Throughout history the Church has survived, even flourished, despite forces piling up against its success.
Is our present situation any worse than the situation described in the Second letter to Timothy? False teachers were upsetting people with stories of a false resurrection. Others had abandoned Christian leaders when the government imprisoned them. Even the Apostle Paul was dying in prison. By secular standards, many were ashamed to have claimed this faith.
For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NRSV)
Can you recall a campfire that seems to have mostly died out? The largest logs have been blacked and a fine white powder covers them. Yet when you look between those logs a few embers continue to glow red. Merely moving those logs or adding a little kindling yields renewed flames.
When we hold to the standards of sound teaching, when we courageously tell how our faith makes a difference, when we show our power, love and self-discipline, the Church of Jesus Christ illumines the world.
I will have more to say about 2 Timothy 1:1-14 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church at 8:15 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 29th.
Robert Shaw, Pastor
How big is your faith in God?
And the Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”Luke 17:6 (NRSV)
The context of having faith the size of a mustard seed is critical to our understanding this parable. Immediately before it the disciples where moaning about a difficult task. Immediately after Jesus suggests that disciples are like servants who merely do what was asked. Thus if you have faith like a mustard seed, you would also have a shovel to dig up that mulberry tree, with the help of a community of faith toss it into the sea.