October 8, 2016
The Making of a Man
Pastor Philip De Courcy
2 Timothy 1:3-7

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Life is a collaborative effort. That success is due to the investment and involvement of others. People who make it in life, people who make it in leadership, have usually been encouraged by parents, helped by friends, developed by mentors, taught by teachers, or inspired by the example of others.Life is a collaborative effort. That success is due to the investment and involvement of others. People who make it in life, people who make it in leadership, have usually been encouraged by parents, helped by friends, developed by mentors, taught by teachers, or inspired by the example of others. Paul's fingerprints are all over Timothy. He had invested in him and he had brought him to a place of maturity and a fact of ministry. We will see in 2 Timothy, Paul’s ponder, pining and praying. The Christian home is at the front lines of Christian evangelism and discipleship. Jesus said to His disciples to go in all the world and preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son. And you know what? We ought to do this with our school friends, with our neighbors, with our workmates. We must love Christ. We must model manhood. We must be a good provider. We must know our Bibles to share it with knowledge to our children. We must be involved in the local church, which is the hub of God's activity on earth. We ought to love our wives, we ought to be good neighbors, and we must win our children to Christ. Do you want to know what shapes a man? Do you want to know how a life is made significant? Friends, family and the special gifting of the Holy Spirit. We must discover it and develop it, so that it doesn’t become dormant. It has been said that there are multiple things that shape a man. They shared it in the form of an acrostic. S, spiritual gifts. H, heart. A, abilities. P, personality. E, experiences.

More From This Series


Philip De Courcy (00:00):
So, let’s take our Bibles and turn to 2 Timothy. As Mark alluded, we’re in a series just begun last month, Without Apology. Now, one of the keywords of 2 Timothy is unashamed. And we want to be men who are unashamed. People are bold and brazen in their sin. We have a culture that’s unashamed in promoting wickedness. Where are Christians? Where are men of God who are unashamed of the Gospel? Unashamed of the Word of God, the Son of God, and we want to be those kind of men. Men who live for Christ in this culture without apology.
And so, Paul writes to this timid, but gifted young man called Timothy, to encourage him to be all that God has saved him to be. Now, last month we just introduced the book and now we’re coming to look at verses three through seven, a message I’ve entitled, The Making of a Man. We’re going to see the big influences in Timothy’s life and we’re going to understand some of the things that shape a man, help him to determine God’s direction in his life.
We don’t always do this, but let’s stand this morning like we do on a Sunday morning in honor of God’s Word and we’ll read 2 Timothy 1:3. “I thank God whom I serve with a pure conscience as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which first dwelt in your grandmother, Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
The Making of a Man. You may be seated. I like the story that surrounds the life of Alex Haley, who was an author, and whose book was turned into a runaway success some years ago, Roots. It was a mini series about slavery in the United States. It is said that in his office there was a picture that hung on the wall and it was of a fence post and on top of the fence post was a turtle. And when he was asked to explain the significance of the picture, he would tell those who asked the question, “Well, when you see a turtle sitting on the top of a fence post, you know it didn’t get there by itself.”
And it was his way of conveying and communicating the fact that when a man sees some success in life, when a man gets to a place of effectiveness or notoriety or accomplishment, he must be the first to acknowledge that he didn’t get there by himself. That life is a collaborative effort. That success is due to the investment and involvement of others. People who make it in life, people who make it in leadership, have usually been encouraged by parents, helped by friends, developed by mentors, taught by teachers, or inspired by the example of others.
Guys, when it comes to the making of a man, it requires other men and women and work on the part of the man himself. And so, I want to come to 2 Timothy 1:3-7, because here Paul develops the theme of the making of a man. He’s giving thanks to God for the memory he has of Timothy, the good times together, the things they shared, the ministry they accomplished. And as he thanks God for Timothy, he thanks God for the work God did in Timothy. You’ll notice, “I thank God.” Paul’s reflecting on the development of this young man and the significance he has within the churches of the New Testament and he acknowledges the making of the man and the things that contributed to Timothy’s life.
And here we get to see and savor God’s work in the development of God’s workers. And there are four things that play into the making of this man of God and we’re going to get there momentarily. Although, I do want to pause to digress just for a moment, because I don’t know about you, but I’m challenged by Paul’s ability to give thanks. Notice he says here, “I thank God whom I serve with a pure conscience as my fathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day.” There’s a thankfulness that marks Paul. And don’t forget that he’s writing from a prison that’s dank and dark. He’s not under house arrest, which was the case during his first imprisonment, this is his second imprisonment. It could be weeks before Paul dies after writing this letter. His situation is dire. His conditions are cramped and cold, yet he writes a letter to his young apprentice in the faith, his young protege in the ministry, and he begins with a spirit of thankfulness. Gratitude, appreciation.
Now, as it goes with the writing of letters, in some sense, Paul is following custom, because if you study the letters of that day, usually they begin with a recognition of the author, an address to the recipient, a warm greeting, and usually a giving of thanks, so in some senses you could say, “You know what? This is par for the course, this is form.” But I would suggest to you, this can’t be simply mere custom. There’s a genuineness here about Paul’s gratitude. That was the way he lived. This was a way of life and when it’s a way of life, life wasn’t allowed to get in the way.
He was a man often given to thankfulness, a man often given to gratitude, and you know what? His circumstances may have changed, but the orientation of his heart has not. And he gives thanks to God, thankful for Timothy and the past ministry together, thankful for the sincerity and genuineness of Timothy’s faith, thankful that he thinks about his end, he thinks also about young men who are going to continue what he has begun. He’s so thankful for that. Guys, cultivate a thankful heart. Make it a way of life and you’ll find that life won’t get in the way.
I like the story of Matthew Henry, the great [inaudible 00:07:27] and commentator who one day was robbed. It was his first experience of being robbed and accosted, but as he reflected on the robbery and the taking of his wallet, he came up with four things to be thankful for. “Number one, I’m thankful that I was never robbed before. Number two, I’m thankful that although my wallet was taken, my life was spared. Number three, although he took all that I had, there wasn’t much in the wallet. And number four, I’m glad that I was robbed and not someone else.” Wow, there’s some good thinking in there that goes into some good thanking.
And usually that’s the key, is you think, and then you thank, but we don’t thank, because we don’t think. We don’t spend enough time reflecting, not only on what we have, but what God has withheld and what God in His providence has kept back. So, guys, I’m just struck by that, a little diversion, a little digression, but it’s good. I thank God. That’s right out the gate. And Paul’s writing during his second imprisonment with maybe only weeks or months left to live. I like it.
So, what are the four things in this text that we see that go into the making of a man? Well, if you’re taking notes, number one, I want you to see, what I call, the friend factor. The friend factor. When it comes to Timothy, Paul’s fingerprints are all over this young man. It would seem that Paul had a hand in the winning of Timothy’s mother and even his grandmother to Jesus Christ. We’re not sure if he had a direct hand in the conversion of Timothy, but when Paul returns during the second missionary journey to that part of the world in which Timothy grew up, by this stage Timothy is a young man who has a good report within the church.
Paul takes him under his wings and begins to develop him and begins to disciple him. Paul and Timothy are in a discipleship relationship. And Paul acknowledges that and he says here in verse two to Timothy, “A beloved son.” You get a similar description over in 1 Corinthians 4:17, I believe it is, where he talks about Timothy as a faithful son in Christ. You’ll see that Timothy is described in verse 17 as beloved and faithful, a son in the Lord. And so, there’s a relationship here, a friendship, and you can’t overlook that in terms of understanding Timothy and the making of this man of God.
Proverbs 27:17, right? “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens the countenance of another man.” Paul’s fingerprints are all over Timothy. He had invested in him and he had brought him to a place of maturity and a fact of ministry. And you know what? You and I ought to thank God as Paul does here for men in our lives, whom God has brought into our lives. Men who have brought us to Christ and then pushed us to go after Christ. Men like godly pastors, faithful friends, effective mentors, good parents. We will never become what God calls us to be without the help and the investment of others and that is clearly seen in the text, you’ve got the friend factor.
Now, as we look at Paul’s ministry in Timothy’s life, there are three things that stand out and I’m just going to drill down into one of them. You’ll see first of all, Paul pondering. Paul pondering. You read here that he calls to mind, he remembers former times with Timothy. He remembers tears, he remembers joy. He remembers expressions of genuine faith on the part of Timothy for the cause for Christ. And I just would make the point that if you and I are going to impact people, if you and I are going to have this Paul, Timothy relationship with some man, it will involve a constant pondering, a constant remembering, a constant calling to mind, that man, his needs, his family, the things that you can yet do for him. It can’t be casual. It can’t be passing.
You see here that there is a constant recollection of Timothy on the part of Paul and that indeed leads to other things. You can’t be a part-time discipler. If you take a man on, or you take a group of men on in a Bible study, if you’re not with them in body, you’re with them in spirit, and you’re thinking about them on a regular basis, because God has put them on your heart. And you see here not only Paul pondering, but Paul pining. He longs to see Timothy again. Look at verse four, “Greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy.”
Greatly desiring is a word that carries the idea of home sickness or yearning. It’s the freshman on a college campus. It’s the soldier on the battlefield, longing, desiring to be with a family or with a wife. And you see here strong emotion. Again, we’re getting a feel for what discipleship ought to look like. It’s not something that’s casual. It’s not something that’s detached. It’s not something you jump in and out of, reading this kind of personal part of this letter, you get a sense of the relationship that was deep and abiding and loving. Paul pondering, Paul pining, Paul praying. We’re just looking at this first factor. Paul praying.
Look at what we read. “Without ceasing, I remember you in my prayers night and day.” So he says, “I remember you. I remember your needs. I remember the things I committed to praying for you. And as I remember you, there comes with that strong feelings of affection, our bond in Christ. And as I remember you in my mind, I remember you before the throne of Grace.” That’s what men do for each other when they’re in a discipleship relationship. Paul was a praying friend. Maybe that’s the one thing I want to underscore of the three things here, Paul pondering, Paul pining, Paul praying, Paul was a praying friend.
Timothy became the man he was and the minister he was in Ephesus, partly because of the fact that Paul lifted him up to the throne of Grace and prayed that God would pour out His blessing. He lived in a spirit of intercession. Now, when you read a phrase like praying night and day, you tend to over read that as if Paul prayed every moment of every hour of every day. No, he had other things to do. He was tent making sometimes, he was counseling at other times. He was eating, he was sleeping, he was preaching, he was traveling. What we have here is a way of saying that he was a man marked constantly by prayer, intermittently incessantly by prayer.
In fact, Guy King who’s an old English expositor has a little book on 2 Timothy and he said that one scholar dug up some writings from around that time and they found this Greek word [inaudible 00:15:19]. And the Greek word was used to describe someone with an incessant cough. And I love that picture and I’ve shared it before, I believe. If you’ve got a really bad cough, you’re doing one of two things. You’re either actually coughing, or you’re thinking about coughing. You’re either doing it or about to do it and you can break into it at any moment. That’s the picture and I love it.
Of course, we can’t go through life praying. You don’t want to stand at a [inaudible 00:15:54] in the factory machine shop, close your eyes and pray while the chuck is turning at 1000 miles an hour. No, what we’re talking about is a spirit of intercession, where if you’re not formally praying in a quiet time, away from the maddening crowd, you are shooting arrow prayers, email prayers to God on behalf of men that God brings back to your mind, that buddy in Christ that you have. Men around this table, men within this church, please be doing that. We are to pray without ceasing according to 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and we’re to pray at all times, Ephesians 6:18.
If we are to be a band of brothers, we need to be praying friends. You need to pray for this man’s breakfast, you need to pray for some men by name specifically on a day to day basis. What are some of the things Paul might have prayed for, for Timothy? I think he would pray that Timothy would live out his calling. That’s why in chapter one in verse six he will challenge him to stir up the gift. The gift of pastoring or preaching or evangelism. “Hey Timothy, I want you to live out your calling. God has called you to be a minister of the Gospel. I charge the gates of hell, don’t turn back, put your hand to the plow, I’m going to pray that you’ll live out your calling.”
I think he would pray that Timothy would develop in godly character. Look at chapter 3:10-12, “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, love, perseverance, persecutions and afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch and Iconium and Lystra.” And he goes on in verse 12, “Yes, and all that desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution and I pray that for you,” kind of in parentheses. “I want you to live a godly life. I want you to be unashamed of the Gospel. Live out your calling. Be a godly man and prove to be competent among the people there at Ephesus.” In chapter 4:5 he’ll finish off with a string of admonitions with fulfill your ministry. “Timothy, don’t be a workman in the word that need be ashamed,” back in chapter 2:15, “preach the word, do the work of an evangelist, endure hardship, love the people, love Christ, love the lost.” I think Paul was praying for all of those things.
I like the story of two men who were talking and one was challenging the other about his biblical knowledge. And he said, “You know what? If you’re so religious, let me hear you quote the Lord’s prayer.” “In fact,” he says, “I’ll bet you $10 right now you can’t quote the Lord’s prayer.” The guy said you’re on, gathered his thoughts, and then he said, “Now I lay my head down to sleep. I pray the Lord, my soul to keep. And if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” The guy looked at him, whipped out the $10, gave it to him and said, “I never thought you could do it.”
Now, there’s two guys who don’t know much about prayer. And I think humor aside, that there are few men, there are few men that have a good grasp of prayer and a good grip on prayer. It’s just a discipline we need to work at and to develop. In fact, just this past summer, I had the joy of sitting down with Mrs. Eileen Paisley, who was the wife of Dr. Ian Paisley, who was a fundamentalist leader, tied in with Bob Jones University in Northern Ireland. He was an interesting man. He had his faults and his blind spots, but he was greatly used of God. He was a man with many hats. He was a member of the British Parliament in London, he was a member of the European Parliament in Strassburg. He was the moderator of a group of Presbyterian churches and he was a local pastor.
My wife June went through his Bible college, the Whitfield College of the Bible. And he died a couple years back and I’d met him on several occasions. He knew my family, knows my father. And so, I was asking Mrs. Paisley how she was doing as a widower. And I said, “What are some of the memories you have of your husband?” And as she talked to me, she said, “You know what, Philip? Ian was a man of prayer. He got up every morning and got on his knees and prayed. Prayed for that day, prayed for us, prayed for the churches, prayed for Northern Ireland.”
In fact, she said one morning the phone rang and their daughter, Sharon, who was only a little girl at the time answered the phone. Someone asked could he speak to Ian Paisley and little Sharon replied, “Well, yes, my daddy is here, but you cannot speak to him for he is speaking to God.” And Mrs. Paisley said this to me. She says, “Philip, is that not a wonderful memory for a child?” A wonderful memory for a child, a wonderful thing for a child to say. “Yes, my daddy’s here, but you can’t speak to him, because he’s speaking to God.” True friends speak to God about their friends, so that’s factor number one in the making of a man.
Here’s factor number two, the family factor. The friend factor, the family factor. Next to Paul, we see in our text that Timothy’s family had a big and bold influence in his life. Okay, you’ve got this relationship between Paul and Timothy, this relationship between a spiritual father and a spiritual son, but now we go through the front door into Timothy’s home and we realize that his mother and his grandmother had a tremendous impact. Look at verse five, “When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, for which I give thanks to God by the way, when I remember the genuine faith that is in you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, I’m persuaded is in you also.”
Paul is recognizing the family factor. In fact, later on, he’ll acknowledge that even more in chapter 3:15. He says to Timothy that from childhood, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. Timothy’s upbringing had a profound impact on him. Now, in his case it would seem he didn’t have a godly father. If you go to Acts 16:1, you’ll realize that his father was a Greek, but an unbelieving Greek. His mother had come to faith in Christ, possibly through Paul’s first journey through that region back in Acts 14. But in Acts 16, Eunice and Lois are believers by implication and Timothy was now a disciple and one would imagine that his mother and his grandmother had a big hand in that.
Timothy had been lifted before God by the prayers of his mother and grandmother, Timothy had been pushed to Christ by the instruction and the example of his family. I love what Calvin says of this relationship between Timothy and his mother and his grandmother. Calvin says this in his commentary on first and second Timothy. Timothy was reared in his infancy in such a way that he could suck in godliness, along with his mother’s milk. What an imaginative statement. Timothy could suck in godliness, along with his mother’s milk. Look, you know this if you read biography, I like to read biography, that most biographies begin with the home, the background, the neighborhood, the upbringing, because that will shape a man for good or for ill.
And most of the times in the life of a man or a woman who have reached some height of achievement or accomplishment in life, you’ll find that the home was significant. A while ago, I read something of the life of Margaret Thatcher, one of my heroes growing up in Britain, and you’ll realize how living above that little grocery store in a middle income family, where she learned frugality and strength of character. She grew up in a Methodist home. And so, morality and frugality and hard work and taking ownership of your own life was important to her. It was taught to her by her father who owned the grocery store. And that’s just one example, you’ve got your own. You’ve maybe read a sports’ biography recently or an historic biography of a politician or a leader and it begins there, because every biography begins there and so does Timothy’s and we can’t underestimate that.
Now, what’s interesting too, by the way, scroll back up to verse three and you’ll see that Paul is quick to acknowledge that factor in his own life. He grew up with a good and a godly heritage. He was a Jewish man, very much aware of the importance of lineage and heritage. Look at verse three, “I thank God whom I serve with a pure conscience as my forefathers did.” And let me try and explain why Paul would mention that, because remember, he’s writing from prison. He’s being charged with criminal activity and Paul is writing to say, “Look, I may be looked upon by the Romans, and certainly by some Jewish authorities, as a radical, lawless man, but before the [bower 00:26:05] of my own conscience, I’m innocent.
And I want you to know that while some look upon me as a radical type, I’m following God in the footsteps of my ancestors and I would make an argument, I’m following God in a deeper, fuller manner through Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. I haven’t abandoned my ancestry. I haven’t abandoned or been disloyal to my heritage. In fact, I have taken one step further, I have embraced the fullness of it, the completion of it in that Christ is the promised seed. He is a descendant of Abraham and He is a son of David and He is Israel’s King.”
In fact, let me give you a couple of examples of this argumentation. When Paul stands before both Jewish and Gentile authorities in the book of Acts, he will make that case when he is before Felix in Acts 24:14. We read, “But I confess to you that according to the way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believe in all things that are written in the Law and the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust.”
He’ll say the same thing over in chapter 26:6, before Agrippa. He will say, “And now I stand and I’m judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers.” So, the point is, heritage played a big role in Paul’s life and heritage played a big role in Timothy’s life. And I would just suggest to you, as we apply this and move on that the Christian home ought to be a night post of the Kingdom of God on earth. The Christian home is at the front lines of Christian evangelism and discipleship. Think about this, guys, Jesus said to his disciples to go in all the world and preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son. And you know what? You ought to do that with your school friends, with your neighbors, with your workmates.
But doesn’t it begin, and in some senses, shouldn’t it be easier when God has given us a little flock of boys and girls, who we have for the most formative years of their life? And we should be pouring our prayers and our passion and our purpose into winning our children to Jesus Christ. We will have no greater joy than that our children walk in the truth. And charity, Christian charity, begins at home and we see it here and we wanted to be challenged by it. In fact, I don’t know if Steve Farrar next week at our men’s retreat will make mention of this, but if you read his book, the Anchor Man and you go to Deuteronomy 6:2, you’ll see that indeed the Israelite father was called to indeed teach his children.
And in that verse, three generations are mentioned. The father is mentioned, the child of the father, the son is mentioned, and the children of the son is mentioned, grandchildren. And Steve Farrar makes an argument and in light of that verse, every father is an anchor man for around 100 years of the family’s story. He’s alive, God willing, and his son is alive or his children are alive and he pours into them. And that then impacts the generation after them, the grandchildren. But if you think about it, while that man will not be alive to see his grandchildren’s children and their grandchildren, his name should still be alive in their memory, because the grandchildren of his grandchildren will know about him. So Farrar is making this argument, think about that, upwards of 100 years, your name, your legacy, your prayers, your discipleship will impact your family. Powerful.
So, guys, we must love Christ. We must model manhood. We must be a good provider. We must know our Bibles to share it with knowledge to our children. We must be involved in the local church, which is the hub of God’s activity on earth. We ought to love our wives, we ought to be good neighbors, and we must win our children to Christ. In 2015, I was in London preaching and the pastor took myself, my wife and Stan and Mary Longenecker on a guided tour around some of the kind of Christian historic sites. And we went to Bunhill Fields, which is a cemetery in London where you have John Owen, John Wesley’s mother, Susanna Wesley and I think John Bunyan are all buried there. And just a few 100 yards away on the other side of the street, we were taken into Wesley’s home, the founder of Methodism, the great evangelist alongside of Whitfield. And part of that tour took us up into his study and you had his desk and you had where he would study.
And what struck me, just maybe it was where I was standing, and I like to imagine this was the case, where he studied, if he looked over his shoulder, he would look out the window to Bunhill Fields, to the grave site of his own mother, who would often take her kitchen apron and throw it over her head and tell the children not to bother her as she prayed for them, caught a moment with God, raised godly children, Charles Wesley, the great hymn writer and John Wesley, the great evangelist. You don’t think that Wesley in studying looked over his shoulder and gave thanks to God, that the faith that dwells in him first dwelt his mother? Guys, we don’t have time to go here, because we just don’t.
2 Kings 4:19, write it down. We won’t go there. I wish I had time to go there, but 2 Kings 4:19, read it later on. It’s the story of a little boy who goes out in the field during the heat of the day. The implication of the text is somehow he gets some kind of heat stroke and he approaches his father who’s working in the field, I would guess a family business, farming, cultivating. And he said, “Daddy my head, my head.” And according to 2 Kings 4:19, the father turns to his son and says to one of his servants, “Carry him to his mother.”
This happens during the ministry of Elisha and the mother nurses the child and according to the text, the child dies in his mother’s arms and Elisha steps in and raises the Shunammite’s son. But are we not challenged with this wretched man who shirked his responsibility? Carry him to his mother, too busy to notice my son’s issues and challenges. One writer reflecting on that said this, “Many fathers do precisely the same thing today. They are so busy at the office, in the club or lodge, in the garden, in the church, on the golf course, that they haven’t time to keep their promise they made before God, when their child was dedicated to bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord.”
Carry him to his mother, carry him to the pastor, carry him to the Sunday school teacher, carry him to the scout master, carry him to the summer youth conference. It’s a challenge guys. We can’t shirk our responsibility. We can share it, no doubt. Thank God for those ministries and people, but we must not shirk our responsibility to bring our children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. You will be one of the greatest influences in your children’s life for good, hopefully, and not for bad.
Let’s move on. You’ve got not only the friend factor and the family factor, we’ve got what I call the favor factor. When I talk about favor, I’m speaking about God’s favor, God’s special gifting, because if you go back to our text, look at verse six, therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power of love and of a sound mind. So far, we have seen God working indirectly through Paul and through Eunice and through Lois, but now we’re seeing God work directly in the making of a man and that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. And one of the works of the Holy Spirit is to gift or enable every man in the body of Christ for a certain task, to fulfill a certain calling and that’s where we’re at here.
Paul acknowledges that God’s at work in Timothy’s life, verse three, “I thank God.” And now he speaks directly of God’s work. The gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. Now, in this text, we see what I might call the fruit of the Spirit and the favor of the Spirit. I’m not going to deal a lot with the fruit of the Spirit, which I believe is verse seven. Now, if you look at your English text, most Bibles translate spirit with a small S and that could well be the case. This is not a hill to die on and so Paul is saying, “You know what, if God is at work in a man’s life, God doesn’t produce a spirit, an attitude of cowardice or timidity.”
But I agree with Gordon Fee who would argue that really it should be better translated Holy Spirit, or give it a capital S, because God’s Spirit at work in a man doesn’t produce timidity, God’s Spirit produces power, love, self control. I would argue that because verse seven begins with for, which means it can be and should be connected to the preceding verses and especially the closest verse, verse six, which speaks about the gifts of God, which implicitly is the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
And also, the words power and love and self control are all associated [inaudible 00:36:35] in writings with the Holy Spirit. It’s a spirit that strengthens us. It’s a spirit that produces the fruit of love and self-control. Read about it in Galatians 5. Plus, as I’ve already alluded to, the gifting of God in the life of a Christian is the work of the Holy Spirit, so I would just translate then verse seven, for God has not given us this spirit who produces fear or timidity. No, this Spirit produces power and love and a sound mind.
So, there you have the fruit of the Spirit, but what interests us is the favor of the Spirit, verse six. And one would see here that this must have been an ordination gift, because the laying on of hands are mentioned both here and in 1 Timothy 4:14. What might the gift of God be in this case? Well, one would imagine the gift of pastoring and the gift of teaching. Ephesians 4:7 and verse 11. That’s the role Timothy’s playing in Ephesus. He’s pastoring, leading that congregation and he’s teaching them the Word of God. That’s why Paul will say, “Hey, preach the Word in season and out of season.” Now, you could make an argument also that you might have here the gift of evangelism, because in chapter 4:5 we read that he’s to do the work of an evangelist.
Either way, Paul’s alluding to the fact that God has gifted Timothy and enabled Timothy to carry out Christian leadership. These are enablements. If you want me to define a gift of the Spirit of God, I would define it as a special grace that fits us for a particular service. It’s a special grace that fits us for a particular service. Now, I’ve said often when dealing with the gifts of the Spirit, that they must not be used as an excuse. There’s the gift of mercy. Some people will excel, particularly in the gift of mercy, but does that mean we don’t have to be merciful? No. Some men will excel in the gift of teaching, so I don’t have to teach my children? No, you’ve got to teach. These are special enablements that draw us in to an arena of ministry and life where we will excel and see some success. These are dispositional differences among us. They are beyond the natural talent, although sometimes they work with it.
They are chosen for us by the Holy Spirit, according to 1 Corinthians 12:11, they are given to all, every Christian has one of these gifts or more than one of these gifts according to 1 Peter 4:10. They must be exercised for the good of others for their edification, 1 Corinthians 12:7, and we must be careful that they don’t become dormant. You’ve got to discover it, first of all, you’ve got to develop it, second of all, and then you’ve got to constantly use it, so it doesn’t become dormant. By the way, I don’t know if it’s too late, Dan [inaudible 00:39:44] is doing a class right now on discovering the gifts of the Spirit. You need to be in that class, because this is an important part of who you are.
Do you want to know what shapes a man? Do you want to know how a life is made significant? Friends, family and the special gifting of the Holy Spirit. We are our upbringing. We are what our friends influence us, concerning, and we are what the Holy Spirit has saved us to be. Guys, think that out. If you miss this class, get into the next one. Go and purchase a good book on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Someone has thought this out by taking the word shape and using it as an acrostic and given us five ways God shapes people. Number one, spiritual gifts. You want to know what you ought to be, what you ought to be doing in life? Spiritual gifts will determine that. You have been supernaturally enabled to excel in a certain area.
Number two, heart. What is your passion? What is your desire, right? Think about the calling of a pastor. 1 Timothy 3:1, “If a man desires the office of a Bishop, he desires a good thing.” So S, spiritual gifts, H, heart, A, abilities. What are your natural talents? What are your natural inclinations, your natural skills? I don’t think God will waste that. I don’t think they will work in competition with your spiritual gifts, they’ll often enhance it. Number four, P, personality. This wouldn’t be the most important, but what kind of suits my personality and disposition. And number five, E, experiences. What spiritual experiences have I had? What painful experiences have I had? What educational experiences have I had? What ministry experiences have I had? God doesn’t waste much in our lives.
I think that’s very helpful. Isn’t that good? Shape, spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality experiences. And you and I need to think that out in the making of a man. Let me give you an illustration in this and begin to wrap this up on the fourth point. But this is good. I’m not aware of this guy, but some of you guys will be aware of the former coach of the Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints, Bum Phillips. Remember Bum Phillips? He was known as the master of one liners. Now, just reading something about him recently, in fact, his wife said to him one day, said, “You know what, Bum, I think you love football better than you love me.” To which he replied, “You’re right, but I do want you to know, I love you better than basketball.”
Yeah, this guy sounds good and funny. One of his running backs when he was at the Houston Oilers was a guy called Earl Campbell, Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Texas, all pro player. And Bum was asked once by a reporter, “Is Earl Campbell in a class all by himself?” To which he replied, “Earl may not be in a class by himself, but whatever class he’s in, it doesn’t take long to call the roll.” Another one liner was one of his scouts said to him, “Earl Campbell is a sprinter. He’s not a distance runner, he can’t run a mile. Do you still want to draft him?” To which Bum replied, “Sure, I just won’t give him the ball when it’s third down in a mile.”
See, a good coach knows the abilities of his players and he plays them when their abilities can be best used. And guys, I’m telling you, in my life, your life, let’s keep working on allowing God to shape us by His Spirit, by His Providence, through Spiritual Gifts, heart, abilities, personality and experiences, to be the man He has saved us to be and to become effective servants for Him.
Finally, what we might call the fortitude factor. The fortitude factor. The fourth and final component in the making of a man is self discipline and self effort. Not going to spend a lot of time here, because we have acknowledged in the shaping of Timothy, in the making of this man, there has been Paul’s investment. There has been Lois and Eunice’s involvement, there has been the work of the Holy Spirit in special gifting and favor, that Timothy must stir up and fan back into a flame, because it looks like he was neglecting that gift. In fact, back in 1 Timothy 4:14, Paul specifically says, “Do not neglect the gift that was given to you by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.”
So there’s something for Timothy to do. Paul did something, his family did something, the Holy Spirit did something magnificent, regenerating him, baptizing him and dwell in him and gifting him, but now Timothy must do something. He must fan into a flame what God has indeed given him. Look at verse six, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God, which is in you, through the laying on of my hands.” He must work with others and he must cooperate with God. It’s his responsibility to respond to God’s ability. He must put into practice what he has learned from Paul and been instructed by his parents and he must indeed use his gifts. This idea here to stir up is an idea of to fan into a flame.
Now, most of us don’t have coal fires here in California. One, we don’t need them, and two, we’d rather have a gas fire were you just flick a switch. It’s clean, it’s convenient. But I grew up in a home and we owned a home in Northern Ireland where it was a coal fire. And they’re a lot of work. You got to keep stirring them up. You got to rake out the ashes in the morning, you got to put some slag on top of them at night, and then you break it in the morning and you feed it with some oxygen and more coal, you’ve got to keep that thing lit, because the last thing you want to do is for it to go out. Then you got to start all over again and build it up. And that’s the image. Fires have a tendency to die down and they must be fanned back into a flame. Poked and stirred and fed and focused on. And guys, as we close this morning, that’s the challenge, the Christian life requires discipline.
I’m sorry to end on this note, but this is where the text has us. It requires mastery. In fact, if you go to that phrase at the end of verse seven, sound mind, it’s better translated and some of your translations will do this, self-control or self-mastery. Or as William Hendrickson puts it in his commentator, take yourself in hand. And guys, as we close, you need to have mastery over your moods, over your temptations, over your abilities, over your dispositions. There’s no such a thing as let go and let God. I want to say this, and listen to me, there’s little that is spontaneous about the Christian life. There is little that is spontaneous about the Christian life. It requires discipline, self mastery. That’s why Paul will take the image of the athlete in 1 Corinthians 9 and say, “Hey, I beat myself, I subject myself, I disciplined myself like an athlete, so that I might win the prize.”
And we’re told, aren’t we, in 1 Timothy 4:7-8, exercise yourself under godliness. That’s a Greek word that gives us our word gymnasium. Get to the spiritual gym, exercise yourself in prayer and fasting, the reading of God’s Word and developing your spiritual gifts and making yourself accountable to the body of Christ. That’s why 2 Timothy 1:5-11 will say, “Give all diligence adding to your faith.” That’s why Jude 20:21 will say what? “Build yourself up in your most holy faith, keeping yourself in the love of God and looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus.” R. Kent Hughes says the Christian life is a sweaty affair. You’ve got to exercise yourself on the godliness, spill some holy sweat, make some effort, give yourself in discipline to the things that God has called you to do. There’s little that’s spontaneous about the Christian life.
You want to be a good student of God’s Word? Then you need to set the alarm and you need to keep that appointment with God. You need to develop the discipline of reading. You need to pray on a regular basis. And if that’s tough, then ask a man to pray with you and develop that discipline alongside him. You need to be part of a Christian fellowship. You need to commit to a local church in membership. There is little that’s spontaneous about the Christian life. It requires self effort, self-discipline, self mastering and the Spirit of God will underwrite it with joy and power and strength.
You know what? As we close, when you think about Churchill, do you not think about his rising speeches? “We will fight them on the beaches. This will be our finest hour.” But he actually worked over his speeches methodically, almost wrote them out word for word. In fact, he loved to take a bath in the afternoon almost every day of his life and his assistant came in and found him lying in the bath, writing something. He said, “What are you writing?” He said, “I’m writing my latest spontaneous speech. I’m writing my latest impromptu speech.” And when you get behind the voice of the British people in the free world, there wasn’t much that was spontaneous about it. Churchill was a very disciplined man. He read well, he wrote well, and it came across well.
Guys, freedom in the Christian life, it comes at the cost of discipline. There’s little that’s spontaneous about our walk with God. The making of a man, high interest, and we get a little bit of a flavor of this young man that Paul’s writing to and he loves him and he gives us four big influences, friends, parents, family, the gifting of the Holy Spirit and self discipline on the part of Timothy, who’s the recipient of all those blessings.
Let’s pray. Lord, we thank you for our time in the Word this morning. We’re excited about our study of 2 Timothy, because we want to live lives without apology, without retreat. And so, we pray that we would learn from the inside track we’re given here on the making of a man. Help us to see these influences and then see them in relation to us and then help us to indeed express those influences towards others, so that indeed we might become all that you’ve saved us to be. For we pray and ask these things in Christ name. Amen.