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Guarding the Gospel

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Pam Phillips
Minister of Women

Follow the pattern of the sound[a] words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.  - 2 Timothy 1:14

As a follower of Christ one of the most important things we are charged to do is to protect the Gospel. 2 Timothy 1:14 instructs us,  'By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you."  How do we guard the Gospel? Four ways come to mind.

Be Unashamed of our Faith

In 2 Timothy 1:8 Paul urges Timothy to be unashamed of Christ and the gospel and to join him in suffering for the faith. There is a great social pressure today to compromise our biblical views. Proverbs 29:25 says "the fear of people becomes a snare."  Yet we are empowered by the Holy Spirit  to be bold with our words, to show love to those who criticize, and to live out a life of holiness for others to witness. Through the Spirit we can stand up against persecution and guard the good deposit entrusted to us.

Paul was never ashamed of his faith, his trust in Jesus never swayed. Paul said: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes."  And this commitment to the gospel never diminished.  Paul’s last words include “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." The word translated "kept" means "to keep by guarding, to watch over."  To the end, Paul modeled the importance of being unashamed of our faith.

Knowing the Genuine Article

Knowing God's word empowers us to discern the counterfeits. Timothy was one step ahead in knowing God's word better than most as he was taught the Word of God by his mother and grandmother. He then was discipled by Paul and served with Paul in ministry for years. Even though Timothy knew the Word of God and was well equipped, Paul tells Timothy that he needed to be diligent in the study of the word and in rightly dividing the Word of truth. Surely Timothy realized the importance of knowing God’s word and to distinguish it from false doctrine.

Share The Gospel

In 2 Timothy 1:13 Paul tells Timothy to be vigilant in teaching and preaching the gospel and that his teaching should be reflected by a life that has been transformed by the gospel. The early Christians took this command seriously and they let nothing stop them - not fear or persecution, and the gospel spread because they refused to stop! We must honestly ask ourselves how determined are we? We must continue the call both to share and live the gospel. This is discipleship in its purest form. Sharing the gospel is not about trying to convert people to Christianity, that is the work of the Holy Spirit, but in sharing and living the gospel we partner with the Holy Spirit in that work. 

Make Disciples

Discipleship is a relationship that provides an opportunity to share the gospel and to exercise the 3 ways above to guard it.  It is an honor to teach someone how to apply the gospel to their lives and to witness the transformation it produces.  Making disciples keeps us anchored to God’s Word.  And working with a disciple provides a perfect opportunity to encourage your disciple to boldly share the gospel and fulfill the Great Commandment to "therefore go and make disciples of all nations." 

If we are confident in the truthfulness of the gospel, and depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to know it, to live it and to share it, we can guard the good deposit entrusted to us.

Prayer: Dear Lord, You have entrusted me with something of utmost importance - your Word and the responsibility to share it with others.  Help me understand the gravity of your words.  Provide the daily opportunity to study it and to see how it can help me to be a reflection of you.  And give me the courage to use it, share it and protect it.

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Simplicity of Salvation

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Melanie West
Small Group Leader

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  -Ephesians 2: 8-9

Standing tall and stately before the altar, Uncle Richie beamed. His bride of 75 years stood beside him in her cotton-blend skirt suit much like the grey wool Victory Suit she wore at their wedding all those many years ago. Aunt Rose looked adoringly at Uncle Richie and he to her as they gently spoke their heartfelt words of rededication. 

As the words were spoken, the unspoken question of the observing participants was “How did this life-long relationship begin?” The resounding answer was a simple, “Yes”. Uncle Richie asked Aunt Rose to marry him, and she said, “Yes”. But it was a thoughtful “Yes”. Could she trust him to support her, to be faithful to her, to honor her and to believe in God and follow His ways as they had believed while dating? Aunt Rose had no dowry, no wealth. She had nothing to offer but herself. The commitment would require trust and faith in him to make the marriage last. 

Aunt Rose and Uncle Richie were married over 75 years, both passing from this world at 93 years old. For those 75 plus years they shared a rich relationship - one that grew through challenges and hardship. They were blessed to have each other as helpmates to make it through life and I was blessed to have them as a Great Aunt and Uncle. They were an excellent example of what a marriage relationship could be. How did it all start? With a simple, “Yes”. 

Now wouldn’t we all like to have a relationship like theirs? We can. In fact, we can have one far greater than human failings. God made a way. Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we could have a relationship with Him. God sacrificed his only Son so that we might be justified. The wage of sin is death, but Jesus died in our place. The price has been paid. God is holy and righteous and the only way that we can walk with him is through the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. In the book Basic Christian Beliefs: Establishing the firm foundations of Christian faith it says, “We believe salvation comes by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ, which is a gift from God.

“Grace” means unmerited favor from God. It is a gift. A gift is not earned, it is received. A gift is not a loan, it is not repaid. It is accepted and is ours to keep. But we must believe. Ephesians 2:7 says, “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”  We have been offered the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. But, like Aunt Rose we must simply say, “Yes”. 

Titus 3:5 says,  "He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”. Can we boast when we receive a gift from a giver? Of course not. Neither can we boast when we accept this gracious gift of eternal life and intimate eternal relationship with Jesus. 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Yes, I want a relationship with you. Yes, I believe in my heart that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead for my sins. I know that I come with nothing but my sinful nature, but I pray for the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Please come into my life and help me to “do life” with you; to trust you and have faith that you are a faithful God. I accept your gift of salvation and choose to follow you the rest of my life.

Posted by Melanie West with