Coming Out of Your Closet

II Timothy 1: 6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

Paul wrote First and Second Timothy and Titus as Pastoral Epistles.  We read about these men in the book of Acts.  Written to Timothy and Titus, they remain an encouragement to us.  Paul was in prison in Rome.  Timothy was pastor at Ephesus.  His mother was a Christian Jew; his father was Greek.  He could claim dual citizenship as did Paul.

In Acts 16 we find that Timothy was circumcised by Paul in order for him to go into the synagogue to preach the gospel.  We don’t read a lot of what Timothy said, but we do get a sense of his character.  Paul encouraged the churches at Rome and Corinth to accept Timothy.  He was unlike the talkative and outspoken Paul.  He was more laid back and restrained.  God used him in spite of his timidity.  It’s odd that we can talk about everything but when it comes to spiritual things, we get backward.  Regardless of your nature, God can use you.  Moses was meek and timid, but in Egypt Aaron couldn’t get a word in edgewise.  God was able to use Timothy.  He had to be yielded to and used by God.

The ability to socialize is not Christianity.  That can get in the way.  A Christian must not be hesitant to be known as a Christian no matter how awkward he or she feels.  What we lack in courage, boldness, and technique God will supply.  Timid Timothy.  Punching Paul.  Paul drove home every word.  Timothy was laid back, but the Holy Spirit used him.  If all you can do is squeak, trust in the Lord to help you.   It doesn’t matter what you lack.  Your resources are not what God counts on.  It’s your availability paired with God’s resources. Paul told Timothy study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  When we have studied, the Word of God will come to us.  We can all be used if we give ourselves to the Lord.

We have two epistles bearing Timothy’s name that prove God can use us.  We have the book of Titus that shows us that grace appears to all who are willing to believe.  If God can use a person from Saltville, he can use a person from Adwolfe, Chilhowie, and Marion.  Don’t be ashamed.  Don’t let timidity hold you back.  Whatever the Master says to do, go ahead and do it.  God will supply and help you.  Lost people will find Jesus.  Paul told Timothy to step up to the plate.  God saw that he had what he needed.  The world needs Christians to shine and tell the truth of God outright.  Be a Christian people can trust and have confidence in.  God needs us to be on the front line of the battle.  The world needs it.  Two or three can’t do it.  Every person needs to be at his post.

Paul said I am what I am by the grace of God.  You can be what God needs, and it will come by his grace not by your ability.  Too many take being a believer lightly.  What a responsibility we have, but we can be faithful to it.  Just don’t be ashamed of the Lord.  Verse 8 says be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.  It’s better to suffer for the cause of Christ than have eternal retribution at the hands of God.  Timothy just needed to step on out.  He had genuine faith.  His mother and grandmother taught him the scriptures from his childhood.  Even though he was soft spoken, God used him.  Paul told him to stir up the gift of God.  Don’t let it settle.  Stir up Jesus, and he’ll shine.  We have a resource for boldness.  Verse 7 says for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  Sometimes power is equated to haughtiness.  That’s how the world sees it.  We have the power of the kingdom of God.  It is love through the power of the cross.

Can the world still be turned around?  You and I must be willing to stir up the gift.  We must not give into fear.  We may be called crazy and archaic, but remember what they said about the apostles.  They were unlearned but turned the world upside down.

Sin is tearing the world apart, but Jesus can put it together.  Coming out of our closet and being used for the Lord is what we must do.  Matthew was a tax collector.  Peter was a fisherman.  Nathaniel was a scholar.  Simon the Zealot was political.  All of these heard about a man from Galilee and left what they were and followed Jesus.  We ought never to be ashamed.  Be bold and outspoken for the Lord.

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.  Doesn’t it feel good to know him and know he’s able to keep us?  What a life statement Paul made so that Timothy would know that if God could take him, an enemy of the church, and make an apostle of him, he could use Timothy.

Here is our opportunity.  Will we step forward for the Lord?  If so, the door will open.  Things will be done.

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