Stoke the Flames

2 Timothy 1:5-7 ESV

“I am reminded of your sincere faith… 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, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”20210223_152112(0)

Gift of God [Jn 3:16; Jn 4; Rom 5:15-21; Rom 6:23; 2 Co 9:15; Eph 2:8-10; 2 Tim 1:5-7; Jn 1:9; Jn 3:34; Jn 4:14; Jn 6:32, 63; Jn 10:28; Jn 17:14]

• Gift of Jesus Christ
• Gift of God’s grace and salvation from sin
• Gift of righteousness
• Gift of eternal life with God
• Gift of divine persuasion to believe in Jesus
• Gift of the Holy Spirit
• Gift of life and light
• Gift of Living Water
• Gift of Bread from Heaven
• Gift of The Word of God
• Gift of spirit of power, love, and self-control

This is a sampling of some of what God has given to us by his grace and through our faith in Jesus Christ.

So, what gift of God was Paul referring to? Well, the main gift would be Jesus Christ, and Jesus dwells within us in the person of the Holy Spirit who, in the book of Acts, was received via the laying on of hands, but whom we receive now when we believe in Jesus Christ.

But our life in Christ, and our salvation, and our walks of faith, and the word of God, and Christ’s righteousness, and our eternal life with God are all given to us by God, too, as well as are our spiritual gifts and our assignments (roles, callings) within the body of Christ, too.

So, what does it mean to “fan into flame” the gift of God? It is like when a fire is beginning to go out in a fireplace and so you stoke it (stir it up, fuel it) to bring it back into a full flame (passion, fervor) again. So, this would be like reigniting our passion and desire for our Lord and for following him in faithful obedience to his commands and to his calling on our individual lives.

For, God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (or a sound mind). So, we are not to retreat from following our Lord with full passion and fervor, in doing whatever it is he has called us to do, out of fear of what others might think of us or say about us.

2 Timothy 1:8-12 ESV

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do.”

Ashamed of Jesus?

Many people who call themselves Christians don’t want to talk about Jesus or the gospel or holiness or our walks of faith in Jesus Christ. They especially do not want to have such conversations around their friends or when they are on social media. They want to have conversations which are more socially acceptable among their peers, it would appear.

So, they talk about politics or they share funny stories or memes, or they talk about the things the world talks about, which is not all bad. It is perfectly okay to talk about our experiences, as long as the conversations are decent. Like I shared about a walk I took on a path along the woods and a creek with two of my grandchildren. There is nothing wrong with that.

But if all we ever do is just talk about the same things the world talks about, and if our conversations reflect that we are passionate about the things of this world and its pleasures, and if we shy away from sharing the word of God and sharing about our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, then that is wrong.

For, we aren’t here on this earth to be passionate about the things of this world and to blend in with the world and to sound just like the ungodly. We are here to live for Jesus Christ and to share Jesus Christ with others so that they can come to know him, too.

A Holy Calling

That’s right! Jesus saved us, not just so we can go to heaven when we die. He saved us to a holy calling, to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. We are not to think, speak or behave like the ungodly, but we are to think, speak and behave like those who have been delivered from our slavery to sin and who have received Jesus Christ into our lives.

Jesus didn’t save us because of our own good works. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Our salvation is not of our own doing. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ, i.e., unless he persuades us to trust in Christ for our salvation.

But this doesn’t mean we do nothing or that our salvation doesn’t involve works. It is just that they aren’t the works of the flesh, of our own nature and doing, but they are the works of God which he prepared in advance that we should walk in them in his power and strength (Eph 2:8-10).

We must walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, and we must by the Spirit be putting to death the deeds of the flesh. Daily we are to die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness and to follow him in obedience to his ways. And when we do this, we will be persecuted for our walks of faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:12-14 ESV

“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”

We should not be afraid of being hated, persecuted, mocked, or rejected because we share Jesus Christ and the teachings of Scripture with others. Again, we should not become like the world or blend in with the world just so the world or worldly Christians will accept us or think we’re cool.

Again, we aren’t here on this earth for ourselves, to live for ourselves, and to do what we want our way. We aren’t here to have everyone like us or to gain followers or friends on social media. We are here to live for Jesus Christ and to reflect him in all that we do and say, and to share Christ and his message of salvation with others.

So, don’t blend in with the world or become like the world to be liked by the world or by worldly Christians. Make it your goal to please Jesus Christ in all that you do and to spread the message of the gospel so that people can be saved from their sins and have eternal life with God, for this is love.

In Harmony

An Original Work / September 2, 2012
Based off Ro. 12:9-21; 1 Pet. 3:8-17

Love each other truly.
Cling to what is good.
Hate all that is evil.
Never lack in zeal.
Serve the Lord with fervor.
Joyful in hope be;
Patient in affliction;
Praying faithfully.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.

Share with all God’s people
Who are found in need.
Do not be conceited.
Sympathetic be.
Love, and show compassion
In humility.
Keep your tongue from evil.
Peaceful you must be.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.

God sees who are righteous;
Listens to their prayers.
But He’s against evil –
Is His to avenge.
Do not fear what they fear.
Suffer patiently.
In your hearts, make Christ Lord.
Serve Him faithfully.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.

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