This was Paul’s stand, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” In spite of a changing culture, decaying morals and present persecution, Paul would not cower to the cynics, shift his stand because of scoffers nor would he drink from the fountain of culture. His pledge was to stand unashamed and ready to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ at Rome. If anything should be clear, to the point, uncompromisingly distinct, boldly proclaimed and without apology, it is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We, as believers and witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ, will never find the affirmation we so desperately long for from our surrounding culture. The support we need is not found in the counsel of the ungodly nor in the path of sinners nor in the seat of the scornful but our delight is in the law [Word] of the Lord and it is in this law [Word] that we are to meditate day and night. We do well and prosper only in light of His counsel (see Psalm 1). This is why we gather and encourage one another in worship and fellowship each week. Christ commanded us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We are to find our affirmation by coming together for worship, inspiration, encouragement, fellowship and even gather more frequently as we see the day of His appearing getting closer (Heb. 10:25).
In the Scriptures, Christians are common people who God empowers to accomplish extraordinary acts of faith. Extraordinary is, “Exceptional in character, amount, extent, degree, etc.; noteworthy or remarkable.” (Dictionary.com) So, what makes preachers extraordinary people? The answer may lie with two common men, who achieved three realistic goals, resulting in extraordinary lives for Christ.
Their audience. Peter and John were ordinary men who became extraordinary preachers only after three years attending the University of Jesus Christ. They “had been with Jesus” although, perceived to be unlearned and unskilled (Acts 4:13). Extraordinary preachers spend much time with an audience of one—Jesus.
Their aim. Pleasing government or religious establishments was unconscionable. When challenged to stop preaching in the name of Jesus, “Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:19-21). These extraordinary preachers aimed for God’s approval in their life, church and ministry.
Their attitude. Humbly and wisely they sought support (Acts 4:23-31). The late Alex Haley, had that unique picture of a turtle sitting on top of a fence post. Whenever someone asked about it, Haley would respond, “If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know that he had some help. Any time I start thinking, ‘Wow, isn’t this marvelous what I’ve done?’ I look at that picture and remember how this turtle, me, got up on that post.” Wise preachers understand the need for their “own companions” in the faith (Acts 4:23). Elisha had Elijah, Paul had Barnabas, and Timothy had Paul. You see none of us can be all we should be without the rest of us. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27:17).
Be extraordinary! Have a daily audience with Jesus, aim to please Him and develop the attitude that humbly and wisely seeks the support of others.
Until He Returns,
Nothing benefits us more than having someone who believes in us and in what we do. Somehow having supporters and cheerleaders in one’s faith-life inspires one to continue from day to day. Timothy’s greatest supporter was Paul. He believed in Timothy and the work God called them both to do—preaching the Word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul encouraged Timothy in three ways in 2 Tim 1:6-7. “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
First, Paul reminds Timothy that God chose Him. Second, that he needed constantly to stir what had been conferred to him. He was to rekindle the divine giftedness, the fire or literally, “keep the fire alive” in order to preach effectively the Word of God. Third, He was to always be conscious of character qualities that mark the Christian—courage, power, love and a sound mind or literally self-disciplined and mature.
If you are a believer in Christ you have experienced the same. You are chosen, gifted and given a spirit not of fear but of courage, power, love and a sound mind. But like Timothy we often recoil into a spirit of timidity. We need encouraging and we sometimes lose touch with the giftedness God gives to us. We find that we too must “stir” the gift a bit. We need day by day and week by week to “keep the fire alive.”
Every time I attend the City View First Baptist Church I find this encouragement and inspiration. There is always a word from God and others to cheer me on and inspire me. I want to encourage you to make plans now to attend City View First in Greenville SC. Begin now to pray for our worship time. Come and be inspired. Keep the fire alive!
Until Christ Returns,