May 1, 2017
II Timothy 4:1-5
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Out Of The Closet! It is a phrase that has come to mean taking a bold and public stance concerning something that has been a personal secret! It has often been applied to gay and lesbian issues. I am not going to argue God’s view on this subject in this blog. But I want to take the idea of coming Out Of The Closet and apply it to the Christian faith, the secret faith of many people today. You see, there are far too many ‘secret Christians’, especially in the western world!
The Apostle Paul wrote two letters to his young protégée Timothy – two that we have in our Bible. The second letter was written during Paul’s final imprisonment in Rome, just before he was martyred by the order of Emperor Nero. Paul had been out and out bold concerning the proclamation of the Christian faith – so bold that time and again he had undergone severe persecution because of his witness! (See, for example, II Corinthians 11:23-28). And now he was about to lose his head (literally!) because of that witness! And so, in II Timothy 4:1 through 5, he charges Timothy, then pastor of the Christian assembly in Ephesus, to also be bold in his witness:
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ…Preach
the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke,
exhort, with all…[patience] and teaching. For the time will come when
they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires
…they will turn their ears away from the truth….But you be watchful in
all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your
There are too many ‘secret Christians’ around today!
A year and a half ago, we traveled to northern New York State to see my good friend and former Air Force roommate. His former girlfriend (and my friend also) was visiting with her husband from England. We had not seen her in almost fifty years! One beautiful fall day we all walked together in the peaceful setting of an old cemetery. My wife mentioned something about our faith in Jesus Christ. The English husband interjected, “We were told before we started on our vacation not to talk about two things: religion and politics.”
My bold wife answered, “Why? Those are two of the most important issues we face in this life – and for eternity! Why should they be off-limits for discussion? ”
The man thought about it for a minute, and then answered, “I guess you are right! Why should not we talk about these subjects?” And we thereafter had productive conversations especially about the Christian faith! And I hope such discussion was spiritually productive because (especially concerning our English friend of long ago) she was definitely not a follower of Christ! By the way, I pray for this couple almost every day, for I want them to enjoy eternity in heaven with my wife and me!
It is time – time past due – for Christians to come Out Of The Closet, and be bold about their faith! Other groups do, concerning what is near and dear to them! For instance…
• Gay and lesbian advocates boldly march, demonstrate, pass out literature, vocally share their preferences (sometimes in-your-face!), donate their treasure, time, and talents, legislate, and in any way they can, they promote their beliefs and lifestyle!
• Environmentalist have sometimes gone to the extreme measures of chaining themselves to trees or bulldozers, and have illegally trashed offices and labs to get their ideology across! And don’t forget the antagonism between Climate Change devotees and ‘deniers’!
• The nation has lately been quite divided concerning our president and his policies – even resulting in demonstrations and violence! And, speaking of politics in general, how many people have devoted their lives to political parties, causes, and positions?
• Civil rights has always been an issue! Much progress was made starting back in the late 50’s and 60’s against prejudicial laws and practices – and rightly so! But it cost some civil rights activists dearly – even their lives! Today it is still an issue – and, right or wrong, dedicated people will face down opposition to get their civil rights point across!
We could go on and on with examples. But I think you can see the point: Followers of Jesus Christ need to be out and proud concerning their faith! After all…
• Christianity is the only religion in the world – the only thing in the world – that can change the inner person from evil to good – from a wasted life to a life of value! (See Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26; Zechariah 3:4; II Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 1:21; John 10:10; I John 4:15).
• If Christianity can change the inner person, it can also change the world! (See Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14; James 4:1-10).
• Only Jesus Christ addresses all human need! (See Matthew 6:24-33; 11:28-30; John 16:33; Philippians 4:19).
• Jesus brings healing! (See Isaiah 53:5, 6; I Peter 2:24; Ephesians 2:13-22).
• Finally – and perhaps it should be mentioned first – only faith in Jesus Christ can change our eternal destiny! (See John 3:15, 16; Romans 5:21; 6:23; I John 5:11-13).
So Christian, come Out Of The Closet! Be bold about your faith, and God will do amazing things through you!