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Rekindling the Flame of Our Ministry

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
October 26, 2022 12:00 am

Rekindling the Flame of Our Ministry

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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October 26, 2022 12:00 am

Revive your passion for sharing Christ with others.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, October 26th. Are you tired and worn out from years in the ministry? Hear this timeless word of encouragement that comes to anyone who has felt a loss of passion to serve God. I still very vividly remember this very outstanding preacher standing on the platform and preaching a message that just absolutely stirred my heart. Not only did I hear him but I also watched him and there was something about him that really moved my life. And I was so excited to hear him because I'd never heard him before and I was not disappointed at all. I thought, dear God, what a wonderful work that you've done in this man's life. And then a number of years went by and he came to this very church and I was so excited. He preached all week long, one solid week, not one soul moved, absolutely nothing happened. It was one of the deadliest weeks I've ever spent in my life. I remember sitting there with terribly mixed emotions. One of them was amazement that a man whose heart was so aflame for God a number of years ago could somehow have died out.

And secondly, fear and thinking, God, could this ever happen to me? I want you to turn, if you will, to 2 Timothy because the title of this message is, Rekindling the Flame of our Ministry. Rekindling the Flame of our Ministry. In 2 Timothy chapter 1, the Apostle Paul writes to young Timothy discussing some issues related to the church but primarily it is a word of encouragement to him as well as a word of instruction and if you'll notice beginning in verse 3 of this first chapter, he says to him, I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you even as I recall your tears so that I may be filled with joy. He says, for I am mindful of the sincere faith within you which first dwelt in your grandmother the Lois and your mother Eunice and I'm sure that it is in you as well.

And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands for God has not given us a spirit of timidity or fear but of power and love and discipline. Now remember the Apostle Paul was writing to young Timothy who is now pastoring at least preaching in the church in Ephesus and Ephesus was a great religious center, a great commercial center, a great political center of Asia and the temple of Diana was there and all the prostitution that was mixed up with all of their worship. It was a terrible place to serve God and here young Timothy was there preaching and Paul knowing his personality and knowing his disposition knew that he needed some tremendous encouragement.

Remember that Timothy did not have the epistle of the Romans, epistle to Philemon, Colossians and Ephesians and all of these. He just had what the Apostle Paul had taught him and of course the truths of the Old Testament that he'd learned so he didn't have what you and I have and he couldn't flip open to a verse here and go back to a passage here and be encouraged and so the Apostle Paul is attempting to encourage him. He wants to encourage him in his ministry because he sees and detects that this flame is flickering just a bit and so what I would like for us to look at in this passage is this against the background of what was happening here in Timothy's life, what about your life and what about mine? How do we rekindle this flame, this burning that God set out in our heart when he called us to preach the gospel to teach his word? Not only in those ministries but also in whatever ministry a person may be called whether it is to sing or teach or administer it or whatever it may be but in any area the same thing that happened to the man that I mentioned a few moments ago can happen to anyone and it's interesting that it certainly had begun to happen in the life of Timothy because in 1 Timothy if you'll notice in the 14th verse of the 4th chapter he says to him here in the 13th verse he's telling him about giving attention to the reading of the Word of God and so forth and he says in verse 14, do not neglect the spiritual gift within you which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.

Take pains with these things, be absorbed in them so that your progress may be evident to all. So he detected in him the possibility of this flame beginning to flicker and what Paul is attempting to do is to encourage him as well as to warn him. Now when you come to this passage in 2 Timothy I believe the Apostle Paul attempts to encourage Timothy in 4 ways and in 4 ways that all of us need to be encouraged once in a while. One of the ways he wanted to encourage him is to remind him that he loved him. He was thinking about him and he loved him. Is it not true that one of the most motivating factors in all of our life, all of us who serve him is to know that somebody loves us and that somebody cares for us.

It isn't enough that everybody loves us. It is very important that somebody loves us and somebody cares for us and somebody says I love you and somebody says I care for you and I'm interested in what is going on in your life. The second way he I believe wanted to encourage him was this and that is he wanted to affirm his own sense of confidence in young Timothy. If you'll notice what he says in this 5th verse, he says for I'm mindful of the sincere faith within you. You got it from your grandmother and your mother and he says now I'm sure it is in you as well. Affirming in him that he saw something in young Timothy that stirred his own heart. He says I see within you this faith.

I know that it's there. He says it's evident that it's there. It was in your grandmother, it was in your mother and now it is in you and he says I am confident that it is in you also. So he wanted to encourage him by saying Timothy I see something within you that encourages my heart. The third way he wanted to encourage him was to remind him of his family heritage. He said this faith which you have I first saw it in your grandmother, Lois and in your mother Eunice. And there is a heritage that he had and he was simply saying to him as God has worked in their lives and look what he's done in their life, surely you want him to do the same in yours. Then he said not only that, the fourth way he wanted to encourage him he says for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you.

What was he doing? He was reminding him and affirming I know that the spirit of God has come upon you. I know that you've been gifted and I know that you have a call upon your life. And I think about how many pastors out there all across this nation and all across the world and nobody ever says to them I love you, I really care for what's going on in your life. I want you to know that I see the Lord Jesus Christ working in your life and I want you to know that I'm grateful to God for your parents and your grandparents who enriched your life and now that you're able to enrich my life as a result of their faithfulness to God.

And I want to tell you I do believe that God has called you and I see the hand of God upon you and I know the anointing of God is upon you. Thank you pastor. How many men of God need that and how few of them ever hear it?

Every man of God needs that. And that's exactly what Paul was doing to Timothy. Now when I think about the things that caused this to happen in his life and imagine and most all of us would think back if all those things were true of us when we first began the minister or even in there a long time, if all of those things were true, we too may be tempted to allow the flame to flicker. But what is it that causes that in our lives?

Probably some of the same things. How do we know when it's there? So what I'd like to do is maybe to speak primarily to the pastors and you who have those kind of responsibilities, I believe one of the clearest evidences that the flame has begun to flicker and the warmth is beginning to die out and the thrill and the motivation something is happening is that when a man begins to recycle continuously old sermons that's a pretty good sign something is happening to the flame. Amen?

Amen. I'm sorry for pastors to admit that but we know it's true. When he begins to recycle continuously old sermons and you see what happens is sometimes a fellow reaches age of 50 or 60 or whatever it might be and he's preached enough sermons and he goes to a new church and you know what happens.

What does he do? Rather than getting in the Word of God and discovering something new about God and God keeping the flame burning in his heart, he begins to settle down and re-preach the same old stuff. It doesn't mean it wasn't the truth but what I would think about that is this somebody says like heating up a biscuit you can't heat an old biscuit up at so many times and after a while it becomes so hard it's not very digestible so you and I need to remember that preaching something once in a while that's something else but recycling the same old sermons. When you lose the thrill of studying the Word of God, when you lose that thrill it says something about your desire for God, it says something about what we are lacking in our desire to know him.

None of us would say that we know him like we want to know him. We may know him enough to be so thrilled and to bet our whole eternal life on him but none of us know him well enough. If a man loses that, something has happened to the flame in his life. When he becomes discouraged because of things that are going on around him and he begins to be depressed and he begins to look around and blame other people for his circumstances, something is happening to the flame that God ignited when he called into preaching to teach the Word of God.

So the question is how do we rekindle the flame? So what I'd like to do is just to share with you a few things that I think God has is in the process and has taught me over the years that I know works for me and the first one is this, when the slightest little flicker begins to flicker in my heart the first thing I'm going to do is to get on my knees and have a refilling of the Holy Spirit which means having to examine my life and repent of anything and everything that God brings to my mind. The refilling of the Holy Spirit, everybody gets a leak every once in a while in the Spirit and their life.

Our minds wander, we get into things, this, that, and the other and so forth and so what happens? That's why he says be ye being filled, keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit because every time you and I make a wrong decision or a decision that is sinful in any fashion, big or small, whatever it may be, in that moment we're not full. He says be ye being filled with the Holy Spirit and so one of the primary ways that God rekindles this flame is that the Spirit of God fills us afresh and anew. He is once again in control, he is once again in charge, he is once again ruling and reigning within our heart.

That's number one. The second thing, and I don't put these in this particular order for any reason, the second is this, and that is to review those past times in your life when the flame was glowing and burning the brightest. Ask yourself the question, God, what was going on in my life when the flame of the Spirit and when the goal, when the vision, when my mission and when my call was so very important to me and what was going on in my life, God, in those days when I felt your Spirit so, so tremendous and I couldn't wait for Sunday to come and I couldn't wait to get in your word and I couldn't wait to discover something else about you. What was going on in my life in those days?

More than likely you're going to discover some things going on that may not be going on now. Then when I think about this whole idea of rekindling the flame, a very important part is this, that is to refocus our attention upon God. You see, if you and I are going to rekindle the flame, one of the things that is absolutely necessary is to examine what is my focus. Is my focus on the church? Is it on the circumstances of my life? Is it on the things that I think are not right? What is my focus? Refocusing our attention upon God and I believe as I listen to my fellow pastors, the thing that I hear most of all is no matter what they think the problem is, the issues are all these circumstances that we would like to change around us and all of us can get into that. Anybody can get into that.

Nobody is above and beyond that. But is it not true that the longer you look at your circumstances, the larger they grow? And then when you get focused upon Almighty God, you know what happens?

All of a sudden, He becomes like Mount Everest and they become like ant hills over here and you think, God, why in the world was I looking at all that? If the flame is going to be refanned and the kindling is going to take place and the gift is going to once again surface and the power of God is going to be present, I must fix my focus upon Him. And listen, not to all the voices of the world, not focus on all the things that are happening but just on Him and somehow when the focus is fixed upon Him, you are aware of the things that are going around you in their proper perspective and in their proper place. There's a fourth thing that I think is very important in fanning this flame and as He says, rekindling the gift is within you and that is to listen, to reject the lies of Satan. Reject the lies of Satan. Satan will say to you, look, you're discouraged, your health's not good and folks, they don't think you're doing very well and you just ought to get out of the ministry.

That's what you ought to do. You just be better off out of the ministry. You get your job doing something else, then you want to put up with all these folks and do all these things and therefore what does he do? He just whispers and whispers and whispers.

What's he doing? Pouring cold water on the fire of God in your heart. That's why it is very important to be able to detect Satan's lies and to absolutely reject them. And all you have to do is to simply say, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I choose not to believe that lie. I reject that as a lie of Satan. I refuse, I absolutely refuse to accept that. Shut it down. And my friend, the spirit of God within you will enable you to shut it down. You don't have to believe that and you don't have to acknowledge that.

You don't have to accept that it's true. When Satan starts telling you that you can't do it and it won't work and you're wasting your time and nobody cares, so what? You know, the devil told Jesus all of that. The apostle Paul must have heard that by Satan many, many times, but he stood immovable because he was committed to Christ, which brings me to probably the most important one of all of these, and that's this. When that flame begins to flicker and you begin to feel weak and you begin to feel a little cool in your heart, my friend, the most important thing you can do is retreat and listen, retreat, get away somewhere, three days, five days, whatever it may be, and get along with the Lord Jesus Christ and renew your intimate private fellowship with him. There's something about being by yourself with him, about not answering the phone and not talking to someone else, being by yourself. Shut up to God and shut up with God and shut up alone with him.

There is nothing. It's like pouring gasoline on this tremendous gift that God has given you. When you get along with him and say, Lord, I want you to search my heart, Lord, I want to be everything you want me to be. I want to be everything you've called me to be.

I don't want to be lacking in anything. God, stir the soul of thy servant, stir my heart, work in my life, cleanse me, fill me whatever is necessary, but Lord, I want to be restored in my intimacy with you. The most important second to nothing in all of life is those moments when you and the Lord God together quietly listening to him, fellowshipping with him, sharing with him, listening to him, letting him cleanse your heart. What are you doing?

You are growing into this wonderful intimate relationship with him. There is no time, nothing in life more important than that, nothing whatsoever. Because listen, there is no place where the fuel is poured out more profusely on the flame of a man's heart than when he gets alone with God and opens his soul before God in absolute total honesty and absolute total openness and says, God, speak to the heart of thy servant. And I would say one other thing, and that is just return to your work, fully committed. I'm going to do exactly what God says do, no matter what, until God calls me home. It is a recommitment to the work. You see, you don't recommit yourself to the work because circumstances have changed.

You know what? Circumstances may never change. You know not to live by circumstances. That's why he said, do not look around you. Do not look around you at the circumstances in your life, but keep your focus upon God. Remembering, listen to this carefully, God didn't call you if, God didn't call you accept, God didn't call you maybe, he called you to walk obediently before him and to follow him. And he says, when you walk through the waters, they're not going to overflow you.

So I want to challenge you today and ask you this simple question. Would you say that the flame in your life is just as bright today as it was when God first called you to preach, and maybe it's brighter, I hope. Would you say that you're just as excited about getting in the Word of God and discovering something new about him this Sunday's you were when you first began the ministry? Would you say that you're more dependent upon him today than ever before, and that you can honestly say with all of your heart, full surrender, full dependence, full trust, and fully focused upon you? That's what God wants in our life, our flame will burn the brightest and it'll never flicker as long as we can say to him, Father, fully surrendered, fully dependent, fully trusting, and fully focused.

That flame will never flicker one single time. And Father, we love you and praise you for being so faithful to us, sustaining us, undergirding us, overshadowing us, loving us, and pouring your love into us, pouring your love through us. How would we praise you this morning? And how would we thank you for all of your servants, that your great and mightiest spirit will give fresh anointing, fresh fillings, and God that you would fan the flame of your servants and that you would stir within them, dear God, a new sense of vision, a new sense of purpose, a new sense of commitment, that upon their countenance it'll be evident, in their work it will be fruitful, in their spirit it will be glowing, glowing the presence of Almighty God.

But we ask it in Jesus' name and for His sake, amen. Thank you for listening to Rekindling the Flame of Our Ministry. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-06 04:23:40 / 2022-11-06 04:28:30 / 5

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