At the end of 1 Timothy, Paul instructed his son in the faith, Timothy, to guard what had been entrusted to Him. Paul repeats this instruction in 2 Timothy 1:14 (HCSB) "Guard, through the Holy Spirit who lives in us, that good thing entrusted to you." The previous verse clarifies what the treasure is that Timothy must guard. 2 Timothy 1:13 (HCSB) says, "Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." The pattern of sound teaching that Paul is talking about is the apostolic gospel. The context makes this absolutely clear!
Paul viewed the gospel as a treasure that must be guarded. He passionately desired that Timothy view it the same way. You see, the gospel was under attack in Paul's day. He understood that attack would continue to intensify during these last days.
The gospel is indeed under attack today. One example is the book and soon to be released movie "The Da Vinci Code." These are clearly the enemy's effort to undermine the gospel. Many gullible people have already succumbed to the ignorant and vile ramblings of fiction writer Dan Brown who falsely claims his story is historically factual. If you don't know the story line let me summarize it for you. The story is about a secret religious organization that will stop at nothing to protect a secret that threatens to overturn 2,000 years of accepted dogma. The story claims that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, had a child in that union, and a clandestine society once headed by Leonardo Da Vinci has protected this information for centuries against a threatened Catholic hierarchy.
Gene Fant Jr., a professor at Union University, says, "The problem with Brown’s book is that most readers do not read with a biblical worldview. They conform their theology to Dan Brown, rather than holding up Brown’s story for scrutiny against the clear teachings of Scripture. Critics of Brown rightly have pointed out that he has simply repackaged old heresies and conspiracy theories for an age that craves mysticism and secret knowledge. People who “believe” Brown’s theories have placed his work as authoritative over and against Scripture itself. Christians, however, should elevate the Word above all other words."
The movie is set to be released on May 19 and stars Tom Hanks. It's almost certain to be a great success. After all, the book has sold over 60 million copies. Undoubtedly, most of us will encounter people who will have either read the book of seen the movie. Unfortunately, a number of these people will assume what they have read or heard is true. Some will buy in because they have never liked the gospel; it offends them. Others will buy in because they are biblically illiterate and don't know any better.
How should we Christians respond? I think Paul's instruction to Timothy is the answer. We must guard the treasure of the gospel through the Spirit who resides with in us! We must hold onto the pattern of sound teaching no matter how the enemy seeks to distort it! Is this enough? No, we must be prepared to also heed Paul's instruction in 2 Timothy 2:23-26 (HCSB) "But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they breed quarrels. The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance to know the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil’s trap, having been captured by him to do his will."
Get ready folks! We are going to have many opportunities in the near future to both guard and share the treasure we have been entrusted with!