The apostle Paul was a fighter. His bodily presence might have been weak, as his enemies claimed (2 Co. 10:10), but he was a special forces-caliber warrior for truth. On the very first stop of his first historic missionary journey, he called out a prominent member of Salamis with these shocking words, “O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord,” and struck him with blindness for good measure (Ac. 13:10-11)! What a fireball for God’s truth! As for two preachers of that day, Hymenaeus and Alexander, Paul turned them over to the devil “that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Ti. 1:20). In an epistle meant to be read by all of the churches, Paul called out two other preachers by name, Hymenaeus and Philetus, labeling their teaching “profane and vain babblings” (2 Ti. 2:16-18). In the same epistle, Paul publicly exposed Alexander the coppersmith’s evil (2 Ti. 4:14-15) and called out the preacher Demas, a former coworker, for “having loved this present world,” holding him up as a bad example and a warning to all the churches. Paul even rebuked Peter publicly for hypocrisy (Ga. 2:11-14). The apostle to the Gentiles taught a vast amount of truly deep, “positive truth,” but he was never content with that. He fought against Galatian Judaizers and Corinthian spiritualizers and Colossian gnostics. He stood against false christs and false gospels and false spirits of any and every sort, but he didn’t stop there. He stood against carnality, worldliness, man-centeredness, pride of scholarship, unqualified pastors, dishonesty, laziness, every type of sin in the churches. He was an unwavering disciplinarian (1 Co. 5; 1 Ti. 20). He was big on rebuking (2 Ti. 4:2; Tit. 1:13; 2:15). Unlike many preachers since then, Paul never backed down, never softened his stance, never regretted or repented of fighting for truth’s sake. At the very end, Paul summarized his Christian life with these words, “I have fought a good fight” (2 Ti. 4:7). Indeed! Any preacher who is not a fighter is not walking in the footsteps of Paul. God, give us spiritual warriors!
(Friday Church News Notes, March 13, 2020, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143)