Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Christy Wimber – Guard the deposit entrusted to you, the power of the gospel
Christy Wimber speaking at Holy Trinity Cheltenham
It is quite a long post. It was a long message. It’s worth it! –IanG
EVERY TRIAL WE GO THROUGH WITH GOD IS FOR A PURPOSE
2 Timothy 1:3-14 (excerpt)
I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers…. I have been reminded of your sincere faith… For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (sound mind). So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life… Of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day… …Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Paul writes to Timothy as one who stands before God with a clear conscience and can say: “I did my best”. He is a prisoner, an apparent failure, abandoned by almost everyone, but there’s no alluding to the hardship, the beatings, or the shipwrecks. He doesn’t write: “All the things I went through… This is not the ministry I wanted…” There is no hint of self in Paul.
Paul here, far from highlighting his plight, is praying for Timothy. Paul is always praying. Prayer is the mark of a mature spiritual leader. We will only see more of God, the more that we’re willing to pray. The more that we’re willing to cry out to Him, and to take hold of His plans… We wait, we pray and then we plan. Too often, though, what we actually do is plan and pray – and then we’re frustrated.
In our lives we will encounter all kinds of trials – it’s in the New Testament! Temptation, suffering, hardship – all of those things. But trials themselves don’t change us – it’s our response to God in the trial that determines whether it is going to cripple us, or mould us for our next assignment. We may not like it very much but how we respond is how God builds stuff into us, so that we can carry the next thing that God has for us. Every trial has a purpose in it.
Yet so much of the time we’re trapped in complaining about what we have to go through. Resentment is what so often cripples people.
Then Paul reminds Timothy of his call and says: “Guard the deposit.” God is depositing in us here and now. All these encounters that we will remember form this week, are all for a reason.
He says to young Timothy “Fan into flame…” God deposits, and what He puts in us, is there for a reason. Paul is not referring to his gifting but pointing to the gifting – the deposit – that he sees in Timothy.
Sometimes we get sidetracked into wanting to be a part of things we are simply not anointed for. So much of the church is just in the wrong position. You have to trust God when He calls you, for that call and what He puts in you. Man goes after position, but God calls.
WHAT YOU ARE ANOINTED FOR IS WHAT YOU ARE ANOINTED FOR
What you are anointed for, is what He anoints you for – and you don’t get to choose. So take your gifts and run with them. Run and finish well! I’ve seen pmeople who have gone off and achieved worldly success and are really miserable – and that happens because because God has wired you to be a partaker in His kingdom.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity…” Timothy, like so many of us, is feeling he isn’t good enough. But Paul says to him, listen up, Timothy, this is what God has given you – a spirit of love, power and self discipline, meaning a sound mind.
“His purpose and grace for us… has now been revealed.” Note the difference: through the Spirit things get revealed, grace, rather than us discovering, which is by works.
Paul writes: “I am not ashamed in the gospel.” There is no shame in the good news, no shame in Christian ministry – it’s all been dealt with at the Cross _ because he says “I know who I am, and I know who I have believed in.”
The teaching for us is also to keep to the pattern of sound teaching with faith and love in Christ Jesus, and guard the deposit that was entrusted to us, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Without the power of the Holy Spirit it is impossible to guard what God gives us, impossible to finish well, impossible to walk the way God wants us to walk.
This is Paul, in prison, deserted by almost everyone. Because of the gospel message he has been beaten, imprisoned, deserted – but he is asserting that the gospel message is worth it all: worth dying for.
The church needs to get back on the front foot with the gospel message. People are going to hell, and yet we get worried about being uncomfortable and about what God might call us to next. We don’t have time for that. The gospel, the most powerful message on the planet, has changed everything for us. Water it down and we create ‘Christians’ instead of forming disciples.
WE BELIEVE… TO THE EXTENT WE SHARE IT
We only believe in the gospel to the extent we are prepared to share in it, and the amount we are willing to risk in it. Don’t ever look at the consequences, always look at the privilege, the message you have been invited into.
Paul does not downplay the cost. He acknowledges the suffering, but it is important to note that he doesn’t live there. He concentrates on the privilege, not the ever-present pain. If we forget the privilege of what we have been invited into, the pain will be able to override.
We see incredible miracles, but the enemy is always right there. And so so we ask God’s Spirit to come in and show His love for us.
The Holy Spirit is not for self. He is to be followed, He is our counsellor, comforter, our paraclete, not for show, not a programme or a circus. An entrustment.
PEOPLE ARE ATTRACTED TO A ROBUST GOSPEL
When God encounters you, it is always for a purpose. What you do with the power that God entrusts to you determines a lot. You have the power for right purposes or you will lose it, and then it is impossible to walk in the works of God without the power. But when we walk in the power of God we will be empowered to stand for the things of God, to risk for the gospel. God’s power takes us to where we can risk. He puts His power in us to obey. He empowers us for obedience.
David Hume, the 18th century Scottish philosopher and sceptic, was seen at 5am one morning going to hear George Whitefield, and someone who knew him called out: “I thought you didn’t believe in the gospel?”
“I don’t,” he replied, “but that man does!” People are attracted to a robust gospel.
Whatever you build, you have to maintain – but whatever He builds, He maintains.
The world will know us, not by our signs and wonders, but by our love. Some really know how to love people, and don’t feel significant enough – but loving people is the essential, the foundation. The greatest thing ever is that we love, because He first loved us. Love is the mark on us. Fall in love with Jesus over and over again. Not a once a year visit, it’s an ongoing invitation.
And a sound mind? God is not going to going to allow you to become crazy. It’s a common fear…. The feeling that you will never make it, so you might as well quit now. So many leaders are seeking God for fresh vision, asking for revelation. And it comes from a place of intimacy.
MESSING UP THE ‘GOOD THING WE’VE GOT GOING’
We are entering another season of God shaking His church. A while back I had a clear picture of this perfect woman with perfect, big-styled ‘Texas hair’ and this great pair of hands came down from heaven and messed her hair up. This is about allowing God to come and invade us, and let the fire bring to the surface all the ugly stuff. That’s revival.
I believe God is going to shake the church again and church, and church planting, is going to look different. Of course God is about doing new things and it never is the same. You may feel called to plant a church or a ministry, but it doesn’t fit with what has gone before. Everything looks different when God rocks it. And it messes up the sense of “I’ve got a good thing going here”.
What God gave us 30 or 40 years ago was wonderful, but the old bread is now not health-giving. We need fresh bread for today.