When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth. Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God. – 1 Timothy 1:3-4
Paul opened this personal letter to his spiritual son with an admonishment to stop the practice of false doctrine being taught in the city of Ephesus. There were apparently people calling themselves teachers of the Mosaic Law and went about teaching it falsely. Paul set the record straight on the matter and wanted the practice ended.
I’ve grown up with false doctrine taught by many good-hearted, well-intended preachers but who failed to see the light of the Truth. I’ve even had pastors come and apologize for preaching things in the past they thought were truth at the time, but through personal growth and spiritual maturity, realized they’d taught wrong things. From this passage we have a God-given mandate to stop the spread of false doctrine. We are to do so in love, but we do it by speaking the Truth in love and having our speech seasoned with grace that we may be able to answer all men everywhere why we believe what we believe and to state it correctly!
Paul addressed the situation eloquently in writing despite his self-admitted speech problems when he wrote, “The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions. They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses [nowadays as teachers of the Bible], but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently” (1 Timothy 1:5-7).
Be careful what YOU allow to enter your heart from so-called preachers! YOU are responsible to work out your salvation with fear and trembling not the person behind the podium. YOUR faith comes by hearing, and by hearing the Word of God, not false doctrine. YOUR faith must produce works, or it’s dead! YOU must be the DOER of the Word not just a HEARER!
As Paul wrote elsewhere, “in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
He also said, ”
Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming [it’s here now] when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you” (2 Timothy 4:2-5).
Stop the madness, and preach the truth!
Father, thank you for teaching us that Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life, and that he is the only way to you! There is no other LORD AND KING but your Son, JESUS! Help us to stop the spread of false teaching and false doctrine that does exactly like your servant Paul told us, “missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions.” The people want to listen to so-called preachers that tell them what they want to hear rather than what you tell us to say! Heaven have mercy upon us! I humble myself before you and ask that your will be done in my life, not mine. I want to speak only what you tell me to say. In Jesus’ name, Amen.