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Not Being Ashamed of Christ, Part 2 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
November 13, 2023 3:00 am

Not Being Ashamed of Christ, Part 2 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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November 13, 2023 3:00 am

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And if we understand the power of our God, then we understand the power of the resources at our disposal, right? So when we go out boldly to proclaim Christ, what do we fear?

What do we fear? Are men stronger than God? Is the system bigger than God?

Are the persecutors potent and God impotent? So he says to Timothy, remember your God, Timothy, remember your God! Welcome to Grace To You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. If you're a Christian, how does your lifestyle reflect the reality of your salvation? Do you point those around you toward Christ, your classmates, your co-workers, your neighbors?

And if not, what's stopping you? What keeps you from telling others about the gospel? Today on Grace To You, John MacArthur shows you how you can honor Christ and tell others about him and obey Scripture in every area of life. It's part of John's current study from 2 Timothy chapter 1 titled, Unashamed. So take your Bible if you're able and follow along as John begins the lesson. 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. But how to do that?

How to do that? That's what we have in verses 6 to 18. Number 1, Timothy, if you're going to have courage, you have to renew your gift. Secondly, he says, consider your resources. Then there's a third point in verse 8 and that's accept your sufferings.

You have to be programmed for rejection. 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. Now Paul is not saying stop being ashamed in the sense that Timothy was showing a lot of shame. It hadn't come to that point but surely he had drifted some and the tendency was to be a bit ashamed in all circumstances to name the name of Christ. There was, after all, a serious and potentially deadly stigma in being identified with Christ, especially for Timothy and his society where Christians were being thrown in jail and killed. And the society saw Jesus as nothing more than a crucified criminal and Christians were nothing more than rebellious insurrectionists who had burned Rome. It could not only be humiliating to be identified with Christ, it could be frankly fatal. After all, the cross to the Jew was a stumbling block and an offense unto the Gentile was stupidity. At best they would think you an absolute fool.

At worst they would take your life. And so in verse 8 he says, do not be ashamed of the testimony, I love this, of our Lord. Personal possession, yours and mine, Timothy. And he links himself in with Timothy, our Lord.

And then he adds, or of me as prisoner. The only thing that could be even close to being associated with Christ in terms of a dangerous thing would be to be associated with Paul. Since Paul was the leading spokesman for Christ, anyone who identified with Paul was in the same danger Paul was in. And to be linked up with Paul could be fatal too, for after all he was in a dungeon because he preached Christ and anyone who preached Christ the way he did could wind up in the same place. So he says, look Timothy, don't be ashamed to be identified with Christ.

Don't be ashamed to be identified with others who preach Christ like myself. Learn to accept your suffering. Literally join with me in suffering. That's one word in the Greek.

One large compound verb. Literally to suffer evil together or to take one's share of evil treatment along with others. It means expect it. Get in the group. Anybody who names the name of Christ is going to experience it.

Chapter 3 verse 12, he says it again, all that will live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. So you expect it. You program for it. That is to be expected. Join the group. Suffer along with everybody else who ever named the name of Christ in an ungodly environment. Figure that in your family when you alone exalt Jesus Christ and you are a constant rebuke to the consciences of the people there, that they're going to react negatively. Program that if you're on a professional athletic team traveling on the road and you live for Christ while everybody else lives to the hilt for the devil, that they're going to resent everything about you. And it's going to be hard for you to be considered a part of the team.

And they might even cut you. It's happening all the time. I mean it's just that way in a hostile world. Now you say, well I know a lot of Christians and they never have any persecution right and they never confront the society they're in. If you speak to people the true gospel, not the sort of pablum approach that we have today, if you tell people they are Christ-rejecting, godless sinners on their way to an eternal hell, that's not a popular message. If you confront their sin and demand of them that they repent and bow the knee to Jesus Christ or be damned, that's not a popular message. But if you talk about wouldn't it be nice to have all your problems solved and have a happy life and go to heaven and don't talk about sin, that will be popular. You might even get a television program to say that. But that's not the gospel. If you are willing to be bold, then you're going to be willing to suffer. So you program yourself for that, Timothy, Paul says. You expect it. That goes with the territory and you're not alone.

It's so wonderful. Join with everybody else in suffering for the gospel because we're all in it together. It's a common partnership but it's curious to me, by the way, that in that verse he calls himself his prisoner, his referring to Christ. He was never the prisoner of Rome and he was never the prisoner of the Jews when he was in jail in Jerusalem. He was only the prisoner of Christ who sovereignly controlled his life. And if Christ wanted him in prison, that's where he'd be because there was a ministry to be had in that place. So he says, program yourself for suffering. Like that early church, you remember Acts 5.41, they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for Christ?

Program yourself for that. Expect it. Don't be shocked by it.

Just goes with the territory. Notice also, he says, suffering for the gospel. That's the issue, not suffering for sin. If you suffer for sin, that's your problem. It's suffering for the gospel.

Peter talks about that very thing in 1 Peter 4, verse 14. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you're blessed because the Spirit of glory and God rests on you. By no means let anyone of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evil doer or a troublesome meddler. But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed but in that name let him glorify God. Don't be ashamed of Christ because you suffer. Be honored because you suffer.

You're counted worthy to suffer for His sake. Paul says, I bear in my body the marks of Christ. Galatians 6, what a happy privilege. What a happy privilege to take whiplashes and to be beaten with rods and have manacles on my hands and feet that leave their scars for the sake of Christ. Paul accepted suffering as an inherent element in his ministry. In Ephesians 3, 1, he calls himself a prisoner of Christ Jesus. And wherever Christ took him, that was okay with him. So if we're in his service, we expect it.

And we anticipate that. We program ourselves for suffering and we aren't at all surprised when it comes. In fact, it's almost a welcome friend because it assures us we're saying something right. A fourth element in being courageous and not being ashamed of Christ is to remember your God, verses 8 to 10, picking it up at the end of verse 8 and going through verse 10. 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 granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 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. He says then, remember your God, the God who saved you. And the idea here is that when you're out there using your gift, energized and empowered by the very force of the Spirit of God in an environment of love and discipline, you will suffer but don't forget the God who holds you up. Remember your God.

Boy, what a tremendous thought. And what God is our God? The God who saved us, the God who called us with a holy calling, the God who did so according to His own purpose and His own grace, the God who granted us that salvation in Christ Jesus from before eternal times, the God who revealed it in the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. That's the God, the God of salvation in summary. The God who can save you is the God who can hold you. Do you understand that? If God can save me, He can preserve me.

Now let's take those specifically. Verse 8, according to the power of God. That's what keys the section. In other words, you suffer according to the power of God.

What does that mean? With a full understanding of the God who supports you, knowing the power that is available, that God is powerful, God is almighty, God can save us, God can cause us to endure, God can overwhelm our enemies, God can preserve us in the midst of anything. We can face persecution in God's power.

Millions of people have done it and even in their deaths the kingdom has been advanced. Any suffering we ever suffer at the hands of evil men, we suffer under the power of God who allows it, who can overpower it at any time. Now look what it says about Him. The power of God then is seen in the fact, verse 9, first of all, that He has saved us. He has saved us.

It is all of God. If anybody questions the source of salvation, that ought to end that question. He saved us. He designed salvation. He initiated salvation and He affected salvation in our behalf. He delivered us from sin. He delivered us from our fallenness. He delivered us from death. He delivered us from Satan. He delivered us from hell.

That is a powerful work. He overturned the curse. He overturned sin, death, Satan and hell. Incredible reality. The power of God unleashed in salvation that He came in Christ to save sinners was the fulfillment of the plan before the world began that God would save those He chose.

A tremendous thing. And the substance of our confidence is based on the fact that He had the power to save us. And if He had the power to save us, then He has the power to keep us. See, Romans 5 says that. In Romans 5, the apostle writes in verse 10 that if we were saved by His death, we are being kept alive by His life. In other words, if the death of Christ could save us, then the life of Christ can keep us. Romans 5, 10, a great verse.

If He is so powerful in death that He can save us, how much more powerful is He in life to keep us? That's why all that are saved will enter into glory. That's why Jesus said, I have lost none of them, but shall raise them all up at the last day. That's why in John 10 it says that they'll never ever, ever become not My sheep.

No man is able to pluck them out of My hand, He says. Because the one who can save us is the one who preserves us. And there's nothing else to live for than to put ourselves in His power. God then is Savior. And certainly the one who has the sovereign grace and the sovereign power to do that can keep us, sustain us, preserve us.

Furthermore, look at this. He not only saved us, that's negative. To save someone is to rescue them from danger or from evil. But He also called us with or to a holy calling.

I like to read it, called us to a holy calling. He not only saved us from sin, but called us to a holy calling. The word called here has to do with the effectual call, the saving call, not an invitation. It doesn't mean He called like calling sinners to repentance. It is an effectual call, an actual saving call. So when He saved us from sin, He saved us to holiness.

That's the idea. He called us to a holy calling. That's how powerful He is. He made the unregenerate regenerate. He made the dead to live.

He made the unholy . He made the sinner a saint. He called us from sin to God, from dark to light. And so there's a total transformation, the power of God, the invincible power of God. Now notice, He saved us, that is rescuing us from the consequence of our sin and the very plight of our sinfulness. And then He called us into a holiness which we never, ever experienced, which literally demanded the creation of a new nature. So He recreated us as holy in Christ. And then it says, not according to our works.

That's so important. There's no work at all that you do in salvation. There's no work that you do to deserve salvation. Titus sums it up beautifully in chapter 3 and verse 5, He saved us not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy. What a great statement.

So not according to our works. Now listen carefully, this is the key to the whole point here. If He saved us from our deadness, our sinfulness, and if He by His power not only saved us but made us holy and He did all of that without our help, then, beloved, we do not have to scheme and connive and contrive to preserve ourselves in the process of ministering in His behalf for the One who saved us without our help is also able to keep us without our help. So there's a sense in which I can abandon myself to my cause and leave my flanks unguarded, if you will. I don't have to go through life trying to avoid saying anything that might cause a problem.

I refuse to do that. I want to go through life saying the truth and let God take care of the problems. If He could deliver me from sin to holiness, He can deliver me out of anything else because the greatest deliverance has already occurred. The total miracle has already happened. And then not being able to leave the grandiose truth alone at that point, Paul adds, and he did it according to his own purpose.

Stop at that point. What a thought. Chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. Elect before the world was ever made. Names written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world. Tremendous statements that the purpose of God was set in concrete, as it were, before the world was ever begun. You were written down in His book because He chose you to believe in Him. And then He affected your salvation.

But first He purposed it. Notice it is according to His own purpose and grace. And He had to put grace in that verse somewhere because there's no other way to be saved. Undeserved forgiveness was required.

It is absolutely essential. So back to verse 9 and let me sum it up. He saved us by His power. He translated us into a holiness by His power.

He didn't use us in any way to do any of that, but it was all according to His own eternal plan and eternal grace which was granted to us in Christ Jesus...get this...from all eternity. Literally from before eternal times. When is that?

I don't know. When is before eternal times? That expresses the idea of a remote period that's so remote it's beyond my conception. I don't know when before eternal times was, but that's the time God planned me into His redemptive work. John MacArthur by name was to be redeemed in Christ Jesus and God set that in motion before eternal times.

Incredible thought. And see, God has such a plan for my life, such a plan for my life, my destiny was all sealed from before the world began. By the way, this presupposes Christ's eternal preexistence as God as well because it was granted us in Christ Jesus from before eternal times. So Christ Jesus must have been there before eternal times. What grandiose, magnificent thoughts of God's eternal, sovereign, gracious plan.

But it wasn't just a plan that was frustrated. No, look at verse 10, but now has been revealed. The plan came to pass and now we're in history. We went from eternity to history. It was revealed.

It's revealed in history. It has been revealed by the appearing, the epiphaneia of our Savior, God, Christ Jesus who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The word epiphaneia is used several times in the New Testament.

In fact, it's used I think four times in the pastoral epistles, 1 Timothy 6, 14, 2 Timothy 4, 1 and 8, and Titus 2, 13. And all four of those refer to His Second Coming. So sometimes epiphaneia refers to the Second Coming, the appearing of Christ in glory. Here it refers to His appearing in resurrection.

Very clearly that is the intent of the context. The appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The gospel is Jesus died and rose again. And in that resurrection was the appearing of Christ as the one who had abolished death. Notice verse 10, by the appearing of our Savior, and by the way, Savior most often in this set of epistles refers to God, but the Savior is God and here He appears as Christ Jesus, of course. What does it mean to abolish death?

Katargao. It means to render inoperative. It doesn't mean there is no more death. It means death has no more sting. It doesn't mean death is nonexistent. It means death is impotent. It means for the believer we don't fear death. Death becomes a welcome friend and Paul can say, for to me to live is Christ and to die is what?

Is gain. Far better to depart and be with Christ. We long for the day when this mortal shall put on immortality, this corruptible shall put on incorruption and life becomes life as God intended it. Death is swallowed up in life.

We long for the time when we shall be clothed, he says in 2 Corinthians 5, with our house which is from above. Death, where is your sting? Death, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin.

The strength of sin is the law, but thanks be unto Christ who has given us the victory. Now, how did He abolish death? Through His what? How did Christ abolish death? Through His resurrection. So that's what the appearing here means. So death is impotent.

It exists, but it is abolished as to its power. And so in the resurrection of Christ, God abolished death. Hebrews 2.14 puts it so magnificently when it says that Jesus Christ suffered death in order that He might render powerless Him who had the power of death, that is the devil. And He brought life and immortality to light.

What does that mean? Eternal life, immortal life, life forever in the presence of God and it all came through the gospel. It says at the end of verse 10. The gospel, what is that? The good news that Jesus died and rose again.

The person, the work of Christ that Jesus died, was buried, came out of the grave, that's the gospel. And we who believe in that are saved. Do you understand the God that we are talking about, folks?

Whenever the Bible wants to celebrate the power of God in the New Testament, it always goes back to the resurrection of Christ. And as we go out to use our gift and take our resources and accept our suffering, we do so in great confidence because of our God. And how powerful is our God? Our God is so powerful that He saved us from sin and death and hell. So powerful that He transformed us into holy beings in Christ. So powerful that He did it all without our help.

So powerful that He laid down before eternal times a plan and a purpose in grace in Christ to redeem us and in history He worked it out, brought Christ through the grave, out the other side, abolished the power of death and brought to us eternal life. That's the power of our God. And if we understand the power of our God, then we understand the power of the resources at our disposal, right? So when we go out boldly to proclaim Christ, what do we fear?

What do we fear? Are men stronger than God? Is the system bigger than God? Are the persecutors potent and God impotent? So He says to Timothy, remember your God, Timothy. Remember your God and the power of God.

And the very God who can bring about the plan of redemption can certainly sustain the people He has redeemed. What cause to be cowardly? What cause to be fearful? What cause to be timid or ashamed?

None. Only cause to be bold and courageous because of the God of power who is working out His eternal purpose in our behalf. What a glorious confidence should be ours in Him. That's grace to you with John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary. Today's lesson is part of his study titled Unashamed. Well, John, as you've been saying in this study, Timothy was Paul's son in the faith. Paul had poured his life into Timothy, training him for ministry, and yet even with that amazing discipleship, Timothy was struggling. And as we saw today, he needed to be told to do something as basic as remember God.

So I can imagine what listeners are thinking. If someone like Timothy could falter, what hope is there for us to be strong believers who can take a courageous stand for Christ and biblical truth? So, John, how do you answer that? Well, first of all, happily I can say that we have something Timothy didn't have, and that's the whole scripture. We have the Word of God. Timothy had Paul, obviously a powerful, powerful influence on him. But we have the entire revelation of God, the whole New Testament. What a tremendous blessing that is. And that goes right back to the Old Testament where the psalmist said, Your word of ahead of my heart that I might not sin against you. If you want to be strong and be able to stand firm, you have to be firm in the Word of God. So we do have that. Timothy did not have that.

And I think it's to our advantage significantly. So rather than thinking we're in a worse position than Timothy, I think we're in a better position than Timothy because we have God's divine revelation. Let me remind you again, in the lesson that we've been talking about, God has saved us and called us with a holy calling.

He will sustain us. I want to remind you about the study guide we've been mentioning titled, Unashamed, based on this current radio series from 2 Timothy 1. It gives you an outline for every message in our current series and the content of each sermon. Essentially it's four sermons in a book form. And for the past couple of years we've been reintroducing these study guides.

They've been amazingly popular. The Unashamed study is volume number eight, and it takes you verse by verse through Paul's final letter before he was martyred. And his goal was to strengthen his faithful but faltering protégé Timothy and also beyond him to strengthen all of us to take our stand in faithfulness to the Lord who gives so much for us. 110 pages, reasonably priced, shipping is free on U.S. orders. And they're designed that you could literally open them up and preach and teach right from the pages.

That's how they're outlined. Order a copy of the Unashamed study guide today. You might want to get several copies to use in your Bible study.

Yeah, thank you, John. And friend, if you want to share the gospel more boldly in a hostile world, this study guide will help. To order a copy for yourself or several for your midweek Bible study, or maybe a few to give away, contact us today.

The Unashamed study guide costs seven dollars and shipping is free. To order, call 800-55-GRACE. That number, again, 800-55-GRACE.

You can also order from our website, gty.org. And remember, you can download the MP3s for the Unashamed audio series free of charge when you visit gty.org. And friend, if today's lesson on being unashamed of Christ has encouraged you to give your friends and loved ones the gospel, if you've been challenged by one of Grace To You's online resources, or if someone you know has come to faith in Christ after hearing this broadcast, we'd love to hear your story. Email your feedback to letters at gty.org, or you can send your letter to Grace To You, P.O.

Box 4000, Panorama City, California 91412. And thanks for remembering to include this station's call letters any time you get in touch. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for starting your week with Grace To You. Be here tomorrow when John shows you how to live boldly for Christ and why you need help from other believers. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-13 07:40:06 / 2023-11-13 07:50:41 / 11

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