Thursday, January 31, 2013
“Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews” (John 7:13 KJV).
You are not alone in being shy about witnessing for Jesus Christ….
Once the Apostle Paul began his ministry, and started preaching the glorious Gospel of the Grace of God (that we are saved by grace through faith without works), legalism (works-religion/Mosaic Law-keeping) contradicted his message and confused and divided Christians (sound familiar?). Two areas where legalism was dominant were Ephesus and Galatia.
Paul instructed Timothy, a church leader in Ephesus, to “charge [command] some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). They have swerved from “godly edifying” and “faith unfeigned [genuine],” and have “turned aside unto vain jangling [useless, foolish talking]; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm” (verses 6,7).
Sometime later, Paul writes a second epistle to Timothy. It is the Apostle’s final letter. Paul pens that he is “mindful of [Timothy’s] tears” (2 Timothy 1:4). Timothy is very discouraged in the ministry, as evidenced by Paul’s encouragement: “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (verses 6-8).
Timothy is now ashamed of God’s Word and of Paul’s imprisonment. He once courageously proclaimed God’s Word, but now he is craven. The false teachers in Ephesus have intimidated him to silence, lest they have “competition.” Paul instructs Timothy not to fear the lost world. He should endure the suffering that comes with being a Christian. He should speak up about God’s Word! How can he do this? “According to the power of God!” Dear saints, our flesh is weak, but God’s power is more than sufficient to give us boldness to speak His Word to this lost and dying world.