Sunday 134, May 11, 2003, Mother's Day
Lois and Eunice [2 Tim 1:3-7]
Proverbs 11; 1 Corinthians 13; Titus 1
2 Tim 1:3-7 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. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 6 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. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Mothers are our first teachers. Sincere faith can be learned from our mothers.
May those who hope in you
not be disgraced because of me,
O Lord, the LORD Almighty;
may those who seek you
not be put to shame because of me,
O God of Israel.
Grandmothers and Mothers give us three gifts from God
These gifts come in the form of faith.
SPIRIT OF POWER
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
This was the promise of John the Baptist about the one to follow him. This is the promise of Jesus and was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. This power was to be to the descendants of the church -- children’s children -- your sons and daughters. This power is what should be in the church today.
Acts 2:17 "'In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Acts 4:33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
Acts 19:20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
Paul is talking about three generations of faith: Lois, Eunice, and Timothy. By this time, Timothy was an adult and commentators of 2 Timothy indicate it was the last epistle written by Paul before his execution. Timothy’s faith is linked back to Lois and time-wise, Lois was a contemporary of Jesus. Lois was at the beginning of the church. Lois was one of the first Christians. Was she in the 3000 at the day of Pentecost? Did she experience the wind in the Upper Room? The "forefathers" of Paul and Lois meant the same thing.
The faith of grandmothers supports great power in grandchildren. It is an inheritance we can experience – the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in power -- spiritual power.
Grandmothers, it is your faith that will raise Timothys in the church without timidity.
SPIRIT OF LOVE
Mothers and Grandmothers teach us about Love.
Titus 2:3-5 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Love is a learned thing? A not "falling in" thing? If it is not a learned thing, how can it be taught?
In our society there seems to be a great difficulty differentiating between love and lust (hormonal outbursts of irrational behavior usually resulting in sin). It may be shocking to become aware that love is not and does not come about by having whiter teeth, the right color hair, a slimmer body, or drinking the right beer at a party.
Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.
1 Corinthians 13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Notice the power gifts? Even martyrdom? But now we have the list. Frequently used at weddings, this chapter has to do with Christian living just as much as a spouse.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
YES. Prophecies, tongues and knowledge will cease when we are face-to-face with Jesus. But that has not happened yet – maybe later today – but not right now. Therefore the church – the body of Christ -- all of us need these power gifts functioning. We need our spiritual heritage.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
These three are intertwined and most important.
Grandmothers, it is your demonstration of love that teaches young people correct values of love. It is your faith that instills faith in subsequent generations. Through you, our hope is lifted up.
SPIRIT OF SELF-DISCIPLINE
What kind of self-discipline would Paul be talking about? It is the kind where the mind is making decisions. Self-discipline is not a supernatural gift from God. It is the conscious decisions that young men and women make. When mothers and grandmothers live a life of self-discipline, it rubs off. When self-discipline is ignored, it hurts mothers.
Examples might include:
A wise son brings joy to his father,
but a foolish son grief to his mother.
A wise son brings joy to his father,
but a foolish man despises his mother.
He who robs his father and drives out his mother
is a son who brings shame and disgrace.
If a man curses his father or mother,
his lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.
Listen to your father, who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.
May your father and mother be glad;
may she who gave you birth rejoice!
He who robs his father or mother
and says, "It's not wrong"--
he is partner to him who destroys.
The rod of correction imparts wisdom,
but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.
"The eye that mocks a father,
that scorns obedience to a mother,
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley,
will be eaten by the vultures.
Proverbs 31:9 Sayings of King Lemuel
The sayings of King Lemuel--an oracle his mother taught him:
2 "O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, 3 do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings.
4 "It is not for kings, O Lemuel--not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, 5 lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. 6 Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; 7 let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.
8 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."
There is no spiritual Gift from the Holy Spirit called the Gift of Self-Discipline. This is where you turn your brain on and just do it.
FAN INTO FLAME THESE GIFTS
Lois and Eunice gave a rich heritage to Timothy. And Paul confirmed gifts with the laying on of hands. Holy Spirit was all too willing to impart power to the timid Timothy, but he had to take some action of his own. Paul told him to fan into flame the gift that is within you. Exercise the gifts that you have.
Recently I encountered a man in his fifties who wished God would put in writing has gifts because he didn’t know if he had any. I knew his mother. I knew his grandmother. I knew his gifts. But some preacher told him he didn’t have any and he chose to believe the "gifted" preacher rather than his heritage. And now his new preacher is very careful about who is authorized to use spiritual gifts. Again, choices made to quench the Spirit.
Your mother and grandmother may have given you a rich spiritual heritage, but you have let the coals sit and cool off. You have not been around or you have avoided being around where that heritage can burst into flame with great power. Is that your mother’s fault? Or your grandmother’s fault?
Have your chosen lust of the flesh rather than the self-discipline that build true love and true spiritual power? Why not recover some of that heritage today – while it is yet, today.
But maybe your mother did not give you that rich spiritual heritage. Today, you can start a legacy that will affect your children, your children’s children and generation upon generation. The gift of God is available to you, today: Faith, Hope, and Love.
Faith: The unseen made real.
Hope: I know my Redeemer lives.
Love: For God so loved the world.
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But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today,
so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
Hebrews 3:13 NIV