Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Loving Commandment

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. 
(1 Timothy 1:3-7)

Paul here gives us very important information on doctrine. Sadly, too many people take this out of context because they focus on the section that says “...now the purpose of this commandment is love from a pure heart...” and then point to the commandment that Christ gave: that we should love the God with all our heart soul and minds and love others as ourselves. This is NOT what this is talking about.

What is the commandment that Paul gave here? It is to teach no other doctrine or to listen to fables or endless genealogies! Paul, in giving this commandment to teach the pure doctrine of the Bible was doing so from a motive of love! This is a loving commandment, not a hateful one!  He had a loving heart for those who strayed, those who thought themselves to be teachers of the law, but understand not what they teach! Today, there are so many false teachers, so many people teaching false doctrine! We need to have the same heart that Paul did!

This leads me to this section in this chapter:
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Thisis a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
(1 Timothy 1:12-17)

Paul gives us this commandment because he knows where he came from. He once also spoke out against things he did not understand. God saved him, the chief of sinners! Not only that, Christ came to save you and came to save me! But if Christ could save an ignorant fool like Paul, can he not save and bring back to repentance some of these false teachers that are in our world today?

This morning as I was reading this, I was thinking about the reputation some people have begun to put upon this watchman ministry. This ministry and others like it have been accused of being hateful, of tearing down the body of Christ, of wanting to accuse everyone of what is wrong, and of causing division. But I want you to see my heart in this matter! The Apostle Paul himself was a false teacher and murderer of Christians! Yet, Christ had mercy on him! I am sure many people were praying for Paul before he was saved and it blew them away when he did come to know the Lord! I feel the same way for many of these teachers going into error.

I have the same heart Paul did. First off, I realize that I am a sinner myself in need of a Savior and realize that I am also prone to fall into error. I like Paul realize that Christ has saved me and brought me into a glorious relationship with him! But also like Paul, I correct, exhort and rebuke out of love from the Scriptures. The Scriptures are truth, and we test all things against God's Word, not our own opinions. The Scriptures command us to rebuke, exhort and correct out of love. Love and truth are not mutually exclusive. If you love someone you will tell them the truth!
Because of this, I pray everyday that false preachers and people going into error would repent, that God would grant them repentance! What a great thing it would be if some of these men would humble themselves and confess their sins before people and come back to Him! False teachings lead to great punishment for these men, perhaps even hell. But as Spurgeon once said: “...let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay.”

This is what we do. We desire that all come to faith in Christ, and desire that all stay away from false doctrine. I encourage you to read both 1 and 2 Timothy, and see how Paul stresses the importance of staying away from error and calling out those who do so that others will not follow suit. People may hate us, people may call you names, and later people may even persecute you. But let it be known that Christ died not only for our sins, but also for theirs. He desires that all be saved and that all come out of wickedness and error. Let us remember this as we walk with the Lord today!

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