"Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead. They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer"
(1 Timothy 4:1-5, NLT)
The New Testament warns and church history demonstrates that holding the truth and maintaining the purity of the Gospel is not easy. As H.A. Ironside, Bible teacher, once commented: "Men would accept antichrist instead of the Christ of God." This is true then as it is today. The apostle Paul now instructs Timothy – now instructs us – to be on guard of what is ahead. Paul begins by writing that "Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly…" (“expressly" or "explicitly"). They have been warned! The Holy Spirit has made it clear that in "the last times" (this term is different from the "last days" or "last hour") – during Paul's times – "some will turn away from the true faith" or apostate. This is sad. You and I know those who have been departed from the true faith in Jesus Christ either by choice, force, desperation, marriage, and lack of Christian witness on our own parts. But there is more…
The influence of evil spirits. "They will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons." These evil spirits are ever active in seeking to turn many away from the faith "that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people" (Jude 3). It is interesting that whenever someone departs from the faith, he will give heed to deceptive or seductive spirits and the doctrine of demons. This shows the real source of false doctrine. Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:12 that "we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but… against evil spirits in the heavenly places." The Devil (and his evil spirits) "is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44) and is actively engaged in combating the faith of Christ. Behind Islam, one of the main religions that act against Christianity, for example, is not men of intellect or ‘holy' religious leaders, but the Devil who "always hated the truth" (John 8:44). We are not at war with the Muslims ("we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood") but with the Devil and his armies. This is not a Christian vs. Islam, this is Truth vs. Lie! Focus on the real enemies!
First, the departure from the truth. Then, the Deceiver deceives them to follow false doctrines and in turn, they deceived others. By doing this they being deceived themselves. And so it makes sense that "these people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead." They reached the place where conscience no longer responded to the voice of God. Paul told Timothy earlier that Christ followers must "live with a clear conscience" (1 Timothy 3:9). Have you ever meet someone who has known the truth, witnessed God's miracle and healing power performed in the name of Jesus, and saw many evident of Christ's Lordship and divinity in the Scripture and still don't believe? Don't be surprised because "their consciences are dead"! Due to inner spiritual emptiness, they turn to outer laws. "It is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods," they said. Nowadays, nuns, monks, and priests had to take a vow not to marry, is this what Paul was referring here? Not eating certain foods on certain days, is this not the teaching of demons too? Beware!
Nothing that God has created is to be rejected as being evil. Marriage is good (see Hebrews 13:4) and nothing God made for food is to be rejected (see Matthew 15:11). You may throw something away because you don't like it, but not because it is evil. These things used for food are "made acceptable by the word of God and prayer" in a sense that they are recognized by Christ followers as being "made holy" or "sanctified" for our good by God. Of course, this comes through proper instruction from His Word and from our receiving them from His hand through prayer. Jesus set the example in this when He returned thanks before feeding the multitude and on other occasions.
Kevin Pier, a fellow blogger in kevinpierpoint.com, end his article on 1 Timothy 4:1-6 this way, I quote: “There is a lot of gift-wrapped garbage in these days. We need to be on our guard that false teaching does not take place in God’s church. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you need to take care that you are not led astray and deceived by those who are teaching things contrary to the Word of God. You need to be sure you aren’t hypocritical in your own life. They only way we can stand firm is to be students of God’s Word.” And then he ends with this question, “Are you a student of God’s Word?”
The same Holy Spirit (4:1) that warns us about these things are able to keep us faithful.
Ask and pray for guidance and strength from Him.
“He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth” (John 14:17). Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.