This broadcaster has 365 podcast archives available on-demand.
Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.
October 18, 2020 7:00 pm
I don't need to tell you that there are many things in our world that cause fear diseases in poverty in the prospect of being assaulted and on and on and on it goes.
Some people live in constant fear which is a dreadful way to live but that is the reality in the lives of many, many people, there is no discernible remedy for all of the trials and assaults of life. There does not seem to be a solution.
Fear for those people as a given.
It's a way of life. It is something that will always be with them as far as they are concerned, for which there is no solution and I wonder about you this morning. What is it that causes fear in your life. Is it covert is it finances is that death, the death of a loved one, or the fear of your own death isn't a marriage that may be failing, and you are afraid is falling apart is that the political situation of the world in which we live. You have something at your job that is causing you to fear and there are certainly dozens of other things that I could name that are probably calling causing some to fear this morning. It is helpful for us to realize that Timothy Paul's most trusted ministry partner also was wrestling with fear. And Paul writes to address Timothy's fears. In second Timothy 17. In doing so shows Timothy the path to overcoming his fears and by the inclusion of this in the New Testament Scriptures, God intends for it to show us the path to overcoming our fears for rights Paul to Timothy by the spirit of God, for God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and divine a sound mind.
I have four questions to address to our text today. Number one. What is fear to where does it come from third why should we not fear number four. How do we overcome fear number one what is fear. What is fear for God is not given us a spirit of fear. What is Paul talking about when he uses the word fear and it's very instructive that the Greek word used here is not the common one usually find translated fear in your Bible, New Testament Scriptures, the common word many of you probably know his father Boston. It is used in both the negative and positive sense. Sometimes it is a bad fear that ought to be dispelled overcome, but often times it is a good fear. A godly fear, a reverential fear we ought to fear God, we ought to feared more than we do. That's not the word that is used here.
This is a very uncommon word in a word that is always negative and strongly so. Some Bibles translate the word timidity God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but that is way too weak a word to translate the underlying Greek word that Paul is using by the spirit of God because it carries the idea of cowardice of shameful fear. It is used of those who flee from their army in the day of battle turn their turn their backs and run away in the cowardly fear. And Paul writes to Timothy and says God has not given us that God is not given us a spirit of cowardice and of fear, so the fear that is spoken of here is a vacillating behavior and abandonment of responsibilities because of apprehension of circumstances and threats that surround us. That's the fear that is addressed in our text the question. Secondly, therefore, is where does this come from our text is very emphatic. It doesn't come from God, for God has not given us a spirit of fear, God has not given it to us. It didn't come from him, as if to reinforce that statement.
He goes on to say, God has not given us a spirit of fear, the question is, should the word spirit. The S Holy Spirit, or should it be small as an attitude of fear. My Bible has the small S but I can tell you, having studied, I suppose, at least seven or eight commentaries this last week that virtually every commentary takes the other position. Everyone who studied this passage carefully seems to have come to the conclusion that what Paul is talking about here is not merely an attitude of fear, though of course translates into that everyday behavior, but what he's talking about is the spirit of the living God. God has given us his Spirit is given at the Timothy when he says God has not given us is talking about himself is talking about Timothy's talking about all born-again believer. God has not given us a spirit of fear that is the Holy Spirit in the context I think makes that abundantly clear. Going to look at a moment in verse six, but even now notice what Paul says.
Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hand.
Now the gift of God we know is the gift of ministry of preaching that was given to spirit to Timothy by God but more specifically, was given to Timothy by the spirit. It is a spiritual gift, the Holy Spirit gave that the Timothy when we get down to the end of the passage we read this morning we see words that are not identical to what we have in our text but seem to be repeating the same thoughts in different words and what does it say verse 13 hold fast the pattern of sound words, which you have heard from me in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus, that good thing which was committed to you. Keep how by the now.
It's very clear and specific. By the holy spirit who dwells in us, so I'm satisfied that indeed Paul is writing here about the spirit of God so when he says God has not given us a spirit of fear. That of course goes without saying because of her talking about the Holy Spirit. Of course it's not a spirit of fear. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of God, and God does not have a spirit of fear and he hasn't given to us a spirit of fear, where does it come from it didn't come from God it wasn't given in connection with the impartation of the Holy Spirit, which God gives to all true believers. Where does this fear come from, and fear comes from within us. Fear comes from our human nature that is from our human sinfulness. Fear comes because of our Adamic depravity yard Adamic weakness. The damage that has been done to all of us because of Adam's fall in the garden and what that means for all of his children.
Throughout the subsequent generation fear comes from excessive focus upon ourselves as we are all prone to do. We are all inclined to look more to ourselves than to God and to others. Fear comes from looking at our circumstances more than it God's sovereign control. We look at all the things around us, and we say, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, because we are looking at these things instead of raising our eyes to heaven above and saying and Almighty God upon his throne was ruling his universe perfectly and nothing is outside of his control. Doesn't that begin to change things in a hurry. Fear comes from looking at our resources which we find to be far too small, and an adequate instead of looking to God and his resources, his wisdom, his omnipotence, his love, his grace, his promises, his willingness to come to our help. Fear comes from within us and fear is I think in this respect, the opposite of faith. Faith looks to God to his word it draws courage and strength from that fair looks to ourselves and to the things that are immediately around us and flees from the dangers which we see on every hand and from the weakness and inadequacies which we find within our own resources where it is fear come from. In short, it comes from weak faith. Fear comes from fearing Satan's power more than God's ability and willingness to help us. Are we week. Of course our circumstances threatening.
Of course, is Satan a powerful full flow. Of course if that's the things that we look at then what are we going to do.
We are going to fear the more we see those things, the greater our fear grows and it's no wonder, therefore, that those who don't know the Lord see no remedy for their fears conclude that they must spend their whole life living in fear because what else do they have within our fears without our dangers they see nothing that gives them much hope. They're looking for changes in politics. Changes in society. If this would change if that would change it would make everything better and the things that they are expecting to change can only change when Jesus Christ comes to rule and reign, but God's people don't need to live that way, God's people must not live that way that dishonors the Lord.
We are called upon to exercise faith believing the word of God appropriating the truth of God's word bringing that down into our lives day by day. Which brings me now to my third question, why should we not hear of course there are number of reasons already suggested some butter for sticking to our text. There are two prominent ones that appear and they are very closely related. Why should we not fear number one in order to serve God effectively. Why should we not fear number two in order to strengthen our faith. Fear is the flow of faith, but number one why should we not fear. We should not fear because two. Fear impedes our ability to serve God effectively. That's really what Paul is dealing with in this text we look at it in context.
In fact, our text begins with the word for doesn't it, for God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of sound mind that for is a word of causation. It it forces us to look back. It's a conclusion it's something based upon what has gone before and what has gone before. Of course, is the work verse immediately preceding verse six and Paul says to Timothy. Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands for God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. For in order to serve God effectively and back to verse six we find out that this fear is to be rejected and overcome in order to be able in Timothy's case to stir up the gift of God.
I remind you to stir up the gift of God which you are going to be able to do if you are living in fear.
What is this gift of God really tells us it's a gift which was given to you through the laying out of my hands. I remind you to strip the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands, and that points us in the direction of what Paul has in mind he's talking about Timothy's ordination to ministry, which took place with the laying on of hands, not just palsy only mentions himself here, but earlier I don't even have to turn the page of my Bible to go back to first Timothy chapter 4 and verse 14 to read. Do not neglect the gift that is in you same idea. Do not neglect the gift. It is in you which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership laying on the hands of the Presbytery literally the laying on the hands of a number of God, called preachers and recognize preachers apostles and elders, whoever they may have been Paul being among them. Because of Paul's close relationship with Timothy. Timothy was his son in the faith.
Paul here just simply mentions. Don't forget Timothy that I laid my hands on you, in recognition of the gift that God had given you which needs to be stirred up.
He's talking about Timothy's ordination to ministry, which was at one time formally recognized before the church through the hands of the Presbytery laid upon him. We call that ordination, public recognition of Timothy's preaching gift given to him by God is laying on of hands is symbolic that this gift is not given by men is not given by the church when Paul says is given to you by the laying out of my hands by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. What he what he's actually saying is, it was recognized in that way that this gift was given to you by God stir up the gift that is in you, given by God.
The gift that was committed to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Verse 14 that I read earlier so Paul specifically in Timothy's case is talking about the fact that God had gifted Timothy for the public preaching of God's word, that gift had been recognized by the church at it sometime. The church decided now is the time to formally recognize or to publicly recognize it and to set aside this man for ministry to ordain him to ministry to let everyone know that we approve of his entering ministry, and we believe that God has given him the gift of preaching, but Timothy evidently was drawing back he was afraid. I remind you stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying out of my hands.
God is not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a strong mind stirred up the idea is to stir up embers that are about to go out a fire that has been burning and it burns down lower and lower and lower and lower and nobody has been adding fuel to the fire and pretty soon it's just a few embers down the bottom of your fireplace or whatever it is that you are doing this and if you don't give it some attention that eventually it's going to die out.
Not quickly in my fireplace I go to bed at night after the embers gone to almost nothing. I still don't dare close the damper completely or I'll start smelling smoke in the house.
There's always a little bit of of fire still there. I close the damper partially and go to bed and when I get up in the morning. It's completely out and I can close the damper completely slow, gradual, but it is reality that unless the fire is attended to. It will eventually go out unless the gift of ministry is regularly attended to. It can go out. It can become dormant and useless eventually did. Paul doesn't want that to happen to Timothy and he's not saying that Timothy has gone a long way down that road toward complete decline in the death of his gift, but Paul obviously recognizes that there has been a a few steps at least taken in that direction, and he's concerned that this be reversed and must not continue this decline must not go on. You Neglect the gift that is in you, you got to stir it up, stir it up, stir it up. It's too precious to valuable. It is something that God has given you.
It must be acknowledged. It must be preserved and must be exercised. This is the primary way that God has given you to serve him. So stir up the gift of God that is in you by the laying on of my hands for God has not given us the spirit of fear.
Evidently Timothy was afraid of what has caused Timothy to be afraid we don't know that there are number of possible reasons that are alluded to elsewhere in Scripture.
We do know for example that Timothy was not exactly in robust health. He had some health issues all talks in one place.
In fact, in the same epistle about his frequent infirmity. Paul I think Timothy was not exactly a robust giant of a man he was on the sick leader side of health that may have caused his fear is what else we also know that Timothy had a timid personality. He instructed churches to see that Timothy be with you without fear recognize that he is a he is not as as bold and robust and outgoing as I am, says Paul, and you need to recognize the difference and you need to help them and protect them and be sure that you're not doing anything unnecessarily in order to stir up fear with any of he's got a rather shy and withdrawing type personality and yet within that there is great giftedness for ministry talking to someone just within the last week or so about a particular minister who has had a long and effective ministry and is very very bold and courageous and dynamic in the pulpit but this person who knows them well said he is extremely shy. He is very withdrawn and his personality. You wouldn't know that from the pulpit but that is the case in evidently that was the case with Timothy as well and he is timid personality probably contributed to his fearfulness.
And thirdly, we know that he was relatively young.
We don't know exactly but on another occasion, Paul said, let no one despise his youth. Don't let anyone diminish his value because he's younger, Diane. Most ministers he's younger than most of you, he's pretty young to be recognized as an elder is elder seems to imply older, but he's not sold he's young, but he shows the spiritual qualifications for eldership, but his youth tends to make him feel a little bit inferior and reluctant and fearful and then finally where was Timothy. At this time, he was ministering in the city of Ephesus, and Ephesus was filled with all kinds of opposition as we know the Gentiles the pagan Gentiles in Ephesus had greatly withstood the ministry of the apostle Paul member the riot of the Ephesian silversmiths the call together thousands of people in the amphitheater to create a riot against Paul.
While Paul was God but the church was still there.
And guess who had been appointed to go and leave the church in Paul's absence. You're right it was shy timid Timothy look what he's facing in the community where he's serving and furthermore there were hostile Jews as well and Ephesus who had done their best to extinguish the light of the gospel saw the one hand, Timothy is facing hostile pagans on the other hand is facing hostile Jews on the other hand he's facing false teachers.
They were there claiming to be Christians but teaching false doctrine. He was Timothy was a bulwark against them in the church leading others to stand up for truth. And then of course there were, as there are in every church at least a few ornery Christians say how do you know been pastoring for 47 years you can't convince me otherwise. Start adding that up. Wonder Timothy didn't just say I quit walk off and say I'm start make intensive building houses selling doggy carts something else. Maybe I'll invent insurance and start selling that no said Paul stir up the gift send you that's what God has called you to do the 10 everything was evidently tempted to retreat from his God-given responsibility. Paul is shorting him up and insisting that he cannot. He must not do that. But in order to continue on. He must cast out fear in order to be able to serve God effectively. That's the first reason why must we deal with our fears and have victory over them. We must do that if are going to be able to serve God effectively. In Whatever Way, God has called us we must cast out fear. If were going to be faithful to witness to others just carry out the assignment of personal evangelism that has been given to all of us as as the people of God live times were just afraid that way.
Let's be honest, feel afraid to talk to people about the Lord, but we need to cast out fear and move on and do what God is called us to do were going to have to have courage to live openly for Christ in a hostile world. Just you don't have to say anything to people just living a Christian life is going to bring down the anger of antagonism, the ridicule the opposition. The hostility of those around you destroy your business because you said that you believe in marriage that kind of thing happened. Others that's the kind of world we live in now. What you gonna run from that high cave and pretend that you're not a Christian except when you're in church and a knife safe environment or are you going to rise to the occasion and exercise the courage that is needed to live like a Christian in this world are you going to banish your fears. We must overcome our fears in order to exercise our spiritual gifts, not all of us have been called to public ministry like Timothy had put all of us have been given spiritual gifts that we are to exercise in the body of Christ and some of them are more public than others. There's always a danger that we will be fearful in their exercise and we must not, we must not fear in order to be able to fulfill our God-given opportunities, whatever they may be so number one in order to serve God effectively number two closely aligned to it is to strengthen our faith. This actually takes us back one more verse because before the word, for in verse seven that caused us to go back to verse six brings us back to the word therefore in verse six, which requires we go back to verse five. Right there.
It is right in front of you before taxes back to verse six, but verse six begins with the word therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you, the laying on of my hands. Why four wherefore, that takes us back to verses three, four and five proposed talking about Timothy's faith, which dwelt first in his grandmother, Lois and his mother, Eunice and I persuaded you also all we have to do is look at verse five when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and I persuaded and you also is talking about Timothy's genuine faith in a real faith, a faith that truly lays hold upon Christ of faith that motivates those who believe in Christ to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. But there is something that weakens our faith. What is it fair fear weakens faith, but casting out fear strengthens our faith. So why must we overcome fear number one to be able to serve Christ effectively in whatever sphere he has equipped and assigned to us in number two in order to strengthen our faith rather than weaken it. And that brings me therefore to question number four. How do we overcome fear. What's the remedy we need to do it.
We see we need to do it. How do we do it, what's the remedy.
God has given us three things in our text that are greatly useful in overcoming fear, on the one hand, God has not given us a spirit of fear but he has given us something else while he's given us a spirit by the power of the Holy Spirit S he's given us a spirit of what he's given us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. God's given that to all of his children. We have it's a resource given to us by God. That is within us because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, but we can ignore it.
We can neglected or we can recognize it and draw upon it. That's what we need to do. We need to draw upon this God is given us to read these three things. Number one the power of the spirit that's divine power.
That's the record due to miss most of you are familiar with that you know you know that that's where we get the English word dynamite but really has the idea of dynamic dynamic power God has given us the Holy Spirit which gives us a rate that gives us access to dynamic power because God has dynamic power. He's given us the spirit is the power of effective productive spiritual energy that is not given us to exercise on our selfish desires, but to accomplish God's purposes in our lives. God doesn't give us this dynamic power. Jesus taught us in the temptation last week to turn stones into bread to satisfy our own needs but God has given us a trip this dynamic power to exercise our spiritual gifts and to become active in his service to become active in our local church to become active in the ways that God has called us to do that we might have a dynamic productive energy to serve God. God's given us the power to do that he's given us the power that will overcome those fears that might that might pull us back from serving him powerfully dynamically and effectively. What else God has given us love, love of Christ is the familiar agape love the unselfish love. The unconditional love, love it loves Christ and desires to please him a love that endeavors to obey him, Christ essentially defined love in terms of obedience to his commandments, dignity, the upper room discourse. In John chapters 1415 16 if you love me, keep my commandments that that's how you know you love me. That's how others know whether you love me. That's how you manifest your love to me. It's not Google usually issue where she said I Madeleine's very practical if you love Christ, you're going to obey him going to endeavor to obey not going to do it perfectly and never will that you always going to be repentant when you don't, and you're always going to be casting yourself upon him for fresh ability to do it that's your desire why because you love him, and when you love them you want to please and you want to obey his command. But this love not only loves Christ.
It also loves others the love we have for others is an unselfish love that seeks their welfare.
Even above our own. But that's where the challenge comes in hard enough sometimes to even demonstrate a modicum of concern and care for others.
It has practical feet to do something to help them when we realize that God's standard for his people is to 16 mothers better than ourselves and to love our neighbor, at least as much as ourselves no less than ourselves. That's a high standard indeed. But you see that focus upon Christ loving him, and pleasing him and serving others that goes a long ways towards overcoming these fears which are present in real and what we must deal with them and wrestle with them but we realize very quickly we can spend our whole lives living in a cave to protect ourselves from any possible harm and danger because we got work to do.
We got service for Christ to accomplish.
We got other people to serve, for Christ sake in Christ is given us power to do that Christ has given us the love that enables us to do that less focus on self and worse focus on Christ and others will drive fear out of our lives and what else has he given us. He's given us a sound mind. A sound mind were often told the battles in the mind and that is the battle for what for nearly anything in the mind way we think.
I listen to Dave Ramsey quite a bit in the car.
He's very interesting and helpful in lot of things that I think probably right on target and I heard him say all this over and chew it over a bit and even discuss it briefly with my wife to see what I fully agree with it or not, but he said the only thing that keeps the average American from becoming a millionaire is the way he thinks about money.
What we can really argue against that We, I mean I we can think about 100 reasons why that's not true but you know what it probably is true, it's not true in every case there are circumstances that will make that not possible. But if you start early enough employing the principles that he tells you to stay out of debt.
Live beneath your income. Give generously to God and invest regularly little amounts which is regularly overtime, overtime, overtime, most people could become millionaires if they if they look to retirement age. Why do so many people struggle because you ain't thinking right about money you spend every penny you get you going debt. It's in the mind is in the mind. That's just an example. I'm not going into that now I'm just using that as an example, but really in life. What outcomes we experience pretty much have to do with the way we think about things battles in the mind. Paul definitely says that's true here your fears. You think they're all reasonable and rational unfounded, but probably not all.
So God's given us a mind that can evaluate things a little more accurately sound mind. That means a disciplined mind a self-controlled mind, a clear thinking mind, but it's more than just the mind. It is sound mindedness in action. If you have a sound mind, as defined by Paul in Scripture, then he will be manifested in a disciplined life. A disciplined mind results in a disciplined life. A lot of people who deceive themselves into thinking they have their disciplined minds. They just have sloppy lives they they clear thinkers, but they just are sloppy livers. You know what I meant. That's not what Paul concludes concludes that if your mind is disciplined. Your life will be disciplined. Sound mind is a mind that is informed by God's word and lives according to the wisdom of God's word, sound mind is a mind that balances the dangers of life with and there are dangers in life, and a sound mind not oblivious of them sound mind doesn't cast oneself off the pinnacle of the temple, and expect God to catch you, lest you dash your foot against a stone kind of carelessness. It's not that kind of foolishness, not that kind of of bravery, which is really bravery at all it's folly, but a sound mind balances the dangers of life with a strong grip on the truth about God and evaluates all the dangers of life in light of what we know about God. Fear produces this orderliness and confusion. Faith produces orderliness and boldness got some of you do some you don't say it again fair produces this orderliness and confusion faith produces orderliness and boldness. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind to help us apply in a practical way.
Some of the thoughts in this text. Let me ask a few questions where you tempted to abandon God-given responsibilities for more comfortable course is it in your home on your job in church and areas of ministry. Think about those things and apply the text. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind.
Who do you need help loving your spouse, other family members, church members, as a somebody church is bugged you to death. You need some help loving that person someone at work.
Someone in your neighborhood. You concluded that it's impossible. No no no, God has not given us the spirit of cowardly nests cowardly this but of power and love sound mind. What will change in your life if you were little more self disciplined, your finances, your habitual tardiness, procrastination, weight areas of Christian service. God has not given us the spirit of fear but of love and power and a sound mind I came to the conclusion when I finish preparing this message on the basis of this text that came to my mind, just in really the light of what's going on with covert ANOVA fear I see in the world around us. This text came to mind and I said this would be a good one to explore and to to develop into to a preach. When I came to the end of all of this I came to the conclusion that in some ways this may be the most practical text I preached on in a long long time.
This is really down where we live, isn't it. Fear leads to wasted opportunities.
Which means wasted life.
Faith leads to God enabled accomplishments, which means a productive life.
Therefore, do not allow fear to rule your life. Trust in Christ rest in him for. He's not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love sound mind.
Let's pray father, help us to take your word and apply to our lives.
May your Holy Spirit show us where these truths are needed in every life. Everyone who's listening today we pray in Jesus name