August 4

·Thank God And Fan The Flame 

Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:3-7

INTRO.- I thank God, whom I serve. Who are you serving in this life?

Every connect with just the right verse when you hear scripture verses like the last verse of 2 Timothy 1:7 from this morning’s reading.  

Verse 7: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid. But gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 

That one sticks out for me. But yet do I have the power, love and self-discipline to serve God with Boldness in this world of ours today? Do I have the flame of the Holy Spirit burning in me and can defend and proclaim my faith to the non-believer?

In his blessings to each of his children he has instilled his gift of the Holy Spirit. We all can be blinded to what we have that may be asleep within each of us. He so wants us to stop and look at him and first recognize that he is there in our lives, even if we ignore him!

PROP.- We all need to recognize that we are in Christ and Christ in us. We need to serve Him most of all in this life. How so?

1- Remember others in prayer

2- Recall the faith of others

3- Refuel the flame in you

I. REMEMBER OTHERS IN PRAYER

3” I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers”. 

ILL.- The Sunday School teacher asked the little boy, “Do you say grace before you eat?” The little boy replied, “It ain’t necessary. My mom is a good cook.” Good cook or not, good food or not, we should always say grace or give thanks for the food that the Lord has provided for us.

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Likewise, prayer is something we should always do, whether good or bad comes our way. But many people don’t pray with any regularity, perhaps only when they get into trouble. They may only use prayer in times of emergency, like sending God an SOS signal (save our ship or save our souls). IS PRAYER YOUR STEERING WHEEL OR YOUR SPARE TIRE?

I see this when I am requested to a patient at Strong as Chaplain. They ask how can a good God put me here? Why am I sick? They shut out any reference to God or the Bible in good times. You see in the valley if you have a relationship with Jesus you have that assurance of safety with him at your side. Regardless of what you are currently experiencing. I see the difference between the faith filled Christian and the non-believer.

Many people may well think it doesn’t do any good to pray or else they may think they can get along just fine without anybody’s help, including God. Or they may not care about others enough to pray for them.

ILL.- Henry Ward Beecher, “I pray on the principle that the wine knocks the cork out of a bottle. If there is an inward fermentation, there must be a vent.” What did he mean by that? If it’s on the inside it’s got to come out. If your heart is in tune with the Lord, you can’t help but pray and commune with Him.

ILL.- Max Lucado wrote: Did God call us to preach without ceasing? Praise the Lord for that!  Or teach without ceasing? Or have committee meetings without ceasing? Or sing without ceasing? No, but he did call us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).

ILL.- Peter Kreeft on Prayer: "Let's get very basic and very practical about prayer. The single most important piece of advice I know about prayer is also the simplest: JUST DO IT! How to do it is less important than just doing it. "Less-than-perfect prayer is infinitely better than no prayer. Similarly, no program, method, book, teacher, or technique will ever succeed in getting us to start doing anything unless there is first of all that simple, absolute choice to do it. "Just say yes."

Talk to God, yes just talk to him! Tell him what is on your heart! On you mind, trouble you see coming or just plain axious about !

 

 

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"The major obstacle in most of our lives to just saying yes to prayer, the most popular and powerful excuse we give for not praying, or not praying more, or not praying regularly, is that we have no time.

"The only effective answer to that excuse, I find, is a kind of murder. You have to kill something, you have to say no to something else, in order to make time to pray. Of course, you will never find time to pray, you have to make time to pray. And that means unmaking something else. The only way to install the tenant of prayer in the apartment building of your life is to evict some other tenant from those premises that prayer will occupy. Few of us have any empty rooms available."

Kreeft is right! And let me suggest that praying for others is probably the best thing we can do for others. And then tell them we are praying for them.

Ephesians 6:18-20 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”

Colossians 4:2-4 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”

I Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”

If you want to be the Lord’s servant, then start by serving others through prayer.

II. RECALL THE FAITH OF OTHERS

4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

 

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Recall the faith of others. Why? Because the strong faith of others can strengthen our faith in Christ. Recall the faith of those who’ve gone before us and recall the faith of those who are now living and be blessed by them.

Who are they, I think each of us have someone in mind that has led you to be here today? Your Parents, your Grandparents, your Sunday School teacher, your neighbor. So many possibilities that the list can be endless.  The faith of some one that you can recall in their selfless actions of love to you or your family. The unknown prayers that helped you or your own family.  

I want to read a true story of one mans Faith that can teach is all! The Empty Chair.

We live by faith, not by sight.- - - 2 Corinthians 5:7 - - -

Recall the faith of others and be blessed and strengthened by their faith and become more committed to serving Christ.

III. REFUEL THE FLAME IN YOU

6 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. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

The idea of refueling the flame is that of adding fuel, arouse, rekindle, excite, stimulate, stir up, whip up, work up. DO WE NEED THIS? Do we ever!

Some people don’t mind spending thousands of dollars on their sport or hobby, but at the same time wouldn’t think of giving anything to the Lord’s church. Some will be quick to talk about something they are passionate about but not Jesus.

It should be obvious to us that we all need more passion for the Lord, His church and His mission in this world! How can we get this passion? How can we refuel the flame? It’s a matter of allowing the Holy Spirit to fire us up!

6 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. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

 

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God’s Spirit is powerful, He is not fearful. By refueling His flame in us, we, too, will become more passionate and powerful in living the Christian life. But how can this happen? Time alone with God is the only way I know how to refuel the flame.

Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

Luke 5:16 “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."

Luke 6:12 “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”

Luke 11:1 “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."

Matthew 14:23 “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.”

Matthew 26:40-42 “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."

Could it be that Jesus got power from His Father through prayer? I believe so and we need to imitate Him in this practice.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17)

If I want to get fired UP about bass fishing all I need to do is read a good bass fishing magazine. GET THE IDEA about how to get fired up for the Lord? READ THE BOOK!

Ephesians 3:16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”

 

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The Holy Spirit can empower us for life and living the Christian life. We should pray that He will. As servants of the Lord we should refuel the flame, the power of God’s Spirit in us!                                                                                                

CONCLUSION----------------------

 We all need to recognize that we are in Christ and Christ in us. We need to serve Him most of all in this life. How so? 1- Remember others in prayer 2- Recall the faith of others 3- Refuel the flame in you

 

 The Empty Chair

A Daughter of a man terminally ill and bed ridden ask the new Pastor of her church to visit her Dad. The Pastor stopped in to visit the next day. He enters the man’s room and ask if he could come in. Did you Daughter tell you to expect my visit?

"No. I was not expecting you," said Bob. "Who are you?". "I'm the new minister at your church," he replied. "When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up." "Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?"  Puzzled, Pastor James shut the door. "I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, 'Bob, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus.'

'Here is what I suggest. Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, 'I'll be with you always.' Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you're doing with me right now.'  So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."

James was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with Bob, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon. "Did he die in peace?" he asked." Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later I found him dead. But there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?"

Pastor James wiped a tear from his eye and said, "I wish we all could go like that!