Thursday Morning Thankfulness – Epistles of Paul
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)
A Naval Warfare
The apostle Paul was not unaware of the dangers of sailing the Mediterranean or Great Sea. A few years before penning his first epistle to Timothy Paul had spent fourteen days on the sea in a furious storm called Euroclydon (Acts 27:14). He traveled often on the waters as he made his journeys from city to city. Warning the young preacher of those men who had challenged the faith of Jesus Christ Paul shows the dangers of a shipwrecked life. To the Ephesians he patterned the Christian life as a Roman soldier clad with the armor, sword and shield. In his letter to Timothy the image of Hymenaeus and Alexander is likened to a shipwreck. Faith can be destroyed as easily as a ship caught in a storm. Hymenaeus is mentioned in Paul’s second letter to Timothy as a cancer because he denied the resurrection and overthrew the faith of some. There is a naval battle going on for the Christian.
Satan attacks from all points. Whether fighting as a Roman soldier or the high seas the devil is using every tactic to destroy the faith of God’s people. Waging the good warfare is being prepared for the flotilla of wickedness that seeks out the pure conscience of the child of God. Life is portrayed as the vast ocean men sail on their journey to eternity. Great care must be given to fight against the wiles of the devil never allowing him to board our lifeline to Heaven.
Storms will come in life and being prepared for these storms will determine whether we are able to endure. Satan uses these storms to weaken our resolve. In the case of Hymenaeus and Alexander philosophy overtook their faith allowing the devil to destroy them. How sad for God’s people to fall prey to the trappings of false doctrine. A shipwreck is a horrible thing to witness. What once was a beautiful ship is left in remnants of broken pieces on the shores of time with no survivors. Lives broken by the power of Satan are a sad reminder of his power. Consider those you know of that had such promise of life in Jesus Christ who now find themselves broken by sin, despair and rebellion.
There is a battle on the high seas of life. The armada of God will sail towards the shores of eternal life but not without danger. Along the way the devil will send his wolf-packs of destruction to shipwreck as many lives as he can. Sadly he has his way often. Keep a sharp lookout and do not allow the piracy of wickedness to destroy your life on the shores of time littered with shipwrecked lives. Remain faithful that you may sail boldly into port where the Father awaits to welcome us home. Honor, courage, commitment. Faithfulness.
Faith means being grasped by a power that is greater than we are, a power that shakes us and turns us, and transforms and heals us. Surrender to this power is faith. (Paul Tillich, The New Being, 1955)