Teach Us Lord Music Video

Un grand merci à RWU productions pour rendre ce projet possible! Et aussi à mon épouse ayant filmé cette vidéo le jour après son opération de caillots de sang! Ci-dessous une petite partie « dramatisée » de son témoignage.

A big thanks to RWU productions for making this possible! And also to my dear wife who filmed this video a day after having surgery for kidney stones! Below a brief « dramatized » portion of her testimony. 

 

Teach Us Lord: LEAD SHEET

Histoire des Huguenots – History of the Huguenots

Cliquez ici pour voir un  PDF en anglais de l’Histoire des Huguenots (1523-1789)

Marquées de victoires et de défaites politiques et spirituelles, l’histoire des Huguenots reste à mon opinion une des plus grandes sources d’inspiration pour le chrétien francophone. Les persécutions, les souffrances, les rejets et la violence suivant le Réforme en France produisirent plusieurs générations de chrétiens purifiés par le feu. Mon histoire préférée reste celle des martyres de Toulouse, d’où je viens, tiré du livre « Cross and Crown » de James McCabe (1875).

 

Toulouse. 19 Février 1762.

Un cortège de quatre jeunes hommes se dirige vers la potence. Jugement : hérétiques. Sentence : mort.

L’histoire commence quelques  mois plus tôt, vers la fin de l’année 1761. C’était à ce moment là qu’une décision devait être prise pour les trois frères Grenier, enfants de la noblesse française de la dernière génération précédent la Révolution.  Un de leur meilleur ami, un jeune prédicateur, vient de se faire arrêter pour avoir prêché l’évangile de Jésus. Condamné à mort, ses jours sont comptés. Mais s’il pouvait être délivré ? Un plan de libération en vaudrait-il la peine ?

En marchant vers la potence, pourtant, les trois frères n’ont aucun regret. Leur plan aurait peut-être fonctionné, s’ils n’avaient pas été trahis. Peu importe. Ils connaissaient le risque. Ils l’avaient pris avec conviction.

Cette conviction, ce fut la même qui les poussa à endurer les mois d’emprisonnement précédent leur jugement. Jour après jour, les maîtres religieux venaient dans leur cellule pour ‘plaider’ leur repentance. « Abandonnez votre foi, et vous serez absouts ! »

Leur ami avait été arrêté pour la seule raison d’avoir prêché la Bible. Un crime ayant couté la vie à ses confrères pendant maintenant plusieurs générations.

Cette marche, cette dernière marche, serait aussi accomplie avec conviction. Le sourire au visage, l’air triomphant, les quatre amis entonnent en chœur les paroles du Psaume 118 :

« C’est ici la journée que l’Éternel a faite: Qu’elle soit pour nous un sujet d’allégresse et de joie!

L’Éternel est Dieu, et il nous éclaire. Attachez la victime avec des liens, Amenez-la jusqu’aux cornes de l’autel!

Tu es mon Dieu, et je te louerai; Mon Dieu! je t’exalterai.

Louez l’Éternel, car il est bon, Car sa miséricorde dure à toujours! »

Le chant continue jusqu’au sommet de la potence. Le bourreau s’approche du prédicateur, essayant par ses cris à le convaincre de changer d’allégeance religieuse. Gardant le sourire, sans résister, le jeune homme se laisse mettre la corde au cou.

La même offre proposée au trois frères est aussi rejetée. Mais pour eux, pas de pendaison. Leur noble lignée leur accorde le droit à une mort plus digne, celle de la décapitation. Chacun leur tour, ils posent leur tête sans résistance. Puis vient le tour du plus jeune, encore un garçon.

« Abjure et vis ! » lance le bourreau.

Posant sa tête sur le bloc ensanglanté, l’adolescent jette un dernier regard à son exécuteur :

« Fais-ton bouleau. »

 

Click here to see a PDF of the History of the Huguenots (1523-1789)

Marked by both victories and defeats in political and spiritual realms, the history of the Huguenots remains in my opinion one of the greatest source of inspiration for believers. The persecutions, sufferings, rejections and violence following the Reformation in France produced several generations of Christians purified by fire. My favorite story is that of the martyrs of Toulouse, my home town, found in “Cross and Crown” by James McCabe (1875).

 

Toulouse.  February 19th 1762.

Four young people walk towards a scaffold. Their condemnation: heretics. The sentence: death.

The story had began a few months earlier, towards the end of the year 1761. It was then that a decision was taken by the three Grenier brothers, children of a French noble family. One of their best friends, a young pastor, had just gotten arrested by the authorities for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Condemned to death, his days were counted. But what if he could be delivered? Would it be worth it to try?

Walking towards the scaffold, the three brothers had no regret. Maybe their plan would have worked, if they hadn’t been betrayed. But they knew the risk. They took it with conviction.

That conviction was the same one that helped them endure the months of imprisonment before their judgment. Day after day, the religious masters would come in their cell to “plead” them to repent. “Abandon your faith, recant, and you will be absolved!” 

Their friend had been arrested for the only reason that he had been preaching the Bible. A crime that had cost the life of many of his pastor friends also.

 This walk, this last walk, would be done also with conviction. With a smile on their faces, marching victoriously, the four friends being to sing together the words of Psalm 118:

“This is the day that the Lord has made;

We will rejoice and be glad in it.

God is the Lord who has showed us light

Bind the sacrifices with cords, even to the horns of the altar”

“Thou are my God, and I will praise Thee;

Thou are my God, and I will exalt Thee.

O, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good;

For His mercies endure forever.”

The song continues until their reach the top of the scaffold. The executioner comes near to the preacher, trying to convince him to change his religion. Keeping his smile, without resisting, the young man lets the rope that will kill him be laid around his neck.

The same offer was given to the 3 brothers but was also rejected. But for them, no hanging. Because they were nobles, they could have a more worthy death, they would have their heads chopped off. One by one, without resistance, they lay their heads down on the bloc of execution. Then comes the turn of the younger brother, still a young teenager.

“Recant and live!” says the executioner.

Laying down his head on the bloody bloc, the lad looks for a last time towards his executioner:

“Do your duty.”


 

Trésor Eternel – Eternal Treasure

« Garde le bon dépôt, par le Saint Esprit qui habite en nous. » – 2 Timothée 1 :14

Lorsque Paul écrivit à Timothée, ses jours étaient comptés. Emprisonné à Rome, il n’avait que quelques temps à vivre, juste assez pour exhorter son fils dans la foi à prendre le relai. Timothée, après avoir vécu près de 15 ans avec Paul au travers de voyages et de péripéties, était maintenant pasteur à Ephèse. Et alors que Paul s’apprête à mourir, il rappelle à son apprenti à quel point le ministère est béni et digne de consécration, même malgré les nombreuses souffrances en faisant parti.

« Garde le bon dépôt » il lui dit.

Au premier siècle, les banques et coffres-forts n’existaient pas comme nous les avons aujourd’hui. Lorsque les gens partaient en voyage ou devaient quitter leurs demeures pour un certain temps, il était très commun de confier un « dépôt » à quelqu’un de proche, ce « dépôt » comprenant les objets de plus grandes valeurs en possession. Un « dépôt » n’était ainsi donné qu’à quelqu’un de confiance, cette personne ayant à charge les plus précieux trésors de celui ou ceux voyageant.

Pour Paul, il n’y avait rien de plus précieux que l’évangile. Cet évangile l’avait sauvé, transformé, accepté, utilisé, pardonné, justifié de ces péchés, et rendu espoir. C’était pour lui cette perle de grand prix dont la valeur était digne de tout vendre pour l’acheter. Cet évangile qui l’avait embrasé, Paul l’avait aussi protégé des faux docteurs et faux enseignants, passant sa vie à le proclamer sans compromis ni altération. Il avait été tellement béni par sa puissance, il ne voulait rien léguer d’autre à la prochaine génération que ce qui est complètement pur et véritable. C’était son « dépôt, » son trésor, celui confié à Timothée dans l’espoir qu’il serait passé pur à la prochaine génération, et la suivante (2 Timothée 2 :2).

Bien sûr, cette tâche était impossible. Face à un Empire Romain prompt à persécuter les Chrétiens, Timothée ne pourrait tenir sans l’aide de Dieu et de Son Saint Esprit. Mais avec l’Esprit de Dieu…qui pourrait lui résister ?

La seconde épître à Timothée est pleine d’exhortations pour continuer malgré les difficultés. Paul l’encourage à ne pas être timide (2 Timothée 1 :7), à persévérer dans la prédication de la Parole en tout temps (2 Timothée 4 :2). Paul lui écrit, « Souffre avec moi, comme un bon soldat de Jésus Christ » (2 Timothée 2 :3).

Est-ce que Timothée eut du succès ? Selon la tradition, on nous instruit que Timothée continua à prêcher pendant près de 15 ans à Ephèse suite à la lettre de Paul. Puis un jour, voyant la procession d’un culte païen, rempli de zèle, il commence à prêcher en public, annonçant la bonne nouvelle du pardon des péchés par la repentance. La foule, en colère, le traîne dans la rue et la lapide à mort.

Quelle ironie. Encore jeune homme, il avait probablement vu à Lystre la lapidation de Paul – qu’il avait survécu. Cela ne l’avait pas empêché de suivre l’apôtre.

Paul mourut par amour pour l’évangile, et Timothée connu le même sort. Mais le « dépôt » continue d’être passé de génération en génération. Scellé du sang de nos héros et de la foi de nos ancêtres, cet évangile indestructible, trésor des siècles passés et des siècles à venir, continue à faire entendre sa voix dans un monde déchu. Merci Jésus !

 

“By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” – 2 Timothy 1:14

When Paul wrote to Timothy, his days were numbered. Imprisoned in Rome, he only had limited time to live, just enough time to exhort once more, his son in the faith to take the baton and continue the race. Timothy, after having lived nearly 15 years with Paul through his journeys and perils, was now pastor at Ephesus. As Paul was getting ready to die, he reminds his trainee of the worthiness and blessing of ministry, even in spite of suffering.

“Guard the good deposit” he tells him.

In the first century, banks and safes did not exist as we have them today. When people left their homes for a journey, it was common to entrust a “deposit” to someone of good standing, this “deposit” was made up of the most valuable objects in possession. A “deposit” was indeed given to someone trustworthy; this person entrusted to guard the most precious treasures of those traveling.

For Paul, there was nothing more precious than the gospel. This gospel had saved him, transformed him, accepted him, used him, forgiven him, justified him of his sins and given him hope. For him it represented that pearl of great price for which it was worthy to sell everything to obtain. This gospel that had embraced him, Paul had also toiled to protect from false teachers, spending his life to proclaim it without compromise or alteration. He had been so blessed by its power; he would not give anything else to the next generation but a gospel completely pure and truthful. It was his “deposit,” his treasure, the one entrusted to Timothy with the hope that he too would pass it on unaltered to the next generation, and the following one as well (2 Timothy 2:2).

Of course, this task was impossible. Against a Roman Empire prompt to persecute Christians, Timothy would not stand without God’s help. But with God’s Spirit…who would resist him?

The second epistle to Timothy is full of exhortations to press on in the midst of difficulties. Paul encourages Timothy to not be shy (2 Timothy 1:7), to persevere in the preaching of the Word at all times (2 Timothy 4:2). Paul writes to him, “Suffer with me as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3).

Did Timothy succeed? According to tradition, we are instructed that Timothy continued to preach in Ephesus for 15 years following Paul’s letter. Then one day, seeing the precession of a pagan festival, filled with zeal, he began to preach to the crowd, announcing the good news of the forgiveness of sin through repentance. The crowd, furious, dragged him by force and stone him to death.

How ironic. Still a young man, Timothy had probably seen the stoning of Paul at Lystra – which he had survived. This had not stopped him from following the apostle.

Paul died for his love for the gospel, and so did Timothy. But the “deposit” continues to be passed on from generation to generation. Sealed by the blood of our heroes and the faith of our ancestors, this indestructible gospel, treasure of past and of coming centuries, continues to trumpet its voice in this fallen world. Thank you Jesus! 

The Godly Man – 2 Timothy 1:15-18


Intro

Towards the end of the 19th century, as the globalization of the world was slowly increasing, a nationalist group in China, known as the Boxers, began to rise against foreign imperialism and influence, particularly against Christianity. This uprising quickly became violent as in 1900 some Chinese forced foreigners to take refuge in the legation quarter, where embassies were located. Pressed by the Imperial Court, the Chinese Empress supported the boxers and declared war on foreign powers, putting a siege on the Legation Quarter for 55 days. The war was extended across 26 prefectures of China. During this first summer, many foreigners and as many as 2000 Chinese Protestants were killed.

During that time the rebels captured one of the mission stations and sealed off all the exits except one gate which they left open. Then they took a cross and put it on the dirt right by the gate, so that it would be difficult not to walk over it by going through the gate. Following this, the Boxers told the missionaries and all the students who were there, since it was some kind of a mission school, that all of them had to go through the gate, and whoever would trample the cross could go free. The first seven students did just that. But then, the 8th student, a girl, came to the cross, knelt down, prayed for strength, stood back up, and walked carefully around the cross right into the firing squad. The 92 other students, which were all that were left, did the same thing and walked to their death rather than denying Christ and trample His cross. [pause]

The example and courage of this woman of God was enough to feed the souls of 92 people and give them strength to lay down their very lives for the sake of the gospel. This is what true courage does. It is contagious, it generates strength, and it is unstoppable.

This courage is one of the key virtues needed for the minister of the gospel. We have already discussed in our two past messages of this series how ministry comes with difficulties. It comes with pain and suffering, with trials and opposition. It is hard and it is foolishness in the eyes of the world. Why should people suffer for something that does not grant immediate pleasure? People might endure hardship to get their lusts satisfied, but why in the world should they suffer for Jesus Christ, someone who already left this world?

Once a month I go to a place called the Bible Tabernacle, a rehab center for homeless people, drug addicts, ex-convicts and all sorts of people. This Saturday, as I was walking to the chapel to go preach, I was talking to Andy, and asked him how he was doing. He answered me: I’ve blown it again. I was caught smoking drugs again and I’m just thankful that I wasn’t kicked out and sent in the streets again.

For the pleasure of one beefed up cigarette he was willing to risk spending the winter in the cold.

That’s how the world thinks. It’s not that they are not willing to suffer, but they can’t suffer for what truly matters. For this it takes a spiritual man, man of God. A man of conviction. A man of true courage.

That’s who Paul was, and that is who he wanted Timothy to be. And in order to have his disciple rise to that state, Paul encouraged Timothy to remember several things. In our first message of this series we saw that he reminded Timothy of his calling and of his gifting. Then we saw how he reminded Timothy of the superiority of the gospel. Today, he reminds Timothy of the example of a man of God, Onesiphorus.

Onesiphorus was a model in that he was a living example of what Paul wanted Timothy to be. A man of God, full of courage and conviction.

Do you want to be a man of God?

Then let us together look at 3 aspects of a man of God, so that we would learn to be examples in the faith.

2Ti 1:15  You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

2Ti 1:16  May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains,

2Ti 1:17  but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me–

2Ti 1:18  may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!–and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

I. A Man of God is Courageous (v.15-16)

The first aspect that we see from verses 15-16 is that a man of God is courageous. A man of God stands up in times of adversity and takes initiative in spite of danger.

2Ti 1:15  You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

2Ti 1:16  May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains,

The first chapter of this book is full of reminders. We saw in our first study how many times Paul used vocabulary relating to remembering and reminding. Here again, he begins and ends this section with the verb “to know.”

He begins “you are aware” or literally “you know this thing.” Paul is not telling Timothy anything new. He is simply reminding him of things he has witnessed so that he could call them to remembrance and be challenged by them. As we will see, Onesiphorus had modeled what Paul wanted of Timothy, for him to come to Rome unashamed, what it meant to be a man of God, an example that Timothy was to follow.

So first Paul reminds Timothy of straight-forward facts. He affirms, “all who are in Asia turned away from me.” Now, we must understand that this is some kind of hyperbole. The region of Asia, which is really in Paul’s day the western part of modern Turkey, had for its most important city Ephesus, where Timothy was ministering and where Onesiphorus was from. So we know it couldn’t be that all in a literal sense had abandoned Paul, since at least there were two faithful disciples who had not.

This could be better understood however in light of what Paul mentions in Ephesus 4:16

“At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!

Roman trials were in many ways similar to ours. There was a judge, a jury, an attorney, a prosecutor (or accusatory) and also many witnesses. But when it came to witness in favor of Paul, nobody showed up.

Now, was it risky? Certainly. If as we believe Paul had been arrested by Nero following the Great Fire of Rome, then the terms of his sentence would have been nothing short of treason, public threat, and possibly murder.

Associating with Paul or identifying oneself to him was dangerous.

And this is why everyone abandoned him. They literally “deserted” him. They turned away from him. It is a verb implying rejection and disaffection. Abandonment.

Even Sadam Hussein had people protesting against his arrest at the risk of open shame and possibly their very lives.  But not Paul. This man who had brought his disciples to the knowledge of God and to eternal life, was abandoned by them.

But particularly painful for Paul was the fact that those who abandoned him were from Asia. Paul’s ministry in Asia, particularly in Ephesus, had been a climax in his ministry. There he stayed for over 3 years, teaching daily in the hall of Tyrannus, “so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 19:10).

Paul’s stay in Asia had not been without troubles. We remember the commotion in Ephesus, led by Demetrius, in defense of “Artemis” or “Diana,” the goddess of the city. In his second letter to the Corinthians he also wrote,

“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” (2 Cor 1:8)

These people from Asia, Paul had loved to the point of risking his life for them. But they would not do the same for him. With Phygelus and Hermogenes, they all left him.

Now, we do not really know who those people were. This is the only mention of them in the Bible. All we know is that Paul knew them and Timothy knew them. They were probably believers and even leaders among Christians. People who had proven to be of value for the gospel. Names of good reputation.

And here even though the term of abandonment is strong, it does not necessarily imply apostasy. Simply failure. Demas, on his side, who had been a partner of Paul for years, we see in chapter 4 left him for the love of the present world. He took advantage of Paul being put aside to finally do what was on his heart.

You can imagine Paul being at one of the lowest point in his life. The people that he had loved and that he still loved were deserting him and dissociating themselves from him one by one.

But then comes verse 18:

2Ti 1:16  May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains,

But while a growing movement of believers seemed to have begun to dissociate themselves from Paul, one man stood for him, Onesiphorus. And while others abandoned Paul, this man did not. His heart was consecrated for Paul and for the ministry, and there could be no shame or threat that would stand in the way.

And here in this verse 16 we see both the strength of Paul’s character and Onesiphorus’ character. Paul is in jail, abandoned by all, ready to die, and he is praising the Lord and praying for the family of his friend. And it is interesting what he is praying for. He is praying for mercy.

Now, you don’t pray for mercy for someone who is doing well. Praying God to have mercy is that same as praying Him to have pity. That’s a prayer of someone in need. For Onesiphorus and his family, to have helped Paul had come at a great cost.

Trips to Rome were long and dangerous, but even more, to stand for the name of Paul was a great act of courage. Paul’s name had become shameful. He was a prisoner ready to be executed. In the eyes of the government and the whole Empire, he was a scandal. Now, to make a trip all the way to Rome, Onesiphorus was probably a man with certain financial success. We see that he has a household, he is not a servant or a day-laborer, he is a well-established man. This might be part of what he used to refresh Paul, as we read. But we must also remember, associating with Paul could cost him everything. Not only his very life, but also his business, his influence, the future of his family. Even future ministry opportunities, as he stood in opposition to others.

But Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul’s imprisonment. He was willing to lose everything so that he could continue to refresh this man of God, as he had done in the past.

To “refresh” in Greek comes from the root to “re-vive” or “re-soul.” It is the action of giving life again, to restore the soul, to give spiritual refreshment.

And this is what Onesiphorus was about. It fits his name well, meaning “one who brings profit.” He was a man of God, a man who believed that giving spiritual blessings to others was even more important than life itself. That’s conviction. That’s courage. That’s the attitude of a true man of God.

And there have been many Onesiphorus’ in history. I would never forget the story of the young wife of a Huguenot who would visit her husband imprisoned. He was sentenced to death for his faith, and she kept coming to encourage him to stand firm as he was awaiting the deadly blow. The soldiers let her do it, because the sounds of her pleas made them believe that she was trying to get her husband to recant and live. When they finally found out what she was doing, they tried to stop her, but instead she began to evangelize them. Because of her perseverance she was thrown in jail with her husband and executed with him on the same day.

True men and women of God do not back off during times of adversity. They stand and put the authorities of this world to shame. Their lives are example. They are characterized by courage.

II. A Man of God is Zealous (v.17)

So first, in verses 15-16, we saw how a man of God is courageous. Secondly, in verse 17, we see through the testimony of Onesiphorus that a man of God is also zealous.

2Ti 1:17  but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me–

We do not exactly know the reasons why Onesiphorus came to Rome. His name, ending in –us, shows that it is Latin. He might have had ties with the city. He might have gone for a business trip. We do not know. But what we know is that whatever brought him to Rome because secondary next to finding Paul.

Onesiphorus searched for Paul earnestly. He applied himself for the task. He took it to heart without giving up. Paul’s writing that Onesiphorus actually found him seems to come as a surprise. Paul was hard to find, and there must have been several reasons for this.

First, as we know, the city of Rome had been destroyed by a great fire. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, the fire had burnt for 6 days, affecting most of Rome. Only 4 of the 14 districts had been spared. The city was certainly changing and in re-construction, and you can only imagine that the comfort of prisoners sentenced to death would be the last priority of the city, especially when it came to those accused of having began that fire.

In fact, the condition of those prisoners awaiting execution was the worst of all. One of the prisons, in which many believe that Paul had been incarcerated, was named the Mamertine prison, a famous place that had been used to keep notorious prisoners such as Vercingetorix, my distant Gallic cousin who let the armies of what is now France against Rome.

This prison, initially built as cistern for an underground spring, had been transformed to keep the criminals that were condemned to death. It was in some ways a dungeon in the ground, a circular pit of about 30 feet in diameter with a hole at the top a little larger than that of a manhole in the street. It would be common for 30-35 prisoners to live in the pit in the same time.

There was also a door on the side of the pit that allowed that natural spring, which had now become the city’s sewage, to fill the room, drawn the prisoners, and wash them back out. The door would then be shut again until the place would drain and ready for another 30-35 criminals.

Key prisoners, such as conquered rulers and notorious criminals would be taken out of the hole to be paraded in the streets of Rome and executed.

My Gallic cousin with the long complicated name stayed there 5 years before he was killed publically.

Whether Paul was in that particular jail or not, we can’t be certain, although the fact that he was hard to find could imply that he was in a pretty similar condition.

This is why he would ask Timothy to come before winter and to bring a cloak, so that he would not die of cold.

In human standards, definitely a condition to be ashamed of.

But now imagine Onesiphorus, knocking on doors, asking officials, wondering through Rome, doing all he can to find Paul. The more he looked, the greater the danger on his life would increase. The more he persevered, the more the opportunities for him to be accused of the same crimes that brought Paul in prison increased.

There is no doubt the persecution against Christians had raged in Rome. Most of us have heard stories of them being used as human torches in Nero’s palace. The fact that Paul was hard to find had surely some implications concerning the state of the other Christians. Paul, who had ministered greatly in the city under his first house-arrest was certainly known and appreciated by the true believers of the town. Yet no one could bring him a cloak. No one had come to his first defense. Who knows who could give directions to Onesiphorus.

But this faithful believer was zealous for his convictions. He knew Paul desperately needed encouragement. He knew that Paul was suffering and needed to be refreshed again. These convictions to encourage and build up the great apostle of the faith were enough for him to persevere even at the risk of his life.

And that is what it means to be a man of God. A man of God is a man of conviction. A man who is not guided by mere opinions but who is taken captive by belief in the truth; who is controlled by it, who is owned by it, and who will not be halted by anything.

Do you call yourself a man of God? Do you see yourself as a man of God? Then test yourself to see what kind of zeal you apply in the things of the Lord.

What made Onesiphorus different from Phygelus and Hermogenes was that he wasn’t driven by circumstances. He was faithful regardless of what people thought, of what people could threat him with or what people could do to him and even his family. And even in times of great danger, he kept pressing on.

How zealous are we to take steps of faith? To take risks in our walk with God? To take risks in our giving? To take risks in loving people? To take risks in spending less time doing stuff and praying more?

How eager are we to see holiness in the church? Do we take ownership and pain in the sin of the body, or do we find comfort and pride in comparing ourselves to those that are less mature? How zealous are we to see people repent? To see the Bride of Christ be made perfect? Do we pray for these things?

How zealous are you to be read by the Word? Hebrews 4:12 is clear the Word reads us. It discerns our thoughts. It is like a mirror James said. How zealous are we to be changed by the Word? Or have we already arrived? What eagerness, expectation and prayer are there around our time in the Word?

Oswald Sanders noted, “So strong was Jesus’ zeal that His friends thought He had abandoned common sense (Mark 3:21) and His enemies charged Him with having a demon (John 7:20)”

As Piper said, brothers, let us not become professionals. People who have figured things out. People who stop pressing on, especially in times of difficulty.

But let us be like Jacob, not wanting to let go of God until He brings a blessing. Let us be like Moses, when told by God that he would be given the Promised Land but that God Himself was not coming but was sending an angel instead, crying out, “Show me Your glory! I’m not going if you are not going! And if you come, show your glory!!”

Onesiphorus was on a mission, and apparently it had been a mission that not many people had been willing to undertake. But he was zealous, and he completed his mission. And Paul was strengthened.

Like Onesiphorus we are on a mission. We have limited time, limited resources, limited energy, and the world is against us. But if we want our lives to count, we must be zealous. A man of God is a zealous man. Someone who does not stop to grow. Someone like Paul, who runs to win the race.

Wherever God sends you, don’t run behind. Be an example. Be a leader. Be a man of God. Let your kindness be known to all men. Let your prayer life be a source of inspiration. Let your knowledge of the Word be a knowledge of God, personal, deep, alive, and not just intellectual.

Find your mission, within God’s Great Commission, and suffer for it until it is completed and you go in peace.

III. A Man of God is faithful (v.18)

Onesiphorus was courageous and zealous, but he was also an example of a man of God to Timothy because he was faithful.

2Ti 1:18  may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!–and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

Here again is Paul’s second request for mercy for Onesiphorus, this time in an eschatological sense, in a similar manner that he expressed in his first epistle to the Thessalonians.

Some believe that Paul’s prayer for Onesiphorus implies that he had died during his journey to Rome or back from Rome, and Roman Catholics even use this passage to defend the doctrine of prayer to the dead. In Latin there is an expression that was used to describe such reasoning, “Capilo Tracte” meaning “pulled by the hair.” In other words, it is way over-stretched and it is just non-sense. First there is no evidence that Onesiphorus had died, and even though it is somehow unusual that Paul asked for blessings for his household in v.26 and for him at the Day of the Lord, he certainly had his reasons for it.

First of all, Onesiphorus had gone all the way to Rome, and was probably there for more than a simple visit to Paul. And if he was away from his family, they certainly needed mercy. Also, as Paul had stayed in Ephesus for such a long period where Onesiphorus was with his family, and Onesiphorus often refreshed him and served him, we can assume that Onesiphorus’ family had a part of that.

In fact there even was an apocryphal writing, The Acts of Paul and Thecla, which mentioned Onesiphorus as exercising hospitality to Paul during one of his journeys.

The reason why Paul was praying on behalf of Onesiphorus wasn’t because he was praying for the dead, but because he was praying God to be generous to his friend in rewarding his faithfulness.

Onesiphorus’ trip to Rome had not been the only proof of his dedication to Paul and to the ministry. While in Ephesus, he was constantly serving him. The word for “all” could be translated as “how many things.” he had been there again and again, faithfully.

And this is what brought Paul much joy, even in the midst of those horrible conditions in which he was living. He was seeing a true man of God, continuing to be faithful even when it cost, even when it hurt, even when it worked against his reputation.

But as an author said rightly, “today’s church wants to be raptured from responsibility.” The commitment of our people is more based on how they feel rather and on unshaken convictions.

Let me read to you an anonymous letter written some time ago that illustrate this:

Dear Sir,

You manufacture aspirin tablets that relieve sufferings, colds, and fevers. The mixture used in your tablets makes it possible for people to get out of bed and fight off headaches, bad nerves, and muscle spasms. I have noticed that these tablets work wonders on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and especially well on Saturday. But people who take them on Sunday seem to get no relief. They claim they cannot get rid of their aches and pains and are thus not able to attend Sunday school and church. Is it possible to put in an ingredient that will work on Sunday? Hopefully, A Concerned Pastor

And we laugh but the truth is that our churches are lacking of people that are faithful and courageous in the same time. That are faithful and zealous in the same time. That not only are committed, but that are always seeking to take things to the next step, to move forward, to grow in Christ-likeness and in the effectiveness of their gifts. The truth is that we are lacking men of God.

Biblical faithfulness is not only to do the same thing all over again without getting tired. That is called complacency. It is called traditionalism. Yes you want to keep in line with the truth, but you want to do everything in your power to keep on doing it better and better and better.

I have a brother who is very faithful. Every time he goes on the piano he plays the exact same song. Well, that’s the only one he knows.

Paul wrote in 1 Cor 15:58: « Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding [which means to be in excess, to super-abound] in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. »

What made Onesiphorus an example to follow was not only that he was consistent, but that he did not forget to put the word “faith” in faithfulness.

And Timothy knew this. He knew Onesiphorus’ character and faith ad faithfulness. He knew it very well, as Paul mentioned. He knew the challenges ahead of him and what he needed to do.

CONCLUSION

And I believe it is the same for us. We’ve heard of countless examples of men of God, of men of faith, of men of prayer, of men of conviction, showing us a path to follow. As Onesiphorus had done what was expected of Timothy, to go to Rome unashamed to testify with Paul for Christ, we have also many examples, in Scriptures and elsewhere, showing us what we need to do for each of us to accomplish our mission, as we clothe ourselves with courage, zeal and faithfulness.

And again, as we remember Paul and Timothy, we must also remember this unequaled task and privilege before us, not only to learn from the previous generations but also to be a source of inspiration for the coming generation.

As I mentioned before, I come from a line of pastors. By God’s grace, when I return to France for the ministry, I will be a 5th generation minister. And it all started with my great great-grand-father. He was an American of British parents with a heart for mission. He went to Turkey, but because of his bad health he had to leave the field and went back to America. He died at 33 with Tuberculosis. His son, my great-grand-father lived only for the gospel. I mentioned some of his ministry to you. He had a vision for the Word of God to be read and heard. He was the chairman of a committee of 12 people with a vision that eventually gave birth to Wycliffe Bible Translations, now one of the fastest growing evangelical movements in the world.

My great great-grand-father did not have time to do much in his life. But he passed the baton. He left an example that was followed. And because of his courage and his faithfulness, I am here today being trained and getting ready to return to France.

Onesiphorus is not a famous name. His testimony can easily be overlooked. But he stepped up to show a path that Timothy could follow. He stepped up in courage, zeal and faithfulness as a man of God.

Will you be this kind of man?

Not Ashamed of the Gospel – 1 Timothy 1:8-14


INTRO

The lady who brought me to the Lord, when I was a child, would often tell me stories about her grandfather. His name was Paul, and he was very much like the apostle Paul. He was a missionary in Guatemala and it was said of him that no path was too steep as long as he could share Christ to one more Indian. And that was his life. That was what consumed him. That was his calling.

A really hard-worker and a visionary, he accomplished in his life more than can be measured. Besides the 100 churches that he planted and the Bible school that he started, him and his wife had a great burden for Bible translations. A young man that he mentored, by the name of Cameron Townsend, shared the same heart. Later, this young man founded what is now known as Wycliffe Bible Translations.

Paul Burgess was also a modern-day John the Baptist, and when the dictator in charge of the country begun to manifest unbiblical and sinful behaviors harmful to the people, he was the first to denounce him while still encouraging the people to respond biblically.

This caused him to be arrested and thrown into a jail, away from his pregnant wife and from his five children. But on his way he could not resist but share the gospel to the policeman escorting him. He didn’t care about what would happen to him. He knew he was called. He knew God was in charge. He knew that if the “worse” happened, it would still be ok. And the last thing he did, before being thrown in a prison with floor and walls covered with urine, without blanket and without food provided, was to give his Bible to that young man. During his time in jail, the first letter he received was from his wife, telling him that their son was born dead, having been strangled by the umbilical cord.

As a kid, those stories sobered me. But I still loved hearing them, especially because the lady telling them to me was my mother. And she too, with my father, were in the ministry and constantly under stress.

Serving the Lord is costly. It is not easy. It comes with opposition, and great difficulties. “All who desire to live a godly life will be persecuted” taught Paul to his disciple Timothy. And I did see this growing up.

At 7 years old, I remember going to church with my father at 5am, hastily, because someone had set it on fire by throwing in a Molotov cocktail.

At 9 years old I remember my dad stepping aside from ministry, as I was trying to understand what the term “burnt-out” meant.

At 10 years old I remember going to France to serve in the ministry, leaving all my friends and my world behind. For our first year, our family of 8 lived in a 2 bedroom house, with one car – and one bathroom.

At 15, I remember our church building closing and our small assembly of 20 moving to a small hotel room

My parents went through a lot too, but the reason why they persevered and they continue to persevere, is because of this: the unsurpassed worth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Serving the Lord comes with difficulties and opposition. The first thing that my dad asked me when I told him I wanted to pursue ministry was this: do you know how hard it is?

Is it hard to serve the Lord and to please Him in this fallen generation? Well, no doubt it comes with challenges and trials. But is it worth it?

Today I would like to look at a passage where Paul reminds His disciple Timothy, in the midst of difficult times, of the worth of the Gospel.

Now Timothy had seen it all. He was from Lystra, the town where Paul had been stoned. During their years together Timothy saw Paul beaten with rods, till all his body was bruised. He saw him beaten with lashes, shredding his skin in pieces. He saw him homeless, stranded, a prisoner, insulted, opposed and even abandoned.

And now, as we turn to 2 Timothy, we arrive at the end of Paul’s life, and he is in prison, awaiting execution, and Timothy is now a pastor. And whatever bullets and cannon balls and flaming arrows of opposition which once used to fly at Paul, are now aimed at his disciple. And here Paul is about to die, he has finished the course, in he has only one desire left: that Timothy would take the baton, and live boldly for Christ even in the midst of difficulties. And why? Because God’s gospel is unstoppable.

So I invite you to turn to 2 Timothy 2:8-14, where we will look at 8 attributes of the Good News, so that we can be bold in the unstoppable Gospel.

READ THE TEXT – 2 Timothy 1: 1-14

Here Paul continues his exhortation to Timothy. Based on Timothy’s calling and gifting, Paul is now encouraging Timothy to be courageous. To not be ashamed. To stand up, and to stand up by the power of Gospel.

And here, first, weaved through his words, from verses 8-14, he gives his disciple a series of descriptions of the Gospel. A Gospel that is, according to him, unstoppable. And this is what Timothy needs to remember to remain courageous and not be ashamed of God.

1. Immovable as God’s Testimony

And the first description of this attribute is given in verse 8.

v.8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord

The first description is that this unstoppable gospel is immovable as God’s testimony. It is immovable: it is the very testimony of the Lord, of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, God made flesh.

Now, we must remember what culture Timothy lived in. He lived in a culture where honor and shame dictated people’s behaviors. In an honor-shame society, reputation is not only based on what you do and who you are, but on what people think of you. As a result, to keep a good status in the culture, you must consistently work on your image.

Now the problem of Christians was that the object of their hope, the cross of Christ, was the supreme emblem of shame and dishonor. Crucifixion was for the worst of criminals, for those whose lives were unworthy of being kept and their names unworthy of being remembered.

But for Paul, this gospel was first and foremost the gospel of God, the testimony of Jesus Christ. And who cared if people did not like? Forget about people. It is God’s very testimony. To believe it and to preach it is to stand on God’s side. Why would you want to stand anywhere else? Why?

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” (Psalm 19:7) This gospel is so crucial, Christ even said of it, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

The shame we live by the contempt of others will not last long. God’s testimony shapes History. The testimony is sure. It is immovable. It will endure until and mark the end of this age. It is unstoppable. It is no man’s gospel. It is God’s very own. Nothing to be ashamed of.

2. Untamable by Persecutions

Paul reminds Timothy: the gospel is unstoppable because it is from God. It is also unstoppable because human persecutions cannot tame it. It is untamable.

v. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God

Paul was God’s prisoner, “his” prisoner we read. He wasn’t Rome’s prisoner. He wasn’t Nero’s prisoner. That might have been what people would assume from an earthly perspective, but that wasn’t how God looked at it.

Paul was in prison because God wanted him there. He wanted the world to know the perseverance of the faithful. He wanted Paul to reach new depths of understanding of even his own suffering so that he could leave a written and inspired legacy that would shape and bless the Church of God. The Sovereign God had His reasons. Paul’s imprisonment was the will of God. It was for His glory, for His purposes, and never a plan B.

Yes Paul was bound. Yes, Paul was chained. Yes, Paul was isolated. But even the darkest confinement could not stop the gospel.

During the time following the Reformation, the French government tried to tame the testimony of the Huguenots, the French Protestants.

They began by killing their nobility. That’s what happened at the massacre of the St Bartholomew where 20,000-100,000 Huguenots were killed by angry mobs throughout France. Within days the river in Paris was said to have been filled with blood and corpses.

Later, they sent troops inside of homes, known as the Dragoons, to destroy furniture, torture and rape to force people to recant.

Because of the treaty of religious freedom, they passed over 309 edicts to trim around the law to make life impossible for Protestants. One of these rules was that anyone having said a word against the Catholic Church in the past 20 years could be condemned for it.

They abducted their children. They closed their academies and schools. They destroyed their church buildings and even their hospitals. They forbid professions for them and they put their merchants out of business.

Finally, as the Huguenots became too much of a minority, they revoked the edict that protected them. They banished the pastors. They forbid parents to teach the faith to their children. They condemned men to gallows and women to dungeons.

But if you asked me whose testimony is remembered to this day from this time period, far above that of kings and generals, I would tell you the story of those 3 youth from my home town, the Grenier brothers, condemned to death for helping a pastor who himself had already been arrested and condemned, and how they sang Psalms on their way to their execution, and how, the youngest one, a boy, after having seen his pastor hanged and his brothers beheaded, when asked to recant to save his life, looked at the executioner and told him boldly, after putting his head on the bloody block of death, “you do your job.”

The gospel of God is not tamable. It is unstoppable. The prisoners of God are not in vain.

And this is why Paul tells Timothy to partake with him in suffering. Literally, to “suffer evil with him.”

The negative imperative, to not be ashamed, is here linked with the positive imperative, to suffer. If you want to be a Christian that makes a difference, you will need to be like Christ. And Christ suffered.

But those suffering will not be in vain, because in them is the power of God. When Christ suffered, the glory of God that was revealed was beyond measure. When you suffer for God, His power is revealed, because it displays how the gospel is stronger than any other imaginable authority, entity, enemy or circumstance. It is untamable. It is the gospel of God, and it is unstoppable. Nothing to be ashamed of.

3. Unfathomable in power

It is immovable, untamable, and also unfathomable in power. It is from God, it endures, and its power is so unfathomable, it is so powerful enough to make the most out of the worse. It makes the most of the worse, taking condemned sinners and makes them holy.

v.9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began

You want to talk about a powerful Gospel? What about a gospel that takes sinners, fallen men, enemies of God, slaves of sin, children of Satan, under God’s wrath, condemned and lost, and changes them to be holy, set apart, pure and used by God to accomplish His very own purposes?

[You want to talk about something powerful? What about a gospel that takes people that are broken, corrupted, limited, self-destructive, selfish, idolaters and blasphemers to put them in a place where their nature is changed and their works have eternal significance?]

[It saves sinners from sin and hell, and calls them in ways that cannot be resisted, and sets them apart to participants in God’s very holiness.]

It takes those people whose works were useless, vanity of vanities, and include them in His plans so that His grace could be manifested in them and through them.

And all of this is already accomplished. Christ paid the price for our souls before the foundation of the world. And the result of this is that nothing in this world, absolutely nothing, will ever be able to stop God’s gospel to accomplish its purposes. It was decided, literally, “before time eternal.”

This gospel was established before the rules of this world were set. It is superior, it is more excellent, it is worthy and stronger than anything or anyone, even death itself as we see in the next verse. Its power is unfathomable.

4. Unbeatable even by death

This is our God’s unstoppable gospel. It is immovable, untamable, unfathomable and unbeatable even by death.

v. 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel

This gospel was made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ who became the Savior of the world.

Now it is very interesting that Paul does not use the term “Savior” very much. He only uses it 12 times, half of them being in Titus. It is a term that was often used of kings and emperors and key people who helped the welfare of a city or region. A savior was someone who helped the people to live better, who was generous and a mediator of good things.

Well, you want to talk about giving good things? What about taking the sting out of death? What about taking the fear that haunts people and turning it into a source of joy? What about making death a good thing?

No weak gospel can do that.

Now not only does the gospel give the message of hope which saves sinners and makes them holy, but it also illuminates their minds to understand the message. All that Christ accomplished is brought to light through the gospel. It is an open window to the very works of God and to their interpretation. It is the bridge that connects men to God.

It is unstoppable. It is unequaled in greatness. Death cannot quench it. It is worth being courageous for. It doesn’t remove dangers and fears, but that’s not what courage is about. True courage is to proceed forward even when there is fear.

C.S. Lewis described it this way, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

But if you want to be tested, you might as well be tested for the gospel, because it is strong, powerful, and if you stick to it you will become strong as well. It will build you up. It will shape you, and just as it remains, it will make you’re your impact for the kingdom unstoppable.

Like Paul, in jail, ready to die; but with a faithful and gifted disciple ready to take over.

5. Unshakable by Men’s Schemes

And so the list continues. God’s Gospel is immovable, it is untamable, it is unfathomable in power, and unbeatable. And here, in verse 11, we see that it is unshakable by men’s schemes.

v.11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher

As the description continues, we see here that God’s Gospel is carried under His supervision. For the ministry of His Gospel there can be no intruders. Those that God entrust with His precious Gospel are chosen and given offices and gifts directly from Him.

Paul was appointed, literally “put” as a preacher, and apostle and a teacher. The verb is passive here. Paul didn’t appoint himself. God Himself placed him there. He took him, even as a man whose purpose was to destroy the church, and made him what he wanted to be.

First, God made him to be a kerux, a herald or preacher. Now, you can’t be a herald without a message, and if you are going to be God’s herald, God’s preacher, than you will have a divine message. You will become God’s very voice.

But not only he is a preacher, but he is an apostolos, one who is sent out with authority. Not only he is the voice of God, but he is also the arm of God.

And not only he is a preacher and an apostle, but he is also a teacher, one who partakes of the mind of God, of the mind of Christ as we read in 1 Cor 2:16.

Now, those offices were not new. They are the continuation of Christ’s ministry. Christ was a preacher. He went from town to town preaching the word as we see in the gospel. The author of Hebrews also describes Him as an apostle (3:1). He was also the teacher of teachers, the new Moses, the rabbi of God.

When God sent Jesus to reveal the fullness of the gospel, He sent Him fully equipped. In the same way, when God sent Paul, he sent him fully equipped. In the same way, as God sent Timothy and will send you, He will also equip you with all things pertaining to life and godliness. Amen! The message is from God, the authority is from God, the doctrines are from God, and He can appoint anyone anywhere to carry Hi ministry, and this is what He will do to keep His gospel unstoppable

6. Unquenchable by Circumstances

Number six, God’s Gospel is unquenchable by circumstances.

v. 12 which is why I suffer as I do. 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.

Here we see that God keeps the gospel protected and unquenched from the fires of opposition through 3 things: the suffering of His servant, the faith of His servant, and the enduring life of His servant.

As we saw earlier, God uses suffering of His purposes, and here Paul is suffering. But his suffering is not in vain. He still finds no reason to be ashamed, because the power of the gospel does not rest in his hands, but in God.

What we read here in our Bibles as “entrusted to me” could be translated as “my deposit.” Here it does not refer only to the gospel, but also to Paul’s very life. Paul knew that the days of his life were counted, and that God would not take him home until his work would be done. Whatever God wanted His servant to accomplish on earth, it would be done before his time would come.

Paul’s faith was fully invested in God. He believed in his God. He entrusted his life to that God. He gave it all up so that God would own it and not him.

And how ironic that Paul is talking about God “guarding” his life when he is in prison. He knew what it meant to be guarded. And in the same way that the Romans prevented him to exercise his freedom to keep him set apart as a prisoner, in the same way God would guard His gospel from the enemy to keep it set apart as holy.

Paul knew that God was no small god and He would keep both Paul and his gospel protected until the Day of Christ, the Day of Judgment and the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory.

Paul knew that God’s gospel was unstoppable. Time would not make it void of power. Enemies would not be able to quench its fire. False teachers would not destroy its supremacy. Persecution would not alter its authority. God’s gospel would endure. Its destiny would be secure. Its preaching and teaching would be powerful and meaningful.

Nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it should motivate us like Paul to lay down our lives as well. It should motivate like Paul to give up our very selves because this gospel is the pearl of great price. This gospel is a treasure.

7. Incomparable in perfection

And this is what we see next. The Gospel is immovable, untamable, unfathomable in power, unbeatable, unshakable, unquenchable, and also number even, it is incomparable in perfection.

v. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Here the word for “sound” is one that means “healthy” or “whole.” It is the word that is used to translate the Hebrew word “Shalom” which means something complete, healthy, whole, perfect, full of peace.

And that was the gospel of Paul. It was spotless, it was perfect. It was worth following, as he now encourages Timothy to do.

Now, the exhortation to follow was not much different than that of suffering, or to not be ashamed. It’s all part of the same plea.

And it is worth it. This gospel is unshakable. It is perfect, spotless, it is complete and truly healthy.

But there still an element of responsibility for God’s servants. They must be dependant. First they must be faithful to the apostolic revelation, which we find in the Scriptures, and secondly they must abide in Christ, in the faith and in the love found in Him.

And let me tell you. Even though the gospel might be described here as unstoppable like the rotation of the planets or the waves of the sea, even though it might be described as unshakable as Mount Everest or the Rocky Mountains, it will not have no power through you if you are not dependant on God. If you are not a man of faith, a man of prayer and a man who treat the Word like your true daily bread, your life will be like the sowing of seeds in fresh concrete. Unless you are a true man of God, your impact will be like preaching at a cemetery.

God’s perfect gospel can only be carried out by a dependence on God’s perfect Word and God’s perfect Son. And if you do so, like the gospel, you will be unstoppable.

8. Unbreakable in God’s Spirit

Finally, Paul describes to Timothy here a last aspect of the gospel. It is unstoppable because it is unbreakable. Indeed, it is shielded by the Spirit.

v. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Here the theme of human responsibility continues, and again it is conditioned on a total dependence on God and on His Holy Spirit.

Earlier, Paul described this Spirit as one of power, of love and self-control (1:7). This is the Spirit given to protect that Gospel.

This Spirit is the one given along with God’s vision to evangelize the world and His authority to do so. It is so powerful that no city, no region, no country can contain it. It breaks through languages, breaks through cultures, breaks through cold-hearted sinners, breaks through everything. Our class can witness concerning this, can’t we? It is so powerful, the only vision that can be fit for its ministry is a vision big like the world!

But that’s not everything. It is also a Spirit of love. This Spirit can enable you and strengthen you to love the unlovable, to forgive the unforgivable, to pray for those who persecute you, to care for the souls of others even when it costs you your life!

And even more, it is a Spirit of self-control, of discernment, of discipline. He can help you to have wisdom, to make sound decisions, to be balanced in your life, measured in words and actions.

That Spirit was given in Timothy. It dwelt in him. By its power, Timothy would be able to remain faithful to this gospel and to live a life reflecting the standards of beauty and holiness of that gospel. In dependence to the Spirit, Timothy could remain, with the gospel, unstoppable.

This time, the word “deposit” is used for the gospel. It is a good deposit.

But what is a deposit? In ancient times, a deposit would be the most precious and valued possessions that someone would entrust a friend if he had to go on a journey. To assure that this deposit would be returned complete and unharmed was one of the highest and most sacred obligations recognized by ancient thought.

Listen. When God gave you the gospel, He gave you His best. But guess what. This gospel also needs to be passed to the next generation unharmed and uncorrupted. Men of God, this is our calling. This gospel is worthy of our courage. It is worthy of our suffering. It is worthy of our affection.

One of my favorite verses, Proverbs 28:1, states, “The righteous are bold as a lion.” That’s what we need to be.

CONCLUSION

Let me summarize it to you one more time:

The Gospel of my God is unstoppable

Its testimony is unshakable

Its power is untamable

Its salvation is undeniable

Its calling is irresistible

Are you ashamed of that gospel?

Its purposes cannot be broken

By its might death is beaten

By its virtue life is given

Are you ashamed of that gospel?

This awe-inspiring gospel is indestructible

It gives strength to bear the unbearable

The faith it rests on is incomparable

To end it? It is unthinkable

Its truth is unchangeable

Are you ashamed of that gospel?

Its protection is insured

In the Spirit, it is secured

Its goodness will endure

Will you stand for the gospel?

Paul Burgess, my great-grand-father, eventually made it out of jail. After a month or so he was able to go back to his family and continue his ministry.  But if you had to ask him the highlight of his career, he would probably have said that it happened 17 years after the prison incident. One day, after having preached in a church that he was visiting, he was on his way to his hotel. As he was walking, he found a church building he had never seen before. The service was still going on. There were about 250 people. Discretely, he came in from the back and took a sit in the sanctuary, just to check out the place.

Halfway through the preaching, the preacher paused his message. And starring at him, he told his people, “I had many things to say today, but there is someone here that we all need to listen to. And this is the reason why. 17 years ago, I was a policeman on the road to hell. And this man, Don Pablo, explained to me the gospel of Jesus Christ and gave me a New Testament. Little did he know that it was the beginning of my Christian walk!”

It is worth to work without shame for the sake of the gospel? Is it worth persevering, toiling, and even suffering? Yes it is!