FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
17TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
SUNDAY OCTOBER 6TH 2019
TEXTS: 2 TIMOTHY 1: 1 – 14
THEME: ENCORAGEMENT TO WITNESS.
Paul is writing to Timothy who had become part of the team but was much younger in age and faith. Paul always regarded Timothy as his own child. Paul is honesty trying to let Timothy know what is really meant to obedience to God teachings. Timothy’s faith had developed from when he was young because his mother and grandmother were God fearing and they had done a good work to bring Timothy to this faith. Paul had also continued to mentor the young Timothy. He had even laid his hand on him as a way of trying to empower him to do God’s work. Paul is reminded us all today as people of faith to remember these truths:
- Don’t be timid: For we know the one who has called us is powerful as will journey with us all the way. God is powerful enough to protect us
- Never be ashamed of faith: Hold on to the sound teaching with faith and love from God
- God’s grace is sufficient
- We are messengers: when the going get difficult we have to remind ourselves that his grace is forever sufficient.
In our reading Paul writes to his son in faith Timothy. It is one of those encouragement letters of Paul to the people of faith. There are three people that we see playing a big role in the life of young Timothy. It was his grandmother Lois, his mother, Eunice and his friend Paul. Let us stop for a moment and think about these three people and the influence they had on the mind of this young man.
- Grandma Lois: I would like to start by asking how many of us here are grandparent? (Pause). Now how many believe they have any influence in the life of the grandchildren? Having granddaughters myself I pray everyday to be of a positive influence to her (Malaika, Marissa & Makayla) as they grows up. Many times, grandparent advice is better received than that from the parents. Grandparents play such an important development portion to their grandchildren. We may not realize that but those here who had close ties with their grandparents can give testimonies to the effect.
- Mother Eunice: Mothers’ more often than Dads seem to have such a big influence to their children. The only one challenge is that many children will not want to show that they are being influenced by their mothers especially in their teenage years. But wait until they grow up and they will start doing things that they never thought they cared much about. Especially girls may grow up and have the same hair cut that their mother had even though they hated it when they were teenagers. But the truth is that mothers have such an influence the only question is if they are able to put on the right ingredient in it. There is a story told of a mother who had invited guest for dinner one time, and before they could start eating, they needed to say a prayer because it was a Christian home. The guests asked the host’s four years old child if she can say grace for the food. The little girl was not ready for she insisted that she does not know how to say grace. Then guests encouraged the little girl to say what her mother usually says when they have company. After thinking for a moment, she agreed to say the grace. This what she said, “Why on hell did I invite these people for dinner.”
- A good friend (Paul to Timothy). Many in this house can say they have good friend who may not be related by blood. People who have come across your life in one way or the other. It could be that you work(ed) together, could be a neighbor, could be you belong to the same club, or went to school together and the listing can continue. The point here is that there are those people who you seem to connect in a special way. Some have also developed close friendship because of their faith journey together with a friend. So, the challenge we have is what kind of influence do we pass on to our friends? I remember a young man we went to high school together and was so nice the time I had known him after some years I came across him and in the cause of updating each other I could hear nothing other than complains of how life has not been nice. I was surprised to experience him that way and knowing he had a nice job and good family. I later learnt his good friend who I also knew was that kind of person who was always negative. He had influenced my old friend to thinking and feeling like him. This kind of answered why my friend had changed so much. Our love for Jesus should be infectious to those who come in contact with us. What kind of influence do you have to friend(s)? Is it positive or negative? It is not late to put on a positive influence to those around your life. Which wolf do you feed? Good or bad?Our theme today is to try and encourage you to be a witness of our Lord Jesus Christ. The question we need to be asking is how can we truly be witness of our Lord Jesus as Paul did to Timothy? It is important also to remember that being a Christian is an honor, privilege, and calls for responsibility. Honor because it is God who chose us, we did not choose ourselves. Therefore, we got invited in the Lords team which is the best honor we can have worthy cherishing. Privilege, because we become not only teammates with Jesus but we are sons and daughters of the Most High King, heirs to his Kingdom. Responsibility: We are called to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Being a Christian is an everyday responsibility of being witnessing of our savior Jesus Christ.
- In trying to be of encouragement as well as making of disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world we need to examine the following options:
- Keep alive our gifts that God gave: God has given you special talents but this morning I would like to mention only four of them. Courage: this helps to face any form of threat that come to your way. Remember the words of young David while he was facing Goliath. “you come to me with sword, spear and Javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, God of the Israelites armies, which you defied (1 Samuel 17:45).” Power: This is the power to cope with backbreaking tasks. To stand firm when we are challenged and power to retain our faith when confronted by soul-destroying sorrows and wondering disappointments. Love: Loving others is one of the big gifts that God has given us. Love is the greatest joy that every Christian ought to experience. Self-discipline: this calls us to know our boundaries. We need to be predictable with those around us. Our children learn from us not only through what we speak but how we live each day. Our life becomes a living example of those around us. we can never fool our family for they see through us especially our children. When Mom and Dad have problem, children notice even though they may not speak.
- Not to be ashamed of being Christian: People have to be proud of being Christians. You have seen vehicle bumper stickers saying, “I am proud to be an American” I keep looking everyday to see a bumper sticker reading, “I am proud to me a Methodist” or I am proud to be Christian, etc. We shy off when it comes to our faith. Paul was reminding Timothy not to fall in that trap of not witnessing to his faith that he learnt from grandma, mom and Paul himself. The more challenging truth is what the word of God says, “For whoever ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him/her the Son of Man also will be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the Holy Angels. (Mark 8:38).
- Hold firm the truth of God word: The word of God is the only thing that we can hold on in this world for everything else will pass away but the word of God will live forever. Let us hold on to that which lives beyond our lives. It is this word of God that acts like a solid rock for other grounds are sinking sand. Holding on to Christ until we receive our crown of victory. Holing on the truth of Christ for that what will set us free. See us through difficult times. It is this truth of Christ that will free us from the bondage of the devil.
A story is told among the Cherokee culture of two wolves that live in each of us. These two wolves (evil one and good one) are always in constant fight as the grandfather told the grand child. The grandchild ask grandpa, which wins this battle? The grandpa replies, “the one you feed.” Inside us there is the wolf of fear vs the wolf of courage, the wolf of hate vs the wolf of love. The evil wolf feeds on: anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regrets, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, ego…….. This wolf tells us we can’t do a good job, everybody around us is evil, we can never achieve our dreams they are impossible dreams. Because fear some people have never expressed their love to the people they care about.
While on the other side the good wolf feed on: joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, faith, compassion………… The good wolf wants to create great things in the world and sees good in the world. It thinks in a positive way. Thinks of achievements not failures. It tells that there is goodness in each of us