Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 45
I Timothy 2:8 – 6:20
Now these are the Pastoral Epistles. In other words, Paul is writing to these two men who will more or less pick up the mantle of keeping the churches in control. The whole purpose here is the function of the local body of believers. You don’t find salvation explicitly explained in these epistles, nor will you find a lot of the other things that you will find in Romans for example – these are merely instructions to keep the local group of believers moving ahead.
As I said in the last lesson, there is nothing in here to indicate the huge denominations that we have seen, and all of their differences or the hierarchy. The Apostolic church was relatively simple. They were under the control of a group of men who were called elders. Then another group of men who, more or less did the servitude work of the church, which were at that time called deacons.
Now in chapter 4, Paul is going to do to Timothy as he did to us as ordinary believers throughout his other epistles, and that is warn against the false teaching that would be coming in. You know, as you look back to the situation in Paul’s day, how much false teaching was always attacking the church. It is a wonder that Christianity survived. It’s a wonder that we have been able to keep the Word of God! But, of course, God is in control and He has kept it. Here we are almost two thousand years later and we are still privileged to partake of this marvelous Grace of God. But, it has been under attack constantly. I don’t believe there was ever a period in the last 2000 years that the Church wasn’t under the attack of false teachings of one sort or another. It is no different today.
I Timothy 4:1a
“Now the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) speaketh expressly, (no doubt about it) that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,…”
We call this apostasy. If ever there has been a time in Church history when we have seen rampant apostasy, it’s today. Where huge blocks of people, denominations and so forth, are rejecting the basic fundamentals, that’s apostasy. So Paul was already warning of it even before he left the scene. So the Spirit expressly says:
I Timothy 4:1b
“…in the latter times some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (demons)“
That is quite a statement isn’t it? Now, I’m going to take you back to II Corinthians chapter 11 verse 13. Remember that the Corinthian letters were written a few years previous to the letters to Timothy and Titus. But, he says much the same thing, only here he is writing to the individual believer, not just to the Church leadership.
II Corinthians 11:13
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” Men who would usurp even Apostolic authority – they were harbingers of evil. They were false.
II Corinthians 11:14
“And no marvel; (don’t be surprised) for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Quite a shocking statement isn’t it? In other words, Satan can make his appearance and folk will think that this is God Himself. And, that is what he loves to do. We have to be aware of it especially in this day of such mass confusion. I have never looked in on the internet, even though we have a web page, but from what I hear you must be able to find anything up there that you can think of. The devil is using these final days to literally pull the plug and bring in mass confusion. Well, Paul was already confronted, certainly on a much smaller scale. Now verse 15.
II Corinthians 11:15a
“Therefore (since Satan can transform himself into an angel of light) it is no great thing if his ministers (preachers, denominational leaders, evangelists, etc. who are under Satan’s control, they can) also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness;…”
But they are not. They are ministers of evil. But they make the world think that they are it. Oh, they will use Scripture. You know, I am always telling people, especially if they call on the phone and I can be explicit. I say, “Now listen, I have never known a false teacher yet that didn’t use probably 75 or 80% of truth!” That’s what makes it so deceptive. Eighty percent of what they will say, that percentage is just a term, but I won’t disagree with what they are saying, but then comes in 20% – 25% of absolute garbage that destroys the Truth of the Word of God.
This is what we have to discern. This is why we have to know what the Book says. Because they sound so good. Why are some of the cults growing so fast today? They sound good! They are moral and good people but listen, their doctrine is nothing but a can of worms. And oh, they use enough Scripture to make it sound good. So Paul is warning even the Corinthians that it’s no great thing that Satan’s ministers also be transformed as the minister of righteousness. The gullible public swallows it. But:
II Corinthians 11:15b
“…whose end shall be according to their works.” One day they will stand before the Great White Throne and be pronounced their doom. Alright, back to I Timothy chapter 4. So these false teachers will be coming in and they are seducing spirits. They hook people, and they have nothing more than the doctrines of demons. Verse 2:
II Timothy 4:2a
“Speaking lies in hypocrisy;…
Whenever I see the word hypocrisy when it comes to Biblical things, one man in Scripture always comes to my mind. Who was it? Who was the biggest hypocrite that Scripture could ever tell us about? Judas! Judas! What a hypocrite. And he played it to the hilt. For three years he went along with Christ in His earthly ministry. He even carried the money bag, and it came all the way down to the night of the Last Supper and the Lord says that one of you is going to betray me. Did any of those fellows have an idea who it was? Not a one. Why not? He was the perfect hypocrite. He went along with everything but in his heart, he had no time for it. The Lord only knows how much he embezzled out of the bag. The Bible doesn’t tell us but I have my right to ask. I’ll bet he got a bunch of it because he was NOT part and parcel of the Lord’s work. He was a total hypocrite.
Listen the world is full of them tonight. Oh, they look so good on the outside. They sound so good. They can somehow just cause the masses to come under their control. But, it is not the power of the Holy Spirit, it is the power of the evil spirit. It’s Satan’s domain. The more they can bring in under their control, the more I am reminded of the words of the Lord Jesus Himself. Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many thereby that go in thereat. But, narrow is the way and few there be that find it. Never forget that!
Only the small percentage will be in Glory. Not the masses. Now, I just read a poll again that said 75% of the people polled, here in America, thought they were going to go to heaven when they die. Bless their hearts, I hope some of them are right. But, I know from Scripture that most of them aren’t, because it’s not going to be that kind of a percentage that is going to have eternal life. It’s the small remnant that God has always had to keep for Himself.
So, here’s the warning, just as plain as Scripture can make it. They’re speaking lies in hypocrisy. This is the first thing that people will ask me if they call, and I say, “Listen, run from that kind of stuff.” “But, Les, they are using the Bible. They are using the Word of God.” But you see it doesn’t bother them, because their own spiritual conscience has been seared to where all they are concerned about is their own welfare. They are not concerned about the multitudes that they are leading to a devil’s hell. Their conscience has been seared with a hot iron.
“…having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”
In verse 3 we come to a part that on the surface isn’t shown but you get into some Biblical history, and what you are finding in this next verse came out of the Gnostics. Gnosticism.They were a group of people in Paul’s day who were operating in the local churches and the word Gnosticism comes from the Greek word for knowledge. And, those men thought that they had more knowledge. They felt superior to the main run of the believers in the church. So, they came up with the idea that they could dip back into ancient Hebrew practices, mix it with some of Paul and then they could come up with their own concoctions for spirituality. Well, that’s exactly what Paul is referring to. So they came up with idea of forbidding to marry. Commanding to abstain from meats or various foods.
I Timothy 4:3
“Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God (Paul said) hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”
Now, they were going back into the Jewish law forbidding to eat the unclean foods and they were mixing it with some of the other things that they had pulled from Paul. They often mixed some of the philosophies from the Greek philosophers. They thought that they had a pretty nice package that they could present to the people. And it was. It just hooked them. Come down to verse 6.
I Timothy 4:6
“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, (in other words, how the false teachers are coming in and they are deceptive. They are hypocritical. But, they don’t really care about the end result for their listeners. They are just concerned about their own welfare. So he says, put the fellow believers, and he is talking to Timothy as a Pastor or an Overseer, in remembrance of these things and) thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of (what kind of doctrine?) good doctrine, (that which Timothy had received from the Apostle Paul) whereunto thou hast attained.”
Remember, how long has Paul known young Timothy? Well you see Timothy was one of the first converts that he had in Asia Minor when he first started his missionary work among the Gentiles. Timothy came from the area of central Asia Minor, and was about a man about 17 or 18 years old when he was first saved probably through Paul’s ministry. If Paul was around 40 when he began his ministry and won young Timothy at the age of 18, so in round figures, Timothy is about 20 or 22 years younger than Paul. For ease of remembering, I like to think of Paul as being born probably about the same time as Christ, which was around 4 BC.
By the time we get up here to Timothy in about 60-64 AD, that’s the age of the Apostle Paul. He is in his 60’s – looking at 70. Then here is young Timothy now around 38-40 years of age. So when he speaks of having trained and taught Timothy, indeed he has, for twenty years. He has been his right hand man. So, Timothy became then the logical one to pass these things over to. So that is what he is making reference to in verse 6, that he has been nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. Coming down to verse 7, he is going to again warn young Timothy so that Timothy can warn the people out there in the churches.
I Timothy 4:7
“But refuse profane and old wives fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” Then verse 8, here comes the Gnostics again.
I Timothy 4:8a
“For bodily exercise profiteth little:…”
Well those who were teaching Gnosticism were more or less trying to build an elite group of people that were probably excelled in physical things. They were excelled in the philosophies and so forth and consequently those were the sorts of people who thought that they really had it made. But Paul tells Timothy, bodily exercise profiteth, now the King James says profiteth “little,” but when you look at the Greek what it really means is that bodily exercise only profits for a little while. Now that makes a lot more sense. We know that good bodily exercise profits. It helps us. But, it’s not going to help for eternity. It only helps for a little while in this life. So, that is what he is telling Timothy, don’t follow this Gnosticism bit that exercise is more important than the things that are spiritual. Verse 8 again:
I Timothy 4:8a
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but (flip side) godliness is profitable unto all things,…” Godliness is just going to permeate your lifestyle. Godliness is going to enhance the local community, and it’s going to enhance the nation. As Proverbs says righteousness exalteth a nation. Of course it does. So it comes all the way down to the individual believer. So godliness is profitable:
I Timothy 4:8b
“…having promise of the life that now is, (We are not just living a “pie in the sky,” are we? We are living a life that is profitable in the here and now but it is also profitable) and of that which is to come.”
Which is Eternity! You have to realize the masses of people out here are living only for the three score and ten. Then it’s all over for them, and they have nothing more to look forward to than eternal doom. But for the believer, we have the abundant life here and now, as we have been seeing for the last several programs, we have this approach of prayer. We have the knowledge that God is with us every minute of our life. And the best part is still to come!! My goodness, take the best pleasure that you can think of, and when you get to eternity it is going to multiplied a million times! Maybe more than that! It’s beyond what we can comprehend, what God is preparing for us who believe. But it also enhances our here and now. We get the best of both.
I Timothy 4:9-10
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 10. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, (or receive reproach and receive all the fiery darts of the ungodly community around us, simply because we trust in the living God!) because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, (that means everybody is going to go to heaven? No. The next statement qualifies it. Who will?) specially of those that believe.”
Now, do you know what that verse is saying? When Christ died he paid the price of redemption for how many? Everybody! When Christ forgave the sins of the world, how many people did he forgive? Everybody! I really shook somebody up, they called here a while back and said I never thought of it before that even Adolph Hitler could have received eternal life, if he had believed. Adolph Hitler was already forgiven. Adolph Hitler was already reconciled in God’s eyes. But what did he have to do to appropriate it? Believe! And as far as we know he never did.
This is graphic! We can’t comprehend it, that when Christ died He paid the sin debt for every human being who has ever lived or ever will. He forgave that sin that He died for. He has made it possible for reconciliation to every human being. But, what do they have to do to cash in on it? Believe it!
That is not easy believe-ism. That is simply genuine heartfelt, faith prompted, belief, that yes, Christ died for me and rose from the dead! And, I believe it with all my heart (I Corinthians 15:1-4). Of course, then, God moves in and we move on from there. We begin a life of service, we begin a life of good works, if you want to call it that. Paul makes it so plain that Christ is the Savior. He has already done everything that needs to be done, not just for you and I who believe, but for the whole human race. It’s all done! But it isn’t appropriated until man believes it. Isn’t it amazing that they can walk it under foot? How can people just spurn such a prospect? It is just beyond human comprehension. Yet, that is how its always been.
Listen, the way is narrow and few there be that find it, there were probably four or five billion people on the earth at the time of the Flood. How many were saved? Eight! That’s getting awfully narrow. Just eight! Then you go on a little further in Biblical history and you have Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal. And you know that Elijah thought he was the only one but God said, no, you are not the only one. I still have seven thousand and what percentage was 7,000 in Israel? One tenth of one percent! That’s all! One tenth of one percent! The rest had followed Baal. It’s no different today. I will stick my neck out and say that I think it is closer to one tenth of one percent than it is to ten percent. Because the vast majority of humankind has no time for Paul’s Gospel. And of even those who are involved in some kind of Christian activity, how much truth are they getting? I don’t know. But I am just saying God has always had that small percentage who truly believe. Now verse 11:
I Timothy 4:11-12a
“These things command and teach. 12. Let no man despise thy youth;…”
Reminds me that Iris and I got on a plane here in Tulsa one day here awhile back and she couldn’t find her seat number and as we were going down the aisle, I finally saw it. There were two young guys each sitting on the aisle seat. They looked to me about 25 or 30 years old. And, I said, “Honey, there it is right there by those two kids!” The guy smiled and said THANKS! That is the best compliment we have heard in a long time. They were brothers and he said they were 40 years old! Well, you see when you get as old as we are 40 is pretty much like a youth. I imagine that is how Paul felt about Timothy. Boy, at 40, Timothy was still in the prime of life. He was a youth! But, remember when he first met him, he was 18 or 20. But, he said, let no man despise thy youth.
I Timothy 4:12b
“…but be thou an example of the believers, (even Timothy was to be a constant encouragement to those fellow pagans who has come out of it and had now become believers.) in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
Again, remember I told you several times. Once when we were back in I Corinthians 13 and again when we started I Timothy, I said, how many times Paul refers to the last three things in I Corinthians 13, now abideth these three: faith, hope and love. Well, now you have two of them again for the second time in the last couple of chapters. So he says, keep it up in love, in spirit and in faith and in purity. He doesn’t mention hope here, but he does in other places.
I Timothy 4:13a
“Till I come,…” Paul has come out of his first prison experience and he is probably going to meet Timothy at Ephesus, I’m thinking. And, as he goes from Rome across the Adriatic Sea and probably across Northern Greece, I think maybe he stopped at Philippi. Then dropped down to Ephesus where he hoped to meet Timothy. From Ephesus he’s going to go on down to the island of Crete, where he will meet up with Titus. Then from Crete he comes on back and finally ends up in Rome and arrested for the second time. So, he says to Timothy, until I come:
I Timothy 4:13b
“…give attendance to reading, (to study) to exhortation,(and to what?) to doctrine.” Don’t ever, ever put down the need for doctrine. In other words, what do you really believe? What does the Word of God teach you? This you are supposed to KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt.