Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 4, Daniel 8, Psalm 116, 1 Timothy 1.
“Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” 1 Timothy 1:20
“Good morning and welcome to the First Baptist Church of Ephesus. I hope you were greeted with a warm welcome on your way in and are able to hear from the Lord throughout our worship service. Things will look a bit different this morning. Fred and Bob will be taking up our offering later in the service today. Himme and Alex, our usual collectors, have been handed over to Satan until further notice. . . Let’s pray together.”
Paul told Timothy (the pastor in Ephesus) that he handed two guys over to Satan. What in the world does that mean and why would Paul do such a thing?
More than likely, it means Paul “kicked” these guys out of the church. They were excommunicated from the fellowship. They were told they could not be “members in good standing.” They were informed they could not be a part of the church until some things changed in their hearts and lives.
Apparently, Hymenaeus and Alexander were guilty of teaching things contrary to biblical truth. We cannot be certain what they were teaching, but in Paul’s mind it was blasphemy. What they were communicating about God was false and/or wrong. Assuming Paul confronted them with no success, they were handed over to Satan’s domain: the world.
This ought to have our attention for three reasons, at least:
#1. Doctrine Matters.
What one believes effects how one behaves. What one thinks about God is the single most important thing about a person. Period. Right understanding of God = Living the way God intended. Wrong understanding of God = Wrong living. What we believe determines how we behave.
How serious do you take the biblical doctrine you receive?
#2. Membership Matters.
Not just anybody can be a member of an evangelical, Protestant church. There is an entrance requirement (salvation and baptism) and there are particular membership “do’s.” There are things and behaviors and actions church members MUST actively do and things they must refrain from. Obviously, teaching biblical doctrine is one of those things.
How serious do you take your church membership?
#3. Repentance Matters.
Paul didn’t hand these guys over to Satan in hopes they would go to hell. No, no. He handed them over in order to restore them: “that they may learn not to blaspheme.” One on one confrontations had not worked. Warnings had not done the trick. Paul had tried to get them to repent and teach right doctrine. Nothing worked. So they were removed from the church in the hopes they would repent and be restored to the fellowship soon.
Anything you need to repent from today? Anyone around you needing to be lovingly confronted with truth today?
I’m not sure what happened to ole Himme and Alex. We don’t know if they repented from their blasphemous ways or went to a liberal church down the street. But I have a pretty good feeling I know what happened that Sunday morning in Ephesus after the welcome time. Everyone in the room knew that church was not a joke and that a right understanding of God is critical.
I wonder what would happen in our churches if we practiced this “hand over to Satan” deal? Thoughts?