience, and genuine faith will never cling to personal preferences. They receive pure joy from serving in Christ, and none from serving themselves.  They rule by law rather than love. Paul said of them that they are rebellious and sinful, sexually immoral, practicing homosexuality and enslavement of others, liars, unfaithful even to their own word. They are ones who actually contradict wholesome teaching rather than extend it because what they do they do in their own names.

But the 'Good News' comes from God and frees everyone from these burdens. And those among us, in our churches and Christian organizations, who are leading in their own names, can never find the peace we teach about until they surrender themselves to God's will. Perhaps we can help show them the way back to real peace. But we must always resist false teaching wherever we find it.

Your Servant in Christ's love

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