Pastoral Epistles - Lesson 2
1 Timothy 1:1–7
Paul begins by reminding Timothy of an earlier visit, and encourages Timothy to stay on at Ephesus, dealing with the issues in the church. Paul's goal is love, which stands in stark contrast to the work of the false teachers. Throughout 1 Timothy 1, Dr. Mounce is enumerating the ways in which Timothy (and we) should deal with false teaching.
1 Timothy 1:1–7
I. Salutation (1:1–2)
A. Paul’s authority is being questioned in Ephesus
B. Timothy is “my true child”
C. Why is Paul making these points in a private letter to Timothy
D. Triad of Grace, Mercy, and Peace
4. Do these theological convictions permeate my life?
5. How get to this point?
II. Begins by reminding Timothy of an earlier meeting (1:3–4)
A. Ephesus was inundated by false teachers
#1. Be courageous
#2. Be discerning
B. Command them to stop doing two things
#3. Know the truth
#4. Heresy is more than false teaching
#5. Connection between a person’s character and truth
C. Why must they stop their teaching and obsession?
III. Paul's goal for Timothy and the chuch (1:5)
A. Goal of biblical instruction is … love
B. This is what people need to see when they come in the doors of your church
C. Biblical love comes three sources — central idea is sincerity
D. Gentle reminder to Timothy — and to us
IV. Urgency (1:6–7)
1. “Swerved from these” — pure heart; good conscience; sincere faith
2. Wanted to be (known as) teachers of the law
#6. Sometimes hard to recognize false teachers since they are usually dressed up in religiosity — Matt 5:20
Dr. Mounce introduces himself and covers the traditional issues in introductions, including his historical reconstruction of the writing and history behind the Pastorals, basic misconceptions people have of the Pastorals, and the survey of the critical issues often raised.
Paul begins by reminding Timothy of an earlier visit, and encourages Timothy to stay on at Ephesus, dealing with the issues in the church. Paul's goal is love, which stands in stark contrast to the work of the false teachers. Throughout 1 Timothy 1, Dr. Mounce is enumerating the ways in which Timothy (and we) should deal with false teaching.
Paul gives the theological argument up front as to why the false teachers were wrong and Timothy needs to silence them. They are legalists, applying the Mosaic Law to all Chrsitians. Rather, salvation is by God's mercy and grace as seen in Paul's conversion. But things have gotten bad in Ephesus, and Paul had to take a firm stance on dealing with two of the leaders of the opposition.
Having looked at the core teaching on why the false teachers were wrong, the class now looks at the other main pasages in the Pastorals that deal theologically with the false teaching.
Paul begins a two chapter discussion on issues of leadership in the Ephesian church. He begins by critiquing their habit of praying only for some people, which shows their legalistic way of looking at salvation. Then he deals with issues of public worship, first men then women. These are issues that the leaderhip should have been dealing with but most likely were being caused by poor leadership.
While this paragraph is not a matter of orthodoxy, it is nevertheless important since there are so many women in the church. Paul lays out the basic principle that women should learn with a submissive attitude, and then restates that principle with an eye to application; they cannot teach certain people in certain situations. Paul looks to the pre-Fall creation and the relationship that Adam and Eve were created to fulfill, and then spells out a consequence of what happens when that relationship is not honored. Because Paul references Genesis 2 and not Genesis 3, this is not a cultural teaching but transcultural.
After dealing with some questions, the class resumes by finishing the last two verses in chapter 2.
Paul gives four basic requirements for the leaders of a church. He beghins by emphasizing that leadership is a good thing and insists that leaders must be a certain kind of person, a person's who character is above repreoach. To appoint unqualified people to leadership is a sin, and those appointing them share in the responsibiiltiy when they fail and damage the church. But elders must also have a proven managerial ability of people, be spiritually mature, and have a good reputation in the eyes of people outside the church.
We conclude our discussion of elders by looking at two other passages on the role, Titus 1:5–9 and 1 Timothy 5:17–25.
We now move into the discussion of deacons in 1 Tim 3:8–13. There is much overlap between elders and deacons, and yet deacons are more involved in the day-to-day service of the church and are not required to be able to teach. The major interpretive decision is in v 11 as to whether it refers to women (i.e., deaconnesses) or wives (of the deacons).
This paragraph is the heart of the letter, putting everything that Paul has been discussing into perspective and giving it context. The church is precious, and we should protect the gospel because of the truths it teaches.
Paul goes back to addressing the needs of the Ephesian church. He deals in summary fashion with people of different ages, with a special note of concern for Timothy in how he deals with young women, which leads him into a discussion of young widows. His concern is that the church care for those who are "truly widows," i.e., who are old, truly alone, and have lived godly lives. Younger widows, however, should remarry and not burden the church. The church has limited resources, and it should initially care for those who are the most vulnerable.
Paul concludes his letter with a series of different and not always related topics. He deals with slaves, and begins to lay the groundwork for abolition, gives Timothy two tests for correct theology and spells out the download spiral and eventual destruction of the false teacher especially related to their love of money, and then encourages Timothy three ways. And in proper biblical fashion, he concludes with a doxology. The final paragraph (skipped by Dr. Mounce, is a final word to the rich in the church and a final plea to Timothy to be careful.
Most of the content of Titus has been covered in the lectures over 1 Timothy. However, the letter does have something to add to the discussion of leadership, and its two salvific hymns raise the issue of the reationship between justification and sanctification.
Paul begins his letter to his best friend by encouraging him to continue in ministry. If ever there were a model for how you encourage someone, especially someone who looks up to you, this is the chapter. The best thing you can do is find how many ways Paul encourages Timothy, and then see how to apply those points in your own life and ministry.
Paul concludes his encouragement to Timothy, and points out examples of faithless friends, and of one faithful friend.
Paul continues to encourage the discouraged Timothy, reminding him of the glorious gospel that he proclaims. Even if Paul himself is bound, the gospel is not.
The false teachers come back into view with a strong emphasis on Timothy's need to remain faithful. But the encouragement is that God's foundation in Timothy's life, and others, is sealed with a promise, and yet Timothy must also pursue righteousness and flee evil. Paul uses his own life as an example of faithfulness, and concludes with a strong admonition to preach the gospel because it comes from the very mouth of God.
Paul concludes his discussion of the role of Scripture in Timothy's life, reminding Timothy of Paul's own life of faithfulness. Paul makes some personal remarks about a few people, and references his final trial. He knows he will die, but death is merely a loosening.
The Pastoral Epistles contain some of the most practical advice in the New Testament. Learn how to handle heresy, appoint qualified leaders, take care of those who may not be able to care for themselves, and especially how to encourage one another in ministry. Titus alone contains two of the most powerful salvific statements in all of Scripture. These 13 chapters are worth studying.
Dr. Bill Mounce
1 Timothy 1:1–7
Okay. We're going to get into the text now and we're going to basically go canonically through the past rules. But what I'm going to do is that, like first Timothy one has a lot to do about the nature of the false teaching. What I'm going to do then is jump to the other passages that are focused on false teaching so that we we see the same topic all in the same day. And then we'll go back to where we left off and go to the next. Just keep working canonically through. So I'm trying to make a canonical but thematic at the same time, so that's how I tend to do it. And not many people have complained yet. So anyway, we are at first Timothy and I will jump in on the salutation again. This is can't make the text any bigger. I'm sorry, but I'm assuming that with it you have it printed out, you're going to be able to see it. And again, the really cool thing with this app is that I can I can draw. And so it's a way to kind of keep us all in sync on what we're talking about. First. Timothy one Paul starts, as he always does with the salutation. He follows the normal three fold pattern of ancient letter writing of speaker recipient and greeting. And the thing that's important in Paul is that he's almost always embedding more information into the salutation than just simply saying hello. He's almost always giving hints as to what is going to come. Now, let me ask you, all of you have this printed out the phrasing, print it out. Um, okay. Cause I'm sure Frank could run off a couple of extras. Okay. And one of the things that happens as you look at the salutation is that you realize that Paul's authority is being questioned, that there there's issues with Paul's authority.
So he introduces himself, he says, Paul, and then look at all the different ways in which he says, You need to be listening to me. First of all, I'm an apostle. I'm a person who is sent with the authority of the sender as an apostle. When I speak, it's God speaking. We all know a parcel ship is. It is an act is an act is a position of authority. And by the way, I'm just going to say this once and then because I keep wanting to say it, but I'm going to say once. It's always a little hard in the demon class to be sharing things. And I know you already know a bunch of it. So when I say things like he starts with a normal salutation, I know you know that I've got to kind of give the structure to the talk. So I don't want to give any impression that I think that you don't know this stuff. All right. But I can't keep qualifying myself. Well, now you know this. Well, you know this and I'll ask you. Okay, so I'm just going to teach. Okay. But I understand that you're not a bunch of 18 year old freshman at this specific that doesn't know what a salutation is. Okay. All right. So he starts, as he often does, by talking about his apostolic authority. But then the thing that he adds is that his apostles ship is by the command of God. Now, Paul normally says he is, as the apostolic ministry is, by the will of God. And so in a in a pattern that he repeats a lot when he says it's by the command, you go, Oh, I wonder why he had to affirm that. And the Greek word translated command is actually a very strong word, is the kind of word that Jesus commands the demons and they do things or a in secular literature, the gods command the people to do things.
In other words, Paul is an apostle, not because God thought it was a good idea and suggested that he do it. Paul is an apostle because God demanded that he do it. Now this should right up raise the question. And that is I thought he was writing to his best friend. What? Why does he have to affirm his apostolic authorship? And the source of that ministry is by the command of God. And the answer is that while the entire letter is framed as speaking to Timothy, it's very clear that Paul expects the Vision Church to read it. That's what's one of the keys to understanding First Timothy. In fact, in the conclusion when he says Peace be with you or Grace be with you, I forget exactly what it is. The you is plural. So Paul is is forming a letter to his best friend. But he is expecting the church to read it as well. Can some of the attacks on Pauline off the ship? Look at some of the things that Paul says and go. There's no way that Paul would say that to his best friend. I mean, it is just crazy. You don't talk to your best friend that way. And the answer is that he's addressing it to Timothy. But it's really intended for the church. There's very there's very little personal stuff in First Timothy. I have a second. I have a Chapter four is the big exception. It's my favorite place in First Timothy because it's so intensely personal. And you can see Paul's heart for his best friend. But the bulk of first Timothy is meant for the Fusion Church, but it continues. And he says that he identifies himself as Paul. I love playing with the different colors on this story.
It's written to Timothy and then there's a statement of greeting. But. He says, Timothy is my true child. But why does he have to affirm that Timothy is his son's translations? Use the word legitimate. I don't like the word legitimate, connected with children. And there are no illegitimate children. There are only illegitimate parents. So I just speaking as a father who has one child adopted, I feel very strongly about that. And it's a horrible stigma to put on kids who are adopted. But anyway, I won't use the word illegitimate child because it doesn't make any sense, but it is true child. That's what he's trying to say. It is the it is the technical word that is used to say, this is my child and is the inheritor of my estate. It's a it's a legal kind of term. And so Timothy is not just, you know, the handmaiden son who might get one of the houses. It's this is my true son, I think. And the reason that he's emphasizing it is because Timothy is under such attack and Paul is wanting to tell the Ephesians, you better listen to him. Timothy is not just some guy, This is my son, This is my true spiritual son, and he bears my authority. In other words, he's an apostolic delegate. And then he goes, his normal greeting Grace, mercy and peace. And the translation here of From God and from Christ Jesus. Is this one of those little subtle things? This why you really want to learn Greek? Or how many of you have taken full blown just traditional Greek classes because you're just so I know. All right. The there's a marvelous new book. A second edition is just coming out. It's called Greek For the Rest of US.
I did finish the second edition last week, and the basic idea behind Greek for the rest of us is that learn enough Greek to use the tools intelligently. And you can in a in a regular one semester class, get students up to where in terms of grammar and a feel for the language up to where it takes traditional students two years to get. And so if you if you haven't learned Greek but you you want to use something other than Matthew Henry and when you do a mouse over and it says accusative and you go what's that then Greek for the rest of us is written for you. One of the things you'll find in Greek for the rest of us is that when you have a singular preposition from and you have two objects, is treating them as an identity, as a unit together. It the Greek doesn't say it's from God and from Christ. If God in Christ were two distinctly different beings, then you would have had to have repeated the preposition from God, from Christ. But the proofs for Christ's deed are often tied up in these little grammatical nuances. It shows that Paul thinks of God in Christ as a single entity, not identical, but allowing for the Trinity a single entity such that he has one preposition governing both objects. Lots of little stuff like that that you get in the out of the Greek text. But anyway, let me just say some things about grace, mercy and peace. My guess is that you've we've all preached sermons on these, but they are they are great summations of what Paul is talking about. Grace is the normal Greek greeting, Right? Karin is how James starts his book. It's how the X15 the church addresses the Gentiles, the Jerusalem Church addresses, the Gentile church.
Karen, if you are talking to one individual that you know, it's Kyra, if it's multiple people in enormous high rate, but it's all it's all a form of the word grace, It's the way you say hello, but it's a colorless word. It's an absolute colorless word in literature. It's kind of like. If you ask someone, say you see him in church, how are you doing? And they say, Fine. What is fine mean? Fine means I'm hurting. But I don't think you care enough to hear the real answer to your question. So I'm going to put on a Christian mask and not reveal myself to you because I really don't think you care or have the time. That's what fine means. When I was pastoring, we outlawed the word fine. And we said, look, if you ask someone, how are you doing? Then you're asking them, how are you doing? And it was fine is a colorless, meaningless word in the Christian vocabulary. That's more a mask than anything else. It was. We're choruses in Greek. And Paul takes that coming out of a said in Old Testament was not so much hazard but coming out of the Old Testament concept of Greece. And the definition I like is mercy a grace. I mean, grace is God's goodness to those who don't deserve it. That comes all the way and good. By the way, I quote, Rain grew to them a lot. So just so you know, he is he's a professor at Phenix, was at Trinity for 20 years, wrote a really, really, really good systematic theology. And then he abridged it and then he abridged it again. And and it's he's a five point Calvinist. He's open to the gifts, which makes him an oddity.
I don't know many five point Calvinists that are charismatic. He's been heavily involved in the vineyard movement with a lot of the leadership wanes, just a very good person. Unfortunately, Wayne's mostly known for his defense of complementary and ism and his written extensively on it. But Wayne is much more than a, a um, a soldier for complementary and ism. But his systematic theology will outlive him and outlive anything else he does for decades and decades to come, I believe. So when I refer to Graham, I'm referring to his systematic theology. Really, If you don't have it, I'd really encourage you to get it. What Wayne does that's different from most systematics is he doesn't just give a verse reference that if it's a main verse reference, he always gives you the verse. And if you ask him why? Because it makes the book a lot longer. The reason it's all theological is that I believe in the Word of God. And that means I believe these are God's words. And I don't want to just to refer to those words. I want to give you his words. And so it's a it's a it's a systematic that that doesn't ask you just to accept references. But I bugged me when I was learning systematics was to read some of these books and they give this long list of verse references, right. And then you start looking them up and you realize that almost none of them have any real relevance to what he just said. And I mean, this happened thousands of times. So at least now with computers, you get mouse overs and you can check these authors. But Wayne actually gives you the verse, and that's one reason the book is so good.
Anyway, um, Wayne's definition of grace is God's goodness to those who don't deserve it. Mercy Wayne. I was page 201. I give page numbers. It's to is the big book, not to the smaller one. Mercy is God's goodness to those in misery and distress God's mercy to the God's goodness, to those in mis in misery and distress. The interesting thing about Mercy is that it is a commitment. It describes the commitment that God makes to His own people. There is no commitment in Scripture from God to treat all people with mercy. Right. He sheds his grace broadly, doesn't he? Rainfalls and the just in the end, just but God's mercy. When God makes promises of mercy, they are to his people. They are not to everyone. He does treat other people with mercy, but he has no obligation to do so. And of course, peace is the standard Jewish greeting Shalom. And the thing that I like to really stress when it comes to peace is that it means that there's the cessation of hostilities, right? Peace arena means that the war is ended. And the war that Paul was concerned about is the war between us and God. Because of our sin and because of what Christ has done on the cross, He has brought about peace. And the thing that I think is so important about peace is that it is first and foremost objective, isn't it? It's we may feel that peace or we may not feel at peace, but we are at peace. And from that objective stance of no longer being at war with God of the curtain in the temple was torn. He did cry to tell us it is finished. Everything that Christ did came to do. He did.
The cross is sufficient to save all who come. You know, you go through all these things. Everything was done that needed to be done so that the war between God and His creation could end. And it doesn't matter whether I feel it peace or not. It is in the midst of my deepest struggles and the deepest hurts and pains in life that we all hang on to. The fact that no matter how I feel, I'm still at peace with God. This is why Romans five one is almost universally translated, having been justified by faith. We have peace with God. You're probably aware there's a textual problem there. You can be the subjunctive, a common or a common, which means let us have or could be the indicative echo. Then we have new echo in common. I mean, just barely any difference at all. You can see how the problem came about and actually the evidence for the subjunctive echo men. Let us be at peace. Let us pursue peace. The external evidence of the Greek manuscripts is much stronger, but people just can't bring themselves to say that having been justified by faith, we should pursue peace. I mean, we just I mean, I've been on two committees now, and this is just not an issue. We are at peace. And everybody translate that as an indicative because we are at peace. It's not something we have to pursue. So it's a very it's a it's a great sermon. I think these these greetings, grace, mercy and peace, God's goodness. Extend those and misery, God's goodness extended to his own people who are deeply in need. The established, the cessation of hostilities and the establishment of true objective peace that should lead the feelings of peace, but not necessarily.
And these are things that should permeate my life. But I want a standard, a relatively standard greeting. The command is probably the most unusual statement. And, you know, it kind of hints as to what is coming. I have two questions that are related. Was it common to write in a pistol to an individual that was intended for a group and was the one that would be expected to read it in the assembly? Or would he have been the one that received it and had to hand it off to the elders to have them read it? I have never thought about that. Let me let me off the top of my head. Do we really have any other letters that are intended that way? Well, the assumption is I can second third. John written to the elect lady would have been read by the church. But there's nothing hostile in those letters at all. PHI Lehman was four or five Lehman. Do you see any other in secular writing that was done that way? I have not read enough of the papyrus to know. It's just that you do have real trouble explaining why Paul talks about these things to Timothy. If Timothy was the sole recipient and it's the fact that his peace be with you all, it really makes it, but I think is probably just the situation. It also seems odd to me that here is Paul backing up his son Timothy, giving him full authority. And it's almost as if Timothy has to take this letter and say, Hey, here's all you guys need to list. Yeah, I would have no doubt that. Well, the letter had to be distributed in order to be survived to survive. If Timothy had taken and stuck it in his back pack or something.
We wouldn't have it today. So whatever the intention was, it was certainly it certainly was distributed. You know, the pastors had a little trouble getting into the cannon, but it was more because the women women take that back. The parcels did not have trouble getting into the cannon. Well, that was that was a terrible thing to say. Let me let me say that more emphatically. One of the arguments for Paul in authorship is the pastor has had no trouble getting into the canon. I was thinking of some of the books, and so it had to been distributed broadly. They didn't have any trouble with the Greek. They knew that Paul wrote it just with the So the 13 of them all all of his letters were accepted instantly. And so it had it been distributed. Okay. We get then into the heart of the. Well, the problem and Paul is going to is going to meet the problem head on. And first, Timothy one 3 to 7. So he says, but I urge you and I was going to Macedonia remain at emphasis that actually it's an interesting passage because it's not a complete sentence. And you have to you have to change some verbs around some translation. The dash after emphasis inerrancy does not mean the grammar is correct. You do you understand that there are grammatical mistakes and Paul, when he gets going, sometimes has hanging sentences and this is one of the more famous ones. But anyway, as I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, you remain at Ephesus. So Paul was somewhere. We don't know where he was. He was on his way to Macedonia. Timothy had gone to meet him, and at that meeting he had urged Timothy to go back to Ephesus.
Timothy evidently did not want to go back deficits. I don't blame Timothy at all. Ephesus was inundated by false teaching, and that's the problem. Inundated by false teaching, it was inundated with entrenched management. That is, again, probably a unique issue, at least in Corinth. It was so divided up into two different sects that it it didn't have the leadership kind of issue. But the problem here is a fulfillment of the act. 20 prophecy is a problem of management. Largely, their elders had arisen from among their midst wolves in sheep's clothing. The other problem that they had is that, you know, there's not one a fusion church. These are all house churches, and it's the house churches spread throughout emphasis that are called the Fusion Church. And it's clear that not only do you have bad elders, some bad elders in the Fusion Church, but they've been going from house to house to house to house. Remember, we had a show, the story later on, but we had a problem at our church. I pastored for six, seven years. So when I talk about my pastoring experiences from this church in Spokane, we had a problem with some false teaching come in. But because we were basically meeting in one location, I could deal with it. I preached three sermons on Jude. We established the role of the statement of faith relative to leadership and what could and cannot be taught in the church. We dealt with the problem. You can't do this when it's all house churches, can you? You know, people like. Are you familiar with Soma communities? Soma Communities is an organization that's coming out of Tacoma. It's a house church movement, unlike a lot of house church movements. It doesn't see the regular churches, for lack of a better word, as a threat.
They work closely with churches of two or 3000 people. And unlike many house church movements, Selma is not a reaction. The this is this is a this is an race called Soma communities dot org. I think it is an organization that's saying this is how we choose to meet and to worship and to grow and to serve and live in missional communities. And because it's not reactive against the church, it's really a very, very effective organization. So you may be interested to check into it, but it's it was it's interesting to see a house church movement that has strong connections with established churches. Um, the reason but the reason for saying that even in like a Soma kind of situation, there's connection between the house churches. And so if one house church goes bad, if somebody comes in and starts teaching heresy, they have ways of dealing with it. But apparently the problems and emphasis was that these different the different false teachers were going into the different house churches and there wasn't a strong enough network to kind of rein it all in and say, Now, wait a minute, we need some kind of agreement among all of us on is Paul right? Is he wrong? And, you know, that kind of stuff. So you've got a situation where you're entrenched with church management, you've got the church spread out through many, many small house churches all over the city. So it's that situation, he says, I wanted you to go back to offices, second anniversary that you may charge certain persons that Paul rarely names the opponents. The fact that he's going to do it at the end of the chapter and again at the end of the book is remarkable. He rarely names opponents.
He leaves them in vague terms, but he says that you will charge certain persons that, again, this is a very, very strong word. This is this is a word. It can mean urge. And sometimes Paul will use it to urge Timothy to do things. But when he's talking to the falls about the falls teachers, it it's it carries on a very strong commanding kind of meaning. In other words, Timothy has to act with absolute authority. This is this is not a time to delegate to a committee. This is not the time to sit down and put your arm around a brother and kind of lead him in the paths that are right. The efficient churches way past that. Timothy is coming in to demand to just speak with authority and to demand certain changes in the church. In this. First Timothy one, I'm going to identify ten practical steps of dealing with false teaching. All right. So as we go through the chapter, I'll give you the numbers. But there's there's numbers, numbers one and two and how you deal with false teaching come out of this verse. First of all, you have to be courageous to to stand before people and demand that they do what you tell them to do. Takes courage, doesn't it? And again, this may be a personality thing. Some of you may go, oh, no, that's that's easiest thing in the world to do. For someone like me, it is the hardest thing in the world to do. I'm a I'm just I'm a sickeningly I am a people pleaser and I hate it. I just hate it about my personality. I want everyone to like me. And so to confront is the single hardest thing there is for me to do.
We went and got a couple of chairs the other day, and one of them was a floor model, scuffed a little. And and my wife Robyn, goes, So we get a discount on the floor model. I go, Oh, how could you do that? He he may not like me if you ask for a discount. I mean, that's how pathetic I am inside. She looks at me like, Hey, we saved 20 bucks. What's your problem? I go, I'd rather pay the 20 bucks and not have him get mad at me. And I just I can't change it. I've tried to change it most of my life. I've given up. This is who I am. I want people to like me. All right? So to be courageous, to be willing to confront, to just stand up and to take the heat. Um, this is this is part of how you have to deal with false teaching. You have to be willing to do that. Which may be one reason why I'm not going back into the pastorate. As much as I love to preach, I can't imagine having to confront again. But anyway. In Titus 111, here's the description of the false teachers. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach when these are really bad people. These false teachers, they had to be silenced. They're going from house to house. They're upsetting the family in each house. They're doing it for the money. They're saying things they shouldn't ever say. And it does take courage, nonetheless, to stand up to that, doesn't it, and to deal directly with it. So that's the first practical truth on dealing with false teaching. The second practical truth, though, is the call to be discerning.
Paul shows a sensitivity on how you treat people. And there are going to be times in which you must act with authority. And again, I don't know the polity in your church. Maybe this is an issue that use the pastor does or maybe it's an issue of you as the pastor with the elders does. You know, some of that depends upon your church structure. But Paul shows real discernment and he's willing to get in some people's face, but he doesn't get in everybody's face, like in first him and first Timothy five. He's in talking about how you deal with older men. You do it gently. You urge them, You don't demand it, you urge them. And so one of the rules in dealing with false teaching is to be discerning. We had a young man come through. Our church, was heavily involved in youth ministry, became my son's, probably one of his very best friends. They used to work out together. The problem is he was a prejudiced. He was teaching that Jesus had already returned in 70 A.D. There was no eschatological hope for the church. There was no end to time. God was not going to come back again unless he decided to. But he hadn't told us if he was going to or not. I don't know if you're familiar. You feel it was pretty ism. When we first dealt with it, I actually called Wayne and I said, What is this? He goes, I've never heard of it in my life. And he knew about in conjunction with 70 Advent ISM and Jehovah's Witness, but not in mainstream Protestant thought at all. It's gotten a real boost, but it's the anti Tim LaHaye movement. You go to some of these professional meetings and there'll be a predators booth and they try to get placed really close to Tyndale that has all the Tim LaHaye books and stuff and Tim LaHaye left behind.
Okay. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. JENKINS okay. And anyway, we had this kid and, you know, had it, and I could have just come down on him. But for Tyler's sake, I didn't want to. And it was. It was one of these urging situations where we talked. I said, You read my book. I read your book kind of stuff. And it was a much gentler approach. Now, at the end of the day, he refused to change his mind. He wouldn't honor the statement of faith in the church. He wouldn't honor my decision or the elders decision. He was going to continue to teach us no matter what. So I preached three sermons on Jud and how you handle heretical teaching and invited people that couldn't live within the context of Orthodox Christianity to find another place to worship. So I, I had to move from urging to commanding because they simply wouldn't listen. If one of these guys was he was one of the best Bible teachers we had and he was good. But every Bible study ended up being on predator ism. No matter where he was, he ended up talking about Jesus, come back again. And I would say, you know, you are so good at doing what you're doing. Can't you just not cover that topic? And he goes, No. So, I mean, really, this is important to you as the dad of Christ and the necessity of sanctification or justification. My work, this is just as important. He goes, Yeah. Yeah. But anyway, the second practical point is you got to be discerning, don't we, on this stuff And you can't some people have got to come down on other people. You can be more gentle. Okay. So he's going to charge certain people and he's going to I'm not going to go too slowly all the way because otherwise we'll be here for three weeks.
But this first time with you on is really important if you're wondering. Timothy is the charge them to do for two different things. Number one, he is to charge them to not teach a different doctrine. It's not that they were teaching secondary things and emphasizing them or anything like that. They were teaching something that was essentially different from Paul's gospel and what they were teaching, what was wrong. This is actually the Greek word translated to different doctrine is a is a coined term of Paul in Greek, as in other languages, not quite so much in English. You can make of words all the time. And if the word doesn't exist, you just create one. You take two pieces and put them together. And when when you when you coin a word, you can generally look at the pieces and assume that the pieces define the word. Now, especially with what's called the etymological fallacy. It's a real common problem that that on some words that if you look at the pieces, you can look what the pieces mean and then they define what the word means. So repent meant a noise to change your mind. And so the whole teaching that repentance has nothing to do with sorrow or changing your behavior. It just it's an intellectual shift because metta know it means to change your mind. I still can't find a single piece of evidence that metta means change. But I mean, that's the argument is completely, totally wrong. Mrs. is regardless of your doctor conversion, that argument is wrong. The one time you can trust the etymology of a word you can trust the pieces is when somebody makes up a word. And then you can then you can assume that the pieces have their full meaning.
And what Paul does is he takes the word for another. That means another of a different kind. If I if in classical Greek, if I asked you for a viewer, if I had an apple and I asked you for an Alice, I'd be asking you for another of the same kind. So you give me another apple. But if I had an apple and I asked you for a head Eros, I'd be asking you for another one, something that was totally different. So maybe you would give me a banana. So head Eros means different. Another of an essentially different kind. That's key to understanding what's going on in this world. It wasn't that they were just teaching silly stuff or, you know, something that was still right, but it shouldn't be emphasized. They were teaching something that was essentially fundamentally wrong for the Christian faith. So he is going to tell them, Stop. Stop teaching the air. And then secondly, they were not to be devoting themselves to miss an endless genealogies. Now he doesn't. Later on, he's going to talk about Jewish myths. And I think it's in Titus. Probably what they were doing was that they were going to the genealogies in the Old Testament. They were picking up minor characters, and then they were creating stories about those minor characters. You think of the Old Testament apocryphal literature, and you have Enoch Wright, your whole stories written about Enoch Wright, even though he's kind of a special guy, because not having a die, he was a relatively minor character in a genealogy. Well, that appears to be what's happening. These teachers were going into Old Testament genealogies, finding characters and then building myths and stories around them, and then they were basing their teaching on what this person supposedly taught.
The thing I think that's interesting, though, is is the word is the devoted. And I could see your reaction when I talked about predator ism. Can't you teach in it? Can't you teach anything other than Jesus has already come back? I mean, can you just set that aside? We agree to disagree on that. And they said absolutely not. Why? Well, because lots of times when you believe these kinds of things, you're devoted to it. It's it's what consumes you. It's the only thing that's important. One of the other predators in our church and this was the one that was much more dangerous because he kept inviting high school kids over to his house. He would feed them. His kids were great kids, and they were always fun to play with, with the high school kids. And he and it's all about hermeneutics because I asked him, said, what are you doing in your house? You know, we don't we don't control things such that, you know, if I don't approve, you can't have a Bible study but are kind of curious. And so what are you doing? Your Bible study is all we're is all about hermeneutics. So really, you've got 20 kids to talk about. Hermeneutics. Yeah. And what it was, it was all. Well, at one level, it was honest. The other level was a lie. He was teaching him hermeneutics to try to take the plain obvious teaching of Mark 13 and have Jesus come back at 80. 70 is what was going on. But he was passionate about it. It was the only thing that mattered. And I think that what Timothy is experiencing and what we've probably all experienced in our churches is that sometimes we meet false teaching and they are the teachers are obsessed with their private secret knowledge.
And this is what Gnosticism is, right? Yeah. This little seed of truth that the physical world is evil. The spiritual world is inherently good. Salvation is the release of the spirit from the physical, and it's the only thing that matters in Gnosticism. I mean, and they were proselytizing. There's an extreme right. I mean, this is what messed up the church so much in the second century. And I think it's pretty characteristic of people who find false teachings. They latch on to it and they're devoted to it. Actually, the word translated devoted is used later for elders not to be addicted to wine. And Timothy is to devote himself to the teaching of Scripture. So these these people were just devoted to their false teaching. It was the only thing that they could talk about. And as we're going to see in a bit, they became very, very arrogant in the process. And he says. Oh, I'm sorry. Looking right at my notes, wondering where they were. And they're right in front of me. And this devotion thing. Practical number. Practical statement Number four in dealing with false teaching, heresy is more than just the false teaching. That's been my experience. Heresy is more than just false. Teaching people that teach things. And by the way, I use the word heresy very carefully. Just because someone teaches something that's different from what I believe, or is it because someone teaches something that's wrong? I don't call it heresy. I course I use the word heresy for teaching that is fundamentally anti the core Christian doctrines such that if you follow it, you end up in hell. So I'm very careful with the word heresy. I only use it for those kinds of things. And that's why I don't think predators isn't a heresy.
It's just a very, very dangerous false teaching. I mean, predators can't even take communion. Not consistently. Not. Not really, because communion is the proclamation of the Lord's death until it comes. So no predator should ever take communion. It's a denial of their belief. But, um, the practical illustration point I want to make number four is that heresy or false? Teaching is more than just the doctrine. It's there's going to be an emotional attachment to it. And one of the things that surprised me in the pastorate is how devoted people are to false teaching. That is, there's an emotional level that made no sense. It makes no sense. We had a situation in church where there was a small group that was unhappy with me. Get in line and. There's only one biblical option, Right? And that is what. By the way, there is a mic on that stand. So you do know that you are being recorded and you will be played back on beat. Just just we won't have a camera on you so you can deny. Yeah, that voice sounded like me, but that wasn't me. I was the guy across the aisle. And you. You go to the person. I mean, we know. I mean, it's so obvious. It's. There's no other option right there. This is this. There's not a question of interpretation. This is not a a cultural thing. It's it's not like there's other verses that say something that appears to be contradictory, that if you have a problem with someone, it's your responsibility to go. Likewise, if you know someone has a problem with you, it's your responsibility to go right. So both directions, the only possible first step is one. I'm not okay. We all know that.
Well, their small group was unhappy with me about something. I didn't know what it was because they would never talk to me. And they came and they they wrote a letter to the elders and they asked the elders to come and hear their grievances. We were talking about an elder meeting and they were deciding who was going to go and. And I said something that got me in trouble. I would if I had to do it over again, I still would have said it because it was true. But I said, I said so. You think that the acceptable way to run a church is to have a group of people complain about me and you as a group, go and see them. Yeah, we got a care for the people. I said, Really? I said, Can you show me one verse in the Bible that allows you to do that? Because I can show you several that says what they're doing is sin. Oh, they got mad at me. How dare you call these that? This is sin. And in my normal lack of tech, I said, What do you call it when someone defies the clear, unambiguous teaching of scripture? What word you used for that. My time in the church didn't end well. And maybe this has something to do with the. But it's like it was sin. But it hit a trigger. And this particular subset of elders, they were just they were they were so emotionally attached to doing things a certain way. They don't care what the text said. And you could explain it. So you're blue in your face. And it wasn't all the older. So it was a subset, but, you know, false teaching and trying to do things that are contrary to Scripture is not always the whole problem.
There's this emotional component that is so often behind it, and I wasn't expecting it. And it took me by surprise. And I would encourage you to understand that behind the false teaching is a lot of emotion that a student of Gordon Cornwell, Gordon Cornwall, doesn't generally they don't hide it, but they don't advertise it. They're largely reformed. And there was a student who's actually was a student there when Matt was there, and the beginning of the move into the Greek Orthodox Orthodox Church was happening. And and this was this was one of the best students I'd seen, Igor in Cornwall. His theology was very reformed, except he believes that the Greek Orthodox icons were a pathway to heaven, and he would put them over his kids cribs to somehow nurture their spiritual growth. And I couldn't figure out what it was, but it was like. Really? And it was it was the only thing that mattered to him. And he was adamant about it. I understood on that false teaching is more than just the teaching. There's going to be an emotional component. And that was the problem here. These false teachers. They were just devoted. To what they were teaching. But the fifth thing I want to say about false teaching is that. And it's in the pastures more than any other place, I think in the Bible is that there is a connection between a person's character and the truth of what they say. This is an uncomfortable principle, I think. Bad people can still teach good things, right? Good people can teach bad things. They can be mistaken. But in. But in the past rules, there is a very strong link drawn between a person's character and whether what they're saying is right or wrong.
Because Paul is going to say over and over again, Look at their lives, Timothy. Look at their lives. Their. Their lives are in shambles. Their lives are lives of sin. That should tell you that what they're teaching is wrong. Now another major character in the history of Christianity has said the same thing, Right? Jesus route. Fruit. Bad tree can't give good fruit. A good tree doesn't get bad fruit. I mean, there's a connection between the quality of the roots of a tree and the fruit that it produces. That's the theme that is very, very strong in the pastoral, that there is this connection between a person's character and a person and the truth of what he's saying. And it's not an absolute thing. A bad people can still teach things that are true. Right. Rat poison is 97% good stuff. It's a 3% arsenic that gets the rat. Right. And the more the the more strength you want the the stronger you want your false teaching to be, the more truth you infused into it. Right. And then you just protect that little part that's really, really wrong. So I don't think it's an exact equation, but you're going to see over and over again the Paul saying, look at their lives. That should tell you that what they're teaching should be ignored. Titus 116. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works and they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. Not because everything they were teaching was wrong, but because they were just bad people. And there's a connection between character and teaching. So that's principle number five. Or am I in my you know, I sat down and counted these things last night. I mean, let me make because I've been changing the numbers around.
Number one is be courageous. Number two is discerning. Oh, I skipped three. There we go. I don't have it easy. Well, we're two or three are gathered. Okay, well, those were number four and five, so run your cursor back up to. Thank you. I skipped my notes. I didn't see it. Different doctrine. It fits under the discussion of different doctrine. Uh, principle number three. Thank you. In following. In dealing with false teachings, you've got to know the truth. Something is only going to be different if you know the truth. Right. And that's why you're here. You're, you know, the truth. You're here to learn it deeper and wider. And but certainly in our church, the question is, do our elders, if you have elder structure, do our elders know the truth? If you're a congregational church, do the people as a whole know the truth enough so that when false teaching comes in, they will identify it as false? When we talk tomorrow mostly about leadership, we're going to talk about statements of faith and how much the elders need to know and that kind of stuff. So we'll we'll hit that more. But my favorite verse on this is Titus one nine. In talking about an elder, he must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. Can others hard, cold, clear statements as to what is must be true must be true for every elder in our church? Right. Which is why elder development is so important in our churches. But the elders must, a, have an absolute commitment to the word. They must be emotionally attached to the word, right. They must know the truth to be able to be able to teach it.
And thirdly, they have to know it so well they can argue against false teaching. So Titus one nine is kind of the determining verse, at least for me anyway, for how much anyone in leadership needs to know. But principle number three, in dealing with false teachings, you have to know the truth. What we decided to do in our church is I wrote a statement of faith and I wrote it. It's a two page document and I wrote it. It's happens to be the statement of faith for biblical training so you can get it off a biblical training if you want. But I wanted a statement of faith that was complete enough so that if the elders would know every word, to be able to explain every word and to defend every word, then they would. Then you say, yes, we know the truth. I know expectation for elders to Ph.D.s. I know there are some churches that put their elders through such rigorous training that they really should get an idea of when they're done. And I just felt that's that's too much. That's overkill. But some of these statements of faith are so innocuous. Is that the right word? There's there's so little there that even if you knew these seven affirmations, you you, you you don't really know the Bible. You don't really know the fundamentals of the faith. And so we wanted a statement of faith that was long enough so that it handled all basic core Christian doctrines. And then my job as the lead pastor was to make sure they knew it. They knew the attacks that would come against it, and they could defend Titus one nine. And so that that worked really well for us at one level.
Statement of faith is a good M.O. and encourage you to look at that. What we decided. And the whole deal with Predator ism is that if you are in leadership. And that did that mean Sunday school teacher up to elder. You had to. Let's see. How do we say it? You had to believe everything in the statement of faith. And you could not insist insist on anything beyond it. So take, for example, tanks. We wanted to be a diverse enough church that charismatic and non charismatic would be comfortable together. And so we we said that the doctrine of justification requires you to believe that you receive the spirit in whole in total, not partial, but in whole at conversion. And we left it at that. Now I attend a Foursquare church, and this Foursquare Church statement of faith used to say that conversion, you only get part of the spirit and you get the rest of the spirit when you speak in tongues. And when I found that out, I went told my pastor, said, I can't be here. I'm sorry. And he said, No, we don't believe that you can really send your statement. If you don't believe it, don't leave over that. So I didn't. But that's the kind of thing that we wanted. We wanted When people released their kids to our son's school program, our youth to the youth pastor, when they would go into an adult Sunday school class, when we would choose curriculum for small groups, we wanted them to know that A, the leaders believe the statement of faith. They understood it, they would defend it, and they wouldn't insist on anything else. Like, oh, by the way, does it say this in the statement of faith? But if you really want to be a Christian, you have to speak in tongues.
So that was kind of where that was our happy place. That's where we decided to come out of this whole issue. But the idea is you got to know the truth. And if you have an elder structure, they have to know the truth. We live right near Western Seminary in Portland, and I'm a research professor. They call me at Western and Biblical Training. Does a lot of work with them as well. So we have a lot of talks. And they said, I said, What kind of letters do you get back from your alumni out in the field? Out in the field? How's that out in the well in the world? And they said, oh, there's there's two requests and there's like there's not even a third request. I mean, we get two all the time. You guess what they are, number one. Number one problem in the church that pastors perceive and they need help on. You know, I would have expected conflict. That wasn't it. Yeah, I would have a conflict. Maybe that's my life. Biblical illiteracy. Number one. Number one question that the Western gets people, they just don't know the Bible and we need help doing that. So biblical training as things for biblical literacy that we use. The second is leadership development. I have no idea how to train my elders. How do you identify them? How do you how do you prepare for them? How do you encourage them? How do you raise them up? If you all know the answer to that, you need to write a book. You sell a lot of copies. It is it is a burning issue in the church as a whole. Anyway, um, got to know the truth. And your people need to know what you believe the truth to be.
So that's number three. Thank you for for bringing me back to reality. Okay. Number four. So number four's heresy is more than false teaching. It's emotionally charged. Number five is there's a relationship between a person's character and the truth, what they teach. Maybe that says something about you and me. Okay. All right. Okay. So he is saying, tell these people to stop what they're teaching is wrong. Their attitudes are wrong. And then he goes on in the second of a verse for. It says, Well, if you want to know why they need to stop, look at what they're promoting. Look. Look What's going on? Look at the behavior that's coming out of these false teachers. He's saying. They promote speculation. In other words, you're just there. And elsewhere, Paul, say they're fighting about words. They're vain discussion, They're senseless babble. They're they're arguing about words. One commentator calls it pretentious, nonsense, squabbles and speculations. Imagine being one of those Bible studies that can be characterized as nothing but squabbling about words. So. So the encouragement to Timothy is just just look what this stuff is promoting. And instead what it should. I'm going to use a different color here. Speculations. What it should be promoting is stewardship. Now, not all translations get this word right. And it is the word stewardship. And it's a phenomenally important word because who are the stewards of the church? Elders. This is this is a term that points directly at the source of the problem. Now, not all elders are bad. Not all elders in Ephesus are bad. But the opponents to the gospel, the opponents to Paul, the opponents to the gospel were elders. And they were given stewardship, and that stewardship was to be characterized by faith.
But instead of being characterized by faith, it was characterized by this meaningless dribble of arguing about words. So do you think that the fact that, you know, this is random post acts, you know, so are you thinking that that there's a bit of doctrines being established based on, you know, the letters of Paul? Yeah. And you know what Paul talks about? You know what I received, I handed on. There's again, this is one of the authorship debates. Because there there appears to be an orthodoxy in the past, rules that they claim doesn't come to the second century. But there's always been orthodoxy and Paul, there's always been a core doctrine that he's taught. He received some, uh, in stories from Jesus to receive some in Revelation. Uh, he figured out some one of the leading of the spirit. So, yeah, there, there is a core set of doctrine. I mean, he's already written Romans. Um, the one is, I mean, these are his last three letters. So all of his other letters already exist. So, yeah, there's a, there's a very, very much a core set of orthodox belief established, and people should know what it is. And that's how you're able to judge what's different. It's different from what I've clearly taught elsewhere. Good stewardship from God. That is my faith. Waiting for the doctor. Doctor? No, I am saying that Paul chose the word to point to where the problem is. And the problem is that the elders were put. The elders were given a position of stewardship. They were stewards over the their local church and their exercise of their authority was to be characterized by faith. They were to be promoting faith and everything that is involved with faith. Right. But instead of encouraging people to believe in Jesus, to trust in Jesus, to live by faith in Jesus, you know, all those things.
What they were doing was that they were just arguing about meaningless words. So could you say would you support speculations rather than preoccupation with stewardship? Well, no, I guess if I were to rephrase that, I would say they promote speculations rather than faith. So the words that are the words that are connected. Yeah, I'll use another I'll use green. The words that are connected are speculations and faith. Those are the two parallel concepts. So they were supposed to be promoting faith. Rather, they were promoting speculations. They were stewards over God's church. They should have been doing what they were told to do. They should have been promoting faith. Rather, they were using their position of stewardship to promote speculation. Meaningless drivel. So it's faith or object here? Yes. That is by design. That is the. About a majority of the times, the word faith occurs in the pastors. It's pastoral, it's creedal, it's the faith. There are some uses of faith in the way we're more and more used to people using it. I'm just see if I brought this. Yeah, I didn't make a comment. I'd probably have to check my commentary to see if I if where I came out on that. Um. My guess is that it's because the stewardship. It's by faith that our lives would be lived by faith. I would make this more in the standard Pauline usage that it is. It is that we are right with God, not because of these worthless, ridiculous. Sorry. Well, I don't know. You could. You could go both directions. It could be because on the one sense, the meaningless dribble is a set of affirmations that they were making. Uh, don't get married, don't have children, don't eat certain foods. The resurrection has passed.
You know, all the specifics. And contrary to that is. Is the Christian creed, the creedal formulation of the Christian faith? Actually, that could be a pretty good argument. That is more the creedal side of things here. I like it. What did I say? Cruz in the state should be understood instrumentally by the proper exercise of it. Okay. I just disagree with myself. We'll see where I come out in the second edition. Yes, sir. Same. Same. When he uses the word stewardship, though, that's directed us to elders, like in Titus one seven. He says as stewards. Right. They should be about right here. Right. Stewardship. Yeah. Yeah. I just think it's very, very important. It's our economia. It's the word that means the person who is a steward. And I don't know why. Why? Translations don't pick up that the steward is the elder that's prophesied and acts 20. I mean, to me, it's pretty clear. But yeah, they were stewards. And instead of their ministry being characterized by faith, whether it's living by faith works or adhering to the doctrines of the church, they weren't doing that. They were committing themselves to this meaningless drivel. And then he goes on and he says, the actual goal, though, instead of this meaningless dribble, the goal of all that I'm saying Timothy is love. And love. We most likely would be the one characteristic that was not present in the Fusion church. I'm going to proudly references a lot, so let me just get it out of my system now. Have you read Boyd's book Repenting of Religion? Okay. I would really urge you to read this book. I don't recommend many books because I get tired of people recommending their pet books to me. Greg Boyd is a pastor up in Minnesota.
He is one of the popularizers of the openness of God movement. The God doesn't know the future because if God knows the future, then there can be no human freewill because all choices are predetermined by his is for knowledge. And therefore, since the one thing you have to have is free will in his theological system, God can't know the future. He and several others have really pushed this for some time. Uh, and I sold thoroughly and totally disagree with that position that I just never felt a reason to read anything Boyd wrote. And a very good friend of mine in Spokane said that it was one of the most impactful books in his entire life. And because he's such a good friend. Is that okay? Is there any way I can borrow books? That boy doesn't get the money from me buying it. But I did buy it. And it is really a good book. It is. Just forget the openness and read the book. Boyd's basic contention is that we are called to love. And instead what we do is judge. And he he talks a lot about the tree of knowledge of good and evil up front. And the point is, it takes a while to get through it. So. But what he's trying to say is God is determine what is right and wrong, but rather the function of sin is that you and I want to determine what is right and what is wrong. We want to eat of the tree, of the knowledge of good and evil so that we decide what we believe, what we don't believe. And. Then and then you get into, I think, the real heart of the book and that is that. All of us want to feel better about ourselves.
So what we do is that we we divide sin up into two categories. We divide sin into one, some sins in the category that these are okay sins. And those are, of course, the sins that we commit. And then there are the bad sins which deserve judgment. And of course, those are the sins that you commit. From my point of view. And so what I'm going to do in order to feel better about myself is that I'm going to judge you for your sins, thus making me feel better about myself. Now, I don't know about your church experience, but that's church in America. And I really believe it. And the book is an impassioned plea that when Matthew seven one says do not judge, it means that it means don't judge. Now, at the end, he says, two exceptions. Jesus showed a quick propensity to judge the subjects in the verses. And he says, because of the scope of the influence of bad leadership, that they are a special case, that you can their judgment is sometimes acceptable. And he also holds out the possibility that if you are in a deep relationship with someone where confronting what their sin would actually do any good, then in a loving, gentle way. Judgment taking this, getting that log out of your eye so that you can see clearly take a splinter out of your brothers is okay. But it is it is an impassioned plea. Can we please just love each other? And when I see this verse, I think a boy. And that's why I'd really urge you to do it. What Paul wants, what Paul wants out of all of this. Because this is pretty harsh, isn't it? I mean, this is hard stuff.
Demand them to do this. They are, you know, da da da da. But don't forget, Timothy, that this is all pointing to love. That's where all this is supposed to go. Well, that's what Jesus says. They will move. That's far right. And more of us will see us about each other. And that's a wide shot. But you all right? It's, um. Um. Who's the guy in India? Uh, just started himself almost to death. The Gandhi. Thank you. I I'm trying to think of the actor, and I know that's not who it is. Ben Kingsley. I mean, Gandhi said, you know, I like Christ is his followers. I'm not too crazy about. And, you know, I mean, John 17, I think we'd all probably agree is probably the greatest failure of the church. Isn't it amazing at the end of the prayer and John 17 is that if we and it doesn't actually use the word love, but if we're united and we're united by love, that if we truly are one as God is love, people will know that God the Father sent God. The Son. That always struck me as really weird. Really. So if we have a truly loving community. People will. The love will direct people's gazes through us to the fact that God, the Father sent God the Son. That's what Union does. And which of course, is why gossip and slander is so prevalent. I call it the native language, the native language of the church, because Satan knows that if he can get us judging one another, then the one thing that we're just absolutely must do, the greatest commandment that we will get that stop and people will not know that God sent Jesus. So I just say.
The aim of this charge is love. Don't. It's not theological correctness. It's not power and control. It's this all has to head to love. And I know of no one that is better explained love than that book. So encourage you to look at it. Repenting of religion. Bright. I think it's a bright red cover. Anyway, It's a good book. It's a good book. So we're saying in all of this what you're doing, Timothy, remember, what we're going is love. And it needs to be a sincere love. It is sincere that it comes from a pure heart. Your motives are pure. Your conscience is good. Later on, we're going to find that the false teachers had defiled their conscience. It's a it's a love that is to be sincere. The false teachers were hypocrites. So again, even these characteristics are drawn to contrast Timothy with the false teachers. The greatest commandment is not theological correctness. As important as that is. The greatest commandment is to love. And you see it laid out here. I don't know where I got this definition. I think it's Piper. I didn't write down where I got it because I'm always looking for definitions of words. And the definition of love is a joyful commitment to meet the needs of others. I really like that. What is love? Love is it's not just obedience. It's not just meeting the needs of others. It is the joyful commitment to meet the needs of others. And when people staring at our churches, that's what they're supposed to be seeing. Yes, I think that it is that we should add even more charge. There are a lot. Yeah. We got to. I think it needs to be something like, well, you're you're going you're going to get the fact that everything that Paul is doing is remedial at the end of the chapter.
So that is certainly fair to say. That's part of the context. Yeah. If the efficient church is reading this over Timothy's shoulder, so to speak, and they look at that, that's going to they're going to hear that not only is Timothy needs to have love for these people, but they should be consumed with love as well. Yeah. And you argue he's already introduced the word charge. Yeah. Charge. You're. To me is the whole point of this chart is a return to. Love your heart. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Their conscience in Syria is seared. It should be sincere. It should be good. Yeah. Yeah. Good point. Good point. We got 12 minutes anyway. Obviously, this is one of the I think at least I think it's one of the core passages. So we'll take take a little bit of time. Paul concludes then with a note of urgency. Why is it so important that Timothy does this? And the basic answer is the false teachers are already having too much success. All right. So he says certain persons not going to name them certain persons, they've swerved from these things. In other words, they were from a pure heart, a good conscience in a sincere faith. They they, they. And the word swerve is a word that refers to a conscious decision. One of the interesting questions in the past rules is do the false teachers know that they're wrong? And it becomes pretty clear that, yes, they do. They are insincere liars. They know what they're teaching is wrong. They don't care. They want sexual favors from the widows. They want to get rich. They want to have a reputation of being a teacher. And they all the way all along know that what they're teaching is wrong.
That's that's why this word swerving is such an is an interesting word. It refers to a conscious decision. They aren't being tricked. They decided to leave a pure heart in good conscience, a sincere faith. And rather what they've done is they've wandered off into a vain discussion, just meaningless drivel. Just talking about words. You know, this connection right up here, this arrow has is a pretty important connection. I think most false teaching is rooted in moral perversion. That's what's going on here. Now, not all false teaching. Just because someone teaches something that's wrong doesn't mean they're a pervert. But the connections and I struggle with this a bit, but I believe scriptures true. So I have to teach it that there is this connection between root and fruit, a person's character and what they're teaching. And these particular people, their movement in the false teaching, its its moral. They've consciously decided to to have a filthy hard to have a seared conscience. In fact, it the phrase Francis seared conscience can also mean branded branded by Satan. They know they have Satan's brand on their conscience is burned into them. I mean, they know it then they know they're being hypocrites. They know that their faith is sincere. So this is moral perversion. And it often is that the route in this case it was the route they've wandered off in the vain discussions. But look, the motivation. They want to be teachers of the law. They want to be known as teachers of the law. They want the reputation of being wise leaders. So their morally perverse teaching what they know to be wrong. And one of their motivations is they want to be known as teachers. Principle number six when it comes to handling false teaching is that sometimes it's very hard to identify.
False teaching is often dressed up in a religious garb. And we have to develop the sensitivity to look past the the religiosity of it, to see what is actually being taught. I mean, ascribes and first is the best illustration. That's right. Unless your righteousness exceeds other scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of God. Matthew 520. Well, I mean, they were the most religious looking people the world has ever seen, right? Tithing. Tithing. Every little bit of salt and pepper on their table. Very, very religious appearing. But inside they were walking dead man's bones. They were walking defilement. They were empty tombs. And sometimes when it comes to false teaching, you and I have to be willing to look past the surface, I think, and to to try to actually get at what is being taught. I'm trying to think of some some, uh, some illustrations. Where we had a a fascinating talk in Sunday school a couple of weeks ago. You know, pot's legal now in Washington. And so you can go down and buy all the marijuana you want. Doesn't matter. It's against federal law. It's not against state law. So the police have no idea what to do. And a very good friend of mine came in the church and he said, I got into Sunday school and said, I got a request from my son and I don't know what to do with it. He goes, What is it? It's a. Well, he's known around Vancouver as having the best port anywhere, and he's asking us for prayer because they're getting evicted and he needs to move his pot to a new location and he doesn't want to disrupt the plants because it's such high quality marijuana. He goes, What do I do? And we were in Mark seven.
Jesus declares all food clean. And it's and everybody knows. We talk for two Sundays. And this is fascinating because 30 years ago it was written in the Bible. That any alcohol consumption was of Satan, Right? We all knew. And very religious people told us. The Bible said that alcohol is wrong. And if you quoted first Timothy five, they say, well, okay, maybe medicinal. Okay. Well, we we know very well that that's not what the Bible says. In fact, Proverbs says give wine to the brokenhearted. I mean, it says give it to people. Okay, So if we knew for sure 30 years ago, this is the question. If we knew 30 years ago that the Bible said all alcohol consumption was wrong. In the same way. Do we know that pot smoking is wrong? There's an interest in the evangelical churches even harder even having to ask the question. You know, we're told in very spiritual terms, it's, you know, all drug use is wrong. I'm sorry. I got my antidepressants and I got my hydrocodone and. But but if it's, you know, I mean, you know, you know what I'm trying to say? Lots of times it's hard in dealing with teaching to get through the religious veneer. Our church merged with another church and we were a bunch of rabble rousers for the most part, which wasn't in the long term. Good. And but we we merged with a very, very conservative Baptist General Conference church. But they had a pool table. In their youth from. And it was about a week after the churches emerged. And I was just walking around and I heard a dear lady, the old, old friend of ours, talking to her grandchild, looking at the pool table and said, That's against everything I believe.
Because everybody knows that pool billiards are the tool room of Satan, right? I didn't say that. Right, but you know what I mean. You know? Amen. You know, it's just it's so hard when people you respect and people that you like and people that seem to be very godly. Are teaching things that aren't necessarily true. And I think the practical point is sometimes you have to look through the veneer you have you have to look through the religiosity and say what is actually going on? And as you look at the description of the false teachers, they were in it for the money, they were in it for the power and control. They were in it because they wanted the sexual favors from the widows. And they were arrogant people, but they were very godly looking on the outside. So the practical thing is just be really, really careful. That fundamentalist church that I grew up in smoking, drinking, praying for. But it's also going really, really well in our church. So we're teaching Sundays for elder statesmen and that stuff. And I remember one time somebody fired saying very self-righteously, we don't go to movies. We went on television. Yeah. First movie ever saw was Bambi. I was 16 years old. And there was a clause in the in the Baptist General Conference that their professors couldn't go to movies and their kids couldn't go to movies. You do know why Baptists are against pre-marital relationships, don't you? It's the dancing. Anyway, okay, if we're getting silly, it must. It must be lunchtime. But the basic principle is sometimes in dealing with false teaching, you have to look through a very religious veneer to get at what actually is being taught. And sometimes people that people are people are Pharisees.
They look really good on the outside and inside the dead man's bones. And it's part of our job as church leaders to identify that, okay, this is set the stage for I've said most of what I want to say about false teaching.