There is a whole lot of doubt in the world about the truth of the Christian Faith. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who name the name of Christ but do not really follow the teachings of the Bible. Timothy was confronting some of the folks who were in the second category. Chapter 4 of 1 Timothy is Paul’s direction to Timothy for fulfilling the purpose of refuting the false and promoting the truth of the Christian Faith.
Living What We Know – AUDIO
The false teachers were involved in covering their sin with man-made rituals and restrictions. This is hypocrisy and trying to live as a Christian with a defiled conscience as we noted in the previous posts; Latter Times Falling Away, and The Christians Workout Routine. The rejection of the false way (1 Timothy 4:1-5) and working toward the holiness commanded by the Gospel (1 Timothy 4:6-11). The thing is, that true holiness is rooted in accurate Christian doctrine. The Greek root didaskalia which means doctrine or teaching, appears in 1 Timothy 14 times. Paul tells Timothy, in order to deal with the false and promote the true;
1 Timothy 4:12-16 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
Notice the combination that is repeated here, live it then teach it.
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:16aTake heed to yourself
1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine.
The combination of life and doctrine are the key to overcoming unbelief, both inside the church an outside it. Setting up false standards of righteousness and hiding sin is just the religious form of unbelief. Puritan Henry Scougal says in his booklet called, The Life of God in the Soul of Man “Now, if such a person be conscientious and uniform in his obedience, and earnestly groaning under the sense of his dulness, and is desirous to perform his duties with more spirit and vigour, these are the first motions of the divine life, which, though it be faint and weak, will surely be cherished by the influences of heaven, and grow unto greater maturity. But he who is utterly destitute of this inward principle, and doth not aspire to it, but contents himself with those performances whereunto he is prompted by education or custom, by the fear of hell or carnal notions of heaven, can no more be accounted a religious person, than a puppet can be called a man.”
True “religion” is not motivated by external forces, not by what God or man thinks of us, but by understanding and appropriating the reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
The mystery that works godliness in us, is believing the Gospel which involves us owning our sin and falling on God alone for mercy as the remedy. Legalism only proves that we do not actually believe the Gospel but on some level we believe that we can become righteous on our own. Not only are we lying to ourselves, but we are misrepresenting the truth of the Gospel to others! If we want an unbelieving world to listen to the Gospel,we need to begin by living right (taking heed to ourselves) first and then presenting the Gospel (the doctrine). Peter says as much in his first epistle.
1 Peter 3:8-16 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For “HE WHO WOULD LOVE LIFE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, LET HIM REFRAIN HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL, AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. 11 LET HIM TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; LET HIM SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. 12 FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE ON THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ARE OPEN TO THEIR PRAYERS; BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.” 13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “AND DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEIR THREATS, NOR BE TROUBLED.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
They won’t always listen, the Holy Spirit has to be involved in the situation, but this is the order we are given in the New Testament. The real question is, How does your life line up to your doctrine? If there is a disconnect in this area, you have to ask yourself a couple of questions, First, Do I really believe what I profess? Second, Can I blame others for seeing through my own hypocrisy? Tough questions, but necessary ones!
I encourage you to check out the audio on this one. Living What We Know – AUDIO