Friday, November 13, 2009

Non-Believers & False Teachers at the Church in Ephesus

The negative and positive qualities that Paul lays out in 1 Timothy for elders and deacons are a direct contrast to the non-believers and the false teachers that Paul had been teaching about. This post is simply the list of all the qualities of the non-believers and of the false teachers that Paul (and John) taught about at the church in Ephesus (I also walk through the qualities of non-believers in John's Epistles since they were most likely written to the church in Ephesus). This sets a strong contrast (to say the least) to the qualities that he encourages Timothy to look for in elders and deacons:
  1. Some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Waybefore the congregation (Acts 19:9)

  2. Itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord over those who had evil spirits, the sons of Sceva, and they were attacked by the demons (Acts 19:13-16)

  3. Many formerly practiced magic arts, and they burned their books (Acts 19:19)

  4. Demetrius'(a Gentile) trade was threatened and he warned the Ephesians that theirs would too and that their goddess Artemis was being threatened by the Christians (Acts 19:21-41)

  5. Fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; from among your own selves [the elders] will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them (Acts 20:29-31)

  6. The Ephesian Christians once walked, following the prince of the power of the air the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind (Ephesians 2:1-3)

  7. They formerly were Gentiles in the flesh, separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenant of promise. They had no hope and were without God in the world (Ephesians 2:11-12)

  8. Gentiles walk in the futility of their mind, darkened by their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity (Ephesians 4:17-19)

  9. Sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness was not to be practiced. Paul exhorted that there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, "For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord" (Ephesians 5:3-8)

  10. It is shameful even to speak of the things that non-Christians do in secret(Ephesians 5:12)

  11. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not getdrunk with wine, for that is debauchery (Ephesians 5:17)

  12. Timothy was to charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations (1 Timothy 1:3)

  13. Those who devote themselves to vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law,without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions (1 Timothy 1:6-7)

  14. The law is for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for theunholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, formurderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality,enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted (1 Timothy 1:9-11)

  15. Paul describes himself as a former blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponentof Christ (1 Timothy 1:13)

  16. Those who blaspheme or reject the gospel (like Hymenaeus & Alexander) make shipwreck of their faith (rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith) (1 Timothy 1:19-20)

  17. Women are not to teach or exercise authority over a man (when I get to the qualifications of elders and deacons I hope to discuss how this rules out that women can be elders, but not necessarily deacons) (1 Timothy 2:12)

  18. Those who will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.(1 Timothy 4:1-3)

  19. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths (1 Timothy 4:7)

  20. Good or false teachers are not distinguishable by their age. Paul encouraged Timothy to "let no one despise you for your youth" (1 Timothy 4:12)

  21. Paul describes those are falsely posing to be widows saying, "but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives" (this would particularly apply to deaconesses if we take the office of deaconess to be a biblical office, cf. Romans 16:1) (1 Timothy 5:6)

  22. He also warns of the temptation of younger widows saying, "when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips andbusybodies, saying what they should not (1 Timothy 5:11-13)

  23. Paul also describes how some of these sins are obvious or "conspicuous", but some of these are hidden sins or will "appear later" (1 Timothy 5:24)

  24. Those who teach 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. He has anunhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, whichproduce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

  25. 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 havewandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

  26. The rich are not to be haughty, and should not trust in the uncertainty of their riches (1 Timothy 6:17)

  27. Timothy was to charge the Ephesian church not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers (2 Timothy 2:14)

  28. They were to avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some (2 Timothy 2:16-17)

  29. They were to flee youthful passions (2 Timothy 2:22)

  30. Further, they were to have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome (2 Timothy 2:23)

  31. Paul wrote further that, "people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud,arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, mencorrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men." (2 Timothy 3:2-9)

  32. Paul further describes that evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13)

  33. Paul warned that the time was coming when people would not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they would accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and would turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

  34. Paul also described how false brethren deserted him. So another quality of someone unfit for the work of the ministry is someone who deserts true and faithful gospel preachers in their times of need (2 Timothy 4:10-17)

  35. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (1 John 1:6)

  36. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8)

  37. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 John 1:10)

  38. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:4)

  39. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness (1 John 2:9)

  40. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes (1 John 2:11)

  41. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world (1 John 2:15-16)

  42. They went out from us [or abandoned them], but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us (1 John 2:19)

  43. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22)

  44. I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you (1 John 2:26)

  45. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4)

  46. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother (1 John 3:9-10)

  47. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous (1 John 3:12)

  48. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15)

  49. Little children, let us not love in word or talk [only] but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18)

  50. Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already (1 John 4:3)

  51. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them (1 John 4:5)

  52. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8)

  53. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love (1 John 4:18)

  54. If anyone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20)

  55. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son (1 John 5:10)

  56. Whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life (1 John 5:12)

  57. The whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19)

  58. Little children, keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21)

  59. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works (2 John 1:7-11)

  60. I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first,does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing,talking wicked nonesense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church. Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true (3 John 1:9-12)
Eckhard Schnabel has summed up Paul's teaching in these passages well in the quote below (fyi: I added the bolded numbers and letters in brackets not the footnotes):

In his letters to Timothy and Titus, Paul discusses yet again the activities of certain Jewish Christian teachers. Paul asserts that they promote foolish controversies.[1]The comment that these teachers seduce Christians (2 Tim 3:13; cf. Tit 1:10) indicates that the “nonsense” they propagate is plausible to some degree and thus convinces some believers. Their teachings [1] focus on the Mosaic law, which the[A] interpret in an allegorical manner, [B] linked with Jewish myths and with circumcision,[2] [C] with ascetic practices related to marriage and food.[3] They [2]deny a future resurrection (2 Tim 2:18). [3] They emphasize the participation of married women in the teaching ministry of the churches with the result that they neglect their children (1 Tim 2:11-15). [4] And they possibly downplay the importance of missionary work among Gentiles.[4] [5] Their teaching implied that Jesus Christ does not occupy a central position as Savior and as Mediator between God and humankind. Paul attacks these teachers on account of their immoral behavior (Tit 1:16; 2 Tim 3:1-5), which was demonstrated, for example, in their desire to achieve financial gain through their teaching ministry (1 Tim 6:5-10; Tit 1:11). Paul warns the Christians in the churches in Asia Minor to recognize the danger that these teachers represent and to reject them, and not to become again the kind of people they had been before their conversion.[5] Paul encourages Timothy and Titus to be concerned about the quality of character of the leaders in the local churches (1 Tim 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9). And he emphasizes the necessity of preserving the early Christian tradition in the churches.[6]

[1] Cf. 1 Tim 6:3-5; Tit 1:10; 3:9; 2 Tim 2:14-16; 2:23.
[2] 1 Tim 1:4, 7; 2 Tim 4:4; Tit 1:14; on circumcision cf. Tit 1:10.
[3] Cf. 1 Tim 4:3; cf. Tit 1:15; 1 Tim 2:15; 5:23.
[4] I. Howard Marshall, Pastoral Epistles, p. 45; cf. 1 Tim 2:4-6, 7; 4:10; Tit 2:11; cf. 1 Tim 3:16.
[5] Cf. 1 Tim 3:1-13; 5:6, 11; Tit 1:6-7; 2 Tim 2:22. Cf. Marshall, Pastoral Epistles, p. 43.
[6] Cf. 1 Tim 1:15-17; 2 Tim 1:13-14; 2:2, 8-13; 3:10, 14-17; Tit 2:1; 3:3-8.

Schnabel, Eckhard Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies and Methods(Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2008), 206-207.

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