Church! We are so excited to begin a new series this week, scripturally driven by 2 Timothy, as we dive into the “risk and tension of discipleship”. Before we get started, though, we want to thank you for your steadfast faith and obedience for participating in last week’s church-wide fast and prayer movement on Wednesday night. Seattle and all its inhabitants were blessed, and the heavens rejoiced with us in praying for our city! The Lord is working here, ya’ll, and we are so humbled to be called His co-laborers.
With that said, we don’t follow Jesus because we want His success or “favor”, because it looks good outwardly, or even because it’s the “right thing” to do. We follow Jesus because He first loved us with reckless love and without abandon.
2 Timothy 1:2: To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
In looking at 2 Timothy, we see where Paul is highlighting for us some critical instructions, the first being: remember those who have gone before you.
2 Timothy 1:5-6: 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. 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…
The second instruction from Paul, seen here in verse 6, is to fan the flame of God – or faith – that is in you! Church, this is a calling on our lives; let us flame the embers that they may spark a wildfire.
The third instruction is to not live out of fear, but out of a sprit of power (2 Timothy 1:7: for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control). Fear is so often – if not always – the enemy, rather than the circumstance itself. Fear is not from God, and therefore has no place in us, as those whom He has chosen.
The fourth instruction – and certainly not the least – is to not be ashamed of the gospel.
2 Timothy 1:8: 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…
Here’s the crutch: we want to be people that follow Jesus fiercely and passionately, but we also want to make sure that all of our own dreams come true. But, what happens when we can’t play both hands? What happens when our own dreams are compromised because of reality? There is no doubt that our own dreams are good (because they are!), but they are not the best. There will be so many times when you have to choose between the dream you have for yourself and the dream that Jesus has for you. And the road to Jesus’ dream is narrow; stay the course, friends.
Psalm 103:5: who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. God satisfies our dreams with what is good for us, and so often, we don’t even know what we need ourselves.
John 16:33: I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. His dream for your life will lead to fullness of joy – that is a guarantee – because God is a good Father.
Matthew 19:29: And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. We cannot be motivated by the things that we see; we have to be motived by faith and faith alone. The world celebrates the ideas that will lead to a successful outcome. But, we know God, and we know that His ideas are the best ideas. We have a holy calling – it isn’t to strive for the dreams of the world, it’s to align ourselves with the dreams of Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:9-10: 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…
Don’t succumb to the fear – walk out in risk! Take it! For Jesus is with you.
2 Timothy 1:12: 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.
Biblical references: 2 Timothy 1-12
1. Do you need to fan the embers of faith in your life to see the flame? What areas are you asking God to give you an increase in faith today?
2. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” What fears are God pointing out in your life? If it is fear, its not God. Share those with a trusted friend and pray for God to bring freedom in your life in those places.
3. God’s dreams are better than our dreams. What places of surrender in your aspirations, dreams, and accomplishments is God saying, trust me to give you even better dreams?