1 Timothy 1:18-20
This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Continual trust (faith) in Jesus as the sole provider of our salvation, and maintaining a clean conscience are essential in the life of the christian. Some individuals begin making small choices which poke (ever so slightly) at their conscience. These small pokes start leading to more and more compromise until one day the professing christian has crossed over from the dock to a ship which is destined to wreck while out at sea. This act has been defined by our text as blasphemy. And however odd it may seem, Paul tells us that he handed two individuals over to the father of blasphemy (the Devil) in order to learn not to blaspheme.
How is the young pastor Timothy to guard against this? He is to fight by reminding himself of the words which were spoken in his presence while the elders of the church laid their hands on him when they set him apart for the ministry (1 Timothy 4:14).
When I was a very new christian, Mommy (my wife) and I were teaching a small group of children in sunday school. This church was very small and we didn’t have a curriculum to guide us. The church decided to send us to a Children’s Desiring God conference so that we could purchase something for our children. When we returned from the weekend, I was asked to present something in adult sunday school. I prepared my first sermon and waxed un-eloquent before a body of 40. After I was finished, my pastor called me up front, along with the other elders of the church, and laid their hands on me. The pastor thanked the Lord for the gift he had given me, and set me apart for the work of children’s ministry.
We no longer go to that church, but I am reminded of that experience many times. From that point on, God opened opportunities for me to teach a doctrinal program to children where I was preaching weekly for three years. Then God gave me opportunities to substitute for an Old Testament seminary professor in a sunday school class at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Most recently, I have been asked to pulpit supply at a church in our vicinity, have spoken at a conference, and fill in for my pastor from time to time when he needs to take a sunday off for various reasons.
When I begin to be tempted to make small little pokies at my conscience, I am to remind myself what was spoken over me those many years ago. In the same way you wouldn’t dream of performing an open heart surgery on a child while using dirty instruments; how can I stand and open up God’s holy word to his people while I carry in my breast a dirty and defiled conscience?
You and I are to wage war! It is a good war to be in, for our captain will win in the end!