Waging the Worthy War #4: Future Fight
Text: 1 Timothy 4
Paul warns Timothy about the fight for the faith in future. 1 Timothy 4:1 1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
That warning for the future, is our reality in the present. We are surrounded, silenced, solicited and many innocent slain by those who have departed from the truth of the faith. This is not saved people who have are not lost, the Bible teaches no such thing, these are lost people who pretend they were saved and now pervert the truth to achieve their own selfish, sinful purposes.
Examples of Modern-day False Prophets and Seducing Spirits
On January 20, 1994, a Pentecostal pastor named Randy Clark spoke at the church and gave his testimony of how he would get “drunk” in the Spirit and laugh uncontrollably. In response to this testimony, the congregation erupted in pandemonium with people laughing, growling, dancing, shaking, barking like dogs, and even being stuck in positions of paralysis. These experiences were attributed to the Holy Spirit entering people’s bodies. The pastor of the church, John Arnott, referred to it as a big Holy Spirit party. The moniker “Toronto Blessing” was given, and the church was famous or infamous depending on your knowledge of the Bible.
They says, that the Toronto Blessing is a transferable anointing. In its most visible form it overcomes worshipers with outbreaks of laughter, weeping, groaning, shaking, falling, ‘drunkenness,’ and even behaviours that have been described as a ‘cross between a jungle and a farmyard.’ Bill Johnson, one of the famous/ infamous teachers of Holy Laughter, attributes these manifestations to the Holy Spirit when he states, “Our new list includes falling, shaking, laughing, etc…we must learn to recognize his move by recognizing his presence.” (When Heaven Invades Earth; chapter 12; page 205)
Angel Dust and Feathers
On Sunday, March 7, 1999, as Max Greiner, Jr. prayed to God about serious problems in his family, the visible “Shekinah Glory” of God, as described in Isaiah 60: 1 – 5, and Exodus 34: 29 – 35, suddenly began to appear, in tangible form in front of his eyes, at home in Kerrville, Texas.
This “last days” amazing phenomenon is happening all over the world, he says, to Christians of all denominations. Many Christians have observed the sparkling substance on themselves, or nearby, thinking somehow, they accidentally encountered glitter. Many other Christians are totally unaware that the substance is on them, until curious observers point it out. The sparkles also form on non-believers, as a means to introduce them to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The particles are usually golden, but also come in several colors including silver, red, blue and green. (wow, just like the glitter you buy in stores, but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence) They are similar in appearance to fine glitter, or glitter make-up. They range in size from very tiny dust particles, to flakes 3/32” in size, and actually materialize “out of thin air.” Max has watched the particles form at sea level at the beach, and 30,000 feet in the air, as he traveled on a jet. He has seen the sparkling particles form in all temperatures, ranging from well below freezing to 105 degrees. The particles can be observed and photographed as they supernaturally form, on people or objects.
Max continues, “The truth is that the Holy Spirit of God is again working this amazing “Shekinah Glory” miracle in our generation. He is using this supernatural, sparkling substance to bring the “lost” to Christ, and to encourage and build the faith of His own children.”
In Chapter 12 of When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles, by Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California writes: I have seen the small gems that suddenly appeared in the people’s hands as they worshipped God. Since early in 1998, we have had feathers fall in our meetings. At first I thought birds were getting into our air conditioning ducts, but then they started falling in other rooms of the church not connected with the same ductwork. (now that is it, Now I am so convinced. Different ductwork, of course) They now fall most anywhere we go – airports, homes, restaurants, offices and the like…He [God] wants to take us farther, and we can only get there by following signs. Our present understanding of scripture can only take us so far. (Page 204, 205)
Word of Faith
Word of Faith movement grew out of the Pentecostal movement in the late 20th century. Its founder was E. W. Kenyon, who studied the metaphysical New Thought teachings of Phineas Quimby. Mind science (where “name it and claim it” originated) was combined with Pentecostalism, resulting in a peculiar mix of orthodox Christianity and mysticism. Kenneth Hagin, in turn, studied under E. W. Kenyon and made the Word of Faith movement what it is today.
At the heart of the Word of Faith movement is the belief in the “force of faith.” It is believed words can be used to manipulate the faith-force, and thus actually create what they believe Scripture promises (health and wealth). Laws supposedly governing the faith-force are said to operate independently of God’s sovereign will and that God Himself is subject to these laws, turning our faith—and by extension ourselves—into god.
Word of Faith, claims that God created human beings in His literal, physical image as little gods. Before the fall, humans had the potential to call things into existence by using the faith-force. After the fall, humans took on Satan’s nature and lost the ability to call things into existence. In order to correct this situation, Jesus Christ gave up His divinity and became a man, died spiritually, took Satan’s nature upon Himself, went to hell, was born again, and rose from the dead with God’s nature. After this, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to replicate the Incarnation in believers so they could become little gods as God had originally intended.
Some well know modern false teachers of the Word of Faith Heresy
Benny Hinn, famous for his spectacular slayings in the spirit and who has claimed to be able to raise people from the dead by his word of faith preached through the television, radio or the internet.
Kenneth Copeland, who bold declares, “We are God” and claims along with Joyce Myers that Jesus went to hell and there suffered in the fires of torment to pay for our sin, burn off his humanity and then become truly God. They both believe that His shed blood and sinless life given to redeem us from God’s wrath, was not a sufficient sacrifice for our sin. Jesus had to burn in Hell for three days.
John Hagee, who also believes that “Jews don’t need the Gospel” He told the Houston Chronicle, “I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption.”
Joel Osteen is the pastor of the largest church in the United States, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. His wife, Victoria, is the co-pastor. (Well there’s part of you problem right there.) Osteen’s television program is viewed by 20 million people each month in almost 100 countries around the world. He is a full believer in the word of faith, name it claim it heresy, “We have to conceive it on the inside before we’re ever going to receive it on the outside,” Osteen writes. “If you don’t think you can have something good, then you never will. The barrier is in your mind. . . . Your own wrong thinking can keep you from God’s best. . . . To experience [God’s] immeasurable favor, you must rid yourself of that small-minded thinking and start expecting God’s blessings, start anticipating promotion and supernatural increase. You must conceive it in your heart before you can receive it. In other words, you must make increase in your own thinking, then God will bring those things to pass” (from his book Your Best Life Now, chapter 1)
Transition: These lies, heresies and outright fantasies should shock us or dismay us because as we will read today, we have been warned about the future and the fight we must wage in order to win.
The Future Fight For The Faith – 1 Timothy 4:1-5
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
A. The Enemy of the Future (vv. 1-3).
Paul warns Timothy then, and today warns us, about the enemy we face in the fight for the faith.
He says that the Holy Spirit has expressly (plainly, clearly and emphatically spoken, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith.
Now, these enemies of the future were not the pagan Roman emperors or pagan governors, nor were they barbarians or savages of unknown gods or goddesses. No Paul tells Timothy that these enemies of the faith were those who had departed from the faith. Enemies who camouflage themselves in the robes of Christianity. Paul had understood that when the enemy came, they would be from their own ranks, from the seats of God’s sanctuary.
Such betrayal and self-seeking had always been present when the Gospel was preached. Human nature and human depravity have always sought ways to steal and take from others. If it can be done with a lie instead of a knife so much the better. If you can do it so well that people thank you for it and let you rob them over and over and over again, well then of course, you must be either a fake preacher or a politician. Now even Paul didn’t talk about politicians, so we won’t go there today either.
Paul in his earlier letters and preaching consistently warned the new churches about the coming of false teachers
Acts 20:28-31 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work:
2 Corinthians 11:3 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Peter, John, James, Jude and Jesus, himself, all warned the early Christians and their warning have never been more important than today, but that warning has never been more ignored than today. As Jesus said, in Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
The Marks of the Enemy
1 Timothy 4:1-3 …giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, …
First, Paul says, “They are inspired and instructed by Satanic spirits and doctrines (v. 1a). Strong words of condemnation, but Paul is warning all of us what is at stake and it is much more than just a few dollars in the wrong pocket. The real objective of these demonic inspired false teachers is salvation and eternal life. They may not realize it, they may not be aware of it, but you and I who are now engaged in this fight had better recognize it, this is not a battle about money, it is a battle about salvation.
Secondly, Paul tells Timothy, they are hypocrites (v. 2). These false prophets, teachers or so called apostles, preach one thing but they live and practice contrary to their own teaching. They tell others how to live, but do not hold themselves to that same standard. The word for word, literal translation of this phrase is "by means of the hypocrisy of liars.” And that is what hypocrisy is, a bold faced lie. A lie that begins with words and then is demonstrated in lives of hypocrisy. Of course, today, with false preachers or bad politicians, or people on twitter and facebook, nobody really care about hypocrisy.
Paul goes on and gives this very graphic description, “having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” The word seared comes from the Greek word, kautēriazō, where we derive our English word "cauterized." The picture here of a branding iron applied, not to flesh but to a person’s conscience, is a powerful word visual of condemnation. Paul is saying that the part of a person that is governed by morality, ethics and an understanding of right and wrong, has been burned out of these people and all that is left is an ugly scar.
When these false disciples of the devil fall, and they always fall, we wonder how they could go to such depths of depravity, such immorality, such gross sinfulness. Just remember what Paul said, Their conscience has been seared, burned away there is no worldliness nor sin they will not give themselves to.
They deny God's Word (vv. 3-5). Paul give two examples, that were probably going on in his day. they were teaching that the best way to serve God was by remaining unmarried. Which of course the first book of the Bible, Genesis, contradicts, "It is not good that the man should be alone." Those are God's direct words in Gen. 2:18. Jesus taught the same about marriage in Matt. 19:1-9. In an earlier letter to the Corinthians, Paul taught the biblical basis for marriage in 1 Cor. 7:1-24.
He also said that they were teaching that certain foods or meats had to be avoided in order to be more spiritual. This wasn’t a health or diet observation it was a spiritual observation from Paul. Eating or not eating certain foods will not make you more or less spiritual, it may make you more or less physical, but not spiritual.
The idea behind these two examples is that they were in opposition to God’s Word. False teachers, false prophets, fake apostle, fake spiritual leaders always, always teach in contradiction to God’s word. They hide their lies perhaps even from themselves, but they are still lies. Some of those lies are as obvious as the ones Paul mentions here and when you see them the alarms of 1 Timothy chapter four should start ringing in your unseared conscience. Let me give you one example.
False Doctrine that equates to False Prophets
Do you know what almost all the false prophets in the Pentecostal/ Charismatic / Word of Faith movement teach besides name it claim it? They all believe that you can lose your salvation. I have never read, heard or know one that did not. One of the clearest, most emphatic truths of God’s is that God’s salvation is eternal, from the Old Testament to the New Testament that truth is plainly seen.
Liston to what Paul wrote this concerning the nation of Israel that God had made his own and they had rejected His love by choosing idols and finally even rejected His Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Yet Paul writing to the Romans in explaining why Israel has not been utterly cast away in, Roman 11:29 “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Think about this, if God didn’t cast away Israel, as His people, even after they as a nation rejected the Messiah, then how can anyone believe that He would cast away His own children who have accepted Jesus as their Savior? …There is only one way you can teach such a lie, with a “conscience seared with a hot iron.”
After Pual describes the enemy, he then describes the fighter who will stand against the enemy.
The Future Fighter For The Faith - 1 Timothy 4:6-16
6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 11 These things command and teach. 12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
Paul Instruction Of Fighting For the Faith
After Paul gives his warning about the future false teachers and prophets, those who would depart from the faith, leaving the plain and true teaching of God’s word, he then instructs Timothy how he was to wage this future fight.
First, Timothy was to constantly and consistently, Remind the Church. In vs. 6 Paul says, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
Secondly in vs 7, he was to Refuse, “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” Paul is telling Timothy to not be side tracked not distracted but to keep the main things of the truth of God’s word, the main things of his teaching and doctrine. Down that path of distraction many pastor have gone and never come back to their true calling.
He also tells Timothy to Exercise. 8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
No, Paul is not telling Timothy to join a gym and get in shape, though the phrase bodily exercise profits little actually is saying there is some profit in bodily exercise and most of us preacher should heed that, but Paul is saying get your priorities in order and exercise yourself toward godliness, because it gives us life now and in eternity, something that working out at the gym can’t do. If Timothy and if we are to combat the lies of the false teachers we better exercise ourselves unto godliness.
Paul goes on and tell his son in the faith to Command and Teach in vs. 11 These things command and teach. 12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Timothy was to be an example of that which he taught, in other words the opposite of the hypocritical false prophets. He was to teach in six ways, through his word, through his lifestyle, through his love, through his attitude, through his faith, and through his purity.
He was to also Give attendance (devote), himself to these actions of a warrior for the Word, a soldier of the cross, 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Timothy was to pay to devote himself to these three activities as a preacher.
1) the reading of scripture, the word here means public reading. Which means that it was the reading of God’s Word in the Lord’s church.
2) He was to exhort. The word can mean comfort, encouragement, admonition, exhortation, everything that a faithful man of God is called to do as a pastor, but here in the context of fighting for the faith, means Paul is telling Timothy to preach. As he would later tell Timothy in his last letter, 2 Timothy 4:2-5, 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
3) Finally, He was to give himself to doctrine. Doctrine is the truth being taught as instructions and directions for living. It is truth put into practice. Paul tells Timothy you need to teaching them the truth and that truth must be put into practice.
The final three exhortations that Paul give to Timothy in order to for him to prepare for the fight of the future is Meditate on these things, Take Heed to thyself and Continue in these things. Vs. 15-16 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
To meditate as its used here, means to practice these things, to cultivate them, to be diligent in their application in his life. By doing this then Timothy’s profiting, would show to all, By doing these thing Timothy would continue to grow spiritually, to progress as a pastor and as a man of God. He was told also to take heed to theyself. We would say take care of yourself. In his fight for the truth, his care of the church, his giving to others, he had to be careful that he neglected his one care. In being a blessing to others, he also must find a blessing from others. In emptying himself for others, he must find a way to be refilled and restored. Paul closes this chapter with a final action, “Timothy, continue.” Continue in these things, continue in the fight, continue in the truth, continue in the faith, continue in God’s love, continue. Be faithful, steadfast and loyal to the cause of Christ and His calling in your life.
Though Paul was directly speaking to Timothy as a pastor, his words apply to all of us. We are the soldier of the cross our mission, given to us by our commander Jesus Christ is to preach the Gospel and in order to do that we must Wage the Worthy War. You cannot ignore the lies, you can’t allow the pollution of the truth, you can’t ignore your calling to defend the faith.
As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Ephesians 6:13 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Those are not words of passivity but words of passion. That is not solace for sideline sitters but a command for Christian soldiers. Stand. Stand for the truth, stand in the day of battel and one day we will stand in the presence of Jesus, the captain of the Lord’s host and hear, Well down, thou good and faithful servant.”