A FAITH That Prompts Outspokenness

FIRST QUESTION:

IS  SHYNESS  A FORM OF FEAR?

For God did not give us a spirit of TIMIDITY (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning FEAR) but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control”                                      (2 Timothy 1:7 AMP).

What is a definition of the word SHYNESS?  Wikipedia says this: EMBARRASSMENT, MODESTY, RESERVE, SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS, SELF-DOUBT, TIMIDITY.

So if God didn’t give us “a spirit of timidity” [a personality of being SHY], then who did?  No, it wasn’t your mom or dad.  It was the devil, Satan, the enemy of God and of us all.

The apostle Paul gave this wisdom to Timothy and was preparing him for what God wanted us ALL to be fruitful in:

“Herald and preach the Word!  Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as a preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.]  And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching”  (2 Timothy 4:2 AMP).

You might be thinking right now after reading the above verse in Timothy,  “Yeah, well I’m not Timothy or a preacher of the Word.”  Who told you that?  Where is that spirit of SHYNESS (TIMIDITY) coming from?

I have been reading in my Bible for a while now, in 1 Corinthians and just started reading in 2 Corinthians this past week.  As I told you in The Preview of Coming Attractions;[The Cow-tree and the Christian blog post], I wasn’t expecting to take this journey.  But Holy Spirit had other plans for me today, so here I am.

BELIEF IN GOD IS INCOMPLETE WITHOUT THE SPOKEN WORD:

Yet we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote,  I have believed, and therefore have I SPOKEN.  We too believe, and therefore WE SPEAK”  (2 Corinthians 4:13 AMP).

A Review of 2 Corinthians 4:

We read about Paul’s persecution in great detail.  It really wasn’t about who Paul was or wasn’t; not his education, not his credentials, not his looks or his eloquent speech.  The people of Paul’s day didn’t hate him.  It was Christ Jesus that they really hated.  They couldn’t get at Jesus so they got at Paul, and all he did was manifest the life of Christ.

Paul was powerful in his witness to those in the surrounding community, whether churched or unchurched, saved or lost.  He was humble and invincible, even sacrificial in his mannerisms.

Let’s pick up the story in 2 Corinthians 4, verse 12:  “Thus death is actively at work in us, but [it is in order that our] life [may be ACTIVELY at work] in YOU.”
Paul was humble because he wanted to be FRUITFUL.  He was self-sacrificial because he LIVED for the FRUIT in his ministry.  Verse 12 really summarizes Paul.  He was EFFECTIVE because he was absolutely unconcerned about himself.  His DUTY and JOY as a believer was in bringing LIFE to others through the gospel.  And since the Bible wasn’t around in Paul’s day, no pocket Lexicon, he HAD TO SPEAK the Word of God:

“For if I [merely] PREACH the GOSPEL, that gives me no reason to boast, for I feel COMPELLED of necessity to do it. Woe is me if I do not preach the glad tidings (the Gospel)!”  (1 Corinthians 9:16 AMP).

In Romans 1 he said,  “I am willing and eagerly ready to preach the Gospel to you.”

Paul Was FAITHFUL:

Another KEY to his POWER and EFFECTIVENESS can be attributed to in 2 Corinthians 4, is in VERSE 13; it’s the bottom line to our effectiveness in witnessing to the unsaved in our communities.  So what is Paul telling us here and why are the words so important?

He is saying,  “Look, if nobody listens to me, if nobody believes me, if nobody is being transformed by the Spirit of God…if I’m persecuted, stoned, beaten, and even killed for what I am saying…I will still preach because this is what…”  What?  “I believe.”

BREAKING 2 Corinthians 4:13 Down Into Parts:

Watch how this verse unfolds:  “Yet we have the same spirit of faith.”  What does that mean?  It is not the Holy Spirit Paul’s talking about but the ATTITUDE of FAITH.

Let me give to you in my learning this week regarding the infliction of voice.  He says the “same kind of faith”, in the subjective, not the content of the Christian faith; but “I have the same kind of”, the subjective, the personal introspect; I believe in the same thing.  In what?  “I BELIEVE in the same thing” according to what is already written, the perfect tense.  What has been written now stands in an AUTHORITATIVE DOCUMENT.  Well, what was it?  What was written: “I believed therefore I spoke”.  He says I have the same belief of the guy who wrote that.  Well what’s Paul quoting from?   Psalm 116 verse 10, where the psalmist said, “I BELIEVED (trusted in, relied on, and clung to my God), and therefore have I spoken [even when I said], I am greatly afflicted.”

There Are People Who May Say… the Same Words As Paul Heard.

“You Know, you just got to kind of soften it up a little bit.  You can’t say it the way you say it Paul.  It’s offensive.”  Paul’s answer is, “I believed therefore I spoke.”

Paul’s conviction comes straight from his heart;  “I believed therefore I spoke.”  When we are driven by conviction, we speak it.  You don’t need someone else to tell you what to say, you just need somebody to say it to.  That’s all.

Paul’s Story:

Paul says, “Look, I…nobody may listen to me and my whole life may blow up in my face and I might even die in the process, but MY STORY IS THIS:  I’m going to keep on saying what I’m saying cause that’s what I believe.  What’s your story?  My FAITH compels me to PREACH.”

If you can’t really BELIEVE the TRUTH with ALL your heart, with ALL your MIND and STRENGTH, then you are not long to proclaim it.  I must preach God’s Word because of my convictions, what I believe and not only because I have respect or fear for my Father in heaven but because it’s just in me.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  Paul says, “I’m going to preach what I believe.”

I love that quality of Paul.  That’s why he was so POWERFUL; he preached what he believed, what he believed was true.  With the upcoming Presidential campaign in progress, I keep waiting for the politicians to just speak because they really believe in something true.  The same with preachers, if you believe it, speak it!  If it’s the TRUTH, God will always energize it.

IN OUR CURRENT SILENCE:

Oh that SILENCE might mean COMFORT or POPULARITY, PRESTIGE, or even mean LIFE, a longer life with PROSPERITY.  It doesn’t even really matter.

The center picture depicts The Diet of Worms in 1521 in Worms, Germany during the Protestant Reformation.  Martin Luther stands to address the Assembly saying,  “Here I stand, I can’t do anything else.   I can’t do anything else.  You can’t make me say something I don’t believe.  You can’t make me recount what I do believe.  I believe so I speak.”

You might say, “But what I might say may offend people,” and you’re right!  Especially in this culture today.  But what you BELIEVE, if you believe the TRUTH, the TRUTH you must SPEAK.

BELIEF IMPELS TESTIMONY:

We are here on this earth to preach the Word of God–we BELIEVE it–we PROCLAIM it–we give WITNESS to it–we are CALLED to BELIEVE IT.  Then, it becomes our message to those who are around us.  In our churches, our neighborhood, our workplace, our cities…you name it.  That’s why I guess, I can’t understand why there’s any other kind of preaching but the Word of God.

Now over the 40 years of being a Christian, I have certainly been exposed to evangelism training: Advanced Discipleship Training, Evangelism Explosion and many other church programs.  But when it comes right down to it, it’s all about PROCLAIMING the Word.  What else is there?  All we can really preach with conviction is the TRUTH!

The Good Attitudes of Our Spirit:

–Humbleness.

–Invincible.

–Sacrificial.

–Fruitful and,

–FAITHFUL.

And there is something else, HOPEFUL.

ALL those GOOD ATTITUDES only go to a point.  If HOPE wasn’t there, you would have a hard time hanging on to the others.  Look at verse 14 of 2 Corinthians 4:

“We believe,” verse 13 says, “therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and will present us with you.”  What’s Paul talking about there?  In one word, the RESURRECTION!

What does RESURRECTION Imply?

Before you can RISE you have to…What?…DIE.  Paul knows death is inevitable.  He is saying, I can put my life on the line; preach my convictions.  It doesn’t matter what people might think who REJECT the TRUTH.  For the sake of the SANCTIFICATION of the body (the Church); for the sake of the ELECT I proclaim the TRUTH.  Because in the end, all they can do is kill me, then the Lord will raise me up.  We live in HOPE, don’t we?  Then why do we make excuses about SPEAK our faith in Christ to others?

One Final Point to Present.

What made Paul POWERFUL?  We already know he was humble, invincible, sacrificial, fruitful, faithful, hopeful and worshipful.  Look at verse 15, “For ALL things are for your sakes.” I’ll do all this for you.  Even if I DIE, it’s so you can live.  I don’t have any self-interests.  My GOAL is for your sakes but beyond that, follow this:

“For all [these] things are [taking place] for your sake, so that the more grace (divine favor and spiritual blessing) extends to more and more people and multiplies through the many, the more thanksgiving may increase [and redound] to the glory of God.”

The ULTIMATE GOAL of our FAITH is to the glory of God.  That’s it, the reason for our SPEAKING the TRUTH; the prompting of outspokenness to the lost.  My ultimate purpose is WORSHIP.  Worship the living and true God with ALL my being, to do whatever I do for His glory.  That’s the kind of FAITH that PROMPTS Outspokenness.

The GOAL was never to be COMFORTABLE.  It wasn’t really even for the salvation of others.  It was to the GLORY of GOD.

In other words Church, after putting all the pieces together, it’s God’s gracious INVITATION in the gospel that is extended to more and more people.  The THANKSGIVING offered by the congregation of believers, enhances God’s reputation in the surrounding community.

South American Cow-tree

As Alexander Von Humboldt, the writer and explorer, tells of a tree in South America called the Cow-tree.  It grows on the barren flank of a rock that’s roots are scarcely able to penetrate.  To the naked eye, it appears dead and dried up.  But when the trunk is tapped, there flows from it a sweet and nourishing milk.

It’s like the Christian who outwardly may appear to be withering and dying, but within possesses a LIVING SAP; the SPIRIT OF FAITH; the SPOKEN WORD welling up on the inside and leading others to eternal life.