Sound Gospel Doctrine
“Yet I am not ashamed, because I know WHOM I have believed and I am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. 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 1:12-14). [all emphasis mine]
Stand firm – Hold on
“So then brothers, stand firm and HOLD ON TO THE TEACHINGS we passed on to you whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:15-17).
WHAT DO WE HAVE OF LASTING ETERNAL VALUE? Let´s meditate on that.
- The Lord Jesus to the angel of the Church in Philadelphia:“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Revelation 3:11).
- “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us” (II Corinthians 4:7).
- The jars of clay (our bodies). “For God made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (II Cor. 4: 6).
God´s part: John the Baptist giving his testimony about who Jesus is: “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven” (John 3:22).
Jesus praying to the Father: “For the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me” (John 17:8 NASB).
Our part: Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
So now that we know what to hold on to, what we have, what we have been given and that we are to give, what do we do?
- If a person wants to feel really humble and use one of those clichés that sounds really spiritual, here is one cop- out: Preach the Gospel and use words if necessary — Reams of articles have been written on the subject, so no need to explain. But when in doubt, Google.
The opposite that sounded also quite spiritual used to be the fashion statement when I grew up in Catholic France and was asked, “Are you a Catholic?” The answer would be, “I am not practicing but I believe.” The worst of it was that I really was living in a schizoid, make-believe phony world of existential philosophy until the Lord intervened and revealed himself.
He revealed his unfailing grace and his love for me – a miserable sinner who had broken every one of his commandments; who had offended his Glorious Majesty, thus deserving hell reserved for the devil, his angels and rebellious and independent, self-sufficient human beings that refuse to acknowledge the sovereignty of their Creator over his creatures and receive on his terms his way of reconciliation and peace that he provided through the substitute sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ on the cross
- through the preaching of his Word,
- through my reading of the Beatitudes that revealed my total inability to measure up to God´s standard of holiness and earn my salvation through my own efforts, being a wretch that I was and
- my need for a Savior and
- the love and faith in action of the Christians around me.
- Or like Paul, we can say: “It is written, ‘I believed, therefore I have spoken.’ With the same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak” (II Cor. 4:13).
Peter, obeying his Lord, said to the crippled beggar, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you” (Acts 3:6).
We are not given in order to hoard what we have but to share with others.
In the way of common grace, as the Father makes the rain fall and the sun shine on the just and the unjust on the earth that “the Lord formed to be inhabited,” we share the truth of the Gospel with everybody who will
- listen, hear, and through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit,
- understand with an open and willing heart their natural propensity for sins, their incurable condition facing the just wrath of a Holy God
- repent and receive Jesus Christ who died for them; and if they accept what the Bible says about who they are and who Jesus Christ is,
- become saved by his grace through faith (given to them)
- believe in his name and become children of God (being born again)
- receive forgiveness through his sacrifice on the cross and eternal life through his resurrection.
For a more thorough explanation of what the Gospel is, click HERE.
In a more specific way, we share everything we have received with our brothers and sisters in Christ as the day of the redemption of our bodies draws near; and we need to be strong and remain standing firm in the power of his might against the flaming arrows of the evil one.
“It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it… I, the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right” (Isaiah 45:12,19).
Therefore, this is what we have been entrusted with, and this is what we proclaim: the Gospel of Jesus Christ that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
This is righteous kingdom living, not a guilt trip I am trying to put on you. Jesus said, “Without me, you cannot do anything” (Spiritual, that is).
“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (II Cor. 3:5).
Whatever you think you don´t have or are unable to do because of fear or timidity, ask him; he will provide what you lack.
Let us emulate Paul the Apostle who asked the Ephesians, “and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20). NASB