OK, welcome back. Here we go. Round two of 2 Timothy. We’re just going to jump right in. So read with me 2 Timothy chapter one, beginning in verse three. Says, “ 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, as I remember your tears, I longed to see you. That I may be filled with joy. I’m 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, fan into flame the gift of God, which is in use through the laying on of my hands for God, for gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self control.”
Again, we have the great Apostle Paul here writing to his young protege, Timothy, who he’s not with. And Timothy is out in a city leading. And as Paul intros this letter as Timothy opens this note from his hero, he sees at the beginning a simple sentence. I thank God. That Paul’s expressing gratitude to God at the beginning here, and he wants Timothy to know it.
And so here he says, I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors with a clear conscience, which is a little interesting. Put a pin in that will come back to it. But he tells Timothy, I thank God, as I remember you. He says, Timothy, every time I think about you, I stop and thank God. How often does that happen? The next word? Constantly. Timothy, all the time you come to mind, and the moment you do, I pause and I thank God for you. And then he says, I do it in my prayers, night and day. It was common in that day for Jewish men to pray in the morning and at night. It’s a good practice for all of us.
Let me open my day in dialog with the Lord and let me close it, reflecting on the day with him at night.
And here, Paul says, Every time I do this rhythm night and day, every time I pray, you come to mind Timothy. All the time. And every time you do, I stop and thank God. How would it feel to get a letter like that? Particularly if you were struggling and to see the first letters from your mentor being, man, I can’t stop thinking about you. And every time you come to mind, I just tell God, thank you for you.
And then he brings up a moment in their life, he says, as I remember your tears. Now we don’t know when this moment was that Timothy was crying. But you can kind of guess, maybe it was their parting because they traveled together a lot in ministry. And so you think, OK, maybe it’s when they left each other. Paul says, I’m thinking about you. I’m praying for you, and I remember you were crying. And when I think about you crying, he says, I long to see you. I want to be with you, Timothy. And then he gives you the result that I may be filled with joy. Timothy, I can’t wait to see you again. It will fill my heart with joy because I’m constantly thanking God for you.
Now, stop for a moment and think about how would that make you feel? Imagine in your own life, have you ever received a letter like that from a mentor? How would you feel if you did? If someone wrote you a letter and said you are constantly in my mind and I’m constantly thanking God for you? How would that make you feel? Let me ask you this question. Have you ever written a letter like that to someone that you’re not interested in romantically or sexually, someone that you just want to encourage? Have you ever had this experience of caring about someone this much that you go, I can’t stop thinking about you. I just want to write you a letter to let you know. I can’t wait to see you because it’ll fill my heart with joy. This is the Apostle Paul speaking this way because the family of Jesus brings with it deep relationships. And if you don’t have it, it’s something to long for and to pray for. That Timothy gets this encouragement from Paul
And then Paul says, I’m reminded of your sincere faith. I know your faith. It’s legit, Timothy. It’s not fake. A faith that dwelled in your grandma and your mom. We find out from the Book of Acts. He had a dad, but you never hear about his dad’s faith. And here you hear that he learned about the faith from his mom and his grandma. He says their faith was sincere, and I’m sure that sincere faith dwells in you as well.
And then Paul turns the corner to his first command to Timothy. For this reason, I remind you, fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. He calls to a moment where he put his hands on Timothy. It’s the idea of ordination in ministry that when you see, hey, God’s working on someone and you’re meant to work with God in ministry, you would lay your hands on him. I’m conferring upon you. Leadership, elders, are saying you are someone that should be leading in the House of God. And he calls Timothy to remember that moment where some leaders came around and said, you’ve been called by God to spread his message for the good of others. And he calls him to remember. Something landed in you that day. A gift of authority, of power, of leadership within the community of faith. And he says, but it’s like a fire. That if you leave a fire alone, it begins to grow low. You have to kindle it afresh. You have to work on it. So he tells Timothy, work on it. Why?
Because the spirit of God is in you, Timothy. And it’s not a spirit of fear that makes you shrink back. But it’s spirit that has power to overcome obstacles. Love, that can love God and other people no matter what comes. And self-control, that can say no to your wayward impulses.
Now, question, what is Paul doing here in this Thanksgiving? Why did he bring up his ancestors? Why is he doing all this? Well, the sense you’re getting is that Timothy is in a difficult situation. Whatever is happening to him, it’s making him want to shrink back and rather than scold him, what does Paul do?
Well, remember last time we looked at how Paul named all his titles and you’re like, why? Timothy knows you. But what he’s saying is, Hey Timothy? I’m an apostle by the will of God. And you’re my beloved son. I come from a godly lineage, my ancestors. And you come from a godly lineage. Your grandma and your mom. I have a clear conscience and you have a sincere faith. And I love you. And I laid my hands on you. And you were called a minister. So fan into flame, that gift of God. Get into the game, Timothy. But notice he doesn’t do it by shaming him. He does it by encouraging him. I’m called by God. You’re my son. I come from a godly line. You come from a godly life. I’m legit. You’re legit. I love you. Get out there, Timothy. And you see that Paul is calling him forward that in the midst of a difficult day, don’t shrink back, but believe the spirit of God and the love of the community of faith is with you, Timothy.
And let that encourage you. That today, no matter what’s coming your way, you have power. You have love. And you have self-control. So you can step out and be a flame for the good of God in the world. And I want to encourage you, if you’re in Christ, the Lord is working on you so that you can work in the lives of others. Don’t shrink back.
And if you’re not a part of a believing community, maybe take a moment now and reflect on it. What would it be like to be tucked into relationships like this. Where others can encourage me this way. How would it feel? And that I could encourage others this way. How would it feel to invest in younger men and women this way? Pray about that in your own life. What may need to change to be tucked into a community like this? And I’ll see you next time.