After Paul was released from his first imprisonment in Rome (AD 62), he returned to several of the cities where he and his associates (such as Silas, Barnabas, Timothy) had witnessed and established Christian churches. Upon leaving Ephesus and traveling on into Macedonia, Paul left Timothy (“… his true child in the faith (1 Timothy 1:1))” behind to deal with a number of issues that had developed in the fledgling Ephesian church. While in Macedonia Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy on how to deal with a number of these issues such as false doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3–7; 4:1–3; 6:3–5), disorder in worship (2:1–15), the need for qualified leaders (3:1–14), and materialism (6:6–19). 1
The focus verses for this devotional thought are part of Paul’s instruction to Timothy on how to recognize and deal with false doctrine. They are perfect for the theme of Thanksgiving Praise.
1 Timothy 4:4-5 (ESV)- For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
In the opening verses of 1 Timothy 4 Paul warns Timothy with the certainty of the Holy Spirit “… that in later times some will turn away from the faith, paying attention instead to deceitful and seductive spirits and doctrines of demons (vs. 1 AMP).” The false teachers will “… require abstinence from [certain kinds of] foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth (vs. 3 ESV). Among other controversial teachings facing the church, the false teachers honed in on the controversy over whether Christians should eat swine. This was forbidden by Jewish ceremonial law and was causing quite a stir in the church. Paul clearly disputes the necessity for such abstinence saying “… everything created by God is good (vs. 4)” and “doubly sweet to us when … received with thanksgiving.” 2
God created everything … ALL that is in the heavens and the earth (see Genesis 1-2). Every creature belongs to Him (Psalm 50:10-11). Every plant belongs to Him (Genesis 1:11-12). Every human, as the crown of His creation, belongs to Him (Ezekiel 18:4). We are simply stewards (1 Corinthians 4:2) carefully and responsibly managing ALL of God’s possessions entrusted to our care. At the end of the sixth day of creation, God surveyed all His work and said that everything He created is very good (Genesis 1:31).
Christian, as you gather around your Thanksgiving table this year with your loving family and friends, may you bow your head in prayer and give thanks to your Creator God (Elohim) for ALL of his magnificent creation!
Heavenly Father, we give you our Thanksgiving praise for ALL that You have created. You are the Creator of everything good. We particularly thank you for sending Jesus to us to be our Savior and our ONLY way to eternal salvation! We ask for your protection from those who twist or add to Your word by teaching false doctrine. In the name Jesus. Amen and amen.
1 For a more detailed discussion on 1 Timothy visit John MacArthur’s teaching at this link.
2 See Matthew Henry’s commentary at this link.
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