And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)
His Authority Is All Authority
The right of power is exercised by the one who is given the authority to exercise dominion over another. There are only two kinds of authority: that which comes from man and that which comes from God. The question through the ages has been whose authority man follows. From the beginning of time the Lord allowed man to exercise his dominion over the world in many aspects of life using his authority to control his world either politically, economically and many social laws. The laws of man were not evil as long as they did not deny the higher authority of God that ruled with absolute dominion over all of the affairs of men. When men began to disregard the law of God and live within their own laws sin reigned in their hearts. Man is incapable of living under his own dominion because he does not know how to direct his life without failing miserably. God created man for a single purpose to glorify his Maker and this cannot be done unless man submits to the rule and authority of the Lord. Satan challenged the authority of God when he whispered in Eve’s ear, “Has God indeed said?” She believed her rights were subverted by the law of God and when she and Adam exercised their rights to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they found the authority of God was true. Throughout the history of man as told in the Bible people have struggled with whose authority is greater. When Jesus Christ came into the world He reasserted the supreme rule of God as the only law man can live under without suffering the wrath of the Father. The resurrection of Jesus confirmed He alone is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is no other authority but the authority of Jesus Christ given to Him by His Father.
All authority means there is no other authority. The Son of God declared sole ownership of the power to dictate law, establish patterns and confirm the will of the Father by His word. Jesus declared there can be no other word but His word. Many books fill the hearts of men with doctrines, creeds and patterns that do not follow the word of Jesus Christ. The Bible is the only word of truth and there is no other book that contains the mind of God. Religions of men are man-made dogmas that add to the word of Christ without His authority. If it is not in the Bible it is not the authority of Jesus Christ. The only words that will save a man are found in the Bible: not the Book of Mormon, Koran, church manuals of Protestant faiths or decrees handed down by the Pope. All authority belongs to Christ and to Him alone. Every pattern of worship, organization of the body of Christ, teaching of salvation and instrument of faith that is not found in the Bible is not the authority of Christ. All authority means what it says. It is surprising how many things people do in the name of Christ without His authority. The will of Christ is the only rule of law. There can be no other fundamental truth than what is found in the sixty-six books of the revealed word of God for man to follow. When Jesus rose from the dead and the Father made Him Lord and Christ all authority was given to one man to exercise the will of the Father on all men without exception. Following any doctrine that is not from Christ is a lie.
The will of God is the authority of Christ. Every pattern of worship is established by the authority of Jesus Christ. Teachings of salvation can only be found in the words of the One who died on the cross to save all men. Jesus told His disciples to go into the world and make disciples. He could tell them to do this because He had the authority to do so. Further, the Lord told His disciples what to teach the people of the world. He told His followers that when a person believed and was baptized they would be saved. This was established by the authority of the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. No other pattern would save a man. Salvation by faith alone is not found in the teachings of Jesus. Being a good person and receiving eternal life is never taught by the followers of the Lord. Following doctrines of men will not save. Only the authority of Jesus Christ will save. Salvation comes from following the authority of Jesus in keeping the commandments of the Lord as found in the Bible. Observing all things commanded by Christ is where salvation is found. The litmus test for the heart of man is whether he can find what he believes on the pages of holy writ established by the authority of Jesus Christ. There is salvation is no other name. All authority is given to the Son of God and His authority is all the authority there can be.
Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah. Gilead’s wife bore sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, “You shall have no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him. It came to pass after a time that the people of Ammon made war against Israel. And so it was, when the people of Ammon made war against Israel, that the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. Then they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our commander, that we may fight against the people of Ammon.” So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?” And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That is why we have turned again to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the people of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the Lord delivers them to me, shall I be your head?” And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The Lord will be a witness between us, if we do not do according to your words.” Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord in Mizpah. (Judges 11:1-11)
Jephthah The Gileadite
One of the striking lessons of scripture is the manner God uses all types of men to serve His purpose. The book of Judges is filled with unusual people who for various reasons became the deliverers of the people when they followed after idols disobeying the law of the Lord. Judges is about the vicious cycle of the land of Israel going from times of blessing to times of judgment and the deliverance through the hand of the Lord of the people from oppression. Jephthah is one of the heroes of the book and is notably remembered because of his rash vow concerning his daughter. He was a mighty man of valor and when delivering the Israelites from the oppression of the Ammonites made a very great slaughter defeating twenty cities of the king of Ammon. What may not be known is that his life began in a very challenging manner. His father Gilead conceived Jephthah by a prostitute. When Gilead’s wife bore sons they drove Jephthah out of the house as an illegitimate child born of a harlot. This would have caused Jephthah to feel a great deal of anger and hatred for those who would treat him in such a manner. It may have been the cause of his strength and courage to be a great warrior. The son of a harlot became the deliverer for Israel.
The king of Ammon made war with Israel and there was no man to lead the people of God against the Ammonites. Knowing the only man that could lead them into battle was the son of harlot, the elders of the people went to Jephthah begging him to be their commander. He reminded them how they had treated him with hatred and expelling him from their land because of his tainted birth. Now they needed his help and he wanted assurances he would be their leader. Not having any choice and accepting what they perceived as a shameful birth the elders promised Jephthah he would be their leader. The son of a harlot delivered the people and judged Israel for six years. God used Jephthah to carry out His will. It would have been very difficult for a man stained with his birth to live in a world where he was an outcast. God saw something in his heart that no man could see. Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord in Mizpah and believed in the power of the Lord God of Israel to deliver the people from the Ammonites as He had delivered Sidon and all his people into the hand of Israel. He may have been born of a harlot but the heart of Jephthah fully trusted in the power of the Lord. God used the spirit of Gilead’s son to leave a mark on the face of holy scrip.
Jephthah was the victim of a world he had no control. His birth by a harlot was not his to choose but he made something of his life in spite of what others thought of him. He was a servant of the Lord. Using his strength of character, spirit and warrior courage he is listed in the eternal annals of one of the great judges of God’s people. His rule was short but his legacy remains. The fickle nature of man is seen in the elders who drove the son of a harlot from their midst with great prejudice until they needed the same man to deliver them from oppression. It must have been incredibly hard for the elders to realize their only hope came from the son driven from their midst. Jephthah did not allow the hatred of others to keep him from doing God’s will. He could have refused to lead the people letting them suffer the consequences of their prejudices. What he did was believe in the power of God to accomplish His will through him so that God would be glorified. The oath he made concerning his daughter he held in high esteem to the Lord and he said, “I cannot go back on it.” He was a man of honor born in a dishonorable manner. Jephthah served the Lord without regard to the opinions of men.
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 5:1-5)
Working On A New Body
The health and fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar conglomerate that spans the globe with 186,000 fitness and health clubs with about fifty-five million members in the U. S. and globally about 150 million members. Pursuing the fountain of youth and desiring to live longer, healthier lives is the driving force in punishing the body to its limits in the hope of a sustained existence here on planet earth. While there are enormous benefits to keeping a healthy lifestyle, the reality of life must never be overlooked. No matter how careful eating habits become or hours spent in the gym to tone and perfect the body to its ultimate perfection, death is the ultimate end of all men. The person who refuses to care for their body and the individual that devotes a life time to the highest goals of health will find themselves in the same grave. God designed the human body to die and man will never be able to change that. When the Garden of Eden was created by God the Lord placed a tree of life in the midst of the garden to sustain the creation that was formed to die. Because of sin man was removed from the garden and from the tree of life. Death is the common lot of all men – healthy and unhealthy. There are many valuable attributes to keeping a healthy body but the most important body a person can have is the spiritual body of eternal life. Paul contrasts the struggle with the mortal flesh with the promise of immortality in a body that will not decay and die.
It is important to view the physical body as it really is and Paul describes it as an earthly house or a tent. There is nothing permanent about a tent. It is used for a while but a tent can easily be folded up or destroyed. The finest of tents will decay and fade away. There is no permanence to a tent as something that is convenient for a time but offers no lasting comfort. Looking at the human frame is viewing a body that is temporary at best and never permanent. Many have through the centuries tried to extend their lives with various medicines, health plans and science to defy the aging process. In recent studies some have suggested the aging process is simply a medical problem that science can solve. What they fail to see is the body is a tent and never designed as a permanent house for man to dwell in. Death is an appointment everyone will keep. For the Christian death is a welcome event where the tent is folded up and a new body is gained in glory. The promise of eternal life is found in a body created by God eternal in the heavens. Everything about the physical body is fraught with pain, sorrow, affliction and misery. No matter the levels of healthy diets, exercise and careful manipulation of the body, age will defy all attempts to turn the clock backwards. Viewing the body in its proper form will help the child of God see the promise of a new body formed by the Lord to those who look for a new habitation. There is a deep desire to shed this body of flesh for the remarkable body created by God in eternity. Life on earth is carried on with a body that is mortal. Eternal life is clothed with endless joy as there will be no pain, sorrow or tears in the new body. The habitation from heaven is without end. There will be no corruption of the body. Diet plans are not needed in heaven or health clubs. The earthly house is destroyed and the child of God gains a new body.
One of the remarkable aspects of this new body is the promise that comes with it. Paul declares that God has made this promise of a new body a guarantee by the Holy Spirit. The Lord has prepared a new body for His children and promised through the Spirit those who serve Him will find eternal joy in the habitation of newness of eternal life. There will be no more pain because God will take all pain away. The joy of knowing the earthly house will be destroyed is the knowledge that God will clothe His children in a new body that will never die. The Spirit is given as a guarantee that God’s word is true. Viewing death can be troubling for most but for the child of God it is a time of renewal and rejoicing. Whatever a person experiences in death is nothing compared to what happens after death. All those who have gone on before are no longer troubled with the pain and sorrow of dying. The saints of God have been clothed in a body that is eternal in the heavens. All those who are found in Christ will enjoy the change of bodies from the frail mortal body of flesh to the glorious body of eternal life. If the 150 million souls who spend hours upon hours in health clubs and gyms seeking to extend their mortal lives a few more hours would focus upon the realities of the spiritual body – what a change would come over the world. Diet and exercise profit a little but in the end death will remove all the efforts of man to stay young. God has offered His Son as a sacrifice to give man eternal life in a habitation or building not made with hands – eternal in the heavens. Which body will you choose?
Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights … And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 1:17; 4:6-8)
What God Prepared
The book of Jonah is one of the most riveting stories of man attempting to thwart God and the Lord showing His mercy to rebellious and sinful man. Jonah was a preacher that was a contradiction but a man of fierce loyalty to the cause of righteousness, truth and denunciation of sin. Going to a heathen nation and preaching to the capital city a message of repentance seemed to be more than the prophet could believe possible as he feared the Lord would spare them and give them what Jonah believed was undeserved grace. The Assyrian nation was a vile people bent on destroying everything in its path with savagery, cruelty, violence, barbarity and well deserving of the wrath of God to annihilate from the face of the earth. There was nothing good in these people as Jonah saw them. His call to preach to them was uncalled for and in a bold move for a man of God Jonah tried to hide from the presence of the Lord taking a ship to the farthest point on the globe. What possessed his mind to believe he would succeed in going to a place the Lord would not find him? Why would a man of such devotion try to hide from the eyes of the all-seeing, all-powerful and all-knowing Lord? His attempt to run from God failed as the ship he was sailing was met with a great storm endangering the lives of its crew and the stranger from Israel. Jonah was fast asleep in the lowest part of the ship believing that he had fooled the Lord God when the captain of the ship begged him to call on his God for deliverance. Jonah knew why they were in danger. He had told the crew he was running away from the Lord and the storm was God’s wrath upon his disobedience. Following his instructions, the crew threw Jonah into the sea. Immediately the sea ceased from its raging.
Salvation for Jonah would come by the hand of the Lord as He prepared four things that would bring the soul of the prophet back to Him. First, the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow the prophet. What type of fish is not suggested in the story but through the miraculous power of God’s creation he prepared a fish to do something that was not in the normal scheme of things. The Lord prepared the fish to swallow Jonah but not to digest him. Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. This could only be done through the miraculous power of God. In the belly of the fish Jonah was in darkness with weeds wrapped around his head. He would describe his circumstance as being down in the moorings of the mountains and the earth with its bars closed behind him. Jonah did not know if he would ever come out of this place. His life was in the hands of the Lord and only through the power of God preparing the fish to sustain life for Jonah would he survive. At the end of three days and nights God spoke and the fish vomited Jonah onto dry land. Jonah’s life was preserved and delivered by the hand of God.
Jonah would go to Nineveh after the Lord came to him a second time and he would preach a powerful message of repentance that brought the whole city including the king to repentance. When God saw the hearts of the Assyrians humbled by the message of Jonah He relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon the city and He did not do it. The man who had first run from the presence of the Lord for fear of the grace of God being given to the people of Nineveh had preached so powerful he had turned their hearts to serve the one true and living God. This angered Jonah. He prayed to God to let him die because he would rather die than see these people enjoy the grace of God. Going out of the city and sitting down on the east side of the city Jonah waited to see what the Lord would do to this great city of one hundred twenty thousand souls. His heart was exceedingly enraged against the people and he was angered the Lord would save them. While he contemplated the undeserved mercy of God to these heathens the Lord prepared three things to trouble the heart of the prophet. First the Lord prepared a plant to shade and give comfort to Jonah. Jonah was very grateful for the relief from the burning sun. But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a second thing to teach Jonah a lesson about providence, grace and love. A worm appeared and so damaged the plant that it withered. Now Jonah did not have the pleasant shade that gave him comfort and he complained bitterly. To make matters worse, as the heat of the day grew more intense God prepared a violent east wind to inflict great discomfort upon the prophet. When he complained that he would rather die the lesson was driven home to Jonah that God’s will is accomplished in ways man can never understand.
The problem with Jonah was he was trying to understand the knowledge of God from human wisdom. Running away from the word of the Lord will always come to no avail. Refusing to show the saving power of God to an undeserving people is not for man to decide. God prepared a fish, a plant, a worm and an east wind to teach Jonah that only when man obeys the voice of God will he understand the measure of the love of God for all men. It was not in the mind of Jonah to decide who was to be saved and who were to be condemned. Salvation comes only from God and His will. Centuries later Jesus would use the story of Jonah to show what His Father had prepared for all men to find salvation. Jesus spent three days and nights in a tomb prepared by His Father so that He could be brought forth as the Savior of all men. There are many who reject the resurrection of Jesus as folly but God has prepared the Bible to be a message of hope like the shade of the plant to give comfort to the soul of man. He also brings his message of judgment through the same book to help man understand God saves whom He chooses by His own grace and mercy. Anyone who changes their heart and follows the will of the Lord will be saved. Salvation comes from the mind of God not the attitudes of men. Jonah was taught a great lesson when God prepared his heart to see His love.
Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are Your judgments. Your testimonies, which You have commanded, are righteous and very faithful. My zeal has consumed me, because my enemies have forgotten Your words. Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it. I am small and despised, yet I do not forget Your precepts. Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your law is truth. Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, yet Your commandments are my delights. The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; give me understanding, and I shall live. (Psalm 119:137-144)
God Is Right And His Word Is Righteousness
There is a fundamental character of man that separates him from the species of animals that thrive on the earth: the ability to understand right and wrong. Creatures and beasts do not possess an eternal spirit nor do they make choices dependent on the laws of righteousness or unrighteousness. They understand their maker sharing in a covenant of creation given to them by God. Man is like the animal as far as the fleshly body is concerned but he possesses the knowledge of morality giving him dominion over all the creatures of the earth. From the beginning of time God has revealed to man the moral code of what is right and what is wrong. The struggle of humanity has always been deciding which compass to depend upon for guidance: the wisdom of man or the wisdom of God. Every time man chooses to follow his own wisdom the world turns to chaos. The word of God is a declaration of the truth of the Creator of what is right and as Creator the Lord is right about everything He says, does and demands of man. God does not lie. He is not measured by the whims of men. The Lord God is righteous not because He does righteous things but He is righteous in the purest terms. All of his judgments are upright and true with no shadow of turning. Rules are the hallmark of man’s relationship with God and all of the rules of the Lord are veracious beyond contradiction. The testimonies of the Lord are the right things for man to do if he is to find joy, peace and satisfaction in life. Nothing God has ever done, is now doing or will do in the future has not been faithful to the well-being of all men if they but follow His precepts. The history of man is filled with the crumbling ruins of man’s attempt to find his own way without following the word of God. He has found nothing but failure at every turn.
The enemies of God reject His law and testimonies. When men forget the Lord and turn away from Him they fall off the precipice of security that gives them hope. It is a fragile place man finds himself as he leaps from the safety of God’s word into the mire of human wisdom. Trouble and anguish of heart always follows those who turn away from the everlasting righteousness of God’s word. The law of God is truth and that truth is absolute. Delighting in the commandments of the Lord will bring happiness because the answers that men seek are found in the pattern of knowledge that comes from the Creator. Understanding will fill the heart of the man who spends time searching the word of God gleaning immeasurable blessings to know the mind of God. Anyone can read the Bible and understand its truth. The power of the gospel is a message crafted so that all men can read and understand the mysteries of God revealed from the beginning of time. Trusting in the word of God as truth instills in the heart the confidence to face the world with renewed strength and courage. The word of God is very pure. There are no impurities because the Lord is truth and truth is the word of God.
Reading the Bible is not an exercise to pass the time or achieve some mark on a chart. Spending time in the word of God brings the mind to understand what is right and true. Happiness never comes from unrighteousness. It only comes from the judgments of the One who created man and knows everything he needs to fulfill his life. The blessing of learning the judgments, commandments, words, precepts and law of God is consuming as the wisdom of the Lord fills the mind with eternal principles of righteousness. Servants of God will love to spend time with the Bible as they discover who they are, why God created them and the joy of knowing what eternity will be like. When trouble and anguish overtakes the soul the word of God will renew the spirit to feel the love of God. There is nothing that can compare to how the Bible changes the heart. Life is pure when the purity of God’s word abides in the heart. The testimonies of God are everlasting. Pray God to give you understanding that you may live in the glory of His presence.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)
Special People For Christ
Jesus Christ came to save all men from their sins and express to fallen man the love of His Father. His death on the cross was the historical moment in time tying together the beginning of time to an eventual demise of the world. God’s purpose in sending His Son was to open up the avenue of eternal glory where creation could worship the Creator. The theme of the Bible is the redemption of man and the praise of the Lord God who saved man through His grace. Nothing is more fundamental to the life of the Christian than believing that Jesus the Christ is the Son of God and through His blood the forgiveness of sins is granted. Jesus death on the cross came at a price and He paid the ultimate price as an innocent sacrifice. What is central for those who follow Him is that being a disciple of Christ also comes at a price and there is a purpose for the life of glory seen in their lives. Proclaiming oneself to be a Christian requires living a life of godliness, sobriety, and righteousness with expectation of an eternal reward. Professing to be a Christian and living hand in hand with the world denies the kingship of Christ making His sacrifice of no avail to a heart filled with worldly lusts. There is a marked separation of those who profess Christ as Lord. The word of God teaches the disciple of Christ to deny the ungodly lifestyles of the world such as drunkenness, sexual immorality, lying, stealing, anger, hatred and a host of ungodly attitudes and actions characteristic of unbelievers. Jesus gave Himself so that those who followed Him were special people. They live pure lives. Their hearts are filled with love and compassion. Fidelity is their badge of honor. Truth fills their hearts as their tongues speak grace in the ears of hearers. Christians stand out in the world of darkness as special lights of Jesus Christ. He died so that His followers could be special.
Many who profess Christ as Lord deny His authority in their lives as they live with ungodly and worldly lusts still central to their lives. Serving the ideal of Christianity but not accepting the removal of those things that bring harm to the soul is a common problem among many in the church world. The Lord’s church is filled with hearts that serve Him outwardly but inward spirits of carnality measure the actions of the person. People of God are special people and should act, think and be examples of why Jesus died for them. The Son of God gave Himself to redeem His followers from the lawless actions of the world and Christian’s need to stop following the lawless deeds of the world. Being zealous of good works is what separates the child of God from the children of the devil. If the world cannot tell the difference between the two then it is certain the Lord sees the difference. Living soberly is to remove all forms of intoxication and passions from the life of the Christian. Self-restraint is a virtue of godly people. Righteous living is knowing what is right and following the law of God as the rule of life. What is right is right because God said so. Godly living comes from hearts that are seeking the blessing of the Father. Christians should live each day longing for and expecting the coming of Christ. There is an air of expectation in the heart of those who look for the return of God’s Son. All of this speaks to the character of those who are special for Jesus Christ. He died so that His disciples would be His own possession and a peculiar people.
The grace of God has appeared to all men teaching them to change their lives. All those who come to the cross of Jesus must look upon the dying Savior and be changed. Not all who come to the cross will do so and continue to live in a manner that brings shame upon the name of Christ. Paul’s exhortation to Timothy is to teach the principles of separation of those who call themselves Christians to follow a path of purity in serving the purpose Jesus came to earth. Denying ungodliness is to remove those influences of worldly lusts from the heart, the home and the life of the Christian. The Christian is a special person. He is redeemed by the blood of Christ for a special purpose. There must be a marked change in the life of the Christian showing how Jesus has changed the heart to think pure thoughts and live in godliness. A zealous heart for Christ exalts the grace of God in every part of life. Be a special person for Jesus Christ today.
This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Timothy 1:18-20)
The early church faced many obstacles with division, greed, neglect, self-seeking men imposing their rule upon others, disorder in public worship and apostasy. Satan began immediately to shake the foundation of the kingdom and succeeded in drawing disciples of Christ to him. Paul sternly warned in his letters the cost of allowing the leaven of sin to penetrate the fabric of the New Testament church. Much of his writing is devoted to combating the many fires begun by the ungodly attitudes, doctrines and practices of those who sought to corrupt the purity of the gospel. The Jewish question had to do with imposing the Law of Moses on the followers of Christ. Gentiles brought the baggage of idolatry into the doctrines of Christ corrupting the pattern and design of the church. Immorality caused the souls of many saints to stray from the truth. One of the most fundamental teachings of the new covenant was the belief in the resurrection of Jesus and yet there were some who began to preach a denial of resurrection. There would be time given to patiently teach those in error but when all efforts were exhausted and hearts refused to change the power of God’s wrath was executed upon those who rebelled. Paul warns in his first letter to Timothy the dangers of straying from the course of faith in the troubled waters of apostasy pointing out two individuals who had shipwrecked their faith.
There is very little information about Hymenaeus and Alexander. Hymenaeus will be mentioned again in the second letter Paul writes to Timothy as a man who denies the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Alexander could be referred to in other passages but it is unclear which Alexander Paul addresses. Regardless, these two men were children of God who had tasted the heavenly gift and enjoyed the spiritual covenant with God as saints, disciples and Christians. However their faith was not grounded on the purity of God’s word but rather they chose to follow after the wisdom of men to blaspheme and reject the teachings of Christ. Paul exhorted Timothy to wage a good fight in keeping the faith pure and not allowing men like Hymenaeus and Alexander to move him away from the hope of the gospel. Men of faith can be moved by the philosophies of men and lose their faith. Many in the religious world teach that a child of God can never lose their salvation. In the words of Paul those who can never lose their salvation can never shipwreck their faith. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two men who walked away from Jesus and went their own way. Concerning the faith they suffered shipwreck. A ship that is shipwrecked does not float, cannot be serviced for anything and will sink. Faith can be destroyed in the lives of God’s people if they allow Satan to influence them and draw them away. When men persist in turning away from God they will sink into the mire of apostasy and without repentance lose their souls. Faith shipwrecked is faith lost.
Life is likened to that of a ship sailing the wide oceans of the world. There are no landmarks to determine the course so sailors rely on what they see above. For centuries the stars guided men across the deserts of land and the oceans of the earth to move from place to place. When the compass was discovered it continued to guide men but the best compass was not kept on the deck below where iron would disrupt the magnetic field but rather at the top of the mast away from all influences below. So it is with faith that it must be guided by that which is above so that nothing contrary would change the course of a person’s life. Hymenaeus and Alexander no longer looked above for their wisdom but relied on their own carnal wisdom to serve themselves. Denying the resurrection is creating a totem of self-worship that always ends in destruction. Paul charged Timothy to wage a good warfare against the wiles of the devil seeking to shipwreck the faith of God’s people. Hymenaeus and Alexander should be monuments of what happens when men leave the pattern of God’s word. Rejecting the only way, the only life and the only truth is denying the only hope of salvation man has. Stay the course. Do not lose faith.