Summary: A sermon addressing the need to stir up the gift that God has bestowed upon us.

Keep The Fire Burning

II Timothy 1:6-8

If you have a fireplace in your home then you know that you cannot simply kindle a fire and expect it to burn continually without any attention. It is necessary to periodically stoke that fire in order for it to keep burning. It has rightly been said that “a fire that cannot spread will go out”. In a similar way, if we do not give constant attention to our spiritual gifts they will “burn down” so to speak.

There are many servants in the church who were once vibrant and productive for the Kingdom of God; however, over time something has changed. For many, the issue is that they have not given proper attention to their spiritual gift. Our selected text reveals the importance of discovering, using and developing the talents, gifts and abilities that the Lord has given us to use for His glory. Paul called on Timothy to “stir up the gift of God that was in him”. His intention was to instruct and encourage his young protégé. We would do well to listen to Paul’s counsel and apply these truths in our own lives.

- I would like to examine this passage and preach on the subject “Keep The Fire Burning”.

By way of introduction let me remind you that this letter is one of Paul’s Pastoral Epistles and it was written to one of the most special people in his life. These two men were more than fellow servants and even closer than brothers in Christ; Paul calls Timothy his “beloved son”.

This letter was written during one of the most difficult moments of Paul’s life. He is currently in a Roman prison and facing certain death. However, in spite of his circumstances, he was comforted, encouraged and filled with hope and assurance. He knew that he belonged to the Lord and nothing could happen to him apart from His Sovereign will. Therefore there was no need for him to fear anyone or anything.

In verse 3 Paul tells Timothy that “without ceasing” he remembered him in his prayers “night and day”. He wanted his beloved son in the faith to know that he constantly mentioned him in his prayers. Not only did Paul regularly pray for Timothy, he also had an intense desire to see Him. (v4 “greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy”.) When Paul thought about Timothy and prayed for him he was often reminded of “the genuine faith that was in him”. Because Timothy’s faith was genuine he would be able to endure the troubles, trials and hardships that he would face in his service to the Lord.

It is important for you to understand that if you are born again you possess a gift (or gifts) that are to be used in service to the Lord. As we consider these few verses I would like to examine four truths about your spiritual gift. In the process I hope that we can see how to “Keep The Fire Burning”.

- Let’s begin with the fact that it is important for you to:


There are certain indicators that Timothy was timid and often fearful. I am sure like most Christians there were times when he was even tempted to turn away from the faith. For this reason, Paul wrote to encourage him; he says in:

v6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

A great fire was burning within Timothy, but it was important for him to “fan the flame” so to speak. “Stir up” literally means “to keep the fire alive”. Paul does not specify exactly what “gift” he is referring to concerning Timothy. We know that Timothy was the first bishop of the Ephesian Church. He was also a gifted evangelist and was actively involved in missionary work. Regardless of the specific gift that Paul had in mind, it is clear that when Timothy was called into Christian service he was given a special gift. This young servant of God needed to know the importance of “stirring up” that gift.

In his first letter Paul had warned Timothy not to “neglect the gift that was in him” (1 Timothy 4:14); now he calls on him to “fan it into flame”. Timothy did not need anything new, or anything more than what he already had. But it was important for him to fan the flame that was already burning.

The Lord gives His children certain gifts that are to be used for His glory. The Bible has much to say about various spiritual gifts and how they are to be used properly. Within the local church there are people who have been blessed with talents and abilities such as preaching, teaching, leading, giving and laboring in various other areas. On top of these specific gifts, every born again Christian can and should be involved in evangelism and the ministry of prayer.

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