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.”
First and second Timothy being part of what is known as the “Pastoral Epistles” or “Letters” has much that we should keep in mind as we serve our Lord and King. 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 have been born-again – we are part of the Body of Christ and all ministers with our gifts and callings from God; we are each part of His holy priesthood. (1 Peter 1:5)
One of the admonitions of Paul to Timothy, and I believe to us as well, is to guard the gospel so that we do not water it down or pervert it by the way we live and speak. Sadly, we do not see the Gospel of Jesus Christ as powerful today like Paul expressed in Romans 1.
How should we guard the gospel? Our text tells us that we guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit that 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. When we speak His words they should have authority as well. 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? Paul knew that what he believed was real because of how it was working in his life, and because of that – he could speak with authority. A question that we could ask ourselves: Is the gospel really real in my life? Has it made an obvious difference? Paul said to the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 13:5 “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?” WE GUARD THE GOSPEL WITH OUR LIVES. One of the reasons why the gospel does not have much of an impact is because those who profess to have been saved by the gospel do not live much differently 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 for the gospel will certainly come if we guard it with our life. 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 like a suffering of embarrassment. People will try to shame us for sharing the gospel, but we must rise above this and not cower from sharing our testimony of Jesus Christ. I believe Paul faced this because he wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:23 “…but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” Here in our sophisticated West culture Christians seem to be ashamed to boldly speak in support of the simple pure gospel; more afraid to suffer the embarrassment when made to feel foolish or unwise. But, like Paul says, we do not come with the wisdom of man, but with the simplicity of the gospel that can change a man’s life and destiny.
Reformation will bring us back to the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ.