Fanning The Flame 10-24-04
FANNING THE FLAME
2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. 6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
INTRODUCTION: Today I am embarking on a journey for the purpose of invoking and infusing us with a reminder of things that we all already possess, but in too many cases are lying dormant and unproductive. I believe that most of the people of God would do more if they didn’t think that they needed more to get the job done. If God’s people would only use the gifts and skills they posses to the glory of God, many would realize that God would give them more responsibility and greater opportunities. But the problem lies in the fact that our greatest potential can not be realized until we launch out into the depth of usefulness with what we have.
All of us who are born again believers know that we are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. We understand that this new birth was not by the will of man, but by the Spirit of God. With this new birth came gifts and callings. With these gifts and callings came also a responsibility to respond to the call of the Holy Spirit to share our gifts with others.
Romans 12:6 (NKJV) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
In verse 11, we find the word “fervent.” Fervent literally means “to boil,” “to be hot.” What Paul is talking about in this text is a living fervor, fiery hot, full of burning zeal. It is the opposite of dignified, cold, and unemotional. In a Christian context it signifies a high spiritual temperature, inflamed by the Holy Spirit.
In 1 Timothy 4:14 Paul says to Timothy, “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” But in 2 Timothy 1:6, Paul tells his son in the ministry to “stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”
In one sense we are not to neglect our gift, in another we need to stir it up. So let me deal with neglect first and then we will examine how we may stir up the gift. Because my friends, if we neglect our gift, then we might not have much to stir up.
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
Hebrews 2:1 (Amplified) SINCE ALL this is true, we ought to pay much closer attention than ever to the truths that we have heard, lest in any way we drift past [them] and slip away. 2 For if the message given through angels [the Law spoken by them to Moses] was authentic and proved sure, and every violation and disobedience received an appropriate (just and adequate) penalty, 3 How shall we escape [appropriate retribution] if we neglect and refuse to pay attention to such a great salvation [as is now offered to us, letting it drift past us forever]? For it was declared at first by the Lord [Himself], and it was confirmed to us and proved to be real and genuine by those who personally heard [Him speak]. 4 [Besides this evidence] it was also established and plainly endorsed by God, Who showed His approval of it by signs and wonders and various miraculous manifestations of [His] power and by imparting the gifts of the Holy Spirit [to the believers] according to His own will.
When the word “Neglect” is used in this passage, it means to be careless of, make light of, to overlook.
What happens when anything is neglected? If you neglect the maintenance on your car, you won’t have it very long. If you don’t maintain your house, your marriage or anything else, you will find that it will brake down or come to ruin. So we have this notion that just by us coming to church, that will maintain our Spiritual Gifts. No, your gift must be exercised or else it will not work. That is why people never grow in the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ or appreciate their greatest potential in the Kingdom of God because their gift has become a “slip of the mind.”
You see the Church can not continue to let this just “slip our mind.” God holds us responsible for what we have been given.
Matt 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents , to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents . 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents , saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents : behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
1 Cor 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
1 Cor 12:7 (Amplified) But to each one is given the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit.
What God expects is that the whole body should gain from the individual gifts in the body of Christ. Singing in the Choir is not a gift, it is worship. Ushering is a service to others and so is being a Deacon. But every one is required by God to know their gift and use their gift in the body.
Those of you who have not neglected your gift must now “Stir it up.” How do you stir up the gift that is within you? You must rekindle the fire of the Holy Spirit within you.
1 Thess 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.
We must stop pouring cold water on the flames that are burning inside of us. You see Jesus came to baptize us with fire.
Matt 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.
There are some things that are cooked in a pot that requires continuous stirring, or it will stick to the bottom of the pot. The material is in the pot with the rest of the contents and it is still apart…it’s just stuck. When it is stirred up again, it becomes once more a part of the whole.
So Paul says to Timothy, I know you have a sincere faith, but now I want you to “Stir up the Gift of God.” You see there is this place called “mediocrity,” which one can find themselves in if you don’t fan the flame that is within you.
God never called you to be ordinary or just so-so. He has called you to be more than you could ever imagine. From the beginning of time God had a plan for your life. So don’t be put off by what has happened in your life. God will take that stuff and turn your hurt and disappointments in victory and joy.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called , them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Romans 8:28 (Amplified) We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. 30 And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being].