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Picture of a shield with the words 'Fight Valiantly'

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 22 Mar 2019

As our Lent series continues, Lee Gatiss looks at Paul’s first letter to Timothy to see what it can teach us about contending for the faith against false teaching. Watch the video podcast of today's post on our Youtube channel.

The apostle Paul’s first letter to his co-worker Timothy urges him to stay in Ephesus and fight valiantly for the truth there by confronting false teachers. Part of Timothy’s role in Ephesus is to “charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). As a bishop charged with oversight of other elders there, Timothy was to prevent some of them from teaching heterodoxy.

In the face of false teaching which Paul describes as “the doctrine of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1), Timothy was to “have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7). He was also to “put the false teaching before the brothers” (1 Timothy 4:6) so that they would be trained to recognise what was false and what was true, not just leave them to work out the deficiencies of heresy for themselves.

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Picture of a shield with the words 'Fight Valiantly'

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 21 Mar 2019

Lee Gatiss considers deception, disobedience, and dishonour in the next instalment of our Lent series on contending for the faith. Watch the video podcast of this episode on our YouTube channel.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, Paul warns the Christians in Thessalonica not to be deceived by false teachers, particularly in the area of eschatology. Earlier in the letter, he outlines what will happen on judgment day and how those who do not know God or obey the gospel will “suffer the punishment of eternal destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Puzzling about “the last things” was clearly a controversial topic in the city (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11). So Paul warns them:

“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).

They must be on their guard against those who would mislead or trick them about the future. He teaches them what will really happen, so they are not uninformed, and then adds, “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). The truth had been handed down to them, and written down for them. So contending for the truth against error means sticking with what Paul has said. This is the way to avoid being shaken or alarmed by fake views, and to be comforted by the gospel in a time of confusion. Paul’s hope is that Christians will be established and steadfast (see 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5).

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Picture of a shield with the words 'Fight Valiantly'

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 20 Mar 2019

As we fight valiantly for the faith, Ephesians 6 puts our efforts into a larger heavenly perspective says Lee Gatiss in the next instalment of our Lent series. Watch the video podcast of this episode on our YouTube channel.

Spiritual warfare, according to these verses, is not about marching across the land to claim the ground for Jesus in a triumphant sweep. Ephesians 1:20-22 says that our Lord Jesus has been exalted “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named.” We are “seated with him in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6). The battle we face, then, is a defensive one, to stand firm where by faith we find ourselves, united in the citadel of Christ.

The devil has many schemes and forces of evil ranged against us. So we will need to fight. But this is not an aggressive invasion or conquest, because Jesus is already the ascended victor (Ephesians 4:8).

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