Sermon

July 23rd Sermon Audio

2 Timothy 1:3-12                                                              Pentecost 7

Pastor Nathan Nass                                                        July 23, 2017

 

3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers 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 have been 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 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, 9 who 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 de-stroyed 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 I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

 

I Know Whom I Have Believed!

 

My older brother is a pastor, and he just accepted a call to a church in Lake Mills, WI. He’s being installed there in two weeks, and he asked me to preach for his installation service. My first thought was, “Finally, he gets it! It’s taken him way too long, but he finally realized he should listen to his younger brother!” Of course, it won’t be a day to share my opinions, but God’s Word. What should I preach about? There will be excitement and nervousness—a time of big changes. My brother’s name is Timothy, so I’ve chosen verses from the book of 2 Timo-thy for my sermon that day. As I studied them, I realized this is just what I need to hear! I think it’s what you need to hear too. So I want to share with you what I want to share with him.

As the apostle Paul writes to Timothy, a young pastor, he starts by giving thanks to God for him. “I thank God, whom I serve,…as night and day I constantly remember you in my pray-ers…. I have been reminded of your sincere faith.” This caught my attention right away. What did Paul thank God for? Not what you’d expect! Not Timothy’s accomplishments or success. What did he thank God for? Timothy’s faith in Jesus. As I think about my brother, the greatest reason to give thanks is not that he’s a pastor. Not that he’s going to a new church. He believes in Jesus. Isn’t that great! Thank God! I don’t do this enough. I’ve been giving thanks to God this week for you—for your faith in Jesus. That is a special thing. What a blessing that you believe!

So Paul reminded Timothy who put that faith in his heart. Did you catch who it was? This is great! It wasn’t Paul. “I have been 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.” Who planted faith in his heart? Mom and grandma! To you moms and grandmas, keep it up! Never stop encouraging your families in our faith in Jesus. I know you can feel powerless. I know it can seem like it’s not working. But never stop encouraging with God’s Word! To us with kids, isn’t faith in Jesus what we really want our kids to have more than anything else? So do we treat faith as more important than everything else? Faith doesn’t happen on its own. It doesn’t come naturally to anybody. We need to teach them about Jesus—over and over again!

But once you’re blessed with faith, you’re not done. Listen to what Paul says to Timo-thy: “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” If you come Pastor Heise’s ordination service, you will see the laying on of hands. Pas-tors will give blessings from God’s Word to our new pastor. That had happened to Timothy too. But was that it? Was he done? He had faith. He had God’s blessing. So he was set. No!

Fan into flame the gift of God…” I’m not a great outdoorsman, but I have started fires. You know how to do it. Start with newspaper. Put little sticks on top. Light them. Add more sticks. Add bigger logs. Keep feeding the fire. Why? If you stop feeding the fire, what happens? It goes out. What a great picture for faith! It is a blessing when faith in Jesus is kindled in your heart, but now fan that gift into flame! Keep feeding your faith with God’s Word. You need it!

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