Summary: You’re No Wimp 1) God the Father has infused you with a spirit of power 2) God the Son has made you indestructible 3) God the Holy Spirit is your personal bodyguard
Do you know who this man is? (Show picture of Hu Jintao.) According to the March 2011 edition of US Forbes magazine, he’s the most powerful person in the world. This is the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, ruler over one-fifth of the world’s population. Jintao has been described by the magazine as a person who “unlike Western counterparts, can divert rivers, build cities, jail dissidents, and censor the internet without meddling from pesky courts.” The second most powerful man in the world according to the magazine is U.S. President Obama, while Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, ranks as the most powerful woman and comes in sixth overall. What place do you suppose you would come in? Would any of us even crack the top one million most powerful people in the world? I doubt it.
Having said that, you’re no wimp either. Our sermon text on this Trinity Sunday teaches that God the Father has infused you with a spirit of power. God the Son has made you indestructible. And God the Holy Spirit is your personal bodyguard. Of course Forbes magazine could care less about these facts and still wouldn’t rank you in the top ten. But the truth is you are more powerful than most think. Let’s find out what this means for our day-to-day lives.
Our text is taken from the Apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy. Timothy was a fellow pastor and protégé of Paul. Unlike Paul, however, Timothy seemed to have a timid disposition. And so Paul wrote the following to encourage Timothy: “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:7, 8).
Although Jesus did say that Christians are to be meek and peace-loving, this does not mean he has made us to be doormats. On the contrary, God the Father has infused Christians with a spirit of power. And so Timothy was not to be ashamed of “testifying” about Jesus, and neither are we. Of course testifying about Jesus means pointing out to others that they can’t get to heaven on their own. They may be friendly neighbors. They may be faithful co-workers. They may be dedicated to serving their family. But whenever they lose their temper, whenever they speak disparagingly of those in authority, they are sinners in need of forgiveness. Don’t be timid in pointing out these sins. God has given you a spirit of power. Of course this doesn’t mean we condemn others in a self-righteous manner as the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were good at doing. Did you hear what else Paul said God has given to us in addition to a spirit of power? He has given us a spirit of love as well (2 Timothy 1:7). We boldly point out sin in others because we love them and don’t want them to suffer the eternal consequences of their sins.
Ah, but how are we to know what is a sin and what isn’t? We live in changing times. Certainly, morality has changed too, hasn’t it? What our grandparents frowned on: short skirts, loud music, intimate relationships outside of marriage are generally accepted by everyone today. Why should we Christians hold ourselves to a different standard? Because, Paul reminds us, the words that he spoke to Timothy were a “pattern of sound teaching” to be guarded and followed. Paul said: “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 1:13, 14).