Cary Allen
07 Mar

Was in Judges and 2Timothy this week and came across familiar passages that seemed to be closer aligned than I had seen before.  

In Judges, God’s people (the Israelites) got into a cycle of forsaking the Lord, worshipping various gods of the peoples around them and then being captured by the surrounding kingdoms.  They would then call upon the Lord and He would raise up judges or deliverers that the Spirit of the Lord came upon and would save them out of the hands of their enemies for as long as the judge lived.  But when the rule of the judge ended with their death, the Israelites would return to ways even more evil than before. 

In 2Timothy, God’s people (church in Ephesus) are no longer under the rule of imperfect judges and deliverers in temporary kingdoms but are now supposed to be under the rule of the perfect judge and deliverer, Jesus.  However, the church is being influenced by some leaders who are distorting the gospel message and hence, Paul is writing Timothy to challenge him to keep fighting the good fight and specifically: [2Ti 1:6-7 NIV] 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 the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline

This is so encouraging because regardless of our individual gifting, the Holy Spirit gives all of us power, love and self-discipline.  In Paul’s earlier prayer for the Ephesians, he describes why the Spirit’s gifts of power and love are so important. [Eph 3:16-19 NIV] 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 

This seems to depict a process of maturity that begins with 1) the Holy Spirit’s power enabling Christ to dwell in our hearts though faith.  Then 2) we are rooted and established in Christ’s love.  Next, 3) the Holy Spirit’s power enables us as a church to understand all the dimensions of the love of Christ.  Finally, 4) we know this love that surpasses knowledge and are filled with all the fullness of God. 

The Spirit’s gift of self-discipline helps us to stay on course and continue the good fight of the faith (1Tim6:12).  This must also have been good news to Timothy to help him to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15) to the leaders who were misdirecting the church in Ephesus. We do get some insight into how the church in Ephesus fared after Timothy left. [Rev 2:3-5 NIV] 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 

It appears that because of the errant leaders, the church had forsaken the love they had at first, but hopefully they chose to repent. 

This should embolden us to fan into flame the gift of God by focusing on maturing in Christ.  Let us choose to follow Paul’s prayer (Eph 3:16-19) and mature individually and as a church in Christ by the Holy Spirit until we grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Cary Allen (

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