Please turn to 1 Timothy 4:1-5. In this letter, Paul has described the local congregation of God's people as the pillar and ground of the truth. Furthermore, he has called the Church the assembly of the living God and the household of God. Although Paul believes in the hope which is set before him, and though he firmly believes in the glory that the local church is, he is also an utter realist who wants us to realize what it is like to live in a fallen world. And so side by side with this glorious declaration of the Church and our Savior, Jesus Christ, Paul also speaks to us about the challenges of living in a fallen world. This passage can easily be divided in five parts. First, in verse 1, Paul speaks about false professors of faith. Then, in verse 2, he addresses false teachers. Next, in verse 3, Paul warns us about false teaching. Later, in verse 4, he gives the antidote to false teaching. And finally, in verse 5, Paul shows us how Christians ought to use the good creation that God has given to us.   

I. False Professors of Faith. 

In verse 1, Paul says, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith.” In other words, Paul is saying, “Yes, the church is the pillar and the ground of the truth, but do not be surprised if some turn their back on Christ and the faith.” Specifically, Paul explains that someone who professes faith in Jesus ends up being a person who does not profess faith in Christ by “paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” How is it that one goes from being a professor of faith in Jesus Christ to one who does not embrace Him? By listening to false teaching. Also notice who he says is behind the work of that false teaching. Paul says that they pay attention to “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” It is the work of the evil one that is behind false teaching. Paul wants us not to be surprised when people who have professed faith in Christ fall away. Because when that happens, what the Holy Spirit said through Paul and others in the New Testament is simply coming to pass. The word of God is being confirmed when some people turn their back on Jesus Christ. But Paul says this to warn us of this reality. 

II. The Character of False Teachers. 

In verse 2, Paul says “by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron”, some will fall away from the faith. Paul points especially to the character of these false teachers. First, they are characterized by hypocrisy. They are one way on the outside and another way on the inside. Secondly, they are seductive with the use of their speech. They lie in order to draw people into their web of untruth. And thirdly, their consciences are desensitized. They have really begun to believe the falsehood that they teach is true. So Paul says that we must be on guard for them ourselves and warn our people against them. The very fact that Paul can speak of false teachers indicates that there is a bedrock of absolute truth and right doctrine to which Christians need to hold. In relation, Paul also desires for us to be able to pick up certain signs about false teachers from their character. Because as far as Paul is concerned, what you believe always ends up having an impact on how you live, and if you live and teach that which is wrong, it will show in your ethics and the way you live. Therefore, Paul points to the character of these false teachers and says “Be alert. The one who is teaching must have a character corresponding to the truth of God's word.” 

III. The Error of False Teaching. 

In verse 3, Paul addresses the message of false teachers. Specifically, he says that they are “men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” In other words, they are making ethical demands which are in conflict with the word of God. The fundamental error of these false teachers is that they were setting their own view of the Christian life over the view that God revealed in His word. They were forbidding what God allowed in His word, and therefore they were setting their opinion above the final rule of faith and practice in God's holy word. And friends, when you begin to forbid what God allows, soon you will begin to allow what God forbids. False teaching will either lead in one of those two directions every time. It will either be narrower than the word of God and it will not allow things that the word of God allows, or it will be broader than the word of God and it will allow things that the word of God does not allow. 



IV. The Antidote for False Teaching.

In verse 4, Paul says, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude.” Here Paul shows us that we combat false teaching with the truth of Scripture. Do you remember what God says after each day of the six days of creation? He says, “It was good.” And after the culminating day of creation in which man and woman were created, He says, “It was very good.” And what do these false teachers say? They say it is not good. Paul takes us right back to Scripture and he says, “Do not be confused by what these people are saying. The Bible tells us that God's creation is good. It is made for His praise and glory, and is made for the enjoyment and for the good of His people. Therefore, listen to God, not to these false teachers –however persuasive they may be in their speech.” 

V. Appropriate Use of God’s Creation. 

In verse 5, Paul says that all of creation is acceptable and useful if consecrated by God’s word and prayer. Specifically, he says, “for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.” How is it that we are to be kept from either being sucked into the love of the world or to a wrong denigration of the world? We are to be kept on the straight and narrow by using the world in accordance with God’s word and with thankfulness to God in prayer. Paul wants us to watch out for false members, false teachers, and false teaching. Furthermore, he wants us to resist false teaching by resorting to the truth of the word of God, and to use God's creation in accordance with Scripture and gratitude in prayer. May God instruct, correct, encourage and comfort us by His Word.