July 13, 2008 SD21
Go Public.doc File: K1g
Read Romans 1:16, 2 Timothy 1:6-12
There are timid souls...
easily deterred from a task
It is not just being shy---it is something more...
Then there are those who are like the proverbial bull in the China shop...
The Apostle Paul mentored a young man who tended toward the first group--
His personality had a natural bent toward the timid side.
when he writes to him he says that God had not given him a spirit of fear (“timidity” as NIV)...
apparently there was in Timothy a tendency, not toward cowardice, or that fearful sense of terror....
but a tendency to shrink back from adverse opinion
or...a fear of being rejected if he came on too strong in his identification with Jesus or even with Paul...
We would counsel him... “It is only natural that you would feel that way Timothy.”
how often have we said that? “It is only natural...”
but we have used it as an excuse...our attitude or action
a way to avoid...a responsibility
a way to shift responsibility...when we have displayed characteristics contrary to the character of Christ...
“It is only natural...”
“It is just the way I was raised...”
“I can’t help it...that is just the way I am....”
But look what Paul tells Timothy...
It may be only natural that you are a bit timid, Timothy. But God’s gift is supernatural... (v.6)
Stir up the gift of God!!!!
Literally = “fan the flame of God’s gift”
General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once sent this message to those under him: “the tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart.”
anyone who has ever watched a fire knows that it has to be stirred up occasionally...and it has to have wood added to it to keep it burning.
Don’t let the fire go out!!!
friend we must give ourselves to this awesome work...
keep the fire burning...
stir up the gift of God...
which is “Power, love and a sound mind”
receive His power
Live in His love
Exercise His thoughts in your own mind!!!!
V.8 “Therefore...don’t be ashamed.... Timothy... of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.”
He has given you His power!
He has given you His Love!
He has give you His mind... exercised in self control!
So don’t be ashamed of the Lord!!!
Paul had learned early in his Christian life to always be ready to identify himself with Jesus Christ...
He was just all wrapped up in Jesus!!!
And so he was able to declare to the Roman believers, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes...”
As Growing Christians we are developing this same attitude...
it is one of boldness, not brashness,
courage not callousness
fearlessness not bravado
bold in the face of misunderstanding
courage in the face of rejection
fearless in the face of danger
Taking our stand for Jesus! Going public!
We do it in a multitude of ways:
Water Baptism...making our testimony heard and sure
Church membership ... identifying with a local body of believers
Faithfulness to the house of worship
Just being faithful people-responsible on our jobs—faithful to our commitments
God has lit a fire in our souls and we have taken His name: “Christian” and we are determined to honor his name!
Therefore!!!! do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord...
“Let your light so shine before others....”
We don’t always know the impact of our life on the non-believer around us--when we just live for Jesus without fear…
As we live our lives in the midst of difficult and trying circumstances the people we know see and they are often dramatically moved by our witness--before we have to ever say a word.
I read an article (Christianity Today, 6/21/74), about Christians in Communist Russia (former Soviet Union). A criminal from the Soviet prison system (gulags), Kozlov, by name, wrote about life in the prison, after he got out and became a Christian.
He said, “Among the general despair while prisoners like myself were cursing ourselves, the camp, the authorities; while we opened up our veins or our stomachs, or hanged ourselves; the Christians (often with sentences of 20 to 25 years) did not despair. One could see Christ reflected in their faces. Their pure, upright life, deep faith and devotion to God, their gentleness and their wonderful manliness became a shining example of real life for thousands.”
When we take our stand for Jesus -- when we “go public”---His life is lived out in us. When we decide that we want to serve Him more than ourselves there is a supernatural power that can be ours...and it will affect the world we live in...
we are called to lights in the darkness
Whether that is a prison, a school, a job-site, or your own home.
You are lights! Piercing the darkness....
Let your light Shine! Don’t be ashamed! Go public!
Just tell someone! “Jesus loves you!”
And then back it up by your own expressions of love!
I fear that some Christians have let their light grow dim.
They have hidden it under the bushel basket of fear or the basket of frustration or the basket of materialism.
They have let the light grow dim....let me tell you something. If you put a candle under a cover and it will not continue to glow for long...it will soon burn up the source of oxygen that keeps it burning and it will go out!
How is your light???
Is your candle burning????
Don’t be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord!!!
I want to share with you three things that will make your light go out.
Friend we have a deadline. We have an appointment.
Death will take us all should the lord delay His second coming- and rapture of the church.
money, family, friends, entertainment, sports, hobbies, work,
the things that just get in the way.
And often we find ourselves wanting them more than we want God.
They are deadly distractions!!!!
and soon the light has grown dim,
are you a light for God?
3. Just plain sin.
you have turned away from the light.
Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.
Don’t let the fire go out!!!
Be not ashamed of the testimony of the Lord nor of me His prisoner....
Let the light shine!!!!
I told you about the Christians in the Soviet Gulags....
Another young man was put to the test on numerous occasions.
He held a place of trust with his employer. He was faithful. Industrious. Intelligent. Wise. Young. Handsome.
He was the manager of all that his Egyptian owner (boss) owned.
He held a place of trust in Potiphar’s house.
But Potiphar’s wife was filled with lust and too much time.
she wanted Joseph
“Joseph, come lie with me! My husband is gone. He will neverknow!”
But Joseph, early in his life decided to take his stand for God.
He didn’t wait till the moment of hesitation in the back seat of a car to try to say no...he said no long before he ever went to work for Potiphar...and he lived it out!
He held his integrity!
Not ashamed to live in obedience to God in the midst of a wicked world.
Philippians 2:15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
Others would give in! Others might lie and cheat! Not Joseph!
others would take advantage of the situation.
play the angles. Use the circumstances and manipulate people for their own ends ...not Joseph and his like!!!!
And what did it get him???
It got him thrown in prison!
The innocent do suffer! There is a price for integrity in a wicked world.
You do what is right...or at least what you think is right and you are misunderstood and accused and slandered and spoken evil of .
But for the one who will stand on truth and hold forth righteousness in Christ Jesus and obey Him....there is great reward!
“Share with me in the sufferings for the Gospel according to the power of God.…”
When you stand for Jesus there will be those who just won’t get it.
They will in fact taunt you and tease you and turn on you.
v.12 Paul talks about his suffering...and he says, “nevertheless, I am not ashamed!”
And he gives us the methodology for living that kind of life
The apostle tells us what gave him his boldness!
v.12 “For I know.....
deep settled confidence! Settle it in your heart! In the face of doubt or discouragement or despair settle what you know to be true....
for I know whom I have believed....
NOTE: “whom” Not “what”
it is Jesus not a doctrine or a theology or a liturgy or a code of ethics. It is Jesus!
I know whom I have believed...
the knowledge of your savior can drive out fear!
The love of God can drive out fear
and am persuaded
When you live with that kind of persuasive knowledge you won’t be ashamed or embarrassed of the testimony of Jesus...
His life, death and resurrection
For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded, that He is able....
HE IS ABLE!!!!!
to keep my life!!! To keep all I commit to Him!!!!
My relationships. wife, husband, children , parents!
My future!? My reputation!?
Listen to me! You are committed only to the level which you are actively seeking to obey Him!
So-----Let it shine!!!!
are you actively seeking to obey Him!!!! YES!!!!
Then you can say with Paul: I am not ashamed to call myself a sold out and radical Christian. I am not afraid to “go Public!“ with my testimony
Even if it means sacrifice or suffering. The joy of the Lord will strengthen me!
Jesus is the victor and we shall be too!
the grave couldn’t hold Him and no trial can hold me down for long!
For we have committed it to him until that day (v.12)
what day???? THAT DAY! What do you think?
THE DAY HE RETURNS AND COMES TO SET ALL THINGS RIGHT!!!
The day I see Him face to face!!!
So today! While some come to be baptized (and I invite them to take their places in the baptism room)
while they are coming to take their stand for Jesus! Go Public!
To let the world know that they will not back down and they will not give up! They will serve Him!
While they come ---- make your decision:
To Identify with Christ:
with a lifestyle that is His style of life
with outward acts in accord with His will and purpose
with gestures of obedience every day
by identifying with a local body of believers
Light the fire!!!
Fan the flames!!!!!
Stir up the gift of God!!!!
“God has not given us a spirit of fear (timidity).....
not ashamed! let us go forth to conquer!!!