Intro: Has your faith ever put you on the spot? By that I mean have you ever been ashamed of what you believe? We can probably all recall an occasion or two when we were intimidated, and were fearful, and failed to speak or act distinctively. I have been there. Volatile discussions, tough questions, where you will have to stand alone. You can say nothing, or you can speak up.
At times we lack courage – not physical courage, but moral courage.
I. The Importance of Moral Courage: No matter how gifted a person may be, or how biblically literate or articulate if he lacks spiritual courage he will not be an effective servant of God.
A. God’s promise and commands to Joshua, Moses’ replacement: Josh 1:5-9 – 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua faced enormous challenges as the leader of God’s people. If he failed to be courageous, the people’s heart would melt before their enemies.
II. Do not be Ashamed. Fast forward to the NT. Like Moses, 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? 2 Timothy is Paul’s last words. Addressed to the young Timothy.
A. 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 1st chapter.-
• 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 1:12 – 12 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.
• vs 16 – The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain;
2. We must learn to live for Christ and not be intimidated or afraid – to not be ashamed
a. Most of us must confess to being ashamed of the Lord at some time or another. We let the opinion or actions of others keep us from doing what was right at the moment. Yet the risks we have faced were much less serious than those Timothy faced.
b. It is possible that the difficulties encountered at Ephesus had taken a toll on Timothy’s courage. He may have been fighting fear and apathy toward his work. It is interesting to note that Paul gives only one commendation in this 2nd letter (“I am mindful of the sincere faith within you”1:5) The remainder of the letter is devoted to exhortation.
III. The Reasonableness of Moral Courage: How can 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?
A. The resources of God’s Spirit: Timothy had been given something that made courage reasonable. What did he have?
1. 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 seems to 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. Timothy is encouraged to stir up his gift.
a. It may more simply refer to the Spirit Himself who through the teaching of Paul had commissioned Timothy to his work.
b. 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.
1) 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.
2) 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. 9-14 – But 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.
IV. What type of spirit can Christ create in us?
A. A Fearless Spirit: 2 Tim 1:7 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.
B. 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.
1. Paul prayed that the Ephesians might be aware of the divine power they already possessed. “Eph 1:18-23 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, 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 1:16 For 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.
C. 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.
D. 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.
1. 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.
2. 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).
Conclusion: Are you ashamed of the testimony of Christ? Or do you earnestly desire to stand up for Him and have Him create in you a spirit of power, love and discipline? We need power, to be effective in His service; love, to have the right attitude toward Him and others; and discipline, to focus and apply every part of our lives according to His will. When the characteristics of power, love and discipline exist in God’ people, God does great things. Consider Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height –19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.