1 Timothy 4:1
Now the Spirit clearly says that in the last times some will depart from the faith and pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils,
Why did Paul say false teachers taught “doctrines of devils?” Satan deceives people by offering a clever imitation of the real thing. The false teachers give stringent rules (such as forbidding people to marry or eating meat). This made them appear self-disciplined and righteous. Their strict disciplines for the body however could not remove sin.
20 Therefore, if you died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you subject yourself to legalistic rules? 21 “Do not touch! Do not taste! Do not handle!” 22 These all are to perish with use and are aligned with the commandments and doctrines of men. 23 These things have indeed a show of wisdom in self-imposed worship and humility and neglecting of the body, but are worthless against the indulgence of the flesh.
We must look beyond the teacher’s methods and disciplines to his teaching about Jesus Christ. His attitudes toward Christ shows the source of his message.
1 Timothy 4:4-5
4 For everything created by God is good, and not to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
In opposition to false teachers, Paul affirmed that everything God made is good. We should ask his blessing on created gifts that give us pleasure and thank him for it. This doesn’t mean we should abuse what God has made (for example, gluttony abuses God’s gift of food, lust abuses God’s gift of love, and murder abuses God’s gift of life). Instead of abusing, we should enjoy these gifts by using them to serve and honor God. Have you thanked God for the good things He has made? Are you using them in a way that’s pleasing to you and to God?
Are you spiritually fit? This is the same question that Paul presented to Timothy.
In our society much emphasis is placed on physical fitness, but Paul declared that the spiritual health is more important than physical health. We must develop our faith by using the abilities God has given us in the service of the church.
1 Timothy 4:6-8
6 If you remind the brothers of these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished by the words of faith and of good doctrine, which you have followed closely. 7 But refuse profane and foolish myths. Instead, exercise in the ways of godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable in all things, holding promise for the present life and also for the life to come
If your spiritual health is strong and you are in the word of God daily, you can be used by Him to teach other believers and to reach unbelievers. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, new in the faith or a long-time believer, God can still use you.
Paul is telling Timothy essentially the same thing.
1 Timothy 4:11-12
11 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.
Timothy was a young pastor. It would have been easy for older Christians to look down on him because his youth. He had to earn the respect of his elders by setting an example in his teaching, life, love, faith, and purity. Regardless of your age, God can use you. Whether you are young or old don’t think of your age is a handicap. Live so others can see Christ in you.
One of the easiest ways to teach, is to teach by example. People will watch how you live. Are you living your life with love and purity?
Watch what comes out of your mouth, as it says in Timothy 4 verse 7 But refuse profane and foolish myths. Instead, exercise in the ways of godliness.
Always be aware of what you are saying….people do listen and they do judge…
Live your life with faith, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and by being faithful to those who you love and who love you.
This is a letter from Paul to Titus, a disciple of Paul’s who he sent to Crete to teach:
But as for you, teach what is fitting of sound doctrine: 2 Older men should be sober, serious, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience.
3 Likewise, older women should be reverent in behavior, and not be false accusers, not be enslaved to much wine, but teachers of good things, 4 that they may teach the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 and to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.
6 Likewise, exhort young men to be self-controlled, 7 in all things presenting yourself as an example of good works: in doctrine showing integrity, gravity, incorruptibility, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that the one who opposes you may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
15 Teach these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
If only those in public education were to adhere to the same principles as teaching from the pulpit. How different would our schools be if elementary school teachers were in better spiritual health?