Sermon on 2 Timothy 1:3-14
Text: I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power https://www.acheterviagrafr24.com/viagra-femme-pharmacie-test/ of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
13 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 — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
If you want to start a campfire, you pile up your sticks, making sure that you have some smaller sticks or kindling to begin with. Another requirement is that you make sure that the flame has plenty of air. If it looks as though the flame is flickering or even going out, often you will gently blow on it or wave something at it to give it more air. The Apostle Paul uses the same picture and encourages us to FAN THE FLAME 1. In The Days Of Your Youth 2. To The End Of Your Days.
Today we begin a series of sermons from Paul’s second letter to his co-worker Timothy. It was written from prison in Rome. Although things had gone well in his first trial in Rome, Paul is quite sure that his service to the Church would soon be over. He seems to be sure that he would be put to death for his preaching and his faith. Paul longs to see Timothy to encourage him and to receive encouragement in his hardships. Since he cannot be sure that he will see Timothy again, Paul puts his thoughts into words. This second epistle of Paul is an intensely personal letter. It is often referred to Paul’s last will and testament.
As Paul sits in prison, we do not hear him complaining about his lot in life. Rather, gratitude fills Paul’s heart as he begins. We read in verse 3, “I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.” Paul was thankful for Timothy and he constantly remembered Timothy in his prayers. Here we have a good reminder to keep each other in our prayers. It is so easy to only think about ourselves and our unique situation. May we follow Paul’s example and keep each other in our prayers. It is so comforting to know that other people care enough about us to pray to God in our behalf.
Paul continues in verses 4&5, “Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” Apparently Paul had heard something from or about Timothy that showed his faith in action. As he thought about Timothy’s faith, he was reminded of the faith of his mother and his grandmother. Here was a family with a strong faith. They cared enough about their faith that they made sure it was passed on to their children.
Here we find encouragement to do the same. Each family has their own particular traditions that are handed down from generation to generation. We especially see this during the holidays. It is something that links us with the past and gives us identity. If we do that with family traditions, which really in the long run do not really mean anything, doesn’t it make sense that we as parents and grandparents also want to pass on our faith to the generations after us? What we pass down to them is far more important than all of the family traditions, because it has an eternal effect. We want to teach them about their Savior and also show them that he is the place to turn to in times of trouble. He is the one who will comfort us when we are sad. He alone is the source of our salvation. May we follow the example of faithful Lois and Eunice in teaching our children about Jesus Christ. May we also not just speak about it, but also show that it means something to us. May the Lord use us to fan the flames of faith created in our children’s hearts by the Holy Spirit in Baptism.
Having spoken of faith’s beginnings, Paul goes on to say, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (Verse 6) Paul speaks of growing in the faith which God had given. In particular, Paul urges Timothy to fan the gift of God into flame. Here Paul is speaking of the particular gift God had given to Timothy to carry out his office as a pastor. However, Paul could be speaking to any of us. God gives to each of us certain spiritual gifts that he wants us to develop for service in his kingdom. He tells us to fan that gift into flame. That fanning comes through constant contact with God’s Word. To encourage us, Paul writes, “The Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (Verse 7) God gives us the gift and with it comes the power to use it in his kingdom, the love to serve others with it and the self-control to make sure that we what we are doing is for the benefit of Christ’s kingdom.
There are certain gifts that God has given us that we haven’t always made full use of. There are certain gifts that we may have been given of which we are not even aware. However, let us look for ways to use the gifts God has given us to serve him. Continue to fan the flames.
Continue to fan the flames to the end of our days. Remember that Paul was in prison, very likely looking at the end of his life. Yet, Paul writes in verse 8, “Do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” Even though Paul’s boldness in preaching the Gospel had landed him in a prison cell, Paul told Timothy not to be ashamed of the Gospel. This is not to say that Timothy had been ashamed. However, Paul tells him not to start being ashamed. This is what Paul was saying – When Timothy heard what was happening to Paul, there would be a temptation to stop contending for the Gospel. Paul encourages Timothy to keep speaking the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to not be ashamed of his faith in Christ.
We face that same temptation every day. Satan tries to get us to keep quiet about our faith. Our Christian values and beliefs are constantly under attack. We are tempted to keep quiet when people around us don’t act as they should. Sometimes other churches and church members accuse us of being unloving in our stands. We may feel like apologizing for them. Don’t. This is God’s Word that we are talking about. We let God say what he will say and dare not apologize for it. Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” The gospel is the power of God. Again, Paul reminds us, “The Spirit God gave us does not make us timid.” May we not be ashamed of the Gospel or our faith, but God help us to boldly proclaim it to others.
The only way we can do so is to continue to grow in our faith. Paul wrote why he was not ashamed to continue to speak God’s Word to others in spite of the consequences. We read in verse 12, “This is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” Paul was not ashamed because the Holy Spirit had created a faith in him that trusted what God said was true. No matter the circumstances that Paul found himself in, he knew what he preached was absolutely true.
We pray, ‘Lord, give me such a faith as this.’ We see the faith of Paul and pray that our faith would be as strong. There is only one way to continue to grow in our faith. There is only one way to keep fanning the flames of faith and that is through the constant use of the Means of Grace – the Gospel in God’s Word and the Sacraments. In God’s Word, the Holy Spirit comes to us and strengthens our faith. He instructs us about God and what he has done for us. May we look for every opportunity to hear God’s Word and study it. We also receive the strengthening of our faith in the Lord’s Supper, together with the forgiveness of our sins. May we make use of the opportunities offered to us and regularly receive the Lord’s Supper for the strengthening of our faith.
Yet, you may ask, ‘Is it worth it? Think of all the things that I will have to give up.’ Paul obviously thought it was and encouraged Timothy in verses 13&14, “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” Timothy was not only to keep what Paul had said. He was also to guard it. Be aware that attacks will come. The reason for holding on to this faith and guarding it is alluded to several times in our text. In verse 10, Paul speaks of “Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Jesus Christ has destroyed death, which had its hold over us because of our sins. These sins of our youth and our being afraid to speak up for our faith and a host of others would send us to eternal death in hell. However, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, death has been destroyed and we have eternal life to look forward to. This is what awaits the believer who passes from this earth. For that reason, we, as Christians, do not need to fear death. May the Lord keep us faithful to the end of our days.
The story is told of a pastor who went to visit a parishioner who had been habitually absent from church. Without speaking a word, the pastor went to the fireplace, took a pair of tongs, and lifted a live coal from the fire. Both men watched as the flame died and the glowing coal became a dead, black cinder. “You don’t have to say a word,” said the member to the pastor. “I’ll be back in my place next Sunday.” By use of that coal, the pastor showed the parishioner what happens when we keep ourselves from God’s Word. The faith that burns so brightly will eventually die out. May the same never be said of us. May we continue to fan the flame of faith. May it continue to burn brightly in our hearts to the end of our days, and may God help us to pass the flame on to others. Amen.
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