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DO NOT BE ASHAMED

Rom. 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes”

I would like to tell you a story I know.  It is not much of a story, but a story nonetheless.  Imagine a young man of about 20 years of age flying home from college.  He is a shy kid, but other than that pretty normal.  He has been saved for around fifteen years.  He is a pastor’s son.  He has just finished taking a course, at the church he goes to when he is not home, on evangelism.  He is determined to share the gospel with the person who was  seated next to him. 

He sits next to a man in his forties.  After introducing himself and exchanging some pleasantries, the man picks up a magazine and begins to read.  Our protagonist looks at the man several times, trying to come up with something to direct the conversation to the gospel, but is not able to because he is afraid to disturb the man.  After getting off the plain, he beats himself up for not witnessing, and tells God that if He gives him another opportunity he will not waste it.  As he walks down to pick up his luggage, he saw the man waiting on his luggage.  In mental anguish, the young man just walks by and says hello.  In his dad’s car, he beats himself up again and re-commits himself to God.

We can imagine, if this were the case, a man in heaven typing up the events of this young man’s day.

After finishing with the report, he takes it over to the evangelism counter.  The person at the counter looks at it, shakes his head, and plants a big stamp across the page in red ink.  ASHAMED.

Lets put ourselves in Timothy’s shoes-

The year is around A.D. 64.  The Neronian persecution is now in full swing.  Nero, the 5th Roman Emperor, has blamed the Christians for the burning of Rome.  Christians were being dipped in pitch and set on fire for lighting around the city.  They are being thrown into the arena to be torn apart by wild dogs.  Paul is back from his 1st imprisonment in Rome. 

T may have been with Paul at the time of the second arrest. II Tim. 1:4 states that Paul remembered Timothy’s tears.  He may not have been.  If he was we can picture in our minds a dispatch of Roman soldiers marching up to Paul and take him.  We can see Timothy standing there weeping, overwhelmed by felling of helplessness as the one who called him his true son (I Cor. 4:17), mentored him, led him to Christ, befriended him is carried away.  Paul does not struggle with them.  His face radiates with utmost confidence in his God.  As he sees him being taken away, we know exactly what is going to happen to him (he won’t get out of this imprisonment). 

What would Timothy be feeling at that time?  Fear, that he was next? Uncontrollable sorrow for Paul’s sake?

While Paul writes to Timothy what will his words be like?  Would they be words of comfort? Of fear?  Of disparity?

God has given us a chance to look into what Paul said to Timothy after this experience.

[Announce and read text] II Timothy 1:7-12

[Prayer for illumination]-Father, I thank your for your Gospel.  That it is powerful.  I ask that this man’s feeble words, stumbling tongue, and unimportant ideas and thoughts be forgotten tonight.  May your Word, and only it go out in strength.  When we leave tonight may we be convicted of our sin of being ashamed of you and be willing to suffer for the Gospels sake.  May your Word be preached accurately as you intended it to be.

[Introduction]-

Paul was in his 2nd imprisonment in Rome.  It was not a comfortable imprisonment like before (house arrest).  It was probably a dismal, underground dungeon.  Tradition says that it was the Mamertine Prison which when full of prisoners the flood gates of the sewer from the city were opened to drown the inmates, making room for others. In chains he was waiting the final trial, not expecting an acquittal.  His death was drawing near.  The shadow of the executioner was on him. 

Timothy, on the other hand, was thrust into the position of responsible Christian leadership-far beyond his natural capacity.  According to I Tim., Paul had sent him to Ephesus to combat heretics, order church’s worship, ordain elders, regulate the relief and ministry of the widows, and command and teach apostolic faith

.

Now with Paul leaving the scene, the mantel of leadership was being passed on to T.  He was the one who Paul had invested time into.  He was the closest to Paul.  He may have been the one everyone was looking to take the brunt of Paul’s leadership.  If so, this would thrust him into the public light, and something very much like what happened to Paul could happen to him.

“Humanly speaking, Timothy was hopelessly unfit to assume these weighty responsibilities of leadership in the church”

      Young

      Prone to illness

      Timid by temperament

Greatness was thrust upon him-like Moses and Jeremiah

Nero determined to destroy the church.

Heretics appeared to increase.

A total Asian apostasy.

“Christianity…trembled, humanly speaking, on the verge of annihilation.”

The situation of the church was bad-comparable to the Spanish Reformation in the middle of the 16th century-it had won numerous adherents, not least among the upper classes.  Yet it was relatively a small thing amidst the great mass of Spaniards.  Then the dominant power, armed with the tremendous Inquisition, took its suppression in hand—and it was suppressed.  In the mystery of God’s permission the dread adverse force “made war upon the saints, and overcame them (Rev. 13:7).  The weak succumbed absolutely to the strong, and for many long generations the Gospel light in its purity was practically quenched in Spain.

Is it any wonder that Paul had to remind Timothy to not be ashamed and to share in the sufferings of the Gospel?

Let us read that key verse of this passage where Paul tells Timothy,  “Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.”

He was not to be ashamed-

            -of the testimony of our Lord

            -of Paul

-It wasn’t like Paul was saying this without himself following through-(Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes). Later on in the passage, Paul will say the same thing.

-It wasn’t like Paul was the only one saying this-(Mk. 8:38-For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in glory of His Father with the holy angels)

            He was to share in the suffering for the gospel

“Suffering rather than shame was to characterize Timothy’s ministry”

Bear evil treatment along with (same word as II Tim. 2:3-“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”)

II Tim. 3:12 (Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution)

Christians should not suffer for doing wrong, ultimately they should suffer from doing right

            He was to accomplish it by God’s power, not his own

When we are honest with ourselves we note that we, like Timothy, have a tendency of being ashamed of the Gospel (being coward-like) because we are afraid to suffer.

But though this letter is one of great Pathos (Luke alone is with me), it is also a letter of great (I have fought the good fight).  Even more encouraging is what Paul has to say about where the strength to not be ashamed comes from.  It is not of us but totally of God.

[Proposition] Though we will suffer, we can stand for the gospel through the nature of the God’s Spirit, the

nature of God’s work, and the nature of God’s Son.

I.          We do not need to be ashamed of the Gospel because of the nature of God’s Spirit (:7).  Some have taken this spirit as a special spirit given to ministers (a special anointing).  I prefer that the Holy Spirit inhabits us and thereby reinforces our spirit.

A. His Spirit is not of fear-

We can infer that Timothy struggled with timidity and cowardice-of anybody he had the right too-Paul is about to die, persecution, the many concerns of the church

But Paul says that that emotion does not characterize the saved person.

            A lot of us still struggle with fear-it is common to all men and women

Deut. 31:6, 8-When Moses is speaking to Israel and Joshua-at the change of leadership-“Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you.  He will not forsake you.”

“Cowardice has nothing to do with Christianity”

Timidity deteriorates into fear (Jay Adams)

Gift of the Spirit-THE HOLY SPIRIT STRENGTHENS THE HUMAN SPIRIT

FDR’s words, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”-is mostly true for the Christian-The Christian has not been given a Spirit of fear

B. His Spirit is of power-

            In contrast to fear, God has given us a spirit of Power, Love, Sound-mind

            God’s Spirit is powerful

-The Holy Spirit formed creation-Gen. 1:2, Psalm 33:6, Job 26:13, 33:4

-He is omnipotent Rom. 15:19

            Ominscient Isa.. 40:13-14

            Omnipotent Psa.m 139:7-10

Acts 1:8-“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

            He is God

[Illustration] Peter-with Christ He could do anything.  He was able to say the miraculous in Mat.

16:17 (flesh and blood has not revealed this to you);  do the miraculous when he walked on water; take on soldiers-when they came to arrest Christ, WHEN CHRIST WAS WITH HIM.  When Christ was on the other side of the building at His arrest, Peter was ashamed of him.  A servant girl scared him.  Next time we see Peter acting boldly and doing great things for God is after the indwelling of the HS at Pentecost.  “You crucified Him”

“his timidity made him weak rather than powerful”-Adams

                  We may be confident of his enabling

C.  His Spirit is of love-

His timidity made him focus on himself instead of others.

When we worry or fear we are focusing on ourselves instead of doing what God tells us to do and love people.

Rom. 5:5-“now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Gal. 5-the first of the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit is love

D.  His Spirit is of a sound mind (swfronismoV-to make wise-this word comes from the word

Sofia which means wisdom) or disciplined-a disciplined mind will not focus on fear or worry, but on Christ.

Is it not true that when we are tired or when we let our mind stray that we are most tempted to fear and to worry?

We must allow the Holy Spirit to discipline our minds to completely rely on Him.

We must be sensibly minded and balance, having our lives under control

Titus 2:2 “That the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience”   

God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and of a sound mind.  It is His gift that gives us power, love, and a sound mind-it has nothing to do with our own efforts and everything to do with allowing Him to work through us.

[Application] When you have an opportunity to witness of Christ are you controlled by fear or by the Spirit?  Are you allowing the Spirit that dwells in you complete control over your life?

II. We do not need to be ashamed of the Gospel because of the nature of God’s work (:9)

     

A.  Salvation

It does not rest on our works-if it did we would have something to fear

it is much more than forgiveness”

He saved us-justification, sanctification, glorification

Our hope is guaranteed-there is no doubt of our salvation falling through

It has been guaranteed since before we even existed (:9b)

It rests on HIM

B. A holy calling-calls him to be holy

Could be the call to ministry; could be a call to separateness

I Thes. 4:7-God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness

II Tim. 3:12 (Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution)

C. According to His purpose and grace

We don’t have to fear, because it is HIS purpose-He knows what He is doing-suffering is part of his plan

Eph. 1:11-(In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will); 3:11-(according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus)

He has called us according to his purpose to a life of suffering-we have no need to be ashamed

When God’s purpose of suffering comes our way, His grace will be more than abundant.

It was not our works that saved us, and it is not our works that preserve us-it is His purpose and grace

D.  Before the ages began-His purpose has been forever-He saved us, called us, and knew His purpose before the world

           

[Illustration] A Christian who was in prison because of his faith. He was to be burned at the stake, and

he was certain he would never be able to endure the suffering. One night, he experimented with pain by putting his little finger into the candle flame. It hurt, and he immediately withdrew it. “I will disgrace my Lord,” he said to himself. “I cannot bear the pain.” But when the hour came for him to die, he praised God and gave a noble witness for Jesus Christ. God gave him the power when he needed it, and not before.

[Application]  When times get rough, we can shamelessly suffer, for we know that it is His purpose. 

And we know that He will give us the grace to get through it.  If you  know that your work is asking you to do something wrong, it is your responsibility to shamelessly suffer and do right (get fired).   If you are being treated unfairly because of your beliefs, it is your responsibility to suffer shamelessly and continue doing right.

III.  We do not need to be ashamed of the Gospel because of the nature of God’s Son (:10, 12)

     

A.  God’s purpose has been revealed in the appearing of Christ-there is absolutely no reason

to be ashamed because Christ’s coming revealed God’s purpose for us-we are made aware of His grace through His coming

Heb. 1:1-(“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.”)

B. On the one hand…He abolished death (same word and thought as I Cor. 15:26 (The last

enemy that will be destroyed is death)

I Cor. 15:55-“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”

“He abolished death, He did not eliminate it”

We should shamelessly suffer because death has been conquered-no reason for fearing death.

[Illustration]Observer magazine in 1968-Far from being prepared for death, modern society has made

the very word almost unmentionable.. we have brought all our talents into use to avoid the prospect of dying—and when the time comes we may react with anything from excessive triviality to total despair.

C. On the other hand… He brought light Jn. 1:9 (That was the true Light which gives light to

every an coming into the world); Eph. 1:18 (The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints); Eph. 3:8, 9 That I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ , and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery)

                                          [sub-point 1] Shines on life

[sub-point 2] Shines on incorruptibility (immortality)

“The gospel has thrown floods of light upon the offer of immortal life through Christ’s conquest of death”

Remember that Paul is saying this (about to die)

D. He is able to keep-                                           

Paul’s example was that he was not ashamed, and that he suffered because God had given him the responsibility of the Gospel

It is in God’s hands-He keeps

Rom. 8:38 (I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, not things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

            I know “whom”-emphasis on a person not on facts

He is strong (Lk. 1:49-“For He who is might has done great things for me, And holy is His name.”; 18:27 “But He said, “the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”-rich man

To guard-word is from prison

What he had committed-his soul, his life, his trust

     

[Illustration] “In advanced age, (John) Newton became deaf and almost blind. In his last sermon he

forgot where he was, and a curate had to come up and tell him.  He said, “My memory is almost gone; but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.”

[Application] How much does it hurt you when they tell lies about your God-DaVinci Code?  Do you go and see it just as entertainment or as one man’s view?  Do you speak out?  Does it hurt you as much as when they tell a lie about your dad-write a book or show a movie about your dad that is full of lies?  Do you weap?

Now lets go back to Jack.  By my familiarity to the story and the normalcy of it, you all probably knew I was talking about myself.  I am about to turn 20 in the Lord.  After experiencing the benefits of the Gospel (that it really works) am I still act like I am ashamed.  Are you still ashamed of the Gospel because you are afraid to suffer for him? 

Nobody suffers in heaven-it is only down here only that we have this blessed opportunity-We should ever count it a privilege to bear shame for His name’s sake when we think of what He has done for us. 171

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