Not Ashamed of the Testimony of Our Lord

Intro: “Shame on you” – Maybe you can hear those words form the past. I can hear my grandmother saying this to me and my brothers at times. What did she mean by it? It s a phrase that calls on an person to feel ashamed for what they have done. The person thinks it would be appropriate for you to feel guilty or sorry for your actions.

  • Shame is an intriguing emotion. Here is what the dictionary says: Shame is the painful emotion caused by a consciousness of guilt or shortcoming or impropriety. We can see in that definition that there not all shame is the same. Different reasons for being feeling shame:
    • guilt – I did something wrong;
    • shortcoming – I did not reach my goal – embarrassed, but not guilty of wrong-doing
    • impropriety – You are invited to a party and you find out when you get there that you dressed all wrong. You are ashamed, but no evil, no guilt.

 

  1. Reasonable vs. Unreasonable Shame: So, some shame is justified, other shame is no. I recently read an article where the author was denoting this difference – He dubbed it Well-placed shame or Misplaced Shame. The Bible makes this distinction as well – There is shame that comes with a good reason for it; and there is shame that is felt when there is no reason for it. The difference centers on how my shame relates to God. Consider some passages that illustrate this for us.

 

  1. Reasonable Shame: Although guilt and shame are not very much in vogue today (“Shame on the Shamers”). The bible teaches that feeling ashamed can be the proper response toward myself.
  • 1 Cor 15:34 – Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. Those who sin against God, and remain in ignorance toward God (teaching false doctrine about the resurrection) have a reason to be ashamed. They were dishonoring God. This is well-placed shame.
  • 1 Cor 6:1 – Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? … 5 – I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? Again, their shame was well-placed because their action dishonored God.
  • Ezekiel 43:10 – And you, son of man, describe to the house of Israel the temple and its appearance and plan, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities. God Himself says “shame on you”. There is reason to be ashamed. What he is doing or has done dishonors God. Rom 6:20-21For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
  1. 1. The Biblical picture of reasonable shame is that it is the proper response toward behavior that dishonors God. (God-centered) the Bible teaches that we should feel shame for doing or approving of that which dishonors God, no matter how right it appears to others, or how right it makes us feel in our own eyes. We should be ashamed when we sin against a holy and gracious God. In fact, the shame you feel may be the pathway to overcoming the shame, through repentance and forgiveness.
  2. But are there times I feel ashamed when I should not. Again the distinction is centered in God.

 

  1. Unreasonable Shame: This brings us to our theme text for this month: 2 Timothy 1 – Paul the apostle was an effective and powerful leader. But he too came to the end of life, and faced the task of preparing another to take his place (not is an apostolic role, but as a teacher and preacher of the gospel. What did he tell him in this last letter? He told him to not be ashamed.
  • Read 2 Timothy 1:1-12 – Paul approached Timothy as his son. Paul’ relationship with Timothy was not unlike a father to a son. Paul desired to see him and shed tears in his behalf. No father ever wants his son to be ashamed of him. So Paul wanted Timothy to not be ashamed of what he saw in Paul, but to be willing to follow his example and share in his sufferings. Paul calls on Timothy to be courageous, to not be ashamed of Paul or Christ.
  1. How can we be men who are unashamed to stand up for Christ? Paul was such a man and he wanted Timothy to follow in his example and be willing to share in his suffering. In fact, Paul mentions this important characteristic 3 times in this 1stchapter.-
  • 2 Tim 1:8 – Therefore do not be ashamed 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,
  • 2 Tim 1:1212 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
  • 16The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain;
  1. It is unreasonable to be ashamed when we are honoring God and His words. We must learn to live for Christ and not be intimidated or afraid – to not be ashamed. But how can we develop this courage and respond without shame?

 

  1. The Reasons to Not Be Ashamed of the Testimony of Christ: How did Paul encourage and convince Timothy to follow his example and confess Christ in the face of persecution and rejection? Why should you and I not be ashamed of the Lord’s testimony? Because we have been given….
  2. The resources of God’s Spirit: Timothy had been given something that made courage reasonable.
  3. The gift of God which is in you. 2 Tim 1:6“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” This may be a reference to a miraculous spiritual gift(s) that Timothy had received through apostolic hands. God was willing to witness to the validity of His revealed word through the power of miracles in the 1st century, and these miraculous gifts were conferred to others through the laying on of the apostle’s hands.
  4. It may more simply refer to the Spirit Himself who through the teaching of Paul had commissioned Timothy to his work. The gift that was conferred through Paul’s hands was the work itself.
  5. Other suggest that the “gift” was the courage to suffer for Christ.
  6. The verb “stir up” means to rekindle or fan to a flame. It is the opposite of the word “quench” that Paul uses in 1 Thess. 5:19 – “do not quench the Spirit”. The work of the Spirit with Timothy is viewed as a flame that needs to be fanned and not extinguished. God expects us to use what he gives. If we do He will give more. If not He will take it from us. Although we do not have miraculous gifts today, the Holy Spirit effectively works in the life of the Christian through the word of God to commission us and encourage us to do the work of making known the testimony of Christ.
  • The Holy Spirit gives us courage through a knowledge of the truth. He has revealed through the apostolic message, what is right and wrong, the mind of God that settles every argument or doubt that might appear.
  • He transforms the inner person through the power of His word. – Romans 8:5-6 – 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 9-14But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors — not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Timothy does not need to be ashamed of what the Spirit can & will do. God has given Timothy the power of His Spirit to embolden him. In our passage in 2nd Timothy 1, Paul says that God had given Timothy a certain “spirit”. God has given us that same spirit.
  1. B. A Fearless Spirit: – v. 7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. The word for “fear” here is not the more common word phobia. It is a word used only here and means slavish timidity, cowardice. It is always viewed negatively. A commentary on this point is also seen in Romans 8:15-17 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Are you sure of what we believe and can you courageously stand up for it. Are you truly a child of God? Does the Holy Spirit testify of it? This is not a mystical feeling or emotion. The witness of the Spirit is contained in the words of scripture that make known the mind of God. My conscience (attesting to my obedience) also gives testimony that I am God’s child. Paul adds that my willing to suffer with Christ is a vital part of that testimony, because the Spirit of God has called to that suffering.
  2. A Powerful Spirit: Dunamis (power) denotes great force, or energy, and is the term from which we get dynamic and dynamite. It is effective, productive energy, rather than that which is raw and unbridled. God provides us with His power in order for us to be effective in His service.
  3. Paul prayed that the Ephesians might be aware of the divine power they already possessed. “Eph 1:18-23the 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, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places..” God has provided for us the very power He used to raise Christ from the dead. Paul says that power is in the gospel and therefore he would not be ashamed of preaching it. Romans 1:16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
  4. A Loving Spirit: Rom 5:5-6 – 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. 6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. If there is one quality that the Holy Spirit has clearly revealed to us it is love. God creates loving spirits within us through displaying His love to us. The love of God is not a sentimental, feel-good, emotion that never quits smiling. It is a sacrificial commitment that disciplines us as vehemently as it approves us. It gives. I can courageously tell others about Jesus even in the face of opposition because I know it is the loving thing to do. In fact, it is the love of God for me that compels me to stand up and speak the testimony of Jesus.
  5. A Disciplined Spirit (of sound mind): The Greek word is sophronismos–Thayer says it is …an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control; 2) self-control, moderation.” It depicts one who is stable and self-controlled in both life and doctrine.
  6. In Rom. 12:3 Paul uses the verb form of the term, admonishing, “I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment as God has allotted to each a measure of faith” In his first letter to Timothy (3:2) and in his letter to Titus (1:8; cf. 2:2), he used the adjective form to describe a key quality that should characterize overseers, namely, that of being prudent and sensible.
  7. This soundness involves the discipline that places our priorities in the right order, and prepares us to suffer for the cause of Christ. Because of his Spirit-empowered discipline, Paul could say, “I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor 9:26-27)
  8. Are you ashamed of the testimony of Christ? There is no reason to be ashamed. We have the words of god through the work of God’s Spirit , that has provided in us a spirit of courage– not cowardice; or power – not weakness; of love – not animosity; of self-discipline – not self-will.

 

Conclusion: How important is it that we are ashamed; and that we are not ashamed? That we understand when it is reasonable to be ashamed; and when it is most unreasonable. Consider the apostle Peter.

There was a time when he believed that he would never be ashamed of Jesus – that he would always stand up for Him. But the Lord told him he was wrong about the strength of his faith – Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times. IT happened just that way – When others attempted to associate Peter with the recently arrested and shamed Jesus, he denied it vehemently 3 times. After the third time, Luke tells us… Luke 22:61-62And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly. Why was he crying. He was ashamed of what he had done. There was reason for him to be ashamed. But his reasonable shame led him to seek Jesus again, and he returned.

Maybe he thought he would never have the courage to stand up for Jesus again. But again he was wrong about his faith. Jesus appeared to him after His resurrection and spoke to him, and the other apostles about the kingdom, and commissioned them to speak the testimony of Jesus to the world.

  • Acts 4:5-12And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, 6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: 9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Are you ashamed of how you have sinned against a holy God? There may be a good reason for you to be ashamed. But do not let this reasonable shame lead you away from God. Jesus will forgive you and take away all the shame – Peter later wrote – 1 Peter 2:6“Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Repent, Confess Him courageously, and be baptized.

If you are a Christian, you have no reason to be ashamed of the testimony of Jesus. Access the resources of the Holy Spirit and be courageous.