“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the Gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” 2 Timothy 1:8,9
Why should Paul be concerned about Timothy being ashamed of the testimony of the Lord or of him being a prisoner? He did not want Timothy to be ashamed to name the name of Jesus Christ due to the possibility of persecution. And because of Timothy’s close proximity to Paul, his life could be in danger as well.
Toward the end of this letter, Paul in prison is writing and telling him that “no one stood with him, but that all had forsook him.” (Chapter 4:16) Where were those who had stood with him in ministry? Perhaps in the fear of danger and imprisonment themselves, they fled.
Timothy would have known the hardships that Paul had experienced for the Lord and he is inviting him to do the same thing…. “share in the sufferings for the Gospel.” As we read this, we see that Paul could never be accused of sugar-coating any of this.
Paul was assured of the future blessing awaiting him and confesses that he does not fear persecution and death as a result of preaching the Gospel…..now get this, even in very unfriendly and antagonistic settings. He was firmly convinced that God would perform that which He had promised to all those who would place their faith and their trust in Him. In chapter four he writes that there will be those who will not want to hear his preaching. Yet he was to, “convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables.”
But now catch this…….he writes and tells Timothy, “but you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
None of these things Timothy could do if he feared the coming storms.
Timothy, and all the faithful, must be sober minded and endure suffering.
No cake walk is promised nor implied from Christ Himself, nor His apostles to those who would follow in His steps.
Paul, now at the end of his life was able to look, without regret, at the calling he was given……the invitation to be God’s servant, completely surrendered to His will.
Dear church, we too must join with the saints who have gone before us, holding fast to the faith that has been entrusted to the saints of God.