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1. Paul’s Testimony (verses 11-12)
2. Timothy’s Trust (verses 13-14)

Before you take a long journey, you often set things straight at home. If you are away for the weekend, you might ask your neighbors to take in your paper and check your mail. If you are away for several weeks, you might line up someone to mow your lawn. If you are going abroad, far away from home, you might make sure that your will is in place.

And if you die in your old age, your last days will be about setting things in order. You may revise your will. You may give last minute instructions to your family. You may tell them about your grandmother’s heirloom that you want to entrust to your oldest child.

Well, that’s where Paul is when he writes his second epistle to Timothy. He is soon to be killed for serving Christ. And he is giving his beloved child in the faith his final instructions before he meets the executioner. He is setting things straight. And to Timothy, he entrusts the gospel.

Consider the text, ...

2 Timothy 1:8-14
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

My message this morning is entitled, "Entrusted with the Gospel." Paul gives testimony to how he was entrusted with the gospel. Timothy is given the task of being entrusted with the gospel.

In verses 11 and 12, we see ...
1. Paul’s Testimony (verses 11-12)

That’s my first point this morning: Paul’s testimony. In verses 11 and 12, Paul speaks about his own experiences with the gospel. God had entrusted Him with the gospel.

Look again at verse 11. He says, "I have been appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher." This was God’s work in Paul’s life. Paul didn’t set himself up to be the greater leader whom all should listen to and all should follow. No, God, Himself, appointed Paul to be a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.

You can read the account of it in Acts, chapter 9. Paul (who at that time was named Saul), was headed off to Damascus to persecute the Christians. He had papers in his hand to bring the Christians in that city back to Jerusalem bound by chains (Acts 9:2). As He was traveling along the road, a light from heaven flashed all around him, blinding him (Acts 9:3, 8). It was the voice of Jesus, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"

Jesus then sent Saul into Damascus, where he fasted for three days, awaiting word from Jesus (Acts 9:6, 9). Jesus then met up with a man named Ananias, and said, "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, ... he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake" (Acts 9:11, 15, 16).

Although the word isn’t used here, this is what an apostle is. He is one sent. He is one sent from the authority. In this case, Paul was sent into the world with the authority of Jesus Christ.

He went to preach. We read, in Acts 9, that after Ananias had met with Saul, he went to Damascus and was with the disciples for a few days. Then, "He began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God’" (Acts 9:20). This is what a preacher is. A preacher is a "proclaimer." A preacher is a "herald." A preacher is the one who has been invested with authority from the king to come and "announces the news." Particularly, here, Paul was testifying of the good news of Jesus Christ -- that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, that forgiveness of sins comes through His name, not through law-keeping. Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). Today is a day of good news. All who repent of their sins and place their trust in Jesus Christ will be forgiven of their sins and given a new life.

This is the message that we proclaim. Jesus is the Messiah! He is able to save all who call upon His name! That’s the message that Paul was proclaiming in the synagogues all throughout Damascus. When the Jews were questioning his message, he was "confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ."

Here you see Paul’s teaching ministry. Rather than picking up his megaphone and announcing to the world that Jesus was the Messiah, he was opening his Old Testament, and going from passage to passage, demonstrating how Jesus fulfilled the prophesies. I’m sure that there was some dialogue back and forth. That’s what a teacher does, he shows truth from the Scriptures, seeking to persuade from the mind. The preacher aims for the heart.

And that’s what Paul was. He was a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. In 1 Timothy 2:7, Paul had identified himself using the same things. Each of these roles were all toward one end: to persuade people to put their hope in God. God appointed him to these things. Or, if you will, God entrusted him with the gospel to spread to all the world! And Paul knew that. And Paul also knew that God would strengthen him for the task. He wasn’t all alone in these things.

In chapter 4, verse 17, Paul spoke of God’s help in his life to spread the gospel to the world. He writes, "The Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear." This is the very thing that God commissioned Paul to do -- to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. And Paul knew that this was no easy task. In fact, the gospel had brought suffering into his life. He says in verse 12, "For this reason I also suffer these things."

Paul’s commission to be a minister of the gospel was the reason why he was in prison. His faithfulness to proclaim the gospel was the reason why he had been beaten times without number, received 39 lashes from the Jews on 5 occasions, been stoned, been shipwrecked, experienced many dangers from the sea, the Gentiles, the city, the wilderness and from false brethren. His faithfulness was the reason he had taken upon himself the burdens of the churches (2 Cor. 11:23-28) All because he had been entrusted with the gospel.

But, according to verse 12, he wasn’t ashamed, "... but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day." Paul willingly took these sufferings upon himself with no regard to himself. In chapter 1, verse 8, Paul had admonished Timothy not to be ashamed. And now, in verse 12, Paul, himself says, "I am not ashamed." I have not been defeated. My hopes had not been disappointed. I knew that the gospel was the power of God for salvation to those who believe (Rom. 1:16).

Why wasn’t Paul ashamed? He says it right here in verse 12, "I know whom I have believed." There was a man names Justin Martyr who became a martyr for his faith. Moments before Justin Martyr was to be killed for his faith, the Roman prefect asked him whether he believed that he would ascend to heaven after his decapitation. Justin Martyr replied, "I am so sure of the grace which Jesus Christ has obtained for me that not a shadow of a doubt can enter my mind." [1]

Now, notice the relative pronoun in verse 12, "I know whom I have believed." It’s not "what" Paul believes that is helping him here. It's not "in whom" he believed. It is "who" Paul believes. He believes in the living Christ, Jesus, raised from the dead. Believing Him makes all the difference.

Charles Spurgeon tells the story of when James W. Alexander was dying. His wife was with him, seeking to comfort him with these words. She said to him, "I know in whom I have believed." And on his deathbed, he corrected her by saying, "Not in whom I have believed," but "I know whom I have believed." Spurgeon makes the comment, "He would not even suffer a little preposition to be between his soul and his Savior." [2]

See, it’s not our doctrine that saves us. It’s a person who saves us. It is Jesus Christ who saves us. Paul knew that. Paul was convinced of that. And that’s why he wasn’t ashamed. Such was the heart of Paul.

Now, I need to make a comment about verse 12. It can be translated one of two ways. It can read like most versions: "I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him until that day" (verse 12). Or, it can read like the ESV translates it, "I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me." The first translation understands this as Paul entrusting his life to God. The second translation understands this as God entrusting the gospel to Paul.

In both translations, it is God who guarantees the deposit, whether my life in His hands or His gospel in my hands. Both realities are true. So, however we interpret this text, our understanding is Biblical. Personally, I believe that the first translation is better, as it is a better rendering of the Greek text, whereas the second translation fits better into the context, especially verses 13 and 14 and 1 Timothy 6:20.

I believe that the flow of the passage goes like this. God had entrusted the gospel to Paul. Paul, in turn, had entrusted his life, his ministry, and his all to God. As a result, Paul had an unwavering trust in this, "I am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day" (verse 12). Paul had entrusted his whole life. Paul had entrusted his whole eternity to God. And he is convinced that God can keep him, guard him, protect him and help him "until that day." He’s talking about the day that Christ returns. Or, the day when Paul dies.

Three times in this short letter, Paul refers to "that day." The first is the one we are speaking of now, in verse 12. Once more came in chapter 1, verse 18, when he prayed for mercy on Onesiphorus, "the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day." The other time came in Chapter 4, verse 8, when Paul was considering his own future, "In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."

Notice the confidence. Notice the commitment. Notice the assurance. God had entrusted Paul with the gospel. Paul had entrusted everything to God. And he was fully assured that God would sustain him until the end.

Now, what about you? You may not have been appointed by God as a preacher, apostle or a teacher. But, He may have appointed you as a mother. He may have appointed you as a sheet metal worker. He may have appointed you as a printer or an engineer or a carpenter. And in some regard all of us have been entrusted with the gospel. We need to communicate it with our children. We need to communicate it with our family and neighbors and coworkers.

Furthermore, we have a need to live faithfully until the end. We have a need not to desert the gospel in our own lives, but to live lives consistent with the realities of the gospel until our final day.

The thing that’s going to help us to do so is our belief and confidence in the saving power of God in our lives. When we come to trust in the Lord like we trust in gravity, there is nothing that will ever stand in our way of serving Him faithfully until the end, even if it means suffering.

I love how limited our knowledge needs to be. Ultimately, Paul was trusting in one thing -- God. We don’t need to know all of the intricacies of theology. We don’t need to know all of the proof texts in the Bible. We don’t need to know how to answer the cults or the wayward philosophies of life. No, we need to know one thing. We need to know Jesus. "I know whom I have believed."

I was speaking with someone recently who had some Jehovah’s Witnesses come to her door. She responded perfectly, not with a full knowledge of their abhorrent theology, not with proofs of the deity of Christ, but with the simple gospel of Christ. In following up, I even encouraged this woman the next time they come to show her love and devotion and adoration to Jesus. That’s one thing that cults don’t have. They have their "truth" and want to propagate it. They twist the scripture to prove their point. But, we have our Savior, to whom we cling for all things.

So, in meeting the cults, show confidence in your faith in Jesus, "I know whom I have believed." Show an affection and a tenderness for Jesus, "I love my Savior." Give testimony to God’s saving grace in your life, "Jesus has been so gracious to save me; I just can’t get over it." These things are sufficient for your soul. These things are sufficient to combat the enemy.

It wasn’t with accident that Paul, while coming to Corinth, said, "I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). It wasn’t with accident that the great desire of Paul’s heart was to know Jesus Christ. He says in Philippians 3:10, "that I may know Him." That is, in a deeper and deeper way. Knowing Jesus was the consuming desire of Paul’s heart. "I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him until that day" (verse 12).

The words of verse 12 have ministered greatly to many down through the centuries. Daniel Whittle wrote a song that repeats this verse as the refrain. Turn in your hymnals to hymn #527. We’ll sing this song at the end of my message.

Daniel Whittle was saved when fighting in the Civil War in the 1860's. I want for you to pay particular attention to the verses. All of them speak of the things that we don’t really know or understand, and then comes the refrain,

"I know Whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day."

It comes as a contrast.

Stanza #1
I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

In other words, "I don’t know why God chose to open my eyes to the wonders of the grace of the gospel, why He didn’t leave me in unbelief. Nor do I know why I would be the recipient of God’s grace to redeem me. I’m not deserving of His blessing. But, this I do know, ...

"I know Whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day."

Look at the second stanza, ...

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

In other words, "I don’t know how God illumined my heart to believe in Christ or how He changed my stony heart to a heart of flesh. I don’t know how believing in Christ brings about this peace that I have experienced. I have a peace which is beyond understanding. But, this I do know, ...

"I know Whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day."

Stanza #3
I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

In other words, "I don’t know the way of the Spirit -- how He convicts of sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come. He’s like the wind, which I can’t restrain or predict. I don’t know the ways in which He opens hearts to believe -- how He directs people to Jesus or how He so changes people that they believe. It’s all a mystery to me. But, this I do know, ...

"I know Whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day."

Stanza #4
I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

In other words, "I don’t know when Christ will come. My eschatology isn’t all figured out.. He may come in my lifetime. He may come after I die. He may come when I’m sleeping or at work. He may come and rescue me just before He judges the world."But, this I do know, ...

"I know Whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day."

There’s one more stanza that Daniel Whittle wrote that isn’t in our hymnal. It goes like this, ...

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

In other words, "I don’t know fully what my life will entail. It may all good, free from devastating accidents or illness. It may be hard, with sickness and death of a spouse. My days may end in poverty or comfort. I just don’t know." But, this I do know, ...

"I know Whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day."

This hymn is more about the things that we don’t know than the things that we do know. But, if you get the things that you do know right, then it will be well with your soul. Can you see the calming effect of these things? Oh people, know Whom you have believed. Live in light of that fact. As John Newton said in his final days, "Although my memory's fading, I remember two things very clearly. I'm a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior."

Well, there’s Paul’s Testimony (verses 11-12). Let’s focus our attention now upon ...
2. Timothy’s Trust (verses 13-14)

This comes in verses 13 and 14. Let’s read them now, ...

2 Timothy 1:13-14
Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

These sentences are practical synonyms. They say the same thing twice. "Timothy, you have been given a treasure, which is the gospel. You are to guard that treasure with all your heart, as if your soul rested upon it, trusting the entire time in God to sustain you."

Notice the two commands, one in verse 13 and one in verse 14: "Retain the standard of sound words" (verse 13). "Guard the treasure" (verse 14).

Notice the source of the words: "... which you have heard from me" (verse 13). And in verse 14, "... which has been entrusted to you."

Notice the divine help. Verse 13, "... in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Verse 14, "through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us."

Timothy received this treasure. He was to guard it with his life. He was to trust in God’s help to do so. This is the crux of the letter of 2 Timothy. Over and over and over again, Paul gives counsel of how to do this.

We have already seen one way in verse 1:6 -- Fan the flame. In order to retain the standard of sound words and to guard the gospel, God needs to be in your life. It’s just too difficult to do without a vibrant, energetic faith.

With these verses, we see Paul vamping up the call to Fight the Fight. The gospel is being attacked on all fronts. The unbelieving world is scoffing at the old-fashioned idea of Christ dying for our sins. The modern culture is attacking issues like evolution and women’s roles. The liberal church is seeking to soften the call of the gospel. The health, wealth, and prosperity movement is seeking to cover over the clear calls of the gospel to a life of suffering for Christ. Sinning members of churches are seeking to water down some of the Biblical commands, so as not to confront their own particular sin. All are trying to pull you away from the pattern of sound words. But, Paul says, "Stand firm. Fight the fight. Don’t waver when it comes to the truth. Retain the standard of sound words. Guard the treasure which has been entrusted to you." Take the gospel and do not let anyone distort it (verse 14). Guard it like a bank guards its money.

In fact, in my preparation for my message this morning, I listened to one pastor who entitled his message on this passage, "Banking with God." [3] Banking illustrations saturate this passage. Paul "entrusted" his life to God (verse 12). That is, he gave his life completely into God’s hands, and trusts that He will keep it. "Guard ... the treasure which has been entrusted to you" (verse 14). God has given Timothy a treasure, which He has invested in Timothy. God trusts that Timothy will protect it and use it appropriately.

One of the things that you expect from the banking industry is that your money will be safe. All banks in the United States of any reputation at all are FDIC insured. Every depositor is insured for at least $250,000! That is, the government will back your deposits into the bank. If for any reason, the bank loses the money you deposited, you will still get it back. And that’s the idea here with Timothy’s task. Paul is giving him the gospel for safe keeping. He is to guard the gospel like he’s a bank -- with care and with diligence.

A pastor friend of mine wrote to me this week concerning his message on Sunday. He is probably preaching it right now, ...

"After setting the theological foundation for Col 3:18-4:1 the past two Sundays I will look at Col 3:18 in detail this Sunday. Please pray for me as there are a good few in our congregation who don't like what God's Word has to say with regards to biblical roles in the home. I won't apologize for the clear teaching of Scripture but I do want to teach it in a wise manner. Pray for us."

We know that the content of Colossians 3:18 says, "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." There are people in the church who don’t want to hear this message. There are women who are opposing the leadership of their husbands. But, my friend is committed to standing firm.

I love the way that he requested prayer, "I do want to teach it in a wise manner." That’s the spirit of the end of verse 13, "Retain the standard of sound words ... in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus." That is, in a committed and caring way. There are plenty of people who have the truth and are like a bull in a china shop, getting the truth out, but smashing people in the process. But Paul’s counsel to Timothy was to do so in a way that’s filled with faith and filled with love. Filled with faith to speak and act consistently with Christ. Filled with love to speak with care for the listener.

This is exactly what my friend is trying to do. He’s attempting to uphold the pattern that Paul had passed on to Timothy. Much of 2 Timothy is devoted to teaching Timothy how to guard the gospel: verses 2:14, 16, 23-26. There will be more of this in weeks to come.

Look again at verse 13, particularly at how Paul defines the standard of sound words, "Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me." Paul had a relationship with Timothy that lasted some 15 years. Surely, there were countless discussions that Paul had with Timothy concerning life and doctrine and shepherding. What to stand for. What to teach. How to teach. How to love. Oh, that we knew all of what he said!!

The good news is this: everything that Paul taught Timothy is consistent with everything that he wrote down as recorded in the New Testament. So, we can look to Colossians 3:18 and know that Paul would have talked with Timothy about the role of wives and husbands. We can look at the ways that Paul describes the gospel as an act of substitution: Christ dying in our place. We can look at the ways that Paul declares that we are justified by grace alone through faith alone and Christ alone. Throughout the New Testament, we can see Paul’s heart in these things. Such is "the standard of sound words" to which we all need to retain.

These words echo the phraseology of the famous verse in the next chapter. 2 Timothy 2:2 says, "The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." This is how you "retain the standard of sound words" (verse 13). That’s how you guard the treasure. You entrust it to faithful men, who will be faithful to pass it on to others. That’s how you keep the gospel going. Another generation will stand firm as well.

You don’t retain the standard of sound words by burying it in the ground. No, you pass it on, as Paul did with Timothy.

There is great application here for all of you. The gospel has been passed on to all of you. So do the work of passing it on as well. That can take place in formal discipleship, where you meet with other people and pass it on to them. Thus, the importance of times of Bible study with others. Parents, here’s an obvious application with your children.

But, passing it on can also come by way of influence. Almost every year for the past 15 years, our family has enjoyed some fellowship with other families in California that we knew in our college days, all attending Grace Community Church where John MacArthur is pastoring. None of these friends went to seminary. Two taught at the local community college in California. One is a high school teacher. One had a PhD in electrical engineering, and was working a high-paying job at a computer chip company. He quit his job to go to seminary. Now, he is an associate pastor, serving the church full-time. Two others are elders in their local church. The fourth is a faithful help in the church. John MacArthur didn’t disciple any of these men personally. But, he influenced them all greatly so as to be a large help in the church.

That’s another way to help retain the standard of sound words. You can be a help in the church. Onesiphorus was a help to Paul (1:16-17). Onesiphorus was a help to Timothy in Ephesus (1:18). There are those in this church who are that way. There is one family in this church that has been like Onesiphorus. The head of the family has no official leadership position in the church. But, he has given much service to the church, helping many of you with projects. They have served in opening their home to many and opening their cabin to many. Our family has known nothing but blessing from them.

Just as you can be a help to the church, you can also be a hindrance as well. Phygelus and Hermogenes were not help. They deserted Paul. They were distracting him from the gospel work. What about you? Do you have your mind fixed on helping to pass the treasure down to the next generation? Or, do you have another agenda?

I know a man (not at this church), who consistently spreads conspiracy theories in his church. Timothy was to stand firm against all these sorts of things, keeping everything focused on the gospel.

What’s important to you? The gospel? The Scriptures? Or, is fellowship the most important thing to you? Are you attracted to Rock Valley Bible Church because of the number of children here at the church? Should you move into another community and seek another church, what would you look for in the church?

There is a way to stand firm. Look once more at verse 14,

2 Timothy 1:14
Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

Paul can hardly give a command without giving assurance of divine enablement. This is our hope in God!

This sermon was delivered to Rock Valley Bible Church on September 4, 2011 by Steve Brandon.
For more information see

[1] Charles Spurgeon, sermon notes, #235

[2] Ibid.

[3] See