Bible Study 7-23-19
The Art Of Seduction
1 Timothy 4:1
“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”
The key to this passage is the simple phrase in verse 1, “Some shall depart from the faith.”
Departing from the faith is nothing new. It happens today. It happened in the church at Ephesus where Timothy was when Paul wrote. It happened in the history of Israel with everyone from kings down to peasants.
– There are always people who will understand intellectually, who will behave externally according to the revelation of God but who have no heart for that. In Hebrews 3:12 it says, “Those who depart from God demonstrate an unbelieving heart.”
– And the heart is the issue.
– All of this discussion really refers to a single word and that is the word apostate. An apostate is someone who departs from the faith they know, the faith they understand and the faith which they previously affirmed. An apostate is not someone who never knew but someone who knew, not someone who never believed but someone who even on the outside believed, not someone who never behaved but someone who once behaved according to the revelation of God. But because the heart was never in it, because they never really knew God, they were lured away by the siren voices of the demons behind idols and false religious systems. They were led, it says in verse 1, by seducing spirits and the doctrines of demons to depart from the faith.
Now this is a way to refer to divine revelation. This is not anything new, the Holy Spirit has been saying this since the Spirit began giving Scripture in the Old Testament. There are injunctions in the Old Testament about apostasy. There are warnings in the Old Testament about people who would depart from the faith, about now all Israel being true Israel, not all Jews being genuine believing Jews, some of them having uncircumcised hearts, though they had circumcised themselves on the outside. The Spirit through all of the centuries of redemptive history has said there would be those who departed from the faith. There would be rebels within the camp of Israel. The prophet spoke of it, Daniel spoke of it, Ezekiel spoke of it, not an uncommon subject at all, rather distinctly and
explicitly has the Spirit made such predictions.
In fact, we follow even into the New Testament and we sense how many have departed from the faith and how the Lord warned that they would do that. In Matthew 24, “Many false Christs, many false prophets would come, they would deceive many and many would leave the faith.” Mark 13:22 says basically the very same thing. They would go away from the faith. The Scriptures indicate to us in 2 Thessalonians 2 that before the coming of Christ in glory there would be a massive departure from the faith. In 2 Peter there will come in the last times mockers and scoffers abandoning the faith. Jude 18, the same thing.
1 John 2, the Antichrist will come, as a result there will be people who will go out from us, it will reveal they never were of us, but they will depart from the faith. In 1 John again, in chapter 4, there is a very straightforward mention that there are false prophets who are gone out into the world and they will go out into the world and they will rest souls away to their own enterprise.
So, the Spirit has expressly, explicitly said this time and time again. And the present tense is now speaking, means that what He is saying right now is part of the continuation of that Holy Spirit revelation. Do I need to add as a footnote that all biblical revelation comes from the Holy Spirit? Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. That’s how Scripture was written, 2 Peter 1:21. All Scripture comes by the inspiration of God through His Spirit. So what he’s referring to when he says the Spirit is now speaking is Scripture. He has spoken, He is now speaking through this verse right here as Paul pens it, the very word of the Holy Spirit comes. The stream of Holy Spirit revelation about apostasy is flowing to Paul at this very moment.
Now Paul knew this was going to happen in Ephesus because the Holy Spirit had said it to him before. Back in Acts 20, long before this event, the writing of this epistle to Timothy, when he gathered with the Ephesian elders in verse 29, he said, “I know that after my departure grievous wolves shall enter in and men who are perverse from among you will rise up and deceive many and lead them astray.” The Spirit had told him that years before in the inspiration of that very moment recorded in Acts chapter 20. So, the Spirit had said it expressly. It is inevitable, it is predictable, there will be people who depart from the faith. So we are not shocked by that. There will be those who make a momentary response like the seed that went into the rocky ground, but they have no root, no real life, no real union with God and they die out. Those who are choked out by the cares of this world and the love of riches. There will be those who hang around a while but when their heart is not given to God, they are seduced away by demonic spirits purveying their truth through human agents that we know as false teachers. So it is predictable.