“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.” II Timothy 1:8 NASB
After Paul’s words of encouragement to Timothy to stir up his gifts and stand in faith he then encouraged Timothy to take a step of faith, a step of faith with the full knowledge that he may suffer for his faith, a step of faith that would move him from his safe zone into a world of hostility.
So many today view the inside of the church as a place of protection from the outer world. They go to church hiding from the evils of the outside world. In a since we have turned our churches into communes rejecting the commission Christ has called us to. We have become like the ostrich sticking its head in the sand hiding from the wicked world not realizing the reason the world is so wicked is directly due to the fact that the church has become trapped inside of its own walls. Satan is perfectly happy with that.
The church does bring an element of protection. However, the purpose of the church is to rise up warriors to go out into the fields of battle for the kingdom of God. Remember though, our battle is a spiritual battle and not a physical one. It is more than a place of protection, it is a place of production; production of powerfully anointed Christians, empowered by an all powerful God, proclaiming a powerful gospel, unashamed of Christ, but joining in suffering denying themselves for the progress of the kingdom of God.
Unfortunately, most churchgoers today are not willing to suffer the loss of time, much less step out in faith and suffer any other loss. They are too consumed with self to serve an almighty mighty God and therefore, stand in need of repentance. Yes, we stand in great need of revival.
Paul’s request was to join with me in suffering-suffering for the gospel. Though we may suffer loss for the gospel in this life our faith assures us that our gain will be much greater than our temporary loss. Jesus said in Mark 10:29-30, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” Apart from our personal salvation, I can’t think of a greater reward than to know God uses us as a tool to impact someone’s eternity through His powerful gospel. However, I need to make the choice, will I put myself first, or will I step out in faith and put Jesus first in my life through my service of Him?