Summary: A sermon about the care, custody and control of the Word of God by Christians, and how we must make sure that the gospel we preach and teach is not "another gospel, which is not another"!
Repentance and Remission
The Care, Custody and Control of the Word of God
This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed...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-it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. (1 Corinthians 4:1;2 Timothy 1:13,14, NIV)
Our church has been blessed by Generation Word ministry with a wonderful Bible study, given to our church by the ministry. This study helps one develop a laser like focus on the importance of God's Word and the study thereof. This last week's lesson is one that should serve notice and should be preached in each and every church: The Church Is Entrusted With The Word Of God. I have understood that pastors are to be faithful to God's Word in preaching and teaching the Scriptures, and that it is encumbent upon the average man, woman or child in the pew to study and absorb it's teachings, but we must understand that we are responsible in a higher degree than most people understand.
By understanding just what Paul is telling us in the above passages, we should take more seriously the charge to which we are given. "To be 'entrusted' means to be placed in charge of the household and its operations. The concept here is not focused on the state of being in charge, or even on being the boss, but on the great responsibility and importance of performing diligent management activities to prove accountability" (Galyn Weimers).
Deposit "refers to something that belongs to a person who is giving it to another person, whom they trust, for safe keeping. It is a legal term used of someone trusting someone else to take care of their money, a family member, a harvest of grain, or a secret" (Weimers). In short, God deposits His Word with us and within us; we are entrusted with that precious deposit and that deposit is given to all Christians. In other words,, God places His Word in your care; as is said in the insurance industry it is in your care, custody and control. We are responsible as it is in our care, and we are to care for it; we have custody of it, and are to protect it; and it is in our control, and we are to keep it but also share it with others.
Each Christian--not just the preacher, teacher, Sunday School superintendent--has the calling of maintaining the care, custody and control of the Word of God. And our first calling in this care, custody and control is to adequately convey the Gospel message to those that do not know Jesus personally. Jesus charged each person to convey this gospel message:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
However, although many well meaning Christians understand we are called to the duty of witnessing to the lost, many give out a false Gospel.
Another Gospel Which Is Not Another
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. Galatians 1:6-10 (NKJV)
In this Scripture, Paul was dealing with an issue that had arisen in Galatia; one that was seriously damaging the faith of the Galatians and was actually keeping people from being truly saved. This issue was mixing works with grace; in other words, instead of depending upon Jesus' sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection they said a person had to keep the law. This law, specifically, was circumcision.
Look at Paul's reaction: I marvel. MacArthur notes that the word for marvel, thaumazo, is "a strong word, meaning to be astounded". The NASB better translates thaumazo as amazed, the ESV as astonished. Amazed. Astonished. Paul had taught these people the true Gospel message but the Judaizers--proclaiming Christ but still holding to the Law--had swayed them away from the truth of the unmerited, unearnable favor in salvation in Jesus.