By Rev. Robert Warren
Sometimes you just have to let Scripture speak for itself.
1 Timothy 1:3-11 reads:
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
Then 1 Timothy 4:1-2 adds:
4 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
Then in 1 Timothy 6:3-5 Paul says to young Timothy:
3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
Finally 1 Timothy 6:11-12 is a good summary of how to combat the dangers Paul has just been describing:
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
My own thought from what we find in these passages: Be a Truth Seeker.
1. Start with the Bible; a good, understandable translation. Read it and read it all, not just the parts you want to hear. Start with the gospel of John. Don’t worry about trying to read it cover to cover right off; that can come later. You won’t understand it all at first but keep at it, the more you read the more it comes together.
2. Then find a good Bible believing church (they all aren’t, you know; you can start measuring them by what has already been revealed in the above scriptures). And that is why starting by reading your Bible is important, so you can evaluate if the church is a place where the truth is preached or not. If they preach and teach something contrary to the Word of God get out of there. But if they are brave enough to preach the truth, get in there. Don’t make the final decision regarding a church on whether they are entertaining enough or if they sing the kind of music you like, for instance. You want a place that preaches the truth (in love of course), and expect it to hurt a little bit sometimes!
3. Then really apply yourself to learning the Word. A five minute devotional and one trip to church a week will not teach you enough truth quickly enough to stand true in this world. Get in all the church has to offer. The good ones will offer multiple opportunities to hear and learn and discuss the word, but it doesn’t do you much good unless you get there!
Conclusion: We are living in those last days that Paul talked about in 1 Timothy 4:1, and what he was concerned about then is just as pertinent today; false doctrine, abandoning of the faith and following deceiving spirits, departing from sound instruction and godly teaching from the word of God. We are entering a time of antagonism toward true Biblical Christianity, not only from unbelievers but misguided and erroneous believers. More than ever we have to get into the Word of God for ourselves, be born again of the Spirit, and unite together in true houses of worship! May God richly bless you!