II Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Throughout the Bible God mentions names. Sometimes He mentions the names of faithful individuals. Sometimes He mentions the name of those who hate Him and are facing His wrath. It is important to name names. In Romans 16:17-18, Paul was directed to exhort the saints to:
Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
We need to note those who have rejected God and have a goal to destroy true faith in God. God knows the subtilty of the devil is very attractive to those who are careless.
Alexander is long dead. He is no danger to us today. However, he was a danger to Timothy. Paul knew his nature and he had already determined to hold him at bay. Timothy was younger and not as persuaded yet of the importance of truth and the importance of rejecting error. Timothy could never do the work of an evangelist if he did not pursue truth and reject all false teaching and false teachers.
There are many “evangelists” today who need to be avoided. They have a message, to be sure, but their message is not a good one. They are compromisers. They have developed the art of subtilty and they know how to slip a lie past the careless hearer. Some of them have gained notoriety in our world. They have gained that because, as the Bible says, few people are saved and most are quite gullible.
History shows us that people are much more likely to believe a lie than they are to believe the truth. We see that in our politics and we see that as well in religion.
There are many Alexanders today who we need to be warned of. If we look at the proportion, we see that Paul’s ministry was not focused on the evil doers. It was focused on teaching the truth. As he did that, he also exposed the enemies.
It could be that this is the same Alexander Paul mentioned in I Timothy 1:20. There Paul warned that he was a blasphemer. He was one who spoke reproachfully of him. God is showing us that those who want to slander His servants will be held accountable. It is an evil thing to try to discredit a faithful servant of the Lord.
We know the Pharisees and Sadducees often blasphemed the Lord Jesus while He was on earth. Their wicked ways did not stop Jesus from His Work, but they also are suffering today and will be for all eternity.
The apostle Paul was in prison because of those who tried to interfere with God’s Work. Paul was not going to go after Alexander. He trusted the Lord to look after him. The reward that Alexander would receive would be one he would rather not have. However, he would not have the option of foregoing that.
Timothy needed to be aware of this man. It is a good thing to know the enemies of the Lord. They can sometimes try to sneak in and act very sincere, but they have an agenda. Verse 15 tells us that Alexander greatly withstood Paul’s words. He was certainly trying to hinder the Lord’s work.
In verse 16 we see that Paul had already had one trial date. No one stood with him. All those that were there and claimed to be on his side forsook him. It is amazing how people will act like they are with you until the testing comes. All of a sudden they are nowhere around. However, Paul was not discouraged by that. He did not wish evil upon them. He trusted they would seek God’s forgiveness and get right with Him. That is the way for God’s people to be forgiven.
In verse 17 we see that even though no one else would stand with Paul, the Lord stood with him. The world may not value that, but the child of God certainly will. God blessed Paul’s preaching and the Gentiles heard the Gospel even though the Judaizers tried to hinder it from being proclaimed. Paul also faced the lions as part of his sentence.
When I was in Israel a number of years back, we saw one of the colosseums where they would bring out certain prisoners and then they would let the lions loose to attack them. The prisoners did not have weapons to defend themselves and it would be quite natural for the lions to kill them and tear them apart. However, just like God protected Daniel from the lions, here too, God protected Paul from the lion. God has his time for his children and He can protect them against great odds.
In verse 18, Paul was confident that God would deliver him from every evil work. He was assured that God would bring him safely home. God’s protection did not mean he would not be killed. It meant that his soul would be kept safe.
Paul was not complaining to God or about God. He wanted Him to be glorified in his life. Thus he would not cower in a corner or try to find a way to compromise at the last moment. He would remain stedfast and true to the Lord and let His name be exalted. We are living in a time when there are too many professing Christians who are quite content to side with the ungodly. That is happening with regard to the virus and also now with the recent exposure to Bill C4.
We are constantly reminded that we are in a war. The war Christians face is not won with guns and knives. It is a war against the truth. God is the victor. We need to put on the whole armour of God and stand with God and trust His Word to do Its work. We do not need to defend God. We need to guard against being drawn into the lies of the devil. We are the weak ones, not God.
In our text Timothy needed to be warned and prepared for the time when Paul would no longer be around to encourage him. He needed his trust and hope firmly planted in God and His Word. The same is true for every born again Christian today. We need to be firmly planted in God’s truth.