POST OVERVIEW. A quick blog about the importance of maintaining your zeal for the gospel and of keeping your love for Christ in front of you at all times.
The disciple must be diligent to keep the flames of his zeal for the Lord fully stoked. Paul gives Timothy this explicit exhortation in 2 Timothy 1:6.
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.
In Paul’s final letter, he instructs Timothy to make sure that the flame of the gospel never dies down. Pour on the fuel. Be alert to the temperature of your fire, because once the flames cool down, it is very difficult to bring them back to a blaze again.
The apostle has seen those who have suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith (1 Tim. 1:19). He has seen his beloved disciple Demas, once so full of promise and fire for the gospel, desert him and head off for Thessalonica because he loved this present world (2 Tim. 4:10). Paul knows that none are immune to the temptations of this life once they have allowed the flame to burn low, and so he wants to make sure that Timothy does not also fall victim.
The danger to the fire is not a dousing with water but is neglecting to feed the fire with fuel and fan the fire into flame. In other words, the threat is not a quenching from the outside but a neglect from the inside.
When I was young, we had a real fireplace in the living room of our home, and the living room was the place where we would hang our Christmas stockings and set up our tree and open up all our wrapped presents. By the end of Christmas morning, we had a mountain of used wrapping paper piled up in front of the fireplace, and my brothers and I were ready to exercise our childish pyromania by shoving paper into the inferno and watch it blaze. For maybe ten minutes the fire blazed hot and bright and then, as quickly as it started, the fire virtually went out. We had not put into the flames any substantial, long-lasting fuel and now the fire was burning low, ready to go out.
Once the fire has gone out, it is not possible to get it started again. All the fuel has been spent and the combustion has stopped. Now, even a very hot flame will not restart the fire because the fuel has been spent.
A WARNING TO KEEP THE FLAME BURNING
In Paul’s instructions to Timothy we find a warning for ourselves. Every disciple of Jesus should keep a vigilant watch over the fire of the gospel in their own heart and life and should be aware of its current temperature because of the danger of it going out. In Revelation 2, we see the church at Ephesus left their first love. They let the fire die down. In Revelation 3, we read of the church at Laodicea that Jesus vomited out of His mouth because they were lukewarm. Their fire produced no heat. For us, if we neglect this fire and allow it to burn out, then it is impossible to light that fire again. Once the fuel is spent, it cannot be reignited. No flame can reignite cold embers. In the spiritual realm, the danger is that a neglected gospel can go out and leave you with no zeal or excitement for Jesus or the Kingdom.
What do we do to keep the flame burning? Read the Bible with relish, soaking up every word as if it came directly from the mouth of God. Pray as if your life depended on your prayers being heard by God and your prayers being answered. Tell the world about the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ who left heaven for the humiliation of the cross so that sinful men and women might be reconciled to our holy God. Fellowship joyfully with God’s church and love your brothers and sisters in the Lord as you worship Him. If you do this, your flame will burn bright and hot till the Lord calls you home.
SDG rmb 10/14/2022 #581