Skip to content

The Ordinary – Made Holy – 1 Timothy 4:1-5


The Ordinary, Made Holy!

Where Paul describes the falling away of the last days

Text: 1 Timothy 4:1-5.

Paul changes tack very suddenly. At the end of chapter 3 he has been reminding Timothy about the mystery of godliness. Right away he goes to the opposite truth, and he teaches them about the mystery of UNGODLINESS.

1. Apostasy! V1

The phrase ‘depart from the faith’ is the Greek αποστησονται. Apostasy is to depart from the faith. Does that mean you can fall away and be lost? Not at all. John 10:27 These apostates were people who were part of the visible church, – perhaps leaders in that church, but who had never had any real experience of regeneration.

  1. The Holy Spirit warns About Apostasy. Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith
    1. God is speaking. When Paul talks about how the ‘spirit speaks’ he’s not talking about some form of extra-biblical revelation. This is the Triune God speaking to His church – an indication of how seriously these matters are to be taken. The word translated ‘expressly’ reinforces the importance of Paul’s words, he is speaking with great authority and clarity.
    2. God is speaking NOW. We are living in ‘the last days’. Apostasy has been a feature of the visible church from its formation!
  2. How Apostasy Begins and Spreads. giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy Now note that apostasy, as we see it here, always includes false doctrine. It involves:-
    1. Deceptive Demons! These deceptive demons are the root of apostasy. But while it originates in the councils of Satan, this apostasy is perpetuated by:-
    2. Lying Leaders! When you hear a preacher who preaches a false gospel that person is literally doing the devil’s work. They are described here as ‘giving heed’. Listening to the lies of the devil and following after him. Jesus warned us, in Matthew 24:10-11
    3. Cauterised Consciences! There is one other thing that we should notice about these lying leaders. Paul describes them, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, Their conscience has been dulled by continual sin! κεκαυτηριασμενων. These apostates no longer recognise sin, so accustomed to it have they become. 1 Timothy 1:19
  3. How Apostasy is Recognised! We need discernment to recognise the real enemy, and that is what paul is demanding from the believers in this passage. The enemy is not a Christian who worships in a church with a different name, or who has different views on the Second Coming or baptism, or the gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are REAL enemies out there, demonic spirits and apostates within the visible church.

So, we have seen that in the last days, there will be apostasy in the church, where hypocrites, play actors in the church will pay attention to the voice of demons and will preach a message that is different from the Gospel – it is a false Gospel.

2. Asceticism! V2-3a

It is asceticism that is the false doctrine promoted by these apostates of the last days. Described here in our passage:- forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods. Here were the two areas of attack,

  1. In particular. There were two areas in which these apostates demanded austerity and self-denial:-
    1. MARRIAGE. They rejected the idea of marriage and to be sure, any form of sexual activity, even within marriage.
    2. FOOD. More specifically, this was probably meat, rather than food in general. In Corinth Paul had to deal with the problem of people who had difficulties with meat sacrificed to idols. Acts 10:11- 14 Yet now these apostates are commanding people to go back to some sort of food law.
  2. In general. Now what was the point of preaching this asceticism, preaching celibacy and vegetarianism? It was to tell the lie, that the grace of God in and of itself in insufficient to save. You can see now the devil’s work in this. He wants us to believe that we must do something ourselves to clean up our lives, for salvation itself won’t work otherwise. It’s a lie – for Christ died for helpless sinners!

All of this an outright, demonic, lying attack on God.

3. Appreciation! V3b-5.

Paul concludes with the antidote to this apostate teaching, teaching us that God has created this world and everything in it, and he has given it to all of us as a great gift, his common grace to all mankind. So how do we receive this gift?

  1. A Christians Provision. which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. Christians, who believe and know the truth, should live thankful lives, knowing that God has richly filled this earth with goodness.
  2. Christian Gratitude. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; We should be thankful that God has given us such good gifts – like marriage and friendship, and food and drink. Let us be thankful that God has been so generous with us.
  3. A Christian Pattern. for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. How can marriage, or food, or any of the common graces that God gives us be made holy? By the Word of God and by prayer! Reading God’s Word, and speaking to the Lord in Prayer, specifically in prayers of thanksgiving, sanctifies the ordinary, and is the pattern for the normative Christian life.

So, what is the Great Apostasy? In essence it is that demonic tactic of telling people that they must clean up their lives before they can come to Jesus for pardon and forgiveness. The Christian response is to live humble grateful lives, thanking God every day for His gracious provision.

© Bob McEvoy

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: