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An Unfaithful Departure

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
September 13, 2021 2:00 am

An Unfaithful Departure

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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September 13, 2021 2:00 am

Join us a Steve McCullough continues his series through the book of 1 Timothy. For more information about Grace Church, please visit www.graceharrisburg.org.

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Verse 16 gives us some of these fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, we have the incarnation, the resurrection, the revelation of the will of God to the Gentiles and their reception of this gospel message, their conversion and the ascension of Christ. This is just a few of the core tenants of the Christian faith. But in this passage we see a diversion.

We see there is apostasy that is a word that I'll say a few times denied apostasy as were someone is made a profession of faith in church, but they have fallen away. They have drifted. They have strayed from the faith and about preaching through a book like this, you don't get to avoid the tough passages.

This is a tough message this evening, but if you have a willingness to hear it in a heart to receive it. I think it is a warning to us but also a call to urgency to be faithful to the gospel and to encourage others in their faithfulness. The word apostate is someone it was left the faith in someone who is described in this passage is an ascetic word asceticism is to describe someone who was severely committed to self discipline ascetics back in the time of the ancient church. Many ascetics with throw out all their earthly possessions and they would literally own nothing.

They would starve themselves and they their affections were somewhat mixed.

It was not out of love for Christ, but was out of honor, they would receive from men some sort of a form of Pharisaism. What we see in this passage is there is an apostasy toward asceticism. Despite these many who depart from the faith into this apostasy and into an ascetic lifestyle.

God still gives us blessings and liberty that are found in Christ. So we want to look first at this pattern of apostasy within the church of the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons is been a weird year and 1/2 and during the pandemic. I got an email from Crossway that semi-enabled an article that was written called 10 reasons to come back to the church after Cove in 19 and it was very grievous to my heart that this is the state of the American church after give you 10 reasons why you should come back into the local church and fellowship with other believers we need to convince people to come back to the local church and be in fellowship with us. I mean to give a few I mean we need to administer baptism, we need to administer communion together.

The Lord's supper. I we fellowship as fellow believers we need to encourage each other as Hebrews 10 tells us to stir one another up to love and good works. We should encourage each other.

We are the bride of Christ, where the local gathering of believers. I have to get an article that says we persuade you to come back.

This is where we are. The pillar in support of truth. This is where the truth, the gospel is in town if you want to go here. It you come on a Sunday, the Lord's day, and you'll hear the gospel preached, but sadly because everyone has gone online and I'm glad we have technology we can sin the gospel message out.

Many people have stated home. They watched good sermons on YouTube. We have through a blessing and cursing. We have great teaching online, but sadly they are not coming back to church. It might reveal a few things that might reveal their lack of faith.

It might reveal that we the church are not doing our part in faithfulness.

Let's be honest with ourselves, are we not welcoming in strangers.

Visitors are we not being friendly to them that they don't feel the need to come back. I could be sports on Sunday. It could be football Sunday night football to be all sorts of things, but the apostates here are unique.

It's not that they leave and just fall into agnosticism or atheism. They don't leave the church and sort of get apathetic they find themselves deeply devoted to false teaching. They have been drawn out of the church by deceitful spirits and the doctrines of demons whole is warning us here in this passage that there will be later times. And yes, we are in the later times are in the last days and sometimes in I'm sharing the gospel. People asked me do the Colleen in and whispered he think were in the last days and yes we been in the last days since the first coming of Christ. We we know that very clearly read the Bible. Hebrews chapter 1 verse two. In these last days he has spoken to us through his son, whom he appointed heir of all things, in whom he has created the world we we see the last days beginning with the coming of Christ. We've been in them for 2000 years.

Peter next chapter 2 in the last days, it shall be, God declares I will pour out my spirit and he does so at the cost so we shouldn't be surprised as we are in these last days there will be many challenges to the Christian faith will be many of those who stand in opposition to the truth. But this opposition are made up of former members of the church that have left the face committed apostasy and now they are devout in their beliefs.

These deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. Paul warns about this in acts chapter 20 speaking to the Ephesian elders. He says pay careful attention to yourselves and to the flock. Why I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock from among your own selves. Lowrise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them, therefore, be alert remembering for three years. I do not cease day and night to admonish everyone in tears. Paul loves the church he does not want this dreadful drifting into apostasy for you. He does not want us to forfeit the deposit that we have been given to protect and guard the truth of the gospel.

He wants us to hold onto this not to fall away into false teaching, but it's approaching already has for years for 2000 years we've had false teaching approaching the gospel truth, but here it says they will come in with deceitful spirits and doctrines of the teachings of demons, and the record here is describing false teachers and a spirit of error. Every time it's used. It's always describing a heretical view that is challenging the church. In chapter 1 verse 36 is certain is a picture of Paul's opponents.

People are swaying from the truth. Wandering in a vein discussion desiring to be teachers of the law without understanding either. What is being said or which they make confident assertions here is reveal that the root of this Ephesian heresy that's going around is that Satan and the influence of these demonic teachings are leading people into heresy and it is a teaching of wickedness and demonic instruction back in chapter 1 we see in verse 20 that 20 that Alexander and Hymenaeus. They were handed over to Satan that they might learn not to blaspheme.

Even their Paul had excommunicate these men get to push them out of the church we not preach false doctrine here if you're in a teach that need to leave. We are absolutely intolerant of false doctrine within the church. We're not going to have it so if you're gonna teach that you need to go. Paul is clarifying to us. We will not let other sheep be ensnared by this wicked, vile teaching in the second letter, second Timothy, it's already happening. It's in the present tense. There is there is an active push against the Orthodox teaching within the church. So it is a misguided, but also a morbid heresy that they are committed to their not victims of this in one since this teaching, and the alluring happened to them but in the same time. Now they turned around and they've embraced this false teaching party wants to say to we talk with them. Yes, of course, want to encourage them to come back to week other lettuce straight.

We want to draw them back in. Yes, absolutely. We want to encourage people to repent of their false teaching they might be just people asking sincere questions they might be people that want to know the validity of our own history of our own Presbyterian tradition they want to know why we are right and they are wrong and they might be genuinely asking questions and wanting to know here in this passage. These apostates these ascetics, they are not confused. They are not confused about what we teach. They have rejected. They have rebelled against it and now they are teaching a doctrine that Paul describes in second Timothy two. The talk of such men will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and fleet us so there is the same teaching that comes out of chapter 1 of Hymenaeus and Alexander and this is spreading like gangrene as we know about gangrene.

It cannot be just simply treated it must be cut off. It must be completely removed from the church. They will say it's a good teaching will say it very sincere. I think about Mormon missionaries. They often are very well dressed, and they mean well, but then they preach a false gospel we see Jehovah's Witnesses. Some of the best dressed people of St. among the Colts again bringing a false gospel to your doorstep. Paul warns us in second Corinthians 11 that the thing Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, so it's no surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. While they have the appearance of godliness. They deny the power Paul makes it very clear to avoid such people actually grammar says it's continuing it's to continue to avoid them. Always, we must stay away from them.

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive them in your house not give him any greeting for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. We are warned here in verse two tells us that through the insincerity of liars, their consciences are seared there at a point of a woeful state. This is a horrible place to be where the imagery that's being used here is a hot branding iron.

Think of cattle unity you Brandon animal with branding iron as that hot metal comes into contact with the skin. It burns all the nerve endings and so after everything everything's. The skin is cool down. Now, the nerve endings don't feel as a lag is a lack of sensitivity in the skin what's of metaphor here that there is an insensitivity to correct teaching in God's word. There their consciences are seared to not receiving the word of God well so serves as a warning to us that we must be sensitive to God's word were God's law comes in and corrects us we must be quick to repent. We must be quick to run to Christ and believe and trust in the mercy of Christ, we must sincerely repent and then, as Paul tells us to have a clear conscience. Be careful not to sear your own conscience but have a clear conscience.

The aim of our charges love issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Deacons are to hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. This is our goal that we not get so comfortable with sin that we think nothing of it. Second, we see the practice of these apostates in these ascetics. In verse three forbid marriage require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth to wrong teachings that they are propagating here for bidding marriage and abstaining from certain foods for bidding people to marry is just as false view of spirituality that it's somewhat somewhat better to be celibate to be single or more committed to the Lord.

No priests and nuns can have this view that they're married to Jesus Christ and so in that sense it's actually a higher calling than being a regular church member that's married with children with a Roman Catholic priest or celibate. To this day and again this is a wrong teaching without any scriptural warrant, with only the traditions of men to backup their teaching even going back to the ancient church. It was an addiction call continence reprimand was married and he had children once he became a priest.

He could not have any intimacy with his wife once he became a priest.

So once again, this is just not grounded in Scripture at all.

This is a wicked awful doctrine. Paul does say the singleness is good for Corinthian seven. He talks about the benefits of being single in the ministry.

I can attest to this.

There was a time where I was single I was freed up to do more ministerial work and I was very glad for that season of life.

Now that I'm married and very glad to be married, but there's a time to be single is a time to be married. Some men in history. J.

Gresham mage and John Stott Richard Sims all these men preachers ministers. They were all single in the church. I'm sure it freed them up to do much more ministry work. If you are called to be married and that is your currently married. It's good, it's right to be married if you're single good. It's right to be single. There's a time to be both single and married. If you desire to be married.

It's not wrong to want to be married. Christians must marry in the faith. I think it's pretty clear from first Corinthians 7 have to say this in 2021. We must marry someone of the opposite sex and where two believers come together in marriage in the covenant of marriage.

Let man not separate.

This is a good thing is blessed by God is not less than singleness is the teaching that's being taught and I think that it's pointing to a future view of heaven again. They're trying to ramp it up and it can a look at send this idea of a common marriage look at heaven. What is it like in heaven.

Jesus tells us for the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven that might be the source of where they're getting this teaching that in heaven were not married. While we marry now when there's a future reality that we will not be married at the same time.

That's a full denial of the creation mandate, which is to be fruitful and to multiply. It is a denial of Proverbs and says he that finds a wife finds a good thing obtains favor the Lord. Secondly, we see these abstinence from food. It would make sense that Paul is arguing for Christian liberty in view of the Jewish dietary laws music training to be a Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin. Paul is steeped in the Jewish tradition, so it absolutely makes sense that he is fighting for freedom to eat freely and this is a big hurdle for a lot of Jewish men that are being converted to Christ. But we do have a passage that makes it very clear. Peter saw an X chapter 10 saw that the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending being let down by its four corners upon the earth are all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air and it came a voice saying, rise, Peter kill and eat. This is the Lord telling Peter directly. Go ahead, kill, eat course Peter decides he wants to argue with the Lord. By no means Lord, I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean voice came to him again second time when God has made clean. Do not call common. So what is Christ point here in this passage is that now we have declared that there are no more dietary laws. There are no more limits.

Restrictions on eating pork, or any sort of other dietary restriction mentioned in the Old Testament Christ has freed us from this I get this oftentimes in talking to people say party or Bible you know says you can eat pork or shellfish will say is this part of the Bible. The Old Testament is fulfilled right here in the New Testament it within itself that resolves the issue. We now have freedom to eat as we feel led to here and so if someone were to come to us and say dear and send eating pork by the way that's against the dietary laws. The appropriate response is actually Aronson for telling me that that is a sin, we have freedom Christ has provided for us freedom to eat as we are led, but there again is a push these days there's a Hebrew roots movement. They meet on Saturday, they observe the dietary laws they still claim Jesus on the claim with Yeshua. They see the secularism of the world and they say let's get back to the law and they start getting right back into the Galatian heresy, which is by faith and by Torah observance and I'll earn my way to salvation, and it is again a false gospel we are not saved fireworks we are saved by faith in faith alone in Christ alone and so if someone were to come in the church. Encourage this sort of dietary law, we would have to tell them that we do not tolerate this.

You can think it's healthy to abstain from pork you can think it's healthy to abstain from processed foods or alcohol or tobacco. That's completely fine, but for you to say that they are sinning against the Lord, that teaching will not be tolerated is a false gospel coming a false teaching coming out of a false gospel were sinfully binding. The conscience of other believers about a freedom that they have in Christ again is a lot of things where we think it's wise to do this wise to unwise to do that but we draw a line were Scripture draws a line we can encourage each other in all sorts of lifestyles and think about homeschooling's big I hear about essential oils are still not exactly know what that is.

You know, again, pork and processed foods is also to things that we debate as just a local group of people were going to debate these things, but as a congregation we must be defined by the text we have to go back to God's word about fasting recently.

We did a fast as a congregation.

Might we be violating this as it says and abstaining from foods, is it wrong to fast. One of the Lord tells us when you fast. Matthew 616 tells us that when you fast being there is a designated time that we are too fast. Fasting reminds us that we are dependent upon God as our provider.

We realize our dependence that God is the one that gives us the rain that grows the crops that fills the groceries and that we can go and eat it. Say God is the one who provides for us.

Jesus called these here these Pharisees out hypocrites disfiguring their faces. There fasting that may be seen by others.

Their goal is that you would see how holy they are, they want you to see that there fasting and that there really hungry and their desperate for food because it just been fasting for so long because are so holy.

This again is self-serving and Jesus knew this and he said they'll receive their awards all receive the respect and honor of other men and no feel self-righteous and will be satisfied and that they want to earn points. That's part of this ascetic living as well. They want to earn points with the Lord and they want to earn favor with the Lord.

But this is wrong. This ascetic living is starving oneself. This this denial of good and right foods is wrong. Fasting for a time in prayer again reminds us of our need for the Lord. But this ascetic lifestyle is completely off the deep end starving oneself. Throwing out all possessions and having nothing think of anything we need to look at the opposite. As Americans we might be guilty of gluttony, overindulgence that might be what we need to hear again gluttony is wrong. Asceticism is wrong to be good stewards of our body and both extremes are wrong.

What we have is a command from Christ.

When you fast is a time to fast but to limit again.

God is not forbidden foods we are to enjoy food postponing everyone. Jew and Gentile, to delight in the providence of God through food versus 45 we see this answer of asceticism.

Everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is to be received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth said, let there be light and it was good.

Every day of creation. It was good.

It was good it was going over every time and finally Adam is alone he is by himself and it is not good that man would be alone and so he makes a helper fit for him. He makes Eve. In response, Adam cries out this at last is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman, because she is taken out of man Tim Keller noted this is like a benediction. This is a declaration.

This is a celebration of Adam now being partnered with Eve.

It is a good and right thing. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife. This should become one flesh in the man and his wife were both naked and were unashamed as we see his sin creeps into the world, is the influence of Satan. Where Eve was lured in by deceitful spirits and this demonic teaching in Genesis chapter 3 it was Satan that challenged the goodness of God called her to indulge in Satan lures Eve into sin, and Adam consents to this dozen guard hurried as a protector as he should. Instead, he consents to this and he says because you've listen to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I command you, you shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you in pain you shall eat of it all the days your life.

Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.

You shall eat the plants of the field by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread to the return to the ground. Satan's influence started back at the beginning in Genesis and still continues today are not to be deceived but we are to receive these things with thanksgiving. We are to receive marriage and we are to receive food for is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

We don't really struggle with Jewish dietary laws were not former Jews that have been converted into Christianity. You must remember this was a massive stumbling block for any Jewish man in their recognizing their Gentile Christians have had this freedom they've never been limited in what they can eat.

But now this new Jewish Christian sect can now eat now can enjoy the same foods. These common formally common foods that the Gentiles have enjoyed as I think about abstaining from foods and I what comes to mind is Jay Gresham, mage and I want the best examples I've heard of just liberty in Christ mage and was a professor at Princeton seminary. He was free to marry. He never did is free to drink. He never did is free to smoke and he never did about he talks about the freedom that his colleagues at Princeton seminary had when they would have cigars together so the following. The fellows are in my room now on the last night. Last Sunday night smoking the cigars and eating the oranges which has been the greatest delight I have ever had to provide whenever possible.

My idea of delight is a Princeton room full of fellows, smoking when I think of what a tobacco is to friendship and to Christian patients. I have sometimes regretted that I never began to smoke. He just enjoyed his friends having a good time in exercising their liberty that they had in Christ, John Piper, and on this he said when I read that it took my Baptist fundamentalist breath away. I had grown up in a is a son of a pastor and evangelist, a grub finalist Baptist in Greenville, South Carolina, and he could just could not imagine Christians would smoke and drink again. He's local and grounded in truth and defined by the text, and so he acknowledges that this is their freedom in Christ not encouraging anyone to to smoke. I suggest not biblically mandate that is unhealthy if your addiction is wrong. Drunkenness is wrong on me be clear here, but to say either is a sin that is alcohol or tobacco, or processed foods or anything else that someone might come in and try to bind your conscience. They are attacking the freedom and liberty that you have in Christ, so finally Paul gives us another reason to praise God he tells us that when we receive a meal receiving these good things abstaining from foods, but receiving them in thankfulness. Thanksgiving is made holy by the word of God and prayer were not defiled by what goes into the body, but what comes out. What ought to come out as a thankfulness to God for what he has provided for us.

It is freedom in Christ and that's why we say blessings before meals because before we receive this food. We ought to go to God and we ought to be thankful for what he has provided for us. We are acknowledging their many blessings come from God and to enjoy good food because God has blessed us big with good food, conclusion, be aware of these false teachings. Whether it's Hebrew roots movement their dietary laws, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, whatever it may be defend the faith bear witness to the truth. Point them to the liberty that you have in Christ at a certain point is pearls before swine. We must let them go where that line is we must seek out discernment decide for ourselves, but we have to be a witness and simply let our witness stand. Be aware of asceticism seeks to earn the right standing God. Be aware of self-righteousness and Pharisaism be aware of these sinful, deceitful teachings and doctrines of demons avoid the teach that abstaining from marriage or certain foods is some sort a high road to to the Lord is blasphemous is a demonic teaching both marriage and singleness can be good in their proper times and they are well within the liberty of Christ to embrace both be a good steward of our bodies, we avoid asceticism and gluttony. But let us rejoice in what God has blessed us with God created the world. He gives us food gives us marriage.

He gives us things are good and right spring Emily father you are a great and gracious God, most gracious is it that you sent your son. Through him we might be justified by faith. If peace with you through our Lord Jesus Christ. Beyond that, you give us all the many blessings in the Christian life that we take for granted. Let us embrace our freedom we have in Christ is the perfectly careful between law and liberty to keep your law always while also embracing the liberty that we have in Christ. Thank you for your son, who is our Lord Shepherd or friend, our Redeemer, all these things we ask in his name. Amen


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