√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken
2 Timothy 2 [NIV]
1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others…4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this…25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…
Renewal is the application of “the grace that is in Christ Jesus” that fills the void sins once occupied in us. What makes renewal real is Jesus’ grace, and our confidence in it. That’s the only thing that can overcome our limitations.
Paul knew it was God who’d entrusted him AND his limitations, to be a witness for Him. He had first-hand experience of the power of Jesus to change even the most undeserving opponent, despite their limitations. Isn’t that an interesting thought? God knows how to teach us to use what we wish he would just take away.
This is my grand finale for all of us today. I want our confidence to be in God’s power and the grace of Jesus to help us reveal He is the strength we count on despite our obvious limitations. Then we can we be His reliable witnesses “qualified to teach others… in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…” I guess it’s the “takes one to know one” method of witness….and on a personal note, if God can “gently” instruct and continue to change a woman who once said…I’ve changed enough…He can change anyone.
NLT 1 Peter 1:1 This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people… who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. 2…May God give you more and more grace and peace…3… Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay…8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls… 10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you…12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.
I’ve learned these first chapters of Bible are like pieces of a patchwork quilt for “God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners.” Chapters that are separate and often unique somehow fit together to become an image of Christ so “you love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.”
Each of these chapters are pieces of a quilt meant to become a beautiful and useful part of your “priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” The author’s “messages were not for themselves, but for you” spoken by “those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven”
These first chapters are their God-given record of their relationship to God through Jesus. That record is their application; exactly what God intended His book should teach us. Application is where the power of the Bible lies. Our personal application is pieced together from each of these individual chapters God has given us to complete our transformation. “The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
It’s easy to forget scrolls, letters and even a prophet’s words but God had a new plan for the safekeeping of his law and his word. A place of convenient and reliable access; “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” It would be like muscle memory for the mind and heart. It might still be forgotten, misused and unused for a time but it could not be lost. The treasured information had been protected…and then came the Advent.
That long-ago cradle was how God revealed his application to us…the Safekeeper…his son Jesus, the Christ…born to teach us how to live real lives based on the treasured information kept safe in our minds and hearts.