4 Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God. — 1 Timothy 1:4 NLT
Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus to continue teaching and mentoring the new converts there. Paul did not want the new converts to be swayed by those who taught false doctrines. These were the people who based their standing on religious traditions and their heritage. As Paul tells Timothy, we are to edify one another in our new faith. We do this by showing love, and having a pure heart that keeps us from straying from our belief in Jesus Christ. People desire to be teachers when they have need of instruction themselves. They become jealous of new leaders and try to sway people from the truth with their false doctrines. Be sure to check everything that you are taught and be sure it aligns with Scripture. Test every spirit to be sure it is coming from God and not satan.
We should always be obedient and have a teachable spirit. If we become stubborn and rebellious, God will not be able to use us in His plan and He will remove us from the position He has allowed us to hold, just as He removed Saul from being king of Israel.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king.”–1 Samuel 15:23 (KJ21)
God sees an unteachable spirit as stubborn and rebellious and compares it to sin and idolatry. We must allow God to replace our stubborn, straying hearts of stone with hearts of teachable flesh and He will write His name upon those hearts of flesh. Then He will be our God and we will be His people. Then we will learn His ways and walk with Him into that land of rest.
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he is encouraging Timothy to continue his witnessing. He urges Timothy to avoid foolish arguments. We have all gotten into those discussions where no one is going to win and we are all worse off for our effort. As Benjamin Franklin put it: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” We need to study and be ready to witness to those God puts in our paths. As Paul tells Timothy later in 2 Timothy 4:2 (NCV)
2 Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times, and tell people what they need to do. Tell them when they are wrong. Encourage them with great patience and careful teaching,
We are not to be ashamed of the Gospel or change it to make it more acceptable. But every word we say must be spoken in love which will draw others to Christ and not push them away. Wrong or evil teaching will spread through the Church (body of Christ) just like a sickness spreads through the body.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Jesus commissioned us to go and make disciples starting at home and working our way out to the rest of the world. Making disciples requires more than just the plan of salvation. We are to spend time with new converts teaching them the discipline of the Word of God. We must show them by example that we have to spend time with the Word and talking with God on a daily basis. We also must show them that it is necessary for us to spend time together as Christians. We are told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We need the encouragement and help of those around us to endure in our walk with God. There is the old example of removing a red hot ember from the fireplace and setting it out by itself. It is soon black and cold. You can put it back in the fireplace and it is soon red hot and giving off warmth again. Our spirits are the same way, we need that “togetherness” to keep our passion and compassion flowing for Jesus. Learn all you can and take the time to teach what you have learned to those around you. That is the way each of us can fulfill the commission that Jesus gave to the disciples and to us.
Once a baby learns to stand alone, then it is time for the baby to practice toddling. You know those first shaky, unsure, unsteady steps. The baby will start, maybe make a couple of steps and fall. The baby needs someone there to catch him/her so he/she is not harmed. It is a struggle and it takes a patient parent to watch as the baby falls over and over. A good parent realizes that if the child never falls, he/she will never learn to walk by themselves. It is the same in our spiritual walk. First we crawl, then we learn to stand and then we start to take a few, unsure steps. But never fear, just like an earthly parent is there to catch the toddler, God the Holy Spirit is there to catch us. But just like the toddler, we will never develop strong spiritual legs if we are not allowed to try and fail. Just as the toddler must be encouraged and learn to keep their eyes on the goal and not on their feet, we too must keep our eyes on the goal and not on our failures. We need to be Jesus conscious and not sin conscious. The Holy Spirit will always be there to catch us, encourage us and cheer us on in the rough times. Just as a child takes time to learn to react to his senses so that he/she can stay balanced, we must learn to listen to the Holy Spirit to keep our lives balanced. He will keep us on the path and away from those things that would do us irreparable harm.
We are all familiar with Job’s story and all the things he had suffered at the hands of satan. God had allowed this to happen even though God considered Job a righteous man. Remember that God pointed Job out to satan and asked him “have you considered my servant Job?” Reading through the book of Job brings up a lot of questions. It also shows us that sometimes good friends can give us some bad advice. God wasn’t happy about the advice Job’s three friends had given him. It is good to get advice from Godly people, but sometimes God wants to speak to us directly and wants us to lean on Him and Him alone. There are mysteries that only He can solve and situations that only He understands. There are lessons that only God can teach us. God considered Job a righteous man but that doesn’t mean that Job didn’t sin. After all, there has only been one perfect man to ever walk this earth. Perhaps Job sinned in that he was always the one that offered sacrifices after the lengthy parties that his sons threw at their homes. Job1:1-5 We are not told whether or not he taught this practice to his kids, only that he always did it for them. Which begs the question. are we actively teaching our kids how to walk with integrity before God? Are we praying with them or just praying for them? When situations arise, are we doing all the praying and sacrificing or are we teaching them that the whole family prays, ask for God’s forgiveness and sacrifices together?
1 Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. 2 It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. 3 But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. 5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.—Gal. 2:1-5 (NASB)
Paul had been teaching in Antioch and then he went on his first missionary journey. This journey lasted about three years. When he returns to Antioch, he finds that the church at Jerusalem had sent messengers up to Antioch. They were sent to tell the Gentiles who had been converted to Christianity that it was necessary for them to be circumcised. Paul had not taught that to the new converts and did not believe that it was necessary. In fact, Paul taught that God did not require new Gentile converts to be circumcised. We still have people in our society who are bound by the traditions that they were taught. We must understand that God the Holy Spirit abides in us. He is our guide and our teacher. We have much liberty in Christ Jesus, but we are not to use that liberty to grieve the Holy Spirit or to mislead others. Jesus said that if you were bound by the law and did not fulfill every iota of the law, then you cold not enter heaven, That is why God sent His Son as the perfect sacrifice for our redemption. From that time forward, there is no sacrifice required. If there were need for more sacrifice, then Christ died in vain.. 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.–Hebrews 9:24-26 (NASB)