Sunday, May 19, 2013

Unfeigned Faith

Temple Baptist Church - 5-19-2013
2 Timothy 1:1-5
A. I often say that the Apostle Paul was no doubt one of the greatest Christians of all time. His conversion led to immediate desire to do the will of God as he answered, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
1. We live in days of shallow “conversion.” People everywhere (especially in the Bible Belt) that hear the scripture, make a profession of faith in Christ, and continue along their merry way with no change of desires.
2. We live in days of Laodicean Christianity where sanctification has become a dirty word, soul winning is almost nil, and faithfulness to the church and things of God are waning.
3. We live in days of shallow pulpits that pick and choose their subject matter and both condone and promote worldliness within the church and lives of God’s people.
B. When the Lord asked about the lack of faith to be found when He returns for His Church, He perfectly described America in our day. I believe the faith which is so evidently missing is the faith mentioned in our text: unfeigned faith!
C. Unfeigned means sincere and without hypocrisy.
1. The Book of James gives the biblical description of such faith when James said, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
2. Paul also dealt with the error of salvation being a “non-producer” of works in the Book of Ephesians when he said, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
D. Young Timothy got “a real dose of the right salvation” as a young man and that salvation motivated and circumscribed his desires, involvement in God’s work, and lifestyle. I want to notice several things in these verses concerning unfeigned faith.
1. Unfeigned Faith’s Endearment – “my dearly beloved son”
a. Here, we find the Apostle Paul’s love and appreciation for a young man (whom he called in another epistle “my son in the faith”) who not only followed the faith of his family but also the faith of the great apostle and God’s Word. It was with “joy through tearfulness” that Paul remember this young man who followed in his footsteps and would one day carry the banner of Christ when Paul’s lips lay silent in the grave.
b. I thank God for the men of God that I have been privileged to know over the past 37 years that have helped to shape my spiritual thinking. Yes, flawed men, but men who followed the faith of this bible I hold in my hand. These were men of God who chose the good way of the old paths trod by their forefathers who, by the way, paid a terrible price of their faithfulness to the bible.
2. Unfeigned Faith’s Endowment – “grace, mercy, peace”
a. Here we find the promise of grace to endure, mercy in fault and failure, and the peace of God that passeth understanding in light of standing for the faith once delivered in a plain way. God stood with Paul through it all (“notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me”).
b. We have the same promise in our day as we are defamed and ridiculed for just being old fashioned Baptists like our forefathers. “I’d STILL rather be an old time Christian than anything I know.”
3. Unfeigned Faith’s Evidence – “whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience”
a. Unfeigned faith was evidenced in both Paul and Timothy. People may or may not have agreed with them and may not have even like them, but could not deny what they saw in them.
b. Who we are and what we stand for should be evidenced in allowing our “good works” to so shine before Laurens County that they may glorified our heavenly Father. We are neither “in your faith” nor are we “judgmental;” we just try to follow the faith of the bible.
4. Unfeigned Faith’s Encouragement – “greatly desiring to see thee … filled with joy”
a. Paul’s faith was found by Timothy to be one worth following. I am sure that he loved the Apostle Paul with his whole heart and found joy in Paul’s presence. They were fellow soldiers, co-laborers, brothers in Christ and the best of friends.
b. Timothy’s faith was found by Paul to be a great blessing and source of joy during his last years of imprisonment. What a joy to be around God’s people here at Temple. I love to watch you come in, love to hear you talk and laugh, make jokes and take pokes at each other, hear you sing, etc. It encourages my heart as I try to encourage your heart. “And exhorting one another!”
5. Unfeigned Faith’s Establishment – “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice”
a. Timothy’s father was a Greek and nothing is said about him so, since the father has an important place in child rearing, I will guess that he was a non-factor in Timothy’s spiritual upbringing. I do not completely blame him as the marriage was possibly an unequal yoke to begin with as Timothy’s mother was a “Jewess” and, therefore, from Judea of Galilee.
b. Mentioned here were two women, Timothy’s grandmother—Lois—and mother—Eunice. Both of these women had the same unfeigned faith that was later found in Timothy. They set a godly example before Timothy and taught him diligently in the scripture which produced the same faith.
6. Unfeigned Faith’s Ensuing – “and I am persuaded that in thee also.”
a. Faith is a choice. Timothy, one day, chose to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ for his salvation and was born again. The most important choice of life is that of eternal life. I am glad that I one day chose life eternal and can say with confidence, “I know who I have believed!”
b. Unfeigned faith is also a choice. Timothy, one day, chose that which was best for his life: to follow the Lord Jesus Christ without reservation or turning back.
Conclusion: When our Lord returns, will He find faith in us. Not just saving faith, but an unfeigned faith that is not ashamed to both follow and be identified with Jesus Christ and bear His reproach! I want that for my life and I desire it for yours also.

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