Summary: Courage, Boldness, Witness
HOLY ISN’T HIS FIRST NAME – The Spirit of Courage
2 Timothy 1:1-12 (p. 832) May 3, 2015
He was a man who was letting go of his life. He sat in a jail cell, resembling more of a dungeon than a cell. It was poorly lit. It was cold and damp. He was chained to the wall and waiting…waiting to die. His execution was imminent and he was lonely. As his thoughts began to wander, they centered on his close friend. His friend had been more like a son to him really and they had shared many experiences, both good and bad, together. The last image he had of his friend was of him weeping. His friend had been so saddened by his departure. He didn’t want him to leave. Now, as he sits in his cell, he too longs to see his friend once more. He sits down and decides to write his friend a letter. It would be a letter in which he would pour out his heart to his friend; telling him how much he loved him, encouraging him, building him up and informing him that he is now in charge of the work that they had shared together. It’s time for his friend to take over and the work must not fail. The man writing the letter is the apostle Paul. His friend is Timothy.
II Timothy is such a dynamic letter. It is so authentic and genuine. Paul had been recently arrested in Rome under the orders of the Emperor, Nero. During Nero’s reign as emperor of Rome, he took great delight in the persecution and killing of Christians. Nero would be responsible for the deaths of both the apostle Paul and of Peter. This letter is written shortly before Paul’s death. So often we hear of people saying that they never got the chance to tell a loved one everything they wanted to tell them and how they cared about them before that person died. Paul wants to make sure he tells Timothy everything on his heart while he still has the chance.
These are the last recorded words of the Apostle Paul...They are written 35 years after his conversion, 20 years after His first missionary journey.
More than anything this letter is the passing of the torch. Much like the Olympic torch is carried by 1 runner and then given to another. The Apostle Paul has reached the end of his leg of the journey...He writes:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim. 4:7)
Paul then pours out his heart to this young man he has invested his life in. I’m not sure how Timothy originally felt while reading this letter for the first time, but having read it myself dozens of times there is no doubt he knew the torch was being passed. He was to take the lead. He was to continue the journey. He was to become the mentor of other future torch carriers.
I wonder, do we intentionally think of ourselves as torch carriers where the gospel is concerned? Do we as God’s men and women consider our lives as a journey...an Olympic race with a destination?
For God’s kingdom to be put forth...for others to join us in the journey we’d better start thinking like torch carriers or the world will be overcome with darkness. Just like Timothy it’s our turn with the torch and it requires the Spirit of Courage to carry it well.
In our text Paul reminds Timothy, and us... “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of one His prisoner.” (2 Timothy 1:7-8)
But what if the torch’s flame has almost been extinguished? How can it be rekindled...revived?
I. FAN INTO FLAME THE GIFT OF GOD
Let me first say if you have never received the Holy Spirit you cannot rekindle Him or revive Him.
But if you have genuinely been born again by the Spirit of conviction, conversion and comfort...take courage, there is hope for the smallest ember burning of sincere faith.”
The New Testament pictures the Holy Spirit as both wind and flame.
Jesus compares the Spirit of our new birth with wind...in John 3 while talking to Nicodemus “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going, so it is with everyone (EVERYONE!!!) born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
In other words...you can’t control the wind...you hear it rustle through the trees, but you can’t see it, you have no idea where it came from or where it’s going. That’s how God’s spirit works in salvation...It’s also how God’s Spirit works in ministry. No real power in any ministry unless we are moved by the word of God. In fact the NT word for Spirit is “PNEUMA” like “PNEUMATIC” air filled.