Study 2 GOD’S GIFT TO EVERY BELIEVER
PAUL’S SECOND LETTER TO TIMOTHY
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portion: 2 Timothy 1:1-18. Key verse: verse 7
In this second study we consider God’s gift to every believer, His gift of the Holy Spirit – look up the words of Jesus in John 14:16-17. The Apostle Paul refers to this great gift in 2 Timothy 1:7, the key verse of this study. When Paul wrote this letter he was in prison, and it would appear that Timothy was in some kind of spiritual danger. Paul does not tell us exactly what the danger was, but possibly Timothy was not as ready for soldiery as he was for sainthood; for the Lord’s call to us is that we should not only be saints but soldiers. When we come to Him we receive the blessing of rest (Matthew 11:28); but the Lord at once challenges us with a proclamation of battle (2 Timothy 2:3). A careful study of 2 Timothy 1:6 suggests that possibly Timothy had lost some of his former zeal for the Lord. Therefore Paul needed to write to him and to exhort him to “fan into flame the gift of God”. We need to notice two things in our key-verse: first, that the reference here is to the Holy Spirit. The word ”Spirit” should be spelt with a capital ‘S’ for it refers to the third Person of the Trinity, as verse 6 indicates. In early apostolic times it was customary for the Holy Spirit to be imparted through the laying on of hands. But it is also important to notice: second, that God has given the Holy Spirit to all who believe. This is a fundamental truth which we need to understand. The Holy Spirit indwells every child of God - notice the last phrase in 2 Timothy 1:14. If this is so, what is He there to do? What is His ministry in the life of the Christian? In this one verse we are told of four of His ministries. Notice to begin with that:-
1. HE INDWELLS US TO DELIVER US FROM FEAR
He is within us to set us free from fear, for “God did not give us a spirit of timidity …” Of course, there is a sense in which the Holy Spirit makes us more fearful than we were before we became Christians. That is, He plants within us the fear of the Lord, which is a holy, godly fear. But the thought in this verse is that the Holy Spirit is within us to free us from all binding and destructive fear, and Paul mentions three specific fears from which the Holy Spirit frees us:-
- (1) The fear of reproach and persecution. We see this in verse 8. If we are determined to be faithful to the Lord we shall certainly know something of reproach and persecution, and it is easy enough to fear this and to try to escape it, but look up Proverbs 29:25; and compare the words of the Lord Jesus - Matthew 5:10-12. The Holy Spirit has been given to us in order that we may be freed completely from the fear of man, the fear of reproach, and the fear of persecution and of suffering - look up 1 Peter 4:14-19.
- (2) The fear of death. This is mentioned in verses 9-10. What a mystery death is, and what an enemy! All of us by nature are afraid of death; but the Holy Spirit has been given to us that we may be freed from all fear of death, because – see what it says in verse 10. Are you afraid of death? Ask the Holy Spirit, who dwells within you, to drive out your fear.
- (3) The fear of judgment. This is mentioned in verses 12 and 18, and in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 - compare Hebrews 10:27. Notice the last three words in 2 Timothy 1:12 – “for that day”. These words refer to the day when Christians will be present at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We need have no fear that we shall be judged for our sins, for Christ has borne our judgment in His death upon the Cross - look up John 5:24 and compare Romans 8:1.
The Holy Spirit dwells within us to deliver us from fear: the fear of reproach and persecution, the fear of death and the fear of judgment.
2. HE INDWELLS US TO EMPOWER US
”God has given us the Spirit of power” - compare Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8. What is the power which the Holy Spirit gives to us? It is Himself. In what way is He our power? How does His power within us manifest itself? The answer is - in Christ-like living and witnessing. Timothy was timid about witnessing, as verse 8 makes quite clear, so Paul tells him that God has given him the Spirit of power to make him a living, vital, powerful witness - and surely that is our great need! We need the power of the Holy Spirit to make us effective witnesses for the Lord just where He has placed us, in the home, the business, the workshop etc. We need power to be holy - (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8); power to be courageous (Acts 4:29); power to pray (Acts 4:31); power to suffer (Acts 5:41); and maybe, power to die for the Lord (Acts 7:54-60). Do you feel far too weak to live and to labour for the Lord? Rely upon the Holy Spirit, who dwells within you, to give you power.
3. HE INDWELLS US TO ENRICH US WITH LOVE
This is the first mark of a Spirit-filled life; the one quality that should characterise us as Christians. The Lord Jesus said to His disciples - look up John 13:34-35, and compare Galatians 5:22. How we need to be filled with love! - compare Romans 5:1-5. But it is not enough, when we are conscious of our need of love, to screw ourselves up and say, ‘I am going to be more loving.’ Such resolution will not make us more loving. This love, which is the sum of holiness (for in Romans 13:10 we read that ”Love is the fulfilment of the law”), is reproduced in us by the Holy Spirit. Read through 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and thank God that the Holy Spirit dwells in you to enrich your whole life with love.
4. HE INDWELLS US TO GIVE US SELF-DISCIPLINE
The Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, is wonderfully described in Isaiah 11:2. The Holy Spirit living in us promotes self-discipline which is revealed in wisdom, understanding, knowledge and right living. We have all these in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He gives to us discernment and understanding and knowledge of the will of God, so that we may live lives that are pleasing to God and useful in His service.
In this study we have considered the Holy Spirit’s work in the believer. There is one thing to add in conclusion. The measure in which we shall experience His working in us will depend on our full surrender to Him and to His will.