2 Timothy 1:14 ‘Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.’
1st and 2nd Timothy, being part of what is known as the Pastoral Epistles or Pastoral Letters, has much that we who are in the ministry should keep in mind. However, like the rest of the Word of God it is all written for our admonition. We should all keep in mind that if we are part of the Body of Christ and have been born again that we are all ministers; we are part of the holy priesthood. (1 Peter 1:5)
One of the admonitions of Paul to Timothy, and I believe through Holy Writ to us as well, is to guard the Gospel. Is it possible that the gospel has become watered down today because we have not guarded it as we ought? I think so. Consequently we do not see the Gospel as dynamite today, like Paul expressed in Romans 1.
The question comes: how do we guard the Gospel? Our text tells us that we guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. But what does this mean in practical terms? I would like to offer several things in this connection.
Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” There is no better way to guard the gospel than to see the gospel being demonstrated in one’s life.
John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only.” When Jesus spoke it was often said that the people were amazed because He spoke with authority. Authority and His life go together.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:13, “It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.” What does this mean: I believed; therefore I have spoken. Paul knew that what he believed was real because it was working in his life and because of that he spoke.
A question that we could ask ourselves is: Is the Gospel real in our lives? Has it made a difference? Paul said to the Corinthian church: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
WE GUARD THE GOSPEL WITH OUR LIVES. One of the reasons why the Gospel does not have much of an impact is because there is not much difference in the lives of those who profess to have the Gospel – from those who are ignorant of the Gospel.
We are to guard the Gospel by our suffering. 2 Timothy 1:8 “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” I think it is interesting to see that suffering and being ashamed is in the same sentence. Is there a connection? I think so. For many of our brothers and sisters in certain countries there is real suffering for the gospel to the point of death. However, for those of us in the West it might be more the suffering of embarrassment.
If we are honest there is a certain amount of shame or embarrassment in sharing the Gospel. Paul, I believed faced this when he was writing in 1 Corinthians 1:23 “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” Here in our sophisticated west we have a tendency to being ashamed of the simple pure gospel. By sharing it will bring suffering of embarrassment that we are not wise in believing the Gospel. But like Paul says, we have come not with the wisdom of man, but with the simplicity of the Gospel that can change a man’s life.
Reformation will bring us back to the simplicity of the Gospel.