Summary: Pentecost 20(C) - The apostle Paul reminds believers to fan into flame the gift of God. God’s gift is a simple, saving faith. God guards our simple, saving, strong faith.
FAN INTO FLAME THE GIFT OF GOD
October 22, 2006 - PENTECOST 20 - 2 Timothy 1:5-14
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Each and every one of us enjoys getting gifts. The fact is we may even enjoy getting them a little too much. Gifts are very often something we look forward to and expect. When comes right down to it, you and I don’t deserve any gifts at all. Let’s face it--just because we get another year older or because we are married for another year, does that really earn us another gift? Not really. But that is the definition of a gift, isn’t it? It is something which is unearned, undeserved and at times can be very unexpected. Most of the time people don’t like the unexpected. When it comes to gifts and presents and when there is something wrapped up and hidden away in that box or envelope, they are anxious and excited to open it. An unexpected gift! That describes gifts, and we know how we like them.
Today, the Lord talks to us about his most precious gift to--the gift of faith. The gift of faith is the beginning. We know from faith there are all other gifts that God gives to us. Without this gift of faith, we would be lost. Without this gift of faith, we would sit in darkness. Without this gift of faith, we would suffer the eternal pangs of hell. Just like every gift, it is an unearned gift, an undeserved gift. As we grow in the knowledge of salvation we discover how this gift is unexpected. We do not deserve faith and cannot earn it. Since faith is a gift from God, it is an important gift, a valuable gift. James writes: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17). We know at times some gifts are not as valuable in the end as they first seemed. God’s gift of faith is the most valuable gift we possess. We are going to use the words of the Apostle Paul as he writes these words of encouragement to Timothy. God through Paul encourages us to: FAN INTO FLAME THE GIFT OF GOD.
God gives to each of us: I. A simple, saving faith, and; II. God guards our strong, simple, saving faith.
I. GOD GIVES A SIMPLE, SAVING FAITH
Paul was thankful that this young man Timothy had faith. This didn’t just happen as an accident, but the Lord provided him with faith. Timothy did not live in Jerusalem. He was not raised at the feet of the scribes and Pharisees or in the shadow of the temple. He lived in Lystra, far away from the center of the Jewish knowledge of God’s word and salvation. Timothy was a Gentile, an unbeliever. The chance of him believing was not very good. Yet, Paul writes: "I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." What had God done? God had provided Timothy with a faith. First of all God provided Timothy’s grandmother with a simple, saving faith. Then she passed it on her to her daughter and her daughter passed it on to Timothy. God gave that simple faith from generation to generation to generation.
Now as Paul knows that Timothy has this faith, he writes: "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." Fan into flame the gift of God – faith. We want to remember first of all that Timothy began as an Old Testament believer. He had been taught the faith of the Jews from his grandmother and mother. They taught Timothy God’s Law and God’s Gospel that looked ahead to the promise that God was going to send a Savior. Timothy started with that Old Testament of faith of hoping for the Savior to come. Then when Paul on his missionary journey came to Lystra, the Gospel was preached. Timothy then became a New Testament believer. He knew and believed the promises of God that had been revealed to him through Paul’s gospel preaching. The simple promise of God, Paul says: "This grace has been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." The same Christ that died and paid for the sins of Paul was the same Christ who died and paid for the sins of Timothy. Christ destroyed death and into the light he brought immortality through the message of the Gospel. This simple, saving faith belonged to Timothy and Paul as a gift of the Holy Spirit. As you hear Paul say time and time again, it was God who did it, God who gave him that gift.