Some Will Depart from the Faith
1 Timothy 4:1-5
Primary Truth Taught- In these present days some will depart from the faith and devote themselves to demonic teaching.
I want to introduce this section by explaining what true conversion looks like. We live in a day when almost everyone, especially in America, will make some sort of profession of faith.
One can claim or even believe they are saved by Christ and be mistaken. So let’s look at a biblical example of what true Christianity looks like:
1 Thessalonians 1:9–10 (ESV)
9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
To turn to God from idols is what repentance is. Turn from sin to God is often the definition we hear. Here these people were steeped in paganism and idol worship. What is it about an idol that has so much pull upon us? Were these people in Thessalonica simply ignorant people who chanted to and bowed down to homemade carved wooden figures?
The idols are seducing spirits. The worship of a carved or molten image is really a worship of the devil.
Leviticus 17:7 (ESV)
7 So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.
Deuteronomy 32:16–17 (ESV)
16 They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods;
with abominations they provoked him to anger.
17 They sacrificed to demons that were no gods,
to gods they had never known,
to new gods that had come recently,
whom your fathers had never dreaded.
1 Corinthians 10:19–22 (ESV)
19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
So, quite clearly from these texts of Scripture the point is made that idolatry is really demonic. It is fuelled by the devil and encouraged by the devil because he longs to be worshipped as God. He desires to be like God in every way especially when it comes to being worshipped. So, demons inhabit the idols men and women worship and they seduces them. This is what is behind the worship of idols.
I thought this would be an appropriate background on which to understand today’s passage…
Today, I want to speak to you about some people who affirm the Christian faith, who understand it, acknowledge it, and even…on some levels believe it. But who in the end turn away from the faith and embrace demonic teachings. Just like the pagan who is seduced by his idol, these people are also seduced by demons as well…
The Bible uses words like depart from the faith or fall away or turn away. These come from the Greek word apostasy or to apostatize. It literally means to voluntarily remove one’s self or to voluntarily turn away from.
Human Need Met
We need to be reminded all the time that salvation is not a result of our works. It is a result of Christ’s work for us on the cross. We must remember never to work for it. The sinful human nature being encouraged by demonic power makes us think that we have to do something or not do something in order to be acceptable to God. The Bible teaches us that we believe and trust in what Jesus has done for us. He is sufficient and His life was the perfect sacrifice God required…period!
1 Timothy 4:1–5 (ESV)
4 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, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
4 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, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,
Here, we have a guarantee from God that there will be some people who have heard the Gospel and have become Church Members, faithful Church attenders, hard workers within the Church will depart from the faith.
The word translated depart from is the word apostatize. This word is similar to repent only in the opposite direction. When one repents, one turns from idols to God but here it’s as if one turns from God to idols.
This concept is often troubling to those like us who believe in eternal security. A verse like this sounds like someone can be a genuine believer one day and then lost the next day. When we come to verses like this, it’s important to look at the Bible and see what it teaches concerning this issue. Can someone be saved and then lost again?
Jesus tells us what will happen in the last days…
Matthew 24:9–13 (ESV)
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Here, He tells us that many will fall away. False prophets will lead many astray.
So what really is going on here?
The Bible is clear that there will be those who fall away. But the Bible is also clear that those who do fall away, do so to show that they were never really believers in the first place.
Mark 4:17 (ESV)
17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
1 John 2:19 (ESV)
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
Then we read the wonderful warning in Hebrews…
Hebrews 3:12–14 (ESV)
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
Those who fall away were never truly had a place with Christ, they were not His…
John 10:27–30 (ESV)
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
There is also the point of timing. When will some depart? Paul tells us in the last days. Well when are the last days?
The Last Days or Last Time or Last Hour is the span of time between our Lord’s fist and second coming. We are right in the middle of the Last Days.
1 John 2:18 (ESV)
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
1 Peter 1:20 (ESV)
20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
Paul’s warning to Timothy is that this apostasy will happen now. So don’t be discouraged when it does. It is a given, it will take place. This is exactly what goes on when a regular Church attender stops coming and is never seen again. They didn’t loose their salvation but are simply showing they are not one of God’s people.
So, how does it take place? Paul tells us that lying spirits seduces these people. Demons seduce them through false teaching. It becomes very clear that the false teachers in these last days are spokesmen for demons. Just like the demon who seduces through idolatry, so the false teacher seduces through lies and deception.
One more thing in this first verse…did you catch the contrast between the Holy Spirit who tells us what will happen and the deceitful spirits who speak to the lost? God’s Spirit tells God’s people the truth because we listen to Him through the Word of God…
John 16:13 (ESV)
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
and the other spirits, the spirits of lying demons influence those who listen to them, namely, the lost world.
We must not play around with false teaching. We must not listen to someone who makes us feel good about ourselves or encourages us if what they say is not found in the Bible we must run from it because it is not being just promoted by a man but it is demonic. Listen why would we think Satan would run around all gross looking and scare everyone away. He masquerades as an angel of light.
2 John 7–11 (ESV)
7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
Do you think God is serious about false teaching?
Look who the demons use to propagate demon teaching…
2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared
Hypocritical Lie Speakers…The often look like preachers in 3 piece suit or dressed in a way that makes them look Christian or spiritual. Their conscience is seared, they so they could care less about discernment they have no conscience to truth. They promote demonic teaching and could care less.
Now Paul is going to give us some examples of what false teachers (demons) teach…
3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods
Paul basically tells Timothy, I want to summarize for you what the doctrine of demons looks like.
The doctrine of demons will always teach that holiness comes through denying yourself something in the physical world.
Asceticism is the term often used today. In the time of Paul there was a group of people who believed that holiness came from not getting married and by not eating certain foods, these people were known as the Essenes. They were a sect of Judaism practicing the very things Paul warns against.
It’s the age old lie from the devil that says holiness comes from a strict adherence to a set of rules. In other words, holiness comes from works. The Jews were guilty of trying to please God by observing certain rules/rituals/traditions.
The lie of the devil will always result in a works salvation. The thing is, a works religion looks impressive to others. It looks holy. It looks right.
Who are some groups today who would fit in to these types of teachings?
Are there any who are for celibacy?
Many world religions require this from their leaders such as monks or priests. While one does not have to ever get married, being single as a requirement to attain a certain level of holiness is a works salvation.
We should note that the Roman Catholic Church through the centuries has made this mandatory for its priests.
You can examine religion after religion and they all are based on what you do or don’t do. You can go from the simplest tribal beliefs to the complex doctrine of the Roman Catholics and its all basically the same. God is appeased by what you do or don’t do. In other words, human works appease God. It is all satanic and fueled by the demonic. That’s exactly why the RC priesthood is to remain unmarried or why they abstain from meat on Fridays. It’s a works based system fueled by the demonic.
True Christianity is not based on human works at all but on God’s Grace. False religion teaches that we have to work for salvation but true Christianity teaches that God has done it all in Christ.
This is one way to spot the counterfeit…Satan’s lies are always about the same, that spirituality is achieved by human effort not by relying on Christ alone.
3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
Paul’s final point is to not listen to those who teach abstinence from marriage or certain food because God created marriage and God made everything we eat. It is to be enjoyed and seen as a blessing. When we receive those things we are to be thankful and praise God for them.
He continues by explaining that everything God made and here in the context, especially marriage and food is good. When God created the universe, each day he spoke a blessing on it and said it is good.
Can you spot Satan’s twisting and evil spin he puts on creation? God created marriage and said it’s not good for man to be alone so I will make for him a helper suited for him. God officiated, as it were, the first marriage ceremony and declared it good. Satan comes along and says that if you really want to be holy and spiritual do not get married. Listen, that is the lie of the devil. God created everything good for food and Satan tries to get us to think that not eating certain food will somehow make us more spiritual.
The other side of this argument is that nothing is to be rejected.
God created everything for His glory. That means that as humans when we partake of God’s creation in marriage and we are to eat from the amazing bounty of variety and in the process we give Him thanks. God is honored and praised as we partake of His creation.
I think, then we can see why the doctrine of demons would teach that holiness and spirituality comes from denying ourselves certain things. God do not receive glory when we refrain from enjoying God’s creation.
As we wrap up things I think the text begs the question…if spirituality is not achieved by an ascetic life then how does one become holy before God?
5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
All of creation is to bring God glory. However, much of it does not to the degree that it could. Much of creation is taken of by lost people who never give God glory for it. They take it and actually curse God the first chance they get.
In the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy) Paul uses this phrase, the Word of God over 7 times. Each time it means salvation through the Word of God. So, holiness comes to us as we are converted through the truth of God and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The first major step of our spirituality comes as we are saved. Then as we thank God for everything that he’s given through prayer we are taken even further in our commitment to Him and our journey in righteousness continues. Giving God glory and praising Him for everything we have is exactly why everything was made in the first place. This is why God’s Word tells us to marry and to eat all foods while giving God the praise.
Thank God for everything and never think holiness comes from a work you do.