Next: First Things First Study #2
Courage with the Gospel
2 Timothy 1:8-18
INTRODUCTION: This week’s teaching set began with some surprising data about the willingness of Christians to share their faith. Here it is (from Scott Sauls A Gentle Answer)
Many American Christians prefer to keep the good news about Jesus hidden. Some are not only reluctant but also opposed to the practice of trying to encourage other people to trust and follow Jesus.
[The Barna Group found in 2019] that “an increasing number of Christians have entirely backed away from sharing their faith. Almost half of millennials (those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s) who identify as followers of Jesus say that evangelism is not just uncomfortable, but that it is actually wrong.”
- [on the one hand] 97% of Christians across 4 generations agree with the statement, “The best thing that could ever happen to someone is for him/her to come to know Jesus.”
- [yet at the same time] 47% of millennials, plus a smaller percentage from the other 3 generations, agree that “it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that he/she will one day share the same faith.”
Sauls asks: “What in the world is going on here?” Discuss this data for a few moments
GETTING STARTED – Discuss this data for a few moments.
- What’s your response to this survey data? Are you surprised by it? Why or why not?
- Christians feel comfortable “sharing the love of Christ” toward people, but not the “message of Christ.” Why do we stop short of sharing the latter?
- Do you think this is good…or is the Lord calling us to something more?
IN THE WORD – in the passage we considered in this week’s teaching (1 Timothy 1:8-18), Paul uses the word “ashamed” three times. More broadly, it is found in another of NT passages. Let’s explore.
- Mark 8:34-38—What do you see Jesus teaching here about publicly identifying with Him and the gospel? According to Jesus, why might someone “be ashamed” of Him and His gospel?
- Romans 1:14-17—Who is writing this? What is motivating him to be open and verbal about the gospel? And…does this motivate us? You?
- Philippians 1:12-21—Paul (writing from his 1st Roman imprisonment, cf. Acts 28:16-31) speaks to those Christians in Philippi about the gospel being publicly preached. READ this passage and explore Paul’s attitude about the gospel message getting out. What do you observe about his attitude?
- 2 Timothy 1:8-12—As you read Paul’s charge to Timothy, what do you discover about the possible reasons Timothy was tempted to be ashamed of the gospel, and Paul? (cf. 2 Timothy 2:3). And…how does Paul seek to change Timothy’s outlook on this with what he writes here?
EVAL, DISCUSS AND APPLY
What keeps you from more regularly, verbally sharing the gospel and your faith with those who are not yet in God’s family?
- I’m not sure I know how to share it clearly
- I’ve tried and been rebuffed
- I’m fearful of the social consequences
- I’m hesitant if asked a question I can’t answer
- I don’t know well any non-believers
- I’ve never tried it; need some coaching
- I’m a bit ashamed of being known as a Christian
- Other (share it)