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Summary: Disciples must refresh commitment to serving from time-to-time. This is accomplished through renewal of service to the Lord Christ.

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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]

For many Christians, perhaps even for most Christians, the memory of immediate changes that accompanied the new birth lingers in the hallowed halls of treasured events. These blessed souls experienced a newfound joie de vivre that had not been known previously. Though she may not have been fanatical about the matter, the new believer wanted to speak openly of what God had done in her life. She knew that whereas previously she had been dead to the True and Living God, she was now alive—more alive than she could have thought possible. It was well-nigh impossible not to tell others, pointing them to the freedom from guilt and condemnation that she now experienced in Christ the Lord. That newborn child of God felt as though her mouth was bent into a permanent smile and she bubbled over with vibrant excitement at the thought she was loved not because of who she was, but simply because she was.

There seem always to be found among the churches individuals who appear to have been weaned on dill pickles. They so suppress any expression of joy that you would believe that were they to smile their face would break. Though these impoverished souls can laugh, they have no sense of joy. They give the impression that their primary purpose in life is to stifle any joy that a believer may express. I recall one such sourpuss who was present on a particular evening.

I was chairing an evangelistic crusade in a Canadian city. Each evening, many people were responding to the invitation of the evangelist. On one particular evening as I walked through the inquiry room, a young man was seated all alone, beaming and quite obviously excited. I stopped to speak with him at the invitation of the counsellor who had just led him to faith in the Son of God. He immediately began to speak of how excited he was because Christ had saved him. He was positively bubbling over and just could not be silent.

As we spoke, a pastor from one of the co-operating churches wandered into the inquiry room. He recognised the young man and walked over to hear what was being said. The young man immediately began to tell that pastor of God’s gracious gift and how excited he was because God had saved him. That dour denizen of darkness dressed in clerical garb, who likely had never had an personal encounter with the Living God much less knew if there was a God, patted that young man on the shoulder and said, “There, there, you’ll get over that.”

I could not contain my indignation. I exploded, “Don’t listen to him! He doesn’t know what he’s talking about! I pray you never get over this! God has done a wonderful work in your life, changing you and starting you on a journey that will lead to transformation into the image of His Son. Don’t listen to this man! Ignore him! And don’t bother going to his church—ever! He will steal your joy!”

The tragedy of that story is that the minister in that story is too often not the exception among the professed people of God. Rather, his attitude reducing the Faith to a mere religion, a series of rituals, is the rule in too many cases. Perhaps Timothy, tired from the constant struggle to be righteous, was beginning to go through the motions of what is called worship without worshipping. It seems that Paul saw the need for the young minister to be reenergised.

The message is intended for weary Christians. I have but one message for those who are pretending to be Christians, and that is to believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved. Those pitiful creatures that only know religion but have never been born from above do not deserve the honoured title of Christian. However, those who are Christians, those who know Christ Jesus the Lord, but who have grown weary in well-doing need the encouragement of the Apostle’s words. “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.”

PRECEDENCE — “For this reason I remind you…” Break down the Apostle’s words to Timothy. He begins by alluding to what he had just written. What was the reason that prompted Paul to speak so pointedly to Timothy? The reason that Paul speaks so openly is the genuine Faith that Timothy possessed—the identical Faith, you will remember, that had been evident in both his grandmother and his mother.

The Apostle has focused on Timothy’s godly heritage. Especially when one was raised in a godly home, the actions of that individual reflects on those with whom he was associated. Your parents, if they held to this Faith, are judged in part by your actions. Whether your life is a benediction to your training, or whether you live in rejection of the training with which you were invested, will be a matter of judgement by those who observe how you live out your life. As a teen, flexing my independence and moving beyond the immediate home, my father would often caution me, “Son, remember that you are my son. Don’t do anything to make me ashamed.” That warning served as a brake on many of the temptations that presented themselves.

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