In this sermon Tim continues on in 1 Timothy 1 where Paul preaches about not being ashamed of the Gospel! Tim shares how we can live the gospel in our daily lives and share it with those around us, with boldness and without shame!
Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday September 25, 2022.
05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series – Manly Life Church Podcast
- 05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series
- 29/01/23 – The Glory of Christ – Greg Beech
- 22/01/23 – Luke 15:1-8 God's Heart for the Lost – by Lani Daniel
- 15/01/23 – 1 John 4:11 Friendship In Church by Tim Giovanelli
- 08/01/23 – Philipians 3:17-4:4 Stand Firm in 2023 – by Peter Brooks
Bookings for 10th birthday weekend! – Do it now! At least 200 of us booked in by end of today…
I said last week that you can’t get enough of a good thing with this passage in 2 Timothy 16-7…
- So we are there again today, looking at the fruit of the Holy Spirit that has been given to us by God.
- So Lani preached on this passage two weeks ago…
- And then I spoke again on it last week… and now it is turning into a little series within a series…
- So a reminder, the Apostle Paul writes this letter to his young apprentice in Ephesus who is now leading the church that Paul planted…
- And he is exhorting his to stand firm in the faith and to not let the flame of the Holy Spirit go out in his life…
- In order that the remarkable good news of the gospel may continue to go forth, bringing life and light to those in darkness…
So 2 Timothy 1:6-7 and then going on to verse 10…
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
It’s been quite the few weeks… Queens funeral… possibly 4 billion people watched. I was one…
- We all got a day off for mourning on Thursday… though I suspect a lot of Aussies spent it BBQ’ing…
- I actually thought the funeral was a remarkable event… obviously our services here at Manly Life are just a touch more informal… (we need a choir full of small children in frilly outfits)…
- But it is the same God that was glorified!
- Loved: Rare moment when people sat under the reading of the Word. That is powerful. 1 Cor 15…
- And the teaching of the Word. That is powerful…
- On the broadcasts after there were these strange acknowledgements of the Queens Christian faith… but they weren’t really sure what to do with it.
- And of course, the sermon finished with the hope of the resurrection… go Archbishop Welby.
Reminded me of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians – “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
- But what amazing hope the resurrection of Jesus brings!
- So who the Queen followed, who we follow, holds the keys to life and immortality. Right?
- And Archbishop Welby encapsulated the gospel… he talked about true leadership is not found in exalting ourselves… but in taking on the form of a servant…
- Aside: Archbishop Welby comes from HTB the Alpha Course church…
- Working in the oil industry… one of Nicky Gumbel’s Life Group leaders…
- So just think… if you lead a Life Group today… one day you too may be preaching to billions of people…
Anyhow all of this made me think about the next bit of the passage we have been looking at the last two weeks about being given a Spirit of power, love and self control.
- Because in it’s most contextual reading, it is a passage that relates to the using of our gifts to further the gospel.
- Verse 8; “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord.”
- Just one last thing, then I promise no more Queen talk…
- She was of course famous for not being ashamed of her Christian faith, particularly in her Christmas messages.
- And apparently there was a significant shift in how freely she spoke of her Christian faith from the year 2000 on. So something happened to her in terms of not being ashamed.
And there are so many quotes to choose from, but she famously said in her 2011 address;
“Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves – from our recklessness or our greed. God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general (important though they are) – but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.”
- So that’s a pretty unambiguous statement of the gospel.
- That we need salvation from our sins… and that God has sent a saviour with the power to forgive!
- That is the good news!
- She went on to say;
“Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.”
- And it is just interesting to me that in one Christmas address she did so much of what Paul writes here to Timothy
- Firstly, she was not ashamed about her testimony of the Lord Jesus.
- Secondly she explained 2 Timothy1:9; “He has saved us and called us to a holy life”
- Right? So she explained the gospel of salvation
- And then she explained what the holy life looks like… namely the power of forgiveness and reconciliation as an expression of God’s love.
- Not bad…
So I thought today, looking at this passage, what are 4 things we learn about the good news of the Gospel from this passage, if we, like the Queen are to share our faith.
Firstly, that we will suffer for this gospel
Vs 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.
Now that seems like a nice easy place to start… how is this for good news… join up with Jesus… and you too will suffer for the gospel.
- Now of course Paul writes this from jail where he writes he is “chained like a criminal” for the sake of the gospel.
- And that is literal… Paul went to jail because of his preaching of the gospel.
- Now in one sense this should not surprise those who follow Jesus.
- Afterall he did say in Mark 8:35; “whoever loses their life for me and gospel will save it.”
- In John 16:33 Jesus said “in this world you will have tribulation.”
Now what is this all about? Surely we preach a gospel where Jesus said “I have come that you may have life, and life to the full”.
- We like that gospel… it seems to fit into our western worldview that the chief aim of life is to enjoy it, and accumulate as much possessions as possible.
- Bumper sticker “he who dies with the most stuff wins”
- But actually the reality of the gospel, especially around the world is many suffer for being Christian.
- And even in a society as broadly tolerant and free as our own, there will be a price paid for belonging to Jesus.
- If the gospel causes you to endure no unease… then maybe we aren’t quite doing it right.
- Afterall, in a world of individualism, and consumerism and the supremacy of self determination…
- We are called to lay down our lives, give to the poor, chose the narrow path and seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
That doesn’t mean you have to batter your neighbours or friends or colleagues with the gospel and go looking for suffering…
- But surely there should be an edge to your life that is deeply disturbing to those who don’t know Jesus and would have nothing to do with this gospel of grace.
- Maybe it is in politely but resolutely standing for a different sexual ethic to the world.
- Or maybe it is refusing to act unethically in your business because of who you follow.
- Maybe it is choosing to stand on the side of the refugee, or the poor or the broken hearted
- Maybe it is in the sharing of your faith with people who deeply despise the church and are antagonistic towards the idea of a loving God.
- If there is no edge to your faith that causes you to suffer… then maybe we need to re-evaluate how dangerous this message is inside of you.
- And how we are living and sharing this in a dark, self obsessed world?
I’ll leave that thought with you…
Secondly, our salvation is about a moment then a life time.
Verse 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life
- So just a reminder here about what the gospel is about.
- It is about our salvation… and it is about our transformation…
- It is about the moment when we accept Jesus as our Lord and saviour, and receive God’s grace.
- And it is about a life time where we become holy through living for our Lord and saviour.
- “He has saved us and called us to a holy life.”
We will get to what that message of salvation is in a second, but just quickly on this holy life.
- Sometimes this is theologically what is referred to as our sanctification… our ongoing transforming into becoming a child of God who reflects our saviour.
- Now how on earth could you sum this up?
- Because it is not just about our personal piety… it is about our personal piety…
- But it is also about so much more… you get saved, in order to be set apart from this world, in order that the dangerous values of the kingdom may get in you…
- And turn the world around you upside down.
Let me give you an example… I was listening recently to an interview with the historian Tom Holland whose book Dominion has been a global best seller…
- And his thesis is pretty simple, he was agnostic and thought he was a product of Greek thought and secular western civilisation… then he began to study the Roman empire and indeed human history…
- And he realised that the culture he lived in and the values he held were not Greek, but indeed deeply Christian…
- Where as the Greek’s, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Alexander the Great put no value on human life, on women, on the poor, on charity, humility, forgiveness, chastity, faithfulness…
- That all these things came from the teachings of Jesus Christ and the outworking of that through his followers down history.
Live a holy life… what’s that mean?
- Now Holland talks about living now in a culture of cut flowers…
- We still have many of the values of Christianity in our culture, but it is a culture that is increasingly cut off from the source of those values…
- Cut flowers. Does that make sense? Still pretty, but now dying because no longer rooted in the source of its life.
- Right? Why are we outraged when a Sri Lankan refugee family are taken from Biloela and put in a dehumanising detention centre?
- Because the crucified messiah who suffered and was unjustly punished is at the heart of our faith and like it or not… our culture.
- And so we still stand on the side of the poor and broken and mistreated.
Now what am I saying? I have no idea… this is what happens when Thursday is a public holiday and I don’t have as much time to write a sermon… haha!
- No… what I am saying is that the gospel says that once saved we are called to live a holy life.
- We live a life, infused with the life and message and power of the saviour that sets us apart
- Right? As it says in 1 Peter we live as foreigners and exiles, living such good lives among the pagans that they may see our good deeds and glorify God!
- So we live a life that is holy, because it reflects the counter cultural, radical, upside down message of the gospel.
- We are not those ambivalent to the plight of the poor and downtrodden… but contrary, we are saved in order that God might form a people who live so differently, that it changes the world.
- And of course that links to my first point… that may well come at a considerable cost.
Thirdly, (and it’s almost like we are working backwards today), it always was, and always will be a gospel of grace.
9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus
One of the massive corrections we bring to people’s understanding of God when we share our Christian faith
- Is that the gospel is not about being a good person in order to win God’s favour and love
- But our salvation is a gift from God in spite of our lives, because of the great love demonstrated by Jesus Christ.
- This is not because of anything we have done, but because of God’s purposes and grace.
- This is the good news that we share with the world.
- The appearing of our saviour Jesus has ushered in an era of undeserved forgiveness and favour from God.
- As Bono sings in the songs Grace… “it’s the name of a girl, its also a thought that changed the world.”
As a young man who had become a Christian and was trying to work this whole thing out, one of the books that had a huge impact on my life was Philip Yancey’s “What’s so amazing about grace?”
- Has anyone read that or any Yancey? I deeply recommend. He says;
- “grace means there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make God love me less. It means that I, even I who deserve the opposite, am invited to take my place at the table in God’s family.”
- That’s the invitation of the gospel, and the testimony about our Lord Jesus that Paul reminds us not to be ashamed of.
- For it is grace that is the most powerful force that exists in the world, still to this day.
- We follow a saviour who the tax collectors, prostitutes and the afflicted fled towards… not away from.
- Only grace can turn an enemy into a friend.
- Only grace can turn us, into the children of God.
Now there is obviously entire books written on grace, so I can only say so much today…
- But in not being ashamed of the testimony of our Lord Jesus…
- We point a graceless world towards a grace filled saviour.
- One who came not to condemn the world, but to save it…
- And so in our approach, we too must not condemn the world around us, but offer and be postured in grace towards the world.
OK, finally and fourthly, the gospel is about the destruction of death and the gift of immortality.
From mid verse 9; “This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
One of the most touching moments in the Archbishop Welby’s sermon was when at the very end he said this;
“Her Late Majesty’s broadcast during Covid lockdown ended with: “We will meet again”, words of hope from a song of Vera Lynn. Christian hope means certain expectation of something not yet seen.
Christ rose from the dead and offers life to all, abundant life now and life with God in eternity. As the Christmas carol says “where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.”
We will all face the merciful judgement of God: we can all share the Queen’s hope which in life and death inspired her servant leadership. Service in life, hope in death. All who follow the Queen’s example, and inspiration of trust and faith in God, can with her say: “We will meet again.” Amen.
With the revealing of our saviour Jesus Christ, death, my friends has been destroyed.
- This is our sure and certain hope for those who belong to Jesus.
- You know I don’t know what will come first, either you will take my funeral, or I may well take yours… lots of yours…
- But this is the sure hope that we have both in life and death.
- That with the resurrection of Jesus, death has been defeated and now we too will rise again with him, because we belong to him!
- And so I will say something like “for now this is farewell, but it is not the end.”
So that is the gospel, the one we are not ashamed of because of the Holy Spirit given to us that empowers us, fills us with love and self control.
- This is the gift we fan into flames, so that the world may know Jesus is Lord and saviour
- That we too may participate in the great story of God’s grace and light coming to a dark world.
- So, wow do we do all this? Verse 14
- Verse 14 “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you, guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”
- There is the Spirit language again… we do it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us!
Can I suggest two things?
- Like the queen, may you be unashamed of the Lord Jesus
- And may you be empowered by the Holy Spirit, fanned into flames for the sake if this gospel?