But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
(I Timothy 4:6-16)
If I understand Acts correctly, Paul left Corinth on his way to Jerusalem. On his way he preached at Ephesus and when asked to stay he told them he would be back. He left Aquila and Priscilla there and continued on to Jerusalem. In the mean time Apollos came to Ephesus not knowing anything but John’s baptism. Aquila and Priscilla taught him more fully the things of God and he moved on to Corinth. Paul returned to Ephesus and spent at least two years there. He later left Timothy at Ephesus to “charge some that they teach no other doctrine.”
Paul was greatly concerned about Timothy maintaining the truth as he dealt with the church at Ephesus. Evidently there were several who were teaching false doctrine. It is interesting that when Paul addressed the subject of false teachers, they were named in pairs every time. The devil is crafty, using two witnesses to confirm their false teaching. And then there was Alexander the copper smith from the outside. Timothy must have learned his lesson well. For when we come to the book of Revelation, the only problem named concerning the Ephesian church was they had left their first love. If we are not careful, we will become legalistic and let our love cool off when we major on truth.
God would have us “to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” God would have us to “worship him in spirit and in truth.” God would have us to rightly divide “the word of truth.” God would have us to be in church, “the pillar and ground of the truth.”
I. WE FIND THESE WORDS IN I AND II TIMOTHY.
- Doctrine twelve times.
- Truth eleven times and the word true once. “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.”
- Charge eight times and charging one time.
- Teach eight times and preach one time.
- Sound four times. “Contrary to sound doctrine”, “sound mind”, “sound words”, and “sound doctrine”.
- Endure four times. One of these was, “They will not endure sound doctrine.”
- Continue two times to Timothy and one time concerning Eve.
- Vain jangling one time.
- Vain babblings two times.
- Heed three times – one time not to “give heed to fables and endless genealogies,” one time talking about those who heed “seducing spirit, and doctrines of devils:” and one time to “Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine;”.
- Faith twenty-seven times, however, we will not pursue that study now.
II. LET’S NOTICE SOME THINGS PAUL INSTRUCTED TIMOTHY ABOUT.
As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. (I Timothy 1:3-5,7,19-20)
But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.(I Timothy 4:7)
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen. The first to Timothy was written from Laodicea, which is the chiefest city of Phrygia Pacatiana. (I Timothy 6:3-5, 20-21)
Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (II Timothy 2:14, 16-18, 23-26)
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.(II Timothy 3:6-9, 13)
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (II Timothy 4:3-4)
We cannot compromise the truth. On the other hand, when we argue over words to the point it becomes divisive and destructive to the work of God, we have gone to far. Many subjects that divide God’s children are named after the man who came up with the idea. Isn’t that strange? When someone goes to extremes on a subject, someone else will come along and go to the extremes in the other direction. The truth is somewhere in the middle, not at the extremes.
We have the doctrines of soteriology (salvation through Christ), ecclesiology (study of the church) and eschatology (doctrine of last things), these are true doctrines. Then someone comes up with Arminianism and Calvinism which are divisive and destructive. Something is wrong here!