Fan the Flame – Feeding the Flame – 2 Timothy 1:1-7
Fan the Flame 2 Timothy 1.1-7
Feeding the Flame
1) We need a faith that is based on the work of Christ.
2) In response to this faith God forgives sin and fills with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1.13-14
3) We are responsible to fan the flame of God’s gift.
4) Beware of competitors, Ephesians 4.30. Beware of neglect, 1 Thessalonians 5.19.
Submitting to the Holy Spirit
Putting a log in the fire is a misleading illustration. We cannot improve on the life and power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot add to the Holy Spirit Who is God.
We fan the flame by submitting to the Holy Spirit, by allowing Him to rule and control our lives.
How We Use Our Body
Our body is now free from its past service to sin. We are to use our body as a tool of service to God. Romans 6.13; 12.1
The flesh resists the bodies service to God and wants to serve sin.
We can help the body serve God through discipline, exercise, proper sleep and eating, and appetite control.
What we Feed Our Minds
We once thought after the world but should now think the thoughts of God. Romans 12.2
Reading and trying to understand God’s Word
Other Helps to Feed the Flame
Prayer, worship, service, witnessing
How are you using your body and what are you feeding your mind? Is the Holy Spirit having His influence over you? Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12.30
Fanning the Flame (3) 2 Timothy 1.1-7
Feeding the Flame
-Let me review what we have covered so far as we have thought about these verses over the last two weeks. 1) We all must have the true faith. We all must make sure that we are in the Christian life before we try to live it. The true faith according to the Bible trusts in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only way to receive God’s forgiveness and a righteous standing before God. Make sure you have this true faith. 2) In response to this genuine faith, God puts the Holy Spirit into us which is called here the flame of the gift of God. 3) Our responsibility is to keep on fanning this flame so we will continue to walk with God and serve others in God’s love and power. 4) What hinders the flame is when we allow competitors in. Each one of us has competitors particular to us which we must guard against. These competitors can be sin or preoccupation with other things. In Ephesians 4.30 Paul said, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit”. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we allow competitors to take priority over the Holy Spirit.
We also hinder the fanning of the flame when we neglect to feed the flame of God. In 1 Thessalonians 5.19 Paul writes, “Do not quench the Spirit”. The NIV translation says, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.”
-This morning I want to look at some of those things that feed the flame of God within us, those things that God has given us to keep fanning that flame.
-One of the illustrations I have given you of fanning the flame could be misleading. I have put in your mind a picture of putting a log on a flame to feed it. That picture does not do justice to the Holy Spirit that God has placed within us. We cannot improve in any way on the life and power of the Holy Spirit that is within us. The Holy Spirit that is within us is God and He is perfect and He cannot be improved upon by anything we do. We cannot add anything to the flame of the gift of God within us.
-When you think of fanning the flame of God that is within you, I want you to think in terms of your submission to the Holy Spirit within you. I want you to think of feeding the flame as allowing the Holy Spirit to have complete rule or influence over your life. Fanning the flame is really allowing the Holy Spirit to consume you. A strong burning flame describes a life that is under the control of the Holy Spirit of God that is within. That is what the Christian life is, a life that is under the control and influence of the Holy Spirit. To feed the flame of God that is within us then is to do those things that will most fully allow us to completely submit to the Spirit of God that is within us.
-What are some of the things that help us to completely submit to the Holy Spirit of God that is within us? I like to think of submitting to the Holy Spirit in two large areas. The two things that decide how fully we allow the Holy Spirit to control us is how we use our body and what we put into our minds.
–Romans 6 teaches us that as believers in union with the death of Christ we are free from the power of sin that once controlled us and we are no longer required to serve sin. Before Christ set us free from sin our body was used as a tool to satisfy our sinful desires. Now that we belong to Christ our body is to be used as a tool to serve God. We are to use the members of our body as tools of righteousness to God (v13).
-When you determine that you will use your body to bring Glory to God, to obey God, to become a holy person, you allow the Holy Spirit to work with power in you. In other words when you decide that your body belongs to God and that you are going to serve God with your body, the flame of the Holy Spirit within you will not be restricted and you will shine forth showing Jesus in you and touch the lives of others around you.
-Are your hands, your eyes, your lips, your ears, your feet, fanning the flame of God that is within you by serving God’s purpose and God’s plan? Or are your hands and eyes and ears and feet serving your own desires and your own plans and preventing the flame of the gift of God within you from directing your life? How you use your body determines how fully the Holy Spirit controls your life. Paul’s plea to all Christians is found in Romans 12.1, “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”
-When you determine to offer your body in holy service to God you will meet with resistance from the body itself. God has decided to leave in the body of the believer a bent toward sin which the Bible calls the flesh. The flesh seeks to pull the body away from God and toward sin. The flesh seeks to fulfill the desires of the body without considering God. The believer is to say no to the pull of the flesh in the body. When the believer chooses to offer his body to God for God’s use, the believer also allows the Spirit to work with power in him to overcome the flesh, so that the determination to serve God with our body can be accomplished by the power of God.
-We can help our body to serve God through exercise and proper sleeping and eating, through maintaining disciplined habits, through self denial, and controlling our appetites and even fasting.
-A second thing that determines how fully we allow the Holy Spirit to control us is what we put into our minds. As sinners we did not think God’s way but according to the way of the anti-God world around us. As sinners we thought in terms of anger, revenge, greed, satisfaction of our desires, pride, getting rich, entertaining ourselves, keeping up with the fashions and novelties around us, reputation, sex, gossip. Our thinking was very self focused and self directed because we were in sin and did not know God.
-As believers we are called to think God’s way about everything in life. We are called to adopt God’s view of creation as opposed to evolution. We are called to think in terms of sacrifice, purity, forgiveness, serving, giving, humility, conformity to Jesus, eternal hope, righteousness, joy, peace, love, walking in the Spirit. We are called to a worldview that explains life from God’s perspective – our origin, presents circumstances, and future hope. We are called to think about the cross and what God did in the death of Jesus Christ and to apply all of these truths to ourself. We are called to God’s promises and to become through these promises partakers of the divine nature.
–Romans 12.2 continues Paul’s plea to all Christians, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
-We find the same challenge to Biblical thinking in Colossians 3.1-2, “If then you have been raised up with Christ keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
-Our mind is transformed as we read and seek to understand the meaning of God’s Word. I plead with you this morning to read God’s Word each day and try to understand what God is saying to you through His Word. This will take time and effort but it will allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. You will see the flame of the gift of God in you grow and be evident to all.
-Our mind is also transformed as we listen to sermons, meditate on Bible passages, read commentaries and books on Christian teaching, and read biographies. Renew your mind on God’s thoughts.
-How we use our body and what we put into our mind is vital to allowing the Holy Spirit to control us and to work in us and through us. The enemy of the body is the flesh, and the enemy of the mind is the world, and our personal enemy is the Devil who uses both the flesh and the world to put out the flame of the gift of God that is within us by the work of God, in the new birth, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.
-Along with giving our bodies to God and renewing our minds with God’s thoughts there are other things we can do to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us, to fan the flame of the gift of God within us.
-We can pray regularly and spend time in the presence of God and draw near to God. I have found this discipline most helpful to me over the years.
-Yet another thing we can do is worship with God’s people on a regular basis. This increases our desire to submit to God in body and equips our minds.
-We need to get involved in Christian service, serving others in God’s name.
–Witnessing regularly breaks our pride and gets us out of our comfort zones and is good for allowing the Holy Spirit to be in charge.
-God has given us all that we need to fan the flame of the gift of God that is within us.
-The point I want to make this morning is that feeding the flame of the Holy Spirit within us is about allowing the Holy Spirit to have His influence over us. We fan the flame of God within us when we give our body to God and renew our mind with God’s thoughts. The Devil seeks to prevent us from given our body to God by the flesh and seeks to prevent us from renewing our mind by the influence of the world. The flesh and the world introduce competitors and neglect which dampen the flame of the Spirit within us. We must choose to say no to the competitors of the flesh and the world and actively give our body and mind to God in submission to the Holy Spirit of God within us.
-One day during the ministry of Jesus an expert in the Law of Moses tested Jesus with this question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12.30) God calls us as His people to give ourselves body and soul and mind to Him. When we give ourselves completely to God we fan the flame of the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, within us.