Summary: A sermon about burning bright with the love of God.
“I Know Whom I Have Believed”
A couple of months ago, Clair, Mary Ellen and I decided we would have a cookout at Coolidge Park.
So we went to the store, bought hamburgers and hot dogs, filled the cooler, purchased charcoal and…
…because I was completely convinced that it would be difficult to start the fire…
But when we got there, I realized I didn’t even need a match!
I saw that the coals in the park grill were still glowing.
So I placed the new charcoal on top, blew on it just a bit…
…and the coals glowed brighter and brighter until suddenly the coals burst into flame!
Never mind that it started to rain…really, really rain within about 5 minutes…
…but even that didn’t stop the fire.
I’m reminded of this when I read Paul urging his young friend, Timothy, to rekindle God’s gift, to bring it back into a blazing fire!
Something is glowing there, deep down inside, and Timothy must blow gently to get it back into flame.
In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he warned Timothy not to let other people look down on him because he was young.
In another letter, Paul urged the Corinthians not to regard Timothy as a junior and inferior.
Now Paul is telling Timothy that the Spirit which is at work within him, God’s Spirit given to him to equip him for service is not a spirit of fearfulness or timidity, but a Spirit of power, love and self-discipline.
Timothy has been saved by God Who has a grand purpose for his life.
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.”
Timothy was blessed to have been raised in a Christian household.
He is, our first second generation Christian written about in the Bible.
He was brought up in the faith.
He was taught about Jesus.
He was shown the love of Christ.
And as he grew older, he accepted that love for himself!
This alone, should shock us into knowing how important it is to bring our children up in church, and make sure they attend Sunday school and Youth group.
Without this initial flame…
…their lives will be much, much harder.
And the darkness and temptations of the world will be much more difficult to resist.
I thank God I was brought up in church.
At the time, like many other youngsters, I would have rather “slept in” on Sunday mornings.
But the love I experienced, and the stories the faith which I learned turned out to be invaluable as a child and then as an adult!
Much to my surprise, I already knew a lot about Jesus before I ever committed my life to Him.
A friend of mine and I would spend hours talking about God and the meaning of life, until I finally became convinced that I needed to make a decision.
And when the decision was made, the coals caught on fire!
And I have been able to withstand so many pressures of this life due to the One in Whom I have believed!!!
For total trust in God, is total freedom!
In Christ, we truly are given the power and the love and the assurance that no matter what may happen—everything is in God’s hands...
…and because of that, it will be alright.
A prayer which has been especially helpful to me is found in our hymnals on page 607.
It’s called A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition.
It is one of the hardest prayers to pray with complete honesty, therefore it must be prayed again, and again and again until it becomes your prayer—my prayer!
And when that happens, there is nothing on this earth, nor under this earth which can put out the flames of our faith.
There is nothing in this world which can keep us down.
There is no knock-out-blow!!!
If you have not done so already, it would be good to start learning this prayer now.
I carry a copy of it in my wallet.
There have been times, very trying times when I have prayed this prayer several times a day…
…and it has literally saved and in many ways changed my life.
It goes like this:
“I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,