Summary: This sermon looks carefully at a highly-trained missionary associate and his #1 problem.


Text: II Timothy 1:6

It’s just about over for the Apostle Paul. He’s soon to die and he knows it. The executioner’s sword will flash and a great tongue for God will be silenced.

The little tentmaker is about to meet his Maker. His own tent is about to be removed. He says he’s ready. In fact, in Christian literature he is called, "Paul, the Ready."

He’s in prison. His bones ache. He’s cold and somewhat lonely. He misses his books. I must tell you that most preachers are in love with their books.

The battle, as he had known it, is over. He has captured his last fort and hill. There’s just one more letter to go out. It will be personal and extremely urgent.

Where will he find inspiration in such a depressing place? To whom will he write? Will he say things that modern prosperity preachers say? A thousand times no!

He will send a personal message, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to Timothy, his own son in the faith.

Timothy, once a major blaze, has become a dying fire. There has been a cool down. The fire in Timothy has now been reduced to embers. Embers are the smoldering remains of a fire.

It hardly seems possible that an effective missionary associate, such as Timothy was, would have ever lost his inner fire.

Paul told the Philippian church, "For I have no one like him (no one of so kindred a spirit) who will be so genuinely interested in your welfare and devoted to your interests." Philippians 2:20 The Amplified Bible.

Timothy was for real!

His ministerial gift once burned so brightly in the New Testament church. Now there’s nothing left but the embers of a burned out experience.

Does anyone care? Does the church care when one of its members begins to burn out. Thank God, Paul cared enough to address the issue with him. He did not mollycoddle him.

Yes, Timothy is a dying fire. But dying fires can be stoked, punched, or added to and soon they become a full flame again.

I researched recently and read their article on "How To Start A Wood Fire." It came pretty close to the words of Paul himself.

They said, "Always keep a flame on your fire, a smoking or smoldering fire is a cold and inefficient fire and also produces pollutants and creosote (tar in the chimney).

"Add more wood before the fire gets too low. This will assure the continuation of your hard-earned fire."

Please notice that the call to Timothy is not to add spiritual gifts. Paul did not chide him for not having all nine of the gifts of the Spirit.

The challenge to Timothy is to stir up what God had given him so that the gift becomes effective again.

Timothy had the best of home Bible training. Both his mother and grandmother are mentioned. He had on his resume, "Associate missionary to the Apostle Paul."

How could anything ever happen to one so well trained and experienced?

The best of education and training, when lacking fire or passion, will not produce the fruit which God desires.

The Laodicean church in the Book of Revelation had the same problem. All the outward trappings of a vibrant, prosperous church. But our Lord Jesus saw to the very heart of the church and declared them lukewarm.

The command was to "be zealous and repent." Jesus did not send them to a seminar. I certainly believe in seminars, but this type of spiritual coldness can only be cured by fervent prayer that has as its essential element, the discipline of repentance.

Perhaps the cure for Timothy’s problem and ours can be found in the words of the Apostle Paul to the church at Rome. He wrote, "Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord." Romans 12:11 The Amplified Bible.

One more thing. I know that Jesus will help me in this recovery because it is said of Him, "......and a smoking flax shall He not quench." Matthew 12:20

Charles G. Clary

Hurley, Mississippi

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