2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;This verse is the eighth in this second letter to Timothy. Paul is urging Timothy to boldly proclaim the gospel of Christ despite what takes place in Paul's life and despite the surrounding wickedness and apostasy --- falling away from the Biblical faith.
This verse also follows v. 7, where Paul tells Timothy that the spirit of fear is not of God. Rather, God has given a spirit of power --- opposite of cowardice. God has given us the spirit of love --- in the context here, love means willingness to give the testimony of Christ to those held in the bondage of sin. God has given us the spirit of a sound mind --- sober-mindedness, or self-control.
GOD HATH NOT GIVEN US THE SPIRIT OF FEAR.
There is a lot of hype about Y2K. I know a man who is very fearful of what that situation might hold for him. He is spending a small fortune on preparing for what might happen. He told me that he woke up one night and saw enemy soldiers charging across an area toward his house. (He had been in genuine combat.) That man is controlled by a spirit of fear, which is not of God.
Obviously, a wise man sees evil approaching, and makes what preparation he can, but he is not controlled by fear of what the future might hold.
Proverbs 22:3 & 27:12, A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.I know folks who are fearful of dying.
I know folks who are fearful of what the future might hold in many areas. In fact, they lay awake worrying about the future.
I know folks who are fearful of various things --- some even nail their windows shut out of fear.
Their fear keeps them in bondage:
Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.If you are in here today with fear controlling any area of your life, you need to recognize where it is from, and it is not from God. The enemy knows how to keep us in bondage.
Vv. 7, 8, Paul mentions three fears:
First, the fear of speaking up for the Lord when the opportunity is there, and when we should be speaking up. Second, the fear of being identified with godly men.
Third, the fear of what might happen to us if we do speak up for the Lord.
V. 8, the cure for fear is the testimony of our Lord, that is the gospel of Christ.
Paul tells Timothy that because the spirit of fear is not of God, then he must not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. Ashamed --- a feeling of embarrassment, guilt, remorse, disgrace. He told Timothy not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the only means of correcting what ails the world.
The word ashamed is used the first time in the New Testament by Christ:
Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.We are living in an adulterous and sinful generation. We are told in 1 John 5:19 that we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. Because it does, it is very easy to ashamed of the gospel of Christ. In fact, the time could be coming very shortly when it will be a lawless act to go against PUBLIC POLICY.
According to What in the World! (Vol. 25, #9, 10, Bob Jones University), so called "strict churches are experiencing" great growth. On the other hand, every Christian moral standard in society is being destroyed:
School destructs are being urged by text book authors to use text books that teach evolution as fact rather than theory.
The American Psychological Association maintains that child sexual abuse is not harmful to children.
Prisons are overflowing as the number of adults imprisoned in the US has more than doubled in the last 12 years.
Michigan, California, Massachusetts and Alaska forbid landlords to reuse to rent to unmarried couples based upon religious beliefs.
67% of prime time TV shows now have more sex than ever on them.
80% of teens feel it is all right to drink as long as there is a designated driver. (Paul Harvey reported not long ago about parents who rented a limo. They wanted their kids to be able to go to the prom and not have to worry about them drinking and driving. The limo driver was arrested for drunk driving.)
Teens start drinking at an average age of 14.
Bill Gates joined several of the world's richest people working toward world wide birth control. He gave 2.2 billion worth of stock toward that cause, with a majority going to abortion planner and promoter, Planned Parenthood.
Vivian Hickman Weaver claims to be a "Christian astrologer." She is able to share here message of occult involvement in hypnotism, meditation/dream interpretation and various other occult practices in many Baptist churches in the Charlotte, NC, area.
Witchcraft is now recognized in the military as a legitimate religion. It has started assigning chaplains to carry out the pagan rites of the Wicca Church in the military.
Oregon cannot withhold benefits from sodomites and their partners.
California is seriously considering mandating sodomite tolerance in its public schools.
Marsha Stevens, "gospel singer" professes to be a born again conservative evangelical, strongly committed to the authority of Scripture, and urges a strong personal relationship with Jesus. The popular "gospel singer" divorced her husband, and travels the country with her sodomite lover. (Obviously, that is not the Jesus we know.)
Sodomy is gaining public acceptance as over 300 pro sodomite bills work their way through various state legislatures. In fact, a new poll showed that 50 percent of Americans now believe that sodomy is acceptable, up from 34 % in 1982.
On the other hand, there were a couple of girls in Lafayette not long ago from the High School where the shootings took place. They spoke about the shootings, and said that gun control would not help the situation. They said the only help in the situation was the gospel of Christ and conversion.
Paul urged Timothy to not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Ashamed means a feeling of embarrassment, guilt, remorse, disgrace.
Christ said that Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
My point is this --- Despite the fact that "strict churches are experiencing" great growth, sin is experiencing greater growth and social acceptance.
The testimony of our Lord is the Gospel of Christ. Genuine conversion that comes through preaching the gospel changes the drunkard, the whore and the whoremonger and sodomite. It should give boldness for Christ.
The answer to the social decay is the testimony of our Lord. The only answer that will change things is the genuine conversion of our friends, neighbors and coworkers. We must pray that God will provide opportunities and that he will move in hearts. We need to pray that we will have boldness to speak for Christ. We must not be ashamed of the Life Changing Gospel.
Look at Paul's request in Ephesians 6:
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.Paul asked those who knew him for prayer. One of the things he asked for prayer was that he, Paul, would not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. He asked that they would pray that he would have boldness. If Paul needed others to pray that he would have boldness, how much more do we?
Christians many times are embarrassed or fearful to take the gospel to their neighbors and friends.
I will have to admit that if I am among a group of people who might be discussing the problems in our world today, I fail to speak up and say that the gospel is the only answer. Paul tells the followers of Christ, be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.
We must pray for one another that we also would have boldness to speak for Christ.
Paul urged Timothy to be bold in his stand for the gospel. Paul is not implying that Timothy was "fearful." Rather, he is preparing Timothy for what is ahead, so he will not be taken by surprise when discouragements, afflictions and abandonments come to pass. (2 Tim. 4:16, no man stood with me, but all men forsook me...)
Paul tells Timothy a couple of things:
First, that God's spirit of power, v. 7, results in boldness for the word of God, and it results in encouragement in distresses
Second, that the spirit that caused his many friends to forsake Paul was not the spirit of God, v. 7. (2 Tim. 4:9-17.) And Paul tells Timothy that he desires more from him than what he had experienced from others.
But be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel.
But be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel; the Gospel is here represented as a person suffering afflictions, and the apostle would have Timothy suffer them as that did, and along with it; he means those afflictions which come upon men for preaching and professing the Gospel; for though the Gospel is a Gospel of peace, yet, through the corruption and depravity of men, it brings a sword, division, and trouble. Tribulation arises on account of it; and this should be endured patiently, and constantly, for the sake of it: (Gill)First, the gospel of Christ assumes afflictions. Though the gospel is the gospel of peace, because of sin, when we stand for the gospel, it will bring hate, afflictions, sufferings, divisions, discouragements, temptations and troubles.
Second, a person will not stand faithful on their own. Paul told Timothy, According to the power of God. Timothy will not stand in his own power. Timothy can only stand firm in the power of the Spirit. (Rom. 14:4, Eph. 6:13, Col. 4:12.)
Third, we responsible to chose to be faithful. The Lord is responsible to give the strength and power. Consider how we were called and saved. We were called with a holy calling --- it was the power of God that changed an unholy sinner into a saint who desires to please God. This took greater power than it took to make the heavens and the earth.
Chrys.: "Because it was a hard saying, Suffer hardship, he again comforts him, saying, not according to our works; that is, Do not think to bear these things by thine own power, but by the power of God; for it is thine to choose and be ready to undertake, but it is God's to relive and to give rest. Then also he brings forth proofs of His [God's] power: Consider how thou wert saved; how thou wert called. As he says elsewhere, According to His mighty power that works in us. Thus there is greater power required to persuade the world than to make the heavens. How wert thou called?" he asks: "by a holy calling. That is, He made those holy who were sinners and enemies; and these things are not of us--they are the gift of God." (Fairbairn, 318.)Neither you nor I will stand in the face of afflictions and discouragements without the power of God as revealed in Christ Jesus:
Fourth, Got has saved us and called us by his power. Will he do less than see us safely through the afflictions of the gospel in this life? NOTE THE ORDER OF THE WORDING IN V. 9, which we will discuss when we get there.
according to the power of God--exhibited in having saved and called us (#2Ti 1:9). God who has done the greater act of power (that is, saved us), will surely do the less (carry us safe through afflictions borne for the Gospel). "Think not that thou hast to bear these afflictions by thine own power; nay, it is by the power of God. It was a greater exercise of power than His making the heaven, His persuading the world to embrace salvation" [CHRYSOSTOM]. (JFB)We stand only by the power given to us by God, as exhibited in our salvation and call, v. 9.
Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, 5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; 6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: 7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; 8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. 9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it (it being v. 4, faith in Christ and love for the saints), do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;It is the power of God that keeps one faithful to the testimony of Christ. And no matter how faithful one might seem to be, they need the prayers of other Christians that the power of God will keep them faithful.
The key to the encouraging words to Timothy, and every Believer since, is found in the next verse.
Do you need extra power to keep from being ashamed of the gospel?
Have we been faithful in praying for the saints that they would be bold in speaking up for the Lord?