Suffering for the Gospel

2 Timothy 1:8-10(NIV)

8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

I was planning on writing about another topic this morning, but as I was reading my Bible, I found myself on the first chapter of Second Timothy. And as I began to read this scripture, several points stood out to me:

  • Do not ever be ashamed to testify about Jesus or the gospel
  • Be willing to suffer for the gospel by the power of God
  • It is only through God’s power that we are saved – and then we are called to lead a holy life
  • This is all made possible ONLY by God’s own purpose and grace – not by anything we have done
  • Jesus Christ is the grace, the truth, and the light. HE is the ONLY WAY to eternal life
  • The gospel shows us the way to Christ and to eternal life
  • We must always be ready and willing to share the gospel by living a holy life for others to see

As believers, we should never be ashamed to tell others of the hope we have through our belief and faith in Christ. I have always believed that the best way to do this is to live a life that reflects our love for Christ. The way we live out our lives speaks volumes about who we are and what we believe. Like so many other believers, when we sit down for a meal we always pause to pray and to thank God for our meal and for our many other blessings. We also do this when we are in public, as do many other believers. We pray – not to be pretentious – but to show our love and dedication to our Lord. And I also believe that, as other believers who are not comfortable with praying in public see this, it will prompt them to begin to do the same. Are you ashamed to testify about Jesus or show your love for Him in public?

We must also be willing to suffer for the gospel and we have the promise of the power of God to help us through times of suffering. Many of us only suffer insults or crude comments because of our belief and faith in Christ. We must remember that throughout the world, many of our brothers and sisters in Christ experience physical suffering and even death for their beliefs. How much are you willing to suffer for the gospel? I believe that a time is coming when many of us living in this world will be faced with this question. Don’t ever be ashamed to share the good news of the gospel with anyone who asks you. And do it in a way that makes that person want to know more about your beliefs. So many believers today would rather try to fit in with the world instead of rising above the evil of this world. You must choose! You can’t belong to Christ and continue to live as the world does. Romans 8:17: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”  I would suggest that you read 1 Peter 4:12-19 for further instructions on how to suffer for being a Christian.

But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life…”

If you are a follower of Christ, you are called to lead a holy life. We must realize that we are all sinners, as Paul so eloquently reminds us in Romans 3:23: “ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We can’t lead perfect lives, because we all struggle with sin at various times in our lives. By saying no to the pleasures and the sin of this world, we are showing others that we are different – we are set apart from this world. While many are travelling down that wide road, the believer is following that narrow road that so many people in this world do not find or try to seek out. When believers live worldly lives, and try to fit in with what society deems important, they fail to lead non-believers to Christ and to the promise of eternal life. You simply can’t have one foot in this world and the other in the light of God’s world. You must make a choice! This world leads to destruction and to death. The light of the gospel leads to eternal life. You must decide which world you will live in. Do not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Continue to proclaim it with the way you live out your life of faith in this fallen and sinful world.

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:13-16.

 

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