Fight The Fear #1: No Fear, Know Faith -2 Timothy 1Video Link
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Introduction:Tommy, Jesus and the Mop
5-year-old Tommy had just ran through the house hit the kitchen table, knocked over a glass of water and it spilled on the floor. His mother reminded him he shouldn’t be running tin the house and then told him to get the mop off the back porch and clean up the mess he just made. Isn’t that what all mothers would do? Make sure they clean up their own mess or they won’t stop making them. Anyway, that is just an aside and has nothing to do with this message. But still parents, make them clean up their own messes. Good lesson. Now back to the story.
Now little Tommy knew that the light on the back porch had burned out because he remembered that his mom kept telling his dad, that he needed to get out there and change that bulb. It wasn’t going to change itself. Now, whereas, the mother was right when she told Tommy to clean up his mess. Now, she is completely out of bounds. Remember ladies, when a man says he’ll fix something, he will and there is no need remind him every six months.
Now back to the story, Tommy was afraid of the dark, his mother knew this but understood he needed to deal with that and the spill on the floor. She’s a good mother, except for that change the bulb thing, but no one is perfect. So Tommy’s mother said, “Remember, Tommy. Jesus is everywhere. We don’t need to be afraid. Jesus will help us.”
Tommy smiled, walked confidently to the back door. Cracked it open just a little bit, stuck his mouth to the crack and called out, “Jesus! Jesus, if you’re out there could you please hand me the mop?”
Timothy, Paul and Fear
The Epistle of 2 Timothy was written by the apostle Paul around 67 AD. It is as far as we know the last letter Paul wrote. It was written in a very bad time for Christians in general and an even worse time for Paul in particular.
In 64 AD there was a terrible fire in Rome that destroyed almost half the city. Many died, there was mass homelessness and food shortages. Blame for the fire fell on the Emperor Nero, who was an elitist and many believed wanted to burn the city in order to build a new palace. Though Nero probably did not set the fire that burned the capital, when blame fell on him, he fanned another fire and began to burn Christians. Who were viewed with great suspicion throughout the Roman world.
The Roman historian Tacitus recorded this. “Wherefore in order to allay the rumor, he put forward as guilty [subdidit reos], and afflicted with the most exquisite punishments those who were hated for their abominations [flagitia] and called ‘Christians’ by the populace. Christus, from whom the name was derived, was punished by the procurator Pontius Pilatus in the reign of Tiberius. This noxious form of religion [exitiabilis superstitio], checked for a time, broke out again not only in Judaea its original home, but also throughout the city [Rome] where all abominations meet and find devotees. Therefore first of all those who confessed [i.e. to being Christians] were arrested, and then as a result of their information a large number [multitudo ingens] were implicated [reading coniuncti, not convicti], not so much on the charge of incendiarism as for hatred of the human race. They died by methods of mockery; some were covered with the skins of wild beasts and then torn by dogs, some were crucified, some were burned as torches to give light at night” (Tac. Ann. xv. 44).
Written from Prison . It was during this time that Paul was arrested and put in prison. We have no record in the Bible but tradition tells us that he was taken from prison shortly after writing this second epistle to Timothy and then beheaded for his faith in Jesus Christ. In this truly dangerous time, it is easy to see Paul’s purpose in writing to Timothy, and the reason for Timothy’s fear. Timothy is Paul’s son in the faith and Paul writes a very personal letter of assurance, encouragement and keeping perspective during a time of fear. It is why I have chosen this book to start our next series “Fight The Fear” because Paul’s letter doesn’t just speak to Timothy 2000 years ago, it speaks to us today and it will still speak to those who come after us.
Paul begins he letter with the Salutation: 2 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul goes on to then remind Timothy of three things that will help him to fight the fear when there was something very real to be frightened of. And whether its Christian persecution, or Covid 19 or the hatred of our community the same truths, the same remembrances are powerful antidotes to the fear that can and will stop us from serving Jesus Christ. Who stopped at nothing in his love for us.
Call to Remembrance – 1 Timothy 1:3-7
I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; 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. 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. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Paul tells his son in the faith, “I am praying for you.” Now he doesn’t just say, “I’m praying” instead he says “without ceasing I have remembrance of you in my prayers, night and day.” Then he goes on and tells Timothy that those prayers are really an action of his love for Timothy.
“Greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears.” Very probably those tears were for Paul, Timothy’s mentor, his pastor, his leader, his friend and his father in the faith. Timothy’s heart was broken because he had seen other Christians tortured, mocked, crucified, coated with tar and burned like torches. Timothy knew what awaited Paul. And not just Paul but any who believed. Timothy was a pastor a missionary and he had brothers and sisters throughout the Roman empire and they were all in danger of terrible death. No wonder Paul could easily remember Timothy’s tears.
When Paul told Timothy these things, what he was also plainly saying without stating it was, “Timothy, my son remember I love you.”
Paul goes on and next tells Timothy,
Remember The Foundation of Faith vs. 5
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.
Paul reminds Timothy of what his life was built upon, an unfeigned, real, true faith. A faith that came from the deep roots of his family and heritage. And Paul tells Timothy, I am fully convinced, it is in you also.
Timothy, remember the foundation of faith you stand upon. Paul goes on and says its not just the past that gives you the courage you need, it is also what God has given you right now in the present. He tells Timothy…
2 Timothy 1:6-7 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. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
This gift was given by the laying on of Paul’s hands when Timothy was ordained. It may have been a sign gift because those were still in operation during Paul’s early ministry, it may have been the gift of authority, the gift of leadership conferred from Paul to Timothy. Not a gift of apostolic succession for the Bible teaches no such thing. If it did it would certainly teach it here as Paul was awaiting execution. Not the laying on of hands in the Old Testament, the New Testament and even today is a public show of God’s authority for leadership passed from one generation of God’s leaders to the next generation. Timothy had been given that gift and it was important he remembered.
Paul says this gift that needed to be stirred up. The word means that the embers needed to be fanned back into a burning flame. The gift was still there but it was not working the way it should be in Timothy’s life.
And it needed to be working for Paul reminds Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear. The word here is δειλία (deilia). It is only used once in the Bible and it means fear, timidity, fearfulness, even cowardice.
It could be that Timothy had a personal characteristic of fear. Growing up in a Roman / Greek world with Greek father and a Jewish mother would very likely make him the object of bullying and being an outcast. Easy to be fearful when you’re all alone. It could also be that Timothy was afraid not so much for himself but for Paul and for so many other brother and sisters in Christ, that were under threat, arrest or like Paul awaiting death. Wherever it come from that spirit, that emotion, that curse of fear was not from God.
Now Paul gives Timothy a Trinity of Triumph for Fighting Fear. Power, Love and a Sound Mind.
Paul says, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, the Greek word is dunamis, we get our English words, dynamic, and dynamite from this word. It means an active empowering force. It is what drives us onward as Christians.
The next part of the trinity of triumph. Timothy, God does not give a spirit of timidity, but of love. This is the word agape, which is self-giving, self-sacrificing love. The love the took Jesus to the cross to die for us and put Paul in a prison to die for Jesus is the awaiting death, is the same love you need to remember to overcome fearfulness. Remember it, depend on it because nothing can intimidate this gift of love.
Finally, Timothy, God has not given us a spirit of cowardice but the spirit of a sound mind, a mind that is disciplined not diverted, self-controlled not fear controlled because our mind, our self, has been placed under Holy Spirit’s control.
What Paul reminded Timothy of from a prison cell, I am reminding you of from a pulpit. It is not nearly as dark for us as it was for them, but fear can still bind us and put us in our own prison of timidity, cowardice and stagnation instead of serving God. So remember these things…
Fight The Fear By Remembering
Remember You Are Loved
Loved by God who gave His Son. Loved by Jesus who gave his life. Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
You are loved by the family of God, brothers and sisters in Christ, your church family.
Praying Is Loving - And they show their love by caring and praying for you. When we hear someone from the family God say, “I’m praying for you.” What we should also hear is, “I love you my friend, my brother, my sister in the Lord. I love you.” Remember and you won’t be as afraid.
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
1 Thessalonians 3:10 Night and day praying exceedingly that
we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
Also Remember, What You Believe and Who You Are
There is a great assurance, a great foundation of courage that comes from knowing the true faith and standing on its unshakeable foundation. Don’t play at Christianity, this is not a sideline, not a game. If you are saved then this is who you are a child of God, a servant of Christ, a member of the Body of Christ. You need to know what that means to you and what it meant to all those who have gone before you.
C. S. Lewis once said, “We must not fall below the standard our fathers set for us, and because we are their sons there is good hope we shall not.”
There is confidence and courage and a duty that overcomes fear if we remember our heritage. We are who we are because of those who has have gone on before us. Faithful men and women who walked the same path we are now on and we owe them and those who will walk this path after us. We have a rich, deep and glorious heritage of family, church and truth. I will not shrink from those things. I am not ashamed of being a committed Child of God, having a rich Christian heritage or being a member of a Bible believing Baptist church. To be ashamed of those things is to be lose the very things we need to remember, in order to fight against the fear.
If you remember, then you will overcome, time and time again, and it will be true for you as Paul said in Ephesians 6, “Having done all to stand.”
Finally, Remember the Gifts of God.
God has given us gifts as His children, powerful, supernatural, fear-defeating gifts. We have the dynamite of God’s word; We have the desire of God’s love and we have the determination of the Holy Spirit’s control. We are equipped, so never regard the fear, never retreat and never refuse to enter the battle.
Quotes: From those who Fought The Fear
I am in earnest, I will not retreat a single step and I will be heard. – William Lloyd Garrison’s epitaph.
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I should do and with the help of God, I will do. – Everett Hale
I charge you, my people fix your feet on the solid rock, your hearts on Calvary and your eyes on the throne of the Lamb – John Jasper , 1812-1901
Conclusion: I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed
During a time of persecution and martyrdom in Africa many years ago, Christians, their families and especially their pastors were arrested, tortured and then killed. Just as Jesus told us, “they will hate you for they have hated me.” Christians are and have always been the most persecuted people on earth. That will not change, it is and will grow worse. At such a bad time in Africa after several pastors were led out to a stadium and publically executed, this writing was found nailed to the wall of one of the cells where they had been held the night before. It has no author that I know of and so it speaks as though in the voice of every child of God who choose to Fight the Fear.
"I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of His. I won't look back, letup, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I'm finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won't give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up,
stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a
disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all
know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no
problem recognizing me - my banner will be clear(ly seen)!" - by an
Anonymous African Pastor- nailed to his wall after his execution.