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What does God’s Word mean to me?

Hold the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1, 13).
1. The pattern of sound words
The expression ‘pattern’ in 1 Tim. 2, 13 means ‘an architect’s design.’ From the very beginning of the early church there was a definite outline of doctrine. It was a standard by which all teaching was tested. Timothy was warned not to change the content of this outline. If he did, he would have nothing by which he could test those teachers with whom he worked. We in the 21st century need to hold fast to what the Apostle Paul taught in the 1st century. In the early church, a philosophy known as antinomianism was widespread. It said ‘we are not under law.’ This concept is not dead today. There are some, who claim that we are under grace - not law. It is claimed that the New Testament is a collection of ‘love letters,’ and not a legal brief. Some reject what they call ‘pattern theology.’ Does not the phrase ‘pattern of sound words’ show that there is a law (see: 1 Cor. 9, 21; Gal. 6, 2), by which we are to live?

2. Hold fast!
For centuries God’s work has been done by people who stood steadfast in their time of trial. It would have been so easy for them to compromise. But they stood firm. The Apostle Paul was one of those who did not compromise. Towards the end of his life he decided to provide encouragement to his younger brother in  Christ, Timothy. In 1 Tim.1, 11 we read that God had given the deposit of spiritual truth to the Apostle Paul, and that he had passed it on to Timothy (1 Tim. 6, 20). According to 2 Tim. 1, 13 it became Timothy’s responsibility to ‘hold fast’ and ‘guard’ the precious deposit of truth, and to pass it on to others (1 Tim. 2, 2).

3. Heard from me

We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. He committed the truth to Timothy. We have only one Holy Spirit and only one truth coming from Him. We do not believe in two Holy Spirits. So we do not believe in two or more truths. God decided to send the Holy Spirit to teach us the truth. Apart from the ministry of the Spirit, we would be in the dark. Without Him we would not be able to understand the Word of God. We must always be under His teaching (John 16, 13). He enables us to guard the truth and to share it with others.

4. Faith and love
We also have to note that Timothy’s doctrine was to be presented with ‘faith and love.’ He had to speak the truth in love, because this was God’s pattern. God never spoke truth without love. Eph. 4,15 says ‘Speaking the truth in love.’ How easy it is to be confrontational in our longing to preserve the faith. How easy it is to become a witch hunter who instead of sharing the truth, gives a private interpretation of the truth and creates problems. A brief summary of the doctrine of justification and the Christian life is: ‘Faith makes us lords and love makes us servants. Faith must always be directed and fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ; it is never, (strictly speaking), faith in the church, or in any other means of grace.’

5. In Christ Jesus
The source of all heavenly blessings are found in Christ alone. Faith is the instrumental means of the soul being joined in a vital and saving union with the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. For example: ‘And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.’ (Philip. 3, 9).

James N. Spurgeon wrote:

'A job is at your choice; a ministry is at Christ's call. In a job you expect to receive; in a ministry you expect to give. In a job you give something to get something; in a ministry you return something that has already been given to you. A job depends on your abilities; a ministry depends on your availability to God. A job done well brings you praise; a ministry done well brings honour to Christ.'

This ministry is to bring honour to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

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