Three Dangers To Avoid When Dealing With Enemies Of Your Pastorate

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Looking back over the years, in which I have had the blessed opportunity to serve in a pastoral position, I can think of several who seemingly sought occasion to be an enemy of the pastorate. Some were very open about their deeds, firing shell after shell into the work I was trying to accomplish. Still others were striving against the current, lurking below the radar of others in the congregation. It did not take long to realize that church members can be very hard to deal with!

Paul’s Enemy

(2 Timothy 4:14-152 Timothy 4:14-15
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

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. our words: or, our preachings  

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) “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.”  (KJV)

The Apostle Paul, in his “last will and testament”, wrote about an individual named Alexander. In 2 Timothy 4:14-152 Timothy 4:14-15
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

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. our words: or, our preachings  

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, we find that he did Paul a lot of harm. Not so much in the physical realm, though he could have certainly been influential by his words to further his execution, but in a spiritual and practical sense of the term. Alexander must have been a very malicious and devious person for Paul to have called him out by name.

Alexander’s Background

Many commentators believe that there are two other references to this Alexander of which Paul refers to in 2 Timothy. One is in Acts 19:23Acts 19:23
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.  

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where he (Alexander) spoke for, and in the defense of the Jews. Many times the Jews and Christians alike were cast into the same lot. In this uproar, of Acts 19, the Jews were not about to be placed into the same likely punishment as Paul and his companions. The other reference is that of 1 Timothy 1:201 Timothy 1:20
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.  

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. Here an “Alexander” was excommunicated because of false doctrine and such.

Though, we are not for certain who this Alexander is that Paul refers to in his last letter to Timothy, we can rest assured that this man was not saved! If we assume that all three instances are the same Alexander, then we can surmise that Alexander was a man on a mission of revenge! 

What Can We Learn?

In light of what we have studied thus far, I would like to warn of three dangers we must avoid if we are to deal with the enemies of the pastorate in a godly and successful way!

Danger #1 – Stereotyping

One of the more common mistakes that young pastors make is that of stereotyping folks. Paul states that “Alexander the coppersmith” did him much evil. If we were to make application for us today, we would say something like this: “Alexander the deacon”, or “Alexander the treasurer”, or “Alexander the song leader”, etc. I think you see where I am heading with this. Everyone we deal with must be dealt with upon their own merits. Family relationships, occupations, ministry positions, and such like are not to be used to analyze how one will behave towards our ministries. We would do well to learn from the mistake of the Psalmist, for he hastily said that all men were liars (Psalm 116:11Psalm 116:11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 I said in my haste, All men are liars.  

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).

Danger #2 – Bearing The Sword

I was going to say that only younger pastors bear their own sword and fight their own battles, but older ones do the same as well! Two verses come to mind as I think about this danger. Moses reminded the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 1:30Deuteronomy 1:30
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

30 The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;  

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about how God would fight their battles. We must be reminded about this as well!

In the garden episode, Peter, without reservation, pulled a sword and cut Malchus’ ear off. Jesus warned Peter that those who take the sword will perish with the sword. Of course, Jesus was speaking of fighting in the physical realm. However, I believe that we can make an application here. If we take up a spiritual sword, not the Word of God, and smite our enemies, then we can expect a massacre. We should let God handle things. Consider:

(Romans 12:19Romans 12:19
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  

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) “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”  (KJV)

A lot can be said for how Paul dealt with Alexander. He simply said that God would reward his deeds and actions. May we keep this perspective. By the way, I do not think that Paul was saying that in a boastful way, but probably with a broken heart!

Danger #3 – Dwelling Upon The Actions Of Others

A third danger we can make is that of spending way too much time meditating upon the past victories, the current strength, and the perceived battle plans of our so-called enemies. Paul did not do this as is evident in his writings  to Timothy. One time, at most two, Paul mentioned Alexander by name. In his last letter, he warned Timothy about Alexander and moved on.

Life is too short, the cause of Christ too great, God’s people are too valuable to sit around and sulk about what may or may or happen as a result of your enemies. Yes, we should pray and be on guard, but that is NOT the only thing on our plate each and every day! Relatively few are against us at any given time. There multitudes who need us and want us. May we focus our attention upon them!

Conclusion

I feel confident that far many more pastorates self destruct than are leveled to the ground by their enemies. Many times pastors fall into these dangers and subsequently leave themselves wide open for a fall! Practical Christianity will many times, by default, keep one from making these common mistakes in dealing with enemies. May God help all who read this to handle their enemies the right way!

_______________

433757: 100 Devotions for Pastors and Church Leaders, Vol. 1: Ideas and Inspiration for Your Sermons, Lessons, Church Events, Newsletters, and Web Sites 100 Devotions for Pastors and Church Leaders, Vol. 1: Ideas and Inspiration for Your Sermons, Lessons, Church Events, Newsletters, and Web Sites

By John Phillips / Kregel Academic & Professional

Refuel and recharge with a rich collection of ideas for your personal meditation, sermon preparation, newsletters, lessons and web site content. Conveniently divided into 100 short bytes by title, you will turn to this book on a regular basis for quick inspiration and rich biblical insight; authored by biblical scholar and respected writer. 220 pages.

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Originally posted 2010-11-18 11:29:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

About Andrew Schank

Andrew Schank is an Independent Baptist Missionary/Pastor who loves to blog about spiritual matters! His main ministry website is http://www.togetherinthegap.com. Andrew is also a contributing author to two other blogs/websites including http://linked2leadership.com and http://www.ifbkjv.com. Pastor Schank's Church website is http://www.greatcommissionbaptist.org
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  • Dcheek

    Great devotional.  Looking forward to seeing you at Bethel Baptist Church

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