Handling Snakes in the Church (I Timothy 1:3-7)


I Timothy 1:3-7


A.  As you know, when I travel I like to try different churches.


            1.  We had church at Branson at the Hamner Theater.

            2.  I have had many opportunities to attend services with


            3.  Some services have been very traditional.  (PCC)

            4.  Some have been very upbeat.


B.  I have never had the opportunity to be a part of a Snake

     Handling Service.  I am not sure I would want to be.


            1.  Snake handling comes from a misinterpretation of a

                 verse in Mark 16.


            "And these signs shall follow them that believe;

            In My name shall they cast out devils;

            they shall speak with new tongues;

            They shall take up serpents;  and if they drink any deadly

            thing, it shall not hurt them;  they shall lay hands on the

            sick, and they shall recover."  (Mark 16:17-18)


            2.  All of these things, save one, happened among the

                 believers in the book of Acts.

                        *  Believers spoke in new tongues at Pentecost.

                        *  Peter and John laid hands on the sick.

                        *  Paul and Silas cast out devils of the girl at


                        *  Paul was snake bitten on the island of Melita

                            and he did not die.  (Malta)


            3.  This scripture did not mean all believers would do these.


C.  Still there are some snakes in churches that we do need to

      handle.  Those who sneak in with the poison of false doctrine.

            Paul showed Timothy how to handle these snakes

            in the church.

I.  The Error of False Teaching.  (4,6,7)


A.  Four Things were happening at Ephesus.


            1.  Legends.  [fables =  muthos or myths]

                        a.  Many of these Gentiles had come from a religion

                             of many myths.  Greek mythology with its gods

                             and demigods. 

                        b.  Jews in the church also had some myths.

                             The Apocrypha had been written by this time

                             and was filled with myths in such books as

                             Prayer of Manasses, The Rest of Esther,

                            Song of the Three Hebrew Children, The History

                            of Susanna, and Bell and the Dragon.

                        c.  This is probably where Gnosticism started

                             gaining a foothold, feeding off of some of these


                             "Put an end to their myths and fables, and their

                             idea of being saved by finding favor with an

                           endless chain of angels leading up to God"  (TLB)

                        d.  Today we still have many fables & myths people

                             believe and try to bring into the church.

                                    EX:  Indian myths, Mormon myths,                                                               Worldy myths like Evolution


            2.  Lineages.  [geneologies]

                        a.  Jewish people thought it a matter of pride to

                             trace their lineage back to the patriarchs.  This

                             was good in that the Jews tried to keep racial

                             purity.  It was bad if constantly brought up in


                        b.  The Gentiles sometimes made important figures

                             as descendants of some pagan god.  The

                             historical figure may have been real, but the gods

                             were not.

                        c.  Many today try to make themselves more

                             important by constantly referring to their famous

                             family members or famous associations.

                                    EX:  The church at Corinth

            3.  Loose Talking.  [v.6, vain jangling, idle/empty talking]


                        I like what the Amplified Bible says:


            "But certain individuals have missed the mark on this

            matter [and] have wandered away into vain arguments and

            discussions and purposeless talk."


                        a.  People were perpetuating their lies.

                        b.  People were giving their personal opinions.

                        c.  We do the same when we have discussions

                             in church and SS based more on our past or our

                             opinion instead of scriptural truth.

                        EX:  Dr. Spock's book on Child Rearing


            4.  Legalism.  [v.7, see also 4:3]


                        a.  Legalists followed Paul in many churches.

                             Paul had to especially write to the churches of

                             Galatia about the Legalism sneaking in there.


                        b.  Legalists tried to say you should believe in

                             Christ Jesus, but you need to keep the OT Law.

                        c.  Paul and the Jerusalem Council both told the

                            Gentile converts this was not true.  They should

                            keep the Moral Law, but not the Ceremonial Law

                        d.  Jesus was seen as fulfilling the types in the

                             Ceremonial Law.

                        e.  Still today there are those who say we most go

                             back and live like the Jews in the OT.

                                    EX:  Worship on Saturdays

                                                Keep Feast Days, Not eat pork


B.  How did Paul identify this False Teaching?

            It did not agree with sound Biblical Doctrine.  (v.3)

            Doctrine is not a dirty word.


            If you don't stand on Sound Doctrine,

            you'll fall for anything.

            1.  It was Important to Jesus.


            "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in

            the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy

            Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I

            have commanded you..."  (Matthew 28:19-20)


            2.  It was Important to the Early Church.


            "Then they that gladly received his [Peter's] word were

            baptized: and the same day there were added unto them

            about three thousand souls. 

            And they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine

            and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." 

            (Acts 2:41-42)


            3.  It was Important to the Apostle Paul.

                        (see I Timothy 1:3; 4:6, 13, 16;  5:17;  6:3-5)



            4.  It Should Be Important to Us!

                        Not a tradition, an opinion, a worldly consensus.


            5.  Sound Doctrine is what agrees with the Word of God.


            "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is

            profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for

            instruction in righteousness."  (II Tim.3:16)


            6.  Teaching and Following the Word keeps us from

                  False Teaching and Doctrine.

                  The Light of the Word exposes the snakes.


            ILL:  Walking in the yard and nearly stepping on a snake






II.  The Effects of False Teaching.  (4-5)


A.  Wandering & Confusion.  (4)  "minister questions"

            1.  These legends & lies were getting them to question

                  what they had learned from faithful teachers.

                        ILL:  See Galatians 1:6-8

            2.  Legends and lies can cause us confusion.

                        EX:  Cults,


B.  Wrong Conduct.  (5-6)  "charity out of a pure heart"

            1.  These legends & lies were causing disputes.

            2.  They were not acting loving manner toward others.

            3.  Believing differently will cause disputes.

                        ILL:  Counseling couple about whether to raise

                                    child as a Baptist or a Catholic.


C.  Wounded Conscience.  (5-6)  "a good conscience"

            1.  Wrong beliefs were leading them to do things contrary

                  to their conscience.  It would eventual wound their

                 conscience.  (see I Tim. 4:1-2)

            2.  Have you ever wondered how someone could do

                 something evil like join ISIS, when they were not raised

                 that way?  Constant exposure to wrong teaching affected

                 their conscience.  They gradually wounded and numbed

                 their conscience.


D.  Weakened Confidence.  (5-6)  "faith unfeigned"

            1.  False teaching eventually erodes the faith.

            2.  Why cults go after spiritual people.  Church people.

                        They know they can change your mind.

                        ILL:  Hanging around cult members would make

                                    you start questioning whether they were

                                    right and you had been wrong.


E.  Wicked in Control.  (7)

            1.  False teachers will not just sit back and say nothing.

            2.  False teachers want to take control and be leaders.          

                        ILL:  Many prestigious universities in America

                       started as Bible colleges.  Harvard, Yale, Princeton.  

III.  The Eradication of False Teaching.  (3)


A.  We Must Confront False Teaching.


            1.  Paul had confronted Hymenaeus and Alexander.  (19)

            2.  Timothy was commanded to confront others.  (3)

                        "charge" = "command"            (see also 5:20 )

            3.  Others beside Paul spoke of confronting false teaching.

                        (II Jn. 10)

            4.  Jesus spoke of confronting false teaching.

                        (Rev.2:14-17 to church at Pergamus)


B.  A Church must Confront False Teaching.


            ILL:  One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch

            ILL:  You don't ignore cancer or it spreads.


C.  Confrontation is Hard.


            1.  Timothy was a Young Man.

            2.  Timothy was an Introvert.

            3.  Timothy was looked down upon.

            4.  Timothy was called to confront False Teaching.


            ILL:  Association confronting pastor about teaching


            ILL:  Associations who have to confront those teaching

                        Homosexuality is just an alternative lifesyle,

                        God made you that way, and it is not condemned

                        in the Bible.


D.  Confrontation is Necessary.


            1.  If I taught math wrong, I am sure many parents would

                 be at the school the next day asking for my job.


            2.  How much more important is the teaching of scripture?

                  False doctrine will lead people away from Jesus!



A.  How to Protect Yourself from Snakes in the Church


            1.  Learn to Identify Dangerous Snakes

                        We must know the Word well


            2.  Stay away from Dangerous Snakes

                        Don't try to pet them!

                        TV preachers, evangelists, family


            3.  Alert Others to Dangerous Snakes.

                        ILL:  If I see a snake on the trail, I will tell others


            4.  Quickly Remove any Dangerous Snakes

                        ILL:  If I find a rattlesnake in my back yard,

                        I won't let it hang around.  I kill it and remove it!


B.  There are many snakes in the world today.

            Keep them out of the church and out of your life!




  September 2020  
Bible Search
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