Summary: We are very good at guarding our valued possessions. Let us also quard our faith, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
C-PENTECOST 18 2 Timothy 1:14 “How to Guard Your Faith.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, how would you guard a treasure? Perhaps you would put it into a safety deposit box in a bank. Or, you could get a big heavy vault, install a good alarm system with cameras, maybe even some mean dogs and couple of armed guards to protect your treasure from thieves.
Fort Knox, Kentucky hosts the Unites States Bullion Depository. Surrounded by thousands of soldiers with some heavy-duty hardware is a building where our nation’s gold is stored. The construction of this building required 16,000 cubic feet of granite, 4,200 cubic yards of concrete, 750 tons of reinforcing steel, and 670 tons of structural steel. Why all that fuss, you ask? Because inside the building are 368,250 gold bars. Each gold bar is 7 inches long, 3 and 5/8 wide and 1 and ¾ of an inch thick. Each bar weighs 27.5 Lbs. That’s 147.3 million ounces of gold at about 400 bucks, to the grand total of 58.92 billion dollars. I tried to find more information about Fort Knox but couldn’t. The Depository is a classified facility. No visitors are allowed and no exceptions are made.
We human beings are so good at protecting our earthly treasures. But what about protecting our spiritual treasures? Are we equally diligent? I wish! We may be very careful guarding our possessions, but leave the door to the heavenly treasure unlocked, letting the thief to come and steal it.
The Apostle Paul writing to Timothy says in his second letter (Let’s read it together): Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
Guard the good treasure entrusted to you. What does he mean? What is this good treasure? It is the saving faith in Jesus Christ that gives us new life here on earth and leads us to the crown of life eternal in the splendor of God’s glorious presence.
The Bible teaches in Ephesians 2:8, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. Grace is God’s gift of Jesus Christ who became a sacrifice for all our sins. He paid for them all instead of us with His precious blood. He served out the sentence that rightfully belonged to us. We did not deserve this gift of grace because every one of us has sinned. But God in His love lavished this enormous blessing upon us. In Romans 5:8 we read, God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And Christ rose from the dead to remove any barrier from a personal relationship with God, and to open the way to heaven for us.
This sacrifice of Jesus is a gift available to everyone, but it isn’t some universal blanket covering everybody whether they want it or not. This precious gift of grace is received by faith. Faith is an essential part of God’s plan of salvation. That’s why it is called saving faith and we keep it safely in our hearts.
Saving faith receives the gift of grace wholeheartedly and values it above anything else in the world. Saving faith is not just knowing about Jesus, but trusting Him with our lives, and investing our eternity in Him.
By grace, through faith, the saving faith, we are forgiven, we have peace with God, a new life as His beloved children, and the certainty of a glorious future that will be forever.
That what Paul meant when he wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:7, But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. No matter what comes our way, no matter what hardship the world throws at us, we are never defeated, never alone, because our lives are in the palm of God’s hand.
We have this good treasure and we are to guard it. There is nothing our enemy the devil would like more than to destroy our saving faith. He would love to put doubts in our minds, cloud our understanding, and lead us astray to a fake treasure, which has no value at all. Our enemy cannot succeed by attacking the Gospel. Gospel truth is Gospel truth and nothing will prevail against it.
The great preacher Spurgeon was quoted as saying, “The Gospel is like is lion. Release it and it will defend itself.” No, the enemy tries to take the treasure from us by placing attractive lures before us thinking we will turn away from the true Gospel and follow a fake – a false gospel. That’s how cults recruit members – by telling them that faith if Jesus is not enough to be saved, that they also have to belong to the “right” church or society, and follow the rules made up by the cult’s leaders. They pull Bible verses out of context, or tell people that God spoke to the leaders directly. Thus, cults value their leaders’ writings much more than the Bible. Furthermore, they lure people in by telling them they will become part of some special elite group.