Matthew R. Perry

Being Good Stewards of the Gospel, Part II: Fan Into Flame God’s Gift of Faith

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2007 at 10:14 pm

(To listen to this sermon in its entirety, click here.)

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:3-7, ESV).

Every Christian risks having the flame and the fire of their faith begin to grow dim. Life’s circumstances hit in unexpected ways and we wonder if this Christian faith is what we bargained for. The fire may grow dim when we find ourselves engaged in rebellious and sinful activity which will quench the stirring of the Spirit in our lives.

Timothy felt the pressure of pastoring. That pressure came from trying to please everyone, especially those who were older and more mature than he. He began to feel the pressure and soon began to be afraid of their countenance — he put his focus on them rather than on Christ.

So what was Timothy to do? Paul understood the need to remind Timothy of a number of past events. First, know that someone is praying for you. In verses 3-4 he says, that he remembers him constantly “in my prayers.” When we realize our brothers and sisters in Christ are lifting us up to the throne of grace — especially those who are strong in the faith — that bolsters us. Paul encouraged the Ephesian Christians to “Make supplication for all the saints.” And does not James 5:16 say, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

Paul reminds Timothy of his upbringing. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5, ESV). Timothy was given an incredible heritage of faith from his mother and grandmother. Now, while it is true that God does not have grandchildren and that we are not saved based on another person’s faith, we can lean and learn from the example that our family gave. Clearly, the type of faith Lois and Eunice had was a persevering faith — a faith that we need to see more of so that this will encourage us to persevere!

Paul reminds Timothy also of his ordination service! “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (1:6). Is Paul saying that he had a supernatural, magical power in which Timothy received his position of authority in the Ephesian church? No, not at all. What Paul is describing is Timothy’s ordination service, where a congregation senses by the leadership of the Holy Spirit someone who possesses the gifts and the calling to preach the Word and to shepherd the flock. In fact, Timothy may have been called out by this very flock of whom he found himself afraid. He must remember the testimony of the Spirit’s leading of the church

Paul encourages Timothy even further when he reminds Timothy that God gave us type of spirit with certain attributes. Power, love and self-control or discipline are among them.

What about you? Can you look back on times in your life when God helped you in your faith-walk? Maybe a former pastor or a faithful persevering family member?

(To read Part I, click here.)

Please share with us someone or something from your past that helps you in your present walk so the flame of your faith grows stronger and brighter in Christ.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: