On Sunday, Pastor Ed Allen preached a sermon from II Timothy 1:3-14, a passage we'd recently read as a church in our Deeper Wider devotionals.
He mainly looked at the question:
What enables us to be courageous witnesses about the story of Jesus?
Three things that propel us, enable us, and empower us to be courageous witnesses about Jesus' story:
1) God has given us a spirit of power and love and self-control.
From verses 6-7. The word "gift" is the Greek word charis. And the charismatics have got it mostly right. There is more! God does want to touch you and fill you with His power, love and self-control.
Ed does what he does because of an experience like this. Here he told us about a call from God that came when he was 17 years old.
Encounters with God are not always wildly dramatic, but sometimes they are.
Whatever experience you've had with God, whatever calling, whatever gift -- fan it into flame!
If you haven't yet had an experience with God, we're going to ask God to touch you.
2) We are sustained in our suffering by the power of God.
Why aren't we courageous witnesses all the time? Because the story of Jesus sounds ridiculous. (It's either Truth, or it's ridiculous.)
Our faith doesn't solve all our problems. We still suffer.
Paul told Timothy not to be ashamed of him -- he was in prison. In fact, he called himself the Lord's prisoner.
We can be courageous witnesses because we are sustained through our suffering by the power of God (vs. 9-10).
We're called to a holy calling. We're sustained through all things. We don't need to shrink back.
3) We know we can trust Him.
Verse 12: "I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed..."
I don't know all the whys and hows, but I know the Who.
"guard the good deposit" -- what we're giving away is what we've been given.
Fear makes our witness very awkward. Move out courageously.