Scripture Text: 2 Timothy 1:7
1. All six messages in this current series are going to break down just one scripture passage: 2 Timothy1:7.
We are going to unpack each word.
a. Let’s look at it now. Read 2 Timothy 1:7.
b. This week I’m going to focus on the word “love.”
2. Love assumes connection, relationship with someone other than you. Human connections are extremely powerful: we affect each other way more than we realize.
a. Hardwired into us is a tendency to adapt and change ourselves through contact with others, even if just a little bit, whether we are conscious of it or not. Some call it empathy, some call it entanglement.
Like most things, it can become extreme.
Mirror-touch synesthesia is when someone can physically feel everything that’s happening around them: like if you see someone fall and hit their head and you see stars.
For most of us, we
unconsciously start to do things in response to others. The technical term is
1. Research shows that people sitting in a boardroom for extended time will start to breathe in synchronized rhythm.
2. Or how a son will adopt gestures he saw his father do, even years later.
b. The point of all this? When we harbor a spirit of fear; even when we think we are keeping it locked away and hidden, it has profound impact on the connections and
relationships we have, our family, marriage, neighborhood, workplace, even on our whole society.
Fear is a contagion, spreading like wildfire
It may be the most helpful way to understand what we are experiencing in the world today, and how that widespread fear is being exploited and stoked.
3. Paul tells his young pastor friend Timothy that he isn’t given a spirit of fear but of love.
a. Love comes from relationship with God, which the Bible sometimes calls, ironically, fearing God.
Six separate psalms say that God showers his steadfast love on those who
fear, or revere and respect him.
b. The New Testament teaches, and Christians believe, that Jesus embodies God’s love.
Jesus is God becoming human, entangling with us and showing empathy with us, injecting love into a fallen, evil and broken
Christians are called to imitate Christ, showing love as they have been loved and making it our mission.
Our LOVE1st core mission scripture: 1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.
c. This love introduces a new kingdom, a new life, which heals people and changes the world.
4. Reformation leader John Calvin wrote in his commentary on 2 Tim 1:7:
a. “But why did Paul afterwards add love and soberness (to power)? In my opinion, it was for the purpose of distinguishing that power of the Spirit from the fury and rage of fanatics, who while they rush forward with reckless impulse, fiercely boast of having the Spirit of God.”
John Wesley wrote: “Power and sobriety are two good extremes. Love is between, the tie and temperament of both; preventing the two bad extremes of fearfulness and rashness.”
b. Power, Love and Self-Control are all gifts of the Spirit, but love is what ties them together.
Knowing we are loved and called to love makes us thoughtful about how harboring a spirit of fear affects others, which activates our God-given empathy and gives us the power and self-control to find better options.
The verse before our LOVE1st scripture: 1 John 4:18. Love casts out fear.
5. Thursday night I was invited to join the Mayor and other community and religious leaders to speak at a Vigil honoring the victims of last weekend’s nightclub massacre in Orlando and standing against fear, hate and violence in this community.
a. Right afterwards a very intense lady made a bee-line for me and asked me if my church was open and affirming.
Her aggressive posture put me on my heels, and I stuttered something like “we are committed to love all people.”
She moved closer and said, “No, I mean do you have a statement that you are open and affirming?” I said, “You mean other than the gospel?” She rolled her eyes and stalked away. Apparently not what she wanted to hear.
I felt the effects of the confrontation the rest of the night.
She didn’t even give her name.
b. Of course, I wondered if maybe I wasn’t truly loving if I hadn’t issued some statement to that effect. But then I realized that someone else may want a different statement.
c. As His follower, I’m called by Christ to a love that casts out fear.
To know I can Listen and learn and lose nothing worth keeping.
To continuously be informed by the gospel of Christ to love as God loves
To let that love show me how I also have power and self-control
And then enter in, bringing Christ with me.
6. It’s just one more step closer to being