Full Service Sermon Video Sermon Audio Scripture Verses 2 Timothy 1:6-14 Worship Playlist I Heard the Bells by North Point WorshipO Come All Ye Faithful (His Name Shall Be) by PassionNo Fear by Kari JobeHark by Hillsong Downloads & Resources Sermon Video Download Service Video Download Sermon Audio Download No Fear In the Future Brad Owen - 12/27/2020 Christmas Fear Good morning! Thank you for joining us as we close out the Christmas series Fear Not and as we close out 2020. Last week Eric laid out why we need not fear the present. Today we are going to explore 2 Timothy chapter 1 to see how we can fear not what the future holds. I’ll keep it really short this morning. After 2020 what could there possibly be left to fear in the future? Thanks for tuning in and have a great New Year! We can certainly all agree that 52 weeks ago as we looked ahead to the year 2020 that we could have never imagined how this past year was going to play out! It gives me a headache to think about all the different things that negatively contributed to making 2020 the year that it was. We can’t know what lies ahead. It may be smooth sailing, or it may be rougher than the previous season. But whatever our future circumstance we should not live in fear.I’m going to read the entirety of the verses for this morning, and then we will go back through them to discover the meaning behind Paul’s words. As I read the text listen for how Paul has prioritized his life. Listen to see if you can identify what is most important to him.2 Timothy 1:6-14 6 Therefore, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. 8 So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. 10 This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald, apostle, and teacher, 12 and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day. 13 Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. There are some details that may help us as we unpack this passage. Paul is writing from prison. Paul is largely responsible for Timothy’s development and position in leading the believers. Paul’s status would be low as a prisoner, and Timothy could likely be struggling with his own calling and status because of the cultural challenges and Paul’s imprisonment. We pickup with the passage in verse 6, "Therefore, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands."Paul clearly knows Timothy very well. It seems that Timothy’s confidence has been shaken. His mentor imprisoned, the believers viewing him as young and inferior, Timothy is being called to live out God’s call for his life. Paul is telling Timothy to fan the ember that is glowing deep within to restore the flame. When I read verse 7 I don’t hear soft tender words. (read softly) “ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” When I read verse 7 I hear a coach offering a motivational speech. (read with passion) Son, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment! Now get out there and get it done! I really like how New Testament Scholar and author N.T. Wright explains these needed attributes given to Timothy by the Spirit. The Nature of Power. People are suspicious of power, quite rightly. We’ve all heard the famous saying that ‘power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. Power can be bad for those who exercise it, as much, if not more, as for those over whom it is exercised. And yet power is inevitable and necessary within human relationships. Someone has to make decisions. Someone has to protect the weak and vulnerable. Someone has to regulate the common life of a complex society. Someone has to give other people a sense of direction. This is just as true in the church as it is in the world around. We are not solitary individuals living out our lives in detached isolation. Anarchy doesn’t enable people to flourish either as humans or as Christians. The New Testament insists that God intends human authorities to bring order and harmony to the world. This is just as true of the church as it is of society as a whole. God gives some people gifts to be used for the benefit of all; among these is the power to make things happen within the life of the church. This power is mysterious. It isn’t simply a matter of holding a particular office on the one hand, or of having a forceful personality on the other; by themselves, both of those can become dangerous. It’s a matter of having the ability to do and say things which change situations, to give a lead which others find that they want to follow, to speak words of wisdom which prove compelling, and to bring healing and hope where it’s most needed.The Nature of Love. Timothy, clearly, has been given gifts in this direction. Precisely because he appears not to have a particularly forceful personality, he needs to be encouraged to use these gifts without being afraid. As he does so, he must also act with love. Power divorced from love quickly becomes destructive, if not even demonic. Love without power can degenerate into wishy washy sentimentality. But when the person who is exercising power is known and perceived to be someone whose whole direction of life is generous, self-giving love, people are naturally more inclined to follow the lead they give, and obey their instructions. The power of the gospel itself flows from the fact that God gave his own son for our sake, thereby establishing a claim on our answering love and loyalty. Ministers of the gospel must discover that same power and love in their own work. Wright continues his thoughts with this… Paul knows, then, that even his friends and colleagues may feel under pressure to distance themselves from him, to be ashamed of him – and so, in effect, to be ashamed of the gospel of King Jesus. Even Timothy may be tempted to give in to this pressure. The antidote to this temptation is to recognize and celebrate all the more the power Paul spoke of in the previous passage – God’s power, brought to light through the resurrection of Jesus (verse 10). God’s power overrides all earthly power. It has already been put to work in the call of the gospel which has transformed Paul’s and Timothy’s own lives and is doing so for an increasing number of others as well (verse 9). It will be put to work again when God makes the world anew and gives his people new life, new bodies, thus fulfilling the promise of life for which his people trust him in the present (verse 12). This is the main theme of the passage: that if Timothy really understands the nature of God’s power, he will learn to line up his sense of true honour and shame in relation to God himself, instead of in relation to the fickle, shifting and at best secondary earthly powers. And Paul uses his own life and work (verses 11 and 12) as the model for Timothy to copy (verses 8 to 10).” Some Application. So what does any of this mean for us? We now know what 2020 had to offer. How focused were you on God’s power in your life? How often were you depending on God to lead you in your pursuit of sharing Christ with others? How focused were you on secondary earthly powers? How might you view the past year differently if your primary focus was on God’s plan and God’s power and love being put to work in and through you? From 2 Timothy 1, can you imagine what Paul’s focus would have been on this past year? Did your social media posts… did your conversations about Covid, and masks, and the election, and the politicians, and racial tension… reveal God’s power and His love to those around you? Did you daily seek God’s perspective on where to place your focus, or was it on the matters of our culture? It would seem that many of us have placed our hopes in secondary earthly powers. Those might include one political party or the other, or “the science”, or our American freedom. I’m not suggesting that those issues are not important issues to which we should be well informed.However, many believers have aligned with whichever side of the cultural conflict seems right to them. In doing so we have alienated others around us and we are discrediting Christ and the power that God has to offer real and meaningful transformation. We have become an obstacle for those around us actually being drawn to Jesus. How might this past year have been different if our focus as Ministers of the gospel had been the same as Paul’s focus…if our priorities were that of Paul’s priorities? As we stand here with our toes on the starting line of a brand new year what do these verses mean for us? How can we approach without fear what lays ahead? We are called, just at Timothy was called, to fan the embers of our faith, and the gifts given to us by the Spirit into a blazing fire. Each believer has been given gifts to use for God’s purpose in winning souls to Christ for eternity. Our focus and energy ought not be to fan the flame of politics, culture, or some other earthly agenda. We are called to take that ember of faith and fan it into a bright flame to be used for God’s purpose. We don’t have time this morning to deep dive into the conversation of spiritual gifts, but I would love to help you discover them if you are uncertain about what they are. Text “Spiritual Gifts” to 217.441.2347, and I will send you a link for a Spiritual gifts inventory.I want to take one last look at N.T. Wrights insights on this passage. Resurrection Mindset.“The kind of immortality offered by the gospel is a new bodily life which will not be subject to pain, sickness or death. This new life, though, isn’t something all humans possess automatically. It is a gift of God in sheer grace and power; and it is rooted in something that happens to people during this present life. That’s the point of verse 9. When the gospel is preached, when King Jesus is proclaimed, people are summoned to believe, trust and obey God rather than anyone or anything else. That’s what Paul means by ‘calling’. This happens not because we’re special, or because we’ve behaved in a particular way up to now, but simply by God’s goodness and love. When you realize what the Christian gospel is all about – the resurrection of Jesus as the unveiling of God’s power, and the call of God to you here and now, putting that power to work in your own life, bringing the promise of your own resurrection in due course – then your entire world of values is turned upside down. That is what Paul wants to happen to Timothy. As, indeed, it has happened to him, to Paul himself. He is the gospel’s royal herald, and that’s why he’s in prison and suffers many other things too. But his own trust has always been in God’s power. Part of that trust is that he has committed himself, his own life and work, to God, and he knows that God will keep safe what he has committed to him (verse 12)… Along that path lies the kind of life which will never be ashamed, in whichever direction the winds of fashion, political fortune and popular opinion may blow. When we grab hold of the nature of God’s power everything else begins to align as it should. We can boldly step into the future free of fear when we do so in God’s power. We as believers are called as ministers of the gospel. Ministers of the gospel must discover that same power and love in their own work as Paul challenged Timothy. We have been called to share the hope we have that is not tied to this life but to life eternal. We have been called, and we are empowered by the Spirit of God to be a living beacon of hope as we share what Jesus did on our behalf. The only hope that our neighbors, our cities, our nation, or our world have is if we allow the Spirit to embolden us to live without fear and to lead them to Jesus. The Jesus that was willing to come and die on our behalf. This was Paul’s charge for Timothy, and it is still ours today. Which neighbor do you need to love in a compelling way to reveal Jesus to them? Which coworker needs to see Jesus through a different lens? Which family member needs you to change your approach to compel them to consider Christ? Where is God asking you to trust Him to lead you through His power? Will you, will I, will we allow the shifting sands of our culture and world dictate the outcome of 2021, or will we be a people who choose to take Paul’s words to Timothy seriously? Will we allow our focus to be on allowing the Spirit of God to embolden us to use the gifts He’s given to bring the world closer to himself? Believers, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, of love, and of sound judgment! God has called us, and the Spirit empowers us to live in contrast to the world. Set your focus on the eternal. Set your focus on the mission that God is calling you to every single day. Commit yourself to the daily pursuit of loving the world into relationship with Jesus. It is to that purpose that we have been called. Now get out there and get it done! Let’s Pray. Wright, N. T.. Paul for Everyone: The Pastoral Letters: 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus (The New Testament for Everyone) (pp. 83-84, 88-90). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.