June 28, 2011

 The Miracle of Inspiration

Part  Twelve 

 Deceitful Spirits and Doctrines of Demons

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       Satan spreads false doctrine through lying spirits.  Through demons, he invades assemblies with his false teachings.  Through the soft lies of deceit, he convinces the weak to believe a lie and reject the truth of the Word of God.  God warned us against Satan and his methods.

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

1 Timothy 4:1

     Falling away from Faith.  As believers in Christ, we know that once we are saved by faith in Christ, we will always be saved by that same faith (Romans 8:38-39).  Paul charged the young pastor Timothy to preach the Word of God.  In 2 Timothy 4:1, Paul frames that charge in the context of the presence of God and of Christ Jesus.  Of course we know that Jesus Christ was always God, and has always been equal with God (Philippians 2:6).  We now read a familiar theme with Paul in his preaching.  Everyone should keep in mind that God has appointed Jesus Christ to judge both the living and dead, and has furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31).  As believers, we should be constantly aware of the future judgment of Christ.  We should let that sense of coming judgment influence our lives.  As believers, we expect to avoid the judgment upon sin after death (John 5:25-29), but we look forward to reward for our labors (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

      Paying Attention.  The Lord Jesus loves His church and seeks the best for it.  He laid down His life for each believer, and nourishes and cherishes the church (Ephesians 5:29).  When an assembly shifts its focus of attention away from the Word of God, seriously bad error storms into the assembly.  Instead of remaining focused upon the Word of God, and its revelation of God, it shifts its attention elsewhere.  We see this shift in focus with the tremendous call for money to support ministries today.  Big ministries that use the vast majority of funds raised to support preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, to bind up the broken-hearted, to declare release to captives, and proclaim the favorable year of the Lord deserve support (Luke 4:14-30).  In our present age, we see too the influence of Satan in shaping legalism that seeks to remove Christian liberty.

       Deceitful Spirits and Doctrines of Demons.  The spiritual nature of the attack upon local assemblies, and the church of the later times, becomes apparent in 1 Timothy 4:1.  We know that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers (“ἀρχάς”), against powers (“ἐξουσίας“), against world forces of this darkness (“τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τούτου“), against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις) (Ephesians 6:12).  In this passage, we see how demons work through people in local assemblies to change the focus of their attention to their own demonic doctrines.  The description “deceitful spirits (“πνεύμασιν πλάνοις“)” tells us about the essential activity of these evil people.  People in local congregations will begin to be used by deceitful spirits to change the attention of the church.  These “deceitful spirits” will do so cunningly and subtly, telling you lies about the Word of God and God’s plan for your life.  Craftily they will challenge the authority of the Word of God, and seek to lead believers away from the teachings of Christ (Matthew 24:5; Jude 1:12-13).  These men have wandered away from the truth, and deceive people into following them.  In our world today, we discount the spiritual world, to our error.  Satan and his demons war against God and believers today, as they did in the days of Jesus walking through Israel.  The Lord Jesus cast them out, after He had first bound the strong man, Satan (Matthew 12:25-29).  Satan and his demons will seek to mislead the earth with great signs and wonders, and even the elect, if possible (Matthew 24:4). 

by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,

1 Timothy 4:2

       Liars with Seared Conscience.  As God reveals the spiritual anatomy of these men given to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, he also calls them liars.  Jesus explained that false teachers teach spiritual lies, coming from their father the devil, the father of lies (John 8:44).  In 1 Timothy 4:2, we see that these people spread lies.  They do so, in part, because their own conscience has been seared (“κεκαυστηριασμένων“).  This word apparently was used of the branding of the skin of slaves, to mark them for their master.  The red-hot iron was smashed onto their skin, leaving a terrible scar for life.  In the same way, the false teachers have smashed the red-hot iron of lies into their own conscience, and it continues to bear the mark so that it has become seared, and no longer soft and tender.  They live as hypocrites, because they claim to be Christians, but actually remain the instruments of the father of lies, Satan, who seeks to deceive all men, even the elect.  Let me illustrate another point.  In so many instances, women now spread false doctrine in the church.  In 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul taught that women must not teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.  In the United States, we see women on television all the time teaching large congregations of men and women.  They do so in direct violation of 1 Timothy 2:12.  You can see how they deceive their own minds, and the people they instruct.  If you read 1 Timothy 2:12-15, you will see that Paul does not cite cultural reasons for teaching that women should not teach men.  Paul cites the doctrines of Genesis to support that position.  He proves his point from Scripture: (1) Order of Creation. Adam was created first (Genesis 2:18-23); (2) Eve Deceived. Eve, not Adam, was deceived by Satan (Genesis 3:1-23); (3) Women Bear Children. Women should bear children, and focus upon their roles as mothers, with faith, love and sanctity with self-restraint (Genesis 1:28).  Women may have wonderful teaching ministries, but not to adult men.  They can teach children and women of all ages.  To teach adult men and exercise authority over them violates the explicit commands of Scripture (1 Timothy 2:12-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34-36), and you can see from the large television audiences that many believers have been deceived by them.  While some of these female television preachers may be believers, they all pay attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons in deceiving people when they teach adult men.

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.

1 Timothy 4:3

        Marriage and Food.  The false teachers have two primary areas of false teaching that Timothy confronted.  First, these false teachers sought to forbid marriage.  We know that God instituted marriage, and said that it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18).  Another reason for marriage concerns immorality.  Paul taught that if a person does not have the gift of self-control, marriage provides a better alternative than burning with sexual desire (1 Corinthians 7:9).  False teachers were forbidding people to marry, in direct conflict with God’s teaching on the matter.  Likewise, false teachers sought to impose dietary restrictions on food, probably following the Old Testament law.  In contrast, God has created both marriage and provided food to be gratefully shared by those who believe and know the truth.  You see, the truth of God allows you to marry and eat foods others may consider unclean.  When you abandon the Word of God, know for sure that you will be falling under the influence of deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.

So we learn more about the power of God today.

    ●  False teachers have fallen prey to the doctrine of demons and the deceitful spirits.   

    ●  False teachers live in hypocrisy, and their consciences have been seared as with a branding iron. 

    ●  False teachers forbid marriage and the eating of certain foods, which God created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 

Application for Today

        As I live today, I will know the truth and avoid false teachers.  When I hear people preaching to abstain from marriage and eat only certain foods because others are unclean, then I will know they are proclaiming the doctrine of demons.  Will you avoid being deceived by deceitful spirits and avoid embracing the doctrine of demons today?

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