We are living in challenging times as Christians. Our faith is being undermined by wayward Christian teachers and prophets in our day. How does this happen? I Timothy and II Timothy give some explanation as to how this occurs. Teachers start to wander off the path of truth and are in a position to ruin the faith of others. For some teachers it is their desire to be preeminent among others. For other teachers they have accepted and confessed beliefs in a worldly knowledge. These causes are based in inward personality faults that have not been overcome or resisted by someone who is teaching God’s word. Through their influence they can shipwreck the godly faith of other Christians. God’s word says that those who teach will receive the greater condemnation in a judgment if they get it wrong. We have some Christian teachers in our day that have really gone out on a limb teaching that godliness in conduct and behavior is not needed in the life of a believer. Others teach that financial gain is what Christianity is all about. Still others teach mystical, spiritualistic practices interspersed with the Word of God.
The names of some of these men are given in I and II Timothy. Hymanaeus, Philetus, and Alexander are specifically identified by Paul. To have lived in that day teaching believers and then to find your name written in the Bible as a faith-wrecker would be devastating. We need to be careful as teachers and as receivers of ‘christian’ teaching. Many popular teachers of our day teach half-truths or even less godly content in their teaching about the Christian life. We cannot be enamored with the ‘popular’ at the expense of our faith and eternal life. Paul exhorted Timothy to hold onto his faith and his good conscience. Contrary to much of the Christian teaching today our conscience means something to us. If we are feeling guilty, confused or uncomfortable then we need to pay attention to the Holy Spirit and examine ourselves by the Word of God and what the Bible Scriptures teach.
The Scripture says ‘be ye in the world but not of it’. We look around our communities as Christians and things seem at least somewhat ‘normal’. We see families out together, people going about their business, people smiling and laughing, and children tagging along with their caregiver. This means that the world is alright doesn’t it? Things can’t be that bad. Then we hear that some of the middle school youth at our church are struggling with feelings of homosexuality. Feelings that they don’t want and that they hate. What has happened?
There is a spirit of homosexuality in our land right now in the West. This spirit is increasing in its scope and in its power in the lives of youth. Especially those who involve themselves in today’s media of gaming and other influential technology such as the easy access to pornography websites through the Internet.
Government laws have gotten behind the enforcement and acceptance of homosexuality and political correctness in society has demanded alignment in the thinking and actions of everyday people. Differences of thought are stomped out quickly by authorities as discriminatory, bigoted and subject to possible fines and imprisonment.
Youth are active in media. They like gaming. They like technology that entertains them. They like being exposed to ‘new and exciting things’. They want to try everything to see what it is about. They are very susceptible to peer pressure and want to be the same as their friends. They want to be thought of as progressive in their thinking and in how they live their lives. Through these mechanisms and influences the youth are coming under the control of the homosexual spirit that is currently in the world.
If the youth want to break free of this control they are going to have to be taught to be very careful of what they are engaging in. Many of the current games they play may have to be set aside for other choices. Some of the music they listen to and some of the television programs and movies they watch may have to be avoided. If the youth continue to engage with media indiscriminately then there is a strong possibility that they will lose control of themselves and become captives and slaves of the spirit of homosexuality and of other unwanted and hated powers of ungodliness.
In the book of Hebrews chapter 7 and 8 the Apostle Paul speaks about a new and better covenant. This new covenant, or second covenant, has made obsolete the first covenant of the Law given to Moses, for his people. As with a second Will that a person makes to distribute an inheritance, so also this second covenant with his people that God made through Jesus, supersedes the Law of Moses. Because it was made after the first one, just like someone updating their Will, the updated Will is the one legally in effect when that person dies. Hebrews chp. 8:13 says “In speaking of a new covenant,” he has made the first one obsolete.’
Hebrews 8:9 says that this new covenant is not like the first covenant. Paul explains in these chapters of Hebrews that the Law was not able to deal with the consciousness of sin. The Law revealed and exposed sin. The Law dealt with sin through the outward rituals of the flesh. Laws about drink, food, and washing of the body. Atonement for sin was dealt with by the shedding of animal blood. These rituals had to be performed continually to try to alleviate sin.
The sacrifice of Jesus in the death of his own body on the cross for the atonement of sin, was done once for all eternity. Jesus will remain the High priest of God forever. Jesus the Son, is the new covenant that God has established with his people. God has made Jesus the way to himself. Jesus states ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’. No one comes to God except through me. ‘
Jesus is a friend of sinners. We hear this frequently about Jesus’ ministry in sermons, in songs, in comments by believers. The comments are along the lines of ‘Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors’. Did he? Large crowds followed Jesus. I am sure there were people of all kinds within these crowds. The Bible does not indicate that Jesus went to these kinds of people, but rather that they came to him. Jesus entered a community, people heard that he was there and they brought their sick, their demon possessed, their crippled, blind, deaf, and lame to him to be healed. People came to him to hear his teaching.
Jesus hung out with his disciples. They were with him wherever he went. He took them aside and revealed things to them about the Father. He expounded on and explained his parables to them. He took only three disciples with him up on the mount where he was transfigured before them. In the Bible Jesus exhorts some whom he healed to ‘go and sin no more’.
The apostle Paul exhorts believers many times in the NT to bring forth the fruits of salvation and of their need to turn away from their past sins and to no longer indulge in these sins. Paul explains that our past sinful behavior was of the old man, but we who believe are made new creations. We are to clothe ourselves with the ‘new man’. We are to love righteousness and to flee evil. We are to bring forth righteousness and justice from out of our inner being, to hate sin.