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Power, Love, And A Sound Mind

by

Julius Hovan

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

It is a joy to welcome you to this Words of Life broadcast and we are glad you tuned in. We hope you will stay tuned and hear some good news about the Lord Jesus and about the marvelous love of God.

If you live in most of the places that we read about in the newspaper, whatever nation, you would likely conclude with me that we are living in day where there are problems and perplexities and difficulties and stress and depression that is just overtaking too much of our society.

As we think about those difficulties and those problems, quite often God is able to use those to form our character, to help show us the way and to govern our conduct as we walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

There was a young man named Timothy. He was appointed by the Lord to a very responsible position in establishing churches and also appointing leaders in those churches. And among the last letters that the apostle Paul wrote, one of them was to Timothy. Actually, he wrote two books to Timothy and we would like to go this morning to 2 Timothy the first chapter and verses six and seven for our text. Let’s ask the Lord to bless is time.

God, we are so grateful for the beauty of your creation and the prospects of your love and grace and mercy that comes to us on a daily basis. Would you open our ears and hearts to be receptive to your truth? May we become lovers of the Lord Jesus in whose name we pray.

2 Timothy one verses six and seven the apostle Paul tells Timothy this. For which cause I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness, but of power and love…  And some translations say discipline and some will say a sound mind.  I think maybe that says it a little bit better.  Timothy, you have a gift from God, maybe more than one.  And, Timothy, I want you to stir that up. I want that gift to be blazing in your life.

If you have ever had a camp fire or, as we did in the old days, the wood burning cook stove or the pot bellied stove or whatever it might be, the fireplace, when the fire begins to get low you take your poker and stir it up and those hot coals immediately begin to light the wood and blaze. That is what Paul is asking Timothy to do. Keep alive the flame of God’s gracious gift.

I don’t know who said it, but I give this quote in regards to this passage. “The gift of God is, as it were, a certain lively flame kindled in our hearts, which the flesh and the devil go about to put out and, therefore, we on the contrary side must labor as much as we can to foster and to keep it burning,” end of the quote. This person rightly concludes that whatever gifts we have, whatever desire in our hearts to be faithful to God, our flesh nature fights against that. And certainly the evil one Satan does as well. And so we need the same advice if we are Christians as God gave to Timothy, to stir up the gift, the flame that will make us shine as lights in a very dark world and a very difficult time.

You notice in this passage that this gift that Timothy has been given from God dispels fear. We have not been given a spirit of fear or to be cowards, to be—as we used to say to each other as children—you are just a scaredy cat. Well, we don’t have to be that way as Christians. We have the power of the Spirit and the presence of God in our lives to help us be overcomers of fear.

Now Paul in this passage of Scripture discusses a three fold blessing: Power, love and a sound mind. Those are all things that we would recognize that would be helpful in our lives. As we get older our power just seems to disappear. We can’t move as quickly. We can’t get along as well. We need power. To do any task we need power, mental power, physical strength, whatever it might be. And then certainly love. We know the value of love. And then to have a sound mind, a mind that functions well, that has a good thinking capacity and comes to good decisions.

Think about this. If I only had power in great proportions I might misuse that power. I might carry a big stick, as it were, with that power. I might abuse you or someone else, because I simply have power.  Well, if I only have love, it is danger that I might sacrifice truth just to keep peace or to be tolerant with other people. I might even be willing to tolerate a little evil in your life or a doctrinal error so that I won’t offend anyone. I will just say, “Well, I know that is not in the Bible, but it is not a serious problem, so we will not worry too much about it.”

 

My friends, we need power and we need love as well.  Paul told Timothy back in 1 Timothy chapter four and in verse 14. “Neglect not the gift that is in thee which as given thee by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery or the elders, the leaders in the Church.”   Timothy was set aside. Timothy was called.  Timothy was gifted to be a servant of God and Paul, in essence says to him, “Timothy, God has given you everything you need to be the man of God that God wants you to be.”

So of the heart of our lesson today, let’s go to these three words: power, love and discipline or a sound mind, as some translations put it. And let’s think about each of them individually. You will recall, if you are familiar with the Bible, that in Acts chapter one and verse eight the reference is given there when God told the disciples of that day that you are to tarry in Jerusalem until you receive power from on high.   My friends, the early church was formed and grew in the midst of great difficulty, many things and people against it, and yet it flourished.  It grew because God granted it the power. Wait for that power. The power came in the form of God’s Holy Spirit. In the 24th chapter of the book of Luke the reference is in the 49th verse. Jesus is ready to ascend back to heaven and he says to his 12 disciples, “And behold I send forth the promise of my Father upon you, that you tarry in the city until you be clothed with power from on high.”

How precious it is to know that God, indeed, provides for us that power from on high, that power that I need and that you need to live the life that pleases God.  And so we have the Holy Spirit given to us as a power source and we have the Word of God. And that Word, we are told, is quick and powerful. That is, it has great possibilities and great power working in the lives of those who will allow it to come into their lives.

In the book of Daniel there is an interesting verse where the prophet in chapter 11 of that prophecy and then in verse 32 he says, “There are those who do wickedly against the covenant and they shall pervert by flatteries.” And now listen to this closing statement. “But the people that know their God shall be strong and they will do great things,” or exploits, as one translation puts it. Do you see what it says there? The people of God can do great things because God empowers them with the power to do it.

I am amused at a verse in Psalm 74 verse five that says, “They seemed as men that lifted up axes upon a thicket of trees.” Or, as some translations put it, against big trees, thick trees.  If you have ever had to cut down a tree with an axe, you can understand how that would be.  It can be a task if it is a good hard, big old oak tree especially. Well, God promises that as we face the oak trees of our lives and we face the difficulties, the hills that we must climb, he will make us be able to lift up an axe, as it were, against that thick, big problem that comes to us.   And so if we need power—and you do today—you can have it by coming to the Lord Jesus and he will give you his Holy Spirit. The promise in the book of Acts is when Peter answers the question, “What must we do to be saved?”  His answer,  “Repent ye and put your trust in the Lord Jesus and be baptized in his name for the remission of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  This is still true for all of us today.  There is our power source as Christians. And if you are not a Christian, you can become one. You can become a follower of Jesus. He will provide for you that power to live as you need to live.

Then there is that love. We know about love and we know what a power it is in our lives and in the lives of those with whom we associate.  The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13, “Faith, hope, love and the greatest of these is love.”  Jesus himself said in the gospel of John chapter 13 and verse 34, “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” The commandment has always been from God to love one another, but this is a little bit new. It has a new slant to it, we are to love as Jesus has loved us.  We would agree that this could be quite a task, because what a great love of sacrifice he had for us.

We closely connect power from the Holy Spirit with this matter of love. For in the book of Galatians we are told the fruit of the Spirit is love.  And so when we receive the Holy Spirit he sheds abroad in our hearts the love of God and we are then able to share and live that love out in our lives.

Many of the great hymns of the Church talk about the greatness of that love. Love lifted me, the song says and there are many other songs that point us to the love of the Lord Jesus. And so we need power and God provides that through the Holy Spirit and through his Word.  We need love. We need that ourselves. But then we need to practice it. We need to live it out in our lives, a sacrificial love like that of the Lord Jesus.

And then he calls for a sound mind, for clear thinking, being sober. We are aware that certain things we can put into our body, alcoholic beverages or maybe some type of drug, causes our mind to not function properly. And he says we have not been given that kind of mind, but we have been given a sober mind. We can make right decisions. We can have self control and self discipline. We can use self restraint. We can keep ourselves from doing the things that we ought not to do and we can then, in turn, do the thing that we ought to do because we have a good thinking capacity.   This, then, is extremely important.   Again in 1 Timothy where the apostle is writing to the young man Timothy he writes in chapter two and verse nine regarding the women of that day, saying that women should adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety and so forth. And then down in the 15th verse the chapter closes she will be saved through her child bearing if you continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety, with a sound mind.  There is love and a sound mind both combined in that verse of Scripture.

And then in the book of Titus he tells that young evangelist in verse eight, “Hold to the faithful word.” This is Titus 1:8.  “Hold to that faithful word and give yourself to hospitality and be a lover of God, sober minded.” There is our word. We are to be sober minded and to be just and holy and self controlled. And in that same chapter he says, “To the pure all things are pure, but to them that are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure, but both their mind and their consciences are defiled.” When our mind is not sharp, when it is not what it ought to be, we can do some terrible things. Paul wrote in the second chapter of that same epistle of Titus and we read in the 15th verse there where he says this. “These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority.”

How important that we use the authority, that is the power of God, and that we follow that will of God. And he mentions it actually in Titus in verse two where he talks about the women and then in verse four he begins to talk about the older men and in verse six he talks about the teenagers and then in verse 12 instructing us to the intent that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present age. There is our word soberly again, to have a sound mind.  How important, indeed, that is.

Paul told the church at Corinth, chapter two verse 16, “We have the mind of Christ.”  If only we could think like Jesus did, if we could come to the same right conclusions, if everything we decided, and then everything we followed up by action, was like the mind of Jesus, how different our lives would be and how different the world would be.  “Have this mind in you,” Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, “Have the mind in you that was in Christ Jesus.”

So it is that toward which the Christian works as we grow in grace and knowledge, as we mature, as we become knowledgeable of the Word of God, as we learn to submit to the Spirit of God and we become not baby Christians any longer, but grown up. We are then going to enjoy the gifts of power and love and a sound mind.

These with a well balanced mind and discipline and self control are followers of the will of God.  Paul gives this admonition, then, to both Timothy and Titus.  And God has given us, then, everything we need to meet the situation of every day. What a marvelous combination this is:  Power, love, wisdom. Power that has been softened by love.  Put those two together to be sure.  Love that is strengthened by power and combined with that, wisdom will adjust the power and the love. It will keep us from misusing the power. It will help us use our love properly. What perfect provision for the man of God as we face the difficult last days, as we face evil and the horrors that are happening, the catastrophes. We read about them and they are on the news every day, shootings, and killings, and bombings, and slaughter of all different kind, the rampant run of evil in our society.

How about you, my friends? If you are a Christian are you stirring up the flame of your life? Are you allowing the power of God to make you shine forth in this crooked and perverse generation as what we are called to do?   Perhaps you know very little about the Bible and about eternity and about salvation through Jesus.

We would welcome you to contact us at www.wordsofliferadio.com or email us at wolradio@sbcglobal.net  or P.O. Box 221, Sellersburg, IN 47172, and we can send you material to help you make a decision to become a Christian, to confess Jesus as your Savior and Lord, to put him on in your life when you are buried with him in baptism and the Bible says raised to walk a new life, a new life that has power and love and has a sound mind.

If you need to do that, we would encourage you to find a good Bible believing church and go there and learn how to become a child of God and to live a life of joy and victory. Have this mind in you. Have that power. Express that love. Think with a sound mind.  Thank you for tuning in today. Please join us each time this broadcast comes to you over this radio station? God bless you today.

 

                                                           Julius Hovan is minister of the Bohon Church of Christ, Bohon, KY.

 




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I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13