And Paul says, Look Timothy, if you'll just consider your resources, you can get on with this. You have the power. God has given you the love of God and man that will make you sacrifice your life. God has by His Spirit given you self-control and a discipline to order your life to stay on the track of priorities no matter what happens. Now if you'll just renew your gift and consider your resources, you can get on with it. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.
I'm your host, Phil Johnson. If you're a Christian, there's a sense in which you are to live like a hard-working farmer or a disciplined athlete or a regimented soldier. If you follow Christ, if you desire to live a godly life, that requires a high level of commitment.
In fact, you might think that the demands are impossible to fill. Well, today on Grace to You, John MacArthur will help you see how you can meet that high standard and stay committed to Christ no matter what difficulties you face. It's part of his study titled Unashamed. And with the lesson now, here's John. We continue our study in the first chapter of 2 Timothy, Paul's last will and testament, the final of his 13 epistles that he wrote, writing this one from a dungeon in Rome about to lose his life and his ministry is well-nigh coming to an end. And as he writes, he writes to his son in the faith, Timothy, because he wants Timothy to carry on the work. Timothy doesn't have the strength of character and boldness and courage that Paul his mentor had and it is necessary in this epistle to endeavor to infuse him with some strength that will hold him true to the task as he faces the opposition and the hostility of an unbelieving world. Now what then is the attitude which Paul has in mind in verses 6 to 18?
What is the underlying driving force that keeps us moving ahead in the extension of the gospel? It is the attitude of not being ashamed of Christ. It is an attitude of courage or an attitude of boldness. It is an attitude that does not equivocate. It is the attitude of no compromise. It is the attitude of confrontation in the face of hostility. It is the attitude of saying what ought to be said no matter who you're saying it to or what the repercussions might be. In a word, courage, the courage of one's convictions.
So that is that to which Paul calls Timothy. That attitude of courage and boldness that is not ashamed to be identified with Christ even in a hostile, persecuting and deadly environment. But how to do that?
How to do that? In chapter 2 and verse 1, he says to him, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. But there's more to it than just saying be strong. There has to be a way to comprehend the reason and the rationale for being bold and that's what we have in verses 6 to 18. Now we mention number 1, Timothy, if you're going to have courage, you have to renew your gift. Verse 6, let's look at it again. For this reason, that is the reason of your true salvation mentioned in verse 5. For this reason that I know you're genuinely saved and genuinely have a strong faith, I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you, of course confirmed through the laying on of the hands of the Apostle Paul as well as the elders of the church and the confirmation of the prophetic Word of God, those last two being told to us in the first epistle. So he says, I want you to renew your gift.
That's the idea. Timothy, remember the Word from God in prophecy. Remember the elders laying hands. Remember my own apostolic hands being placed on you. Remember that all of that focused on the fact that God had unusually gifted you for ministry. Now that obviously has fallen into a bit of disuse and you need to renew your gift. That's the first place to start in terms of being courageous.
Kindle afresh your gift. Courage, folks, rises out of a sense of giftedness. If I know what I'm equipped to do, then I'm going to be bold to do it. If I know God has said you are to do this and I gift you to do that, then I'm going to do that. In fact, I have nothing else to do.
There's nothing for me to preserve because the only reason I'm here is to do that. So I'm not going to say to myself, if I preach Christ, I'm liable to die. I'm going to say to myself, if I don't preach Christ, I might as well die.
You understand? In other words, I'm not going to say, I don't want to minister my gift, the cost is too high. I'm going to say, if I don't minister my gift, my life has no value because the only reason I am here is to do what I'm gifted to do. And that's where the sense of courage and the sense of boldness begins in understanding who I am.
That is the proper kind of self-image. Not a psychological one, but a charismatic one in the true use of the term charisma, which is the word here for gift. I am who I am by virtue of my gift. Take my gift away and you have basically just me left in my humanness. So courage rises out of a sense of giftedness. Secondly, he says, consider your resources. Not only renew your gift, but if you are to be bold in the cause of Christ, consider the resources you have at your disposal. Somebody might say, well if I launch out, how do I know I'm not going to get out there and get cut off from the cords of power?
How do I know how long my extension cord is, to put it simply? How far can I go? How aggressive can I be in my ministry without sort of pulling the plug at the other end? Well verse 7 says, very directly, for God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but implied God has given us a spirit of power and love and discipline. And I want you to listen to this very carefully. Timothy, God did not give you gifts and then equip you with cowardice.
You understand that? That's what the word timidity means, Delia. It's the only time it's ever used in the New Testament. It basically means cowardice, fearfulness, embarrassment, shame, weakness, frailty. He is saying God did not give you a gift to be used in the advance of His kingdom and then give you an accommodating cowardice which would literally negate the gift, but rather He gave you power, love and discipline in order that it might operate that gift.
This is a tremendous statement. Any weakness on your part, Timothy, is strictly just not cashing your check because the resources are in your spiritual bank, you're just not drawing on them. Vasillation and denial and a lack of boldness and being ashamed to speak for the Lord or live for the Lord or serve the Lord simply indicates that you're not using your spiritual resources.
God didn't give you cowardice, God gave you courage. And notice these three things and we could spend a tremendous amount of time on each of them, but wanting to maintain the flow of Paul's thought will resist that urge. Verse 7 says, God has given us, past tense, already in the bank, power, love and discipline. When you became a believer, God gave you power.
Why? Because when you became a believer you received the Holy Spirit and Jesus said in Acts 1.8, you shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit has come upon you. When you became a believer, you received divine capacity to love because it says in Romans 5, 5 that due to the sufficient justifying work of Christ, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. And when you were saved, you received the Holy Spirit who brings with Him His fruit and the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, trust, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and the last one is self-control or discipline. In other words, this is something you possess and if you are timid in your ministry, if you are ineffective, weak and failing to be bold and courageous and aggressive and advancing the kingdom, it is not God who has given you that.
You can assume it is sin because God has given you the resources to do just the opposite. Now look at the word power for a moment, dunamios. That word basically means just what it says, might, dynamic energy. It's among those words in the root word group from the root of which we get the word dynamite or dynamic.
It has to do with dynamic energy producing results. God has given you a dynamic to produce results. Doesn't matter what the opposition is, doesn't matter how powerful the adversary is, the power of God is there to produce.
And first of all, you have to know you have that power. That's why in Ephesians 1 verse 18, Paul prays for the Ephesians this prayer. "'I pray that the eyes of your heart may be 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 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us.'" He says, I pray that you'll understand His power that is working within you, the strength of His might, he calls it in the same verse. And then in verse 20, the same power with which He brought Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in heavenly places. Resurrection power, ascension power, that is to say supernatural power, power over death, power over natural forces. That's the power that is given to us. Power that is the power of God. It's a great Old Testament principle, not by might nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord. That is not by human might and human power but the power of the Spirit of God. We possess the indwelling Holy Spirit and in Him there is power.
That's a tremendous thing to realize. And that does not operate, mark this, in any area of your life other than the spiritual dimension and service to God. You will be as impotent as anyone else, stuck with nothing but your own natural abilities when you're operating outside the spiritual dimension. But when you begin to operate in the spiritual dimension, you begin to operate on supernatural power to affect results that could never be affected apart from that power.
Tremendous promise. In fact, that power is even beyond our ability to understand. Paul in Ephesians 1 prays that we would understand it and in Ephesians 3 says, Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all you can ask or think according to the power that works in us. It's a marvelous thing to live your life in service to Christ and see that power.
To see the power of God operate to change lives and move the kingdom and exalt the Lord. And you have that power. There is no Christian on the face of the earth walking around who doesn't have that power. You may not be appropriating it because it comes to the one who is controlled by the Spirit of God, the one who has set sin aside and is submitting to the leading of God's Holy Spirit.
That's where the power operates. Secondly, talks about love. And love also is concomitant with the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Love which is shed abroad in our hearts is shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes in, deposits the love of God which permeates us. And we know that love of which Paul also spoke to the Ephesians, that love which is so surpassing, that love, he says, which can hardly be comprehended as to its breadth and length and height and depth and it is the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge. We have not only power but love and shouldn't power operate with love?
So that it doesn't run amuck? So that it isn't abrasive or abusive or injurious? So that it is compassionate and sensitive? We have that love. That means love toward God and love toward others. That means love that is directed toward whomever we direct our ministry.
Tremendous thought. And it is the kind of love, agape, it is the kind of love that is volitional love. It's not emotional love like philos or sensual love like eros. It is that love of choice, that highest supreme love wherein character volitionally says, I will to love you. That's the highest love. It's not a love that is based only on emotion because emotion changes. It's not a love based only on passion because passion ebbs and flows. It is a love based on volition, will, the mind, the highest love, that love which says I choose to love you. And may I add it is the love that John said was perfect love that casts out fear, 1 John 4.18. Perfect love casts out fear. Let me give you an illustration of that. When I love something supremely, I lose all fear of self-preservation.
In what sense? One of my children were to fall into the sea and begin to drown. My love for my child would cause me to dive in to rescue my child with no thought of myself because I love my child to the degree that I would have no thought. That is the perfect love that casts out fear. If I love God supremely, I'll put my life on the line in serving God and have no thought of self-preservation because I love Him more than I love myself.
The bottom line is very simple. What I love controls my action. And if I love God perfectly, then I have no fear in serving Him because if I lose my life in serving Him, I have lost my life for the one I love. And if I lose my life in serving men and bringing them the gospel, then I have lost my life in serving the one I love. And if they and God are more precious to me than I am to me, then that's no loss at all.
You understand that? So that kind of love casts out fear. If on the other hand I love myself and I will do everything to preserve myself and my own life and my own comfort and my own success and my own reputation and I live to satisfy me, then I will not sacrifice for God and I will not sacrifice for you or anyone else. I will sacrifice you for me and I will sacrifice what God wants for what I want. My life can be measured by whom I love. But if I love the Lord God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and my neighbor as myself, then I fearlessly serve the God I love and the neighbor I love.
You say, how can you do that? The love is there. It's a matter of you walking in the Spirit so the love manifests itself. You must walk in the Spirit and these things are the fruit of that walk. Look at the third one in verse 7.
He calls it discipline. It's the word sophronismos. It's a word used only here in the whole New Testament.
It's not a word that we have a lot of illustrations of to determine its meaning, but nonetheless its meaning becomes relatively clear in this usage and in what we know about related words to this word. And the basic idea is it means the control of one's self in face of praise or pain. In other words, it is ultimate self-control. It is the ability to control every element of your life, whether they're positive or negative ones, whether you're being praised or inflicted with pain. It is that wisdom, that sound judgment, that self-control that takes every feature of life and makes it positive for the advance of the kingdom of God.
It's a rich term. It's more than wisdom. James says, �If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men liberally and holds back none.� It's more than wisdom. It's the application even of that wisdom to every circumstance.
In Proverbs 2.7 it says, �He stores up wisdom for the upright.� But it's again more than just that. It is that totally ordered life in which wisdom is applied to every situation. It is the ability to prioritize.
I can put it I think in those terms to give it a best understanding. It means I know my priorities. It means whether my circumstances are positive or negative, I master those circumstances to advance the work of Christ. It is the kind of discipline that says I have no wasted motion in my life. I don't spend my life with trivia. I don't spend my life beating the air, to borrow Paul's expression in 1 Corinthians 9.
I don't spend my life shadow boxing. I don't waste my motion. I take all that comes into my life and I use that in a prioritization for the advance of the kingdom. Now, every one of us is probably sitting here saying, �I'd like to be that kind of person.� And that kind of person you are if you cash in on your resources, because the Spirit of God is the divine organizer in your life. And I have thought to myself in thinking this thought, that if all of the people who are walking around with an organizer in their hand were totally yielded to the organizer in their heart, they might get a lot more done for the advancement of the kingdom. The issue is not how you keep your schedule written down.
The issue is how you walk in the Spirit. And I don't want to belie or make irresponsible those people who are responsible for schedules. I just want you to understand that you do not learn self-discipline in this regard. You do not learn it. It can't be taught to you by any human source. You don't go to college to learn it. You don't go to seminary to learn it.
Nobody disciples you into it. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is a divine resource, the ordered life that belongs to those who walk in the Spirit, who are filled with the Spirit, who are led by the Spirit, in whom the Word of Christ dwells richly. But it is that incredible ability to order your life so that everything fits into the priorities and enables you to do God's work.
No wasted motion. And what a triumvirate these three things are. And every one of us who love Christ would say, �Oh, if I had power. Oh, if I had that supreme sacrificial love. Oh, if I only had that ordered, disciplined and self-controlled life that knew only priorities and followed them through.� And the word of testimony of Scripture to you as you have it if you want to cash in on it, if you want to yield to the Spirit. These resources belong to us already. Power to do the task, love to fix our eyes on the persons for whom that task is done, both God and man.
Discipline to bring every factor in our life into line to accomplish that task, to order every diverse feature of life and put it somewhere in the mix to accomplish the goal, a tremendous approach to life. And again, I say they're not natural endowments. They're not even talking about that in this text, both Paul and the Holy Spirit. They're not talking about the kind of power that some people have in their personality. There are people who have powerful personality, right? That's not what we're talking about, aggressive people, dynamic people.
That's not it. It's not love that belongs to some person who just is basically humanly compassionate, tender, generous, kind, thoughtful, sensitive, whatever. And it's not the discipline of someone who would make a good sergeant in the Marines or the discipline of a soldier or whatever.
We're talking here about something that's not human at all. We're talking about a divine endowment, not the result of heritage, not the result of environment or instruction, but a gift of God. And Paul says, look Timothy, if you'll just consider your resources, you can get on with this. You have the power. God has given you the love of God and man that will make you sacrifice your life. God has by His Spirit given you self-control and a discipline to order your life to stay on the track of priorities no matter what happens.
Now if you'll just renew your gift and consider your resources, you can get on with it. Then there's a third point in verse 8, and that's accept your sufferings. You have to be programmed for rejection.
You ready for that? You have to be programmed for rejection. We all in service to the Lord need to be programmed for that because if you're programmed for that doesn't come as a surprise, you understand?
But if you've decided that you're going to live a life that is completely comfortable and you're going to do everything you can to evade that hostility, you're not going to be able to do it and when it comes it's going to cause you to be collapsed. That's the problem. Look at verse 8, therefore, because of your gift and resources, Timothy, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me as prisoner, no reason to be of either of us, but join with me in suffering for the gospel. Stop at that point.
That's the idea. Timothy, don't be ashamed, suffer. Join with me. Get in the group, Timothy.
We're all in it together. Therefore, because of your gift and resources, do not be ashamed. In other words, don't be reluctant to preach Christ.
Don't be reluctant to name the name of Christ. Don't be reluctant to do the work of an evangelist, that is to go out on the streets and proclaim Jesus Christ all over the city and take what comes. Don't be reluctant to do that. Don't be ashamed of, notice the phrase, of the testimony of our Lord, Marturian, the Christian message as a whole, the witness of Christ, the gospel. Don't be ashamed to take a public stand for the gospel is what he's saying. Don't be ashamed to name the name of Jesus Christ and to proclaim in a herald's voice publicly His death and resurrection. Don't be ashamed to call men sinners damned and on their way to a godless hell. Don't be ashamed to call them to glorious heaven. That's John MacArthur encouraging you to lay aside your fears and be a bold witness for Christ.
In addition to teaching on the radio, John is a pastor, author, and chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary here in Southern California. Today's lesson from his current study on grace to you titled Unashamed. Now John, go back to what you said about believers needing to accept suffering and to be programmed for rejection. A question that I know some people will probably have is this, does being willing to suffer for Christ mean that we should hope to experience suffering, maybe even go out of our way to suffer?
Is there any blessing in that? There's nothing in the scripture that indicates that we're supposed to do things that create suffering. Those are the things that come from the Lord in His providence and His purpose.
They're important to us because they're the very things that perfect us. You rejoice when you fall into various trials because they have a perfecting work. Jesus said to His disciples, you know, whoever suffers most is going to be most exalted in the kingdom. So you're not the one who's supposed to create the suffering. And, you know, that has happened through the Middle Ages. You remember there were people who put pins in their belts and rocks in their shoes and did all kinds of things to create pain, false spiritual pain.
No, there's no place for that. You live your life in a bold and courageous way for the gospel of Christ. As we've been talking about, you be unashamed of Christ. And from time to time, obviously, this will generate suffering. Don't fight it, accept it, because this is when God does His most effective work in our lives. In fact, Peter said that it's when you go through suffering and your faith is tested to the max by that suffering, that you know it's real. You not only are perfected by suffering, but you are assured by suffering because your faith holds through those dire times.
So you welcome suffering. We've been talking about that, and we want to remind you about the study guide that we've been mentioning. It's based on the series we're currently airing, and it shares the same title, Unashamed Covers 2 Timothy 1. For many years, we produced study guides for the Topical Sermon series that aired on Grace To You, and I think we did about 150 study guides in all. They were well received and helpful to earlier generations of Grace To You listeners, and for the past couple of years, we've been reproducing them. The Unashamed Study Guide is number eight. And even as Paul was facing execution for proclaiming the truth of Christ, his concern was ensuring that those who followed after him, especially his son in the faith, Timothy, would stand strong in the ministry, no matter how fierce the opposition. Timothy faced resistance, outside and inside, both from the world and the church, and Paul needed to strengthen Timothy's resolve, and by extension, obviously Paul's words encourage us to face the antagonism of the world, and sometimes even in the church.
That's right, friend. If you're intimidated by a world that is set on silencing the gospel of Christ, you need to get the study guide, Unashamed. Get your copy when you contact us today. To order, call 855-GRACE, weekdays from 730 to 4 o'clock Pacific Time, or you can go to gty.org, our website. This study guide is a great resource to use as you listen to the messages from John's study by that same name, Unashamed. Again, to order, call 855-GRACE or visit gty.org. The Unashamed study guide costs $7.
Shipping is free. And if you're benefitting from this broadcast or those resources, remember that we are a listener-supported ministry. It is help from listeners like you that helps make this global ministry possible. To partner with us and to help take the Word of God to believers around the world, you can donate online at gty.org or by calling us at 800-55-GRACE. You can also mail your gift to Grace To You, P.O.
Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412. Now for John MacArthur and the entire Grace To You staff, I'm Phil Johnson. Be sure to watch Grace To You television this Sunday or watch anytime at gty.org. And then be here Monday as John continues his study titled Unashamed, showing you how to share the truth of Christ without fear. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace To You.
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