Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our 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, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 2 Timothy 1:8-10 (NKJV)
A part of being courageous is to boldly share the Gospel with others knowing that there will be times when we are misunderstood and/or maligned because of the Gospel. We have to know that people will respond to our sharing of the Gospel in different ways. Some will respond with apathy. Some will respond by joyfully receiving the Gospel. Some will respond with hostility. In the U.S. it will be rare for this hostility to break out into violence. Instead it may be in threatening words, ridicule, criticism or argumentative opposition. Even this will likely be rare. The most common negative response we will receive is apathy.
We are to know this and yet courageously share the Gospel anyway confident that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe (Rom 1:16).
Paul reinforces the truth that we are not saved by our good works. The good moral man will not be saved by his good morals. The faithful husband will not be saved by his faithfulness as a husband. The loving mother will not be saved by her love as a mother. They will only be saved by believing the Gospel message about Jesus. There are some things these that are important and encouraging that I want to point out.
God saves, not us. This passage tells us that it is God who saves. This sounds pretty basic but it’s very important and very encouraging. This is important because as we share the Gospel we must always remember that it is God who does the saving and not us. It is very easy for us to confuse a result of sharing the Gospel with faithfulness or effectiveness in sharing the Gospel. Salvation is a potential and desired result of sharing the Gospel. But it is not an indicator of whether or not we were faithful or really even effective at sharing the Gospel
Our job is to plant the seed of the Gospel into someone’s heart or to water the seed that someone else has planted by sharing the Gospel. It is God that makes the seed grow and brings salvation into a person’s life (1 Corinthians 3:6-8). We must trust in the inherit power of the Gospel and faithfully share it. As we do this we can be confident that we don’t fail because we aren’t the ones who save people, God is.
God calls through the Gospel. We also see that God calls people to salvation. He doesn’t do this because of their works but because of His own purposes and according to His grace that is given in Jesus. God calls people to salvation through the message of the Gospel.
We have to remember that no one ever comes to Jesus because they thought it was a good idea. They always and only come to Jesus in response to God calling them. God calls people to salvation through the Gospel. This is why we must verbally share the Gospel. People are not called to salvation through observing your lifestyle. People are not called to salvation through your kindness, patience, generosity or friendliness. People are not called to salvation through your being a faithful spouse, a loving parent or a good employee. People are called to salvation through the Gospel. This is why we must be faithful to share the Gospel.
God will save anyone who believes. We are told that Jesus abolished death and brought life and immortality through the Gospel. The clear teaching of Scripture is that God will give these things to anyone who believes the Gospel. Life and immortality are available to anyone and everyone who repents of their sins and believes on Jesus Christ. We will never see someone who God will not save. We must faithfully share the Gospel because all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Rom 10:13). They will not call upon someone that they don’t believe in. They can’t believe in someone they haven’t heard about. They won’t hear about Him unless someone tells them (Rom 10:14).
God wants to lead us out of our comfort zone and beyond our natural limitations so He can accomplish His will through us. In order for this to happen we must be confident in the power of the Gospel. When we share the Gospel with others we are not sharing mere human ideas. We are sharing the powerful Word of God which has the power to change lives. This is a faith issue. Do we truly believe that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation? Do we believe it enough to faithfully share the Gospel with others? We must courageously push through our fears and confidently share the Gospel with others.