Faithlife Sermons

Gifted

2 Timothy: Saved and Called  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We have been given gifts for use.

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Introduction: John Stuart Mill

“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”, lecture in 1867
Nothing could have been more true over the coming decades.
desperate conditions would allow for the rise of more and more radical and reactionary leaders
the conflagration of the late 19th and early 20th century would claim millions
Les Miserables, 1862 - what would Valjean do?
In the face of difficulty, an untried faith will fall away; Paul saw it firsthand, and the verses we read today were Paul’s admonition to Timothy borne of that experience.
The advice? You have been given a gift. Use it.

Equivanlence

Paul’s advice is deeply intertwined with his comments about Timothy’s faith
Comments on his heritage to show that Timothy is no second-class citizen in the Kingdom of God
When Paul says “for this reason”, the reason is Timothy’s faith (there’s an almost iron-clad grammatical reason for this in Greek)
Paul’s reminder is based on Timothy’s faith, meaning that the gift is a gift based on faith
Easy to look and think that it’s Timothy’s ministry (this passage is for pastors)
Yet the gift is from faith, meaning that this verse can help us understand that we have been given gifts
Let me rephrase: if you have faith in Jesus Christ as your savior, you have been given gifts from God.
Do I believe that I have been given gifts from God to be used for his service?
God has given each believer gifts to exercise for the benefit of the church, which means for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Each part, each gift is given to supplement and strengthen, to advance and promote. One of the ways that the church is disarmed and defeated by the enemy is through the insidious notion that only certain people have gifts.
God has given each believer gifts to exercise for the benefit of the church, which means for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Each part, each gift is given to supplement and strengthen, to advance and promote. One of the ways that the church is disarmed and defeated by the enemy is through the insidious notion that only certain people have gifts.
It’s in comments like “I don’t know what I have to offer.” or “I can’t do that.” or “Who am I?” ()
Not sure? Bring that out in conversation. What are my gifts? How do you think that God wants to use me?

Active or Ambivalent?

The qualities of the Spirit push Timothy to serve and minister, not to withdraw
Paul points out a fact to Timothy: God’s spirit is power, love, and prudence; not timidity
Note what the opposite of timidity is: not reckless abandon, but power combined with love (as embodied by Jesus Christ) and prudence (or self-discipline)
Timidity is a lack of discipline or prudence; untrained troops break rank; trained, battle-hardened troops hold together
The temptation in difficult times is to shrink based on our own power
I’ve had this question a lot lately, pretty much everywhere I go. I was at a public event watching my kids play, and someone who knows of me asked, “Pastor, what is going to become of these churches?” That is just one of the many different occasions and ways that the same question has been asked of me. When we look at 2 Timothy, Paul gives a clear indication of what becomes of the churches. If the people of God never fan into flame the gifts that they have been given at their baptism--if you never fan into flame the gifts that you have been given at your baptism--then the church dies, a slow, quiet, whimpering death. Does that sound like the working of the Holy Spirit? Does that sound like the sound of thunder, of tongues of fire, of a spirit of power? No.
When we look at the early church in , they weren’t waiting around because of timidity. Take a look at ; Jesus specifically tells them to wait for the gift that his father promised. They are instructed to wait for a couple of days. By Jesus. That’s a good authority to tell the church to wait in one spot. But in their waiting, look at what they did: “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” () They devoted themselves to prayer. They used their time to devote themselves more to God. They used it wisely and devotedly. There was no timidity in this group, no pride, no lack of discipline. If you tell a child to wait on the sidelines, they stand, maybe they mess around, maybe the watch the game. You tell a professional athlete to wait on the sidelines, and they’re on the bike staying loose, they’re watching video, analyzing the plays, they’re watching the game looking for clues or slight advantages to help their team. They’re disciplined. They’re prudent.
The church (US!) is called to exercise power in humility, not to exercise timidity under the guise of humility
We have ways of deceiving ourselves (no surprise there) into thinking we’re doing the right thing when really we’re avoiding the right thing to do (Jonah)
We tell ourselves that people will make up their own mind
We tell ourselves that people don’t want to talk religion
We tell ourselves faith is private
We do this to avoid discomfort on our part, which is timidity, yet we are called to exercise power in humility, having these conversations
How did you learn to ride a bike?
I learned on a rusty two-wheeler and a gravel driveway. It hurt.
Once you believe you have a gift (which you do!), then you are called to use it
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