2 Tim. 1:6-14
The US census of 2010 counted three million Muslims in the United States. That number is inaccurate since many Muslims do not feel comfortable identifying themselves as such on an American document. Furthermore, the number of Muslims in America is rapidly growing. In 2015, the FBI did a study that estimates that the number of Muslims is nearly five million. How do we witness to them? They are infiltrating our cities speaking Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, Farsi, and Dari. They have built mosques across our land—as many as three hundred in New York City alone. They veil themselves behind long garments. Can such people really be won to Christ? Do we really have to witness to such people?
Don’t be afraid
2 Tim 1:6-14 has some helpful advice regarding our witness. This passage is more than a command to go and preach the Gospel. It gives several pointers on what should be included in our Gospel witness. In verses 6-7, Paul reminds Timothy to do what he was appointed to do. God had given Timothy the charge of being a witness in the city of Ephesus. Timothy had to be reminded of something that we often have to be reminded—our witness must not be mixed with fear. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. So, when we are witnessing to a Muslim, we don’t need to assume he is a terrorist or that she is concealing a bomb. Rather, we must be convinced that God has given us the power to boldly share the Gospel. He has given us the spiritual strength to witness when we are discouraged and the physical strength to accomplish what He wants us to do. God has given us the ability to love other people. We can love those who don’t seem lovely. As we follow Christ’s example, we can learn to have compassion on the lost! God has given us a sound mind. We cannot trust our own intellect, but a sober mind is a gift from God to use as we talk to Muslims. We do not have to fear when our Gospel presentation is rooted on the Word of God! When witnessing to Muslims, we do not have to fear them. Neither should we fear our own failures. God gives us the strength, the ability to love them, and the ability to have a clear mind.
Don’t be ashamed
The next five verses indicate that also we should not be ashamed of the Gospel. Paul said in verse 8, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…” Verse 12 says, “Nevertheless, I am not ashamed…” The context in both verses 8 and 12 is that we should not be ashamed or intimidated by persecution. Let the Muslim criticize me or even attack me or imprison me. How can we be so bold? How can we be ready for afflictions mentioned in verse 8 and suffering mentioned in verse 12? Such boldness does not come from personal resolve. It comes only from confidence in the reality and power of the Gospel. Do you feel intimidated or threatened when sharing the Gospel? Then maybe it is time to remind yourself of the reality of what we believe. Maybe it is time to memorize more verses about the new life that the Gospel brings. Maybe it is time to memorize more verses about whom we have believed. Let’s make sure that we are persuaded that God is able to keep our souls until the end.
Don’t be apathetic
The final challenge in this passage is to “hold fast” the Gospel and to “keep” it. The idea is to be on guard – to make sure that the Gospel message is always a standard for all to see. We have heard it from others. It has been entrusted to us. Let us gladly proclaim it in faith and love.
One teen girl recently expressed that when she sees people in Islamic attire, her first thought is often, “I wish they weren’t here.” Is that the attitude Paul described to Timothy? Or did the Apostle Paul encourage us to boldly believe and proclaim the Gospel? Muslims can be saved. They need the Gospel. Let’s get it to them!