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A Call to God’s People
“Stir Up The Gifts”
2 Timothy 1:5-7
There’s a call God gives to His people signaling he’s about ready to move. The call is so they can be ready, so they can prepare their hearts and minds to fulfill the call.
God wants to begin a spiritual fire in the heart of His people and in the heart of His church. This goes as the way back to the first church and Jesus’ call for them to wait in Jerusalem until they were endued with the power of the Holy Spirit.
It was then through their obedience that the power of the Holy Spirit descended. The call was given, the people obeyed, and God moved.
The Scriptures are full of such calls by God in the restoration of His people, and it has been through these calls that God has been restoring and reviving the church throughout the centuries.
In our passionate pursuit of God’s presence, we need to prepare our hearts so God can breathe within us the Holy Spirit and bring revival in our time.
One of those calls is what the Apostle Paul gives to Timothy, a call to stir up the gifts God has given.
This call involves those inner promptings of the Holy Spirit to serve Him through either a change of direction or vocation, or using our God given gift within the ministry, like helping in our children’s or youth ministry. Maybe it’s being involved in the new youth center that’s starting?
And what the Lord is calling is for us to stir up and bring into flame His calling, His gifts and talents, so that we can be a part of His work and start making a difference.
Look at this call with me.
“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. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:5-7 NKJV)
To fully understand this calling we need to get a little background on Paul and Timothy.
Paul met Timothy on his first missionary trip as he went though the city of Lystra. His mother and grandmother were Jewish and Timothy grew up in the Jewish faith knowing the Scriptures. It was on this trip that Timothy most likely came into the faith along with his mother and grandmother.
When Paul returned on his second missionary journey he took Timothy with him. Along the way prophetic words were spoken over Timothy where Paul and other elders laid hands upon him ratifying and commissioning him for the work of the ministry.
Although we are never told exactly what this gift was that he was given, it was probably a gift related to ministry. It was probably setting Timothy apart in the office of pastor and teacher.
Paul talks about this in his first letter to Timothy.
“Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.” (1 Timothy 4:14 NKJV)
What are the gifts?
The word that is used, along with the general description given by the Paul in his letters to church in Corinth and Rome (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12), indicate they are a special endowment, an anointing upon a believer’s life by the Holy Spirit to equip them for service in the ministry God has called them to.
Now, these gifts are not for the selected few, like those who hold offices within the church, but rather they are given to every believer in Jesus Christ. Every believer has been given these gifts to fulfill God’s kingdom purposes through the local church.
The Holy Spirit has given every believer these supernatural resources to complete His plans and purposes, so that His kingdom will come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Paul describes this in his letter to the Corinthian church.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all … But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:7,11 NKJV)
So every believer in Jesus Christ has been given a gift, often times more than one, or what is known as a gift mix. Mine is the gift of faith, prophesy (forth telling God’s word), and administration, coupled with the ministry gifts of teaching and pastoring. The purpose is to use these within the local church and God’s ministry.
But on top of these gifts, the Holy Spirit also gives the others as well when needed, like for me He’ll give me the gift of wisdom, knowledge, and healing when I ask and when it is called for in the administration of my ministry. And He’ll do the same for you.
Paul’s call to Timothy is, therefore, a call God uses to bring restoration and revival at this time when it’s needed the most.
Let’s take a closer look at this calling.
“I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6 NKJV)
To understand what Paul is saying is to understand the verbiage “stir up the gift.” In the Greek language this is a continual action. In other words, these gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit needs to be faithfully developed and used in God’s kingdom plans and purposes, and not to languish in our own pursuits.
Jesus Himself taught this in His Parable of the Talents. This parable illustrates our duty to serve in what God has given, and then He rewards our faithfulness, or punishes us for not using what He has so graciously given. (Matthew 25:14-30)
In our passage it would seem that Timothy wasn’t effectively using or operating in His spiritual gifts. This is seen in what Paul tells Timothy in both of His letters.
In his first letter He tells Timothy not to neglect the gift he was given through the laying on of hands, and then again in this second letter he’s telling Timothy to rekindle or stir it back up.
What I find interesting is that in the Greek language “Stir up” literally means to kindle or fan into flame. It’s a call to stir up the smoldering embers of Gods’ gift and bring it back into an active flame.
There’s a story of a town of ducks. Every Sunday they would waddle to Mallard Avenue to the local church. After quacking the chorus of “Our God is an Awesome God,” the duck pastor said,
God’s call is for us to stop hearing the message and start doing something about it, to stir up and activate the flame of God’s gifts.
The question then becomes why did Paul have to continually remind Timothy not to neglect and to stir to flame these gifts? The answer is in verse seven.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)
It was fear that held Timothy back.
Timothy was frail and often times sick. Paul even told him to drink a little wine to help heal his stomach problems. Further, Timothy, while good intentioned, was hesitant, tentative, timid, and lacked confidence in his abilities.
And so Paul tells Timothy that God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, which means cowardice, timidity, and a lack of courage. It would seem that Timothy was fearful and would then hide from his God given responsibilities, if not, Paul probably wouldn’t have used such strong language.
But isn’t this the same with us? It’s the same sort of scenario that Jesus talked about.
“Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38 NKJV)
Many Christians allow public opinion to dictate biblical truth and belief. We tend to bow far too readily to society’s pressure to conform and be silent. This is the same spirit of fear Timothy possessed.
Missionary LeRoy Eims and his son were sitting in a restaurant in Turkey when they saw a huge muzzled bear come into view. When the bear’s owner started to beat a tambourine the bear would dance.
All of a sudden a small stray dog began to bark at the bear, but instead of smacking the dog silly, the bear cowered and tried to hide.
Eims noted that the bear was like most Christians, muzzled and de-clawed, unable to defend the faith they say they believe so passionately in.
Today many Christians possess this same spirit of fear and afraid to share this wonderful news of the gospel to this lost and dying world, something this world so desperately needs.
Paul tells us, however, that such fear is not natural to believers, that is, it hasn’t been give to us by God, which means that it’s been given to us by Satan.
What God gives us, however, is the spirit of power, love, and of self-discipline so that the gifts can be utilized to their fullest extent.
The Holy Spirit breathes power into our weakness.
Throughout history God has chosen to use nobodies, that is, the weak because their unusual dependence on Him displays His power and grace.
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” (2 Corinthians 1:27 NKJV)
Paul knew such power intimately when God refused to heal him saying that it was only when Paul was weak that God’s power could be manifested.
“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’” (2 Corinthians 12:9a NKJV)
This word “power” used by Paul to Timothy is the Greek word where we get our English word, “dynamite.”
What Paul is saying is that God gives His dynamic power through the working of the Holy Sprit in our lives. Power to heal the sick, cast out demons, and even raise the dead, and power to say to a tree or mountain “be removed,” and they would up and leave.
And when we have such a personal encounter with such power, where it’s more than merely words on a page, it will change our lives forever.
This was exactly what I experienced when several of us went to South Korea. While we were there a girl’s school in On Yang hosted us. It was cold and drizzling rain, and they were all going out to the field to put on a traditional dance. We saw the girls heading out with chairs over their heads to keep themselves dry. Clouds were from one horizon to the other and it looked like there was no relief in sight.
We all huddled together and prayed. As we headed out to the field we started to see God move in the type of power we had only heard of.
Right above the field the sun broke through and was shining brightly. People came from all around to see what was happening. As the girls put on their dance God literally split the clouds from one horizon to the others, and then the clouds rolled back in opposite directions. The principle told the students of our prayer and that day God got all the glory.
When we got back home we explained what happened to a pastor that used to work for the Federal government and charted weather patterns, sometimes even flying into hurricanes. He said that such an event was impossible under natural law.
And so God gives us Holy Spirit power to accomplish His call so that He will get the glory.
God gives us the spirit of love to replace and conquer fear.
The word for love in the Greek language is “agape,” or “Unconditional love.” It’s the same love Jesus had for us as he died for us even through we were His enemies.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44 NKJV)
This can only happen through the spirit of love that God gives, because in ourselves this is impossible.
God gives to us the spirit of self-discipline, or what some versions call, “a sound mind.”
What we see in this word is one of the most unique aspects of our faith, and that is our responsibility added to God’s sovereignty.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV)
Paul added his labor to God’s grace, even though it was God’s grace that inspired his labor.
This is what Paul said to Timothy that he had what it takes through the instruction he was given through his mother and grandmother, along with being trained and discipled by Paul, and the gift He had been given through the laying on of hands by the elders. And so Paul was telling Timothy that he was responsible to be self-disciplined enough to continue to stir that giftedness to flame.
Yes, the Holy Spirit is the giver of the gifts, but we’re responsible to use them for His glory.
I’ve brought today some gloves. By itself the glove can do nothing (illustrate). But when I put my hand in it can accomplish the task that it was designed for (illustrate).
Our lives are like this glove, and God is the hand that fills it allowing us to be used as He intended. Our job is to make room for the hand, to make room for God, so that every finger is filled.
How can we do this?
(Illustrate by blowing into the glove to open it up.)
We’ve got to let the Holy Spirit blow into our lives to open us up for God to use. Interesting how the Hebrew word for the Holy Sprit, “Ruach” means wind or breath, or more literally the breath of God.
Today ask the Holy Spirit to breathe into you so you can be everything God has created for you to be.
(Ask people to come forward for the laying on of hands for healing or to receive God’s gifts)
Wednesday Evening Bible Study