(Since our primary chef took ill yesterday at the last minute, Thanksgiving dinner was all my responsibility to prepare. Thanks to my thorough instructions, everything turned out just fine and it was all finished only fifteen minutes behind schedule due to a mashed potato malfunction. Now I know that should it be neccessary for me to make such a meal by myself it will turn out pretty good, but to use instant potatoes if I can get away with it.)
Throughout the New Testament there are a few sorts of lesser well known Christians. The good examples, the mentioned yet otherwise unknown people, and the bad examples. One of my favorite book series talked about the various people in the Bible who were bad examples and just why they were bad examples and what we could learn from them. So let’s talk about the Christians in the Bible who were bad examples.
Hymenaeus – He was a blasphemer and false teacher, but he was never alone in his michief.
Philetus – He was a false teacher.
Alexander – a blasphemer, and if he is the metal-worker, one who is strongly opposed to the message. He didn’t exactly help Paul.
They taught that the ressurection had already happened and that they could be “Christian” and still yet sin. According to wikipedia, they were believers in gnosticism. The teachings of the Bible, the scripture provided by the apostles, and the lessons from the elders just weren’t sound enough for them. Sadly, gnostic teachings aren’t any less enticing today, in an age where just about everything is relative. Several best selling books have had gnostic elements in recent years.
Ananias and Sapphira – they conspired to follow up Barnabas faithful act with a slightly less faithful one. It was the same trick, but they didn’t give all the proceeds to the elders as Barnabas had. Instead they were confronted, they both lied, and then they died all in the same day. That put the fear of the Lord in the early church.
Diotrephes – A man who ‘loves to be first in everything’ impeded the hospitality of local Christians and failed to acknowledge the apostles was so much of a problem, the local church wrote a letter asking just how to deal with him.
It’s interesting to note that almost all of these people were Christians and sinners who couldn’t sin by themselves. They had to take others with them down that slippery slope of backsliding. It was because of a disgreement that Paul lost the company of a brother in the faith and found Timothy to take his place. So just what can we learn?
1.) To root ourselves in sound doctrine.
2.) To not toe the line between entertainment and blasphemy, and to certainly never cross it.
3.) To never misrepresent Christ or the truth.
4.) To not get caught as the company of a sinner taking others down with him.
5.) To know our actions will be remembered and they might hinder us getting the trust of other Christians.