2 Timothy 1: 1-12
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher12 which is why I suffer as I do. 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.3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.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 hands7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.8 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 God9 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 began10 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, 12 which is why I suffer as I do.
Paul has written his second letter to his protege, Timothy. Paul has become a father figure for Timothy and is instructing him in godliness and leadership.
In Acts 16 we find that Timothy was born to “a Jewish woman who was a believer and a Greek father.” He had a great reputation, and Paul recruited him to come along with him and Silas to spread the Gospel. Paul was preparing Timothy to be his successor. He understood that the calling God had placed on Paul was not to die out with his death but required a passing on of the torch, and Timothy was that man.
1. Remember all the preparation.
3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience,
5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice.
Paul was quick to remember where he had come from and the heritage he had. He had come from a lineage of people who had served God with a clear conscience. They had submitted their lives to God, and Paul was carrying on that model in his life.
Paul pivots to point out that Timothy has a similar legacy. Paul highlights Timothy’s Jewish roots by naming his mother’s side of the family and then recognizes that Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, believed first followed by his mother, Eunice.
Paul is reminding Timothy that our past is there to serve us. Timothy’s past was there to encourage him in the leadership role that God had given him. Having a godly heritage is a privilege not to be taken lightly. Your past can serve you no matter what it was.
Our past is like a bundle of sticks all positioned to start a purposeful fire. Every situation that we have lived through has added another stick to that potential fire.
2. Start the fire and fan it.
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 gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Timothy’s encounter with Paul started a fire: “...which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus started his fire. Philippians 3:12 but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
God is faithful to meet you and spark the flame. Maybe it was when you were a kid or teenager. Maybe you encountered Him when you were in your 20’s and you had a great history of faith in your family. Maybe you are sitting here in church and the presence of God is talking directly to you for the first time. Let the flame ignite and bring purpose to all the fuel your past has stacked up. All the good and all the bad become like gasoline for God to do wonderful things in and through your life.
Luke 8:38-39 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
You have to fan it.
3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.
7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
You have to remember what God has done and what he has promised. The fanning is our job. Our history is over and God has promised and proven he will use it. He has ignited the flame, and we are responsible for keeping it burning. Every new experience is fuel; every hardship and every victory serves as the bellows to keep the fire of faith burning in our lives. It is always tragic when I put out a fire God spent so much time building and lighting.
3. The fire is for a purpose.
Your past, good and bad, serves to propel you through life’s difficulties. Once God sets the fire and we fan it into flame, what comes next only serves as fuel.
8 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, 9 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, 10 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, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do.
Now I can take everything that happens to me and burn it for God’s glory. What Satan doesn’t understand is that if the fire is hot enough it can burn anything.
Take your past, all your heritage and all your mistakes, let God set them on fire, and fan that fire into a raging flame that engulfs. Every good thing is for the glory of God, and every bad thing designed to harm you is rendered ineffective. Keep moving forward for his glory!
1. What stood out to you most from this week’s message?
2. When you think of your heritage, what are some things that come to mind? How has your heritage brought you to where you are now?
3. Has your past been a straight path toward God, or has it taken some twists and turns? How did He bring you back?
4. What are some things God has used in your life to create the spark that started a fire?
5. When was a moment you looked back and realized everything God brought together to make something happen in your life?
6. How would it change our perspective if we viewed even difficult things as sticks God is using to build up the fire in us?
7. What are things we can do to fan the flame once God lights it?
8. What are things you thought were useless in your life that God used in an unexpected way to your benefit?
9. How do we keep the fire going even when our difficult circumstances don’t change?
10. What do you plan to do differently because of this week’s message?