November 12, 2016
Keeping the Faith Pt. 1
Pastor Philip De Courcy
2 Timothy 1: 8-18

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Every age and every stage of church history necessitates a body of men who are boldly and brazenly committed to God and the Gospel of his Son. Men who buy the truth and sell it not, men who do not lose their Gospel identity in the crowd. Men whose ambition is kingdom-centered, men who believe that character counts, men who will stand for the truth in a world that wants them to bend the knee to pragmatism, pluralism and power. Gospel commitment is a matter of suffering, it is a matter of safe-gaurding, What's the good thing? What's the deposit? It's the gospel. It's the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. We've got to guard the Gospel if we're going to give the Gospel. If we lose the Gospel, we have nothing to give the world so we've got to keep it before we can share it. That's gospel commitment, that's what it means to keep the faith. Gospel commitment is a matter of suffering, Gospel commitment is a matter of safe-guarding and Gospel commitment is a matter of supporting. Gospel commitment involves praying for, giving to, standing by God's servants as the Gospel is preached and the advancement of God's kingdom takes place. That's the matter of suffering, being unashamed of the unadjusted Gospel means, in practical terms, being willing to suffer regarding the person of Christ, the people of Christ and the proclamation of Christ. In suffering, there is a general kind and a Gospel kind. We must remember that Jesus promised us a safe landing, but not a smooth crossing. God has graced you with salvation and He's going to grace you with suffering, on behalf of the one who suffered for you.

More From This Series


Philip De Courcy (00:00):
Let’s take our Bibles and turn to 2 Timothy chapter one, verse eight. If you’re with us for the first time, I want to begin a two part sermon on verses eight through 18. We’re in a series in 2 Timothy. This is the Apostle Paul’s last letter and last words are usually significant. He’s getting a few things off his chest. The clock is ticking down to his departure and his death, 2 Timothy chapter 4, he’ll tell us, “The time of my departure is at hand.” This is his second imprisonment and so he writes to a young man in the ministry, he calls him his son in the faith, his protege, his apprentice in the ministry. And he wants to know that as he hands off the baton, as he watches his departure and Timothy’s remaining, that Timothy will be faithful to the charge of guarding the gospel and sharing the gospel and living the gospel. And he wants him to do it without apology.
Really, that message comes out especially in the passage we’re about to look at verses eight through 18. That’s one of the key words, “Don’t be ashamed.” So my message this morning, and it will spill over in the next month, is entitled, “Keeping the Faith”. Look at verse eight, 2 Timothy, chapter one, follow as we read through to the end of the chapter.
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. But has now been revealed by the appearing of our savior, Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle and a teacher of the Gentiles. 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 that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” In fact, we can stop there because we’re not going to deal with any of the verses that go beyond this, we will next month. But 2 Timothy 1:8-18, “Keeping the Faith.”
Ted Engstrom was a former evangelical leader, head of Youth for Christ and a prolific writer. He died in 2006, at the age of 90, here in Southern California. And speaking of the fact that he was a prolific writer, if you study his life, you’ll realize that he managed to write one book every year, for 50 years. That’s quite something. Now, in one of his books, The Making of a Christian Leader, Ted Engstrom, argues that in his day, which spills over into our day, there was a scarcity of leadership talent and leadership toughness. In fact, in that book he makes this famous statement, “The world needs men who cannot be bought, whose word is their bond, who put character above wealth, who do not hesitate to take chances, who will not lose their individuality in a crowd, who will be as honest in small things as in great things, whose ambitions are not confined to their own southeast desires. Men who are not ashamed or afraid to the stand for the truth when it is unpopular, who can say no with emphasis, although the rest of the world may say yes.”
I like that and I especially like that last line, what the world needs, what the times cry out for, is a body of men who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for truth when it is unpopular, who can say no when the world says yes. Ted Engstrom is right, every age and every stage of church history necessitates a body of men who are boldly and brazenly committed to God and the gospel of his Son. Men who buy the truth and sell it not, men who do not lose their gospel identity in the crowd. Men whose ambition is kingdom-centered, men who believe that character counts, men who will stand for the truth in a world that wants them to bend the knee to pragmatism, pluralism and power.
We need man like Peter Cartwright. You go back to the early days of the United States and President Andrew Jackson arrives at church one morning where this circuit-riding preacher, Peter Cartwright, is due to speak. And he’s taken aside and he’s given the news, “You may not know this, but President Andrew Jackson is in the congregation this morning and you just might want to watch your Ps and Qs. The last thing you want to do is tick off the President.” So he gets up, he welcomes everybody and his first words out of his mouth are these, “I understand that President Andrew Jackson is here this morning and I’ve been requested to be guarded in my remarks, but let me say this, Andrew Jackson will go to hell if he doesn’t repent.” Now everybody’s sitting aghast. He just blew the thing up right in everybody’s face. But you know what the surprise was? As the President went out the door and shook the hand of that fearless preacher, he said this, “Sir, if I had a regiment of men like you, I could conquer the world.”
He’s unashamed, he’s unafraid and that’s what we’re to be and that’s what Paul wants Timothy to be. Let’s go to our passage here, 2 Timothy chapter one verses eight through 18. This is Paul’s concern as he writes to Timothy, his protege. As I’ve said, this is the second imprisonment of the Apostle Paul from which he will not escape. We can’t be sure, but it is likely that he dies within weeks, if not months, of writing 2 Timothy. His death is only weeks and months away and so consequently, his primary concern is continued faithfulness to the gospel.
You’ll find a little phrase in 2 Timothy, “But you.” The times are perilous, the culture is godless, but you. Timothy, I have fought the fight and I’ve kept the faith, now you preach the word and you do the work of an evangelist and you fulfill the ministry. I need to know that there’ll be gospel faithfulness beyond my departure and underlining it, I think there’s a little bit of a concern because Timothy has a propensity to be timid, fearful, he can be easily unnerved and given Paul’s condition, where he’s a prisoner, that might unnerve Timothy as he may think to himself, “That’s my lot if I continue to do what Paul calls me to do”. Then there’s the scandal of the gospel, I mean, in the Jewish community it’s a scandal, it’s a stumbling block and in the Gentile community it doesn’t make sense. And then you’ve got the ill winds blowing across the culture, where men are becoming fierce, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. And then you’ve got the presence of heretics in Asia who are infiltrating the church in Ephesus.
We’ll before were done this letter that there are those who say that the resurrection is already passed and then Paul himself has being deserted by those he counted as friends. A lot of stuff and Timothy’s aware of that. He’s aware of the imprisonment of Paul, he’s aware of his own tendency to timidity, he’s aware that the gospel message is offensive and unpopular. He’s aware of the fierceness of the culture, he’s aware that other Christians are not being faithful themselves and so, Paul has to right and bolster him and encourage him and that’s what we have got going on, especially in this section. Because the key is the phrase, “not ashamed,” take your Bible and look at verse eight, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord nor of me his prisoner, but share with me in the suffering for the gospel.”
Look at verse 12, where Paul says of himself, “To which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher of a Gentiles.” Verse 12, “For this reason I also suffer these things. Nevertheless, I’m not ashamed.” And then he will tell us of a friend of his who didn’t desert him when others were deserting him in verse 16. And you’ll notice that this friend was not ashamed of Paul’s chains. That’s the theme guys, not ashamed, keeping the faith, being true to the gospel, being committed to the advance of the kingdom of God. And you know what? Timothy’s temptation is our temptation. It’s a real temptation to buckle under the pressure. Listen to John Stott, “We are all more sensitive to public opinion, none we like to admit, and tend to bow too readily before its pressure like reeds shaking in the wind.” And that’s Timothy’s temptation and Timothy’s tendency.
And so, Paul writes him, “Don’t be ashamed, keep the faith, be faithful in the gospel.” So let’s come and look at this passage, we’re only going to cover one point and a couple of thoughts under that point, we’ll pick it up next week. I thought about doing this in one go, but it’s so rich and the themes yielded themselves to me so easily that I’m just going to work our way through it this month and next month. But if you want an outline, here’s how you keep the faith, here’s what it looks like. Here’s what gospel commitment manifests itself by. Number one, gospel commitment is a matter of suffering. If you are committed to the gospel, then you’ll take some arrows for Jesus Christ. Look at verse eight, “Share with me in the suffering for the gospel.” Gospel commitment is a matter of suffering, gospel commitment, secondly, is a matter of safe-guarding.
Scroll down to verse 14, “That good thing which was committed to you, keep, by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.” What’s the good thing? What’s the deposit? It’s the gospel. It’s the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. We’ve got to guard the gospel if we’re going to give the gospel. If we lose the gospel, we have nothing to give the world so we’ve got to keep it before we can share it. That’s gospel commitment, that’s what it means to keep the faith. Gospel commitment is a matter of suffering, gospel commitment is a matter of safe-guarding and gospel commitment is a matter of supporting. Paul was refreshed by his friend who was not ashamed of his chains in verse 16. Gospel commitment involves praying for, giving to, standing by God’s servants as the gospel is preached and the advancement of God’s kingdom takes place.
So, that’s where we’re at. We’re only going to cover the first one this morning and several elements attached to it. So here we are, gospel commitment is a matter of suffering. This is versus eight through 12. Let me read it again, “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 part of God. Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began but has now been revealed by the appearing of our savior, Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Now listen to this guys, if you’re saved, you have put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation. You know the regenerating and livening work of the Holy Spirit. Know this, nobody gets to go to heaven, unscarred and unscathed.
Paul will say in this very letter, “It is through much tribulation that we enter the kingdom, it’s the lot of the Godly to be persecuted.” That’s why the old writers talk about the church militant on earth and the church triumphant in heaven. It’s not your best life, no, regardless of what Joel Ostein says. It’s just impossible, we’re the church militant, we’re in a battle. This isn’t a play grind, this is a battle ground. And the forces of hell are arranged against us and the world presses in upon the church to compromise and to bend the need of pluralism and pragmatism and power. But we’re not going to do it because with Paul we’re going to say, “I’m not a ashamed of the gospel. It’s the power of God under salvation.” We’re going to deny ourselves, we’re going to take out our cross, we’re going to follow him and we’re going to confess him before man so that he confesses us before the Father, Mark chapter eight, the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now if we, you and I, are true followers of Jesus Christ, then we’re going to step up for Christian service. Like some of the men with us this morning who were in the military, who have at least pledged themselves if necessary to put their life and their limb on the line for the defense of our country and it’s to same with the Christian man, regarding the gospel. We’re not going to be ashamed, we’re going to pay the price, we’re even going to sure in the suffering. That’s the matter of suffering, being unashamed of the unadjusted gospel means, in practical terms, being willing to suffer regarding the person of Christ, the people of Christ and the proclamation of Christ. We could develop that, but I’m going to let that stand because it’s there. Luke eight, verse eight, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.”
Let’s not be ashamed of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who is he? For us, he’s the second person of the triune God, for us he’s the virgin born son of God. For us he’s sinless, for us, in him dwells all the wisdom of God. For us, he’s the one sacrifice given for man and he’s the only name under heaven given among man whereby they can be saved. For us, he is a redeeming savior who died and a toning death upon a cross and then he was buried and rose, bodily and physically, he has ascended to the right hand of God and he is marshaling the very hosts of heaven someday to come and vindicate himself before a rebellious world. That’s who he is to us and we’re not ashamed of that, we’ll go to the mat for that. That’s where we’ll stand. We love our Lord Jesus Christ because he loved us. We’re not ashamed of our Lord, we’re not ashamed of the person of Christ. We’re not ashamed of the people of Christ.
“Don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner.” You know what I’ve found as I’ve lived a Christian life? Some people love the Lord Jesus but they don’t love the people of God. They love him but not his church and they don’t identify with his people or his prisoners. But that’s not the way we should be, no, we’re committed to his person, we’re committed to his people and we’re committed to the proclamation of his name as his people because Paul says, “Don’t be ashamed of the testimony.” The Lord Jesus is not to be kept as a family secret, he’s to be shared on the streets and the factories and the schools and the neighborhoods of our land by those that love him. So, we’re not ashamed of this unadjusted gospel. In the context of this letter, Paul was a prisoner for Christ. Look at verse eight, “Nor, of me, his prisoner.”
He’ll talk about his chains in verse 16 and then over in chapter two, verse nine, again he will talk about that, “For which I suffer trouble as an evil doer even at the point of chains, but the word of God is not chained.” Can’t wait to get to that verse. In Ephesians three, verse one, “This is regarding his first imprisonment.” Again, he calls himself a prisoner. I mean, the great apostle Paul, the leader of the Christian movement, was a jail bird and on several occasions. First time he got out, second time he won’t survive it. By the way, you could go past this, but he just didn’t say, “Hey don’t be ashamed of me. I’m in prison.” “Don’t be ashamed of me,” Did you notice his capital “H,” “His prisoner?” He’s a Roman prisoner, but when you’re a gospel centered man, when you believe in the sovereignty of God, when you believe in the providence of God’s dealings with mankind, you can look at whatever circumstance you’re in and you can define it from the point of the throne of God and the glory of Jesus Christ.
That’s a beautiful little thing, “His prisoner.” That’s why Samuel Rutherford called his prison in Scotland his palace and he said the stones of the walls in the prison in Scotland, where he was housed, they shown like rubies because he knew the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. I also like the words of David Livingstone, the missionary. I just finished the biography of his recently on a time of vacation. He said this, “I will place no value on anything I have or may possess except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.” Paul seems to have that perspective, even describes his circumstances from the perspective of the kingdom of Christ, “I’m his prisoner.” But let’s get back to a point I started to make. In the context of this letter, Paul was in chains and people were leaving him. We’ll see this when we get the verses 15 through 18.
Many in Asia were turning away from him, so people were leaving him and in the light of that he urges Timothy not to join them. But here’s what he urges, “Timothy, don’t join them who are leaving me. Would you join me in suffering?” Look at the word. Sure, in the new King James, maybe you have another translation and several of them use the word join. “Hey come join me in suffering.” I like the way The Good News Bible puts this, “Timothy, Come take your part in the suffering.” Guys, that’s a word from the Lord this morning to us from his word. As the sky darkens and history seems to be going in the wrong direction and the foes of the church of Jesus Christ seem to increase, in the halls of power, in the university campuses across the world, here’s the word. When called upon will you play your part in suffering?
Wow, that’s what it means to keep the faith. Suffering, not shame, ought to mark the ministry of the true servant of Jesus Christ. Timothy was to choose suffering over shame, “Don’t be ashamed, come join me in suffering.” It’s challenging Now by the way, this choosing to suffer was really a choosing to do God’s will, which often includes suffering. No right thinking christian chooses suffering in and of itself, Jesus didn’t. He prayed and Luke 22-42, “Father, let this cup pass. If it’s your will, then I’ll embrace it.” Same with Paul, “Would you remove this thorn?” Whatever that was, was it a physical ailment or somebody that was really a thorn in his side, someone opposing his ministry in Corinth. Whatever it was, he asked for his removal, nothing wrong with that, but God didn’t remove it and give him grace to live in the midst of it.
So look, this call to join in the suffering is not to push us unnecessarily into the way of harm. What we’re really doing here is we’re choosing God’s will that often includes suffering for the sake of the gospel. But the reality is, we love Christ above all things and we’re willing to suffer for his sake. You get that, don’t you? Back in Acts five, verse 41, where the apostles tell us this concerning their own arrest and release and the threat of imprisonment that they don’t keep silent. So they’d departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. Nobody enjoys suffering, this call to join Paul in suffering is not a call to unnecessarily get in the way of harm, but when fidelity to the gospel and when faithfulness to deceive your involve suffering, we embrace it within the will of God because it’s for his name sake we’re doing it.
For the testimony of our Lord and for Paul, his prisoner, you get to same thought even in the calling of the apostle, Paul. When he’s given his marching orders. Acts nine, verse 15, “But the Lord said to him, “Go for he has a chosen vessel of mind speaking to a servant of God who was going to Paul. He will bur my name before gen tells kings and the children of Israel for I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name sake.””
And by the way, there are two kinds of suffering in this world and you need to make this distinction because in this context we’ve got gospel suffering. Come and join me, come and share, come and play your part in suffering for the gospel. There’s general suffering and there is gospel suffering. Now the first is related to the fall and the first is experienced by everybody. The fall brought death, environmental judgment, life became harder than it needed to be. And so under that thought, we’re dealing with natural disasters, we’re dealing with illness, we’re dealing with mans inhumanity to man, that’s general suffering. And your unsaved neighbor experiences that just as much as you do and even though you’re in Christ, you encounter that as much as he does. But then there’s gospel suffering. There’s the suffering that you and I experience for the cause of Jesus Christ.
Peter talks about this being suffering for doing right. We’re not to suffer for doing wrong, we’re to suffer for doing right in the eyes of God that often puts on the wrong side of things with man. Read about it in 1 Peter 2:20 and 1 Peter 3:17. So, there’s general suffering and there’s gospel suffering. And in this context, Paul is encouraging Timothy to come join him in gospel suffering. Guys, I’d say this, even within gospel suffering there are two kinds. There’s what you might call soft persecution and hard persecution. Our brothers in the east are facing hard persecution. They’re being beheaded, they’re being burned, they’re being imprisoned, they’re being drowned, they’re being kicked out of their houses, they’re being made to pay taxes against their will. It’s being sanctioned by Islamic governments and by radical Islam through ISIS, in many cases. We’re seeing things turn sour and cold across Russia where preaching licenses are being removed and it’s harder for indeed missionaries to find themselves getting into the country.
There’s the hard persecution and there’s the soft persecution. This is the kind of persecution we are going to face at least at the moment in the United States. The mockery, the name calling, the scapegoating. You face it in your family, depending on the tradition you come from, you’ve come to Christ and you’re now a radical follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and perhaps you have left a traditional religion that usually marks your culture or your family and you’re taking the heat for it. You know what? You’re not included in the discussions at work, you’re a young man at the university campus or at a high school in our community, you know what? You’re often left out of the conversation or you can tell by the facial expression as someone goes by you, “Yeah, you’re one of those Jesus freaks. You know what? He’s not very tolerant, doesn’t embrace gay marriage and transgender politics. These people are dangerous.”
That’s where we’re at and you and I need to man up and realize, “Hey, par for the course.” Are you surprised? Shouldn’t be. Because Jesus promised us a safe landing but not a smooth crossing, I might give you a couple of verses and we’ll move on. But go with me for a moment, go to Matthew five, verse 10, or write it down and I’ll read it for you. Matthew five, verse 10, it’s the sermon on the mind. It’s the marks of those who belong to God’s kingdom, “Blessed those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when you are reviled and persecuted and they will say all kinds of evil against you, falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great as your reward in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew five, 10 through 12.
Then skip over to the upper room discourse. We’re on the eve of Jesus’ death and departure and his disciples are heartbroken at the thought, he’s gone to leave them, but he comforts him by the thought of the coming helper. But he does lay down this piece of reality, guys and need you to know, John 15, verse 18, “If the world hates you, “and it will,” you know that it heed me before he hated you.” Guys just comes to mind, Irwin Luzern wrote a really good book on calling, it was called, Jesus, Among the Gods. And then he makes this argument, if the world loves Jesus it’s because they don’t know him. The less they know about him, the more they like him but the more they get to know him, the less they like him. The virgin born son of God, only Savior, who demands complete allegiance, who will come to destroy every rival that fights his glory. “If the world hit you know that they hated me before it hated you.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own.” Remember when you were unsaved and part of the boys, then you got saved and you were out, you don’t belong anymore. It’s just a fact, if you’re of the world they like you. But because you’re not of the world and have chosen to be out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, that a servant is not greater than his master. “Don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord Jesus nor me, His prisoner,” Timothy. Because suffering’s par for the course, one other verse might be Philippians one, verse 29, “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for his sake.” The word granted there is a word that carries the idea of grace.
God has grace you with salvation and then he’s going to grace you with suffering, on behalf of the one who suffered for you, that’s just where we’re at. In the light of this text, you need to understand this call to share in the suffering of the Lord, Jesus, and his servants. This isn’t a dusty piece of antiquity, this is the truth that comes from God, that’s as relevant today as this morning’s newspaper headlines. It is awaking us in this contemporary age to play our part in the suffering, to come alongside our brothers who are facing the hard suffering, support ministries like Voice of the Martyrs or other ministries that are helping the persecuted church. That’s our job, we’re not to be ashamed of his prisoners and then as we fierce soft suffering that we’re unashamed then this day that wants to shame us of our commitment to the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Now for the balance of the time by 10 or 15 minutes here, let’s begin to look at how Paul encourages young Timothy, remember, who has a tendency to timidity. There are some things that would encourage him to be bold and BN in his commitment of the gospel, I believe so there’s four of them. I’m going to see if I can cover two, but if you want the outline ahead of time, we’ll pick this up next month. There’s a certain companionship, there’s a certain creed, there’s a certain calling and there’s a certain confidence. Let’s jump right in, how can we embolden in Timothy and how can we shore up our own resolve to be faithful ministers of the gospel? Number one, what I call a certain companionship. Look at verse eight and look at how it begins, “Therefore…” You’ve heard it a dozen times, but it’s worth hearing again when you come across a “therefore,” stop and ask yourself what it’s there for. Because it’s connecting you to a preceding thought.
In the lightest word that has just been said, “Therefore.” What has just been said in verse seven? “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, therefore…” You get the connection” Therefore, in the light of that, don’t be ashamed because there’s power available to you. There’s strength available to you, there’s mercy for this kind of ministry that includes suffering. Look at verse eight, “Therefore, do not be ashamed that the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, His prisoner, but share with me in the suffering for the gospel according…” What? “To the power of God.” It would seem, by the way, if you scroll down to verse 14, that this power comes through the end dwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Look what we read speaking of the gospel deposit, “That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in you.”
There is a minister for the minister and the Holy Spirit enables his servants to be [inaudible 00:32:13] evangelists, to be true pastors, to be good fathers and to be courageous men for the sake of the gospel. Got to love it, right? Paul’s saying to Timothy, I want you to be on unashamed but this isn’t going to be a matter of human resolve, this is going to be a matter of divine resource. What about Acts one, verse eight? He says to the early church, “The Lord Jesus wants you to wait in Jerusalem until you receive the Holy Spirit with power and you’ll be my witnesses.” 1 John 4:4, “Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.” And what is that world? It’s the world that hated Christ and it’s the world that hates those who look like him. And when you’re up against that hatred, soft or hard, in your face or behind your back, there is the sweet ministry and the strengthening ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Guys, look, John starts right. We’re maybe not as strong as we think we are and any one of us can be tempted to bend and blow like I read in the wind when the heat’s on. Maybe in your own mind, like I have, I’ve played I the scenarios, I’ve read books on present and past martyrs and I get a cold chill and I go, “Hey, I don’t think I’m up for that. I’m not sure that’s me.” I can wax eloquent in the air conditioned sanctuary of Kindra community church and I’m sitting in front of men who respect me and honor me by their presence and pray for me. But it would be another thing to do with all in the face of the teeth of opposition. When I get unsettled and unnerved, I need to be remember, “Hold on a minute.” There’s power made available to us when we need it through the Holy Spirit and that’s what Paul does, reminding Timothy.
Adrian Rogers said it well, he said this, “When Christians realize they’re inhabited, they will be less inhabited.” Verse 14, “Keep the gospel by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.” Paul’s point, exactly. And that’s the message of the upper room discourse by the way, isn’t it? We’ve read John 15, versus 18 through 20 and Jesus said, “Hey, the world’s going to hit, it hated me. Remember that the servant’s not greater than the master.” And so in the light of the world’s hostility, Jesus promised them heavens help. He says in John 14, verse 16, these words to comfort his fledgling disciples and their encouragement to them and to us, “I will pray the Father and he will give you another helper that he may abide with you forever, the spirit of truth him the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for he dwells with you but will be in you and I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you.”
Guys, I’m going, but I’m coming. Well Lord, are you coming or going? Well, I’m going, but I’m coming, in the future I’m coming. I’m going to the father’s house and then I’m going to come and get you, receive you onto myself and take you to the father’s house. I’m coming in the future, but I’m also coming again in the present at Pentecost. I’m coming in the future at the rapture, that’s physical, that’s visible. I’m coming at Pentecost through the spirit that’s present and that’s spiritual and that’s inward and invisible. And guys, the spirit of God, who is the spirit of Christ, will take up residence in you and you will be emboldened and helped. In fact, that’s the name the spirit’s given. If you look at this upper rim discourse, both in those verses and in other verses like chapter 16 and verse seven, he’s called the helper.
A Greek word [foreign language 00:36:17], It’s a compound word, to come alongside, it’s a beautiful word. It was a delight to see one of our young fathers bring his son, I see young boys sitting on their father’s knees this morning, praise the Lord. You’ve got this image, your boy, your son starts to ride a bike. You got the training wheels to save his life and then after a while you see he’s getting a bit of a balance and you’re ready to take those off, put his life on the line. But he’s still a little nervous, he thinks he’s got it. I remember my own father running alongside me with his hand under the saddle. I like the thing that’s a wonderful picture of what the Holy Spirits said, he’s coming alongside. It’s the seventh calvary coming over the hill to rescue the beleaguered cowboys.
It’s Pete Carroll walking like a mad man, up and down the sideline, encouraging his team. Whatever image you’ve got, it’s coming alongside to infuse enthusiasm, to give guidance, to bring encouragement, to say, “We can do this.” And that’s what we have got in the Holy Spirit. Guys, just one verse alongside that, Romans eight, verse 11 says this, “If the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his spirit that dwells in you.” Here’s how Phillips translates that phrase, “Shall quicken your mortal bodies.” Here’s how he translates it, “He will bring to your whole being, new strength and vitality.” We’re not going to get to the second thought. Let me wrap it up here. There is strength for the suffering, that’s the point.
There is a certain companionship where you and I can suffer for the gospel according to the par of God. We’ve got the blessed ministry of the Spirit of God from within. The sweet comforter, the helpful helper, the minister to the minister has come to invigorate us. He helps us to be heard in our praying because he intercedes, according to Romans eight. He helps us to be effective in our serving because he gives us gifts and enablement for service, 1 Corinthians, 12. He helps us to be secure in our circumstances because he has sealed us until the day of redemption, Ephesians one. And he helps us to be bold in our witness through his filling, read Acts two. So there is strength for the suffering.
In fact, speaking of this very verse here in 2 Timothy, chapter one, verse seven and eight, Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones, speaking of that phrase “He has given us a spirit of power.” Here is a power even for weaklings. Are you afraid that you will not be able to live the Christian life? The answer is, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you both to do his goodwill. The fear and trembling remain that is partly our temperament, but you’re able to work by the power that works in you, both to will and to do. In fact, he goes on to say this, “That is one of the most glorious things in the long history of the church and it’s still happening today. I never tire of telling Christians to read the stories of martyrs and confessors and the Protestant fathers or the Puritans or the Covenanters. Read their stories and you will find not only strong, courageous men, you will find weak women and girls, even little children dying gloriously for Christ’s sake.
High, explain it, because they suffered for the gospel according to the part of God, through the spirit that dwells within them. As we wrap up, let me tell you a story that proves this from church history. Lloyd Jones is right and I’ve quoted it. I talked about my own reading of that earlier and being challenged by it and a little frightened by it, but then also stirred by it. He’s one of the lesser lights of the English reformation, his name is Thomas Bilney, Little Bilney he’s called. In fact, he was instrumental in the conversion of Hugh Latimer and he was arrested by Bloody Mary, among many of the Protestant martyrs of that era he would die. If you read his story, he’s imprisoned and he’s visited by some friends who are struck by how cheerful he is. In fact, he is just eaten a very meager meal with some steel eel.
But the man who looks at him says he’s filled with joy. And he said to him, “In fact, I’m surprised that you eat so cheerfully.” I mean, he was going to face the flames of a burning in the morning. And as his friends sat down beside him, one of them said to him, “Tomorrow the fire will make you feel its devouring fierceness, but the comfort of God’s holy Spirit will cool it with everlasting refreshing.” Wow. Now, here’s what’s interesting about this story. This is the point I wanted to get to. According to their historians, at this point, Thomas Bilney takes his index finger and he holds it over a candle and he burns it to the bone. And here’s what he says, “I feel that fire, by God’s ordinance, is naturally hot, but yet I am persuaded by God’s holy word and the experience of the martyrs that when the flames consume me, I shall not feel them. How so ever, this stubble of my body shall be wasted by it. A pain for the time is followed by joy unspeakable.”
Then he withdrew his finger, the first joint burned to the bone and added, “He has said, when you walk through the fire, it shall not burn you. And when you weird through the river, it shall not overwhelm you.” Guys, that’s the comforting ministry of the Holy Spirit and he indwells us. And as you and I listen to his word and walk in fellowship with him and in the company of those who also are in dwelled by him, we can be invigorated to step up to the plate. And though the sky’s darken and the times change and the ranks of the enemy swell, we’re not going to be ashamed of the Lord, Jesus Christ, nor his gospel, nor are those who preach his gospel. We’re going to keep the faith. Amen?
Congregation (42:15):
Philip De Courcy (43:09):
Lord, we thank you for our time this morning, just in your face, exposition from 2 Timothy one, we like it like that as man. We need to hear it like that as man because as Steve Forar reminded us, as Alex Matoya reminded us two years ago, act like men, be courageous, be strong. Well God, we pray that we may be so when it’s soft, we pray that grace will be given when it’s hard, or help us to embrace the general suffering that we encounter with the rest of mankind. But more than anything, help us to embrace gospel suffering. We love your son, we see his baptism in the cross. He said to John and James, “You’re not going to be able to drink when I’m going to drink.”
We see that suffering unique, separated from God for our sin, but as we suffer for him in a world that continues to hate him and his gospel, give us the strength. We read that in the Garden of Gethsemane, the angels came and strengthened him. We pray for the strengthening ministry of the Holy Spirit. We pray, as one man said to DL Moody one day, “Young man, honor the Holy Spirit.” Help us not to grieve him, help us not to quench him, help us to walk in the spirit, to be in the word he wrote and to be filled by him so that indeed we might fill up the sufferings of our Lord, Jesus Christ. And everybody said, Amen.
Congregation (44:04):