Is there need for such an exhortation? God who knows the treachery of the human heart knows also the need. Let us ask ourselves: “Am I ashamed? That is, do I fear the consequences for taking God at His Word?”
As the “minister of the circumcision” sent “only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” Jesus said, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of ME and MY WORDS …. of him also will the Son of man be ashamed.” Romans 15:8; Matthew 15:24; Mark 8:38. Were these words of warning necessary? Note: “Among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:42 and 43.
Some years later the Apostle Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16. Because he was fearless he suffered much, as can be readily learned from the Book of Acts and the Epistles of that period.
In the last of his writings Paul wrote to his son in the faith, Timothy: Be not thou ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the power of God.” II Timothy 1:8.
From the fourth chapter of Ephesians we know that the Lord gave gifts for the edifying of the Body of Christ. These gifts are men. They, like the Apostle Paul, are stewards. A ministry has been committed unto them. “It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.” I Corinthians 4:2.
In writing to Timothy, with reference to “the testimony of our Lord,” which was the precious deposit committed to his trust, Paul wrote: “The things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others.” II Timothy 2:2. At the close of II Timothy, he wrote, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” II Timothy 4:7. This we believe to be “the faith of God’s elect” “the “one faith” which members of the Church which is His Body should endeavor to keep, or guard. Titus 1:1; Ephesians 4:5.
A fearful man makes a poor guard. The guard, if he knows the value of that which he guards, will die to protect his trust. See Ephesians 1:15 to 23; Colossians 1:9 to 10. He must be courageous, and endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ,” and seek only to “please Him who hath called him to be a soldier.” Seeking to be “approved unto God” he will not fear, for “the fear of man bringeth a snare.” II Timothy 2:3, 4, and 15; Proverbs 29:25.
It is God’s will that His Word be properly presented. This is only possible as we “study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” The “things that differ” must be distinguished! Failure here will result in dulling the edge of the two-edged sword! See II Timothy 2:15; Philippians 1:10 (R.V.); Hebrews 4:12.
We should therefore join the “preacher, apostle, and teacher of the Gentiles” in seeking God’s approval in the desire “to make all men see what is the dispensation of the Mystery, the Mystery among the Gentiles.” II Timothy 1:11; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:27.
Is courage required? Allow the Apostle to speak: “This thou knowest that all they which were in Asia be turned away from me.” “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world . . . .” “Only Luke is with me II Timothy 1:15; II Timothy 4:10 and 11.
Remember however, that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the power of God.” “For unto you it given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” II Timothy 1:7 and 8; Philipians 1:29.
Is our heart’s desire expressed in the words of inspiration: “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings?” “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” “Be not thou therefore ashamed.” Philippians 3:10; II Timothy 2:12.