Lesson 3: "Charge Some That They Teach No Other Doctrine" (I Timothy 1:3)
I Timothy 1:1-11
Paul's Letters To Preachers. Welcome to lesson #3. In this lesson we would like to begin a verse-by-verse study of I-Timothy. However, before we do, let me jog your memory one more time: this is a letter to a gospel preacher by an apostle of Jesus Christ. It is NOT a PASTORAL EPISTLE as many commentators label it, it is not written to elders, it is written to a gospel preacher or an evangelist or today we probably use the word missionary more often than the word evangelist. Timothy was a missionary to Ephesus. Now, the reason I re-emphasize THAT is that many of my brethren where I have preached over the past years seem to think of I-Timothy and Titus as God's rules for elders and deacons. AND, fortunately we have a good bit of material with reference to elder and deacon qualifications in these books; however, (#1) let me remind you there are FAR MORE rules (and qualification) FOR PREACHERS found in these letters than there are for elders and deacons, you better believe it. (#2) It is true that elder and deacon qualifications are found here, yet the discussion is from the standpoint of an evangelist, not directly written to elders and deacons as such; so, you must keep that spin on it as you try to apply this. (#3) The book of I-Timothy was written to help correct false doctrines and erroneous teachings...you might think of it as instruction concerning the true gospel, there is some instruction concerning public worship, there is some instruction and directions about the qualifications and selection of elders and deacons, there are warnings concerning apostasy and instruction concerning various groups in the church...different age groups, widows, slaves, false teachers motivated by covetousness, and particularly disciples of worldly means, and there's more instruction. AND, last but not least (#4), scattered through all this, Paul continually reminds Timothy of his PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY; something that is so often forgotten by preachers as well as other church leaders. We sometimes get so involved in trying to accomplish some particular task that we simply forget why we're here. For example, as one of my elder duties, I spent some time this morning in an accountant's office downtown trying to get our (i.e. the Mason County Church of Christ's) congregational IRS status all worked out. We're trying to get an official tax exempt status..a lot of superfluous governmental red-tape, to put it plainly. The accountant had to have, what the government termed "formative papers" for the congregation. I told her: "include a copy of the N.T." But, you know, that wasn't what she wanted. She kept asking: when did you get this and when did you do that as if this was something that I hatched up. As a matter of fact, the..government wants so much financial data and so many forms filled out; .1 would probably say, if it was my personal affairs... just forget it, I'll pay the taxes. I wasn't even here when this congregation was established. But, I was there, this morning, for Jesus...and I must not forget that. It is because of Jesus that we are here. The N.T., the constitution and by-laws of Christ's kingdom requires us, as Christians, to be subject to "the higher powers," that's another way of saying "government" (Rom. 13:1) and that includes "rendering to all their dues" (Rom. 13:7). So, that means: wade through the red-tape as best we can! Now, the point I'm trying to make is this: it's so easy for church leaders to start thinking they're doing it on their own or to think of this work as their project. We are simply servants for King Jesus, this is NOT my project. When we get away from that kind of thinking, we are apostatizing, i.e. we are guilty of drifting away from being faithful servants to the Lord Jesus. When you think about it, this explains all of that big denominational world out there, that some call Christendom. Have you heard that term? We must speak where the Bible speaks; be silent where the Bible is silent. Call Bible things by Bible names, serve where it says to serve and give God the glory. Paul had explicit confidence in Timothy; yet, Paul was on Timothy's case from the beginning of this letter to its end. Don't give heed to fables and endless genealogies.. .do edifying "which is in faith." (1:4) , i.e. teaching and building-up. Now, we have no reason to believe that Timothy was giving heed to fables and a lot of genealogies, etc.; but, we all need to be admonished continually. At the very end of this letter, Paul said: "0 Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust." (6:20). This is the hard part of Christianity, being faithful day after day...being prepared, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved..." (II Pet. 3:12). Obeying from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered... (Rom. 6:17). Watch, watch, watch! (Matt. 24:42). Now, if Timothy needed that, what about you and me? Don't miss this angle as we make our way through these verses. And, keep reminding yourself: Timothy was in a sticky situation, just like you and just like me. When Paul first went to Ephesus, we talked about this, he started meeting in the synagogue; do you remember the Jew named Sceva (there), chief of the priests (it says, Acts 19:14) an "exorcist" he was called along with his seven sons. They tried to imitate Paul's miracles, do you remember that? Ephesus was just about as mixed up a place religiously as America is today. We even have miracle imitators today, turn on your TV. You may even know one (or more). Paul told Timothy (II Tim. 4:14-15), [now I'm paraphrasing]: watch out for old Alexander the coppersmith there in Ephesus, Paul said "he did me much evil." Be aware, he greatly withstood our words, Paul said. Do you think you're in a tough spot? You don't have anything on Timothy. Let's read! Let's read before this tape runs out, are you ready?
Starting in I-Tim. ch. 1:1, let's read the first two verses. Are you ready? Get your eyes on it! Here we go! "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord." Now, let me ask you, why did Paul emphasize he was an apostle? Timothy knew that! Timothy and Titus are letters to preachers; but, these letters are not exactly personal letters.. Paul addressed this to Timothy; however, Paul was in essence writing to the congregation at Ephesus. Paul was an apostle, or an ambassador for Christ. Paul said: "Grace, mercy, and peace, from" WHERE? Where is this coming from? "From God our Father, and [from] Jesus Christ our Lord." The claim of inspiration is right up front here, just like every other letter Paul wrote. We mentioned this before; but, Paul called Timothy, "my own son in the faith." Why did Paul say that? Well, it probably implies that Paul was instrumental in teaching and baptizing Timothy.
O.K. Let's read some more! We've already touch on some of these verses. We'll begin in v.3 and read down thru v.11...are you ready? Let's read! (v.3-11, that's I-Tim. 1:3 beginning). "As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust."
Alright, as I said, we've already talked about some of these points. Timothy was in Ephesus. We do not know where Paul was when he wrote this; but, he had been in Macedonia when Timothy came to Ephesus.That word, "besought" (KJV), means Paul had urged and begged Timothy to go to Ephesus. Why did Paul do that? "THAT" (middle of v.3), "that," (or, for this purpose): "that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine." Now, this implies (it goes without saying) Paul knew that somebody at Ephesus was teaching another doctrine, i.e. another gospel as Paul called it in Gal. 1:6 where he said: "which is not another." Anything else, you see, is a perversion, i.e. a perverted gospel. Notice that "some" were teaching another doctrine. Thus, Paul did not say this applied to every professing Christian in Ephesus. However, just one, would be one too many. Then, the question pops into your mind: who was this? teaching a perverted gospel at Ephesus? This text does not answer that question. However, we are given a few hints. First off, this doctrine they were teaching had to do with fables and endless genealogies (v.4). Now, a fable is a myth, fantasy or legend. Genealogy, of course, means pedigree, i.e. family or a racial connection. AND, with that spin, you immediately think of the Jews, of which there was a large population in Ephesus. John the Baptist had said: "think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father..." (Matt, ch. 3) Does that strike a familiar note? Jesus dealt with this arrogance in the last half of John ch. 8; you might want to re-read that, if you need a little refresher on the subject. Then in second place, Paul said (1:6), these false teachers have swerved aside unto vain jangling; i.e. empty nonsense. "Swerved aside?" Paul is saying, they're off the road, i.e. they have lost their way. Now, get a solid grip on Paul's phrase in v.7, "desiring to be teachers." Now, why is it that false teachers seem to have a compulsion to teach? Every race of men today, every culture has their own religion, their own gods (with a little "g"), their own religious rites, feasts, festivals and holidays. It's been that way throughout history. Do you remember Colossie? Do you remember Athens? Today these things are most often propagated by some fast talking conartist out to feather their own nest. THEN, the third point you want to latch onto, pops out in v.7, these anxious teachers at Ephesus were desirous of teaching about the law. Which law? Well, obviously, it's the law of Moses. Then Paul spent the rest of these verses (v.7-11) commenting on that law of which Timothy was very familiar. Notice in Paul's list (v.9-10), the things he mentions relate to the ten commandments very definitely... thou shalt not kill, Paul's example is murderers of fathers and mothers. This may have related to what we call euthanasia. Whoremongering relates to thou shalt not commit adultery. Sodomy or homosexuality is suggested in "them that defile themselves with mankind." Menstealers or kidnapping relates to thou shalt not steal. Thus, implied here in some way is a description or an allusion to the material those false teachers at Ephesus were using. We are not given the twist they were putting on that material and just how they were perverting it. But, lay that aside just a minute. What does this tell you about the church at Ephesus? These overzealous teachers that plagued that congregation, Paul said, they did not really understand what they were saying or affirming (v.7). Sound familiar? Now, if you're getting this picture on your easel, you are getting a pretty clear rendition of the Ephesian episode of Timothy's situation relating to the church of Christ in that Diana, silversmith, idol manufacturing city which was the capital of the province of Asia.
However, before we leave this, do a little grinding (on v.8-9). Paul hastens to explain he is really talking about a perversion of the Law of Moses, i.e. that brand being dispensed there in Ephesus. The law came or was given by Moses (John 1:17); however, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, that verse continues. Now, this "grace and truth [that] came by Jesus Christ" supersedes the law of Moses. Paul said: "Before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed." (Gal. 3:23). "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." Moses was told (that) it would be that way (Deut. 18:18). Peter quoted what Moses was told about that Prophet (with a capital "P", Acts 3:23) and said that if you don't believe that you will be destroyed. That's Peter's word: "destroyed." That law was not of faith! Like the law that came by Jesus (Gal. 3:12). The next verse says, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." The law served its purpose, it brought us to Christ (Gal. 3:24). Christ came to fulfil the law (Matt. 5:17). But, that doesn't mean that law was bad. Paul said here (in v. 8) "we know that the law is good" i.e. if a man use it lawfully. We must understand the place of the law in the scripture. You see, now that's in contrast to the perversion taking place at Ephesus. AND, must I remind you it's still happening today... probably just a little ways down the road from where you live. Those teaching it, just like those teaching it at Ephesus, understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. The law was not made for a righteous man; it does not carry the promise of heaven. The law condemns, it does not make us righteous. The gospel does! The power is in the gospel. And that is what Paul was charging Timothy (v.3) to charge (or demand) in the Ephesian Christians. The end product of the law was to bring about unfeigned love out of a pure heart and out of a good conscience (v.5). The gospel (the death, burial and resurrection) was being ignored at the expense of some Jewish genealogical twist relating to the fleshly descendants of Abraham.
Now, not only was Timothy's job to stop these false teachers; Paul directed Timothy to strengthen the congregation as well. As we have said before, Timothy had his hands full and this is the story of every gospel preacher. Timothy's job (v.3) was to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine." However, Paul's charge to Timothy goes beyond that! In v.4, Paul said in contrast to that, Timothy do godly edifying which is in faith, i.e. build up the congregation and strengthen them in faith and understanding in order that these Christians might be prepared to deal with false teachers as well as all the other problems that arise in the life of Christians in every church community. However, Paul recognizes very clearly in all this that when someone gets connected to the wrong slant as had happened to those false teachers; it's hard to accept correction. Paul had been through that scenario and understood it only too well. So, in v. 12-17, Paul relates back to his experience on the road to Damascus and thanks the Lord that he was counted faithful to be put into the ministry of Christ. We'll get into that in our next lesson. Until then, have a good day.