Unfeigned Faith is a sermon teaching us to live like real Christians, not fake ones. God gave us the power, love, and sound mind to live Christ-like.
The book of II Timothy was one of the last books that Paul wrote before losing his life. It is a book about encouragement when going through tough times. His writings are very appropriate for today with all the bad things that people are doing to other people. What we need to do is go to God again to strengthen and renew ourselves in order to keep going.
Today there are those who say they are Christians but don’t act like Christians. To be Christian is to be Christ-like. Not only should we be proud to be a Christian, proud that we are saved through grace, but we must walk and live like one continually — having a sincere, unfeigned faith.
The Greeting to Paul
Paul is one of the best-known apostles. But before that, he was one of the well-known people who tried to get rid of Christians and Christianity. He was at Stephen’s stoning and he was on the road to Damascus to get rid of Christians when he saw the light and was literally blinded. He asked Christ to save his soul and he received his sight and served the Lord from that moment on.
II Timothy starts with a greeting that Paul is an apostle of Christ — an apostle is a sent one, one who is a delegate, an ambassador of the Gospel, a commissioner of Christ with miraculous powers. There are some today who claim they are apostles. But there are three qualifications to be an apostle. To be an apostle, one must be personally taught by Jesus Christ, and be with Him throughout His ministry of three and a half years, and be a witness of the resurrection. Those who claim to be apostles today cannot say that they meet these qualifications. Although Paul was not an original apostle, he did meet the criteria for being one and became one of the most heralded apostles of all time. He became an apostle by God’s will. God wanted Paul to be an apostle. Paul knows he is secure in the promises of Christ. So this is Paul’s introduction in the book of Timothy, that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ and shares his assurances of the faith.
Timothy is in the city of Ephesus at this point. He had previously met up with Paul at various locations and Paul is a mentor for Timothy. This letter that Paul wrote, is his last swan song before being put to death. It was meant to encourage newer believers in the faith. Paul has seen many things in his ministry and had a wealth of knowledge that he shared. Paul wanted to make sure the younger generation was well equipped and ready to move forward in the faith. The letter was written about 67 A.D. most likely while Paul was in a Roman prison or under house arrest.
The Unfeigned Faith
In his letter, Paul refers to those in the faith that have come before him and gives thanks to God. How often do we give thanks to God? Don’t let daily cares and stresses prevent you from thanking God daily. Paul states that he has no regrets in staying in the faith. There was nothing that could be held as an accusation against him. Satan is always busy trying to ruin our relationship with God. We need to be careful that we don’t let Satan ruin us. When Paul was put before the Sanhedrin on trial, he knew that he had been living a good life before God. How often can we say that about ourselves, that we live with a pure conscience before God. Paul is a prayer warrior and prays without ceasing, he doesn’t forget. He prayed continually regardless if times were good or bad. Paul prayed night and day for Timothy and for those in the faith. How often do we pray for others and do we forget after a couple of days?
Paul had a great desire to reach out to Timothy probably because he wanted to see him since he may have been under house arrest at the time, and Timothy was in a distant city. Paul wanted to see Timothy. When someone comes that we haven’t seen in a long time, we feel that they care about us, they encourage us and lift us up. Timothy probably felt the same way about Paul.
Paul recalls Timothy’s unfeigned faith, in that he was sincere in his faith. We need to be unfeigned in our faith as well, be genuine, and not just for show. By being unfeigned we want to grow our relationship with God. This is not the only time Paul points out Timothy’s faith as sincere, he has done so in other writings.
Jesus knows our works, He knows what you do. He sees our works when no one else does. God would prefer that we are on fire for Him or be cold. He doesn’t want believers to be lukewarm and says He will spit you out. God does not want Christians who are not sincere. God does not want Christians who are fake or hypocritical. You can tell if a Christian is the real deal by the things that they do, what they listen to, and what they put into their “I-gauge.” It is better to be hot or cold than in the middle wondering if you really are on fire for God. God does not want us to be lukewarm and cannot use anyone that isn’t going fulltime for Him. A Christian has a duty to honor God in all things. We must abhor that which is evil.
As Christians, let our love be without dissimulation, meaning, without it being fake. Love needs to have sincerity, be real, and genuine. Being a Christian is a fulltime duty. In those things that we do, honor God, be sincere about it, and give it our all. We need genuine Christians, people who are unfeigned in their faith.
Paul mentions that Timothy’s unfeigned faith was passed down by family in his house. Paul knew that because of Timothy’s family heritage and that they were faithfully serving God that Timothy would follow in the faith. A family being faithful to God doesn’t guarantee that a child will be. Many a time people served God faithfully but their children left the faith. Why? Because it is an individual choice to serve God. It’s our choice to be genuine or not. Every action, deed, and mannerism are watched by those around you to see if you are who you say you are. Being a Christian means you’re going to do what God wants you to do. And do it right, be genuine about it.
The Gifts God Gives to Us
Paul writes to Timothy to rekindle the fire that God gave as a gift to us, to remember God’s gift of eternal life. Let that fire reignite in you and burn. Stir it up and get people talking about Jesus. Bring the fire back from when you were saved. It was exciting, but over time, that excitement can wane. There are times when we get discouraged but go back to the flame and rekindle it, bring back that excitement and serve the Lord. Even the great prophet Jeremiah became discouraged but he still had that fire in his heart which God rekindled so that he could go on and serve God. Maybe that’s what we need today, to have that fire rekindled within our heart.
Why should Timothy stir up the gift of God? Why should he proclaim salvation? Why was he told to do that? Sharing the Gospel can be scary and at times intimidating. We do not need to be fearful, God has not given us the spirit of fear. Our flesh brings fear. God gives us power, force, strength, and might. He gives us the bible to be our guide. He gives us power and love. You need to be sincere when you’re sharing. When you share the Gospel you do it because you care for them, not because you’re just trying to get a statistic. There are people out today doing it for statistics. But we really need to be reaching the person’s heart. It’s done by caring for that person, loving them, and genuinely wanting to share it with them and telling them why they need to be saved.
God gives us power, love, that sacrificial love that allows us to reach and care for the lost soul, and a sound mind. We should be disciplined in our walk and have self-control. People will try to stir you up when you are proclaiming the Gospel. They will attempt to get you off track. But care for that person when you reach out for them. Know what you’re talking about and be confident that God’s going to help you.
Paul shares with us to have sincere faith, to not be fearful. May we live a sincere and real Christian life, and know that we need to rekindle the fire of the Gospel. This world needs it now more than ever. May we know God gives us the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. Let’s be a sincere Christian, not a lukewarm or fake Christian.
Unfeigned Faith sermon starts with verses from II Timothy 1:1-7:
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 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;
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
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.
6 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.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:
2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.
3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.
4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
17Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
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