What does it mean to Be "Entrusted with the Gospel?"

A Brief Introduction
        It is an exciting adventure for me to begin a website. It is even more exciting to begin a website that is about the Gospel. Throughout my seminary studies I developed a desire to write but did not have much time beyond the rigors of my school assignments to pursue other writing projects. I feel like I grew by leaps and bounds both personally and spiritually while in seminary and I want to share some of the wealth of that growth with the world. It is my intention to use Entrusted with the Gospel as a venue to develop my own writing and discuss the things I study regularly as a pastor. I hope you will find Entrusted with the Gospel to be an informative, challenging, and exciting place to learn about the Bible, Theology, the Gospel, and Life. In addition, I hope to provide many book reviews, some opinion articles, and maybe even some adventure reporting. I hope the fruits of my labor bless your life and call you to a closer relationship with Christ or maybe a relationship with Christ for the first time. Since Entrusted with the Gospel is such an intriguing name, I would like to begin with an article that answers the question below; What does it mean to be “Entrusted with the Gospel?”

What does it mean to be “Entrusted with the Gospel?” I became captivated with this phrase “Entrusted with the Gospel” while I was working through a Greek exegesis class on the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus) in seminary. I am deeply indebted to Dr. Ray Van Neste of Union University and Dr. Jim Hamilton of SBTS for instilling a love for the Pastoral Epistles during my studies at SBTS. This phrase, “Entrusted with the Gospel,” brought to light, in my own heart and mind, the seriousness and weight of what has been given to me in Christ. To be fair, this phrase never actually occurs in the Pastoral Epistles, but the Gospel as a whole is the object of what Paul entrusts to Timothy and by extension is entrusted to everyone who calls on the name of Christ as a Christian. It is 2 Timothy that primarily uses the entrusted language, though it can also be seen in 1Timothy, and the ideas are present in Titus. In brief, I think there are several important aspects to the picture of being “Entrusted with the Gospel” that emerge in Paul’s Pastoral letters that help Christians grasp what it means to live out the call to participate in the Gospel of Christ.

To be “Entrusted with the Gospel” means getting the message right. Paul is at pains to remind Timothy of the message he has received. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 is probably the best summary of Paul’s Gospel in the Pastorals. Paul’s Gospel includes: God’s call based on His purposes, God’s grace in the person and work of Christ, participation in the Gospel through faith alone, and our position in the body furthering God’s work. In addition, in both 1st and 2nd Timothy Paul urges Timothy not to be dissuaded by others around him that are teaching the wrong message or have abandoned the true message all together. Paul wants a singular focus on the Gospel that has been delivered to Timothy both through the preaching of the Word and through Scripture. Getting the message right today can seem to be an almost impossible task. There is book after book, preacher after preacher, hipster after hipster, and blog after blog that all seem to be arguing over what the message is. Paul’s answer is clear, stay rooted in the scriptures and the pattern set down by the apostles. Finding the message in the scriptures however would be impossible without the next aspect of the picture, which is the filling of the Spirit.

To be “Entrusted with the Gospel” means striving with God to live filled by His Spirit. Paul urges Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6 to kindle, or fan into flame the gift he has been given to him. Paul knows that Timothy’s faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit and Paul wants Timothy to cultivate that gift. In the same way, we should work to be in God’s presence, filled with His Spirit so that we can rightly divide the scriptures, live Godly lives, and minister to others. As Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:14, it is the Holy Spirit that will guard the treasure that has been entrusted to us. We will get lost in the breeze if we do not strive to live with the filling of the Spirit of power, love, and discipline.

To be “Entrusted with the Gospel” means suffering for the deliverance of and preservation of the Gospel. Paul’s call to suffering is rooted in the example of Christ and his own ministry. To be called of God into salvation also means taking on God’s purposes in spreading the Gospel message to the world. However, ministering to a world that does not want the Gospel means suffering. Suffering because we have to confront those that get the message wrong, suffering because we walk by faith and not by sight, suffering because we must give up our desires for those of God, and suffering because our message may very well cost us our family, our job, and even our life. The world hates the message of the Gospel, but we must strive to not let go of the message despite the pain. To suffer for the Gospel message entrusted to us we have to be convinced of its worth. It we are convinced of the Gospel’s worth then we can count it all joy to suffer for the Gospel knowing the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls.

To be “Entrusted with the Gospel” means pursuing Godliness in contrast to the World. 2 Timothy 3:1-17 gives a great description of the world in Paul’s day and now. Paul calls Timothy, and by extension all Christians, to live in contrast to the world. God’s household and its members should not look like, think like, or be like the world. Paul urges everyone from children to old women to act like they belong to the household of God. This means church leaders like elders and deacons have a high standard required of them, it means there should be order in church meetings, it means we will moral lives in the face of the immorality of our world, and it means gender roles are imbibed. Through Godly living the world will see that our allegiances do not rest with the ways of the world but with something greater.

To be “Entrusted with the Gospel” means teaching others to run with the message. 2 Timothy has often been viewed as Paul’s last letter and in his last letter Paul wants to make sure that the Gospel will not remain with Timothy. In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul charges Timothy to entrust with faithful men the things he has received. Likewise the men Timothy entrusts with the message of the Gospel should be able to teach others. This is a critical moment in the history of the Church. It is here that the Church is moving out of the apostolic age and on to a regular pattern of passing the Gospel on from person to person, generation to generation. We should strive to follow Paul’s lead in every aspect of our ministries today. Always be teaching the Gospel to others; building those you disciple up to be able to entrust the Gospel to yet another generation.

To be “Entrusted with the Gospel” means actually living in the grace you proclaim. Every part of the picture of entrusting the Gospel with others up to this point sounds great. We want to get behind these ideals and tout them as the way to spread the Gospel and do church. But this aspect of the picture is probably the most important and often under emphasized. To really be “Entrusted with the Gospel” means you actually live it out. You don’t just talk about the Gospel and its semantics; the Gospel has to become the driving force in your life because you have placed yourself in Christ. When you sin, it means humbling yourself in repentance and hoping in the Gospel of Christ for salvation. Church leaders should strive to be the utmost example of what it means to confess sin and failure because they are leaning on, trusting in, and living in the grace of God provided through the cross of Christ. By their example all Christians should swim within the grace of God through Christ. To be “Entrusted with the Gospel” you must trust the Gospel message, that is part of living it out. 2 Timothy 1:12 speaks of Paul having entrusted his life and ministry with Christ and we should do the same. To really live for Christ, to take risks for His kingdom, and to disciple others, we have to know that we are secure in Christ. Again in 2 Timothy 2:1 Paul wants Timothy to be strong in the grace of Christ and that means humbly placing all our hope in Christ’s work on the cross. We should live in the grace of Christ we proclaim.

To be “Entrusted with the Gospel” means persevering until the end. Paul provides us with one on the best examples of what it means to persevere until the end. In 2 Timothy 4:6-8 Paul describes himself as having “fought the good fight” and “finished the course.” Through his imagery we get a sense of the perseverance he has maintained. Paul has kept his eyes on the crown of righteousness that the Lord has awaiting him at the end of his race. Likewise we must run with the Gospel that has been entrusted to us. We must finish the course of good deeds that Christ has set before us as His servants. We must fight the best we know how, always looking forward to the end of days. When disbelief creeps in, we must kindle afresh the gift of faith. When suffering sets in, we must look to the Lord for strength to endure. When everyone else is abandoning the message of the Gospel as set forth in the scriptures, we must hold strong to what we have learned. When we are tempted to find salvation in anything other than Christ, we must abandon everything for Christ. Those that persevere to the end will be revealed to be those that were “Entrusted with the Gospel.”
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