Title - The Power of Unfeigned Faith
Text - 2 Timothy 1:5
Intro. - One of the great burdens that I have is that our children would grow up to serve God and become involved in the work of the Lord. I pray daily, not only for my kids, but for your kids as well that this would be the reality in their lives.
In the interest of that burden I have spent a considerable amount of time studying from Scripture the pattern of declining faith from one generation to the next. What I have dis-covered I have taught from this pulpit in recent months. As a result of my study I have diligently and prayerfully applied the principles of Scripture to prevent the decline of faith in my own family.
My wife and I both have a wonderful heritage of faith and Pentecost in both of our fami-lies. My wife is 5th generation Pentecost on her side of the family. I am second genera-tion Pentecost on my side of the family. That makes our kids 6th generation pentecost on her side and 3rd generation pentecost on my side. We are what we are because we have been raised in the faith and in the experience of Pentecost. We want our children to expe-rience the same thing that we have experienced and then to pass it on to their kids so that this great heritage can continue.
The bible is full of stories concerning the pattern of declining faith. Stories that document the failure of preceding generations to pass on successfully to the next generation the faith that they found in God. But in the midst of the failures there are success stories that document the fact that one generation successfully passed on to the next faith in God and then that generation passed on to the next generation a living, vibrant faith in God as well.
One of those stories is found in our text this morning. Turn to 2 Timothy 1:1-5 and read along with me this morning. Pay close attention to v. 5.
I noticed three things from this text that I want to draw your attention to today:
I. The Three Generations Principle
A. This is a principle that is established throughout the entire Word of God.
1. Illustration - Illustrate the principle by using three chairs each one representing a generation.
B. Scriptures supporting the three generations principle:
1. It begins in Genesis 19-35 with the story of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There you find the story of Abraham’s conversion, Isaac’s blessings as a result of being raised in the home of Abraham, and Jacob’s deception of Isaac and his subsequent conversion at Bethel.
2. The next time you find the principle of The Three Generations is in Judges 2:7-10.
a. Judges 2:7-10 says, “And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel. 8And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 9And they buried him .... 10And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”
b. Let’s consider the illustration of the three chairs in three ways or sayings that can describe the declining process that takes place from one generation to the next:
1. There was a generation (First Generation) that saw and experienced the move of God.
2. Then there was a generation (Second Generation) that saw the move of God but never experienced the move of God.
3. Then there was a generation (Third Generation) that neither saw nor experi-enced the move of God.
1. The first generation knew the Lord of the work.
2. The second generation knew the work of the Lord.
3. The third generation knew neither the Lord of the work or the work of the Lord.
1. The first generation were strong believers.
2. The second generation was weak believers.
3. The third generation are unbelievers.
3. The third place is Scripture that I would turn to is the story of David (first genera-tion), Solomon (second generation), and Rehoboam (third generation).
a. In 1 Samuel 16 we find that David was anointed King when he was a young person. In 2 Samuel 2 he was officially anointed King over Judah. David was not a per-fect man. He had his problems. But it was said of him in Acts 13:22 that he was a man after God’s own heart.
b. 1 Chronicles 29:28 tells us that David died and his son Solomon reigned in his place. Solomon was really more wicked than his father. He compromised everything that he had been taught and made agreements with countries that worshipped idols and mar-ried women from these countries.
c. 2 Chronicles 9:31 says that he died and his son Rehoboam reigned in his place. Rehoboam was more wicked than his father ever thought about being. He was an exceed-ing wicked man and when the kingdom was established under him he forsook the Lord and took his kingdom into wickedness.
4. The fourth place that I would draw your attention to is from our text this morning. There we see it very plainly again in Paul’s words: Grandmother Lois (first generation); Mother Eunice (second generation); and Son Timothy (third generation).
C. There are other scriptures we could consider but I believe that I have established for you the principle from Scripture concerning The Three Generation Principle.
II. Unfeigned Faith can be successfully passed from one generation to the next
A. In Acts 16:1-2 we find the account of the circumstances when the Apostle Paul be-came acquainted with Timothy and his family. It was during Paul’s first missionary jour-ney that he came to Lystra and met Timothy and his family. Timothy’s love and maturity in the Lord impressed Paul.
B. Notice two points with me about passing this unfeigned faith on to the next genera-tion:
1. Timothy had a godly grandmother, who passed on her faith to his mother, who then passed on her faith to her son, Timothy. They were Jews, but they were also believ-ing Christians. They both had a great influence upon Timothy.
2. Timothy had an unbelieving father, a Greek. He was not a follower of the Jewish God. If he had been, he would have had Timothy circumcised. The point is that he was a heathen, an unsaved father. Timothy was from a divided family spiritually. Yet he fol-lowed God despite his father’s unbelief. Even if his father was dead at this time, Timothy still made the choice to follow the Lord as taught by his mother. I believe from that we can apply two truths:
a. Mother you have a tremendous influence over your children. If you are a single mother there is hope promised to you from God’s word that you can raise those kids to accept your faith and follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
b. If your spouse is unsaved there is hope for you. If you feel like that those kids are slipping from you then take courage because here is a promise from God’s word that even in spite of a spouse who does not embrace your faith you can pass on to your kids the faith that you hold to dearly and they will then pass it on to their children.
C. That brings me to the third point which brings to mind a question:
III. What kind of faith should we pass on to the next generation?
Paul answers the question very plainly and clearly:
A. Paul is very clear here concerning the kind of faith that we are to pass on. He very plainly states that we must pass on unfeigned faith.
B. Let’s look at those two words this morning.
1. Consider first of all the word faith.
a. The greek word is pistis (pronounced pis’tis) and means a:
1. Conviction of the truth of anything, a belief; in the New Testament it refers to a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, it gen-erally refers to the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.
2. As relating to God it is the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. In my research I discovered that this is the word used for faith in the entire chapter of Hebrews 11.
3. As relating to Christ it is a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God.
4. It refers to the religious beliefs of Christians. A body of truth that we be-lieve in and teach to be the truth. This is also the same word used in Jude 3 where the writer said, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common sal-vation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should ear-nestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
2. Consider second of all the word unfeigned.
a. The greek word is anupokritos (pronounced an-oo-pok’-re-tos) and means unfeigned, undisguised, sincere. It has the idea of an undiluted faith.
b. In my study I compared other translations and discovered that the NIV uses the word sincere and the NKJV uses the word genuine. The Webster’s dictionary defines unfeigned as sincere and genuine. The KJV uses the word unfeigned which in this in-stance encompasses the full definition of the word as being both sincere and genuine. I believe it takes both qualities to successfully raise a generation to accept the faith that we believe in and trust in.
c. To understand the full meaning of unfeigned let’s look at the opposite word which is feigned. According to the Webster’s dictionary feigned means pretended; sham; counterfeit; assumed; fictitious.
d. So the implication that Paul is saying concerning the kind of faith that was passed on to Timothy is that it was not a counterfeit faith or a faith that someone made up but it really is a genuine and sincere faith.
B. If we are going to pass on this faith to the next generation then we must experience it first. There are two qualities that I believe following generations observe in our lives as we attempt to pass on unfeigned faith to them. Those qualities are found in the definition of the word unfeigned and they are genuine and sincere. Succeeding generations are looking for genuineness and sincerity in those who have preceded them. Let’s consider the two words genuine and sincere is an effort to understand how this is passed on to the next generation.
1. According to the Webster’s dictionary the word genuine means possessing the claimed character, quality, or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real. And the word sin-cere according to the Webster’s dictionary means free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness.
a. People are looking for something that is real. People are looking to see if you possess what you say you possess. Because there are so many things that are being done today in the name of religion people really want to know if you are authentic, if you have that quality that makes you distinct from everything else in the religious world today.
C. There are six places that the word unfeigned or a derivative of it is used in the New Testament. I want to consider five of those references. In each instance the implication is that we must possess the claimed character and quality that is discussed.
1. Two of the five verses deal with the quality of love we possess.
a. The next generation will recognize the authentic nature of the possession of the first generation by the depth and quality of their love for God and others. Let’s look at them very quickly:
1. Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be without hypocrisy.” People looking for the real thing can tell when the fake is present.
2. 1 Peter 1:22-23 says, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one an-other with a pure heart fervently: 23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
2. Two of the five references deal with the quality of faith that we possess.
a. The first reference is from 1 Timothy 1:3-6.
1. The next generation will observe the quality of your faith. So many have diluted the faith. I believe this is why so many in the second and third generation do not embrace the faith the first generation claims to have. Many have been so preoccupied splitting hairs that has resulted in unsound faith that entire generations have been lost be-cause of worthless debate.
b. The second reference is from our text in 2 Timothy 1:5. This is a reference to the fact that Lois and Eunice kept the faith they passed on to Timothy pure and undiluted.
3. The last reference of the five I want to consider deals with the character of faith under pressure. The next generation wants to know how will your faith help me when times are tough. Read from 2 Corinthians 6:1-10. It proves that people can possess the real thing and keep it under any circumstance they may find themselves in. I believe that is exactly what the second and third generations are looking for. Somebody that possesses the character and qualities of true Christianity that they say they possess.
Let me tell you the story of my family and the heritage of faith we have and how it came about.
In the early 1940’s my mother at the tender young age of 10 or 11 was introduced to Pentecost in Maysville, Oklahoma at a Church of God started in a store front building. When she was a small girl during the summer she would go to Purcell, Oklahoma where her sister, Juanita, lived. Aunt Juanita attended a Pentecostal Holiness church and Mom would go to visit her in the summer and they would go to the Pentecostal Holiness camp meeting every year in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Through her teen years Mom drifted in and out of Pentecost. She met my Dad, Otis Andirene Lewis and after dating for a while they were married in April of 1952. From that union came four children. Roger, Keith, Sherry, and me.
In August of 1953 my brother, Roger, was born. My second brother, Keith, was born in December of 1954 and after several years of sickness and sever physical problems died.
During this time Mom and Dad moved back to Maysville, Oklahoma. It was there that Mom started attending the little Church of God church that she went to as a small girl and in the February 1955 she committed her life to Christ and was later filled with the bap-tism of the Holy Spirit. My Dad held out for awhile. However, in the fall of 1956 he could wait no longer. He went to church with Mom and gave his heart to Christ and was filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
In November of 1960 my sister, Sherry, was born and four years later in December of 1964 I came along.
Mom and Dad worked hard to provide for us. Church was our life. Being first generation Pentecostals on both sides of their family they wanted their kids to embrace the faith they held to so dearly. Life was busy for us. Mom and Dad both worked to make ends meet and Roger and Sherry were my baby-sitters most of the time. We all grew up into our teen years. And Mom and Dad watched each one of us accept Christ and experience the bap-tism of the Holy Ghost. At about the age of 19 or 20 my brother stood in a small church in Gainesville, Texas and testified that he felt like God had called him to preach the gos-pel. My sister had a more difficult time through her teen years than my brother or I had. She later drifted from the faith that was so important to our parents. When I was 11 years old we moved to Denton, Texas. It was there that I struggled as a typical teen but later made a deep commitment to Christ and the Pentecostal upbringing I knew. At the tender age of 15 I went into my pastor’s office and told him that I felt like God had called me to preach the gospel. I graduated from high school and later went to Bible school and graduated, married and entered the full time ministry.
They know had two sons, second generation Pentecostal preachers, to whom they had successfully passed on the heritage they held so dear. But they still had a daughter who had drifted from the faith they had diligently taught her to trust in. After much prayer and trusting God and the power of unfeigned faith on Eastern Sunday afternoon in the year 2001 she called me on the phone and I had the wonderful privilege of leading her back to Christ. She is now faithfully attending a bible believing church along with her husband who is a new Christian also.
There is a power in genuine and sincere faith that is passed on to succeeding generations.