Faithlife Sermons

A Sound Mind

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Introduction

Do you know what today is?
The last Sunday of 2020. We are 4 days away from the new year.
I remember that as this year started there was a lot of talk about having a 2020 vision and dealing with seeing clearly in a spiritual sense.
None of us expected the year to turn out like it has.
Here we are after months of doubt and questions in regards to COVID 19 the novel corona virus.
We had an extremely contentious election this year.
We’ve had fires, natural disasters, and many have lost loved ones.
Jobs have disappeared. Businesses have closed. Schooling has been a rather interesting adventure for everyone. Maybe less an adventure and more of an untamed wilderness, but anyway.
This has not been an easy year.
In times like these, there is a temptation to respond with fear.
There is a temptation to doubt, despair, and hide.
Anxiety has skyrocketed. Mental health struggles have grown at an unprecedented rate.
As followers of Jesus Christ we are not exempt from the fear, despair, doubt, and mental health challenges that these difficult times bring.
These emotions and struggles are very real and they require very real solutions.
It may surprise you to learn that some of these same struggles were faced by a young pastor in the early church named Timothy.
Timothy was a companion of the apostle Paul who referred to him as his “son in the faith.” From passages in 1 and 2 Timothy it seems clear that Timothy struggled with timidity and with assertiveness. He doubted his own ability. He struggled with his health, and Paul felt the need to remind him repeatedly to stay the course and press on in the midst of difficult situations.
As we observed in our Scripture reading, Paul gives some advice to Timothy that we need to hear today.
The difficulties around us threaten our peace and joy.
We need the proper mindset to endure trials.
That proper mindset comes from having a sound mind.
From this passage we learn three requirements for a sound mind.
When we have a sound mind we can endure difficulty with our eyes on Jesus.
Requirement #1…

1. Examine Your Foundation vv. 3-5

This is where your sound mind is going to come from.
When you are building, you cannot have confidence in the building if the foundation is flawed.
CAL TRANS story of road and messing it up etc.
The end result of the flawed road foundation was that it had to be completely torn apart.
If we are to have sound minds, we must properly prepare for them.
A Sound Mind Requires A Firm Foundation.
As we think about examining our foundation we will look at two examples and then have a challenge.
Example #1…

a. Paul’s foundation vv. 3-4

2 Timothy 1:3–4 NKJV
3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy,
There are three elements here that Paul mentions.
These form his foundation.
Element 1.
A clear conscience.
How do we have a clear conscience?
Initially through salvation.
Then through confession.
Are we doing all we can to have a clear conscience?
Element 2.
A vibrant spiritual life.
How do we know Paul had a vibrant spiritual life?
Two things here.
Paul prays night and day.
He prays for Timothy continually.
Is this the kind of spiritual life we have?
Element 3.
Active service.
In verse 4 Paul states that he wants to see Timothy.
He knows about Timothy’s tears.
Paul will be filled with joy when he sees Timothy.
Paul is clearly invested in the lives of others.
Are we engaged in active service?
Considering our topic today, let me explain why this is important.
Trials and difficulties come - no clear conscience = doubt and questions. Wonder if this is correction.
Trials and difficulties come - no spiritual life = no truth to defend us from the lies of our enemy.
Trials and difficulties come - no active service = no outlet, no connection, no fellowship for our souls.
This is Paul’s foundation.
A growing walk with Christ is a firm foundation.
How to have a growing walk? Talk about that in just a moment.
That was example #1. Paul’s foundation.
Example #2…

b. Timothy’s foundation v. 5

2 Timothy 1:5 NKJV
5 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 am persuaded is in you also.
There are two elements to Timothy’s foundation listed by Paul here.
Element 1.
Genuine faith.
The faith exhibited by Timothy was not pretend.
History tells us that Timothy faced at least one imprisonment for the cause of Christ.
He was not fake.
His faith was the real deal.
Paul says he is persuaded that Timothy’s faith is genuine.
He had seen evidence of it!
The faith of Timothy stood the test of trials.
Do we have faith that endures trials?
Element 2.
Generational faith.
The faith Timothy displays had been first exhibited by his mother and grandmother.
Timothy had a generational faith.
Some of you may be thinking this is impossible for you.
Even if your family is unsaved you can have generational faith.
Find Spiritual parents. Paul was Timothy’s Spiritual father.
The idea of a generational faith is that you have men and women who are more spiritually mature speaking into your life!
What mature believers are speaking into our lives?
If our spirituality is fake, trials and hardships will destroy our faith.
One of the benefits of generational faith is that we have a sounding board.
We have people we can go to who will be honest with us, people who will call us out when we need it and who will comfort and support us!
This is Timothy’s foundation.
Faith is required for a firm foundation.
How do we have a strong faith? That’s where we are going.
That was example #2. Timothy’s foundation.
Now we come to the challenge…

C. Our foundation vv. 3-5

Let’s read these verses again.
2 Timothy 1:3–5 NKJV
3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 5 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 am persuaded is in you also.
Is our foundation like that of Paul and Timothy?
If not, what will we do about it?
If so, how will we improve?
Make a plan!
Paul didn’t get a pure conscience by accident.
His lifestyle of prayer didn’t just happen.
His care for others wasn’t an automatic result of salvation.
How do you have a growing walk?
Develop life of prayer, and get into the Word. Start serving.
Timothy’s genuine faith was evidenced by his endurance of trials.
That endurance was produced by hard work.
How do you get strong faith? - testing of your faith produces endurance.
Look at James 1:2-4.
James 1:2-4
James 1:2–4 NKJV
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
If you have a flawed foundation, fix it!
How? Get in the Word. Sit under good teaching. Bible studies and theology class.
We have opportunities here.
A firm foundation is built by hard work.
The presence of trials and difficulties demands that we have sound minds.
Sound minds require a firm foundation.
Examine your foundation.
Make adjustments as needed.
Three requirements for a sound mind.
#1. Examine your foundation.
Requirement #2…

2. Use Your Gifts v. 6

One of my favorite illustrations that I have heard over the years is about a man buying his first chain saw.
The story goes that he walks into a shop to have his hand saw sharpened.
The salesman convinces him that a chain saw will work so much better. So he buys it.
A week later he comes in and says he wants to return the chain saw.
He got so much more work done with his old saw.
The salesman is baffled. So he grabs the chain saw and says, “let’s see what’s wrong with it.”
He starts it up and the man grabs his ears and yells, “what’s that horrible sound!?”
The whole week he had been using it like a hand saw, he had never started the motor.
Possessing something does no good if we do not use it.
Having a firm foundation is vital.
However, it does us no good if we don’t build on it.
A Sound Mind Requires A Ministry Focus.
We must work and serve.
There are two lessons we learn from what Paul tells Timothy about his gift.
Lesson #1…

a. You have a gift v. 6

2 Timothy 1:6 NKJV
6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
Every single child of God has a spiritual gift.
Go with me to 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11.
1 Corinthians 12:7, 11
1 Corinthians 12:7 NKJV
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
1 Corinthians 12:11 NKJV
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
Every believer has a spiritual gift.
This means you have a spiritual gift, just like Timothy did.
Implication by Paul - Timothy knew what his gift was and knew how to use it.
Implication 2 - Paul knew what Timothy’s gift was and is holding him accountable to use it.
This connects back to generational faith.
Have people who know you and can hold you accountable.
Know your struggles, know your strengths.
Know gifts, encourage/challenge you to use them.
Side note: If not a believer, no gift. Need to trust Christ.
A gift must be identified to be used.
Do you know what your gift is?
Are you using it?
The best way to discover what your gift is and how to use it is through practice.
Lesson #1. You have a gift.
Lesson #2…

b. Gifts have purpose v. 6

2 Timothy 1:6 NKJV
6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
Stir up – ἀναζωπυρέω (anazōpyreō) rekindle. to revitalize ⇔ rekindle v. — to revitalize, conceived of as kindling a fire anew. Verb, present, active, complementary infinitive.
Stir up – ἀναζωπυρέω (anazōpyreō)
Stir it up. Re-kindle the flame.
Why? Because gifts are given to accomplish a purpose!
Go with me to Romans 12:4-8.
Romans 12:4-8
Romans 12:4–8 NKJV
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 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.
Our gifts were given to us so that we can use them in service to Christ!
What does this have to do with having a sound mind?
Have you heard the expression, “idle hands are the devil’s tool?”
One way this is true is in our anxiety.
What do I mean?
When we are busy serving, we are spending less time worrying.
If we do nothing, we are going to be overcome by fear, anxiety, and worry. Don’t spiral, don’t “what if,” get busy doing something.
Doing nothing is a guarantee that we will be ruled by fear.
That’s the contrast that Paul sets up in vv. 6-7.
He tells timothy to serve in v. 6 and reminds him of what God is doing in v. 7.
We need to be using our spiritual gifts
Sean - gift of Jon etc.
Added to our gifts are natural talents and abilities.
Playing instruments etc.
If you want a sound mind, start serving.
Those who are busy working for Christ don’t have time or energy to fear and worry.
Created to serve. When do so we are more fulfilled.
2 lessons on using our gifts.
1 - You have a gift.
2 - Gifts have purpose.
3 requirements for a sound mind.
1 - examine foundation
2 - Use gifts.
Requirement #3…

3. Know God’s Provision v. 7

Tools to get the job done.
Change tire. What tools? Iron, jack, maybe hub key, can opener, muffin tin, and an egg beater.
God gives each of us a job to do.
He then gives us everything we need to accomplish the task and nothing we don’t need.
That’s what this verse is talking about.
In these times of turmoil and strife a sound mind is vital.
How do we have a sound mind?
Take two steps.
Step #1…

a. Reject what God denies v. 7a

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
God has not given us a Spirit of fear.
Fear is what prevents us from using our gifts.
Examples: Fear of opinions of others. Fear of failure. etc.
For us to be effective servants of Christ, fear must be eliminated.
Eliminating fear.
1 John 4:18.
1 John 4:18
1 John 4:18 NKJV
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
Perfect love casts out fear!
If God has not given us a spirit of fear, anytime we live in fear we are not walking in the Spirit.
Walk through valley of shadow of death. Fear no evil b/c He is with us.
There is no reason to fear because God is with us.
btw that’s what Christmas is all about.
When we love the Lord, we serve Him.
When we serve Him, we have no reason for fear.
Looking around, seems like we have much to fear.
Politics. Disease. Natural disasters.
So much uncertainty.
Fear reveals a failure to love God as we ought.
Sounds harsh.
We have not been given a spirit of fear!
Perfect love casts out fear.
Fear is eliminated when we love God and trust in Him.
Flip around.
If we are living in fear, there is something wrong with our love and faith.
God has denied us a spirit of fear. We must reject fear.
Let perfect love drive it out.
That’s step 1.
To have a sound mind, reject what God denies.
Reject fear.
Step #2…

b. Embrace what God supplies v. 7b

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Not given this, given this.
Not fear.
Power, love, a sound mind.
These are already ours!
Define:
Power - δύναμις (dynamis) power. power n. — possession of controlling influence; often understood as manifesting influence over reality in a supernatural manner. Noun, qualitative genitive, singular, feminine.
Ability or force with direction.
Love - ἀγάπη (agapē) love. love (affection) n. — a strong positive emotion of regard and affection. Noun, qualitative genitive, singular, feminine.
Unconditional.
Sound Mind - σωφρονισμός (sōphronismos) self-discipline. making wise n. — the causing of someone to become wise. Noun, qualitative genitive, singular, masculine.
Self-discipline that leads to good judgment.
Power, love, and a sound mind are present possessions.
Physically speaking, when we face danger our adrenal glands go into action moving oxygen away from the brain and into our muscles so that we can fight or flee.
In order to think clearly in moments of stress health professionals advocate the taking of a deep breath.
This gets the blood and oxygen back to our brain so that we can think clearly.
Spiritually speaking we need a deep breath so that we can think clearly once again.
This is where a sound mind is important.
A sound mind gives us the ability to take that deep spiritual breath.
If I were to give you a list of things and ask you to organize them in order of importance, chances are we would all do so differently.
Right?
Mushrooms, bell peppers, avocado, and ice cream.
God has not given us the Spirit of fear. But of power, and love, and sound mind.
Which of these three seems the most important?
Some would say power. We need to be strong in a world that demands compromise.
Others would say love. We need to demonstrate the goodness of God that leads people to repentance.
Practically no one would say a sound mind. Yet without a sound mind, the power and love are useless.
Having the power to act but no direction for our actions means we will hurt people.
Illustrate.
Having the love to care but being indiscriminate in that caring will lead to the dependency of others.
Illustrate.
Having a sound mind gives direction to our strength and discernment to our compassion.
That is what a sound mind does.
Directing power
Discerning love
What are we doing with the tools God has given?
He has given us ability, unconditional love, and self-discipline.
We don’t have a spirit of fear.
God has not given us tools we don’t need.
He has given us power, love, and a sound mind.
To be valuable these tools must be used.
God has given everything necessary for success.
All that is required is that we use the tools he has provided.
Embrace the provision of God.

Conclusion

Life is crazy right now.
You and I are going to be tempted to live in fear and despair.
We are going to be tempted to doubt.
We need a sound mind to defend ourselves against these attacks.
Personal: Mind gets us into trouble. Sin. Fear. What if’s. etc. Take every thought captive.
Relationships: Up here is where the battle rages. We assume what people mean. We assign motives. Have conversations before accusations.
Parenting: This is where we struggle. In our minds. We have expectations. We think that if we follow a formula, things will work out. Pursue relationship not results. Results will come when relationship is there.
Marriage: How does our mind get us into trouble in our marriages? We dwell on the negative. The solution to this is a mind filled with Christ. When the Word of God fills our minds there is no room for the negative. Dwell on the positive and put your spouse first.
COMMITMENT: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
A sound mind requires a firm foundation.
Examine your foundation.
Develop a vibrant spiritual life of service.
A sound mind requires a ministry focus.
Use your gifts.
Talents, abilities, and gifts are given for the purposes of Christ.
A sound mind requires the use of proper tools.
Know God’s provision.
Reject fear, embrace power, love, and a sound mind.
As we come into a new year, may we have sound minds.
May our foundation be firm, our gifts be used, and may power, love, and a sound mind control our lives.
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