Many Years Ago….A Story of Evil Hiding in the Church

1Ti 1:18-20 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, (19) holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, (20) among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Who were Hymenaeus and Alexander? I suppose that you, like myself, have often read these verses and moved on rather quickly. Here were two fellows, you see, who were enemies of the cross. Unbelievers outside the church who persecuted Paul. Gotta watch out for those pagans, you know.

Wrong.

Hymenaeus and Alexander, says Paul, had made shipwreck of their faith. They were not pagan unbelievers. Nope. They were “Christian” unbelievers. In some way they blasphemed and they did so by failing to hold faith and a good conscience. I am not positive what that means, but I would venture a guess. They must have been hypocrites whose practice did not mesh with their profession of Christ. Furthermore, they must have taught others that their brand of counterfeit Christianity was the real deal, so y’all come and join us.

Welcome to the fight. This is the war we wage as Christ’s soldiers. Hymee and his buddy Alex are still with us today, probably in larger numbers than in Paul’s time.

Let me give you a true example.

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A Lady’s Wise Words about Spotting Evil

Pro 18:5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice.

I listened to a phone message today from a lady I don’t know – I don’t even know her name. She called our church office to thank us for the domestic abuse sermon series we have online at sermonaudio.com/crc   If she reads this, many thanks for her encouragement.

One of the things she said was very wise. Having grown up being abused by evil family members, she said that she finally came to see two Scriptures in particular clarity that the Lord used to set her free. One is quoted above, Proverbs 18:5. The other was from Matthew –

Mat 10:21-22 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, (22) and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

She realized in regard to the Matthew text that a Christian may well find themselves hated intensely even by their own brother, father, and children. It occurred to her that this means the abuse she experienced from family was not her fault.

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The Parasitic Nature of a False Professor of Christ

Mat 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.

1Co 2:9-10 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”– (10) these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

When we describe or try to define evil, we end up using words that are negatives of the good:

  • UNrighteous
  • UNholy
  • LawLESSness

I think it was R.C. Sproul that I once heard speak about this. He said that evil is actually a parasite on what is good and that in a sense evil cannot exist in and of itself apart from the good.

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