Pastoral Epistles - Lesson 4
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.
1 Timothy 4:1-5
4:1a — These problems should come as no surprise
4:1b — Instead of being devoted to gospel ...
4:2 — False teachers were hypocritical liars
Specifics of their false teaching — 4:3a
1 Timothy 6:2b-10
Begins with the transitional statement (6:2b)
Centers in on the false teachers (6:3-5)
1. Is a person’s teaching contrary to biblical theology?
2. Does their teaching lead to godliness?
Paul spells out downward spiral that ends in their/our moral failure
1. “Puffed up with conceit” even though they “understand nothing”
2. Ignorant conceit leads to unhealthy desire for controversy
3. Downward spiral continues
4. Final results: depraved minds
Paul adds an example of depraved and deprived thinking (6:5b)
Series of medical metaphors
There is great profit in godliness (6:6-8)
Great gain in godliness — a life totally consecrated to God
Profit of Godliness isn’t concerned with what I have
Godly contentment means that we will be content with the basics of life
Godly contentment is contrasted with loving financial “profit” (6:9)
1. Starts with temptation
2. These temptations become a snare
3. Plunged into ruin and destruction
Paul concludes: “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (6:10)
Fee: why would anyone want to become rich?
The only profit there is in loving wealth is the pain of more temptations
V 10 — Jewish (also v 14)
V 11 — House churches; motives
V 12 — Epimenides (600 B.C.)
V 13 — Rebuke sharply, but remedial
V 15 — Ritual cleanliness
V 16 — Root/fruit — 2 Tim 3:5
2 Tim 2:14-3:9
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
That was first Timothy one. The bulk of the stuff on the false teaching. But let's jump around just a bit and look at some of the other passages to talk about the false teaching so that we can get it all in one in one piece together in our minds. So flip over to first Timothy for William. I was raised in Minnesota, and it's a Minnesotan expression, will ya? In fact, there isn't. Every time I hear myself say Willy, I think of my mom and my. My wife loves to imitate my mom. Will. Well. Hey, Bill, will ya? Will ya? Oh, anyway, will you please first, David, before. What we're going to see in tomorrow is we're going to deal with the whole issue of leadership. So we're going to look at first Timothy two in three rather non-controversial passages, women, elders, deacons. Well, we'll do that tomorrow. And so, Paul, Paul has been going through dealing with leadership issues. And he comes to the end of chapter three and he says, you just remember what we're doing this for. This is the church. It's the it's the house of the living god. And great indeed, is a confession of the mystery of godliness. And he goes through that and then we get then it's like he takes a deep breath and then he goes, You know what? I need to get back and talk about the heresy a little. So he picks up in first Timothy four versus one day five. And what's really nice is that this passage gives us more specifics on what the false teaching was than any other passage in the pastoral. So he starts, he says. Now, the spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith.
In other words, you said, Timothy, you shouldn't have been surprised about the troubles you're having and emphasis that the Holy Spirit has been absolutely explicit that this is going to happen. Now, the question, of course, is when did the Holy Spirit say this? And we we don't know for sure whether there were Spirit inspired utterances by prophets or teachers in the early church that perhaps they got a word from the Lord and stated, or whether they're talking about Prophet Paul's prophecy in Acts 20, or whether they're talking about the general prophecies like in Mark 13 of how bad it's going to get as time gets going. Well, we're not quite sure what prophecies Paul specifically referring to, but he is saying you shouldn't have been surprised at all. Timothy. You should have known this thing or at least this kind of things were going to happen, is that there's going to be in apostasy. There are people who are going to depart from the faith. And notice there's two causes for why people depart from the faith. First of all, they're going to devote themselves there is that word. They're going to devote themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons. In other words, the ultimate source of the false teaching in the Fusion church was demonic. Now, that doesn't mean that all false teaching comes from Satan. But at least it should prick our ears up when we hear false teaching. And go where? Where is that coming from? Well, in the in this case, they were deceiving spirits. They were in fact, listening to demons teach them. I remember as a group, a bunch of us had to read how Lindsay's Satan is alive and well on planet Earth. Um, it was one of the most troubling nights I ever had Just reading that much about Satan was uncomfortable.
And there's about it was the thing that crusade put on a summer school and there was like, I don't know, 10,000 people there. And we got up the next morning and I think it was Dick Day was doing the speaking and we were all supposed to have read, uh, Satan alive and well by then. And he started by saying. Any of you have strange dreams. Last night, man, did the hand shoot up around the auditorium. And were you troubled? And almost everybody was just that in that much intense reading about Satan in his activity is troublesome, isn't it? But this is what Timothy is having to deal with, and that's what we had to deal with. A member of church I used to attend. I was just a part time staff and it was in Spokane. And the Church of Satan is very, very big in Spokane. It's just all underground. But, uh, one of my best friends is a counselor who deals with people coming out of the occult. And because of who he counsels, he you can tell how big the Church of Satan is. And it's huge in Spokane. And we were very aware of it in the church. And the witches would come in during the service and they would pray the whole service. And of course they weren't praying to God, they were praying to Satan. And just the elders just we let them come in and the elders just sat around them and prayed against them the whole time. There were times when I was preaching where I just felt really led just to stop and say, I know there's a witch in here and I got to talk to you. Um, it's just we struggle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.
That's exactly what's going on for Timothy. The false teachings had been taught by demons. How could that happen? I don't know. And it was. That was one of the reasons it was really causing the trouble. So these false teachers were devoted to demonic teachings, but they also were insincere. Again, this answers this question. Did they know what they were doing was wrong, or did they honestly believe the things that they were teaching? And Paul tells us they were insincere. They knew exactly that what they were doing was wrong, and they did it anyway. And then he tells us these specifics of what they were teaching. Well, he says, first of all, their consciences are seared. Or the other way to translation is they have Satan's brand. It is hard for the Greek to know what it is. But then he says, here's what they do. They forbid marriage. And they require abstinence from food. So those are the two pieces that. Um, that that kind of fill in some specifics. In other words, the false teachers were ascetics. They were. They were denying the goodness of God's creation. Asceticism is denying yourself certain earthly pleasures in order to achieve a higher level of spirituality. Right. That's what asceticism is, is saying. No, I'm. You know, I'm not going to live like that. I would rather focus on my ministerial work or I'm just going to say no to earthly pleasures for spiritual reasons. And I'm thankful for people like John Piper that when it comes to fasting are very, very clear that fasting Christian fasting is not the denying the goodness of food. It's if you hunger for food, you will hunger for God's food more. And his argument for fasting. But they were Christian ascetics.
In other words. But what they were doing is that they were denying the goodness of God's creation. And this is what Christian is. I'm not going to say asceticism is wrong, but an asceticism that denies the goodness of God's creation, the kind of asceticism that says, I won't eat because the food is bad, I won't do this. You know, whatever the reason, you're denying the goodness of God's creation, which is what you get in Hinduism and other things like that, right. That is unbiblical. That's the Gnostic dualism that the church rejected in the second century. But these people were denying the goodness of God's creation, specifically the goodness of marriage and the goodness of certain kinds of foods. So that kind of helps us fill in the blanks a bit as to what they were teaching them. Paul's answer is just terrible. It is. It's convoluted. He actually does answer them. But what he does, there's two reasons that he has for arguing against the esthetics. And he says each argument three times and then he weaves them all together. So if he had trouble following this part in the commentaries, because Paul is so complicated. All right. But if you look at the first answer is the creation is good, right? And so he says that God created God, created the food to be received. Okay. That means it's good God made it for us to take it. He says that everything created by God is good. Then later on, he says it is made wholly by the Word of God in prayer. In other words, he three times asserts the goodness of creation. So any kind of asceticism that claims to be Christian, that denies the goodness of anything is wrong. That's why Mark seven is so important.
Thus Jesus declares all foods clean. Right. I mean, he he he tells that Jesus goes through the teaching. And then Mark adds, parenthetically, because he knows how hard it is for the Jews to process that, because Jesus really meant what he said. I know you lived your whole life defining yourself by kosher laws. Jesus just got rid of all of that. There is no longer clean in unclean foods. And so, I mean, it goes on for like what, several verses in mark seven, right? And then to show how ingrained this idea that certain foods are inherently bad, you get the whole first major conflict in the church, right? You have to be a Jew to be a Christian. Do you have to understand kosher laws and do all that? And so you have all this debate and finally and act 15. You have the Jerusalem Council where they finally say, no, all foods are clean. So they send out the letter. But we still have a problem going because you got two chapters enrollments. Talking about meat offered titles and you got the problem in Corinth. And I don't know what Mus position is. I know Gordon Fish position is that the book of Romans is really all about clean and unclean and 13 of 14 are really the major point of. Romans Did did you take that position? Or does he say that that up through Chapter eight is the gist and other things are kind of implications? Okay. All right. Well, either way you go this this whole issue of certain foods being unclean is so basic to a Jewish identity, a Jewish mindset that it's like it took decades for them to get past it and that all food is clean. But here you got Paul saying the same thing.
If God made it, it's good, period. Right. So that's his first answer to asceticism that's scattered throughout the point of this thing, realizing you have no idea what I'm pointing at. Anyway, I still think that for a great question. Let me finish the second half and then we'll come back. The second answer that he gives and we change colors here because it's fun. The second answer that Paul gives to why the asceticism of the false teachers is wrong is he says, we affirm the goodness in our prayers. He said, Just look at look at your prayers. And I think he's thinking primarily of prayers before meals. But in your in your very act of praying, you're affirming the goodness of creation. So why would you then turn around and say some parts of creation are evil? So, for example, he says that God created to be received with Thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. Okay. When do you receive the food with Thanksgiving? Well, you give thanks to God before you eat. Then later he says nothing is to be rejected. If it is to be, receive a Thanksgiving again, the Thanksgiving of the prayer. And then he said that it is made wholly by prayer. That should have been green down there. It's made wholly by prayer. By the way, the this made holy by the word of God is probably the declaration in Genesis one, that God saw it and it was created and it was good. But again, it is not made wholly by our prayer. It is the prior goodness of God's creation is affirmed whenever we thank him for our food. So it's a it's a convoluted answer, but what we know now is that we have these insincere, false teachers.
They are forbidding. They are ascetics. They are forbidding marriage. They are forbidding certain food. You can hear the law from first Timothy one, can't you? Thou shalt not. Thou shalt not. Everything is about Thou shalt not you know, you know why a lot of your own become Christian? They're terribly afraid. God is somewhere terribly afraid that someone, somewhere is having a good time. Right. And so I'm not I'm not going to raise my hand when the missionary says, you know, who wants who wants to go to Africa to be a missionary because, you know, God is going to make me miserable because he doesn't want us to be happy. Right. I mean, it's just terrible. Hopefully, John Piper's message will get through. So they are they are forbidding. They are denying the goodness of creation and marriage and certain foods. And by the way, if they're forbidding it in marriage, they're probably forbidding it and having children, which explains first Timothy 215, she shall be saved to childbearing, but we'll take care of that tomorrow. His answer is one, if God made it is good. I'm hearing a Catholic chocolate song in my head. If God made it is good. And when our when we pray to when we pray, we are affirming the goodness of God's procreation. So it's wrong to go out and say some foods are inherently wrong and marriage is wrong. Which, of course raises the question is, is pot smoking really bad because God made cannabis? Yeah, down here at tobacco. I'm going to get Frank in trouble saying you got a teacher. Thinks it's okay to get high on pot. That's not what I said. If you're not in North Carolina, you got to come to Washington or Oregon.
You get as high as you want. Anyway, the the next passage that deals with this is first Timothy six. So let's flip over to that. Starting halfway through verse two. All right, first Timothy 26b2 ten. Every time I teach pastors, I swear I'm going to stop doing this. I'm just going to go through canonically. But it just it's so frustrating to me to now, Hey, we're back on the topic of false teaching and still remember what we said about false teaching here. I just it's just helpful for me to keep these topics together. Anyway, he has gone through the discussion of the widows and how to care for the widows. He's talked about elders and especially ones that are cut in sin and refused to repent. Um hmm. And then we deal with older people, the beginning of first Timothy six and then in six, beta ten, he gets back to talking about false teaching. And this is the final denunciation in First Timothy, anyway, of the false teachers in emphasis. Let me, uh, go. So he says to Paul, it says the Timothy teach and urge these things. And then he starts this downward spiral with the teachers that if anybody teaches a different doctrine, same word. Yeah, same word is in First, Timothy one does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the ideas do not agree with the teaching that accords with godliness. He's puffed up with conceit. He understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy, for quarrels about words. And these quarrels and controversies only produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions and constant friction among people. Then he wants to describe those people. He says they are depraved in their mind. They are deprived of the truth.
They actually think that godliness is a way to get rich. And I'm sure on television we've never seen anyone that might fit these categories anyway. It's quite a quite a denunciation of the false teachers, isn't it? Now, again, this is not necessarily true of all false teachers, but it was true of the false teachers in an emphasis. Everyone teaches a different doctrine or doesn't agree with the sound words of Jesus. You've got here kind of a twofold test for correct theology about you theology question. Kind of a two fold test on for theology. Number one would be. Is it different? You know, we have an inherited basic set of beliefs that we've got to come through Jesus, the Apostles, the Canon Nation, the canonization of the texts coming through the centuries, resurrected in the in the Reformation. But we have, as Jude says, the faith once for all, deliver to the Saints. We we have the basic message that is pretty clear. And one of the tests for orthodoxy is is what this person teaching the same? Or is it different from this core set of beliefs? That's why it's so important that especially the leadership in our churches, understands the core doctrines. If they don't understand the core doctrines, they can't see the false teaching coming. I had a, um. I've always enjoyed teaching Greek, and one of the reasons is I I've had just some really, really good students, and third and fourth year Greek in college was also there was always the funnest because they were they'd be like we'd be down to five or six people and they became family and they were my kids babysitters. And I mean, we just the Greek students really became part of our families while we enjoyed it.
And so I knew them really well. And one of them was a guy named Jason. And this is the Resistance. So it's there were some assemblies, some Nazarene, mostly Western kind of denominations. Um, and not that reform people can't go wacko. But Jason, was it a very interesting church, I'll just put it that way. And he came to class Monday late, which is not like him, and he just looked exhausted. And I went, What happened to you? He goes up as up to 3:00 in the morning coloring the kids in my youth group. But what happened? He said, Oh, we had a guest speaker and he missed them up so bad I had to call everyone. I had to call their parents. We had to make sure that we took care of the mess. And what oh, what on earth did he teach? Well, this was a very much a health and wealth pastor. And he had said that, you know, all sin is all sickness is the result of sin. There is no sickness apart from sin. And therefore, if Jesus had just had a little more faith, he wouldn't have died on the cross. Howard. Oh, my goodness. You took care of that by 3:00 in the morning? Yes. I'm here to call every single kid and talk to them. And, you know, in the tradition where the pastors held up, it's important. You were supposed to believe them, at least at some level. But, you know, it was a mess. Well, see, that was different. Right. I mean, that was. You would hope that anybody would know that. But it's that's one of the tests of orthodoxy is just fundamentally different. So that's why I encourage you all. On your churches statements of faith to make sure it's complete enough so that if you know it well, you can smell this kind of stuff a mile away.
Um, the second test of. In the past. A second test of correctness of theology is does it lead to godliness? Does it lead to. Well, the definition I use of godliness in the pastoral is a life totally consecrated to God. That seems to be what Paul is getting at. It's kind of an unusual word. He doesn't use it a lot of other places, but he uses it in a way to kind of sum up what the Christian life is. And godliness is a life totally consecrated to God. And so he says, look what they're doing. They're teaching, doesn't agree with the sound words of Jesus. It's different and it doesn't lead to godliness. It doesn't accord to godliness. Look at the kinds of lives that they are living. Their lives, the lives they're living is so bad that should tell you something about what they are teaching. So there's that connection between root and fruits. And you guys got to know I am a little uncomfortable with this. Maybe because it calls for judgment and that I'm a little uncomfortable with that. But Jesus called for judgment and Paul called for judgment. So I needed to take that part of my personality and put it aside and deal with it. But because, you know, I'd like to think that there are people that I've run across that teach things that are wrong. It doesn't make them a bad person. But in Paul's case, these were bad people and their teaching was different enough and their lives were ungodly enough that that Paul was willing to tie a connection and that if the result of this person's life is not true godliness, you can't accept what they say and assume it's correct. And somehow. In your life.
It will lead to godliness, even though in their life it did lindegaard. You know what I'm saying? There is a connection between a person's character and the truth of what they are teaching. It's the fruit and fruit, the roots and fruit kind of stuff. But then having a firm that look at this downward and it is really a downward spiral that they do. First of all, they get they get puffed up in their conceit. They get their arrogant. Even though they don't understand anything. And arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand, don't they? Isn't that amazing? It's amazing how ignorance and arrogance belong together. But they do. They're puffed up with conceit, even though they don't understand anything. But then what happens is that arrogance starts dragging them down to unhealthy controversies. So this is this is a downward spiral. This is a process. And Paul is not condemning healthy debate. I've heard this verse because I've I've heard this phrase used to say, you shouldn't go to seminary. Because seminaries, you just sit around, you argue about things. And Paul says, don't, you know, don't don't crave controversy. Well, I remember being seven or eight. I loved controversy, but it was healthy controversy as I was trying to figure out whether I was Wesleyan or a Calvinist. I was trying to figure out whether I was an egalitarian or complimentary, and I was trying to figure out whether I was a dispensations or not. Dispensation was in some some of my happiest memories in grad school as I went to Fuller. And Fuller was very comfortable at that point with us believing the Bible had internal contradictions. There was there was no defense of the contradiction in Scripture at all. My two best friends are Darrell Bock and Craig Blumberg.
One went to Dallas, one went to Trinity. Well, those two schools are intent on proving that that there aren't any errors in Scripture. One of them's dispositional, the other one wasn't dispositional. I was fearful or I didn't care. Even though George had spent his whole life arguing the point anyway. So it was this wonderful mix. And every Thursday we had dinner for several years. Our lunch, we would have lunch together and then we'd go into the commons there and we'd just argue. And it was it was it was so much fun because we cared deeply for each other. We wanted the other. We respected the other person. We wanted to know what they thought and we wanted to know. Do I agree with Darrell or idea with Craig's going to be one or the other? And I mean, just wonderful, happy, happy memories of intense controversies over words, which is what it was. This is Paul's not condemning that. That's not what's going on here. You've got to read the pastoral in their historical context and in their historical context. This controversy and quarreling about words or about words that produced nothing but speculation and divisions and fighting. And they weren't dealing with the important words. You know, you hear all in middle ages, they just argued about whether how many angels you could put on the head of a pin. Right. Well, a worthless discussion. Right. Was actually a tremendously important discussion. The discussion was what is the relationship between the material and the material world? What is the relationship between the universe we see in the universe we don't see? Is there any correlation at all? Is there any spatial connection? I mean, can you fit a thousand hit angels on the head of a pin? Meaning there's no correlation? Or is there a correlation? Um, I never can say it.
Right, But the church for a long time argued about was it in Yoda? Two words, identical words. One means that Jesus was God. The other one Jesus was like God. And the two words were differentiated by a single Yoda. And you hear people say, Oh, they have been arguing about it, Neal, 250 years I've been arguing about any Yoda home. I should know this word. Yeah, that one. That word. Thank you. Um, there are debates about words that matter that lead to godliness. That's not what Paul is talking about. He's talking about the kind of worthless debate that's happening in Ephesus. And that's why it's so important to keep this thing in its historical context. So there this ignorant conceit leads to an unhealthy desire for controversy. And it when as soon as you give yourself to that, you're going to get envy, dissension and all of these things. And finally, your minds are going to be depraved. You're going to simply not know the truth. And an example of of complete and total ignorance is thinking that religion, that Christianity is the means to get rich. The thing that I like in this passage is all the medical metaphors. And it is full of medical metaphors. Jesus's words produced. So there is spiritual health. They're sound. They're healthy. Right? The false teachers, it was said in the translation, are puffed up with conceit. The word actually refers to mental illness, or at least it can refer to mental illness. And when they have an unhealthy craving, it means they're sick. It's a sickly craving. And the word craving is refers to a very, very serious illness. I mean, this is this is possibly Luke, the doctor, just having all kinds of fun, throwing in medical language into the discussion.
And the word talks about constant friction. Friction. It's a reference to infectious abrasions, open sores, imagining sheep with with open source rubbing up next to each other and passing disease from one animal to the next. So here, here's Paul's description. In turn, these people become mentally unstable, ignorant and arrogant, spiraling down to serious mental illness until they become like infectious sheep rubbing up against healthy sheep and spreading their disease. Later on, he's going to talk about their teachings spreading like gangrene. Lots of medical imagery. This is one sick church. But this is a very, very sick. This is a church where the DA simply needs to close it down because this this church can't get these just be shut down. But no. So it is a it is a it is a mess. Paul then goes on to talk about that. There is gain, great gain and godliness. There is great gain in having a life wholly dedicated to God. But the kind of gain, it's a gain that is accompanied with contentment and enriches. You are never content. You always want more. But if the gain we seek is a gain that includes contentment, then it's a contentment that understands. We came into the world with nothing. It's a contentment that understands We're going to leave this world with nothing. And that means if we have our lives ordered around that the basic fundamental truth, then if we have food and clothing, we have the necessities of life. That's all we need. There's other things that are more important. I know. Is anyone here ever really believe that? Yeah, I don't either, But it's in the Bible, so I have to. Gordon Feeney is commentary, has a has a great discussion of this. He says it all starts well, that's over in 69.
I'm sorry, you go over to 69. So those who desire to be rich, I mean, those whose goal is to get rich, and I think you ought to be really careful here condemning Christian businessmen. There are very good Christian businessmen who. And they won't necessarily tell. Oh, I'm just trying to earn a lot of money, too, to be able to support the church. But there are good men who have a natural gift for making money. And that's that's not what Paul's talking about, is talking about the love of wealth. He's talking about the pursuit of of amassing massive amounts of wealth. And it's interesting because those who want to be sure and those who not just want to run a good business and be successful, but those whose ultimate desire, I would say, is to be rich. They have a whole temptation that none that the rest of us don't have. Right? I mean, very wealthy people have a whole new set of temptations to deal with. I'm responsible for my money. But if that money is $10 million a year, I have a whole nother set of temptations, don't I? And the rich. Do they have a whole nother set of temptations and that temptations can lead them into a snare. The snare, when it grabs them, will, can can produce senseless and harmful desires. And the end result is plunging people into ruin and into destruction. And then Paul adds in verse ten, The love of money is a and it's not the it's a the love of money is a root of just all kinds of evil. It's the text just says is the root of all evils. And it's hard on a Greek basis to get the word kinds in there.
But I put it in there just because there are many evils that aren't related to money. Sexual abuse. It's an incredible evil. Not really related to money. And so maybe I'm using life experiences and I think most people are comfortable with this, that the the love of money, the love of wealth is a root of not necessarily every single evil in the world, but is certainly the root of all kinds of evil. Gordon feces. Why would anybody want to be rich? Given the, um. Given the increased temptations, the increased snares, the, the, the increased number of harmful and senseless desires, despite all the ruin and destruction around you. Why would you want to be rich? And our answer is. Oh, I will be the exception. Right. Yeah, we. Sure we all think that. I know every Powerball winner has been miserable, apparently, according to the stuff I've read. But I would be happy if I won. What did she get? Gal win 590 million. The one that just won yesterday. Don't you read about this? Some small town in Florida. Nobody knows who she is. She won't tell her neighbors that she just won $590 million. Anyway. True godliness has nothing to do with the circumstances of our life. The prophet that we should seek is the prophet that comes with contentment, a contentment that looks beyond external circumstances to the things that really matters. Any comments or questions on that. I'm speeding up a bit. But this. I'm sure it'll translate this way. It's a whole lot of money. And by. Right? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you. Manageable. That's right. Yeah, that's. Can. Yeah. Yeah, I. My basic approach to life is that the. The ultimate thing that people pursue is power. And they will they the human condition will pursue power any way.
It can't. And so for some people, it's, um. It's wealth. So I donated the money to paint the sanctuary. I picked the color. For other people. They pursue power when they don't have money by donating time. I've been in this church 10 hours a day for the last five years. You need to move that bush. I mean, I'm just making things up. But I think at the hardest I think if you want to know what a person really is, you don't give them money. You give them power. And I think who we really are as people and who are people really are, is when you give them power and you find out, you can find out what someone's really made of. So I think power is the is the most fundamental. Money is a way to buy power. I heard a story about a man who there was a gal and his worship team just had a gorgeous voice and he wanted her to move into some some more areas of ministry, but he wanted to make sure that she wanted to do it for the right reason. So he said, I'm wondering if there's some other things I need you to do other than singing up in front of people. She's okay. Says we need someone to clean toilets. Would you mind stepping down from the worship team and cleaning toilets? She said I would be glad to. So she came down from the worship team from the next year, cleaned toilets in the church. He wouldn't let her do anything else but clean toilets. And he watched her and she cleaned them well. She cleaned him with a good attitude. She cleaned him as a servant. And after a year of having no power at all.
He said, okay, I now know the kind of person you are. And moved her up into some very, very high end role in the church where there was a lot of power. But he wanted to make sure that the power that that's not why she was up front. You know, I think I think power is what gets people. You know, the only problem with focusing on false teaching our first day is that it just gets so depressing. Um, anyway. But we're we're almost done with this stuff. The next one is in Titus 110 to 16. It's a pretty straightforward passage, but let me just read it. And again, this is now we're in Crete. This is Titus. I mean, Titus Crete has evidently been affected by the the falls teaching in Ephesus. But it's a brand new church. The just as the gospel hasn't had time to really sink in. So also, the false teaching hasn't had time to sink in, but it is still there is still affecting it. And so this is his only real discussion. And Titus of the false teaching is this. There are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers, deceivers. And then of all the different deceivers, he points out, especially those of the circumcision party. Oh, this is the first hint that the false teachers have a Jewish bent. Okay, So we assume that the circumcision party are Pharisees that claim to become Christian. Uh, later on in verse 14 is going to talk about Jewish myths. So that's going to even affirm it even more. But apparently, and you can understand how the circumcision party, all right, the Pharisees would be, would tend towards legalism, would tends to tend towards the thou shalt not. He says they must be silenced since they are upsetting whole families again.
This is house churches. So these guys are going from house to house and they're upsetting those churches by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. So just like an emphasis, these false teachers were in it for the money. And then he adds, one of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons. And then Paul adds, He's right. The testimony is true. I mean, these these people are not good people. Now, what is the name in? I think it's in math. Matt, you may know this. What is the this first is used in neither math or logic for some kind of logical impossibility. If you're any familiar with the phrase. Because the phrase is an impossible phrase. A Cretans says all Cretans are liars. What was he lying when he said that? Or we see the only cretin who wasn't lying when he said that all Cretans are liars. There's a there's a term for that. It's okay. It is preferentially self-defeating. But there's that. I remember hitting it in logic in college anyway. Okay. I'll have to look it up someday. Is a kind of a syllogism, but I don't. I just don't remember. Um, it is tautological not, but there is. There is a name for this thing. I can see Matt looking for his iPhone that he will find it if it can be found. But anyway, he just says a syllogism is just a kind of an argument, right? So, yeah. And this is If Mac can find the name, I'll. It'll. I'll know anyway. Anyway, he quotes a very famous Cretan poet. We know who it is. And he's just saying what the Crete what this Cretan poet said about Cretans in general are true specifically of these false teachers.
They're liars, they're beasts, they're gluttons. And therefore, because they're so bad. Rebuke him sharply. But again, why rebuke? Again, some people like to review for the sake of rebuking, Right. Um, other people correctly will rebuke because they want it to be remedial. They want. They want something to come out of it. And he says, Here's what I want. I want you to rebuke these people. I want you to confront them. I want you to get in their face. Why? Because I want them to be sound in the face. I want them. There's the word healthy. I want them to be healthy in their face. It's all remedial. But if they're going to be sound in their faith, it means they're not. Follow the phrasing. They're not going to be devoting themselves. Two Jewish myths or two human commandments. The commandments of people. So there's the other statement that the false teaching has a strong Jewish component. And they should be devoting themselves to command to human commitments. Um, because these people turn away from the faith. So again, it's a mess, isn't it? I mean, it really is a mess. Even in Titus, in Crete already. It's a mess. But now here we get to a part of an answer, and I'm going to add in some words to make this hopefully a little clearer. These are interpretive words, but I think it'll help me make sense. I think what Paul's saying in verse 15. Is to the morally pure. In other words, to the person who is truly pure. Purity is an issue of the heart. Cultic looks on the outside. God looks on the inside. If a person is morally pure, then all things are ritually pure. You know, remember, the essence of a ritual system is to define external actions that make you acceptable to God or make you unacceptable to God.
Right. That's the essence of what ritual. Is external actions acceptable to God, not acceptable to God. And then Paul is saying is, if a person is morally pure, then ritually nothing matters. All things are ritually pure. You can eat the meat offered by those. You do not eat the meat offer. That didn't matter. It's just not a big deal. But. To the person who is defiled and unbelieving. Nothing is morally pure. Well, that's that was my interpretation of the passage that that if your heart is right rigidly things don't matter. So again, remember the false teachings, the ritualist, their externalize, their legalism. The pressure is all on what you do on the outside to make yourself acceptable to God. And in Paul saying that if you're morally pure, if your heart is right with God, if you are justified by your faith, all things originally printed pure, it doesn't matter. But if you're not morally pure, if you're defiled and unbelieving on the inside, then it doesn't matter what you do ritually. You can do. You can go through all the ritual actions that you want. You are not morally pure. In other words, you're not going to be pure. So I think that's what that verse is meaning. And if you're not morally pure, it means your mind and your consciences are going to be defiled. Now the arguments for that conclusion are in the commentary, but I think that's what it's saying. So can Baptists have pool tables in their church? You know, I mean, it's I'm beginning to think that modern day Christians and poorly Jews alive around at Paul's Day are not that different. I mean, whatever you do with James Dunn in this whole new Paul stuff, uh. Part of it.
I think that's right. Is how did a Jew define himself? Well, a Jew defined himself primarily by external things. I. I have, um. I have been baptized and dedicated. I, I give my. My half shekel tax. I follow kosher food laws. I go to synagogue and Shabbat. And and this is what Dunn is getting at, is that the Jews define themselves by, in a sense, a disconnected set of individual actions or beliefs. I say this, Gemma. And then but when you look at so much of the American church, if you say, are you a Christian? I remember Robert was on a plane one day and Rob was my wife and I was just talking to the guy and she's really good at turning the conversation to spiritual things. And she finally said, you know, are you a Christian? She normally uses the line. Do you have any spiritual beliefs? And that leads to other discussions. Great opening line, by the way. But she got to the point where she said, well, are you a Christian? He goes, Well. I celebrate Christmas. Joy, I guess I'm a Christian. So he was defining Christianity by a single external act. But I'm not too sure that the church as a whole doesn't suffer from the same problems the Jews did. What is a Christian or Christian is someone who's said the magical prayer. Sorry, but you know, Raisin said the magical prayer camp. As important as that is. All right, We have to go through the gate to walk down the path. But I. I go to VBS and I go to church periodically, and I don't kick my dog as much as my neighbor. And you know what I mean? I think so many people define Christianity by a series of semi disconnected events or beliefs.
And in that sense, the church is no different than Judaism. The book I'm working on right now is we don't know what to call it. We've been fighting with the name, but it's a it's a it's a story version of the Gate in the Path. And I believe that a large part of the problems in the church is because we have properly preached the importance and the magnificence and the wonder of justification of going through the gate. But I think the church is also equally taught that the path is optional. And so we have churches that are not full, but a lot of people that have gone through the gate and say, well, all I had to do, my uncle used to say, I'm going to take a front seat in heaven, front seat on earth in a back seat in heaven. You kind of went through the gate and figured, that's all I have to do. And, you know, this is a huge theological debate, but it's I am absolutely convinced as a Calvinist that you have to walk the road. You just have to. Because even in Jesus saying in Matthew seven, where's the light? Where's the life? Then on the other side of the gate, it's the end of the path. It's those who persevere to the end to be saved. And I just think we need a radically different definition of what a Christian as a Christian is and someone who believes something. A Christian is someone who follows Jesus. Life is a journey we are on a journey of becoming more like Christ day in and day out. That's what a Christian is. And a Christian is someone who walks to the end. Firm beginning justification by faith through grace and God's mercy alone, but changed.
People have changed lives and our lives will change. They must, Calvin said. Your life must change. So I'm pretty good ground with Calvin. But for that kind of person, they understand that the moral purity that they seek is not what I do on Sunday morning or where I put my $10 or wherever. It's the purity is an issue of the heart and that it's man, if you're pure in your heart, the rituals, the. The the. The external rights that we go through to earn favor with God, like going to church or observing Sabbath laws or whatever, be the case. Um, none of that matters. But if you're not pure in their heart, then you can go through all these external actions that you want and it's going to amount to a hill of beans. So anyway, believe it or not, that's that's what I'm spending the bulk of the rest of my writing life writing on. I think I've done writing Greek books. I've written enough of them. I want to do something else too. So I'm trying my hand at this. Of course, if nobody buys it, I'll go back to writing Greek books. But anyway, we'll see what God has in store for me. But that's what I think verse 15 is getting at, so it makes sense. Of course, the. They say that the policy saying this is subjected to peer to peer records and subjected. Especially now and into the final year, Jack. Or or is it true? Is Paul Stevens something that's technically true or something? I would say he's saying something that's objectively true because, you know, Jesus removed all food laws. I mean, when you I mean, I believe all the crises, all the old testaments fulfilled in Christ.
I think the land laws, the kosher laws, the sack of everything comes to a point in Christ is the fulfillment of the law. And so there there isn't anything left. I mean, there's still good actions and bad actions, but there's not actions that we do in order to earn God's favor to be accepted by him. Conversion is by self salvation through grace and faith not works that that whole stuff. And so once we are right with God, these external actions that we do are not earning favor or earning acceptance. So that's why that I'd say it is an objective thing. Now, I don't go to church in order to earn God's favor. Um, when I go to church, it's because, well, when I go to church, it's not because Hebrews tells me to go to church. I'm not doing some action because the Bible tells me to do it. I'm going to church because I understand I need community and the world is too difficult for me to function independently. And I need friends and I need accountability and all this kind of stuff. So I'm not I don't go to church to as a ritual action to earn favor. I think a lot of people do, don't they? Lot of people go to church thinking they're earning favor with God. This is the action I have to do. So I think he's saying objectively, if you if you are more if you are truly morally pure, if you've been justified and sanctified and redeemed, then these external actions which are all fulfilled in Christ anyway. Um, they don't, they don't make you right with God. There's still right things and wrong things to do, but. Um. Yeah. Yes. Cynics are hard to deal with, aren't they? But they're probably cynics because they were really hurt.
And, you know, the way to work with cynics is not to fight. I mean, it's I mean, I would say that the way to deal with someone who's really cynical is to try to figure out who hurt you. And can I help you walk through it? Um. He concludes this section with this. They profess to know God, but they deny and by their works they can claim one thing. But man, you look at their life and their lives, their denying their profession. Um, these people, they profess to know God. They're detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. There's another discussion in second, Timothy. But I'm tired of talking about false teaching, so I'm not going to talk about anymore. If we get to it in a second. Timothy I'll just it's there's not a lot of new stuff that the last of the new stuff is here. So false teaching. Got to be able to identify it, have the courage to deal with it. Um, the wisdom to deal with it in the right way. Uh, the recognition that false teaching will destroy. Uh, that's what its intent is. Some of it's from Satan. Some of it's just from human depravity. Um, and the people who teach false doctrine can sometimes. Make him look really good. But my goodness, what they can teach. Any comments or questions on that as well. We were talking about it just now earlier. And you talked about, both of you during the primaries. I know you did a certain series with you. And then on another occasion, you felt good, you felt bad. And the phrase discriminated against the individual. Yeah. When do you know? Or is it just something that you did when to attack a problem from Fort Knox? Well, right.
I mean, number one rule would be in terms of if it's an individual, you just don't do it from the pulpit, period. Um, you should have you know, I should have gone to the person I eventually did, but should have gone to the person and talked about the issue. Um. I think. And the other thing, I mean, I'm I like preaching through books, so I, I don't it's for me to interrupt the series is pretty hard. And so if there's a problem. Um. I'm sorry. I'm trying to think back to my experiences, what I did. This was actually the biggest challenge that we had. Because the people that were involved had become pretty influential in the church. And. The the problem was they wouldn't stop. And I didn't see an end in sight. And I was nervous for the youth group. That was my biggest concern. Because this one particular person was a good person about. Well, okay, see, I can't say that now. He sure seemed to be a good person to me. I liked him. My son really liked him, I guess, pouring into his life. But it was it was going to get to a point where it was going to get worse and worse and worse. I think I had to come to a point. You realize this problem isn't going to fix itself. And the longer I wait, the more damage is going to do to the church. And when I finally came to that position, um, I talked to the staff. And I said, Here's what's happening. And we go, Yeah, we know. And I said, What do you think we should do? And he said, They said, It's time for you to to deal with it. I went to the elders.
They weren't aware of it, but I explained it was going on and they I said, Is this core? I said, I don't want to go after this. If it's not core, I think it's core, but I really don't want to go on my own. So we talked about the ramifications of believing that Jesus came and 80, 70, and the more you look at them, the more you realize how scatological the Bible is. I mean, it is a forward looking future hope kind of book, isn't it? And so. Um, came to the conclusion that it was something that had to be dealt with. So I went back with. Elders to two of the two of the individuals. And we had group discussions. We offered to read their books that they would readers. They said no. And I said, Are you going to stop? And they said, No. And I said, Yes, you are. But what I didn't want to do is that there's been enough baggage for the people in my church of elders acting capriciously, that I just didn't want to remove three people from fellowship and have all their alarms and bells and whistles go off. So what I announced to the church was, um, there's we have an issue in the church that needs to be dealt with. Uh, these are not bad people, as far as I know. I've understood that, but they're not bad people. But I said some people in this church are teaching that Jesus came back in 8070, and you need to know what we think of that. And while we're doing it, let's just handle this whole issue in general of people who come into this church who want to move into leadership, who believe something different than we do.
So I, I said the best place to go is to Jude, because that's what Jude's all about, of people needing to fight for the faith because people have come in and infected. And I just preach three sermons on Jude and then say, okay, here's the practical conclusion we came to. Every leader in this church has to agree to the statement of faith. If you don't agree with it, you're more than welcome to worship here. But we will not entrust our children to you if you don't believe that sanctification is important. Kind of thing. So I said, So you need to know that every leader in this church has said on this two page document, um. I believe this, and it was a very generic statement of faith. It was a strong statement on sanctification. But there was nothing. I mean, there were people that would have complained that it wasn't more or anti dispensation or more anti charismatic or something like that. And then we said, yes. Then you need to know is that no one in this church will insist on anything that's not in the statement of faith. The predators are not welcome to be in leadership in this church because they are insisting on something that is a contrary to it. And b. Is outside. In one sense, it's outside the scope. And so I said, that's this is our decision. If you have problems with it, please talk to me or talk to an elder. I've got to answer your questions. Not a single person asked. And the produce, to their credit. So. Well, then we'll just leave. And so it was that was the process we went through. But it was it was a pretty laborious process, but it was a good process because then anything else that came up, we had something to go on.
So if somebody came in and wanted to teach health and wealth or somebody wanted to, Jesus had more faith he wouldn't have died. You know, the the procedure was all in place to deal with them at that point. So that's what we did. But I was very slow and I wanted to do it as a team. Because I didn't want to catch the flak and I didn't want to be wrong. So. Safety in numbers. And if you've been nurturing your elders and training your elders, then this is something that they should be open to doing. If they're not open to doing, then you have a whole nother set of problems that we're going to talk about tomorrow.