What if Timothy Continued to Hang Out with Alexander the Coppersmith?

2Ti 4:14-15 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. (15) Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.

We are not told in Scripture what it was specifically that Alexander had done. It involved opposing the gospel with great and evil energy, and must have done real damage to Paul. “Great harm” are the words Paul described it with. But these two little verses have been very important to me. They demonstrate that:

  • It is not slander to specifically name our abuser and expose his evil
  • It is right to look forward to the day when Christ will repay the wicked for what they have done to us

And let me now add a third point to this list:

  • We should expect, (and really the Lord requires) those who claim to be our friends and certainly those who claim to be Christians, to have nothing to do with the wicked one themselves.

Think of it. Alexander was an evil enemy of Paul and of Christ. He had done Paul much harm. Paul warns Timothy to beware of Alexander. (I like to think of Alexander as Alexander the Copperhead!) Does that mean that Timothy should keep hanging out with Alexander, but just be a bit wary of him? Of course not! It means that Timothy must realize that Alexander is an enemy of Christ and that he has done great evil to Paul. Obviously this means Timothy is not going to go over to Alexander’s house for dinner if invited.

And if Timothy did accept such an invitation, if Timothy thought that Paul might be exaggerating, or if Timothy listened to Alexander’s “take” on the gospel, what would that say about Timothy? Specifically, what would it say about Timothy’s real attitude toward Paul?

You see the point, right? All of you who have been wickedly abused by wicked people know that one of the most hurtful and frustrating aspects of it all is that when you make the evil known, when you reveal it and ask for help, when you identify your persecutor, family members, supposed Christian friends, and others you thought would surely help you, continue to maintain relationship and social interaction with the evil one. They do not obey the Lord:

1Co 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

An abuser is what the Bible calls a reviler. A reviler villifies. He accuses and guilts and condemns his victim. And a reviler is on the list that Paul gives here. We are to have nothing to do with such a person, especially if he claims to be a Christian. But is that what you see typically happening when an abuser is identified? No. You see the victim paying a price, but the majority of “friends” keep right on eating with such a one.

Why is this? What makes someone want to keep hanging out with Alexander? Cowardice? Refusal to pay the price of standing with the victim? Denial of the reality of evil? Whatever the reason, there is no good reason for this. It enables evil and causes greater harm to the victim. Furthermore, it raises serious doubt as to the reality of these “friends'” profession of Christ.

I have seen this thing play itself out over the years. People who claim to belong to Christ, people who insist that they are our friends and fellow believers, who then refuse to break off with a person who has cruelly treated someone, eventually end up standing with the wicked and against the victim. And really, this is what they had been doing all along.

If Timothy had not heeded Paul’s warning, if Timothy had socialized with Alexander and regarded the unpleasantness as just some squabble that was between Alexander and Paul, you know what would have happened. Timothy would no longer have been in ministry with Paul and his claim to be Paul’s fellow soldier for the gospel would have been exposed as a sham.

Of course, that didn’t happen. Timothy’s faith was real and he continued to be a great comfort and encouragement to Paul:

Php 2:19-22 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. (20) For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. (21) For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. (22) But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.

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Info Regarding Our Livestream Broadcasts

If you watch our Sunday morning class and worship service or our Wednesday 10AM Bible study livestreams, no doubt you will see (as we experienced this morning) freeze ups due to bad internet connections – or whatever. After a livestream we upload to youtube and to sermonaudio.com/crc and often those uploads are better than the Facebook livestream.

But we are also going to set up a second iphone camera to record (no internet use) the Bible study on Wednesdays in addition to the other camera that is livestreaming on Facebook. Then we will upload the recorded video to youtube and sermon audio. Long story short, if you have trouble with internet freeze ups on Facebook live, check out the uploaded video at the other two sites. We usually have them uploaded within a few hours after the broadcast.

Internet. Computers. Blessing and curse!

We Become Like the Master we Choose

Psa 115:4-9 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. (5) They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. (6) They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. (7) They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. (8) Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them. (9) O Israel, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.

Here is a very important theme the Bible teaches numbers of times. We become like the master we choose. Those who make mute, blind, deaf gods will progressively become mute, blind, and deaf themselves. I suppose this is another way of saying idolaters are becoming lifeless just like the chunk of wood or metal they carved into a god.

Now, I want to be very clear that in this article I am NOT talking about domestic abuse victims who want to be free but simply cannot do so immediately. There children, finances, dangers and so on that have to be considered. And in so many cases the victim is on her own, having been rejected even by her “church.” I understand completely.

But here I want to talk about a kind of person who is a target of abuse, but who knowingly and willfully chooses to yield to their abuser, to in a way “ally” with him and to remain with him even though the victim has a plain avenue of escape. I have known enough of these people to know that they do exist.

Now, when we willingly choose a master, Scripture tells us that we will increasingly become like that master. When we make the right choice and choose Christ and follow Him, we are on the road to becoming like Christ. This is called sanctification. We will have ears to hear His Word (His sheep know His voice). We will have eyes to see things as they really are. We will be able to speak His truth and recognize the enemy’s lies. His life flows more and more into and through us.

On the other hand, if we choose an evil master…. You can complete the sentence. Our ability to see and hear and speak truth will grow weaker and weaker and weaker until one day it is no more.

Isa 44:15-20 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. (16) Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” (17) And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” (18) They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. (19) No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” (20) He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

Choosing to yield to and remain with an abuser or some other evil person rather than to obey the Lord and “come out from among them,” is to choose another god. This is why, for instance, Jesus said more than once that if we love even father or mother more than Him, if He calls us to follow Him but we delay and run back to the wicked “just for now,” then we cannot be His disciple. That means, we cannot be saved. It is a looking back to Sodom – remember Lot’s wife.

I have seen victims of abuse watch their children being abused by a wicked spouse. In so many of your cases, as you have told me, that was the defining moment. They realized that they cannot permit this any longer. Their love for their children drove them to leave. But the kind of person I am speaking of here sees the thing happening – even to the children – and yet remains with the wicked one even when the door is open for them to make an exit. I suppose they have swallowed the kool-aid of false teaching – “well, you know it’s always better for the children to have two parents.” Or something like that. But for whatever reason, they stay. And the kids, who have no choice, are stuck there too.

It is never, ever better to choose your abuser as your master.

Mat 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

I have wondered about some of the abuse victims I have known who have shut down. You cannot ever really know what is going on with them because they won’t talk. They will even defend their abuser and refuse to hear truth. We all were at a similar point early on I am sure, but as the Lord shone more and more of the light of His truth in us, our spiritual hearing and sight switched on and pow! There it was. Once we were blind but now we see. But in these type of people I am thinking about here, that light switch seems to have been shut off for good. And like their abuser, they will hate the light.

Do not go down that path. Do not give in and and choose your abuser as your master. It is a path that will lead to nothing good, a road that leads into ever increasing darkness and ends in the death of your soul. We become like the master we choose.