Well, OK. Welcome to round three of 20 days in 2 Timothy, and we are in 2 Timothy 1:8. So take a deep breath in through the nose out through the mouth, lower your heart rate, clear your mind and let’s dive into God’s word together.
Second Timothy Chapter one beginning in verse eight. Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our lord, nor of me, his prisoner. But share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God. Who saved us and called us to a holy calling. Not because of our work, but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. And which now has been manifested through the appearing of Our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I’m not ashamed. For I know whom I have believed, and I’m convinced he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.
It’s interesting I live in Washington, D.C., and I have people routinely come up to me that have moved to the city and they love Jesus. They’ve been called to know him to receive the promise of life. And they show up here and they’ll come up and say, you know, I told my classmates or coworkers about my faith, and it went nowhere. They rejected it. I felt awkward. It was terrible. And I just want to take this little light of mine and hide it under a bushel. I do not want to talk about it because I’m afraid of the rejection. And yet, there’s this struggle because they know, man but I believe something precious and I want people to know it. And there’s a tension. I Imagine if you’ve ever felt that.
What keeps you from having spiritual conversations with some of your friends? It can be scary. And I get that, I really do.
And yet it’s fascinating. Paul here is writing to young Timothy, and you get the sense that Timothy’s in that space. That whatever is happening, there’s some pressure coming at him. And yet, Paul says, we’ve been called to something bigger, and here he invites him to step into it. And I don’t know if you notice the commands, but there’s two to Timothy in the section. He says, therefore Timothy, do not be ashamed but share in the suffering. I don’t want you to be ashamed, Timothy, but I want you to share in the suffering for the gospel.
And it’s interesting he didn’t say Preach the gospel. He assumes that associating with Jesus will bring suffering, some rejection, some difficulty. But then he also lets him know. But you’re not alone. Share in that suffering. There’s a group of us that’s decided know this message is too important. And if it takes some hits to deliver it, we will do that. And Timothy, I want you with us. So don’t be ashamed, but share in the suffering. Now, he says, don’t be ashamed. And why say that? Because from a human perspective, maybe there was a lot to be ashamed about. Don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. Their Lord, the centerpiece of our story, was murdered on a cross. And then he says, And don’t be ashamed of me. His prisoner, Paul, the official emissary of this lord and Timothy’s mentor, was in jail. That’s not a metaphor, he was literally in jail for the gospel. And so Timothy’s looking is like, Man, I have a crucified king and a jailed mentor. What am I a part of here? And Paul saying, no, hey, don’t be ashamed of your lord or of me, but join into the suffering for the gospel.
Why do that? Why should you do that or me? He’s going to give him three reasons. He says, do it by the power of God. He says, because you have divine power, Timothy. God has empowered you. You have the power from on high to step into a purpose from on high. So jump into what God is giving you access. He’s not giving you a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, and you’re meant to leverage it.
And then he starts to talk to Timothy about God. You’ve been given the power of God who saved us and called us, and he starts talking about what God the father has done and what Jesus has done in verse nine and 10. Now why tell him that? Does he think Timothy forgot or doesn’t know this? No, I think this is a pump up speech by reminding Timothy, Let me tell you what you’re a part of. He says share in the suffering by the power of God, the God who saved us. This God rescued you and me, Timothy, and not just saved us, but called us to a holy calling. That just doesn’t call up the past of what God did. It gives you a future. No God rescued us, and he called us to something great, Timothy. We’re not living normal lives here.
The Almighty has given us a purpose, not because of our works. We didn’t earn it, but because of his own purpose. God had purpose and he’s called us into it and his grace. It was his kindness that brought us into this, and he gave it to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, literally before eternity.
Timothy, we’re not just two guys that happen to be presenting a message to whoever cares to hear it. God Almighty and eternity past launched a movement that would racing into history, and we’re swept up into it, Timothy. We’re a part of a divine mission that when all other missions fall, this one will still stand that in eternity past, we were called to this purpose that in verse 10 has now been manifested, brought to light through the appearing of Our Savior, Christ Jesus. When God the father purposed in eternity past appeared in our midst the arrival of our rescuer, our king Jesus, and he abolished death. Our greatest enemy has been beaten by our king. We don’t have to fear anything, Timothy. And he brought life in immortality to light through the gospel. Jesus beat death and brought life to people that people want to live. They don’t know how we have it in him.
And so Paul says to him, he brought that to life and to that purpose. I was appointed a preacher. That’s a herald. Someone who will stand in a town square and cry out, hey, the king has come and he’s offering you life. And I was appointed an apostle, an emissary, to go to those who don’t know yet and tell them there’s a king whose working purposes that you can be swept up in as well. And a teacher. Let me explain it, if that’s confusing. Let me talk to you about it, Paul says. That’s why I am who I am, because God has done something so great that the world needs to know. And so I’m a herald. I’m an apostle, I’m a teacher, I was appointed to that, which is why I suffer as I do. But I’m not ashamed. Because I know who I believed. And I’m convinced he’s able to garden til that day what’s been entrusted to me.
Do you see the parallel there? He says, Timothy. Don’t be ashamed, but suffer. Then he presents the gospel and he says, Timothy, I suffer, but I’m not ashamed. Do it because God’s in power us. Do it because God called us. But then notice how he ends. Hey, I’m willing to suffer. I’m not ashamed. And then he gives him one more reason why. Because I know whom I have believed.
What’s beautiful about that is he doesn’t just say, I know what I believe. Like, I know the content of a message. He says, no, I know him. We know him, Timothy. the God who’s worked all this out. We know his name and he knows us and he loves us. And so we’re presenting to people a man who can change us.
I had a friend that when people found out she was Christian, they were like, well, how come Christians do this? How come Christians are like this? How come Christians are hypocritical this way? And she just stopped and said, You know what? I don’t know about all that stuff about Christendom, but let me tell you about this man. And she talked about Jesus, she found that what I found to be true over and over again.
People who are skeptical about religion are deeply interested in this man. And Paul says, hey, we know the one whom we’ve believed. We know Jesus. He loves us. We love him. He’s worth suffering for. Don’t be ashamed. But herald, his message to a dying world. Because we can trust him with our souls, and he has entrusted us with his message. So don’t be ashamed, Timothy, but get in the game. Suffer with me to proclaim a message that will save anybody. That’s your call and mine as well. God’s given you purpose in this life. You can lean into it. But will it involve some suffering? Yes, but it’s worth it. Because God’s empowering you. God’s called you. And God knows you and you can know him and he’s worthy of your trust. So think about that today. What might that look like in your life to lean into the high calling of being an emissary for Jesus in the world? Think about it, pray about it, and I’ll see you next time.
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