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Fight THe Good Fight


"18 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. 20 Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
And welcome to all of our beloved brothers and sisters, from all around the world, who have been prompted to join us today. We are glad to have all of you here! 
I have found that the majority of people do not reject Jesus Christ because of intellectual reasons. The truth is most people reject Jesus Christ for moral reasons, because it interferes with their lifestyle. "It cramps their style!" They want to be free to "do their own thing, their own way" These are not deep mysteries we have to go to seminary to understand. In fact, Jesus hand picked twelve men who were considered to unlearned and ignorant men. 
I believe that the modern church, has become a lot like a river, the further it goes, the more trash and garbage it picks up. Filled with people, polluted by people who refuse to change their beliefs, holding on to what they have learned from the world, a world ruled by Satan, to fit the Word of God, therefore, they attempt to change the Word of God to fit their beliefs. 
Some time ago, I counseled a young man, who was terrified he was going to hell because he smoked. He grew up in a church, that continuously told him that smoking would send him to hell. He was living in constant fear because he could not seem to be able to quit smoking. 
He asked me what I believed about this. I told him that smoking would not send him to hell,  however, it would make him smell as though he had been. He left the conversation, just as guilt ridden and afraid as the day when we first spoke. Over the years, I have learned, that most people, have a very difficult of others, time,  shaking the false beliefs they have heard since childhood. Inadvertently, these false beliefs, along with a plethora of others, have found their way into come into the church. 
God wants us to be willing to turn from a life dominated by Satan, fleshly desires to a live a like that dominated by Him and His will. He wants us to believe His Word, to trust that He loved us enough to send His Son Jesus, to die on the cross for us, that He was buried, and on He raised Him up on the third day from the dead, the He ascending to heaven. And He in now seated at the right hand of the Father. And he will come to judge the living and the dead. 
Let us bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
Father, we thank You for this Word. Thank You for bringing us the truth. Help us help us to know that wherever error and evil occur, there is the adversary. Grant us the boldness and courage to confront it.
Help us to teach the Word, in truth, the commission with which we have been entrusted. Lead us, that we would always be in a right right relationship with You. Stir the hearts of those gathered with us, those coming from false teaching and religions, that they would come to believe the truth, which You have so graciously given us in Your Word. Lord. call us to faithful and obedient, humble servants and effect that in us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, draw us away from the world, the worldly system and its beliefs. Remind us that we belong to You, convict us any subtle sin that remains in us, and hold us accountable, responsible for our speech and actions toward other. Give us a heart of compassion for those who are suffering, make provision that we might help them in their time of need. Give us patience, meekness and gentleness in dealing with those who are unbelieving, or that have been lead astray. Let us speak the truth in love and mercy, without hate or judgement. Cause us to live in such a way that brings glory to Your name.
In Jesus' name
Today's Message: Fight The Good Fight
Satan, in his plan to destroy God's plan for salvation, to redeem the lost of the world, to corrupt and confuse the people of God, has placed his malicious, evil agents within the church to destroy it, false prophets, who both Jesus and Paul called wolves in sheep’s clothing. I am aware that there are a number of Christians, who disbelieve this truth. However, let's be honest, if you were Satan, where would you put your best workers, to do the most harm, in bars and strip clubs or in the pulpits, and classrooms and in the pews? 

Beloved, like it or not, we are in a spiritual battle. I know a number of believers, who struggle with the problem of why God would allow this world to become so evil. While we can sympathize with their questions, we have to condemn the idea because they have in essence, changed the Bible and ripped the heart out of the Christian faith. God’s Word, must always be our guide.

The presence of evil and suffering in a world made by a good and loving God has always bothered modern church. So, allow me to offer some truths that might help, if you happen to be one of those who are struggling with this issue. The first is, that sin and suffering are temporary in God’s grand scheme of things. You do not find them in the first two chapters of the Bible, nor do you find them in the last two chapters of the Bible.

The second is, that you are not alone in your suffering, Jesus Christ, Himself suffered too. God, in becoming a man, in Jesus tells us He was willing to face evil and suffering with us, and ultimately delivering us from it. By denying this truth, the Gnostic's of the world have denied the one truth that makes this evil, sorrow filled world bearable. That God is with us.

Open with me your Bibles to the  Book of First Timothy chapter 1, I'd like you to find verses 18 to 20, and though my reading and studying this is a very brief passage, these three final verses, the Spirit of God has filled my heart with quit a number of things in which to say. So, I'll apologize in advance, if we get a little off the beaten path, but I'll do my best to stick with our text, However, as many of you already know, I can become distracted with some of the supporting Scriptures and sub points.
I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read to you today's text, to get it set in our minds. I Timothy 1:18-20
As we begin, the Apostle Paul is reminding young Timothy of the awareness that he is engaged in a war, I believe that this should also serve as a reminder to all of us. One believe that we would do well to pay close attention to! 
 "This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme."
The key to the entire passage comes at the end of verse 18. "You fight the good fight." In other words, Paul is telling Timothy that he is indeed in a war against the forces of Satan and to give it he got, use the full armor of God.

Timothy, like all of us, was called to be a faithful soldier of Jesus Christ and to fight the good fight of faith. In this portion of the letter Paul is reminding him of what it means to be a soldier of Christ.The normal Christian life is not short struggle after which we are pensioned out of into a life of ease, free from struggles and suffering. In fact, its quite the contrast We are always going to meet opposition, challenges, difficulties and of course, enemies. 
From the moment you become a Christian, you have entered a lifelong battle against the enemy, Satan himself and his agents! He is a worthy adversary, one of which we cannot defeat on own, we can only war against in the power of Jesus Christ. Who has already victoriously defeated him. However, as his time grows shorter, he pulls out all the stops, and unleashes his demonic forces against us! We are in the midst that war today. I believe that it is a calamity for any Christian to assume that they can take doctrine for granted. We are all under a constant barrage from the media, the atheistic intellectuals of our day and from false theologians to cause us to abandon the great truths of the Gospel.
Upon reading various translations, it is possible for one to conclude that the Apostle Paul is concerned that one’s personal faith may be wrecked. While it is possible that one can distort their trust in God, it is doubtful that that is Paul’s intent when he wrote Timothy. What is not evident in our English language, this was no mere refusal to accept a definite religions dogma, but was closely related with impurity and the love of sin.
When Paul wrote of the disaster resulting from rejecting the character traits of which he spoke. I believe this gives the understanding that would indicate that these two men had suffered personal shipwreck of their faith or the application of the faith. That it is apparent, that Paul is using these two men as a warning that some individuals may so distort the faith, that it causes them, and subsequently, those who look to them, to be shipwrecked. That is also, evident from even a casual consideration of history. A growing number of theologians and translations indicate that the translators understand this to be the Apostle Paul ’s intent.
I would argue that it is not so much that Hymenaeus and Alexander caused the faith to be shipwrecked, but rather that they suffered shipwreck, as a result, when they attempted to distort that faith. To be certain, it is possible to mislead the unwary, causing them to stumble through distorting the truths of God. However, an individual who would distort truth will himself be shipwrecked on the very truth he is perverting.

Paul’s warning concerning these two individuals, who were even then experiencing shipwreck on the faith of the True and Living God. Together, we will examine how they arrived at that position and what the consequences were for these two men. Understanding what they did and what resulted from their actions will serve as a warning to us to hold fast to the truth once for all delivered to the saints.
Beloved, there are some things that should never be rejected!

Let's look at verses 18, " Paul’s warning concerning two individuals who were even then experiencing shipwreck on the Faith of the True and Living God. Together, we will examine how they arrived at that position and what the consequences were for these two men. Understanding what they did and what resulted from their actions will serve as a warning to us to hold fast to the truth once for all delivered to the saints.

" This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight."

It is interesting, that both Hymenaeus and Alexander are charged as being heretical both through rejection of  "faith and a good conscience!" The reference likely points Timothy, and us, back to something Paul wrote early in this letter.  In Verse 5, Paul wrote, "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." Rejecting faith and a good conscience had injured these two men, and it harmed the church. I'd like to refresh your memories by reminding you what it means to have faith and a good conscience.

The combination of a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith, as we discovered earlier, resulting  in love. The Apostle Paul stated that love was the goal of his command to foster these attributes. He indicated that heresy and concomitant personal evil marked the lives of the false teachers; he then contrasted their lives to the presentation of sound doctrine and the godly life, which indelibly marks the man of God. "Faith and a good conscience," is a continuing theme throughout this particular letter.

Later, in chapter 3, verses 8-9, "Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,  but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience."

Rejecting these aspects of Christian life leads to disaster. I believe what it is important for us to note is that faith and a good conscience, to say nothing of a pure heart, will ensure that believers will be forced to fight. Paul speaks of fighting the good fight; and that concept requires us to think about Christian warfare. 

I believe that is crucial to understand that we who are Christians must not be deliberately offensive. You may recall, Paul, when writing to the church at Corinth, in I Corinthians 10:31-33, he wrote " Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved."

Beloved, we are living in a day, in which many professing Christians argue that the believer in Jesus Christ should never experience any conflict. It is perhaps the prevailing view of many churches that Christians should be docile, compliant, and convivial. In this view, Christians should never speak against any practice; they should be genial and non-confrontational about any action, regardless of how repulsive or reprehensible it may be. In other words, the teaching from many pulpits today, is that the Christian is to be "nice and politically correct at all times." I believe that nice is one of those innocuous terms that means pretty much whatever the speaker wants it to mean, however, in today's vernacular, it generally it means that they should refuse to express a true biblical perspective, not taking a stand on much of anything.

You may recall Jesus teaching in Matthew 17:24-27, "When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, "Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?" He *said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?" When Peter said, "From strangers," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are exempt. However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me."

I an sure that all of you caught, Jesus’ justification for paying the tax? He was not speaking of avoiding giving deliberate offense to fellow believers; He spoke of doing all that was possible to avoid giving offense even to those who extracted an unjust tax!   

As believers, we have received the command to be at peace with ourselves. I Thessalonians 5:13, "and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another."

I would, however, also remind you, that beyond that command lies an even more comprehensive command that weighs upon the hearts all who are believers. And that is Romans chapter 12, verses 17-18, which tells us "Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." 

This verse is not some well crafted weasel word phrase; it acknowledges that it is not always possible to live peaceably with others; I am sure that we all have known some individuals who are obstreperous, cantankerous, quarrelsome, unruly or just out right mean. Such people make living peaceably with them extremely difficult. As a footnote, I like to point out, there some individuals that fall into this particular category, who need to be confronted and held accountable for their actions. However, we are to do even this, respectfully. Remembering, that all we say and do, is to bring glory to God!

Having established this fact, we who follow Christ, are responsible to seek peace with all people. I believe it is equally imperative to note, we must be prepared to engage in warfare on occasion, when necessary. I certainly do not want to give the impression that we are to be warlike, we are specifically enjoined against engaging in war as this world fights. 

II Corinthians 10:3-5 says "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,"

There are a number of other passages, as I am sure you know, like Ephesians 6, James 4  and I Peter 5, all of which indicate we are to resist against evil. 

As I have stated numerous times in the past, the Christian life is not just a battle—it is a campaign! We are not running a sprint; we are running a marathon! When you enter into this Christian life, you will be challenged for the duration. If you do not want any trouble, perhaps the best thing to is do not say anything, do anything, or be anything. And you may be able to avoid it.

Before we move, I should clarify when fighting is necessary through reminding you of several Scripture passages. We are not fight fellow believers over issues of no eternal consequence. You know, I am deeply saddened to say, Christians are more noted for their lack of having a humble, gracious character than for their love of Christ. They are known for what they are against. When people hear the Christian speak, it should be of Whom we love and those things for which we stand. They hear the term Christian, they should think first of our love for one another, because of our love for the Savior. We must avoid the common error of expressing love for one another that grows out of a faux love of avoiding holding one another responsible for life and conduct.

To drive this point to take home; the conscientious Christian must wage a lifelong war against surrender of those aspects that lead to love. The surrender of the faith and the surrender of a good conscience must never be considered. For should either occur, it can only result in disaster, both for the individual and for those who look to the one who surrenders. A these are necessary qualities of a godly life. Whether, we realize it or not, there is someone looking to each of us, someone modelling his or her life after the manner in which we conduct ourselves in this world. As Christians, I believe we are obligated to caution each individual considering this holy faith to weigh carefully what his or her expectations are. Christ promises us His presence; He does not promise to keep us from all hardship and conflict. Those who promise otherwise are either ignorant, or deliberately misleading and deceptive.

 In verse 20, "Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme."

Obvious, Timothy must have known these two individuals, or Paul would have likely take the time to further identify the. If, however, this is the same Hymenaeus, we know that he was teaching that the resurrection had already taken place. Clearly, such teaching means that the individual must have swerved from the faith. They are not looking for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, as mentioned in Titus chapter 2. This individual, together with someone named Philetus, were guilty of "upsetting the faith of some." 

Moreover, to say nothing of the teaching of this Hymenaeus is associated with iniquity. Thus, Hymenaeus had made shipwreck of his faith. Hymenaeus was running aground, meaning there was no longer sufficient deep water to float, on the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Again, we can’t identify Alexander with precision. There are at least one, and possibly two, individuals named Alexander spoken of in other places in the Bible. There was a man named Alexander who, in Acts 19, attempted to address the mob that raged after Paul ministered in Ephesus. Since this individual was mentioned in Ephesus, and Timothy was shepherding the congregation of the Ephesians when this letter was written, this may well have been the same man. The name Alexander occurs once again in a negative sense in Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy in chapter 4. We cannot affirmed with all certainty, this is the same individual as mention it our text today. If, however, this is the same individual, it would indicate that he had not only drifted doctrinally, but was perhaps being influenced negatively by Hymenaeus, personally opposing Paul's character and ministry. Therefore, I have a tendency to believe this is the same individual. The point is, every choice an individual makes in life has ramifications; whether positive, or negative. We are either honoring God, or we pursuing our own interests. 

The tragedy in this, is those who pursue their own fallen desires, are often convinced that they are making the best possible choice. Often, those people who are focused on self and obtaining their own perverted desires, will argue that they are doing the Lord's work.

It is my experience, when a pastor states "the Word of God says," in today's church, he is thought to be narrow-minded, culturally judgemental, and woefully out of touch; nevertheless, God has given us this Word that we might know His mind and His will. The false prophets exposed in the pages of the Old Covenant and the false teachers whom Timothy was confronting to the postmodern preachers that reject biblical truth all alike are offended by the preacher who declares "Thus saith the Lord!"

While we cannot compromise holiness for mercy, should the leaders of the congregation seek purity through imposing harsh strictures on the people, failing to take into account the universal need for mercy, the congregation will deteriorate and die as love dies through hardening of the attitudes. I have personally observed pastors who injured an assembly through failure to provide pasturage, refreshing droughts or driving the flock too vigorously. As a footnote, it is easy for one to ride a favorite horse, failing in the process to lend balance to their preaching. I have been told at times, I am guilty of this. If that be true, I hope you will know, it comes from a place of love, an intense desire that all you are found approved by God.

On the flip side, I have known some who have imposed their will on the congregation, for their own purposes, causing spiritual harm to the body of Christ having shipwrecked their own lives and have no lasting impact on the cause of Christ.  

In addressing the end of verse 20, "..whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme."

This means that someone is handed over to Satan,  they have not been fully under his power to that point. In I John 5, the Word of God informs us that "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." You will recall that when Jesus was tempted, in Luke 4:6, Satan offered, "And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish." You no doubt had noticed that Jesus did not rebuke the devil for what he offered; Jesus knew that the wicked one was "the ruler of this world." We know that Christ gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age. We also know that unbelievers, and we ourselves when we were lost, walked following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. 

In Romans 9:6, Paul reminds us that "not all Israel who are descended from Israel." Those Jews who were not redeemed received a share of the inheritance within the Promised Land and were given the same protection that others received within the land. In the same way, the benefits that came from the sacrificial system and from the priesthood were theirs. The same is true of those associated with church , even when they are not a redeemed people. Unbelievers are blessed, because of their association with God’s people. There is a measure of shelter and protection through association with the assembly. What I find fascinating, is the delivering of Hymenaeus and Alexander to Satan was not through congregational action, it was through Paul’s own action. Perhaps, at that time, such acts were limited to an Apostle. Beloved, though the act may not have been by congregational authority, a church leader is compelled to act for the welfare of the people. If such behavior is not swiftly addressed, its only a matter of time until the congregation dies and the properties are vacant. Verification of this truth may well be best witnessed by looking at church buildings that now stand empty today!

In Closing... 

I believe there are some here today, who share in the benefits of association. Some of you are believers who share in this holy faith. You know the Lord and you enjoy His mercies. You enjoy benefits that devolve from association. However, you have made no commitment to obedience to His Word, you are sacrificing the rich benefits that accrue to those who obey the Lord's call. Perhaps you imagine that you can justify your action; however, you really have no answer you can give to Christ. I urge you to obey the call of God, obey His commands, bringing yourself and your family into the fellowship of assembly. 

There are some of you, still under judgement because you have not believed; and you know that when life ends for you, you must stand before the Great White Throne to be judged. My plea to you,today, is to believe that God is gracious, receiving the life that He offers in Jesus His Son. 

May it be so...

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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