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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE LORD STOOD WITH ME AND DELIVERED ME

2 Tim 4:14-18 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

In his first letter to young Timothy, Paul mentions, and condemns, a man named Alexander, for his blasphemous manner of life (1 Tim. 1:20). A Jewish man named Alexander is mentioned in Acts 19:33-34 as one that evidently desired to speak against the teachings of Paul while in Ephesus. However, the Greeks recognized him as a Jew and refused to allow him to speak. Alexander the coppersmith, mentioned here, is probably the same person. Paul tells us that he did me much evil. It is not that Alexander harmed Paul personally in any way, but he refused to accept the gospel message of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world - Paul said that he hath greatly withstood our words. For his opposition against him, and his labor for the cause of Christ, Paul said that the Lord (would) reward him according to his works. Timothy, at the time of this writing, was at Ephesus. The fact that Paul warns him about this man indicates that Alexander was still in Ephesus, and, more than likely was, continuing to disrupt the church of Christ in this city, by speaking against Paul's inspired message of salvation.

After warning Timothy of the evils done by this enemy of Christ, Paul says that at my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me. At this particular time in history, Christians were considered to be enemies of the Roman state. For all that were willing to stand up for Paul as his advocate, uphold the word of God, which he taught, and speak favorably in his defense, would have undoubtedly lead to their own condemnation by the Roman authorities, under the tyrannical rule of the emperor, Nero. Although to die for the cause of Christ was noble, Paul certainly realized the probable fate of those that would openly defend him. Assured that this would take place, Paul understandably forgave their judgment and prayed to God that it (their actions) may not be laid to their charge.

However, Paul realized he was not alone as he stood before the Roman magistrates and his accusers. He wrote, notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me. Although forsaken by men, yet their was one that stood at his side. The Lord, Jesus Christ gave him strength and courage to bear the burdens of persecution. What an encouragement, the example of Paul, gave to the Christian world, knowing that Jesus Christ, the one whose message of salvation we teach, will also stand by our side, and give us the necessary strength to withstand the trials, tribulations, and persecutions that are sure to be placed before us by Satan's followers - evil followers that refuse to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior under the terms and conditions given by God in His Holy Word.

The message which Paul preached, and for which he would soon be put to death, was Paul's testimony to the world of the risen Savior - a message that was then, and is today, heard throughout the world. Whether this text was symbolic or fact, Roman authorities executed Paul, and it is even possible his execution was by the mouths of lions, as a public spectacle in the amphitheater of Rome. Thus, Paul could say that, even though his physical body was put to death, his message of salvation was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.Not only did Paul receive strength from the Lord to bear the burden of his present persecution for serving God and the cause of Christ, but he also knew with assurance that, in the future,the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

As did the apostle Paul, when one looks beyond the present trials and tribulations, and to the deliverance from whatever they may be, to the eternal preservation of one's soul, in His heavenly kingdom, fear will vanish in the strength of the Lord. Paul was persuaded that He (God) is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day (2 Tim. 1:12). Paul also confessed that, while on earth, he was in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better (Phil. 1:23). The Lord stood with, and delivered Paul, from the evil world. The same reward awaits all faithful Christians!