Naming Names Is it Biblical? (Part 1 of 3)<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
By Todd Tomasella
"Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly (selfish interests), and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Philippians 3:17-21
Saints, are we so naive as to believe that in our day there are no "enemies of the cross of Christ"? Not only are there Christ's enemies in our day, the Bible foretold that just before the return of our LORD there would come a great falling away at the hands of these end-time predators who operate in the church world, many who are very famous ministers (2 Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4; 2 Tim. 3-4; 1 Jn. 4:1-6).
There are some things revealed here in this text that are very important about these "enemies of the cross of Christ."
· They are many not a few - "For many walk..."
· Paul repeatedly warned of deceivers - "I have told you often..."
· Paul warned with tears - "...now tell you even weeping..."
· These men pose as His servant but are actually His enemies - "they are the enemies of the cross of Christ"
· These men are going to hell unless they repent - "Whose end is destruction..."
· They serve themselves in ministry while supposedly representing Christ - "whose God is their belly (selfish interests)..."
· They revel in things they should be ashamed of - "whose glory is in their shame..."
· They speak affectionately of movies and other secular interests and tend to things of this fleeting world - "who mind earthly things..."
These "enemies of the cross of Christ" must be marked by the LORD's remnant no matter what the cost (Rom. 16:17-18). We are mandated to "mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine" of Christ in order to protect the sheep of the LORD's pasture.
Have you ever personally counted the people the apostle Paul marked in the book of 2 Timothy? Try it. Read 2 Timothy (4 chapters) and keep a count of the deceivers Paul identifies by name. You will find several men named by name as deceivers in 2 Timothy alone. When the Holy Spirit moved upon Paul to foretell that "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived", he also led him to name some of those "enemies of the cross" in his and previous days (Phil. 3:17-20). The naming of these men is for an eternal memorial of the just wrath of the Almighty upon those who defame His holy name through deception and false teaching (2 Pet. 2,3, Jude). When reading the Old Testament especially, we see a Redeemer who will destroy the enemies of His people - because He loves His people (Is. 49:25; 54:17, etc.). This is the protective love of the LORD. Here is the list of the 8 evildoers the great apostle was inspired to justifiably identify by name in 2 Timothy:
· Phygellus 1:15· Hermogenes 1:15 · Hymenaeus 2:17 · Philetus 2:17 · Jannes 3:8 · Jambres 3:8 · Demas 4:10 (apostate) · Alexander the coppersmith 4:14
Note that there are 2 of these men marked per chapter.
It is interesting to observe here that in the same letter Paul names these names of beguilers, he also states:
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7-8
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