doctrines of demons
first timothy 4:1-3
“But the Spirit speaks explicitly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies and hypocrisy having their conscience burned with a hot iron, forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from foods which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by them who believe and know the truth, for every creature of God is good and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.”
The key to this passage is the simple phrase in verse 1, “Some shall depart from the faith.” The rest of the passage describes elements of such a departure. Some shall depart from the faith.
In 2 Chronicles chapter 25, there is the story of a king, a king of Judah by the name of Amaziah. He was the son of Joash and the father of Uzziah who was king during the time if Isaiah the prophet. Amaziah reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. Scripture says of him, initially, he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord but now with a willing or perfect heart. He functioned in accord with the religion of Israel on the outside. He knew it. He understood it. He behaved by its ethics, but not with a perfect heart. He had a heartless external religion
Scripture tells us, whether you’re looking at the history of Israel, or whether you’re dealing with the church, church history affirms it since the finish of the New Testament that there has always been a battleground between God and His truth and the devil and his lies. And that battleground is clearly drawn in Scripture and the fight goes on constantly. God calls to people through the truth and Satan with his demons tries to lure people away from truth with his hellish lies.
And, people, I need to remind you again that this matter of false teaching is replete in Scripture and there is ever and always a call for the church to deal with it. This is not a popular thing today in the name of love, everybody wants to forget disagreements. And when you come out strongly and confrontively against false teaching, you are very often criticized and labeled. I know that happens to me quite frequently. But nonetheless, there is biblical mandate and there is eternal cause for the souls of men to deal with false teaching as such. The battle lines were drawn in Israel, they were drawn in the early church, they must be drawn today. And we like Timothy must be warned and instructed as to how to understand what is behind false teaching. It is demonic activity. That is very clear.
Now as I said, the theme of the verse is this little phrase “some shall depart from the faith.” Some, not all, but some, like Judas, like Demas, like the disciples of John 6 who walk no more with Christ, there will be some, he says, who will..and he uses the verb aphistemiwhich gives us the word “apostate,” this form of the verb is apostasonti(?) and it means to depart from, to remove yourself from a former place, to remove yourself from the position you originally occupied to another place. That is a purposeful intentional deliberate departure from a former position. It isn’t talking about an unintentional fall, it isn’t talking about somebody struggling with doubt. It is someone who deliberately disposseses himself of truth once affirmed to depart for another teaching, abandoning a once affirmed faith. Some will do that, he says, some will do it. The term “the faith” means Christian doctrine. Not faith in the sense of Christian believing but “the faith” in the sense of the content of what we believe. Some will depart from true faith, from the faith, Jude 3 says, once for all delivered to the saints, the content of holy Scripture. Defectors who understand, who outwardly affirm, who behave in a way that reflects such affirmation but who have not a heart for God, who rather have an unbelieving heart and under the seduction of demons will depart from the faith. Paul says, “Timothy, you must expect that, some will do it and you must know how to deal with it.”