Ignite the Gift of God

2 Timothy 1:5-7 ESV

“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, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Sincere Faith

Not everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ has genuine believing faith in Christ. There is a difference between human faith, which is of the flesh, and God-given faith, which is of the Spirit. Human beings determine what human faith should look like. God determines what God-given faith should look like, for it comes from him, it is authored by him, it is perfected by him, and it is gifted to us who will receive it and apply it, in truth, by him.

We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ, i.e. unless he first persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of (to turn from) our sins and to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands (New Covenant), in walks of holiness and righteousness. The word “faith” means to be persuaded by God, so this faith will align with God’s character and will.

And what is the gift of God? Well, it is our salvation, and it is Jesus Christ, and it is the Holy Spirit, and it is God’s grace and mercy, and it is eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord, all rolled up into one complete package. And our salvation is not just forgiveness of sins so we can escape hell and so we can go to heaven when we die. For Jesus Christ died on that cross in order that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.

So, the grace of God, which is bringing us salvation, trains (instructs) us to renounce (to say “NO! to) ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. For Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Acts 5:32; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; Matt 7:21-23]

Fan it Into Flame

So, if we are fanning into flame the gift of God which is in us, by faith in Jesus Christ, then we should be walking by the Spirit and not by the flesh. We should be responding to the calling of God on our lives, and we should be doing what he has called us to do. We should be walking in obedience to the Lord and we should be studying his word (in context) and applying its truths to our lives and submitting to the Lordship of Christ over our lives.

And whatever spiritual gifts we have been given we should be putting into practice. And whatever part of the body God has assigned to us we should be doing by God’s grace and in his strength and power. Our lives are no longer to be our own to be lived however we desire, but our lives are to be surrendered to our Lord Jesus to do his will and to fulfill his purposes for us, which is not for ourselves, but which is for the glory of God.

For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. These (power of God, love of God, and self-control of the Spirit of God) are to be what are ruling our lives, not selfishness, not the lusts of the flesh, not pride, not sinful passions, not entertainment, not self-pleasure, not peer pressure, but the power and love of God and self-control under Holy Spirit control. And we should be living to please our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:8-10 ESV

“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, 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.”

Now, if we are people of sincere faith who are walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, in practice, in conduct, and if we are indeed “fanning into flame” the gift of God within us, and so we are now living holy lives, pleasing to God, and so we are sharing the truth of the gospel, and we are refuting Satan’s lies, and thus we are not ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, then we should prepare to be persecuted.

We should anticipate that most people are not going to like us or want to be with us, not even most people who call themselves Christians, well especially if we live in America. But this could be the same or worse where you live. I just live in America so I am familiar with what goes on in my country, but I am not familiar with what goes on in other countries, and even if I do read news stories about other countries, I can’t trust that they are the truth.

And we should expect to be hated, rejected, mocked, falsely accused, lied to and lied about, slandered, mistreated, abused, misused, and mostly ignored, even by most professing Christians who are living worldly lives not much different from people who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ. And this includes that we may be hated and mistreated by pastors and church elders and they may even invite us to leave their gatherings.

And don’t let this word “works” fool you. Yes, we are not saved by our own fleshly works. We can do nothing in our flesh to earn or to deserve our own salvation. But we are saved to do the works God prepared in advance that we should “walk in them,” for to this we were called. So works are not excluded. They are part of our participation with Christ in our salvation as we cooperate with his work of grace in our lives, by God’s Spirit.

For Jesus Christ saved us and called us to a holy calling and to live holy lives in all our conduct. And to be holy is to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness (character) of Jesus Christ. And if we do not live holy lives, but we continue in deliberate and habitual sin and in willful disobedience to our Lord, in practice, then we do not have the hope of eternal life, regardless of what our lips profess.

[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

He’s Been Faithful

By Carol Cymbala

In my own suffering
Through every pain every tear
There’s a God who’s been faithful to me

When my strength was all gone
When my heart had no song
Still in love He’s proved faithful to me

Every word He’s promised is true
What I thought was impossible
I’ve seen my God do

He’s been faithful
Faithful to me
Looking back He’s love and mercy I see
Though in my heart I have questioned
Even failed to believe
He’s been faithful, faithful to me

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