The gospel tells us that we are lost in our sin, and there is no way we can save ourselves through good works. The moment we recognize the awfulness of our sin and cast ourselves upon God’s mercy and grace, He forgives, transforms, and justifies us. Salvation is by grace through faith, not of works (Ephesians 1:7–9). That is the gospel message.
That message is a problem for nonbelievers because the natural human mind cannot admit the gravity and horror of sin. The natural mind says, “I admit I’m not perfect, but I’m a good person. If there is a God, He will accept me. I don’t need a Savior. So keep your ‘sin’ talk to yourself. Don’t bother me with your gospel.”
The natural mind refuses to admit to having sinned so grievously that Jesus would have to die. “You’re telling me that Jesus died to save me? Me? Are you calling me a hopeless, helpless sinner? How dare you!”
Most of the denominational churches have compromised with the world in an effort to keep bums on seats and money to pay the bills including the minister’s salaries. Preachers belonging to these denominations have stopped preaching the gospel of redemption from sin, and now preach a message of human virtue. They have stopped preaching the cross and the empty tomb and instead preach positive thinking. They have stopped preaching justification by grace through faith, and instead preach social justice propaganda.
In many of the charismatic churches, it is all about the preacher and his ego. He/She wants to be liked and admired by nonbelievers who will donate big money to a ministry that flatters their egos.
What did Paul tell Timothy to do in a world that is hostile to the gospel of salvation? Guard the truth!
“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (2 Timothy 1:13-14, NIV).
The “pattern of sound teaching” Paul writes of is God’s blueprint. The word translated “pattern” is the same word used for an architectural design. What happens if a builder decides to ignore the architectural blueprint? What if the builder decides he doesn’t want to bother putting up the pillars, crossbeams and archways that are specified by the architect? The building will collapse.
Though Paul is burdened by the subversion of the church, he is able to say, “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). What day? The day of the Lord’s return!
And that is why the apostle Paul, in the closing days of his life, pleads with Timothy—and with you and me—to please, please, please follow the blueprint of sound teaching. Please, please, please guard the deposit of truth that was entrusted to you. Don’t try to improve on it. Don’t deviate from it. Don’t modify it.
Paul’s message to Timothy and to us is to keep the pattern of sound teaching and guard the good deposit of truth that was entrusted to you. The Lord is faithful to His Word. He will never allow the light of the gospel to be extinguished. God has entrusted the gospel to us, but He has not abdicated. He is watching over His Word. He will preserve it, with or without us. Whether or not we remain faithful, He will always be faithful.
He is trustworthy. He will accomplish all things according to the counsel of His will.
His Word reveals that Christians will have a time of tribulation/persecution prior to His second coming. We need to be prepared and warn others as to what lies ahead. We need to realise that God is still in control of all that happens on His earth. What plays out in the last seven years with Satan and his Antichrist, God allows. During this time Christ’s church will be purified before He takes us to heaven with the Rapture and then pours out His wrath upon unrepentant earth with the seven Trumpet (Revelation 12) and seven Bowl (Revelation 16) judgements. It is all revealed in God’s Word.