Today we’ll be moving from Ruth (which we finished up last Saturday) onto 1 Timothy. – This is what God gave me today in His word:
As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into 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 1:3-7)
What is the only “doctrine” that is indisputable among Christians; the only doctrine that causes stewardship by faith instead of speculations? What is the only doctrine which charges someone to love, and gives them the capacity to love by giving them a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith in God? What is the only doctrine which should never lead to vain discussions, or cause people to want to become teachers of the law?
Is it the Baptist doctrines? No, it can’t be those. Those have led to some many vain discussions among believers it’s: stunning. Could it be the “doctrine” of Catholicism? Catholicism is the epitome of what this doctrine can never be: they are not only teachers of salvation through the law, but their message is entirely void of love. Could this doctrine be the doctrines of the Armenians, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, or Jehovah’s Witnesses? No, no, no, and no. The answer is no, because none of these doctrines or religions can give someone a pure heart! None of these can cleanse someone’s conscience, or make them want to love others, and none of these can give someone a sincere faith. The only thing that can do that, is the Gospel.
Jesus, and not any one group, is the only one that can cleanse our conscience, give us a sincere faith in God, and give us a pure heart. – Only by looking at the cross, and seeing the great love that He has poured out for us, can we gain a desire to love others. That’s why, at first, those who followed Christ were called Christians. They were called that, because they were so radical in their faith that people came to identify them very closely with the one that they followed. They were not called Baptists, because baptism wasn’t nearly as an important thing as following Christ was to these people. They weren’t Catholics, because those who were around them knew that their obedience to the law sprang out of their love of Christ. We need to get back to that: to where people see that we identify so closely with Christ, they can only call us Christians.
You are Loved!