Jump Start # 2818
1 Timothy 1:3 “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines”
Our verse today brings a heavy task to the young preacher Timothy. Things were not going well in Ephesus. Some were not content with the Biblical plan and pattern. New things were being taught and they weren’t right. Timothy was given the job to stop them. These teachings fueled speculation not truth. They were fruitless discussion that were capsizing the faith of many. Later, Paul would refer to these strange doctrines as “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” These teachers we are told had a “morbid interest in controversial questions” which lead to envy, strive, abusive language and suspicions.
All of this makes me think of the hymn that begins, “Troublesome times are here, filling men’s hearts with fear.” Wild ideas, strange doctrines, become like dandelions in your yard. At first, one or two. Within a week, the yard is nearly covered. And, spreading rumors, errors, and unfounded ideas are just like that. At first, one hears that one or two are starting to promote some odd ideas. Next thing you know, they have gotten a whole gathering who are right with them. Like mold on a wall, error doesn’t go away. Most times, it spreads until there is a real serious problem.
So, it fell upon young Timothy to put a stop to the weeds growing in God’s garden. He had to instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines. This sure seems like the work that an apostle ought to do, but Paul gave it to Timothy. It also certainly looks like the work that an older preacher ought to do, not a younger one. Later in this book, Paul tells Timothy to drink some wine for his stomach sake. One has to wonder if the stomach problems were connected to the church problems. Was Timothy developing an ulcer because the wheels were coming off this congregation?
And, what we need to realize is that across this land, there are many young preachers today who are having to do what Timothy did. Strange things are being taught and shared. People are getting confused and are doubting. Some are walking away and not coming back. These young preachers recognize the trouble and they understand that if they do not try to stop the spread, the entire church may become corrupt.
Here are some thoughts:
First, God bless these young Timothys today who have the nerve, courage and faith to speak out for what is right. Far too many do not see the dangers and worse, far too many are drinking the poison that is being spread through books, social media, podcasts and the voice of those who are not standing firm with the Lord. I have been there. It’s scary. And, for the young preacher, with a young family, a mortgage, and a car payment, he realizes that he could easily be asked to leave and be without any income. He wonders why no one else will say anything. He loves the kingdom and the Lord so much that he realizes that he cannot remain silent and just let things go on.
Second, Timothy had to be able to recognize what was not right. To know strange doctrine, one needs to know sound doctrine. It is important that one understands what is being said and what is being taught that is not correct. Doing your homework, getting things straight in your mind needs to take place before one tries to stop the spread of error. Misquoting, taking things out of context, over reacting, saying things that no one is saying will weaken and lessen what one says. You cannot defeat error by being erroneous yourself. Know what you are talking about. Know why something is “strange.”
Third, Timothy had a Paul who encouraged him on. Multiple times in this letter Paul tells Timothy to prescribe these things and to teach what is right. If what the young Timothy is doing is right and Biblical, let him know that you are with him, support him and are there to encourage him. One of the thoughts that runs through the mind of a courageous Timothy is “am I the only one who sees this?” “Why aren’t others stepping up and doing anything?” And, those are honest questions. The fight for truth needs all of those who love the Lord to stand and fight the good fight of faith.
Fourth, Timothy had to deal with the age factor. Paul warned Timothy, “do not let anyone despise your youth.” A young preacher trying to correct an older member most times does not go well. And, the reason it does not go well is because the older member won’t give the younger preacher any consideration that what he is saying might be right. The age difference can create a lot of problems. Timothy was to instruct certain men not to teach what they were teaching. You can imagine how that would turn out. It sounds like a dog fight was about to take place, but on Timothy’s side was truth. And, with God you are always in the majority. David and Goliath. Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Moses and the golden calf worshippers. Now, it was Timothy’s turn. Timothy, armed with truth, and a heart full of conviction, was to instruct those not to teach strange things. Biblical truth triumphs every time over error, speculation and theories. Quoting God always defeats the words of man.
Somethings never change. Today, there are strange doctrines floating about. What we need are brave, strong and faithful people like Timothy who will stand up for what is right and not tolerate the destruction of faith and the ways of God.