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1 Timothy 1:5-7 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

As we start to wade in to Paul’s warning to Timothy, we immediately see one of the major problems of Timothy’s time. We know of the Pharisees of the day. Jesus called them “whited sepulchers full of dead men’s bones,” and a “generation of vipers.” There was  a day when the Pharisees were the men of God. The standards they had to meet were certainly high enough. Among other things, they had to memorize the first five books of the Bible. They knew the Word of God/ In fact, they were the Biblical scholars of their day. They did not merely know the Bible, they could recite the Law to you. Yet, they lacked in one area. Knowing the Law of Moses, they lacked charity.

In the Word of God, charity has more to do with love than with giving. Biblically, one who has charity is one who loves to the point that he gives of himself. The first problem Paul is warning Timothy of is the problem of a lack of charity or a lack of love. From the beginning, the Law was not intended, by God, to be a heavy weight, as such. God never intended to keep people in bondage. God’s intentions for the Law was that it would be a tool He would use to show people their need for salvation. God would use the Law to show people they need to be saved.

Here Paul is warning Timothy to be careful. There are people around him who have turned away from charity, which would have them lead people to God. Instead of teaching the values of the Word of God and their need for salvation, the leaders have turned to jangling – making a lot of noise in debate. They are teaching and debating.

Debate is an easy trap for all of use to fall into. We all want to be right and we all want to prove that we are right. What we must realize is that it is the hand of God which will change the heart of man. Our words will do nothing. We, in our flesh, will never motivate another soul to be saved. Moreover, those whose heart is set upon debate have a heart motivated by pride. It will not be long before a debater will begin to think he is something. We see the path of those who debate in Romans 1, and the path ends in God giving the person over to a reprobate min. /82

 

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So, do you believe?

Most parents will ask their children that question once or twice a year – just before Christmas. Of course, these parents are not asking if the children believes in Jesus, they are asking if the child believes in Santa Claus – the mythical mascot of Christmas. Throughout this season, television shows and seasonal movies will speak of Christmas miracles brought about by jolly old Saiint Nick.  We will see destitute children who have only one hope, people on their death bed with no cure, loved-ones in far-away lands who know they will not see their families. These all have one hope in common, one chance to rescue their Christmas – Santa Claus.  Santa is portrayed as the one, the only one who can work out a miracle on Christmas.  Of course, Santa is a myth.

Santa is not only portrayed as a miracle worker, Santa is portrayed as super-natural.  Aside from all the Christmas miracles with which he is accredited, Just think about the feats Santa is capable of: He can stuff one sleigh with enough toys for all the children in the world. That sleigh is pulled by a mere nine tiny reindeer (one of which, Rudolf, is a perpetual juvenile with a miraculously glowing nose). The sleigh, reindeer, toys and, of course, Santa are able to travel to every house in every time-zone while children sleep. To accomplish this, Santa must be supernaturally omni-present with equally super-natural powers over physics.  Santa seems to have lived for ever and will continue to live forever, never aging.  We cannot forget that leading up to Christmas (you would think this to be his busiest time, when he would be busy in his workshop), Santa is in every mall, department store and parade.  Plus, Santa is on every corner ringing a bell for the Salvation Army.  Santa must be omni-present.  Let us not forget that Santa knows if you are asleep or not, he knows if you have been good or bad and he can see you (when you sleep). Santa must be omnipotent.  Of course, there is another point of view. Think about it- Santa watches you when you’re sleeping.  Where I come from, we call people like that perverts.

Most of these attributes (except for the pervert part) are attributes of Jesus. You see, Jesus is the only one who is all-powerful, all-knowing and able to be in any place at any time. Jesus is the only one who can produce genuine love in someone and Jesus is the only one who can do a real miracle. Of course, the best miracle is the miracle of salvation.

Do you believe? The question really should be, “Do you believe in Santa?” Of course, the question is irrelevant. It really doesn’t matter whether you believe in Santa or not. What does matter is that you, I and everyone else will stand before God.  On that day, the questions will be did you believe in Jesus. Today, you have the opportunity to make that choice. Are you saved (follow the link to know for sure)? Do you believe in Jesus or do you believe in a lie? You cannot believe in both.