1 Timothy 4

1. God Spirit clearly tells us that in the last days there will be men who leave the true faith and listen to lying spirits and the teachings of demons.

Whether we believe it or not, the accuser tries to put thoughts in our minds.  We are told to capture these thoughts before they get out of control. 2 Corinthians 10:5

There are three kinds of thoughts:

God's thoughts

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8 – 9

Our thoughts

“I think I will drink some water.”

The enemy's thoughts

“Did God really say that?” Genesis 3:1

“All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:9

What can we do?

So that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his traps. 2 Corinthians 2:11

Any kind of accusations (especially the kind that come to your mind again and again) are from the enemy. Do not blame other people for the accuser's thoughts. Revelation 12:10

The enemy has no right unless you give him territory to stand in your life. Take back this territory so that there will be no basis for these thoughts. Ephesians 4:27

This does not mean we are at his mercy, or that he has a part of us.  It means he will take territory in our lives and homes if we let him.  If your faith tradition does not believe these things then you are ignoring them at your own danger.

Falling away means leaving the faith. Ask 20:29 – 30, 2 Thessalonians 2:3
But when the Son of Man returns, how many will He find on the earth who have faith?” Luke 18:8

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. Matthew 24:12

Because they did not want to believe the truth, God turned them over to believe a lie. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 – 11

2. The demons will use men as lying hypocrites, whose consciences have been burned out.

Notice that demons want to teach. The problem here is not false human teachers filling the head, but lying spirits filling the heart. James 3:5, 1 John 4:1 – 3

3. These men say that you should not get married and that you should not eat certain foods.  These are good things which God created for those who believe and know the truth to enjoy.

In our day, this has this has been changed to say that it is better to live together without being married.

One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.
Let not the one who eats hate the one who does not, and let not the one who does not pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Romans 14:2 – 3

4 – 5

Everything God made is good and we should use it - not hate it,  but be grateful  for what  He has given. For these things are blessed by the Word of God and by prayer.

What God has made clean, do not call unclean. Acts 10:15

See also 1 Cor 10:31, Colossians 2:21.

6. You will be a faithful servant of Jesus if you remind God's people of these things.  You will show yourself as a man who has been fed by the message of the true faith and by the healthy teaching that you have followed.

Good teaching is healthy, bad or unsure teaching spreads infection.

7. Do not waste your time listening to old wives stories, and discipline yourself to stay spiritually strong.

Answer false teaching with truth but do not even answer those who build what they believe on imaginations, which are only stories.

Answer not a fool by entering into his foolish talk, or you will be like him yourself. Proverbs 26:4

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. Matthew 7:6

8 – 9

A healthy body is important, but being spiritually healthy is more important, because it has promises for this life and for the life to come. There is no doubt about these things, you can accept them as completely true.

Paul is talking about what he said in verse three.  False teachers discipline their bodies so that they would appear spiritual.  Paul disciplined his body so that he could focus on his spiritual life in a genuine way. Spiritual discipline is more important than outward discipline of the body.

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, so that after preaching to others I myself should not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27

10. It is because we realize how important our spiritual life is that we work in the ministry and agonize.  We put our confidence in the living God, the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe in Him.

It is impossible to work in the ministry without caring about the people you are working with.  Sheep get themselves in so many different kinds of troubles that it causes the pastor to cry out to the Great Shepherd for answers.

He has made a way for all men to be saved from death and hell, but not all of them want what he has to offer. Hell was not made for humans, but for the devil and his angels.  Men who have made their hearts hard against God would rather die or go to hell than to accept His offer of forgiveness.

...everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.  Matthew 25:41

...calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. Revelation 6:16

11. Preach and teach these things.

The original language here says, "pound in these things."

12. Do not let anyone look down on you because they have more experience in life.  Make them look up to you because you are an example of what a Christian should be. Show this by the way you talk and the way you act in love, and faith, and a pure heart.

Timothy was in his mid-thirties at this time so there is no reason to think of him as a very young man. The elders in a church or synagogue were over fifty years old.  Some older men would use their life experience as a basis as a way of controlling a younger pastor.

Being a good way being an example is a good way to show the difference between error and truth, no matter what age you are.

Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. 2 Corinthians 3:2

13. While I am on my way to Ephesus, pay attention to the reading of the Scriptures in the church and on your preaching and teaching.

We know that in the past men have added books to the Bible.  In Paul's day, false teachers or ignorant people would sometimes read these false books in the church.  Timothy was being told to be on guard for this.

Justin Martyr was an early leader in the church who said that there were men who would ask the people if they had any questions after the main lesson was taught.  (Nehemiah 8:8)

14. Do not stop using the special gift that was given to you through prophecy when the elders laid their hands on you.

From what we know of Timothy he seems to have the gift of prophecy as listed in Romans 12: people with this gift have a very strong sense of what is right and wrong.  They see things in black and white.  Church history tells us that Timothy was killed when he tried to stop a group of people in Ephesus who were worshiping idols.

Paul is reminding Timothy of the time when Paul and the church elders agreed that Timothy should lead the church in Ephesus until Paul returned from his travels. See 2 Timothy 1:6.

15. Give your complete attention to these things so that everyone can see how far you have come since the days when they first knew you.

You cannot lead someone to a place that you have never been yourself

16. Keep a close eye on your own life and on what you are teaching.  If you continue to follow the things that I have taught you, you will not only save your own soul, but those who hear  your teaching will be brought to Christ.

When we examine ourselves we have to admit that we need God's help to do an accurate job.

How can I know all the sins hiding in my heart? Wash me from these secret, hidden things. Psalm 19:12

In Your light we see light. Psalm 36:9

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.  Psalm 139:23-24