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A Heritage of Faith

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

A Heritage of Faith – 2 Timothy 1:1-7

2 Timothy wasn’t originally written as a book of the Bible, but as a letter from Paul to a young mentee in the faith, Timothy, as God inspired him to write it.

Paul wrote this letter from prison, and as far as he knew, he was facing execution this time and was about to be with Jesus in person.  He wrote to Timothy as kind of a mentoring “father figure” in the faith.  From Acts 16 we know that Paul had already invested heavily into Timothy’s life and ministry by:

  • Discovering Timothy as a disciple during his second visit to Lystra (in modern day Turkey) –Acts 16:1
  • Discipling Timothy (Acts 16:3) while he took him along on his second missionary journey.
  • And now in this morning’s passage we see Paul praying for and believing in Timothy.

God desires to encourage you thru “mentors” in your life.  Q: Do you have such people speaking life into your life?  If you don’t, you should seek one!  Ask God to send you people!

While we often emphasize to young people that “you should believe in God”, are we careful to mention that “God believes in you!“  God did not make trash when He made you!  Youth, and you, need to hear that, because the world is telling you that you are not good enough.  Every ad on TV is telling you that you need something else in order to be complete, whole, or where you need to be – basically that you are not good enough as you are!  And especially that you are not good enough to be acceptable by others.  Where is that message being counteredThe Church should be actively engaged in confronting that lie with so much truth in so much love that the lie just can’t exist anymore in your life!  God made all of us on purpose with a purpose.  God is shouting, “I believe in you!”  But is the Church voicing this truth on God’s behalf?

In any case, we are part of that voice, too, now.  The Gospel is transactional between us and God, but not between us and anyone else.  Salvation is by God’s provision and His condition.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For it is by grace [God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense] you have been saved, through faith [trust plus action] and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Our role is to love and point people to Jesus!

Q: Who is someone who actively believed in you before you believed in yourself…and told you so?  What did that person do to encourage you to reach your fullest potential?

Q: Who passed on the faith to you?  Who has invested in your spiritual life?  Maybe there was no father figure, and maybe not even a supportive family rooting you onBut, some of you were blessed in our children and youth ministries to have leaders who have held up the faith and who have passed it along to you!  Maybe people who have invited you here encouraged your walk with Jesus.  Adults, peers who were at least a little further along in their faith.

1. We all need mentors in the faith, including the people around you.

Here’s the very real question “What are you going to do about passing on the faith to the next generation?”  It’s your turn from the moment you trusted Jesus!  To someone else, here or not here yet, youare that!

2 Timothy 1:1-5 – “Paul, an apostle [“someone sent”] of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of [that is, sent on purpose by Jesus to declare openly His promise of] life that is in Christ Jesus, [He’s writing] To Timothy, my dear son: [and he’s letting Timothy know he’s praying for a greater release of] Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did [his heritage], with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears [most probably from when they parted], I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith [trust plus action], which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

He’s persuaded of their faith by their faithfulness!  I believe sometimes we accomplish more for God’s kingdom on accident than on purpose if we’re truly surrendered to Him in all things in the first place.

When Will Smith received one of his many awards for acting, he went to great lengths to point out that it was his grandmother who kept him out of trouble.  How many young people have been kept on the straight and narrow by a grandparent?  Paul is giving Timothy’s grandma Louis the same props.

Peter’s mom, Eunice, probably trusted Jesus when Paul was there in Acts 14 (v6-7).  And Timothy’s family didn’t just keep him out of trouble, they led him to Jesus and walked with him in faith!

2. Family has the most potential for mentoring faith.

And if you skip ahead to chapter 3, v14-17, after sharing all the hard things believers will have to endure and how to help others get in on and to endure in faith as well, Paul circles back to this:

2 Timothy 3:14-17 – “14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it [his mom and grandmother], 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [It makes you wise for salvation because…] 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness [It shows you what’s right, what’s not right, how to get right, and how to stay right], 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

3. Our heritage and Biblical faith are not always the same thing, but they can be.

All these things that were true – this significant heritage – are behind v6 back in chapter 1 when Paul says,

2 Timothy 1:6 – “For this reason…”

For this reason – Paul is basically saying, “Timothy, I believe in you, your family stands behind you believing in you, and your friends believe in you.  They are all “stand-in’s” for God’s belief in you!  The question is, “Do youbelieve in you?”

“   For this reason I remind you to fan into flame [literally excite, activate, or awaken] the gift of God [Jesus, the Holy Spirit], which is in you through the laying on of my hands…” [Activate – call – Jeremiah 33:3]

4. Like Paul, we bring God’s gift and heritage to others.

I believe we, believers, are God’s delivery system for His healing of all kinds – physical, emotional, and spiritual, and for encouragementimparting courage – by means of God’s Holy Spirit who is in us.  And if you’re a believer, you don’t have to wonder if you have a particular gift – you have the gift of Jesus in you – the Holy SpiritFollow-thru is up to you! (That’s worth asking God about yourself!  I’m glad to talk as well!)

In the Olympic Relay Race, the runners pass a baton to the next runner.  Paul has passed the baton to Timothy.  We either pass the baton or forfeit victories, and with it joy, hope, and confidence – for you and for others.

Like Paul, we are wondering who will lead the next generation.  If not you, then who?  Will we lead the next generation of our youth group? (BTW youth group generations are only 7 years long, at best – 6th-12th grade).  This passage shows us 2 options:  That we’ll be stirred to action by Jesusthat we will be hotornot!  God wants to fan the embers, to “light our fire”!  As we talking right now, you are doing 1 of 2 things:  Either you are watching the coals of your heart die down (or kicking dirt on the coals ‘cause this responsibility scares you), or, as we’re told to do, you are you fanning your own flame by drawing closer to God, submitting your plans to Him so that He will breathe on the embers.

A lot weighs in the balance of what you do about what you know, now!  The implications affect right now, our children and youth group, and our futureSo, in light of your past experiences and consequences, your present circumstances, and your future hopes and dreams, what are you gonna’ do next?  Evaluating in light of these 3 things will help you make the wisest choices.  Checking your choices against God’s Word and depending on His Spirit to direct and protect them will guarantee the wisest choices possible!

Paul was depending on Timothy to carry the baton to the next generation of believers.  He knew how much was riding on Him – the hope for future generations!

5. No one else can carry the baton of faith for you.

Timothy read the bible, and now he’s in the bible!  When we read God’s Word, we become God’s Word to others!

Romans 12:2 – ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve [discern and appraise for others] what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

1 Timothy 4:14 – “Do not neglect your gift, which was given you [or activated in you] through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.” [when they personally delivered to you from faith to faith, from faithfulness to faithfulness, were willing to risk encouraging you in the Lord in person!]

2 Timothy 1:7 – “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid…”

“Timid” – Fear of people is not from God!  Shyness is not from God.

Q: So where does fear come from?  Well, not from God!  In fact anything apart from God can bring fear.

Proverbs 29:25 – “Fear of man will prove to be a snare [a trap that holds you back], but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

6. Trusting God prevents us from fearing others.

Faith grows strong with closeness to God and dims and cools with distance.  Paul is concerned with Timothy not falling into the snare of human opinion , because of what he’s about to tell him (about his being in prison and about his probable, and scary, fate).  Fear and faith are opposites.  Fear results in shame, cowardice, and in-action, it paralyzes us.  The fire of God only goes out if we throw dirt on itDrawing near to the presence of God will keep you coming back, unwilling to allow anything to violate that friendship you have with Him.

2 Timothy 1:7 – “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”

Self-discipline – “Self-control”, from wise discretion or understanding.  As a result, we won’t be as easily captured by our feelings or circumstances.  You will probably never feel like doing what’s right or best.  That’s why we tend to consider those people who do so as great.  You will never drift towards doing your homework, being disciplined, or caring for everyone around you.  You always have a choice, and when you see as He sees, it becomes easier to do as He says!  You gotta’ read the Word and trust the Holy Spirit to direct and protect you, else it’s always gonna’ be harder than it has to be!

Galatians 5:16 – “So I say, walk by [or yield to] the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh [not apart from God you won’t].”

As you yield control of your life to the Holy Spirit, He orders your life for you!  And, God gave you the comforter, the encourager, knowing you’d need comforting and courage!

Next Steps

1: Who are the people in your family who inspired you to faith?  Who has been a spiritual mentor to you?  Ask God to show you who He wants you to approach about mentoring each other spiritually.

2: Verse 7 says that God gave us a spirit of power, not timidity or fear.  Is there something hard going on that you need power from the Holy Spirit to help you through it?  Ask Him.  Where might you need to ask the Holy Spirit to help you with self-control?

3: What are you doing to “fan into flame” the gift that God has given you, and what is one thing you will do (or continue to do) this week?

4: Where have you seen love this week?  How might you show love to someone else this week?