I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel: Part FiveThursday, October 27, 2005
3. Paul’s Reflection of Being Unashamed of the Gospel
It was this bold, unabashed, unembarrassed, shameless love for Christ and His message that enabled the Apostle Paul to walk right into Rome and preach the gospel he knew they would reject. Robert Haldane remarked,
“His courage was not more conspicuous when he…was enabled to enter Athens or Rome without being moved by the prospect of all that scorn and derision which in these great cities awaited him” (Romans, p. 45).
It was after enduring twenty lifetimes of suffering that he was able to encourage his son in the faith, Timothy, to do the same thing. Perhaps weeks or even days before his execution, Paul writes,
“God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 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” (2 Timothy 1:7-8).
This verse is unique because it defines for us what Paul meant by “ashamed” in Romans 1:16. Ashamed is linked to suffering hardship which is linked to suffering in general. Paul was not ashamed to suffer hardship or suffer at all for the gospel, and Timothy should not be either.
Timothy was reminded that it was precisely because Paul was appointed to be preacher of the gospel that he suffered the way he did (v. 12). Since Timothy was also appointed by God as a preacher of the gospel, he too was to, “share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2:3). And in the final chapter of his epistle, Paul encourages Timothy, “endure suffering…” (4:5).
Paul spoke from experience. The gospel message means suffering from the hands of many because they do not understand it. Yet this expectation of suffering is never to be a deterrent from preaching, and even doing so stronger and harder and louder and bolder than ever each time.
In the next post, I'll examine Jesus' command to us today in relation to unashamedness of Him and His gospel.