A Litte Monday Morning Musing…Hear and Do…

Jesus said that those who hear these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on a rock. The man who hears and does not do will be like an unwise man who build his house on the sand. When challenges arise to beat on the structure of one’s life, what it has been founded on will be why it stands.

I could hear these words echoing in my ears as I was driving my boys to school today. I always make it my aim to pray for Kingdom things for my boys as I drive them to school.

PLEASE HEAR WHAT I’M ABOUT TO SAY AND DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME. In spite of what I just wrote in all caps, I can already see the email complaint. Oh well, suck it up. I was an educator in a Christian school for 9 years. My boys have only known private Christian school. The purpose here is not to debate why private, private Christians, public, homeschool. EACH ONE HAS IT’S PROBLEMS. EVEN HOMESCHOOLING. SO DON’T GIVE ME ANY JUNK ABOUT WHY ONE IS SUPERIOR. THEY ALL FULL OF SINNERS AND HYPOCRITES AND WOLVES IN SHEEPS CLOTHING.

Our school is amazing and I’d put our academics against anybody and we’d win. Our spiritual development is tops. However, I’ve watched men and women rebel mightily against the truth of the Kingdom while at our school and even after they graduate. Private Christian school is no magic bullet. Private school is no magic bullet. Homeschool is no magic bullet. I’ve known homeschool kids to come off the dang chain when they leave the heavy thumb of their parents. I’ve known public school students to turn the world upside down for the Kingdom.

Here is what I prayed for my boys this morning, and I’d ask this for all who want to follow Jesus: Father, don’t let my boys take the Kingdom for granted and please don’t let them assume the faith. May they hear and do what you say. May their identity be known not by what exits their mouth but by their sonship through adoption as your sons and the Kingdom fruit they produce.

The post-Christian south is loaded with people who say words that sound “Christian” but they do not do what Jesus said. As a matter of fact, it’s the “Christian” that makes me want to leave “Christian” school altogether some days. Lip service to the Kingdom is useless. Jesus said that on the day of his reckoning there will be people who call him Lord but did not do what he said and Jesus will tell them to depart from him.

I fear my boys taking the metanarrative of the gospel for granted. I fear my boys being inoculated against Kingdom language (I use some psychology to counteract that in that I’m quite salty and do some crazy things globally and allow my boys access to “things” most “Christians” would be appalled at so that they see, smell, taste and know what we are up against). I fear the influence of the ethos of Rome, Georgia on my boys. I’m taking them to my favorite country as soon as I can raise the money to take them specifically so they can see a non-Christian world and enjoy the shock of the real world and their need to fill the domains they were created to fill, bring the healing of the Kingdom to that domain and make disciples and see the church explode in that domain. Is that dangerous? Yes. Why is letting them rot in a pseudo-Christian bubble any less dangerous? Do you believe Matthew 10:26-33?

Don’t assume the faith. Don’t take a Kingdom view of all things for granted. Ask, seek and knock. Go and do. Hear and obey. Just don’t assume the faith.

A little Monday morning musing.

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2 Timothy 1:8-14 Do Not Be Ashamed

2 Timothy 1:8-14

Do not be Ashamed of the King and his Kingdom / Put on display the King and his Kingdom (turning the statement of ashamed in the negative into a positive)

Last week we looked at the introduction and discovered there was a rich and palpable fellowship that was enjoyed by Paul, Timothy and the church at Ephesus.

That fellowship in love for each other allowed for the mutual encouragement to stay the course and fight the fight of the faith.

Paul’s love for and investment in Timothy allowed him to exhort Timothy to stand his ground and fan his gifting into flame, and this fellowship, love, encouragement and exhortation is the basis for the next instruction: Do not be ashamed of the Lord, his servants and be ready to suffer for the Kingdom.

Vital here is the connection between fellowship, potent gifting and putting the King and his Kingdom on display / being vocal about the Kingdom.

One leads to the other. Rich and palpable community leads to the confidence and boldness to do the work of the Kingdom (or using the negative not being ashamed of the kingdom).

The Lord sent out the 72 in teams of 2 with clear instruction. Community in service and proclamation brings boldness and accountability. Isolation can lead to believing lies because there is no one to exercise their Spirit gifting to call that lie a lie, so the person begins to live by it and the next thing we know it’s integrated into their worldview.

Much of the church’s lack of authority in the west is due to the church simply not being in fellowship and serving each other and serving together.

So many are too busy seeking the kingdom of this world that they can’t seek the kingdom of God together with other Jesus’ followers.

Perhaps we wrestle with evangelism because we are not in deep and intimate community.

Paul’s love for, fellowship with and exhortation of Timothy leads to the command to not be ashamed or to boldly make known the testimony of Jesus.

So, lets take a look at the overarching theme of 1:8-14 as “Do not be ashamed” or, to state it in the positive, “confidently and boldly do the work of the kingdom”, and let’s see the supporting reasons for such a theme.

Do not be ashamed/Be confident and bold: The service of the King is an honor v. 8a

“Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, NOR OF ME HIS PRISONER…”

Paul does not see his imprisonment as an imprisonment at the hands of the Roman Empire. Rather Paul calls himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

Paul’s understanding of the sovereignty of Jesus is astounding.

Paul sees his imprisonment as being at the hands of the Lord for glorious purposes.

Paul understands the kingdom. The kingdom has a King. That King is utterly sovereign over all nations, so much so that what Rome and the Emperor is doing to him now, he views as the work of Jesus.

The gospel of salvation focuses on escape from hell. The gospel of the kingdom focuses on the King and his kingdom (rule over all things).

Paul sees his salvation through the lens of the Kingdom and he sees himself as imprisoned by Jesus for Jesus’ purposes.

So, why should Paul and Timothy not be ashamed? They are servants of THE KING.

So, since they are agents in the King’s work, their suffering for Jesus is not something to be ashamed of. Rather their imprisonment and suffering is a badge of honor.

If they are mistreated it is being treated like King Jesus! After all, Jesus said his followers would be treated like he was treated.

Think of it like this, when a POW was imprisoned, he endured because his mission was just. He was proud of his service. The enemy would seek to shame them because they were captured, but they had to fight to keep their honor because their work was just.

When suffering for the King and his Kingdom, there is no shame. It’s an honor. If we are rejected, it is an honor. If we are opposed, it is an honor.

  1. The Christian does not seek to avoid suffering because suffering is not an indication of failure, rather of being on mission with the King.
  1. The Christian identifies with those who suffer for the King and want to assist, comfort and help.
  1. The Christian is confident and bold in their kingdom work goes “front door”.

Do not be ashamed/Be confident and bold: Share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God v. 8b

“, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,”

Let’s be clear. If we engage the globe we will suffer. Most of our suffering will be indirect in that we personally won’t receive suffering. Our partners may suffer and we suffer with them due to our love for them, but most of us will not suffer like our global brothers and sisters.

We suffer mostly from our foolish swallowing of the bait of Satan to reel us into the world system and keep us from the kingdom.

We suffer mostly from disobeying Jesus and getting the fruit of folly rather than the fruit of the kingdom!

Any right suffering we take, we will take to a lesser degree than the global church.

However, we may suffer ridicule and marginalization.

These can have the appearance of setting the church aside, but make no mistake, if the community of the Kingdom engages, even if she is marginalized, Jesus uses that to establish his rule.

Jesus is building his church and we are following him. We take whatever he decides is good. Remember, Paul views himself as imprisoned by Jesus not Rome.

Whatever we encounter, for following Jesus, we can trust that Jesus is behind it.

Based on the grammar here, being ashamed would cause one to avoid whatever situation would bring suffering due to the message.

In other words, if the message would bring suffering, the person who kept the message to themselves to avoid the “suffering” would be the one who is ashamed.

The ashamed person would rather avoid public ridicule by keeping the message to themselves.

Listen to Luke 9:26:

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Shame causes us to avoid speaking about the King and his kingdom. If we are operating in our “flesh” we may be tempted to be ashamed.

If we are operating alone we may be tempted to not be bold and confident.

But we are told in this passage to suffer “by the power of God.”

It’s vital to understand that we don’t suffer for Jesus in our own will and power.

  1. We gladly align with Jesus
  2. We trust Jesus’ sovereign placement of us
  3. Father and Spirit provide the strength to suffer with Jesus

If Jesus put us there, he is with us because he is working in us to make himself known. You and I can take rest in that truth.

Paul goes on to describe the “power of God” in verses 9-12 (because he talks about God’s power then gives us a comma before the word “who” thus unpacking that powerful work) in recalling our salvation so that Timothy could see that just as he didn’t create his purpose or his salvation he can’t create the power to suffer. He simply receives that power as he is aligned with Jesus.

And this is a key point: we are receivers as children not “getters” by our power.

Sons receive they don’t go get in the Kingdom. We don’t prove our identity as sons by performing. We receive the kingdom freely because Father is delighted to give it to us (Luke 4:3 – tempted to operate out of need not identity. Luke 12:32 – Father is pleased to give us the kingdom because we are his).

Look at how Paul makes this point to Timothy that we receive power to boldly and confidently do the work of the kingdom/to not be ashamed.

  1. Father saved us and called us to a holy calling not because of our works but because of his own purpose in grace. v. 9a
  1. Father’s purpose for saving us was given us in Christ Jesus before the ages began v. 9b
  1. Father’s purpose has now been manifested through the coming of Jesus v. 10a
  1. Jesus abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel v. 10b
  1. The power of God to save is the basis of Paul’s appointing as a preacher, apostle and teacher and this is why he suffers v. 11-12a

Do not be ashamed/Be confident and bold: Jesus is able to guard what has been entrusted v. 12b

“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.”

Paul is a herald of the kingdom and that is the reason for his suffering. Not being stupid. Not being foolish. Paul suffers because he preaches the kingdom.

So, Paul follows this up with the bold statement that this causes him no shame. Why?

The answer to the why is simply Jesus.

  1. Paul knows the one in whom he has believed.

Paul has an active, ongoing, real and powerful life with the King of the universe in whom he has believed.

Notice Paul did not say that he knows all the right things about Jesus. Paul says that he knows the one he has believed in.

Is your doctrine sound but your practice not up to par? Then you know. You do not believe. There is a difference. I do what I believe. I give lip service to what I know. Knowledge puffs up, Paul says, but love builds up. The one who loves like Jesus has passed from knowing about love to having experienced that kind of love, and now this person is actively giving that kind of love out.

They may imprison Paul, but Paul can say that he’s seen the King. They may think they put Paul in prison, but Paul knows Jesus put him there and can set him free or give them the liberty to take his life. Either way, Jesus wins and Paul wins because he’s a son.

Do you know Jesus like that!

  1. Paul is convinced that Jesus is able to guard the message he’s been entrusted with until “that day”.

So, what has Paul been entrusted with, and what is the time frame on Jesus guarding it? 2 Questions. What has Paul been entrusted with? How long is Jesus able to guard it?

First, Paul has been entrusted with the gospel of the Kingdom. Paul does not have to guard the gospel. Jesus guards the gospel. Paul simply receives the active work of Jesus in him to give a defense.

Luke 12:11-12 “And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

That’s not to say Paul didn’t study and that we don’t need to study. The bible clearly teaches we should study to show ourselves as a workman approved who can handle the word well (2 Timothy 2:15).

Read Galatians 2:1, Paul spent 14 years working and studying and growing.

But our study and our learning are not in our own strength, but by the power of God. We’ve seen that already.

Second, what is “that day”? That day is what Paul referred to in Titus 2:13, the blessed hope of the appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jesus will guard the message by his power in us and through us until he returns to rescue, resurrect and conquer. He’ll guard it in us and through us until he personally returns to finish the drill.

Do not be ashamed/Be confident and bold: Follow the pattern of sound (healthy) words from Paul in the faith and love that are in Jesus v. 13

Great news for Timothy: he does not have to make anything up. Paul has passed on the message and Timothy is to follow those sound words in faith and love.

No doubt Paul has in mind here the practices learned by Paul as the Spirit has inspired and taught and Scripture has been penned. More than likely Paul is referencing 1 Timothy.

Timothy is to boldly and confidently order the church, appoint elders and get after preaching and teaching.

Timothy is to do this in faith and love.

  1. Timothy is to trust that God’s way is better and does not need modern Greek business acumen applied.

We get in trouble when we try to do kingdom work with western business models. We strategize first and pray when we get into a pickle. We work harder rather than receive the kingdom. We worry rather than seeking first the kingdom and the King’s righteousness.

  1. Timothy is to love as he follows the sound words.

This is a tough one. Timothy is to correct opponents in gentleness hoping they escape the snare of the devil (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

Timothy’s love springs from compassion for those ensnared by Satan who are either in the church or outside causing problems.

We, likewise, must trust Father’s way and his means of love.

Do not be ashamed/Be confident and bold: Guard the good deposit entrusted to you by the Spirit v. 14

Finally, Paul tells Timothy to boldly and confidently guard the gospel. But, again, this is not done in fleshly toil. This is done by the powerful work of the Spirit (Luke 12:11-12).

Timothy is to depend on the Spirit to give him words when he needs them and he is to fan into flame his Spirit gifting through practice and passion for Jesus.

It is in this work that he guards the gospel.

Worship!

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

Church, we are a worshiping people. We are to make much of Jesus. We are not ashamed. Rather we confidently and boldly make much of Jesus in song to his praise and our joy.