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Summary: In the darkest times, God is prepared to accomplish great things to the praise of His glory. He is able.

“I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” [1]

Unapologetically, the message today is meant for Christians—followers of Christ the Lord. This is appropriate since the text was originally addressed to a follower of the Master and since the current message is delivered during a time of Christian worship. Our world is experiencing a transition from historical Christian morality to strange, startling and novel standards that really are as old as sin itself. Society’s transformation is dizzying—the old order is being abandoned and the new moral order is not fully evident just yet. What is seen is disconcerting, to say the least. Cultural Christians and religious adherents are discomforted, though often willing to join in with a full-throated cry for censure of any who dare stand athwart the mad rush to jettison the old order while embracing a new, controversial social order.

We live in challenging days. Society is being transformed at a dizzying clip; activities and attitudes that were once universally abhorred are now approved and even celebrated, while what was once thought to be good is condemned. The Faith of our Lord Jesus is being tested; and the testing will grow more intense in days to come. Events are unfolding at a dramatic pace as evil brazenly strides through our world. Adherents of this dying world challenge followers of the Master to defend the Faith once delivered. While few are so direct as to openly confront believers, demanding an apologia for what is believed, the prevalent tone implies that most inhabitants wish we would just go away. In such a hostile environment, the model for Christian life and service is provided in the words of the Apostle as he was poised on the edge of eternity.

Verse twelve of the first chapter of Paul’s final missive to Timothy is arguably among the best known of all the verses Paul penned in this missive. The assertion readily suggests three significant affirmations that will provide the outline for our message this day. First, Paul speaks of his boldness in the service of Christ when he says, “I am not ashamed.” The Apostle then asserts the reason underlying his bold testimony, “I know whom I have believed.” Finally, Paul testifies to the confidence that he, and assuredly all Christians, should possess when he pens the words, “I am convinced that He is able.” “I am not ashamed.” “I know Whom I have believed.” “I am convinced that He is able.” In three stirring affirmations we have the essence of Christian life and service.

I AM NOT ASHAMED — I have already stated that the Faith of Christ the Lord is being forced into the closet. There was a time, not so long ago, when the things that were done in darkness were concealed because those doing such things were ashamed of what they did. Those things were once universally recognised as “unfruitful works of darkness” [EPHESIANS 5:11]. At that time, we each recognised that “It is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret” [EPHESIANS 5:12]. However, that day has passed; this is a new day—wickedness is in ascendency and righteousness appears to be in retreat. Wickedness has burst forth from the closet where it once lurked. Today, the Faith is being shoved into the closet. Christians are being forced into the closet, as though faith in the Living Son of God is something shameful.

Maybe it is time for us Christians to be in a closet—the prayer closet. In a recent radio broadcast, a well-known pastor said, “Sin which used to hide in the shadows has now come out into the light. I heard it said a few years ago that when some people get out of their closets, it's time for Christians to get into theirs and pray. We need to pray in our closets and to pray openly as we're doing today… God doesn't need America. It's a great nation. God has given us our life and our liberty. But God doesn't need America to do what God will do in the world. But America desperately needs God and we need Him today.” [2] Doctor Jack Graham’s words apply with equal validity to our beloved Canada.

Contemporary morality has been turned topsy-turvy. Those who practise what is defined as indecent and against nature demanded acceptance only a short time past. Soon, not only tolerance, but celebration of those same rebellious acts will be compelled through judicial action. The cost of following Christ has never been cheap. Though I make no claim to being a prophet, it seems abundantly clear that a costly payment for being a Christian will soon be demanded.

Morality in dying days of the Roman Empire was not radically different from the moral condition that describes our modern world. Sexual license, self-centredness, a sarcastic outlook on life, an overweening desire to be entertained seems to have marked that ancient society. Looking out on the city of Corinth, a city that reflected the moral conditions prevalent throughout much of the Empire, the Apostle described the society he witnessed. First, he wrote of a culture that had little time for God—in fact, he described a culture that exalted man and declared an individual’s own pleasure to be the summum bonum of life.

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