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FECKLESS ABANDONMENT. II Timothy 4:14-16. 12/11/2022. #14.
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. 15 You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. 16 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.
a. Alexander the coppersmith was a vehement opponent against Paul (perhaps in Ephesus)
b. Demetrius the silversmith led his guild to stir up Ephesus against Paul (Acts 19)
a1. Paul preached that there are no gods made with hands (idols)
a2. The silversmiths made money off of making silver images of the Temple of Diana
c. Alexander was a “worker of brass”
a1. Brass is an allow of copper and zinc (a cheap substitute for gold fixtures)
a2. Alexander probably made much money off of fashioning brass idols and implements to be used in idol worship (pans, tongs, shovels, flesh forks, and basins)
a3. The Gospel message threatened the businesses of idol makers
d. 4 reactions of opponents to the Gospel:
a1. Ignore the messenger and the message
a2. Ridicule the message and messenger
a3. Provide an alternative message to the Gospel (naturalism, cults, religions…)
a4. Actively persecute the messenger
e. Persecution comes in two forms
a1. Unofficial personal attacks
a2. Official government sanctioned persecution via condoning anti-Christian actions or official arrests leading to prosecution
f. Alex., like Elymas in Cyprus, apparently pursued Paul relentlessly, doing much damage to witness
a1. This was a personal grudge by Alex.
a2. Those who hate God will take their angst out on God’s servants
g. Paul was personally affronted by Alex.
a1. Like David, Paul wanted God to avenge him
a2. We are supposed to pray for those who despitefully use us, but the damage done to the Gospel message was great (Matthew 5)
a3. Paul cries out for justice against Alexander
2. Alone in trials
a. Paul states that at his first defense
b. Paul uses a rare double enforced word for forsook (enkataleipo) – to abandon, to leave in a bad strait, to leave behind, or to run away from
a1. Just as the disciples ran away when Jesus was arrested, Paul’s fellow believers disassociated from Paul at his trial before Nero
a2. Paul does not mention who these unfaithful disciples were (Luke? Aristarchus? Trophimus? Believers from Roman church?)
c. This abandonment was different from Lord’s case
a1. Paul’s friends were fully discipled workers
a2. These workers knew trials and opposition
a3. Paul expected more courage and commitment from these co-workers of the Gospel
a4. Paul counted on having support at trial
d. Paul prays that the Lord would not hold this against these weaker brethren
e. Zechariah 13:7 just as Jesus’s disciples came back and were restored (John 21), God can restore any of us
when we falter in weakness (Mark 14:43-52)
f. Even though Paul was abandoned just as Jesus was, God was not done with those who faltered
a1. John 21 Peter was used greatly after betrayal
a2. Mark was used as he abandoned Paul
a3. David was used after his fall into sin
g. We falter due to fleshly weakness (Matthew 26:41)
a1. I John 1:9-10 we can confess and repent
a2. I Corinthians 1 God uses flawed people
Key verse: Mark 14:43-52
43 And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” 45 As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.46 Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. 47 And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then they all forsook Him and fled. 51 Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him, 52 and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.