Broadcast

Be Bold – Don’t Be Ashamed (2 Timothy 1)

From the series Becoming an Effective Disciple Maker

Have you ever been embarrassed or scared to say you’re a Christian? Do you struggle to be a bold follower of Jesus? In this message, Chip offers us some encouragement as he begins his series, Becoming an Effective Disciple Maker. Join us as we study the book of 2nd Timothy, and learn how we can boldly stand for Jesus – no matter what!

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Message Transcript

You’ll notice on the very front of your notes it talks about the paralyzing power of a fear. And I think we have all experienced a lot of that and I want to begin a little bit differently than normally. If you have a Bible, if you’d open to 2 Timothy, and what I would like you to recognize is that as you open that, you are holding one of the most precious documents in the world in the last two thousand years.

This is the final letter of the most influential man that has ever walked on the earth. The first, of course, was Jesus. But the apostle Paul, it would be his final letter, a very personal one to his son in the faith, Timothy. And we will learn the theme of the book is: I’m going to die shortly. And God has deposited in me and in His Church the truth, the faith, and the practice of living it out. And I have spearheaded it for the Gentiles. And I’m now passing it on to you and you need to pass it on to others.

And we are here because Paul was faithful and Timothy was faithful. But this is the final thing he wanted to say knowing he didn’t have much time left. He wrote thirteen of the twenty-six books. Jesus was the most influential, but our understanding of what happened on the cross was given by the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul. Without Paul we wouldn’t know redemption and propitiation and the sealing in the Spirit, who we are in Christ.

Without the apostle Paul, we wouldn’t understand the great doctrines of the Church, how all the Old Testament and the journey of what God was doing, how it climaxed in Christ.

The work of Jesus on the cross. The epistles, the letters. The man who was beaten, with rods, two or three times, in the sea a night and a day, left for dead once. And as you read this final letter, we’ll even get to the very last chapters. By the grace of God and the testimony of this man, he is still reaching forward, he is faithful, he loves God, he has a perspective. He’s not afraid.

And so, I think it’s a very, very precious document. And it gets more precious because I want to give you a historical background, because when you see when he wrote it, why he wrote it, and what was going on, just in the back of your mind be thinking of what you have been through, what is happening in the world, what is happening in our world. Think of disease and viruses and political division - and the kind of things that are happening in our world, the chaos. And I think what you’ll realize is that it’s in that environment that he is writing it.

Paul has had one Roman imprisonment. And then he went onto Spain. Claudius was the emperor and Claudius, this was not, when you did adoptions in the ancient world, you often adopted adults or late teenagers. And especially if you didn’t have children, you would adopt an heir, someone that you thought was bright and capable and in this case, Claudius adopted Nero at the age of thirteen to be his son.

By age seventeen, he had died and Nero is made the emperor. He had a tutor from the Senate; he did pretty well. But very quickly he was a very young, kind of wild guy, who actually in the conflict over power with his mother, had his mother murdered. He did things that no emperor had ever done. In 64 A.D., this is two years before Paul is coming back, at least from the ancient documents it’s believed that he was a part of setting Rome on fire because he wanted to clear out this area for, he had this big building plan that he wanted. And he, blamed, the scapegoat was the Christians.

So Paul comes back to a world where it’s now illegal to be a Christian, where Christians are the most wanted, where they are hated, where they are being blamed. And he’s got a young pastor in Ephesus named Timothy.

If you think it’s hard to be a Christian now, imagine being a pastor of a cosmopolitan city. Ephesus was known for two things: immorality and idolatry. It was the LA, the Shanghai, the London, the Paris of its day. Probably more like Las Vegas.

And so, you’ve got a young pastor who is really, really struggling, who has a, sort of, personality-wise, tends to be a little bit timid. You have an older man who has now come. And in this second imprisonment, he’s writing this letter, not chained to a guard where he rents a home, but he’s in a damp dungeon. And it’s dark.

And he’s already had one tribunal before the royal imperial court. And when he went, no one showed up but him. He’ll tell us, “I was all alone.” And you can understand why. I mean, to associate with him right now, they were fearful for their life. And he says, “All in Asia,” and when he says “Asia” here, it’s not the geography we think of. It’s the Church and the movement in Asia. It’s that area of the country.

And so, this is an older man who doesn’t have the perspective we have looking back at, “Hey, Paul, you know, don’t sweat it. In two thousand years, you’re going to be a hero.” All he knew was there was a calling from the living, resurrected Christ and he had been beaten up a lot, he had been left for dead a lot, and he’s in a damp place, and he has given his life for other people. And when he’s in his direst hour, nobody shows up for him.

And he cares about this young man and he realizes that the promises of God are true, regardless of your emotions; the promises of God are true regardless of your circumstances. And I have a calling from God, He appeared to me, and I have been faithful to that calling. And now I’m going to take that mantle, that Old Testament thought, that mantle, and I’m going to put it on Timothy. And our idea would be more like, “I’m going to pass the baton.” That’s the background. It’s heavy. It’s weighty. These are really, really precious words.

The purpose is his most personal letter and it’s from the heart. And it’s this encouragement to him. It’s short and it’s filled with admonitions and challenges and instructions to be a faithful disciple.

You are hearing this now because seventeen months ago, I was doing this in my backyard, just about like this. And it wasn’t a new dance. I had back surgery about four years earlier and I a herniated disc above and below where they fused my back and I laid on my side during the pandemic, they couldn’t get me in.

Finally did surgery and it was the most horrendously painful thing I have ever been through. And all I could do was, he said, you know, my first so I could walk to the kitchen and back. And then I graduated to making little circles in the backyard.

And In it’s in the midst of the pandemic and I’m praying and I have a lot of time to pray. God seems to really speak deeply to me when He gets my attention and for reasons that only He and my wife know, it seems to be when I’m going a little too strong, a little too hard. And she says, “You know, it’s interesting, Chip. Maybe by now after, you know,” we’ve got forty-four years coming up together, “you know, maybe you should stop yourself instead having the Lord always stop you.” I mean, she wasn’t blaming Him. She was blaming me. And did a little review of my life and I had an epiphany.

I have been passionate because of my background and some of you know, to help Christians live like Christians. I think the most powerful evangelistic thing that has changed the course of the world is when you meet a vibrant, living, godly person. Not perfect, but they are honest, they are real, they are authentic, they are passionate. When they mess up, they do something like this, “I messed up. I’m sorry. I was wrong.”

When they find that they have bias and they are thinking wrong about things, they repent and they are real and they are attractive. And I didn’t experience that in church and I met some people who did and God introduced me to His Word and a great group of people many years ago and that has been my passion.

But as I shuffled around, I heard God say, “Chip, yes. But you have not emphasized the second half.” Well, what second half? “It’s not enough to make disciples. Disciples have to make disciples. It’s about disciple-makers.” Sixty-six or seventy percent of our kids leaving the Church is not because of the culture. Their parents and the Church didn’t disciple them. We need to own that. Stop blaming.

Now, is media and education, are there a lot of forces that have really been negative toward the faith of our children? Yes. But they were in Daniel’s day and they did pretty good as teenagers without their parents around. They walked with God.

We’ve got to understand that we haven’t discipled. We have figured out how to get people to come to church, but what the pandemic revealed is we didn’t figure out how to really disciple them to walk with God, because under pressure, masks and virus and blue state or red state was way more important than Jesus.

During this pandemic, families were split apart and churches were split apart over ridiculous things. “You opened the church.” “You won’t open the church.” “You wore a mask.” “You didn’t wear a mask.” “You got the vaccine.” “I didn’t get the vaccine.” “I watch FOX; you watch CNN.” Ahhhh!

And Jesus, sitting at the right hand of the Father, “This is My body? And people’s needs had never been greater and they had never [been] more open, and this is what My body is doing, attacking each other?” And so, I heard the Lord say, “You need to teach through 2 Timothy about making disciples. And you need to focus your energy and your time and these pastors and whoever you’re going to help, not just to grow and to mature and to be a Christian who lives like a Christian, but to be a disciple-maker.”

And so, that’s why we are studying this book. And so, let me give you the framework of the entire book, because that’s what this book is about. There are four essentials in this book to becoming an effective disciple-maker.

Chapter 1 is to be bold; don’t be ashamed. In each chapter, he’s going to say something very clear, very strong, he’ll be a challenge, he’ll even talk about it as a sacred deposit. Now, think of something that you would put in a deposit box or something that is so precious. He goes, “This is this deposit, that God gave it to me; I’m giving it to you.” Chapter 1, “Be bold. Don’t you dare be ashamed.”

Chapter 2, “Be strong; don’t be distracted.” There are so many things that will take you off course. Chapter 3 is, “Be prepared; don’t be surprised.” The world is going to get difficult and worse and more evil than you imagined. Don’t act like, “Oh, where’s God? What has happened?” And then chapter 4 is, “Be faithful; don’t shrink back.”

And I guess what I want to say is I’m just passionate, I may even, I have some questions in your notes. I don’t want this to be an academic exercise. I don’t want you to walk out of here and get in your car and go, “Wow, I know a lot more about Paul! I know a lot more about Timothy! I can think my way through that book.

No, no. I want you to leave here thinking, With whatever years I have left, I need to be proactively making disciples. And I’m going to start first and foremost in my relational network called my family. And I’m going to ask, “Do I have a plan? Am I intentional? Where am I at?” By the way, if more is caught than taught, am I the kind of man, am I the kind of woman, am I the kind of dad, am I the kind of grandmother or grandfather that my kids and grandkids want to be like? Because we always have to be what we want those we disciple to become.

And so, I don’t want to be academic. And I want you to realize that this was written in an environment where Christians were paralyzed by fear. Does that sound familiar? What we are facing in our lives, if we are honest, is we are often paralyzed by fear. We are fearful to be bold and to be strong and to be outspoken about our faith, to be outspoken about our loyalty to Jesus. Sometimes in our own families. Not bold to say, “This is right and this is wrong.” Because what you know is that even if you share it winsomely or kindly or lovingly, and if you share it even with exactly the right motives and the right intentions, there’s a good chance you’ll get canceled. There’s a good chance that you’ll be rejected, even from family and maybe some other church members.

There’s a pretty good chance if you’re loyal to Jesus and to His Word, that’s what Paul is going to tell us to do, that some people will call you and see you as a bigot or maybe even a hater, because you would say, “I’m a follower of Jesus.”

Now, to be fair, can we try and be fair and look at it through the lens of other people? We have acted in some ways and we have done some things as the Church that have given them way too much ammunition to say, “There are bigots, they are haters, there are some in our family that have stood for the truth in ways that were most unloving, most unkind, and most uncaring.”

So, it’s not about just: Are we committed to the truth? Are we committed to the grace and truth? Jesus came and he was described in John 1 – what? Grace and truth. “The Law came through Moses, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time, but He,” Jesus, “has,” the Greek word is “exegeted Him.”

That means explained Him, made Him real, understanding. When Bible teachers, we exegete the text, that means we study it and find out: What did it mean to the first century and what did it mean? And what do these words mean? And what’s the culture? Because we want to fully exegete to understand it so we can know: How should we teach it to twenty-first century people? That’s what Jesus did and that’s what He wants us to do.

So, we are going to have a challenge and this book will address those fears. And here’s the exciting part. And it will provide the truth that will empower you and me to be set free, to be bold, to do it winsomely and kindly, non-judgmentally. To shoot it straight with family and friends and neighbors in a way and with a heart and with a kindness that has both grace and truth.

And so, I’d like to ask you a question. On a scale of one to ten right now, how would you rank your boldness for Christ? Okay? Just personally, you don’t have to… “I’m going to write this very small on my notes.” Please keep your eyes on your own paper. A one is, “I have been a wimp. I have just, I have been passive, there would be no evidence to convict me as being a believer. I just kind of shut my mouth, keep my head down, I don’t like conflict, I don’t like arguments. When the conversation comes up, because it always leads to other things, I just be quiet.”

And a ten is, “Man! I have been bold! I have shared it!” Right, okay? And I’m going to assume, whether you’re a one or a ten that you have done it winsomely and lovingly and kindly and here’s, no one can be a five.

It’s human nature, “Oh, I’m about a five.” Liar, liar, pants on fire. In denial. But, I mean, I just want to ask you, how, just honestly, how bold? You read through the book of Acts, the greatest evidence of the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy Spirit is boldness. It’s boldness. Paul was bold! People were bold. They were grateful they got to suffer.

We were just here about three weeks ago and we had three hundred and some pastors and we had twenty-two of our leaders from thirteen different countries. We had a pastor from Iraq, pastors from throughout India, pastors, leaders of whole denominations, whole networks. We had Communion and I was down there and a Chinese fellow who came up to me who just translated our third or fourth book for China, knelt down and put his hands on my shoulders and prayed for me and thanked me for our partnership and what is happening in his country. They are bold! And they understand it will cost them their life. And I don’t mean they’re going to get canceled, like, on Facebook. Or that maybe Thanksgiving is not going to be as unified as we would hope. Right? This is they are bold but they are meeting the deepest needs of people that are hurting right now. And so, they are also demonstrating incredible love.

And so, I’m going to ask this final question and we are going to jump right into the text and get to the answer. What are your greatest fears currently with regard to your faith? Try to be as honest as you can. Is it being rejected? Is your fear that you’ll be misunderstood? You’re afraid that if you’re bold you’ll create more division in your family or your church?

You’re afraid, I mean, honestly. I fly a lot, I meet a lot of people. I mean, it’s weird. Why would I care what someone thinks who is sitting next to me? And I find myself in conversations and it’s really clear that I’m coming from here and the other person is radically coming from here. And I have to really muster up, Lord, how can I winsomely, lovingly be bold? Here’s some guy I don’t even know and I don’t want him to not like me.

Okay! I’m a wimp! I admit it! You know? I think owning those feelings helps me say, “Okay, but You love him, Lord. So, would You give me some wisdom about how I can turn this conversation?” Because, man, he is hammering some stuff that we are as far apart as we could be. What I realize is probably what he needs more than anything else is to meet a Christian that doesn’t fire back and play ping pong with him and this and this and that. Maybe I’m going to keep listening and then I’m going to ask him about his family.

And I’m going to ask him about his fears and I’m going to ask him about his work. And it may take an hour and this guy is going to open his life and heart because I have done this a bunch, a bunch, a bunch of times. And after that, there’s some trust built, and he’ll ask me a couple questions. And he will just look at me with this cockeyed look like, “Hey, so you really think Jesus could change these things?”

“I really do. I really do. We could argue about all these different things, but you’re a dad that is struggling with a couple kids, you’re flying too much, you drink too much, you get depressed a lot, you don’t think your marriage is probably going to be together here in another three or four years at the current rate. And we can, oh, I guess we could argue about blue states and red states or masks or no masks or, you know, are you pro-Biden, pro-Trump, anti-Biden, anti-Trump? You know, I guess we could talk about all that stuff. Trivial. Divisive. Hey, you know what? I think we all ought to have, do our own research, have our own opinions, just realize none of that stuff gets anybody into heaven or out of hell.”

And they need to meet some people that maybe disagree with them on a lot of things or even inside the Church or inside the family, but really listen and really love, but you’ve got to face your fears.

And so, what I would say is what the apostle Paul is going to do is he is, here’s what I like and here’s what I like and here’s the big transition. He’s going to talk to a young man who, by nature of personality and history, just tends to be afraid when nothing is wrong. And he’s going to pass the baton and right now, things almost couldn’t be worse.

And so, as you dig into your notes, let’s see what the apostle Paul, in this prison, from his heart, is going to say to his son in the faith. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to,” notice his focus, “the promise of life in Christ Jesus.”

I’m in this dungeon, but the first words are about hope. And it’s a promise. And He always keeps His promises. “To Timothy,” think about when you want to align with someone and when you want to encourage them, how important it is to affirm. “…my beloved son: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus,” not the Lord, “our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve, with a clear conscience, the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day.”

I am here, you’re there, but I’m thinking about you all the time. I’m praying for you all the time. I love you, I miss you. “Longing to see you, even as I recall tears, so that I might be filled with joy.” He’s playing the videos in his mind about times with Timothy, the meal we had here, what happened in Lystra, the thing that happened over here, the early times in Ephesus, you know, the miracles we got to see God do. You know, watching you grow, watching you take some of these assignments like Titus.

“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and, I am sure that it is in you as well.”

These first five verses, you’ll notice in your notes, the historical background. You now know from whom it is, Paul, and why. About A.D. 67 in a Roman prison. And you know it’s to Timothy in Ephesus, to pass the baton.

And I just want you to listen for the importance of the mentor/mentee relationship and the context. It’s both the content and the context. But it’s deep, real, vulnerable, affirming relationship.

I came to Christ right after high school, before college. And I was discipled by a discipleship parachurch group and it wasn’t an on-staff person. He was a bricklayer. And I would say I was not a very, you know, people went to Bible studies and things like that. And I sort of hit and miss. And I had a hard time getting up to go to church. But Dave would come and meet down at my little kitchenette.

You know, I look back and I can’t tell you how many meals I ate at Dave’s house. I can’t tell you how many times he knocked on the door and I pretended I was asleep. I can’t tell you how many times other leaders in the ministry said, “Dave, that Ingram will never amount to anything. He is a flake.” And they were right! But he just wouldn’t give up on me.

See, I think somehow discipleship turned into, “Would you like to be in our group? What did you get for question number four? It has been great.”

You know, then, “Oh, did you hear Macy’s has a sale?” And, “Hey, what do you think about,” then you name your NFL team or your SCC team and the men go over here and the ladies go over here and, “I went to Bible study.”

And, by the way, that’s a really great beginning. But genuine discipleship flows out of heart relationships where you affirm and love and have experiences where you cry together. It’s not about their spiritual performance, it’s not about how much of the Bible they know, it’s not about whether they showed up or not, it’s not about whether you can, you know, after they leave you talk about, “You know, they are still doing this. And he still drinks too much. And I can tell he still has that porn issue. I could tell he’s kind of lying to us.” Or all that junk. It’s about loving them and getting them into God’s Word and introducing them to Jesus and putting your arm around them and walking with them to Jesus so they begin to get to know Jesus so He changes their life from the inside out, and that transformation begins to spill into every area of their life over time with all their ups and downs like we all had. That’s the context of discipleship and we have lost that.

I learned that where I went to church, if I showed up and I sat down and I listened, and if I donated at least once a month in a children’s ministry out of pure guilt, give a little money - I’m a follower of Jesus.

So, when the pandemic comes, guess what, I can now, I can do that at home! Except I don’t have to get dressed! And I’m in my jammies! And not only that is I like our pastor, but you know what? Have you ever heard of that guy in Texas or that guy in New York, right?

We became consumers instead of disciples. Is it possible that we, as pastors, in many churches have figured out how to grow a church service but not make disciples? Because we have a lot of non, un-Christlike people sitting in our churches when the pandemic – it didn’t cause anything, it just revealed a lot.

And by the way, you know what? I don’t know about you, but if I have a problem, I would much rather someone take an x-ray or an MRI and say, “By the way, we do have a problem. You have cancer.” That’s a lot better than, “I don’t know I have a problem. There’s no x-ray, there’s no MRI, and I have cancer.” I can do something about the cancer that I know I have; I can’t do anything about what I don’t know.

You have the greatest opportunity in your lifetime to make an impact for Jesus Christ because things are raw. It has been revealed. People’s behavior – your behavior always reveals your true beliefs. Our mouths are just what we say. And, by the way, what we sincerely think we believe. I mean, I was just reading the gospels.

“All of you will forsake Me,” Jesus said, right? And then He quotes the Old Testament passage, “They will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be,” Peter goes, “Not me!” And all, one by one, “Not me! Not me! Not me! Not me!” They were sincere! You don’t know what is in you. I don’t know what’s in me until the test. And when the test comes, you find out what you really believe.

And so, Paul is going to, he’s going to talk to Timothy about, first of all, he is modeling: This is how I have loved you. Deep discipleship, real discipleship always flows from the heart. And I want you to imagine, like, coming up and there’s a box and the box says “truth.” And then I want you to imagine a bridge and here’s another box and it says “truth.” And your children and your grandchildren and people that you want to help are on this side of the bridge.

And inside this is the truth of your life, the gospel, the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit. And what you want is you want to get this truth, not only in their mind, their heart, and their will, but you want to get it in their hearts over there.

Do you know what the bridge is that connects it? It’s not information. It’s relationship. People can only receive as much truth as they trust you, as they think you believe in them, as they actually experience, “I have prayed for you night and day. With longing, I’d love to be with you. With tears I am remembering you. I think about your family.”

What’s he really saying? He’s saying, “Timothy, this isn’t coming as, ‘This is what you ought to do and get with the program.’” You see, the stronger the bridge, this is great for you parents and even grandparents, the stronger the bridge, the greater the weight of the truth you can get from over there to over here.

And what I learned a long time ago with four kids that are all spread out; they are all going to have problems and they are all going to have struggles and they are all going to come to a time where they don’t know if they buy into you or God or anything else. And you have modeled as best you can, but what I can tell you is, and sometimes they will make some really big mistakes, right?

But if the bridge is strong, then they will feel safe to come and talk about it and get some help. And so, that’s what Paul does.

Now, he shifts gears and he is going to give Timothy three specific challenges. Let’s walk through them together. Challenge number one is to be bold and fulfill your calling from verses 6 and 7, he says, notice, “For this reason,” – what reason? The reason of how much I love you, the reason for where I’m at, the reason for why we are here and God’s calling, “for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” Why? “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and discipline.”

So, he’s talking about Timothy’s responsibility, right? Remember, “the laying”? He’s talking about his ordination. He received the Spirit when he trusted Christ. This was a time when, “Timothy, God has got His hand on your life. Remember? This gift, this deposit to be entrusted with the gospel, you need to get, hey, there’s a lot of junk going on now. It’s illegal right now. Nero is a nutcase.”

Here’s what I want you to get, everything you’re seeing in this world that makes you uptight and, “This is crazy and it has never been like this”. It was way worse! And this is what he said to a young man who hung in there and he passed it on, who passed it on, who passed it on, who passed it on so that you’re sitting in this seat.

And so, his responsibility is fan it to flame. And then God’s provision is: You have a Spirit living within you called the Holy Spirit. And the characteristics of the Holy Spirit is – what? It’s not timidity, it’s not fear, it’s dunamis. We get our word dynamite. It’s power, it’s love, and it’s discipline.

And what you know and I know is that what we need in order for the Spirit to have more of us, is we need time in God’s Word, because the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and makes it the living Word in our life. We need the community of God’s people so the Spirit living in you and the Spirit living in me - as we share and pray and then Jesus shows up -renews me. And that Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, creates the kind of love and discipline for people that are different, that helps us endure when it’s hard, and helps us discipline ourselves to do what we need to do instead of what we want to do.

You can’t live off your emotions. You can’t live out of fear. You either live out of faith, or you live out of fear. If you live out of fear, your life is like an emotional roller coaster. And God says, “You don’t have that spirit.” He’s telling him, basically, “Timothy, you have got what you need to make it. Your part? Fan it to flame.”

Can I ask you something? Can you, in your mind’s eye go back and tell me, when were you most passionate about following Jesus Christ? When, just when was it that, man, you know, I’ve got to get up and I’ve got to read! I’ve got to share my faith, I’ve got to care. We’ve got new neighbors coming and this matters. It matters more than I could miss an SCC game, I could miss an NFL game, I could miss a sale! This is what, this is who and what really matters. When was that?

And if it’s not right now, then here’s the call: Fan it into flame. Just fan it into flame. God is not mad at you. He wants to help you. He is saying, “Of course you have fear. That’s why I gave you My Spirit. It overcomes that.”

The principle, we must constantly remind one another of powerful experiences in our past and the power given to us by His Spirit.

Sit around the table. When family comes over, just say, “Hey, what are the biggest miracles our family has ever, ever experienced? What are your biggest moments with God?”

See, you need to remember the God that answered those prayers, He’s the same, right? Today! Yesterday! Forever! He’s willing, He’s open. But we need to come with expectation. We need to come with a sense of He is real and vital and wants to work and wants to bless and wants to use us.

And I think the first place to do that, the aside to parents, is let’s make our kids and grandkids our number one group that we disciple. And there’s, please, I mean, I, you know, we live in the psychological world, so what I mean by that is that what used to be biblical language has turned into therapeutic language. People don’t sin, they are sick. Right? You know. Or they have a syndrome or an -ism.

And, hey, you know, I majored in psychology – undergraduate and graduate work – so, I understand it. But here’s what I’m saying is sometimes we ought to use words like, “sin” and “guilt”. False guilt is bad; true guilt means the Holy Spirit has put His finger, something specific about my life, my mouth, my behavior, my attitude that is wrong.

And the agenda is not to make me feel, you know, we are in a world where, “Oh, I don’t want to make you feel bad.” There are times, guess what, God wants you to feel bad. Feeling really bad about doing something bad or thinking something bad or saying something bad is called remorse. And remorse leads to, “Wow, I’m sorry.” And I’m sorry
leads to repentance, a metanoia. Change of mind where you say, “Oh, Lord.”

Do you understand? All sin, it’s not about the rules, it’s about the relationship. Sin isn’t fundamentally you just crossed this line. Sin is you hurt your Savior. You hurt your wife. You let your heavenly Father down. You disappointed Him.

You know, it’s, when it’s just like, “Well, I’ll try not to do that anymore.” That’s behavioralism. That’s moralism. Sin is: I missed the mark of loving and caring and something came out of my mouth and it’s wrong in me. I need to own it. And when I come and I own it and I ask God to forgive me, He forgives me and cleanses me of all my sin and He fills my heart with peace.

We spend our energy trying to get rid of our guilt. If it’s false guilt and family of origin and go to a good therapist, a good Christian psychologist, hey, been there, done that. We all need some of that.

But a lot of life is like, “Why did you say that? That’s a hateful thought. That was bigoted. That was biased. That was insensitive. That was selfish.” Those aren’t psychological terms. By the way, everything I just said, I’m sure I’ve done all those in the last forty-eight hours. And I’m pretty convinced most of you have. But as long as we don’t kill someone we think, “Oh, I haven’t sinned a whole lot.”

It'd be interesting to go home and read your own Facebook and all the things you have posted and ask yourself, “How happy is God with that?” Because we are going to learn the Lord’s bondservant must not be quarrelsome but be kind to all.

Challenge number two is: Don’t be ashamed of your Lord. Look at verses 8 through 12. “Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or me His prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel,” how? In your own strength? No. “According to the power of God.” Why? “Who saved us and called us with a holy calling.” Based on what? “Not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus.”

And then notice what He accomplished, “…who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light.” How? Through this sacred deposit called the gospel, the good news, the work of Jesus.

And so, Paul says, “Don’t be ashamed of your Lord.” Why? Because of – He has called us. Because of what He has done. How can you, how can…? It’s like someone, you know, you were in ten billion dollars of debt, and you decided to kill yourself. And so, you’re on the edge of the ledge. And Jesus runs over and says, “I just paid your bill, and I rescued you.” And then you go to a business meeting and, well, “I kind of want to introduce my friend Jesus, but, you know, I’m a little ashamed of Him.” No! “He saved my life! He paid my ten-billion-dollar bill! I’m going tell everybody about Him!”

If you don’t keep remembering what Jesus has done for you, you’ll be ashamed of Him and you’ll care more about, in my case, what the person in the next seat on the airplane thinks. And I’m thinking, This is ridiculous. And so, I talk my way out of that and then, by God’s grace, I think, you know, I have a spirit that is going to be bold. Okay. I’m going to open my lips, Spirit, You need to get rolling.

And He does. And, by the way, can I say too? Just to help you guys out? I chicken out sometimes just like you. I get intimidated by people just like you. But what I find is when I am aware of what I have been called to, what I have been saved from, what God has done, the purpose, and that He has brought life and immortality and then He has actually entrusted me, I’m sitting next to this person. Or He’s actually entrusted me with the only answer to this man’s spiritual cancer. It’s the gospel of Christ.

And you know, the one thing I would say too, for some of you that are thinking, Oh, I probably need to really get a lot bolder. All your fears about how people will react, I’m just telling you, I think a lot of it is simply the enemy, because I’m shocked at how open people are.

We’ve got a neighbor that when we moved in, they said, “He’s the bad neighbor.” Boy, that’s, I thought, Boy, that’s not nice. No, no, he’s the bad neighbor. And they told me all these stories.
Well, you know, that was, like, setting my wife on fire. “We are going to love the bad neighbor.” And the first couple years, he was the bad neighbor. You know? I mean, you know, picky and this and that. I mean, and he had alienated everyone. And, of course, he’s married to the sweetest gal ever, you know, that we got to know.

And he recently, he got from the bad neighbor to the talking neighbor to the we have some, you know, he’s pretty reserved. You can’t get into his world much. To he has a disease, they don’t know what’s wrong neighbor, who asks us for prayer neighbor. Who thanks us for being around neighbor. Who I have shared the gospel multiple times with him and it’s just, “No, I got it.”

He tells about his denominational background and it was fire and brimstone according to him. “And if I walked into church, you know, it would cave in. And there’s no hope for me.” And I just keep giving him the gospel.

And for the first ten years, can I tell you something? If I only had ten years, I’d tell you the gospel doesn’t work. Of course, it works. But his need got him to where he was starting to think differently about life. And can I tell you some of your relatives? Some of your neighbors? Some of your friends? Some of your adult kids? Some of your grandkids who have told you that they have left the faith and on and on? If they, if someone would sit down and listen and have a cup of coffee and ask them questions for an hour or more, and not try and preach at them, that really listen and care about them, they are hurting and they are afraid and their world is messed up.

Don’t be ashamed of your Lord. Join me in suffering. It’s literally, the idea of this word is, “Enter in with me. Let’s lock arms and suffer together.” It’s like an invitation. The reason is to obey. To obey in light of what God has done for us. It’s a beautiful, beautiful passage.

Notice, he says, “For which I was appointed a preacher,” the word is, it would be in some older translations, it’s called a herald. And it would be like if there was a king or a queen, someone who officially would, you know, bap, ba, da, bap, ba, da, bap, ba, da, baaa! And make an announcement on the behalf of royalty.

And Paul says, “All these things, don’t be ashamed of our Lord. God assigned me to blow the trumpet and announce that the King of kings and the Lord of lords has come to this earth to save us and to forgive us and to take us with Him, to be with Him forever. And not only was I a preacher, but I was an apostle, one who is sent, and a teacher. And for this reason, I suffer these things.”

But he says, “I’m not ashamed.” Well, why, Paul? I mean, how come? You’re in a lot worse situation and you’re not ashamed. He says, “For I know,” the word here is an experiential know. “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to protect what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”

My life and my suffering and my hurt and my doubt and my uncertainty, and just like He has asked me to be faithful what He has entrusted to me, I can suffer because I know, I am convinced, that I have given to Him and He is able to protect that until that final day.”

Challenge number three to Timothy is: Don’t be ashamed of His Word. Verses 13 through 18. Hold on to the example of sound words,” or literally it’s the sound teaching, “which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. Protect, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, this treasure,” this deposit, “which has been entrusted to you. You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia,” “turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and he found me. The Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day – and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.”

And so, the command is: Retain and guard the truth. Be loyal to Jesus; be loyal to His Word.

And there are certain things to be loyal to His Word right now, just to be loyal to His Word to say, “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.” That’s not dissing anyone else. We live in a free country and people can have whatever kind of relationships they want to have. But as a follower of Jesus, to say that, you can be characterized as a hater and a bigot. Say it kindly. Say it lovingly. Give the theological basis for it. It’s the Christ and the Church. Marriage, by definition, has to have differences. It can’t have sameness. It needs a male and a female. There needs to be a connection.

There are multiple things to be true to God’s Word right now. And please hear the context. It’s historic. There are certain times where the Church has come together, the Apostle’s Creed. It’s very broad, it’s very clear. And inside the Apostle’s Creed, these things are true, that we believe: salvation by grace through faith, the virgin birth, the Triunity of God, deity of the Holy Spirit and the deity of Christ, the return of Christ. I mean, there are certain – the authority and veracity and the inspiration of the Word of God makes you look in some educational circles like, you know, “You’re just, like, three bricks short of a load.” Your kids in secular universities now are made to feel like they are anti-intellectual and if they don’t believe certain things that are now accepted as the truth.”

And so, my point is, are you ready? I’m going to say this as nicely as I can. I didn’t plan on saying it, but I’m going to say it as nicely as I can. Could we, as the Church, stop whining and stop complaining and stop blaming and equip our kids so that they have answers for those kind of things and have the kind of relationship with them and model the kind of things where they would say, “You know, the people that are saying this and that, their life is a train wreck. And, you know, grandma or grandpa, you seem to be a little old fashioned, you’re into that whole Bible stuff, but, like, you’ve got so many years together and you really love each other and you’re really nice to me and your life is the kind of person I’d like to be,” guess what, it’s called discipleship. That’s what we can do. But don’t hang back! Don’t believe the lies that your adult kids or your teenagers or your grandkids don’t want to hear from you.

My son planted a church; it’s about ten years old – and when pastors are going through rough stuff, you go help your son. And so, he was really tired and asked me if I would fill in. I did a little four-part series for him. And I did something really basic and then I hung around to talk with them and I was just like, “Oh, I so want to help these young people.” So, I said, “Honey, what do you think if, like, I’m going to, in the message,” there were two services, “if I would say, ‘Anyone,’” you know, I taught: This is what a Christian is. And I talked about being a Romans 12 Christian. Just a profile of a disciple from Paul.

And just real simple, I said, “If you would like to explore what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus, why don’t you come to my house for the next three weeks, the next three Sunday nights?” And I said, “Honey, do you think we could feed?” She goes, “Chip, I don’t even know how many people. Is it going to be five people? Is it going to be fifty people?” “Okay, can I invite them?” She said, “Yes.” And so, and so, I did. And I didn’t know. And so, we had, like, thirteen people show up. And all young people except two or three.

I can’t tell you, I mean, the first three talked about their church background, deconstruction, where they’re living in, “I thought I believed all these things. I’m not sure about this, I’m not sure about that.” Next week, next week, honest conversation, very small teaching, open, vulnerable.

In the first week, one lady made a lordship decision. In the first week, another lady came to Christ. The two or three gals that were doing the deconstruction had never had a safe place, you know what they needed? They needed some old white guy and his wife who love each other to open their home and explain lovingly the most basic things in Scripture that most of you could do off the back of your hand.

And then, the three weeks got done and, I mean, people shared at such a level and the third week I said, you know, “No one has to.” Because I didn’t know where they were coming from. “But let’s - Theresa, why don’t you start and I’ll pray at the end and if any of you would like to pray.” Well, they pour out their heart. And then pretty soon, “Chip, can I meet with you?” So, I’m meeting with this guy. And then, “Theresa, can I meet with you?” And here’s, you know what I want to tell you? Oh my gosh, these young people are so hurting. And their first thing is that it’s, “Oh, what about this, what about that? And they say this and evolution that and this is bad and…” You know what they need? They need someone to love them. They need someone to love.

And you know what? They know the top ten podcast influencers more than they know Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. There’s no anchor in their life. Well, the three weeks got over and everyone goes, “Do we have to quit?” And I thought, “Well, what do you want to do?” So, Theresa goes, why don’t you all come and we’ll all eat at our house?” And we had a cookout. And then they brought their mates or friends. I have never seen - two of them broke up with people that they were involved in that were unbelievers. I mean, bang, bang, bang, bang.

They have just responded to God’s Word and made application and their lives are radically changing. And we cry and hug one another. I didn’t know these people eight weeks ago!

Paul says to Timothy, “I love you, I’m for you, I care for you. Timothy, I want you to know that you’ve got everything that you need, but your part, you’ve got to fan it to flame. You’ve got to get passionate like in the early days. Get super clear. And then can I tell you? Don’t you dare be ashamed of your Lord. Don’t you dare be ashamed of His Word.

“And you know what? Can I invite you into something? I’d like to invite you to suffer with me. Would you go arm in arm? As I go out, could we just, you know, realize they’re going to call the play, they’re going to give you the ball, you’re going to grab the ball, and you’re going to tuck it. You’re going to get raked through the line, you’re going to go about eight yards and a linebacker who has been waiting for you and a free safety is going to knock your head off. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!” They do it on purpose and pay them a lot of money to do that.

And, you know, spiritually, that’s what God wants you to do. He goes, “Man, I’ve got angels blocking. I’ve got people prepared. You’ve got the ball of the gospel. I want to give it to you and I want you to break through and I want you to get some yards for the kingdom and I want to invite you to know that, guess what, there are some spiritual linebackers. They are going to say this or post that or say that or that.”

And you know what? You may find them asking you about: “Would you pray for this kidney problem that they can’t figure out what’s going on? And I’m really afraid. I’m afraid to die.” And they don’t have to respond great, because that’s not your responsibility. You can’t change them anyway, right? Outcomes are God’s. But would you be bold? Don’t be ashamed.
You’ll notice on the very front of your notes it talks about the paralyzing power of a fear. And I think we have all experienced a lot of that and I want to begin a little bit differently than normally. If you have a Bible, if you’d open to 2 Timothy, and what I would like you to recognize is that as you open that, you are holding one of the most precious documents in the world in the last two thousand years.

This is the final letter of the most influential man that has ever walked on the earth. The first, of course, was Jesus. But the apostle Paul, it would be his final letter, a very personal one to his son in the faith, Timothy. And we will learn the theme of the book is: I’m going to die shortly. And God has deposited in me and in His Church the truth, the faith, and the practice of living it out. And I have spearheaded it for the Gentiles. And I’m now passing it on to you and you need to pass it on to others.

And we are here because Paul was faithful and Timothy was faithful. But this is the final thing he wanted to say knowing he didn’t have much time left. He wrote thirteen of the twenty-six books. Jesus was the most influential, but our understanding of what happened on the cross was given by the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul. Without Paul we wouldn’t know redemption and propitiation and the sealing in the Spirit, who we are in Christ.

Without the apostle Paul, we wouldn’t understand the great doctrines of the Church, how all the Old Testament and the journey of what God was doing, how it climaxed in Christ.

The work of Jesus on the cross. The epistles, the letters. The man who was beaten, with rods, two or three times, in the sea a night and a day, left for dead once. And as you read this final letter, we’ll even get to the very last chapters. By the grace of God and the testimony of this man, he is still reaching forward, he is faithful, he loves God, he has a perspective. He’s not afraid.

And so, I think it’s a very, very precious document. And it gets more precious because I want to give you a historical background, because when you see when he wrote it, why he wrote it, and what was going on, just in the back of your mind be thinking of what you have been through, what is happening in the world, what is happening in our world. Think of disease and viruses and political division - and the kind of things that are happening in our world, the chaos. And I think what you’ll realize is that it’s in that environment that he is writing it.

Paul has had one Roman imprisonment. And then he went onto Spain. Claudius was the emperor and Claudius, this was not, when you did adoptions in the ancient world, you often adopted adults or late teenagers. And especially if you didn’t have children, you would adopt an heir, someone that you thought was bright and capable and in this case, Claudius adopted Nero at the age of thirteen to be his son.

By age seventeen, he had died and Nero is made the emperor. He had a tutor from the Senate; he did pretty well. But very quickly he was a very young, kind of wild guy, who actually in the conflict over power with his mother, had his mother murdered. He did things that no emperor had ever done. In 64 A.D., this is two years before Paul is coming back, at least from the ancient documents it’s believed that he was a part of setting Rome on fire because he wanted to clear out this area for, he had this big building plan that he wanted. And he, blamed, the scapegoat was the Christians.

So Paul comes back to a world where it’s now illegal to be a Christian, where Christians are the most wanted, where they are hated, where they are being blamed. And he’s got a young pastor in Ephesus named Timothy.

If you think it’s hard to be a Christian now, imagine being a pastor of a cosmopolitan city. Ephesus was known for two things: immorality and idolatry. It was the LA, the Shanghai, the London, the Paris of its day. Probably more like Las Vegas.

And so, you’ve got a young pastor who is really, really struggling, who has a, sort of, personality-wise, tends to be a little bit timid. You have an older man who has now come. And in this second imprisonment, he’s writing this letter, not chained to a guard where he rents a home, but he’s in a damp dungeon. And it’s dark.

And he’s already had one tribunal before the royal imperial court. And when he went, no one showed up but him. He’ll tell us, “I was all alone.” And you can understand why. I mean, to associate with him right now, they were fearful for their life. And he says, “All in Asia,” and when he says “Asia” here, it’s not the geography we think of. It’s the Church and the movement in Asia. It’s that area of the country.

And so, this is an older man who doesn’t have the perspective we have looking back at, “Hey, Paul, you know, don’t sweat it. In two thousand years, you’re going to be a hero.” All he knew was there was a calling from the living, resurrected Christ and he had been beaten up a lot, he had been left for dead a lot, and he’s in a damp place, and he has given his life for other people. And when he’s in his direst hour, nobody shows up for him.

And he cares about this young man and he realizes that the promises of God are true, regardless of your emotions; the promises of God are true regardless of your circumstances. And I have a calling from God, He appeared to me, and I have been faithful to that calling. And now I’m going to take that mantle, that Old Testament thought, that mantle, and I’m going to put it on Timothy. And our idea would be more like, “I’m going to pass the baton.” That’s the background. It’s heavy. It’s weighty. These are really, really precious words.

The purpose is his most personal letter and it’s from the heart. And it’s this encouragement to him. It’s short and it’s filled with admonitions and challenges and instructions to be a faithful disciple.

You are hearing this now because seventeen months ago, I was doing this in my backyard, just about like this. And it wasn’t a new dance. I had back surgery about four years earlier and I a herniated disc above and below where they fused my back and I laid on my side during the pandemic, they couldn’t get me in.

Finally did surgery and it was the most horrendously painful thing I have ever been through. And all I could do was, he said, you know, my first so I could walk to the kitchen and back. And then I graduated to making little circles in the backyard.

And In it’s in the midst of the pandemic and I’m praying and I have a lot of time to pray. God seems to really speak deeply to me when He gets my attention and for reasons that only He and my wife know, it seems to be when I’m going a little too strong, a little too hard. And she says, “You know, it’s interesting, Chip. Maybe by now after, you know,” we’ve got forty-four years coming up together, “you know, maybe you should stop yourself instead having the Lord always stop you.” I mean, she wasn’t blaming Him. She was blaming me. And did a little review of my life and I had an epiphany.

I have been passionate because of my background and some of you know, to help Christians live like Christians. I think the most powerful evangelistic thing that has changed the course of the world is when you meet a vibrant, living, godly person. Not perfect, but they are honest, they are real, they are authentic, they are passionate. When they mess up, they do something like this, “I messed up. I’m sorry. I was wrong.”

When they find that they have bias and they are thinking wrong about things, they repent and they are real and they are attractive. And I didn’t experience that in church and I met some people who did and God introduced me to His Word and a great group of people many years ago and that has been my passion.

But as I shuffled around, I heard God say, “Chip, yes. But you have not emphasized the second half.” Well, what second half? “It’s not enough to make disciples. Disciples have to make disciples. It’s about disciple-makers.” Sixty-six or seventy percent of our kids leaving the Church is not because of the culture. Their parents and the Church didn’t disciple them. We need to own that. Stop blaming.

Now, is media and education, are there a lot of forces that have really been negative toward the faith of our children? Yes. But they were in Daniel’s day and they did pretty good as teenagers without their parents around. They walked with God.

We’ve got to understand that we haven’t discipled. We have figured out how to get people to come to church, but what the pandemic revealed is we didn’t figure out how to really disciple them to walk with God, because under pressure, masks and virus and blue state or red state was way more important than Jesus.

During this pandemic, families were split apart and churches were split apart over ridiculous things. “You opened the church.” “You won’t open the church.” “You wore a mask.” “You didn’t wear a mask.” “You got the vaccine.” “I didn’t get the vaccine.” “I watch FOX; you watch CNN.” Ahhhh!

And Jesus, sitting at the right hand of the Father, “This is My body? And people’s needs had never been greater and they had never [been] more open, and this is what My body is doing, attacking each other?” And so, I heard the Lord say, “You need to teach through 2 Timothy about making disciples. And you need to focus your energy and your time and these pastors and whoever you’re going to help, not just to grow and to mature and to be a Christian who lives like a Christian, but to be a disciple-maker.”

And so, that’s why we are studying this book. And so, let me give you the framework of the entire book, because that’s what this book is about. There are four essentials in this book to becoming an effective disciple-maker.

Chapter 1 is to be bold; don’t be ashamed. In each chapter, he’s going to say something very clear, very strong, he’ll be a challenge, he’ll even talk about it as a sacred deposit. Now, think of something that you would put in a deposit box or something that is so precious. He goes, “This is this deposit, that God gave it to me; I’m giving it to you.” Chapter 1, “Be bold. Don’t you dare be ashamed.”

Chapter 2, “Be strong; don’t be distracted.” There are so many things that will take you off course. Chapter 3 is, “Be prepared; don’t be surprised.” The world is going to get difficult and worse and more evil than you imagined. Don’t act like, “Oh, where’s God? What has happened?” And then chapter 4 is, “Be faithful; don’t shrink back.”

And I guess what I want to say is I’m just passionate, I may even, I have some questions in your notes. I don’t want this to be an academic exercise. I don’t want you to walk out of here and get in your car and go, “Wow, I know a lot more about Paul! I know a lot more about Timothy! I can think my way through that book.

No, no. I want you to leave here thinking, With whatever years I have left, I need to be proactively making disciples. And I’m going to start first and foremost in my relational network called my family. And I’m going to ask, “Do I have a plan? Am I intentional? Where am I at?” By the way, if more is caught than taught, am I the kind of man, am I the kind of woman, am I the kind of dad, am I the kind of grandmother or grandfather that my kids and grandkids want to be like? Because we always have to be what we want those we disciple to become.

And so, I don’t want to be academic. And I want you to realize that this was written in an environment where Christians were paralyzed by fear. Does that sound familiar? What we are facing in our lives, if we are honest, is we are often paralyzed by fear. We are fearful to be bold and to be strong and to be outspoken about our faith, to be outspoken about our loyalty to Jesus. Sometimes in our own families. Not bold to say, “This is right and this is wrong.” Because what you know is that even if you share it winsomely or kindly or lovingly, and if you share it even with exactly the right motives and the right intentions, there’s a good chance you’ll get canceled. There’s a good chance that you’ll be rejected, even from family and maybe some other church members.

There’s a pretty good chance if you’re loyal to Jesus and to His Word, that’s what Paul is going to tell us to do, that some people will call you and see you as a bigot or maybe even a hater, because you would say, “I’m a follower of Jesus.”

Now, to be fair, can we try and be fair and look at it through the lens of other people? We have acted in some ways and we have done some things as the Church that have given them way too much ammunition to say, “There are bigots, they are haters, there are some in our family that have stood for the truth in ways that were most unloving, most unkind, and most uncaring.”

So, it’s not about just: Are we committed to the truth? Are we committed to the grace and truth? Jesus came and he was described in John 1 – what? Grace and truth. “The Law came through Moses, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time, but He,” Jesus, “has,” the Greek word is “exegeted Him.”

That means explained Him, made Him real, understanding. When Bible teachers, we exegete the text, that means we study it and find out: What did it mean to the first century and what did it mean? And what do these words mean? And what’s the culture? Because we want to fully exegete to understand it so we can know: How should we teach it to twenty-first century people? That’s what Jesus did and that’s what He wants us to do.

So, we are going to have a challenge and this book will address those fears. And here’s the exciting part. And it will provide the truth that will empower you and me to be set free, to be bold, to do it winsomely and kindly, non-judgmentally. To shoot it straight with family and friends and neighbors in a way and with a heart and with a kindness that has both grace and truth.

And so, I’d like to ask you a question. On a scale of one to ten right now, how would you rank your boldness for Christ? Okay? Just personally, you don’t have to… “I’m going to write this very small on my notes.” Please keep your eyes on your own paper. A one is, “I have been a wimp. I have just, I have been passive, there would be no evidence to convict me as being a believer. I just kind of shut my mouth, keep my head down, I don’t like conflict, I don’t like arguments. When the conversation comes up, because it always leads to other things, I just be quiet.”

And a ten is, “Man! I have been bold! I have shared it!” Right, okay? And I’m going to assume, whether you’re a one or a ten that you have done it winsomely and lovingly and kindly and here’s, no one can be a five.

It’s human nature, “Oh, I’m about a five.” Liar, liar, pants on fire. In denial. But, I mean, I just want to ask you, how, just honestly, how bold? You read through the book of Acts, the greatest evidence of the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy Spirit is boldness. It’s boldness. Paul was bold! People were bold. They were grateful they got to suffer.

We were just here about three weeks ago and we had three hundred and some pastors and we had twenty-two of our leaders from thirteen different countries. We had a pastor from Iraq, pastors from throughout India, pastors, leaders of whole denominations, whole networks. We had Communion and I was down there and a Chinese fellow who came up to me who just translated our third or fourth book for China, knelt down and put his hands on my shoulders and prayed for me and thanked me for our partnership and what is happening in his country. They are bold! And they understand it will cost them their life. And I don’t mean they’re going to get canceled, like, on Facebook. Or that maybe Thanksgiving is not going to be as unified as we would hope. Right? This is they are bold but they are meeting the deepest needs of people that are hurting right now. And so, they are also demonstrating incredible love.

And so, I’m going to ask this final question and we are going to jump right into the text and get to the answer. What are your greatest fears currently with regard to your faith? Try to be as honest as you can. Is it being rejected? Is your fear that you’ll be misunderstood? You’re afraid that if you’re bold you’ll create more division in your family or your church?

You’re afraid, I mean, honestly. I fly a lot, I meet a lot of people. I mean, it’s weird. Why would I care what someone thinks who is sitting next to me? And I find myself in conversations and it’s really clear that I’m coming from here and the other person is radically coming from here. And I have to really muster up, Lord, how can I winsomely, lovingly be bold? Here’s some guy I don’t even know and I don’t want him to not like me.

Okay! I’m a wimp! I admit it! You know? I think owning those feelings helps me say, “Okay, but You love him, Lord. So, would You give me some wisdom about how I can turn this conversation?” Because, man, he is hammering some stuff that we are as far apart as we could be. What I realize is probably what he needs more than anything else is to meet a Christian that doesn’t fire back and play ping pong with him and this and this and that. Maybe I’m going to keep listening and then I’m going to ask him about his family.

And I’m going to ask him about his fears and I’m going to ask him about his work. And it may take an hour and this guy is going to open his life and heart because I have done this a bunch, a bunch, a bunch of times. And after that, there’s some trust built, and he’ll ask me a couple questions. And he will just look at me with this cockeyed look like, “Hey, so you really think Jesus could change these things?”

“I really do. I really do. We could argue about all these different things, but you’re a dad that is struggling with a couple kids, you’re flying too much, you drink too much, you get depressed a lot, you don’t think your marriage is probably going to be together here in another three or four years at the current rate. And we can, oh, I guess we could argue about blue states and red states or masks or no masks or, you know, are you pro-Biden, pro-Trump, anti-Biden, anti-Trump? You know, I guess we could talk about all that stuff. Trivial. Divisive. Hey, you know what? I think we all ought to have, do our own research, have our own opinions, just realize none of that stuff gets anybody into heaven or out of hell.”

And they need to meet some people that maybe disagree with them on a lot of things or even inside the Church or inside the family, but really listen and really love, but you’ve got to face your fears.

And so, what I would say is what the apostle Paul is going to do is he is, here’s what I like and here’s what I like and here’s the big transition. He’s going to talk to a young man who, by nature of personality and history, just tends to be afraid when nothing is wrong. And he’s going to pass the baton and right now, things almost couldn’t be worse.

And so, as you dig into your notes, let’s see what the apostle Paul, in this prison, from his heart, is going to say to his son in the faith. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to,” notice his focus, “the promise of life in Christ Jesus.”

I’m in this dungeon, but the first words are about hope. And it’s a promise. And He always keeps His promises. “To Timothy,” think about when you want to align with someone and when you want to encourage them, how important it is to affirm. “…my beloved son: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus,” not the Lord, “our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve, with a clear conscience, the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day.”

I am here, you’re there, but I’m thinking about you all the time. I’m praying for you all the time. I love you, I miss you. “Longing to see you, even as I recall tears, so that I might be filled with joy.” He’s playing the videos in his mind about times with Timothy, the meal we had here, what happened in Lystra, the thing that happened over here, the early times in Ephesus, you know, the miracles we got to see God do. You know, watching you grow, watching you take some of these assignments like Titus.

“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and, I am sure that it is in you as well.”

These first five verses, you’ll notice in your notes, the historical background. You now know from whom it is, Paul, and why. About A.D. 67 in a Roman prison. And you know it’s to Timothy in Ephesus, to pass the baton.

And I just want you to listen for the importance of the mentor/mentee relationship and the context. It’s both the content and the context. But it’s deep, real, vulnerable, affirming relationship.

I came to Christ right after high school, before college. And I was discipled by a discipleship parachurch group and it wasn’t an on-staff person. He was a bricklayer. And I would say I was not a very, you know, people went to Bible studies and things like that. And I sort of hit and miss. And I had a hard time getting up to go to church. But Dave would come and meet down at my little kitchenette.

You know, I look back and I can’t tell you how many meals I ate at Dave’s house. I can’t tell you how many times he knocked on the door and I pretended I was asleep. I can’t tell you how many times other leaders in the ministry said, “Dave, that Ingram will never amount to anything. He is a flake.” And they were right! But he just wouldn’t give up on me.

See, I think somehow discipleship turned into, “Would you like to be in our group? What did you get for question number four? It has been great.”

You know, then, “Oh, did you hear Macy’s has a sale?” And, “Hey, what do you think about,” then you name your NFL team or your SCC team and the men go over here and the ladies go over here and, “I went to Bible study.”

And, by the way, that’s a really great beginning. But genuine discipleship flows out of heart relationships where you affirm and love and have experiences where you cry together. It’s not about their spiritual performance, it’s not about how much of the Bible they know, it’s not about whether they showed up or not, it’s not about whether you can, you know, after they leave you talk about, “You know, they are still doing this. And he still drinks too much. And I can tell he still has that porn issue. I could tell he’s kind of lying to us.” Or all that junk. It’s about loving them and getting them into God’s Word and introducing them to Jesus and putting your arm around them and walking with them to Jesus so they begin to get to know Jesus so He changes their life from the inside out, and that transformation begins to spill into every area of their life over time with all their ups and downs like we all had. That’s the context of discipleship and we have lost that.

I learned that where I went to church, if I showed up and I sat down and I listened, and if I donated at least once a month in a children’s ministry out of pure guilt, give a little money - I’m a follower of Jesus.

So, when the pandemic comes, guess what, I can now, I can do that at home! Except I don’t have to get dressed! And I’m in my jammies! And not only that is I like our pastor, but you know what? Have you ever heard of that guy in Texas or that guy in New York, right?

We became consumers instead of disciples. Is it possible that we, as pastors, in many churches have figured out how to grow a church service but not make disciples? Because we have a lot of non, un-Christlike people sitting in our churches when the pandemic – it didn’t cause anything, it just revealed a lot.

And by the way, you know what? I don’t know about you, but if I have a problem, I would much rather someone take an x-ray or an MRI and say, “By the way, we do have a problem. You have cancer.” That’s a lot better than, “I don’t know I have a problem. There’s no x-ray, there’s no MRI, and I have cancer.” I can do something about the cancer that I know I have; I can’t do anything about what I don’t know.

You have the greatest opportunity in your lifetime to make an impact for Jesus Christ because things are raw. It has been revealed. People’s behavior – your behavior always reveals your true beliefs. Our mouths are just what we say. And, by the way, what we sincerely think we believe. I mean, I was just reading the gospels.

“All of you will forsake Me,” Jesus said, right? And then He quotes the Old Testament passage, “They will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be,” Peter goes, “Not me!” And all, one by one, “Not me! Not me! Not me! Not me!” They were sincere! You don’t know what is in you. I don’t know what’s in me until the test. And when the test comes, you find out what you really believe.

And so, Paul is going to, he’s going to talk to Timothy about, first of all, he is modeling: This is how I have loved you. Deep discipleship, real discipleship always flows from the heart. And I want you to imagine, like, coming up and there’s a box and the box says “truth.” And then I want you to imagine a bridge and here’s another box and it says “truth.” And your children and your grandchildren and people that you want to help are on this side of the bridge.

And inside this is the truth of your life, the gospel, the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit. And what you want is you want to get this truth, not only in their mind, their heart, and their will, but you want to get it in their hearts over there.

Do you know what the bridge is that connects it? It’s not information. It’s relationship. People can only receive as much truth as they trust you, as they think you believe in them, as they actually experience, “I have prayed for you night and day. With longing, I’d love to be with you. With tears I am remembering you. I think about your family.”

What’s he really saying? He’s saying, “Timothy, this isn’t coming as, ‘This is what you ought to do and get with the program.’” You see, the stronger the bridge, this is great for you parents and even grandparents, the stronger the bridge, the greater the weight of the truth you can get from over there to over here.

And what I learned a long time ago with four kids that are all spread out; they are all going to have problems and they are all going to have struggles and they are all going to come to a time where they don’t know if they buy into you or God or anything else. And you have modeled as best you can, but what I can tell you is, and sometimes they will make some really big mistakes, right?

But if the bridge is strong, then they will feel safe to come and talk about it and get some help. And so, that’s what Paul does.

Now, he shifts gears and he is going to give Timothy three specific challenges. Let’s walk through them together. Challenge number one is to be bold and fulfill your calling from verses 6 and 7, he says, notice, “For this reason,” – what reason? The reason of how much I love you, the reason for where I’m at, the reason for why we are here and God’s calling, “for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” Why? “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and discipline.”

So, he’s talking about Timothy’s responsibility, right? Remember, “the laying”? He’s talking about his ordination. He received the Spirit when he trusted Christ. This was a time when, “Timothy, God has got His hand on your life. Remember? This gift, this deposit to be entrusted with the gospel, you need to get, hey, there’s a lot of junk going on now. It’s illegal right now. Nero is a nutcase.”

Here’s what I want you to get, everything you’re seeing in this world that makes you uptight and, “This is crazy and it has never been like this”. It was way worse! And this is what he said to a young man who hung in there and he passed it on, who passed it on, who passed it on, who passed it on so that you’re sitting in this seat.

And so, his responsibility is fan it to flame. And then God’s provision is: You have a Spirit living within you called the Holy Spirit. And the characteristics of the Holy Spirit is – what? It’s not timidity, it’s not fear, it’s dunamis. We get our word dynamite. It’s power, it’s love, and it’s discipline.

And what you know and I know is that what we need in order for the Spirit to have more of us, is we need time in God’s Word, because the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and makes it the living Word in our life. We need the community of God’s people so the Spirit living in you and the Spirit living in me - as we share and pray and then Jesus shows up -renews me. And that Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, creates the kind of love and discipline for people that are different, that helps us endure when it’s hard, and helps us discipline ourselves to do what we need to do instead of what we want to do.

You can’t live off your emotions. You can’t live out of fear. You either live out of faith, or you live out of fear. If you live out of fear, your life is like an emotional roller coaster. And God says, “You don’t have that spirit.” He’s telling him, basically, “Timothy, you have got what you need to make it. Your part? Fan it to flame.”

Can I ask you something? Can you, in your mind’s eye go back and tell me, when were you most passionate about following Jesus Christ? When, just when was it that, man, you know, I’ve got to get up and I’ve got to read! I’ve got to share my faith, I’ve got to care. We’ve got new neighbors coming and this matters. It matters more than I could miss an SCC game, I could miss an NFL game, I could miss a sale! This is what, this is who and what really matters. When was that?

And if it’s not right now, then here’s the call: Fan it into flame. Just fan it into flame. God is not mad at you. He wants to help you. He is saying, “Of course you have fear. That’s why I gave you My Spirit. It overcomes that.”

The principle, we must constantly remind one another of powerful experiences in our past and the power given to us by His Spirit.

Sit around the table. When family comes over, just say, “Hey, what are the biggest miracles our family has ever, ever experienced? What are your biggest moments with God?”

See, you need to remember the God that answered those prayers, He’s the same, right? Today! Yesterday! Forever! He’s willing, He’s open. But we need to come with expectation. We need to come with a sense of He is real and vital and wants to work and wants to bless and wants to use us.

And I think the first place to do that, the aside to parents, is let’s make our kids and grandkids our number one group that we disciple. And there’s, please, I mean, I, you know, we live in the psychological world, so what I mean by that is that what used to be biblical language has turned into therapeutic language. People don’t sin, they are sick. Right? You know. Or they have a syndrome or an -ism.

And, hey, you know, I majored in psychology – undergraduate and graduate work – so, I understand it. But here’s what I’m saying is sometimes we ought to use words like, “sin” and “guilt”. False guilt is bad; true guilt means the Holy Spirit has put His finger, something specific about my life, my mouth, my behavior, my attitude that is wrong.

And the agenda is not to make me feel, you know, we are in a world where, “Oh, I don’t want to make you feel bad.” There are times, guess what, God wants you to feel bad. Feeling really bad about doing something bad or thinking something bad or saying something bad is called remorse. And remorse leads to, “Wow, I’m sorry.” And I’m sorry
leads to repentance, a metanoia. Change of mind where you say, “Oh, Lord.”

Do you understand? All sin, it’s not about the rules, it’s about the relationship. Sin isn’t fundamentally you just crossed this line. Sin is you hurt your Savior. You hurt your wife. You let your heavenly Father down. You disappointed Him.

You know, it’s, when it’s just like, “Well, I’ll try not to do that anymore.” That’s behavioralism. That’s moralism. Sin is: I missed the mark of loving and caring and something came out of my mouth and it’s wrong in me. I need to own it. And when I come and I own it and I ask God to forgive me, He forgives me and cleanses me of all my sin and He fills my heart with peace.

We spend our energy trying to get rid of our guilt. If it’s false guilt and family of origin and go to a good therapist, a good Christian psychologist, hey, been there, done that. We all need some of that.

But a lot of life is like, “Why did you say that? That’s a hateful thought. That was bigoted. That was biased. That was insensitive. That was selfish.” Those aren’t psychological terms. By the way, everything I just said, I’m sure I’ve done all those in the last forty-eight hours. And I’m pretty convinced most of you have. But as long as we don’t kill someone we think, “Oh, I haven’t sinned a whole lot.”

It'd be interesting to go home and read your own Facebook and all the things you have posted and ask yourself, “How happy is God with that?” Because we are going to learn the Lord’s bondservant must not be quarrelsome but be kind to all.

Challenge number two is: Don’t be ashamed of your Lord. Look at verses 8 through 12. “Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or me His prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel,” how? In your own strength? No. “According to the power of God.” Why? “Who saved us and called us with a holy calling.” Based on what? “Not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus.”

And then notice what He accomplished, “…who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light.” How? Through this sacred deposit called the gospel, the good news, the work of Jesus.

And so, Paul says, “Don’t be ashamed of your Lord.” Why? Because of – He has called us. Because of what He has done. How can you, how can…? It’s like someone, you know, you were in ten billion dollars of debt, and you decided to kill yourself. And so, you’re on the edge of the ledge. And Jesus runs over and says, “I just paid your bill, and I rescued you.” And then you go to a business meeting and, well, “I kind of want to introduce my friend Jesus, but, you know, I’m a little ashamed of Him.” No! “He saved my life! He paid my ten-billion-dollar bill! I’m going tell everybody about Him!”

If you don’t keep remembering what Jesus has done for you, you’ll be ashamed of Him and you’ll care more about, in my case, what the person in the next seat on the airplane thinks. And I’m thinking, This is ridiculous. And so, I talk my way out of that and then, by God’s grace, I think, you know, I have a spirit that is going to be bold. Okay. I’m going to open my lips, Spirit, You need to get rolling.

And He does. And, by the way, can I say too? Just to help you guys out? I chicken out sometimes just like you. I get intimidated by people just like you. But what I find is when I am aware of what I have been called to, what I have been saved from, what God has done, the purpose, and that He has brought life and immortality and then He has actually entrusted me, I’m sitting next to this person. Or He’s actually entrusted me with the only answer to this man’s spiritual cancer. It’s the gospel of Christ.

And you know, the one thing I would say too, for some of you that are thinking, Oh, I probably need to really get a lot bolder. All your fears about how people will react, I’m just telling you, I think a lot of it is simply the enemy, because I’m shocked at how open people are.

We’ve got a neighbor that when we moved in, they said, “He’s the bad neighbor.” Boy, that’s, I thought, Boy, that’s not nice. No, no, he’s the bad neighbor. And they told me all these stories.
Well, you know, that was, like, setting my wife on fire. “We are going to love the bad neighbor.” And the first couple years, he was the bad neighbor. You know? I mean, you know, picky and this and that. I mean, and he had alienated everyone. And, of course, he’s married to the sweetest gal ever, you know, that we got to know.

And he recently, he got from the bad neighbor to the talking neighbor to the we have some, you know, he’s pretty reserved. You can’t get into his world much. To he has a disease, they don’t know what’s wrong neighbor, who asks us for prayer neighbor. Who thanks us for being around neighbor. Who I have shared the gospel multiple times with him and it’s just, “No, I got it.”

He tells about his denominational background and it was fire and brimstone according to him. “And if I walked into church, you know, it would cave in. And there’s no hope for me.” And I just keep giving him the gospel.

And for the first ten years, can I tell you something? If I only had ten years, I’d tell you the gospel doesn’t work. Of course, it works. But his need got him to where he was starting to think differently about life. And can I tell you some of your relatives? Some of your neighbors? Some of your friends? Some of your adult kids? Some of your grandkids who have told you that they have left the faith and on and on? If they, if someone would sit down and listen and have a cup of coffee and ask them questions for an hour or more, and not try and preach at them, that really listen and care about them, they are hurting and they are afraid and their world is messed up.

Don’t be ashamed of your Lord. Join me in suffering. It’s literally, the idea of this word is, “Enter in with me. Let’s lock arms and suffer together.” It’s like an invitation. The reason is to obey. To obey in light of what God has done for us. It’s a beautiful, beautiful passage.

Notice, he says, “For which I was appointed a preacher,” the word is, it would be in some older translations, it’s called a herald. And it would be like if there was a king or a queen, someone who officially would, you know, bap, ba, da, bap, ba, da, bap, ba, da, baaa! And make an announcement on the behalf of royalty.

And Paul says, “All these things, don’t be ashamed of our Lord. God assigned me to blow the trumpet and announce that the King of kings and the Lord of lords has come to this earth to save us and to forgive us and to take us with Him, to be with Him forever. And not only was I a preacher, but I was an apostle, one who is sent, and a teacher. And for this reason, I suffer these things.”

But he says, “I’m not ashamed.” Well, why, Paul? I mean, how come? You’re in a lot worse situation and you’re not ashamed. He says, “For I know,” the word here is an experiential know. “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to protect what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”

My life and my suffering and my hurt and my doubt and my uncertainty, and just like He has asked me to be faithful what He has entrusted to me, I can suffer because I know, I am convinced, that I have given to Him and He is able to protect that until that final day.”

Challenge number three to Timothy is: Don’t be ashamed of His Word. Verses 13 through 18. Hold on to the example of sound words,” or literally it’s the sound teaching, “which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. Protect, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, this treasure,” this deposit, “which has been entrusted to you. You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia,” “turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and he found me. The Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day – and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.”

And so, the command is: Retain and guard the truth. Be loyal to Jesus; be loyal to His Word.

And there are certain things to be loyal to His Word right now, just to be loyal to His Word to say, “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.” That’s not dissing anyone else. We live in a free country and people can have whatever kind of relationships they want to have. But as a follower of Jesus, to say that, you can be characterized as a hater and a bigot. Say it kindly. Say it lovingly. Give the theological basis for it. It’s the Christ and the Church. Marriage, by definition, has to have differences. It can’t have sameness. It needs a male and a female. There needs to be a connection.

There are multiple things to be true to God’s Word right now. And please hear the context. It’s historic. There are certain times where the Church has come together, the Apostle’s Creed. It’s very broad, it’s very clear. And inside the Apostle’s Creed, these things are true, that we believe: salvation by grace through faith, the virgin birth, the Triunity of God, deity of the Holy Spirit and the deity of Christ, the return of Christ. I mean, there are certain – the authority and veracity and the inspiration of the Word of God makes you look in some educational circles like, you know, “You’re just, like, three bricks short of a load.” Your kids in secular universities now are made to feel like they are anti-intellectual and if they don’t believe certain things that are now accepted as the truth.”

And so, my point is, are you ready? I’m going to say this as nicely as I can. I didn’t plan on saying it, but I’m going to say it as nicely as I can. Could we, as the Church, stop whining and stop complaining and stop blaming and equip our kids so that they have answers for those kind of things and have the kind of relationship with them and model the kind of things where they would say, “You know, the people that are saying this and that, their life is a train wreck. And, you know, grandma or grandpa, you seem to be a little old fashioned, you’re into that whole Bible stuff, but, like, you’ve got so many years together and you really love each other and you’re really nice to me and your life is the kind of person I’d like to be,” guess what, it’s called discipleship. That’s what we can do. But don’t hang back! Don’t believe the lies that your adult kids or your teenagers or your grandkids don’t want to hear from you.

My son planted a church; it’s about ten years old – and when pastors are going through rough stuff, you go help your son. And so, he was really tired and asked me if I would fill in. I did a little four-part series for him. And I did something really basic and then I hung around to talk with them and I was just like, “Oh, I so want to help these young people.” So, I said, “Honey, what do you think if, like, I’m going to, in the message,” there were two services, “if I would say, ‘Anyone,’” you know, I taught: This is what a Christian is. And I talked about being a Romans 12 Christian. Just a profile of a disciple from Paul.

And just real simple, I said, “If you would like to explore what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus, why don’t you come to my house for the next three weeks, the next three Sunday nights?” And I said, “Honey, do you think we could feed?” She goes, “Chip, I don’t even know how many people. Is it going to be five people? Is it going to be fifty people?” “Okay, can I invite them?” She said, “Yes.” And so, and so, I did. And I didn’t know. And so, we had, like, thirteen people show up. And all young people except two or three.

I can’t tell you, I mean, the first three talked about their church background, deconstruction, where they’re living in, “I thought I believed all these things. I’m not sure about this, I’m not sure about that.” Next week, next week, honest conversation, very small teaching, open, vulnerable.

In the first week, one lady made a lordship decision. In the first week, another lady came to Christ. The two or three gals that were doing the deconstruction had never had a safe place, you know what they needed? They needed some old white guy and his wife who love each other to open their home and explain lovingly the most basic things in Scripture that most of you could do off the back of your hand.

And then, the three weeks got done and, I mean, people shared at such a level and the third week I said, you know, “No one has to.” Because I didn’t know where they were coming from. “But let’s - Theresa, why don’t you start and I’ll pray at the end and if any of you would like to pray.” Well, they pour out their heart. And then pretty soon, “Chip, can I meet with you?” So, I’m meeting with this guy. And then, “Theresa, can I meet with you?” And here’s, you know what I want to tell you? Oh my gosh, these young people are so hurting. And their first thing is that it’s, “Oh, what about this, what about that? And they say this and evolution that and this is bad and…” You know what they need? They need someone to love them. They need someone to love.

And you know what? They know the top ten podcast influencers more than they know Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. There’s no anchor in their life. Well, the three weeks got over and everyone goes, “Do we have to quit?” And I thought, “Well, what do you want to do?” So, Theresa goes, why don’t you all come and we’ll all eat at our house?” And we had a cookout. And then they brought their mates or friends. I have never seen - two of them broke up with people that they were involved in that were unbelievers. I mean, bang, bang, bang, bang.

They have just responded to God’s Word and made application and their lives are radically changing. And we cry and hug one another. I didn’t know these people eight weeks ago!

Paul says to Timothy, “I love you, I’m for you, I care for you. Timothy, I want you to know that you’ve got everything that you need, but your part, you’ve got to fan it to flame. You’ve got to get passionate like in the early days. Get super clear. And then can I tell you? Don’t you dare be ashamed of your Lord. Don’t you dare be ashamed of His Word.

“And you know what? Can I invite you into something? I’d like to invite you to suffer with me. Would you go arm in arm? As I go out, could we just, you know, realize they’re going to call the play, they’re going to give you the ball, you’re going to grab the ball, and you’re going to tuck it. You’re going to get raked through the line, you’re going to go about eight yards and a linebacker who has been waiting for you and a free safety is going to knock your head off. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!” They do it on purpose and pay them a lot of money to do that.

And, you know, spiritually, that’s what God wants you to do. He goes, “Man, I’ve got angels blocking. I’ve got people prepared. You’ve got the ball of the gospel. I want to give it to you and I want you to break through and I want you to get some yards for the kingdom and I want to invite you to know that, guess what, there are some spiritual linebackers. They are going to say this or post that or say that or that.”

And you know what? You may find them asking you about: “Would you pray for this kidney problem that they can’t figure out what’s going on? And I’m really afraid. I’m afraid to die.” And they don’t have to respond great, because that’s not your responsibility. You can’t change them anyway, right? Outcomes are God’s. But would you be bold? Don’t be ashamed.