1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV) 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;
At one point in time, those who taught the Gospel were held to a certain standard. A Biblical standard. A holy standard. God’s standard. The people of God were students of the Bible in the sense that they accepted their responsibility to read and study the Word of God for themselves, and it showed in their daily lifestyles. By doing so, they were better prepared to hold their spiritual leaders accountable for teaching the pure, unadulterated Word of God.
Somewhere along the way, something has changed. We can observe that some “teachers” have strayed away from the central message of the Gospel of the Kingdom: Jesus Christ is Lord of all to the glory of God the Father. This is centered around several things:
- Jesus came into the world (Mt. 1:18-25; Lk. 2:1-7),
- Jesus died for the sins of the world at Calvary (Mt. 27:32-56); Mk. 15:21-41; Lk. 23:26-49); Jn. 19:17-37),
- Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day (Mt. 28:1-10; Mk. 16:1-8; Lk. 24:1-12; Jn. 20:1-9),
- Jesus ascended into Heaven and is sitting on the right hand of God the Father (Mk. 16:19; Lk. 24:51; Acts 1:9-11; Heb. 1:3), and
- Jesus is coming back again (Jn. 14:3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
Everything else in the Scriptures revolves around this central teaching of the faith. However, we are living in times described by the Apostle Paul as “the latter times”. Paul says,
1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV) 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
We have witnessed many, who once proclaimed the Gospel, fall away into teaching strange doctrines that do not align with the Word of God. In addition to this, those who attend weekly services have ceased from reading and studying the Word of God for themselves, so they cannot call out erroneous teaching because they do not know the difference. Satan has seduced them by sending a message that resembles the Word of God on the surface, but lacks the essence of the Spirit of God which brings vitality to the Scriptures. It is laced with deception and is resistant against the whole truth of God’s Word. Paul correctly calls it “speaking lies in hypocrisy” (1 Tim. 4:2). At some point, the people will begin to believe in the lies they are being told weekly to the point will lead to the “great falling away” mentioned in the Scriptures occurs (2 Thess. 2:3).
How do we combat this evil, demonic plan of Satan? We combat the plan of Satan by returning to teaching the pure unadulterated Word of God. The only way erroneous teaching can be defeated is by teaching the truths found in God’s Word. Paul gives us the prescription for combatting this spiritual infiltration:
2 Timothy 1:6-9 (KJV) Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
Paul has also given us other offensive and defensive strategies to use in our arsenal as we wage war against erroneous teachings:
- 1 Timothy 4:6-7 (KJV) 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. 7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
- 1 Timothy 4:16 (KJV) 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.
- 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (KJV) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 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.
- 1 Timothy 6:20-21 (KJV) O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.
- 2 Timothy 1:13-14 (KJV) Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
- 2 Timothy 2:14-16 (KJV) 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. 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
Paul teaches us in the Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 6:
Ephesians 6:10-20 (KJV) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
This holds true for us today as well. The Bible teaches us:
Ecclesiastes 1:9 (KJV) The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
In other words, we are fighting against the same spirit of error and deceit that was prevalent in Paul’s day and that of the first century Church. Satan is a master of repackaging his lies to make them relevant to the contemporary context and culture. But John warns us:
1 John 4:1-6 (KJV) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
As long as we continue to strive in faith, there will always be hope. We can never allow Satan to gain the upper hand as we engage in spiritual warfare against doctrinal error. We have been called for this very hour to be watchmen on the wall to hold up the standard of Godly teaching (Eze. 3:16-21). If we do not warn the Body of Christ concerning these things, we will be held accountable because we know the truth and have not proclaimed it at every provided opportunity. Think on these things…