1 Timothy 1:1-7

Paul begins this letter to Timothy by urging Timothy to stay in Ephesus. Paul finds the false doctrines being taught by men in the church to be so damaging that he has urged Timothy to stay in Ephesus more than once.  These men, in addition to teaching false doctrines, have devoted themselves to falsities and lost sight of salvation by faith.

Follow through Scripture from the Old Testament to the New and you’ll find that God’s people are like a dog returning to its vomit (Prov 26:11).  God so generously, graciously, and mercifully gave us Himself with one burdenless condition: we take Him and Him alone.  The church has a 2000 year tradition of taking Christ and adding anything and everything we can think of to Him.  In the church today, your attendance, songs, activities, and memory can somehow fill the void that your sin after salvation creates between you and God.  Christ’s sacrifice, so simple and oh so deep, has never been enough for His church.  Christ made it simple (John 14:6).  Satan has abused the simplicity of Christ’s offering and we fall into the belief that our sufficiency in Christ is in some way dependent on us.  Paul realized his insufficiency and Christ’s adequacy (1 Tim 1:15-17) and was not going to let the church fall into the hands of false teachings.  Paul valued the true Gospel and stressed that Timothy put these men in their place in defense of the Gospel.

These men in the church were devoting themselves to myths and genealogies, causing controversy, and ultimately leading others to meaningless pursuits apart from sincere faith.  Imagine a few men in the church leadership causing Christ-distracting controversy.

People pick a church where they like the preacher, music, status, or proximity.  People unite behind the things they like, the things they grew up with, and the things that are thus “righteous” in their eyes.  Church leaders and members lean upon culture and tradition on top of the Gospel to guide their faith.  Culture and tradition… myths and endless genealogies.  Go to a traditional church wearing jeans and you will be looked upon as the sinful filth that you are.  Wear a suit to the same traditional church and you will fit right in.  Move the offering before the sermon and people’s heads will explode.  Perfect Sunday School attendance won’t get you to Heaven, but it will sure get you close.  Through Paul’s urging of Timothy to stay in Ephesus and end the teaching of false doctrines, we are presented with a clear warning of what results when the uniqueness of the Gospel is clouded with culture and tradition.  The Gospel is the only unifying factor among followers of Christ.  There is no other reason to gather with Christians except for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Music, dress, and social factors are fallacies upon which many congregations are built.  The selfishness of following culture and tradition denies the self-sacrificing love the believer adopts with Jesus Christ.  Disagreements simmer, grow, and explode, dividing the body of Christ.  This is why the Center for the Study of Global Christianity has recorded 41,000 Christian denominations/ organizations.  The body of Christ must unify around the Gospel and focus on God’s work — which is by faith and nothing more.