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Paul strengthens Timothy against timidity by buttressing his faith with truths about the power and glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 2 Timothy 1:9-11. This is part two of a five part series. Study questions are also included. Audio and video can be found in our huge BFF New Testament Library.
Key words: ashamed, service, gospel, saved, Christ, serve, timidity, fear, ministry, problems, personal, 2 Timothy 1:9-11, immortality, light, abolish, death
“9 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 granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher” (2 Timothy 1:8-11 NASB).
The “gospel according to the power of God, 9 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 granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. (2 Timothy 1:8b-11).
This last point solidifies our fight against fears and leads us to living vibrant lives for Christ. It is important to understand the source of fears and worry and follow through with a commitment to join Jesus wherever He leads us. Paul, however, elaborates on this one aspect that will greatly help us.
To fight fear and timidity, one must get at the source. The source has to do with doubts about God’s glorious power. We so easily forget and are hindered from right action as we think,
“Oh, I can’t do that.”
“He would never ask me to do that.”
“He or she can do that better than I.”
“I don’t have the resources to do that.”
The excuses that arise in our minds are always defense mechanisms acting on behalf of our guilt which springs to action up thinking about disobedience.
What we need to do to retrain our ‘learned’ response or perhaps new reaction is to build up the truths of God in our minds. They will guard us in Jesus Christ. This is exactly what Paul does. He lists a series of things describing the power of God. At first, they might seem not to fit into the discussion at hand, but when we see it this way, this practice becomes one in which we can handle any of our improper learned responses.
Maybe the truths you discover will be different, but the truths of God regularly builds confidence and faith in obedience rather than burying one’s mind under some excuses. So let us go through these truths and see how they strengthen one’s faith especially as one might face intimidation and fears.
Timothy was starting to feel ashamed at the gospel. We do not know what it was about Jesus that people believed made Timothy think this way. Perhaps people associated Jesus with being dead or a criminal. Rumors fly! Paul reveals truths about the gospel to show that Jesus, the cross and His workmen are never things a person should be ashamed or timid about.
The “gospel is according to the power of God” (1:8). The gospel can defend itself. Although the gospel focuses on Jesus death, that which seems weak and powerless, the gospel is powerful. It sets into action the key to the redemption plan. Without the cross, there is no forgiveness and no reconciliation between God and man.
In time. “But now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (1:10). The plan was great and so was its execution in real time and history. Jesus did not just happen to be a great man but was sent by God–His first coming was a sending. Note the three awesome things done be the gospel: (1) abolished death, (2) brought life (3) brought immortality to light. God’s gospel plan solved all of man’s problems. It is nothing to be ashamed of.
“For which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher” (1:11). Paul gets a bit more specific, perhaps for himself and for Timothy’s sake. He identifies his appointment to be a preacher, apostle and teacher. He was subtly encouraging Timothy to remember his own calling and purpose for which God appointed him.
Timothy was beginning to be ashamed of the gospel and Paul its proclaimer. The evil one works so subtly. How? He was able to get Timothy, a pastor discipled by Paul, thinking about being ashamed. It is obvious that he was thinking about himself rather than God and the people he served.
This is the beginning of compromise and why Paul, his mentor, broaches the tough topic. On the other hand, when one starts thinking at God’s eternal plan, then we see God’s mighty plan unfolded before us. When Paul spoke of what the gospel accomplished, then we see its full value and our faith is built up.
God cares for me and has His purpose for my life and will give me the grace needed for it even if it includes suffering.
This plan is a great plan because it is a forever plan. God has thought much of it while I have thought little.
I can disperse any doubts because Jesus really came, taught, died and rose again. The immortality offered in the gospel opens a door that no one can close. Though I do not desire to suffer, I do desire to live in His full glory for eternity.
God has specific purposes for my life and I must refuse to allow any timidity or fear or anything steal these honors from me.
What keeps you from ministering to others? It doesn’t matter much of our special calling but on the clarity by which we constantly focus on the truth of God. Any of us can become on the sidelines of otherwise a glorious display of God’s power, love and grace.
God has faithfully equipped us, but doubts can hinder the truth from properly equipping our faith. Timidity can increase to such a degree that even someone so well-equipped and called like Timothy can make some devastating decisions that affect the ministry. We need to stand strong and face these fears so that we can fulfill God’s will for our lives. We have but one life to live. Live it all for Jesus!
This article is one of hundreds waiting for you to read from the BFF New Testament Library. The library includes audio, powerpoints and videos.
Three Stages of Discipleship
The Heart of True Discipleship (Isaiah 50:4-7)
The Plan of Discipleship (2 Timothy 2:2)
Seven Principles to Spirit Dependent Teaching
Combating Spiritual Decline
Understanding the Cycle of Decline and Revival (Judges 2)
Determining your place in the cycle of growth
Discipling your sons: The why and way (8)
Reviving your Personal Devotions (15)
Spiritual Warfare: General Principles
THE FLOW: The whole process by which disciples grow as a church or individually.
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988