As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, ~1 Timothy 1:3
The book of 1 Timothy is known as one of three pastoral epistles. Paul wrote this letter to a young pastor whom he trained and mentored. He starts off this letter to Timothy by telling him to stay at Ephesus, where he was pastoring, and to deal with issues that, as a pastor, he needed to address in the church. One of these key issues was that other teachers and influential leaders should teach no other doctrine than what Paul had taught them.
We see a battle.
There are two major battles that rage in every church. The first one is who is in control in the church, and this deals with pastoral leadership and laymen or influential teachers trying to control it. The second is what is being taught in the church. It is the second one that Paul is addressing in our devotion this morning. The tendency for immature and unwise pastors is to allow anyone to come into the church and teach whatever they want. Things at the church at Ephesus had drifted to the point where confusion and every evil work were affecting the spiritual life of the church. Satan seeks to ruin good fundamental Baptist churches through unproven teachers who bring in their own ideas, preferences, and twisted doctrines.
We see the belief.
Paul told Timothy to charge some that they teach no other doctrine. The doctrine given to us was taught by our Lord Jesus, passed down in its entirety to the apostles, and passed down to us. Jude calls this the faith once delivered to the saints. Some were teaching that salvation needed to be accompanied with works for a person to be saved. They taught that you could lose your salvation. They taught that the resurrection was past and irrelevant to salvation. They taught that materialism and the possession of riches were greater gain than godliness with contentment.
We see the behavior.
Belief affects our behavior. Doctrine determines our devotion. The false teaching that invaded the church affected the spirit and attitude of service among the believers. Paul wrote to remind Timothy that “the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” In other words, when the doctrine is biblically pure and you are living in obedience to it, your practices will be with sincerity and godly behavior. Right doctrinal belief leads to a heart desiring to serve others, restore the fallen, love the unlovable, and reach out to win the lost. Our end goal in obeying the commandments of God is to love God, His church, those whom God has placed in our lives, and the souls of people who need to be saved.
We must beware.
“Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.” Paul warned Timothy that Hymanaeus and Alexander shipwrecked their faith because of their allegiance to false doctrine. First, every minister of God must take heed himself. Second, every believer must live his life by holding faith and a good conscience. We must be spiritually mature to avoid having a weak conscience that is easily offended. We must have a good conscience before God and man in doctrine, duty, and devotion. The doctrine given to us in God’s Word is pure and unchangeable. Be careful that you accept no other doctrine!
Have a doctrinally-sound God Morning!
Bible Reading: Luke 4-5