1 Timothy 4.1-5 – Weigh, Test, Take

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some 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. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Paul here gives Timothy a warning of the kinds of false teaching that will sadly come into the church. This kind of stuff is, also sadly, still present in our twenty-first century Christianity, and is therefore something we need to be ready to identify and take a stand against.

The deceitful spirits and teaching of demons comes in many shapes and forms, but Paul here says that they generally come through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared…False teaching then comes from those with an agenda, their conscience having being seared to the truth, they seek to exploit you for their own gain (more on that in chapter 6). Their lifestyle will not match their words, there will be a big disconnect between words and works in those whose conscience has been seared. 

Often this will result in you being told that you must adhere to their personal brand of legalism; reject this, don’t do that, do this (vv.2-3). They don’t understand that the heart of the matter of Godly living is a matter of the heart (vv.4-5, Acts 10.9-16, Genesis 9.3 cf. 1 Corinthians 8), and that by legalistically instructing others on what to do and not do rather than simply show them to Jesus, they have become a modern-day Pharisee.

Friends, do not be caught out by false teachers with an agenda. Weigh everything you hear against the full counsel of the Word of God (Acts 17.11), test everything to see if it exalts the Lord Jesus (1 John 4.1-3), and thereby take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.

Jude 1.22-23 – Save Others

Earlier in this short passage we focused on have mercy on those who doubt, now let’s look at the rest. 

22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Here Jude continues his instruction as to how we interact with those stuck under the false teaching of vv.8-13. To those who have doubts of the heart we are to have mercy, but some situations require a stronger response. Jude writes save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. The response is different to show mercy, and the response is stronger too. 

The crux of it all is that we should indeed be others-focused. Looking outwardly to others and the direction they are heading shows that we care and shows we are valuing our brothers and sisters in Christ. If people are being taught a different version of Jesus than is orthodox and shown in Scripture, we ought to be stepping in to lovingly correct them (Ephesians 4.14-16). 

I read recently that “Christians should not abandon a friend flirting with false teaching. They should help him through it in love.

So, if people are flirting with false teaching, be that from an individual pastor who teaches ever so slightly away from Scripture to tickle the ears of those who listen, or if an entire church and movement is founded on principles and teachings that are not explicitly demonstrated in the Bible, we should help them see the truth of the Word of God, but always in love. 

In doing so, as Jude writes, we will save others. Not in that we become their Saviour, but we will redirect them to the One who is. 


Point to ponder – Would I know how to lovingly give correction? Am I humble enough to receive correction?


Prayer – Father we thank you for your timeless and true Word to us that we carry in our Bibles, and we thank you that this Word became flesh and lived here among us temporarily to point us to you. Give us a spirit of humility and the right words if we need to be in this situation, and help us to always keep our eyes fixed on the message of your Word, not the words of those who deliver it. Amen. 

Revelation 15 – The presence of God

Quite a short chapter today, only 8 verses, but some more powerful stuff for us to take in, culminating in the unstoppable power of the presence of God Himself.

1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.

2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire–and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

“Great and amazing are your deeds,

O Lord God the Almighty!

Just and true are your ways,

O King of the nations!

4 Who will not fear, O Lord,

and glorify your name?

For you alone are holy.

All nations will come and worship you,

for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

5 After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, 6 and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests. 7 And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever, 8 and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.

After the carnage of chapter 14, things settle down for a short time and seven angels appear with seven plagues, which signify that the wrath of God is finished. Chapter 14 gave us Armageddon, the fury of the wrath of God poured out, now we go back and review, quite a common prophetic writing technique…actually, quite a common Biblical technique (think Genesis 1 and 2).

More imagery comes our way with what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire, the sea being a glorious creation of our glorious God, and fire bringing judgement, burning away impurities, and fire is mesmerizing, isn’t it, you can’t help but look at fire. So John sees what appears to be sea and fire, but in reality he saw something glorious and mesmerizing…it’s hard to communicate clearly the incommunicable glories of God…poor guy.

Then, a wonderful hymn to our God, signing of His law and of His love (the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb), and with an absolute focus on God, not ourselves (For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.)

After this a wonderful scene ensues, angels appear carrying representations of God’s pure, just, and holy judgement on a fallen world (seven angels…clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests.), and then God Himself makes His presence seen in the sanctuary; the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.

Wow – the smoke from the glory of God filled the sanctuary and nobody could enter.

One fascinating thing about the book of Revelation is the Old Testament references; more than 500 allusions to it, and around 280 references.

Here we see a strong allusion to Exodus 40

34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.



The presence of God has been, and is now, so awesome that nobody can be in it.


That will change in a couple of chapters, but for now, the presence of God is so powerful, amazing, and wonderful that nobody can be in it. Don’t be taken in by false teachers who say the glory cloud rests upon them, rests in their church, follows them around, descended during worship…just read those verses from Exodus 40, and this passage in Revelation 15 and you’ll see that the presence of God has been, and is now, so awesome that nobody can be in it.

It’s unstoppable, inimitable, irreplicable, undeniable, and world-endingly powerful…and the God who IS this kind of power, the God who wields this level of power, this God loves you, wants you, will do all He can for you, and will give you just a taste of this power in your life right now. Seek, knock, ask, taste and see…don’t expect the cloud to to descend, but be prepared!