A Spirit of Timidity
5 Secrets to Power Filled Living
II Timothy 1:1-18
Before we get started this morning let me ask you a question. How many of you would admit freely this morning that you are living a timid Christian life? The problem with that question is that Timid is a relative term. Are you timid compared to who or what? So let me rephrase that question. How many people would freely admit that compared to the Apostle Paul ¡V your Christian walk has been timid? Ok How many of you don¡¦t know what the word timid means? ƒº You know I have to admit today that my life as a Christian is still somewhat timid ¡V As bold as I am ¡V there is a place that I retreat from persecution ¡V pain ¡V and adversity. A place where I shy away from confrontation. I think that it¡¦s peculiar that in the most free and open society in the world for Christianity that we still cower before the power brokers of our day.
Paul encourages us to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in us ¡K for God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and discipline. I think Paul makes it clear that we are to find that place of power in our lives that allows us to be all that God has called us to be. In these passages Paul gives us 5 secrets to Power filled living. Let¡¦s look at them together.
II Timothy 1:3-18
1) Embrace being different and even being persecuted. Paul says in verse 8 ¡V join with me in suffering for the gospel. Timothy was in a difficult ministry position. He was a young man in a church community that was having problems. Resistance and resentment were running high in Ephesus and Timothy wasn¡¦t the most popular person in town. A man of God calling for right behavior among a people who wanted it their own way. For the most part Timothy¡¦s world is a mirror of ours. He faced many of the same difficulties and problems as he tried to keep the church together and at the same time reach a lost and dying world. Paul told Timothy to understand that persecution is a part of being a Christian. The truth is that the world doesn¡¦t like different ¡V we like to be the same ¡V (have you ever noticed that even people who try to be different all do it the same way?). We don¡¦t like to be singled out ¡V It¡¦s the reason that alters are either full or empty ¡V if everyone else goes I better go ¡V if no one else goes I won¡¦t be there alone. What made early Quakers so potent in their ability to change the world around them was their commitment not only to endure but to embrace being different from the world ¡§One of the earliest Quakers William Dewsbury 36 years of his life laboring to spread the gospel, 19 of those years he spent locked away in English prisons. Days before his death he had this to say to friends and family at his bedside. ¡§I can say that I never played the coward, but joyfully entered prisons as palaces¡Kand in the prison houses I sung praises to my God, and esteemed the bolts and locks put upon me as jewels¡K¡¨ Power filled living is different than the world and there needs to be for us an embracing of being different if we are going to live power filled lives.
2) Understand Who You Are ¡V v9 ¡V who has saved us and called us with a holy calling ¡K according to His own purpose. Think about that for a minute. You and I have been called by God, chosen with a purpose to be His own. Two important things stand out to me for power living here. ¡V 1) You are chosen by God ¡V no one else can unselect us ¡V we are chosen to be on His team ¡V Listen to what Peter says about us ¡§But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.¡¨ 2) He has a plan for you. Power living is finding that plan and being a part of it. There is no more powerful life than the life lived in the center of God¡¦s will. Be who God wants you to be ¡V labor in the field he has called you to harvest and you will find the power for living.
3) Know God and Trust Him ¡V v12 ¡V that actually is a redundant statement because to know God is to trust Him. The more we know Him the more we understand that there is nothing in Him that cannot be trusted. But Paul said ¡V ¡§ I know who I have believed and am convinced that He is able¡K¡¨ 2 things are apparent here ¡V for too many we know more about God than we know God ¡V and for all of us we trust more in ourselves than we do Him. Living a power filled life means venturing out ¡V leaving the comfortable ¡V the easy ¡V the normal ¡V and reaching for something higher and better. You can live your entire Christian life and never take a risk ¡V just worship away ¡V but you will never know the fullness of the Power God has for you. Power is manifest in our venture ¡V in our stepping out ¡V the further you reach ¡V the more you trust ¡V the more you venture ¡V the more power you will find for living. I have never met a truly successful Christian who felt he was up to the task that God had set him. Power filled living means stretching beyond the comfortable the easy and the quick ¡V and venturing into faith.
4) Understand that Truth is Truth ¡V v13 ¡V Power filled living doesn¡¦t compromise the truth nor does it ignore the truth. The scriptures tell us that in the last days ¡§people will hold to a form of Godliness but will deny it¡¦s power.¡¨ That denial comes from this area of life. We compromise the truth when we rationalize our behavior or our message just to fit in. We ignore the truth when we know what God¡¦s will is and we decide to go our own way anyway. Understand something this morning ¡V truth is truth no matter how you feel, no matter what you like, and no matter what the polls say. You cannot change the truth ¡V it simply is. Power for living is found in the truth ¡V Jesus said ¡§you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.¡¨
5) Guard the Treasure ¡V v14 ¡V A treasure has been entrusted to us. It is a life giving treasure. It serves to bring hope to the hopeless, life to the dying, healing to those who are hurting, and purpose for those who are in despair. It is a treasure that brings forgiveness of sin, peace for the soul, and eternal life for all who would believe. That treasure has been entrusted to us ¡V what are you doing with it. All around us society is stealing our voice ¡V our children can¡¦t pray in school, the ten commandments can¡¦t be displayed in the public square, we soon won¡¦t be one nation under God in our pledge. While we have sat idly by nurturing our private faith ¡V this once Christian nation has become a pagan stronghold ¡V a secular society ¡V and the treasure we guard continues to gather dust. Power is granted not for sitting on the sidlines but for getting into the battle. God has given us power to be His witnesses ¡V yet we cower before the gods of our age. Friends ¡§greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.¡¨ Do you believe that?
Power fills the life that is consecrated to God.