Evening Bible Study
The book of Acts ends in AD 60 with Paul being in Rome under house arrest.
We believe Paul was later released, and visited various places, including
While traveling, Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to pastor the church.
Timothy had spent many years with Paul and was like a spiritual “son” to
This letter was written somewhere around AD 63, to guide Timothy to correct
the problems in Ephesus.
Timothy is in his mid-forties about now.
Timothy would pastor the church for 30 years, and die a martyr in AD 97.
(1 Timothy 1:18–20
NKJV) —18 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, 19 having faith
and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have
suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that
they may learn not to blaspheme.
1:18-20 The Good Fight
:18 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,
:18 prophecies previously made concerning you
We don’t know when these prophecies were made, nor their content, but they
helped set the course for Timothy’s life.
They might have been made when Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to pastor the
They might have been from an earlier time, perhaps even when Timothy
received some of his spiritual gifts.
(2 Timothy 1:6
NKJV) Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you
through the laying on of my hands.
It’s God’s calling on our lives that helps us fight the battles of life.
We’ve been reading in Genesis lately about Joseph.
Joseph had dreams from God in his youth about one day ruling over his
Yet initially it seemed like those dreams would never come true when his
brothers sold him as a slave into Egypt.
Yet even when things got worse, Joseph kept trusting God.
I wonder what part those “dreams” played in helping Joseph stay on course
in his life.
Yet one day Joseph found himself exalted in Egypt, saved the world from
famine, and found himself ruling over his family.
I have had a sense of God’s calling on my life.
It coalesced when I was 18 at a weeklong Youth camp at Forest Home. The
camp started on Sunday afternoon.
My longtime girlfriend broke up with me on Monday, and I was pretty shook
up. I had to be around her for the entire week.
I found myself in a place where I was open to God speaking to me.
On Thursday night of that week an old retired pastor named Earl Riley was
speaking about serving God, and though he was specifically talking about going
to the mission field, as he spoke I felt like God was tugging at me to go into
the full-time ministry.
I looked back at my life, at my gifts, at how God had been
using me in High School, and it felt like it all came together, that being a
pastor was what I was meant to be.
Though I would be a youth pastor, then eventually an assistant pastor, it
wouldn’t be until 20 years later that I became a Sr. Pastor.
There were times when I wondered when it would ever happen.
Even after it happened, and we planted Calvary Fullerton in 1994, we went
through some difficult times in the early years of the church, with a couple of
I remember talking with one of the pastors at Calvary
Chapel Costa Mesa about the difficulties, and he suggested that maybe I wasn’t
meant to be a Sr. Pastor.
At first his comment made me feel like quitting, but the
more I thought about it I just got mad. God had called me and I was not going
God wants to have a say in the direction of our lives.
I don’t think it has to come by someone laying their hands on us and
prophesying over us.
I do think it’s a good idea to have a sense of your purpose in life though.
NKJV) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
It doesn’t have to be about being called to full-time ministry.
Eric Liddell would eventually be a missionary to China,
but before that, he ran in the Olympics.
Video: Chariots of Fire
– God’s Pleasure – He who honors God
If you don’t know what God has called you to do, then ask Him.
33:3 NKJV) ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty
things, which you do not know.’
God’s call on your life will help you when you face difficulties and
attacks. It will keep you on track.
:18 wage the good warfare
The Greek is literally, “that you may wage war, the good war”
There are some battles we have that are not “good” wars.
I think some of the marital “battles” people fight are not
worth fighting, and I think the way we handle some of our conflicts only hurt
things instead of help them.
Same with our kids.
Some fights at work are not “good” fights.
But there are some battles are worth fighting.
Paul uses the same words to talk about the war of the mind:
10:3–5 NKJV) —3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the
flesh. 4 For the
weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down
strongholds, 5 casting down
arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,
bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
Sometimes we think that we have no control over our
thoughts – that they just come and go as they please.
Paul seems to think that we have the ability to exercise
discipline when it comes to our thoughts.
James uses similar language to describe the internal struggle with our sin
nature, our “lust”.
(James 4:1–2 NKJV)
—1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they
not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
2 You lust and
do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you
do not have because you do not ask.
Our sin nature, which affects all of our internal humanness
– our mind, our will, our emotions – is a constant battle that we have to stay
aware of and prepared for.
Sometimes our battle is with forces in the spiritual realm. Paul wrote to
NKJV) —10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His
might. 11 Put on the
whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the
devil. 12 For we do
not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against
powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts
of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of
God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to
We need to be prepared to face spiritual attacks.
Jude writes that sometimes the “battle” is with those who want to pervert
our faith by twisting the truth.
(Jude 3–4 NKJV) —3 Beloved,
while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I
found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the
faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain
men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this
condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny
the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
This battle for truth is part of Timothy’s battle as well, since Paul has
already mentioned the bad teachers in Ephesus…
Timothy 1:3 NKJV) As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that
you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
My point in all this is to point out that sometimes we focus on one of
these conflicts, when there are many to be aware of.
In Paul’s very last letter, he would write,
(2 Timothy 4:7
NKJV) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept
:19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected,
concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,
:19 having faith and a good conscience
These are the two things Paul commends to Timothy in fighting his good
How to fight
The word “faith” is used twice in this verse, once without the definite
article (“the”), and the other with the definite article.
When you add the word “the” to faith, it’s talking about the things that we
believe in. It’s talking about correct doctrine.
But the first time (in our current phrase) is without “the”, and it refers
to our trust in the Lord.
When we are facing these spiritual battles, we need to fight them in
“faith”, from a place of trusting God for our help.
Hezekiah was one of the “good” kings.
Kings 18:5–6 NKJV) —5 He trusted in the Lord
God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of
Judah, nor who were before him. 6 For he held fast to the Lord;
he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses.
Hezekiah was the king of the southern kingdom when the
Assyrian army was conquering the world.
He made physical preparations for an attack, including
digging an amazing tunnel through solid rock to bring water into Jerusalem.
Yet when the Assyrians showed up on his doorstep, Hezekiah
took it to God.
Kings 19:14 NKJV) And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers,
and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord.
Hezekiah prayed. He trusted. He counted on God helping
And God delivered. The Angel of the Lord wiped out 185,000
Assyrians in a single night.
conscience – suneidesis –
the soul as distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, prompting to
do the former and shun the latter, commending one, condemning the other
One of our greatest weapons is being able to live with the choices we make
because we’ve made our choices with a “good conscience”.
A good conscience comes from making choices that are morally good.
When you are faced with a conflict, and you have the
opportunity to do something that’s morally wrong, you choose to do what’s
Sometimes we don’t know which choice is morally right. Then the question
comes down to faith – are we doing what we “trust” is the right thing.
On the subject of whether or not to eat food that has been sacrificed to
idols, Paul wrote,
NKJV) —22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is
he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who
doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from
faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
If you have your doubts about something, you might not
want to rush into it or else your conscience will “condemn” you.
:19 which some having rejected
The word “which” is singular and refers to the “good conscience”.
The people Paul is warning about those who have rejected the warnings of
their own conscience.
Your conscience is like the rudder on a ship. When you “reject” the
warnings of your conscience, your ship is out of control, and the result is…
:19 concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck
Here “faith” has the definite article – speaking about correct doctrine,
the things we believe in.
Those who have rejected operating from a good conscience have strayed from
When it comes to correct doctrine, they have “suffered shipwreck”.
Paul uses the same word he used to describe his own literal shipwrecks.
Christians shouldn’t just be good soldiers, but good sailors as well, in
navigating the oceans of life.
That requires having a good “rudder”, a “good conscience”.
Some people don’t have a good rudder. Paul warns about a future time when false
Timothy 4:2 NKJV) speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with
a hot iron,
They will no longer care about right and wrong. They won’t
Theological error is often rooted in moral failure.
When you start fudging in your life on issues of what’s right and what’s
wrong, you will start fudging on what the Scriptures say about the truth.
:20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that
they may learn not to blaspheme.
:20 of whom are Hymenaeus …
Paul now mentions two of the men that have been causing trouble in Ephesus.
This fellow is also mentioned in 2Timothy:
(2 Timothy 2:14–18
NKJV) —14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the
Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent
to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase
to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus
are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection
is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.
Hymenaeus had been teaching that Jesus had already come back (the resurrection
His teaching would result in “more ungodliness”.
Notice again the link between moral failings and doctrinal
:20 … and Alexander
The name Alexander is a common one, so the following is simply a
possibility, though they are both connected to Ephesus.
At the end of the three years when Paul had started the church in Ephesus,
there was a riot.
The idol-makers’ union wasn’t happy that so many people were becoming
Christians and getting rid of their idols.
The crowd gathered in the amphitheater in Ephesus, and someone stepped up
to apparently defend Paul.
NKJV) —33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him
forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, and wanted to make his defense
to the people. 34
when they found out that he was a Jew, all with one voice cried out for about
two hours, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”
If this is the same Alexander as Paul is writing to Timothy about, then he
was someone who has a good history with the church in Ephesus, but later caused
much harm to the church.
In Paul’s final letter, he mentions Alexander:
(2 Timothy 4:14
NKJV) Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him
according to his works.
:20 whom I delivered to Satan
delivered to – paradidomi –
to give into the hands (of another); to give over into (one’s) power or use
Jesus told His disciples:
NKJV) —15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his
fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
16 But if he
will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or
three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he
refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to
hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. 18 “Assuredly,
I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever
you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
It seems to have two simultaneous aspects to it.
In the spiritual realm, Paul is saying that he has turned these fellows into
the hands of Satan.
Some have suggested that this “binding” and “loosing”
comes into play here.
That sounds kind of scary to me.
Paul is putting these men into the hands of Satan. They can expect great spiritual
attack without any defense.
There is spiritual protection when we are connected to one another in
Removing someone from the church exposes them to the spiritual nuclear
bombs of Satan.
In the earthly realm, churches call this “excommunication”.
Paul is cutting these men off from the fellowship of the church.
We have an example of this with the Corinthians.
5:1–5 NKJV) —1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality
among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the
Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not
rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among
you. 3 For I
indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though
I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of
our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that
his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
:19 that they may learn not to blaspheme
may learn – paideuo – to train children; to be
instructed or taught or learn; to chastise; of a father punishing his son
Sometimes kids need a little discipline to grow up.
The goal is maturity
Sometimes we just have a lot to learn in life, and we won’t learn unless
things are a little difficult.
A new prisoner is placed in his cell. Before long it is
time for "lights out" and the cellblock becomes dark and nearly
Eventually a voice from the darkness cries
out: “Twenty-two!” and everyone breaks out into raucous laughter. A while later
another voice calls out “Forty-one!” and again the entire cellblock hoots and
The new prisoner asks the
guy in the next cell: “What’s going on?”
The guy says: “We’ve been
here so long, we all know each other’s jokes. So we assigned numbers to them,
and when we want to tell a joke we just use the number.”
The new prisoner decides
to give it a try. He calls out: “Eighteen!”
No response whatsoever ...
not even a snicker.
The guy in the next cell
says: “Some people just don’t know how to tell a joke.”
The goal for Hymenaeus and Alexander was that they would learn a lesson and
turn from their bad doctrine.
When Paul excommunicated the fellow in Corinth, the goal was that “his
spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”.
For the guy in Corinth, it seems that it actually worked. Paul followed up
in his second letter:
2:5–8 NLT) —5 I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the
trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. 6 Most of you opposed him, and that
was punishment enough. 7 Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he
may be overcome by discouragement. 8 So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.
Paul wrote to the Galatians,
(Galatians 6:1 NLT)
brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are
godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And
be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.
Our goal should always be to see bad doctrine corrected,
and ungodly lives straightened out.
We start out with confronting in gentleness, and if that
doesn’t work, there is an eventual cutting off from fellowship.
But even that can change when the person turns around.