It is my hope that last week’s lesson helped to solidify in our minds the position we hold as members of God’s church. I take tremendous comfort in the descriptive words of Peter which say that we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.” (1st Peter 2:9) Who God has made us to be should inspire us as His disciples to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) That endeavor, as was mentioned a couple weeks ago, involves that sometimes difficult task of discerning, something I want to touch upon again today.
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 2nd Timothy 4:2
It is about 66 A.D. and the apostle Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, writes a letter to the evangelist Timothy. The above exhortation seems only logical, if the church is to continue to grow: But growth was not the reason for this exhortation. What was the reason? A time was coming “when they will not endure sound doctrine.” (2nd Timothy 4:3) The “they” of which Paul speaks, are some in the church, brothers and sisters in Christ. So convinced of things, that they “heap up for themselves teachers” (2nd Timothy 4:3) to feed them what they want to hear. They turn away from truth and instead, look to fables. (2nd Timothy 4:4) What are fables (NIV, myths)? Thayer’s defines it as an invention, falsehood. Concerning this word, Carl Spain writes, “Eventually, however, even among the Greeks, myths came to be the complete opposite of truth.”
What is interesting is that this warning, essentially from the Holy Spirit, is not an isolated one. In 1st Timothy 1:4 we find the warning against “fables and endless genealogies.” In Titus 1:14 we find another exhortation not to give heed to “Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.” Paul warns the Galatians about turning to “a different gospel, which is not another.” (Galatians 1:7) Of course, there are several other places we could go to, but these are sufficient to reveal to us that Satan has been active from the beginning of the church, to distort God’s truth.
This is why, just as it was back then, that each member of the body of Christ, needs to “gird your waist with truth” (Ephesians 6:14), which is part of the whole armor of God. As it was then, so it is now. People will distort truth, seldom with malicious intent. We need to be prepared to not only guard against it, but also to help those around us who are caught up in falsehoods, to come to a more accurate knowledge of the truth. The need is real!