As you come to meet with God, give thanks for as many blessings in your life as you can think of.
Read 1 Timothy 3:14—4:5
Reasons for Paul’s Instructions
14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
4 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow do you grow in godliness?
The false teachers in Ephesus had a pretty clear idea of how to grow in godliness, with rules against marriage and food (4:3). These rules may have sprung from their notion that the resurrection of believers (1 Cor. 15:20–23) had already happened (2 Tim. 2:18). The logic was something like: if the end has come and we have full access to all God’s blessings now, then marriage is no longer (Matt. 22:30) and we should eat (vegetarian) as in Eden! These “all God’s blessings now” sorts of movements tend either to asceticism or excess, but never to godliness.
So how do you grow in godliness? Look to Jesus in worship (3:16): the eternal Son of God became one of us, gave his life as a ransom for us (2:6), defeated death for us and one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! That’s how a person is made godly, not by rules and rituals, but by realizing and rejoicing that in real history God gave himself for us and now calls us to know him personally. The church is to be the pillar and foundation of this truth (3:15). And it really matters when people depart from it (4:1,2).
There is a tendency in parts of the Western church to politely put up with false teaching. How would Paul advise your church leaders to respond? How should you respond?
Pray for your church and leaders today.
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