The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error
by Dr Gregory Magruder | November 10, 2019Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Gainesville, FL 11/10/19
"The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error”
1 Timothy 4:1-16; 6:3-10
INTRODUCTION: Paul instructs Timothy on how to lead a local church. After discussing worship and praise in the church, Paul teaches Timothy how to administer the church. He gives guidelines on how to approach various issues that arise in the local congregation. Paul shifts from worship to the subjects of doctrine and belief. How do you know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error? Paul says that error originates with false teachers under the influence of evil spirits. Truth originates with the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. We can recognize truth from error by looking at the character and ideas of the teacher. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets…You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16). False teachers bear bad fruit. Godly teachers bear good fruit. Let’s look at the characteristics (fruit) of the spirit of error and the spirit of truth.
TEACHERS OF THE SPIRIT OF ERROR BEAR THE FRUIT OF…
Unorthodox doctrine – ‘”Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (4:1) and “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing” (6:3-4).
Hypocrisy and lies – “some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars” (4:1-2).
A seared conscience – “whose consciences are seared” (4:2).
Restrictions on the body - who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer” (4:3-5).
Conceit and arrogance – “If anyone teaches a different doctrine… he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing” (6:3-4).
Controversy and arguments– “He has an unhealthy craving for controversy
and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth” (6:4-5).
Greed for money and riches – “imagining that godliness is a means of gain… But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (6:5-10).
TEACHERS OF THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH BEAR THE FRUIT OF…
Faithfulness to God’s Word and rejection of superstitions – “If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths” (4:6-7).
Spiritual as well as physical training – “Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” (4:7-10).
Bold leadership and an effective ministry of preaching and teaching – “Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (4:11-13).
Developing and using their spiritual gifts – “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (4:14-16).
Contentment with God’s provisions - “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (6:6-8).