Faithful Men Oppose Deceit
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared — 1 Timothy 4:1-2
Over the last couple of years, many Christians have left the faith. We have departed the faith by doing exactly what Paul talks about here.
But to understand the application, we have to understand the issue that Paul is trying to combat, and he's been laying the groundwork for this since the start of his letter. He wants Timothy to know that he's going to have to take a stand against spiritual forces, and he's going to need some men and leaders to do this with him. With the hymn in the last few verses, he established a doctrinal basis founded on the person of Jesus from beginning to end. But in these verses, he contrasts Jesus with the opposition. And he calls these people "hypocritical liars." And then, he describes what they are doing using pretty descriptive language. He tells Timothy that they are former believers who have devoted themselves to spirits and demons that are deceitful and that they have become so entrenched they refuse to change.
I want you to know that I am thinking about this battle and this spiritual opposition all the time today. The volume and intensity of lies and deceit in our world have rapidly increased over the last few years. There is so much deceitfulness and lying in government, the workplace, and the church that my head is spinning. There is so much of it that it's hard to know what to do or say, and because of this, I think it's easy to get so overwhelmed that we become timid and disengage. Which is precisely what Paul does not want Timothy to do. He needs Timothy to stay in the game. He needs him to be faithful and prepare a group of faithful men to lead the church in Ephesus.
And that's what I am trying to do. I am trying to do my part right here with you. Because the worst thing we could do right now is do nothing.
So what do you need to do? For some of you, this might mean you need to dig into God's truth more consistently to steer clear of lies and deceit. For others, this might mean you need to find a group of men who are eager to study and search the truth together. For still others, this might be the time for you to lead a group of men toward truth. But if you feel any or all of these calls to action, you need to do something about it. Because the worst thing we could do in times like this is nothing. So don't do nothing. That's how we got into this mess in the first place.
ASK THIS: What do you need to do?
DO THIS: Take one step today, like right now.
PRAY THIS: God, may my convictions become actions that bring glory to you and your name.
PLAY THIS: Build My Life.
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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.
Thank you for this message. Our daughters are listening to the lies and deceitful words, leading them away from the truth we brought them up with. I appreciate the reminder that we need to stay firm in the word.
James 1:22 – “Do not merely listen to The Word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says!
Brother Vince, you are so right about these things, and I (we) thank you for reminding us and pointing us toward where the truth is loud and clear: in the holy word of Almighty God. The more we see and understand what Scripture reveals about our condition, the less we’ll fear, and the more we’ll be able to stand against the schemes of the devil (Eph 6:11).
I’m also reminded this morning that there are two inaccurate and dangerous responses we are tempted to as we face the enemy’s lies and the world’s easy acceptance of his direction: We can blithely believe that it’s really not that bad and doesn’t require us to take a stand. Not true! God is looking for, and building up, men of passionate dependence of the Lord Jesus to represent him in every arena of life, and he’s given us one another to build each other up in our most holy faith (Jude 20) — it’s a co-mission. He never intended that we do this alone.
But let us never forget that the battle is already won. We who belong to him are on the winning side — this is guaranteed because in God’s outside-of-time view it’s happening right now. We can be free from fear and despair and filled with praise and delight because Jesus has secured the victory. But — we have to engage the battle if we want to rejoice in the win. This is our call and charge — thank you for the daily reminders and encouragement to this end!