Man, first Timothy chapter 4 is a pretty important chapter for us today because it talks about the latter times. It says in verse 1, "Now the spirits speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." Now we talked about on Wednesday night the great falling of way that was something that was in the passage in second Thessalonians chapter 2. We looked up a lot of scriptures and show that that falling away is a spiritual falling away. It's a turning away from the truth and it's exactly what this scripture is talking about when it says that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith. It's that same falling away that we're talking about.
Now first Timothy is one of what we would call the Pastoral Epistles. These are epistles that Paul is writing unto a fellow pastor basically, a younger protege in the ministry, a preacher that he is training. He did the same thing with Titus. In this scripture, he is warning a pastor and he is telling him that in the latter times some will depart from the faith and he explains some of the ramification. Now in chapter 3, he gives all the qualifications for becoming a pastor. At the beginning of chapter 3, he says, "If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." He explains all the different qualifications and so forth and he talks about how they need to hold fast the faithful word and so forth.
In chapter 4 here, he is warning about false teaching in the N times and how to identify. Now look what the bible says, "Now the spirits speaketh expressly, that in the latter times shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devil." This is really bad doctrine when it's coming from devils. It's demonic in nature. It says that these people who are giving heed to these seducing spirits. They are allowing these demons and devils to teach them. It says in verse 2 that they speak lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron.
When it says their conscience is seared with a hot iron, it means to say they have no conscience anymore. Their conscience is so dead end that it's not functioning anymore. They don’t feel bad about just doing something that’s completely evil. Hypocrisy means that on the outside they appear righteous unto men, but on the inside they're wicked. They have no conscience about it. They don’t feel bad about the fact that they get up and portray themselves as a godly teacher as a righteous person when on the inside they're giving hate and demons. They're f the doctrines of devils.
Now look what it says in verse number 3, because it gets a little bit specific about some of the doctrine. It says, "Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." Now remember in verse 1 it says, "The spirits speaketh expressly." What does that mean? He's saying, look, the spirit is being real clear about this. It's getting really specific. He's saying, "I have a revelation from God here about the type of false teachers that are going to be involved in this great falling away when people are departing from the faith." This is what they're going to be like and this is the step they're going to be teaching. He says, "Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats."
Now first of all, forbidding to marry. What in the world is that referring to? What would that remind you of in the form of a Latter Day religion that’s forbidding someone to get married? The Roman Catholic Church were basically their priesthood and their ministers, their clergy, the bishops, the cardinals are forbidden to be married. Now keep in mind the context of this passage what did we just have in the last passage here in chapter 3. If we just back up a few verses, what does the bible say in chapter 3 verse? "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of 1 wife."
The bible is teaching here that a bishop must be the husband of 1 wife. The Catholic Church is teaching the exact opposite saying, "Ye must not be the husband of 1 wife." He must not be married. He must be celibate. It's interesting that in chapter 3 he says, "The bishop must be the husband of 1 wife." Then in chapter 4, he said, "Hey, there's going to be false teaching in the last days, in the latter days that’s going to tell you that people are forbidden to be married," which is exactly what the celibate clergy is. I can’t think of anything else that that would possibly rationally refer to. Remember the spirit is expressly talking about false teaching that’s going to be in the latter times.
I showed that to a pastor where he said, "That's not the Catholic Church." Catholic Church wasn’t around back then. In says in the latter times. It's prophesizing someone that would come in the future and here's the thing. The Catholic Church is not some insignificant denomination. It consists of a billion people. It would make sense that the spirit, which specifically warn and put a passage in the bible about that.
Now he goes on to say, "Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats." Now this can also apply to the Roman Catholic Church as well because they had a thing for a long time, meatless Friday, where they're commanded to abstain from meats on the day Friday based on nothing in the bible whatsoever just based on their tradition. Let's keep reading. It says, "Commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."
I think that this thing about abstaining from meats, is it predominantly directed at the Catholics here, because of the fact that he says that they commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. Then in verse 4, he says, "For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." It seems to be specifically not just saying don’t eat meat on a certain day but rather saying to eat some meats and not eat other meats.
That’s what seems to be indicated here, because the correction of this is to say, "Every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." Then in verse 6, he says, "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained." Of course, he's using a little bit of a play-on words, nourished up in the word, because we're talking about food a moment earlier.
The implication here is that if you don’t put the brethren in remembrance of these things, you're not a good minister of Jesus Christ. He says, "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, then you'll be a good minister of Jesus Christ." Sounds like this is something that needs to be preached and reminded in 2015 in these latter times.
Now go, if you would, Acts chapter number 10, Acts chapter number 10 because there's a great movement today commanding people to abstain from meats today in the name of Christianity. We call it the Hebrew Roots Movement or call it the [Torabs Erving 00:07:46] Christian Movement or call it whatever you want. There's a movement out there that teaches that we are to follow the dietary restrictions of the old covenant, the Mosaic Law, and that we should be abstaining from pork today or abstaining from shrimp and things of that nature. The Seventh Day Adventists also teach this doctrine.
I find it very important to correct this error because of the fact that God warned us that these demonic teachers are going to be telling us in the last days to abstain from meats and we need to keep reminding people. We need to put the brethren in remembrance of the fact that every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
Now look, if you would, at Acts chapter 10 because this revelation about the fact that all meats are acceptable unto us as Christians today, this is not a revelation that’s unique to the Apostle Paul. This is something that was revealed to Peter also in Acts chapter 10. It's something that was taught to Noah when he got off the ark. When Noah got off the ark, God told him, "Every living thing that moveth shall be meat for you." It wasn’t until many centuries later with the Mosaic Law that there was a temporary restriction put on certain meats that they weren't sup[posed to eat when they were under that Mosaic covenant. That was a temporary thing. Before that, they were allowed to eat all meats when Noah got off the ark.
It's not just the Apostle Paul who is teaching this in the New Testament, because a lot of these Hebrew-roots type would want to discard the Apostle Paul, which is discarding half the New Testament, of course. In Acts chapter 10, the same thing is revealed to Peter. This is something that God wanted all the apostles teaching, not just Paul. In Acts chapter 10, it says this in verse 9. It says, "On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour. And he became very hungry, and would have eaten."
"But while they made ready, he fell into a trance. And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the 4 corners, and let down to the earth. Wherein were all manner of 4-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, 'Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.' But Peter said, 'Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.' And the voice spake unto him again the second time, 'What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.' This was done thrice, and the vessel was received up again into heaven."
Basically, this vessel comes down and as all these wild animals and things that are under the Mosaic Law classified as unclean and God tells them kill and eat. He says, "No, I'm not going to." God says, "What God have cleansed," and that’s the phrase there, "What God have cleansed, that call not thou common." Then in the next chapter it says, "That call not thou common or unclean," and God tells them this 3 times. It goes back and forth to them 3 different times; it's caught up to heaven.
Then it talks about how right after this vision is over these guys come to the door. It says in verse number 17, "Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate. And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there." The moral of the story here for Peter is that these guys are coming that are gentiles and they want him to go back with them and to eat with Cornelius and fellowship with Cornelius, because Cornelius is going to get saved through the preaching of Peter and Cornelius is an Italian.
They had this idea in their head that as Jews they're not supposed to eat with the gentiles, which by the way was false. That’s not taught in the Old Testament. The Old Testament didn’t teach them you're not allowed to eat with gentiles, but they had that idea in their mind from the traditions of the elders, the Pharisees and the stuff that they'd added to the bible. God showed in that illustration about the meats to give a spiritual meaning of these people are not common or unclean. You're looking at these people as that they're not kosher, but He's saying actually we should not call other human beings common or unclean based upon their ethnicity because what God has cleansed, that call not thou common or unclean.
Here's what people will try to twist this as. Here's what they'll say. They'll say, "This has nothing to do with food. This is just all about the people." They'll say, "We're still not supposed to eat those unclean beasts. We're still not supposed to eat pork. We're still not supposed to eat shrimp. God was just doing that to show them about these people." Here's the thing, why would God show him a vision and tell him to do something sinful to illustrate that it's not a sin to go with these people? That makes no sense. Think about it if it were a sin to eat that stuff. Hey Peter, eat this stuff that’s sinful. Eat these sinful things.
Then he's like, "Oh, you want me to go with these gentiles." That wouldn't make a sense. Think about this. That would be as if God would have just maybe put out a whole bunch of alcohol. Peter has a vision and there's all this hard liquor out. Arise, Peter. Mix a cocktail and drink booze. He's like, "Not so, Lord. I'm not a drinker." What God has cleansed, hiccup, that call not thou common. Wouldn't that be ridi- … It'd be ridiculous to say, "Here, commit sin. Commit sin and that’s how I'm going to illustrate that going with these people is not a sin." No.
The way that you would illustrate that going with these people is not a sin is you'd show him something that’s not sinful that he thinks is sinful to represent the fact that you think going with these people is a sin and it's not. It actually makes no sense if He would be telling him to sin to illustrate doing something that’s not a sin. Does everybody understand what I'm saying? It's pretty clear. That’s really silly, especially when you compare scripture with scripture and see Paul saying, "Look, every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused." Watch this, if it be received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
Isn't that similar to what is told onto Peter here when He says, "What God hath cleansed, call not thou common or unclean," and then Paul saying, "It's sanctified by the word of God and prayer." Sounds like God has cleansed it. Sanctified by the word of God and prayer equals cleansed by God and then when we understand the concept that even before the Mosaic Law they were allowed to eat all these meats therefore it's not intrinsically sinful to eat these meats, it makes perfect sense. It all fits together.
If you would go back to first Timothy chapter 4 where we were, I just wanted to show you that that teaching is not unique to Paul. It's not unique to first Timothy that there are multiple places in the bible that we could go to show that we should eat all these. You'll say, "Why are you saying this, Pastor Aaron, because why don’t we just do better safe and sorry and just get the Barbacoa instead of the Carnites and just better safe and sorry just do the kosher meats?"
Is that what the bible saying in first Timothy 4, "Hey, just be safe about it," or does he say, "Hey, put the brethren in remembrance that every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." We need to take a stand by preaching and teaching that these meats are acceptable. That’s what the bible is teaching here in first Timothy 4. He's commanding it to a pastor and I'm a pastor so that’s what's I'm doing, because he says here that if you want to be a good minister of Jesus Christ you're going to teach these things.
Then he goes on to say this right after that. He said in the end of verse 6, "Nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse," so he's saying nothing on the meat table is to be refused but here is what you ought to refuse. Don’t refuse the pork. Don’t refuse shrimp. He says, "Refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation."
Now another thing that you need to keep in mind is that first Timothy 4 is a parallel passage with Titus chapter 1. Now flip over to Titus 1 and this is very clearly a parallel passage because of the fact that if we look at the contents of Titus chapter 1 toward the beginning of the chapter, we wee the qualifications for the pastor. Isn't that exactly what we saw in first Timothy 3? In first Timothy 3 qualifications for a pastor, same thing as dealt with in Titus 1 where it says in verse 7, "A bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled," and on and on.
Then as soon as he finishes giving the qualifications for the pastor in Titus 1, he says in verse 10, "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped." Wait a minute. What are we doing here? We're going straight from qualifications of the pastor to let's talk about false prophets and false teachers whose mouths must be stopped. That’s the exact order of first Timothy chapter 3 dealt with the one and then chapter 4 we get into the false teachers.
Look at how he uses some of the same exact wording. It says in Titus chapter 10 that these deceivers, especially of the circumcision, verse 11, "Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth."
Now stop and think about this for a minute; commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Now doesn’t turning from the truth sound an awful lot like departing from the faith? Notice how he says here that they're giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. What did he warn us about in first Timothy 4? Fables. That’s not a word that the bible uses a whole lot. It's interesting how the exact words are being used and it shows that these are 2 parallel passages here, because over here he's warning about fables, fables over here, people are turning from the truth, people are departing from the faith.
Let's keep reading, "Unto the pure all things are pure." Now doesn’t that sound familiar? What God has cleansed, that call not thou common or unclean. He says, "Unto the pure all things are pure," verse 15 of Titus 1, "But unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and …" What?
Speaker 1: "Conscience is defiled." What did it say about the conscience over in first Timothy 4?
Speaker 1: That conscience is seared with a hot iron. Over here its saying, "These people's conscience is defiled." Is there any doubt that we're talking about the same thing here? It's pretty clear. Obviously, he's writing to 2 different pastors and he wants to give them the same teaching, but he's using different words when he talks to Timothy and when he talks to Titus. The Holy Spirit is guiding him to do that so we can get 2 different perspectives here of the same teaching.
He says, "That their conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." These false teachers they profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him. Wouldn't that be hypocrisy? When you say and do not, that makes you hypocrite. What did the bible say in first Timothy 4? Speaking wise in hypocrisy. Over here, he's saying, "They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him." What they're saying does not match what they're doing because they're hypocrites. It all fits together perfectly when you compare these 2 passages.
Then it says that unto every good work that they reprobate. Using the word reprobate about these particular false teachers, that kind that goes well with the fact that they are teaching doctrines of devils; they're that demonic that they are actually reprobate. It's interesting to compare those 2 passages and what you take from that; go back to first Timothy chapter 4 now with that in mind, is that you understand once you see that there are just all these parallels that are impossible to just ignore. You clearly see it's a parallel passage.
Then you understand that when the bible is telling you, "Hey, eat the meats that God has given you, nothing is to be refused." Then he follows that up with but what you ought to refuse, verse 7, is profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. What do we know bout those fables from Titus 1? That they're Jewish fables. Again, we can see here that in these latter days we need to beware of this Judaizing influence that tells us to abstain from meats and tries to bring us under that dietary code of the Old Testament, which was temporary, which is done away in the New Testament.
Now go to Colossians chapter 2; keep your finger in first Timothy 4. We'll go to Colossians chapter 2. Colossians chapter 2 mentions a similar teaching also about meats. It says in verse number 14 of chapter 2, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross, and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat …" notice that, don’t let anyone judge you in meat, "… or in drink, or in respect of an holyday …" that will be our word holiday, just change the Y to an I, "… or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."
Right there again, we see don’t let people judge you and tell you, "Hey, you need to be observing these holydays. You need to be abstaining from these meats. You need to be observing the Sabbath." This is something that God warns us against in the last days and tells us we need to remind people that there is going to be a departure from the faith and these are the lines along which it's going to depart. It's going to be a departure in the form of Roman Catholicism. That’s your forbidding to marry. That’s what he saw there prophetically about that. Of course, the largest apostolate church in the world is the Roman Catholic Church.
Then we also see that there's a movement amongst the non-Catholics that’s basically following this Jewish fable, Hebrews Roots Movement that we also need to be aware of. These are 2 things that the spirit expressly saw fit to warn us about in these last days. Let's keep reading first Timothy chapter 4. It says in verse 9, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe."
I love that verse because it shows that Jesus Christ died for everybody, not just the saved. There's a false teaching out there that says, "Hey, he didn’t really die for everybody. He only died for the people that we're going to get saved and it's all for ordain and there's nothing we can do about it and unsaved people we can’t control. Either he died for me or he didn’t and we don’t really know, so we just got to wait and see," whereas we believe that Jesus Christ died for everybody. Because the bible says that he, by the grace of God, should taste that for every man. He's a savior of all men, but then it says, "Especially of those that believe," meaning that he is the savior of those who don’t believe.
Now that’s not going to do them any good because the bible says, for example, in Hebrews chapter 4, "Unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them. But the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." The gospel is available to all men. The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, but it doesn’t do any good unto them unless there's faith in those that hear it. They have to believe on the gospel in order to be saved, but it's available unto all.
That’s why the bible says, "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." Hey, jut kidding because there's only certain people and it's already picked and you can’t pick for yourself. Really? It's crazy, but that’s what's they believe but no. Here's a really clear scripture that says that he's the savior of all men. It doesn’t mean that they're saved.
It'd be like this. Let's say we're swimming at the pool and there's a lifeguard. He's the lifeguard of all men. He's not there just to protect 1 person. He's not there to just protect a couple of people. The lifeguard at the pool is there to protect everybody. Isn't that his stated goal? Or does he say, "Wait a minute. You didn’t buy a subscription, so I'm not going to save you when you're drowning. You have to be a member. Show me your wristband." He's not just going to let somebody drown. He is the savior of all men. He is a savior in a sense, in a physical sense. A lifeguard is saving people, not from hell, not from their sins, but he's saving them from drowning.
Here's the thing though. It's still possible for somebody to drown in that pool. It doesn’t mean that he wasn’t their savior. For example, let's say somebody is drowning or something and the lifeguard is saying, "Hey, give me your hand," or whatever and he's trying to help them and they're biting him. It's a silly illustration, but the bottom line is just because the savior is available doesn’t mean you're saved. The lifeguard actually would have to reach in and pull you out, throw you the swim ring. You're going to have to grab something, whatever.
The Calvinist would say, "Oh, no. We're all dead. We're all just laying in the pool and he just drags us all out." That’s not what the bible says. We have to call out to the lifeguard is what the bible says. The lifeguard has got his eyes closed and we have to yell out, "Help," and then he's going to help. The bottom line is that bible teaches that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, so that savior is there to save you but he's not going to save you unless you call upon him. It's that simple and you can’t call upon him until you believe on him. You can’t believe on him until you've heard about him and you hear by the word of God that’s preached unto you.
You say, "God has to draw him." Yes, but when they hear the word of God preached, that’s the draw right there. That’s how it got draws. This lie of Calvinism just says, "Oh, it's all for ordain. God picks. We're all just dead to the point where we can’t even choose Christ." Then why did he say choose life? Why did he say, "I'm standing before you life and death"? Now choose life, but psych you can’t choose because it's all a lie because I've already picked and you're so dead. You're totally depraved.
Look, it's a man-made false doctrine and it's made by man's reason and man's logic. The pseudo-intellectuals who go down deep, stay down long and come up dry it is not a biblical doctrine. Because look, you're looking at it in the bible right in front of you, aren't you? Then he's the savior of all men. All just means those who are saved. Then why does it say especially of those that believe? Especially them because they're the ones who actually get saved. He's to say everybody's savior.
Look, he's the God of the whole earth. Every knee shall bow. Every tongue shall confess someday that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Hey, he's the God of the whole earth, but you're not saved until you call out, "Help, help." Then the lifeguard is going to save you. He will not until you believe, until you call. That’s what the bible says. It's not just an automatic salvation because you're selected, you're chosen. No, you have to call out to him. That’s what that verse is teaching right there.
He says in verse 11, "These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." He's talking to a younger preacher telling him. "Look. Be an example of the believers. Don’t let anybody look down on you and criticize you because you're young. Show them how it's done." He says in word and then he says in conversation. Now the word conversation here it's not the word that we would typically think of conversation today, of having a conversation meaning we're chatting. When the bible says conversation, it's talking about the way that you live your life.
Now the way that you can prove that from the bible, because a lot of people will say, "That’s an archaic word and we can’t understand it." The bible defines itself because the bible will often use the word conversant, talking about people who live in a certain place. It says, "Oh, the Jews and this tribe and these other people that were conversant among them," meaning that they're liv- … you can tell them the context, it means they're living among them. If you look up every time conversation is used, you can very clearly see that it's talking about the manner of life, the way that you live your life.
What does he's saying? Be an example of the believers in what you say. Be an example of the believers in how you live your life. Then he's saying of course be an example in word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith, purity; till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. There's a reason why we do these things in church the way that we do, because we read a full chapter of the bible before the sermon, because the bible says, "Till I come, give attendance to reading." He's not talking about just personal bible reading here, because he's talking to a preacher and he's talking about in church. He says, "Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine."
Now what's exhortation? Exhortation is when you're trying to get people motivated to do something, someone who hear a sermon and it's not as much a teaching sermon, as much as just to get you going sermon, a sermon to try to get you excited about going so or get you excited about reading your bible or trying to motivate you to pray more, trying to motivate you to do some work for God, that’s an exhortation. Like the bible says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another and so much the more as we see the day approaching."
Exhorting one another meaning try to motivate people to come to church, try to get people fired up about coming to church. Tell them, "Hey, are you going to be there? Let's go to church. Let's do it." That’s exhorting one another, do not forsake the assembly. Then doctrine just simply means teaching. He's saying when we go to church, we want to have bible reading and then we also want to have exhortation. We don’t want to just teach doctrine with no application to the listener. I just get up and say, "Hey, here's what the bible means." You don’t want to apply it and try to get people motivated to do something with what they're learning. That’s the exhortation.
Then the doctrine. Then he says to this pastor also in verse 14, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." Of course, this is referring to the gift of the Holy Spirit, the fullness of the Holy Ghost that’s through the laying on of hands. He's filled with the spirit of God. The bible's teaching here that that’s not just a permanent state here. He's saying, "Don’t neglect the gift that is given thee."
Just because you were once a spirit-filled preacher, Timothy, doesn’t mean you can just rest on those laurels, neglect your spiritual walk because he's going to get back and walk in the flesh. He's telling him, "No. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." Presbytery means the elders.
It says in verse 15, "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." Now the thing that’s being emphasized here in verse 16 is the same thing he said a few verses earlier when he said, "Be an example of the believers." He's taking, "Take heed unto yourself and the doctrine. Hey, neglect not the gift that is in you."
See, in order for someone to be an effective preacher and effective pastor, they have to do the same work. They have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. This is in contrast to what we saw earlier in the passage about false teachers. What are they doing? They're speaking lies and hypocrisy. We started out the chapter; look at verse 1, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy." That’s how we start the chapter.
Then we end the chapter with the exact opposite. Instead of talking about seducing spirits and doctrines, now we're talking about the Holy Spirit. He's saying, "The gift that’s in you." Neglect not the gift that’s in you and the Holy Spirit is often referred to as the gift of the Hoy Ghost. He's saying, "Neglect not the gift that’s in you," and then he's saying, "Take heed under yourself and to the doctrine." Don’t be a hypocrite. Walk the walk and talk the talk. Take heed unto thyself and to the doctrine. Continue in them; what's the opposite of continuing in them? Falling away, departing from them.
You see how this chapter, even though it might feel like you change his gears a few times, it actually all fits together. He starts out telling us about false teachers and then he ends up telling us, "Look, this is the right kind of a teacher." The wrong kind of a teacher is this forbidding to marry Catholic priests phony and he's got his conscience seared with a hot iron. He's a liar. He's a hypocrite. He says, "The wrong kind of a teacher is the guy who's saying, 'Hey, the way that you're going to show how spiritual you are is by abstaining from pork and shrimp and trying to bring us under stuff that God doesn’t even require.'" What the false teacher is is the guy who is telling you that Jesus is not the savior of all men.
These are 3 avenues of false teaching. He contrasts this demonic teaching with a spirit-filled teaching that’s taught by a man who is filled with the Holy Ghost and who is living the life and being an example unto the believers in his word, but also in his conversation, also in the way that he lives his life. It says that he's taking heed unto himself and to the doctrine. Go to 1 place more tonight, Acts chapter number 20.
The reason that is a great chapter to think about and meditate on and emphasize is because it's a chapter that’s warning us about things that we're going to deal with in the latter times. It's applicable to us today. These are the type of things that we see in our world today, the type of false teaching that we run into. I've seen more of this abstain-from-meat talk in the last year that I've seen in my whole life, seriously. This kind of false teaching is ramping up, which is a sign of the times. It's a sign of the last days.
Acts chapter 20, verse number 28. The bible says, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." Again, similar wording here, take heed to yourself and to the flock. Feed the flock, teach others, but take heed unto yourself also.
This goes not just for pastors, but this also goes for any type of a leader which would include mothers, fathers, husbands, bosses, all types of leadership. We need to make sure that we don’t get so busy teaching everybody else and helping everybody else and worrying about everybody else that we neglect our own spiritual life that we start neglecting the gift that’s in us and that we stopped taking heed unto ourselves and basically just get so worried about teaching and preaching others that we're not taking time to read the bible for ourselves. We're not spending time on our own spiritual walk because if we fail, we're not going to be able to help anybody else.
It reminds me when I survive airplanes all the time. They would always tell you every time and I used to have the thing totally memorized because I flew every single week multiple times. There are 6 exits on the plane. 2 of the exits are in the front, 2 over the wings and 2 to the rear. Take a moment to locate the exit nearest you, keeping in mind that the nearest exit may be behind you. In the event of water landing, your sea cushion will act as a floatation device. I'm like, "That’s great. We're crashing and I'm going to hug a pillow."
Anyway, you hear it many times but here's what they'd always say. They'd say, "If the cabin loses pressure, an oxygen mask will fall. Pull down on the oxygen mask to start the flow of oxygen. Pull on the 2 rubber bands to put on." Here's they always tell you, "Make sure that you put on your own mask before trying to help those around you." Even if you have little kids or elderly people, they say, "Always put on your own mask first." Why? Because if you don’t, if you just, "Oh, I got to help everybody around me. Here little Johnny, let me get this on you," and then you passed out. You lose consciousness.
How can you help anybody if you're passed out? First, you take heed unto yourself then you take heed unto the doctrine. It started like what Jesus said when he said, "First, take the beam out of thine own eye then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." We should always be careful that we put our own spiritual oxygen mask on before we try to help the people around us.
Now just to give you a practical application of this, here's a mistake that I've seen people make. For example, they'll say things like, "I'm trying to get my teenager to go to church," or my adult child to go to church. The only church that they'll go to is this liberal fun center. They won’t darken the door of faithful word. For their sake, I'm just going to take them down to Cornerstone down in Chandler or whatever. I'm going to take them down to Cornerstone, the big fun, mega fun center that’s a mockery of religion down there. I'm going to take them down to cornerstone because it's where they're willing to go.
You know what? They feel like they're just spiritually invincible. When guess what? You go in, the Cornerstone is going to screw you up but they think that they're just spiritually invincible or something. First of all, bringing your loved one to Cornerstone is not going to help them anyway. It's just going to make them twofold more child of hell taking them to that wicked placed. The bottom line is you say, "What's the matter about Cornerstone?" I'm sick of seeing their weird billboards on the 202 Santan Freeway. They have the most perverse, offensive blasphemous billboards. It's unbelievable. That’s a whole another sermon of itself.
The thing is you got to realize, "Hey, wait a minute. I need to go to church, not just for other people but for myself." I need to go to church for myse- … Look, you know why you're here tonight? You know why you ought to be here? You got to be here for your own spiritual benefit, not just I'm bringing these other people straighten them out. Straighten you out, because all of us need to be straightened out like 3 times a week, because all of us are susceptible to getting backslidden, anyone of us. Great, there's a dust storm coming. Everybody's phone is going to start. Even if you put the phones on silent, don’t you hate that? They do that dust storm warning thing. It's all over the building. It's going off.
If this were Pentecostal Church, I would be like, "The devil doesn’t want you to hear this message." The devil is using [Ms. Hilary 00:42:12]. The bottom line is though sometimes we get so focused on so and so, would straighten out. You know what? Honestly, we need to take heed unto ourselves and make sure that our oxygen mask is firmly in place all the time and not to just think we got to help this person, help that person, help my spouse. Look, it's great to help other people but you can’t help anybody if you get backslidden. You're going to be dragging everybody down.
That’s why you got to go to the church that’s feeding you. You got to go to the church that’s firing you up and that’s helping you walk with God and live for the Lord. Here's what some people will say, "I know this church is a better church and I'm going to get better. Is this actually me now?" Somebody shut this thing off for me. I'll do it. Yes, confirm. I'll stay indoors. We're going to long on the sermon tonight, because I'm just worried about you guys out in the storm. I was kidding.
A lot of people will have this attitude like this where I know that that church is where I would get the most spiritual blessing, but this church needs me because it's like a dead church and I'm the only soul winner or I'm the only one who is under 90 years old or whatever in the church left. I heard somebody say this one time. They said, "Don’t go to the church that needs you. Go to the church that you need," and I agree with that. Go to the church that you need. If the church needs you, then there's something wrong with that church. The church should be able to stand alone.
This attitude of just I got to go help them out, because they're so lame I got to help them out, it's like, "No. Go to the church that you need," because you know what? Your spirituality is in jeopardy, too. You're not immune from ever getting backslidden. In 21015, you need to go to the best possible church that you can find and get to the best possible preaching, because we all need as much help as we can these days to stay on the right path because we're living in perilous times. Get in the church that you need, not the church that needs you.
A lot of people are tempted to go to the church that needs them, because they like to be a big fish in a little pond. They don’t want to be a little fish in a big pond. They feel like a big shot being the only soul winner, being the only person under 85 or whatever, because of the fact that then they feel they're real important and everything like that. You know what though? Let's not play games. Our spiritual lives are important. Our kids are important, our wives, our husband, whatever. You need to get in to church that’s feeding you and admonishing you and giving you the reading, the exhortation and the doctrine that you need.
Take heed unto yourself. There's nothing unspiritual about taking heed unto yourself. It's very spiritual to obey Christ's command to take heed unto yourself, to get the beam out of own eye. Even there pastors, he's saying, "Look, don’t lose at yourself." They're pastors who get so busy winning the world to Christ that they let their family fall apart. It's out there. They are pastors who don’t spend time with their children, because they're running a Christian school for other people's children.
They were pastors who were traveling all over the nation and traveling and preaching all over the nation hardly ever at home, hardly ever with their wife and their kids. It's like, "I'm sacrificing to get all these people," but it's like take heed unto yourself. Take heed unto your wife. Take heed unto your children. Look, you're not doing anybody any favors by neglecting your wife and neglecting your kids so you can serve God more, because when you get divorced you're going to screw up so many people that it's going to harm more than it would have if you just would've done a little less of your ministry. You know what I'm saying? If you're a pastor, think about it. People are looking at you, you're a pastor. If your marriage falls apart, you're going to hurt a lot of people.
Think about that. If you're a pastor and your kids grow up and go to the devil, you're going to dissolution a lot of people. You're going to hurt a lot of people. You got to be careful that you don’t just get I'm saving everybody else's marriage. I'm saving all these churches and neglecting my own church, neglecting my own wife, neglecting my own kids. No, keep your own oxygen mask firmly in place. Take heed unto yourself and unto the doctrine. He is not saying, "Hey, be self-centered and forget everybody else." No, he's just saying, "Yourself and others." Make sure to get your beam out of your own eye first before you try to help other people. That’s what he's saying.
We don’t want to get mixed up and think others, others, others at the expense of making sure that we're walking with God and that our own family is walking with God. That’s important, too. At the end of the day you're going to do more for others by taking heed unto yourself because he said, "Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."
The outcome of taking heed unto yourself is that you help yourself and others. The outcome of neglecting self and only dealing with other people's spiritual growth is that basically you end up in the long run helping no one because you end up burning out, crash and burn, fall apart. Marriage falls apart. Kids go to the devil. It happens all the time and we've all seen it if we've been in church for a long time. If we've been in church for decades, we've seen the crash and burn.
We've seen the pastor who travels all over America, firing everybody up while all of his kids turn away or his wife is dissolutioned or his own church is wondering where he's at. That’s part of the reason why. If you've noticed, I've been pastoring here for a decade. Have you ever noticed I've never preached at any other church on Sundays and Wednesdays? That’s because no one ever invites me to preach because no one wants to hear me. That’s part of it, but anyway.
Here's the thing. I have had rarely somebody, "Hey, preach Wednesday night, Sunday night." I always tell people, "Hey, I will be a guest preacher but I will never do Wednesday night or Sunday morning or Sunday night," because to me it makes no sense to leave this church and go preach at some other church. This Friday night I'm preaching in another church, but it's not at the expense of this church. It's not me just every week just going somewhere else just gone, gone, gone, constantly gone. No, because what's going on here is the most important thing. What's going on at Faithful Word Baptist Church is number 1 to me, because this is the flock that God has made me the overseer up and my family is number 1 to someone else's family.
That’s the way it has to be and so that’s why I've made a point to not and look. I've been in churches where the pastor is constantly gone. You're like, "Where is he?" Oh, he's preaching at this place. I'm just thinking like, "Are we chopped liver?" What's the deal? Why are you preaching to them and then you get the B team preaching to you. It's cool to have a guest preacher. I always like it when there was a guest preacher and the pastor is there, because then you feel like, "Hey, you're being upgraded," or we're bringing in a special treat. We're going to listen to this guy preach. Not like, "The pastor is out gallivanting so we had to find something."
Now look, I've on occasion over the last 10 years I've missed services for major overseas trip. I went to Germany one time. I went to Norway one time. Obviously, you can’t really do that and be back in 3 days. I've done a few major trips like that. I've missed a few services for childbirth or being sick or something. I'll say I've made it a point to try to be here just because I feel like this is the most important place for me to be and not guest preaching here, there and everywhere. If I get a guest-preaching gig, it'd better be on a weeknight and it's not going to be on Sunday or Wednesday.
I'm not saying that pastors are wrong who do that. I'm saying that I didn’t like it when I was a church member so I'm not going to do it where it says you're just always gone. Because I feel like this church should be my number 1 priority of taking heed unto the people that are here and not trying to fix everybody else. That’s secondary.
All that to say this first Timothy chapter 4 is a very applicable chapter today, because it warns us of what a false teacher looks like, what false teaching looks like in the latter times and it gives us some admonitions about what the right kind of teacher and what the right kind of leader is so that we can be those right kind of teachers and those right kind of leaders where we are filled with the spirit and teaching the right kind of doctrine, whether as a pastor to the flock or whether as a mother teaching her small children. Not being a hypocrite, not teaching them at the expense of her own walk with God but making sure to take heed unto yourself.
Mothers can get real busy cooking for everybody else and then they don’t eat. Mothers get busy, making sure all the kids are in bed and tucked in and check it 5 times. Everybody got water and the diaper and whatever they need and then not sleeping. The bottom line is you have to make sure that you don’t crash and burn yourself. You got to take care of yourself. You got to take heed unto yourself also.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for Your word Lord. We thank you for these warnings so that in these perilous times we don’t have to just wonder what the truth is or who we should listen to. There are so many voices out there, so many preachers and so many different religions and denominations that are all saying that they're right. Thank you for not just leaving us to figure it out on our own, but thank you for giving us a chapter that tells us what the spirit expressly tells us are the religions that we should stay away from.
Lord, help us to take that advice and to run screaming in the other direction from these people who were commanding us to abstain from meats, Lord, because they are teaching false doctrine. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.