2 Timothy 1:8-12 ESV
“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 works 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 apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do.”
Ashamed of the Testimony
Many people today professing faith in Jesus Christ are ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, for they will not talk about him with their friends or on social media or with their family members or even with the body of Christ unless it is during specific times once or twice a week designated for such discussions. Jesus is not part of their normal conversations. And usually that means he is not really part of their everyday lives.
As well, there is a popular teaching today within the gatherings of what is called “church” to discourage such conversations so as not to offend other people. One particular group, at least, who call themselves “missional,” are (or were) teaching that we should just “be the gospel,” and we should, but it isn’t what they really mean, though, because it has little or nothing to do with the actual literal gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Being the gospel” to them is (or was) just being nice to people, doing good deeds, and getting together with neighbors to pop popcorn and to eat pizza and to watch a movie together. Now, good deeds, if they are of God, are part of the life of the believer in Jesus Christ in showing love to others. But they must be the good deeds of God, or be in agreement with the character of God, and not be a worldly and fleshly creation in the minds of humans.
Many preachers today are discouraging the gospel altogether, and the sharing of the gospel that Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught, in favor of a diluted half-truth gospel designed to appeal to human flesh and to tickle itching ears. For they don’t want to offend the people of the world who they are trying to attract to their “church” gatherings. And so they are telling Christians to “stay in your own lane” so as not to offend anyone.
So, we live in a day and time here in America, within the gatherings of “the church,” where it is being taught and encouraged to be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord (the whole counsel of God) and to accept a perverted gospel of grace, instead, so as not to offend people in the world, and so as to relieve guilt from the sinner who is deliberately and habitually sinning against God, too. And many people are buying into that.
The Testimony of the Lord
So, what is “the testimony”? The word is used to mean a testimony, a witness, evidence, and proof. And what is the testimony of the Lord? It is the gospel, but the gospel that Jesus, John the Baptist, Paul, and the other apostles taught, not what is popularly being presented as the gospel today across America and perhaps in other countries, too. In a nutshell, it is that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to his righteousness.
And it is the whole counsel of God, not a few select Scriptures taught outside their context and made to say something they do not say. If we want to know the truth of what the Scriptures teach, we need to read them in their context, for then they may take on a whole new meaning other than what you might have originally been taught. Like, for example, Ephesians 2:8-9 should be taught inside the context of verse 10 and the whole of Ephesians.
Yes! We are not saved from our sins based on our own fleshly works. We cannot save ourselves. We can never be good enough. Nothing we do in our flesh will ever be good enough to be approved of God. It is only by the grace of God that any of us are saved from our sins and are given the hope of eternal life with God. And yes, God’s grace and the faith to believe in him are gifted to us by God and they are not of ourselves, lest we should boast.
But if our faith is from God and it is gifted to us by God, then it will be in line with God’s will and purpose for our lives. And his expressed purpose all throughout the New Testament is that we must die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness; that we should no longer be enslaved to sin, but that we should now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. For, if we hold on to our lives of living in sin, we will lose them for eternity.
Also, although we are not saved by our good works done in our unregenerate flesh, we are saved to good works which are the works of God which he had planned in advance that we should walk in them. And they are required of us for salvation from sin and eternal life with God. And this is because our free gift of salvation is freedom from slavery to sin and it is freedom to now walk in holiness and righteousness in obedience to God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]
2 Timothy 1:12-14 ESV
“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”
So, for us to not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to first make certain that we are believing in the true gospel and not a half-truth false gospel created in the minds of humans which requires no death to sin and no living to God and to his righteousness. And then we need to be walking (in conduct, in practice) no longer according to the flesh but now according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God.
And remember here that we are called of God to a holy calling, and holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world and unto God and to his righteousness, for we are being made into the likeness of God. We now, by the grace of God, take on the character of God, and we now reject the character of the world in our lives. We die with Christ to sin so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness.
Then, we need to live out the life of Christ in his power and strength, and we need to talk about Jesus and his word as part of our normal everyday conversations with others, but it must not be just talk. We should not be talking above what we are walking as though we are walking it if we are not. And we must be students of the Scriptures who study them in context and as led by God’s Spirit and not by the flesh of humans.
For many preachers today are not teaching the true gospel. Many are teaching a diluted half-truth gospel which perverts the grace of God into immorality and which grants the “believer” in Jesus carte blanche to continue in his deliberate and habitual sin, only now without guilt and without conscience. But the Scriptures teach we must forsake our sinful practices and follow Jesus in obedience, or we don’t have eternal life.
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!