Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. ( 2 Timothy 2:13-14)
To the Church has been vouchsafed a precious deposit, the Truth of the Gospel. God has given us a Revelation from Him, which we are to be the custodians of. The Church is to “teach all nations” , and to ever fight to keep this precious deposit from corruption and distortion which would inevitably be attempted by the Devil, the Spirit of AntiChrist and unscrupulous and self serving pseudo Christian leaders.
The Church is the repository of the Truth. By “truth” we mean the revelation of God regarding Spiritual reality; Who we are in the sight of God, the way of Salvation, the Person and work of Jesus Christ, the Father and the Holy Ghost.
Jesus didn’t write a book, He committed all to the Apostles. The Church is built upon the foundation laid by the Apostles and Prophets, in the gospels, Epistles and the Revelation. Salvation comes to us as individuals through a revelation and acknowledgment of the Truth.
The Church is a teaching entity. We are called to incorporate the teaching of the Apostles and to turn right around and teach others, who will teach others also.
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.( 2 Timothy 2:1-2)
The ministers and leaders in the church, in particular are called to diligently study the Scripture, and to handle them with fear and trembling, lest in any way they distort the meaning of scripture in preaching and teaching. We are not allowed to modify the Word, or change it or add and subtract from it.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
The primary responsibility of the True Church is to the Truth. We are to preach and teach the Truth, and maintain the true understanding of it to our generation. The central core of a Christian gathering ought to be the Word, and in a sense our ministry as Pastors and teachers, is not only to God’s flock, but we minister to the Word of God itself! ( Luke 1:2)
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good work( 2 Timothy 3)
A Major aspect of ministry in the Church is the work of defending the once and for all faith, delivered two the Saints against heresy and distortion. True Shepherds are to confront Wolves, and rebuke gainsayers who would deny or distort the teaching which has been committed unto us. We will all give a thorough account for that which has been committed unto us, therefore we should make knowing the gospel and defending it our business.
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:1-5
In every generation, the gospels need to be expounded, ie the teachings of Jesus, his miracles, and His blessed person, so also do the Epistles and prophecies. Who is going to perform this service? The Church must! We must pursue “sound doctrine” and tirelessly pray about it, agonize over it, lovingly tell and retell the Parables, teachings, miracles and passion accounts of the Gospels. We are the Church, the cutodian of these sacred things.
We must jealously defend them against distortion. Early in my Christian life, I was given a 12 pack of Kenneth Copeland cassettes, which launched my zealous but under instructed soul into the full spectrum of the “Word Faith Heresy”, for about five years.
This is no small thing, for the Word Faith heresy is a clever distortion of the true gospel, and of the person of Jesus Christ and it is a deification of the believer. We were taught that we were “little gods” ! Very clever communicators twisted and re-orineted the scripture in such a way as to make this seem reasonable.
A Question; Can you go to heaven if you believe the Serpent’s lie in the garden? Is the believer an incarnation, just as Jesus was, as Hagin proclaimed? Are we little gods, as Copeland used teach?
Fortunately the Holy Spirit revealed to me the painful truth that my “teachers” were heretics, and my soul was endangered. I had to spend about five painful years re-evaluating everything I had been taught in the light of the Word of God.
The gospel that I had once been taught, was being distorted into something other than the true, saving gospel. This can happen on an individual level and unfortunately it is happening on a large scale within the church. The Devil’s tactic is not only to out and out deny the gospel, but to distort it, and make it into something which it is not.
Whether it be a gnostic gospel or a works based salvation or an antinomian approach, the Devil is working overtime through his ministerial ‘servants’ in many churches. Pray that the Church recover a martial Spirit and “fight the good fight of faith”and insist upon its own loyalty to the Word.