- Sermon Notes
Rekindle the Fire
2 Timothy 1:6-14
This is Paul’s last letter to Timothy, his son in the faith, and it is the last letter that came from his pen. Timothy is in Ephesus, leading the churches that came out of the great revival that happened there several years earlier.
Paul is writing to give Timothy instruction in how to lead those churches, how to confront certain teachers that were teaching strange doctrines, and what qualities of godly character he should look for in those who will lead the church.
Paul also writes as a mentor to Timothy personally, telling him to discipline himself for the purpose of godliness, to take pains with these things, to be absorbed in them, and to persevere in these things.
This second letter to Timothy is even more personal. Paul knew his time in this world was coming to an end. “The time of my departure has come,” Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”
Knowing that he didn’t have much time left, he wrote one of the most personal, the most compelling, the most inspiring, and one of the most quoted letters that came from his pen. It’s powerfully moving and inspiring to anyone who considers Paul his mentor.
Paul had arrived in Rome because he had appealed to Caesar. He had been arrested in Jerusalem for protective custody, but was transferred to Caesarea when it was discovered there was a plot to kill him. He sat in prison in Caesarea for two years without ever facing charges. Finally, he appealed to Caesar and was sent to Rome.
In Rome he was allowed to rent his own private quarters, though he was constantly under Roman guard. What followed was nothing short of amazing as a great revival broke out in Rome, though he was a prisoner in chains. The whole praetorian guard heard the gospel through Paul. Many came to visit the famous apostle and hundreds came to faith in Christ.
Many historians believe that when Paul appeared before Caesar he was exonerated and released since there was no basis for charges against him. However, the growing Christian movement gave Emperor Nero an opportunity. In 64 A.D. a fire broke out in Rome that destroyed nearly three quarters of the city. Many citizens of Rome began to suspect that Nero himself had the city set on fire so he could go around the Senate and rebuild it as he wished, becoming the great architect of the city.
When Nero saw there was growing suspicion against him, he blamed the Christians, had Paul executed, and ordered the torture and persecution of Christians throughout the city.
Paul realized that his ministry was coming to an end; he had been poured out as a drink offering, so he writes Timothy with a sense of urgency.
I want us to pay special attention to verse seven which in many ways becomes the theme of this entire letter. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.”
I. Kindle Afresh the Gift of God
- Verse 6 – there is a sense of urgency in Paul’s words; the world was changing, the Empire was taking note of the Christian movement and was turning against it. Timothy must use his time well.
- To ‘kindle afresh’ the gift of God means to stir it up, like stirring the embers of a fire to ignite the flame.
- Significant events bring spiritual things in focus and helps us see the priority of God. For Paul, it was the end of his time here on earth.
Illus – When our daughter, Nicole, was killed, it created in me a tremendous sense of urgency. The baton was taken from her and I felt that we must pick it up and finish the course set before us.
- Fear is the opposite of kindling afresh the gift of God. Fear is a debilitating prison that has robbed many people of fulfilling the calling of God on their lives.
- One thing Paul writes with certainty; God did not give us a spirit of fear. If we have a spirit of fear, we didn’t receive it from Him.
- The Greek word for fear here is used in no other place in the New Testament. It’s not used in the sense of, say, being afraid of the dark, or being afraid of heights, but rather, it’s being timid, or even perhaps a bit of cowardice.
- Paul wanted Timothy to be bold in the gospel and not be afraid of men.
John 12:42-43, Many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
2 Corinthians 3:12, Therefore, having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech…
Illus – When I think of great boldness, I think of when we had a leaders meeting and Pastor Kaveh introduced himself.
- The opposite of this kind of fear is boldness, but where does this kind of boldness come from?
- It comes from confidence that God is with you, that God is for you, and that God works through you.
Psalm 71:5, For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.
Romans 8:15-16, You have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.
B. Kindle afresh the spirit of power
- The word for power in this verse is translated into English as ‘dynamite.’ God has not given us a spirit of fear, but He has given us a spirit of power.
- Power moves what we think cannot be moved, power changes what we think cannot be changed.
Romans 1:16, I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…
- Paul has every confidence in God because it is the power of the Holy Spirit that empowers his life and he wants the same for Timothy; he wants the same for us.
Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
- God is still seeking and saving the lost, He is still giving salvation to sinners, and He is still transforming lives by the same power.
- What is that power that moves upon a soul to change what we think is unchangeable, to move what we think is unmovable; to transform a person toward godliness?
- “Kindle afresh the gift of God,” Paul wrote. You kindle a fire, but which fire? It’s the fire of God in your life that has the power to transform.
- Many people don’t understand the significance of kindling the fire of God in their soul and think they can kindle their own fire…
Isaiah 50:11, Behold, all you who light your own fire and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. And this you will receive from my hand; you will lie down in sorrow.
- People are looking for some kind of spark, some kind of joy, something worth living for; but where does joy come from?
Illus – Israel had turned their hearts away from God and toward the things of the world. As a result, they were defeated and destroyed and exiled to Babylon. 70 years later they were allowed to return, only to find the city in a heap of ruins.
While they were repairing the temple, they discovered a copy of the word of God, so they assembled all the people and had all the words of God read to them. The people began to cry and weep when they heard it because they then knew how far they had moved away from God.
- So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” Nehemiah then gave a powerful insight…
Nehemiah 8:10, “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
- That is the power of God moving on our soul when the joy of the Lord is the spark that ignites you.
Illus – When you’re satisfied with food from the Kings table, there is no desire for hot dogs.
II. Kindle Afresh the Spirit of Love
- God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power… and of love.
- God has given us this, a spirit of love. This is not something you inspire within yourself, it is the result of the Holy Spirit.
- But we can ask for more, we can stir up the embers of the fire of the Holy Spirit within us.
A. Return to your first love
- Interestingly, in the book of Revelation, Jesus is speaking through the Spirit to the churches and to the church in Ephesus He called them back to love.
- He had many good things to say about them, but there was just this one thing…
Revelation 2:4, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first.”
- Things can change over time; marriage can become routine, the job that was at first exciting can become mundane.
Illus – The first child is so special; you work with them with flashcards, you write everything they do and say in a book, but by the time the third or fourth comes along, everything changes.
- The first thing Jesus wants them to do is remember; remember the love that you had at the first, remember the joy when you first received Christ into your life. If you have forgotten, one thing is certain, God most certainly has not.
Jeremiah 2:2, “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved Me and followed Me through the desert, through a land not sown.”
- God wants love to be the foundational definition of your relationship to God, because it’s the foundational definition of His relationship to you.
- Love is a transforming power and when you move away from love, you move away from the power that transforms your life.
1 John 4:18-19, Perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.
Illus – I have found that love breaks through to my children much better than harsh words.
- “Do the deeds you did at the first,” Jesus said to the church in Ephesus. That’s a word to us as well.
- What were you doing when you were first on fire for the Lord? Do those things again. Were you worshiping and singing with all your might? Do that again. Were you hungry after God’s Word and reading it with an eager heart? Do that again.
B. God gives us a sound mind
- God has not given us a spirit of fear; fear distorts judgment; fear distorts the mind. The result of bad thinking is bad living.
- Instead of being driven by fear, be led by peace in your soul, trust God to direct your steps.
Philippians 4:6-7, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- God does not want us making decisions because of fear or by being anxious. A sound mind looks at life from the perspective of faith.
- This is why Paul wrote in verse 12… “I know whom I have believed and am convinced, I am persuaded, that He is able to keep that which I have entrusted to Him until that day.”
- God gives you a sound mind so that you have an answer to fear, you have an answer to anxiety…
Psalm 42:11, Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.
Romans 8:31, What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
2 Timothy 1:6-14 NASB
6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.