“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. 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 1:12-14.
“Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.” -1 Timothy 6:20
Now, to shorten the text so that you will remember it, the text is, “Jesus will keep my deposit, and I am exhorted to keep His deposit.” Whenever a reference is made to the original terms before a mixed audience, it is never done in any pedantic sense and the reference will be only just enough to make you fully understand. If you were reading the Septuagint version of the Old Testament in the Greek of that passage from Leviticus and the New Testament in the Greek, you would see certain words, a parallel between the words, so plain that you could not misunderstand. For instance, where it is said, “I am persuaded that He will keep that which I have committed to Him,” in the original it is, “I am persuaded that He will guard my deposit.” And also down there where it is said, “Keep that which is committed unto thee,” “Guard the good deposit made with you, placed in your trust.” So that the two stand in sharp contrast, my deposit with Jesus and the deposit which Jesus makes with me.
Now, our text says, “I am suffering a great many things on account of the cause which I advocate, the Gospel which I preach, but I am not therefore ashamed, and the reason that I am not ashamed, though it is costing me so much, is that I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He will keep my deposit until the Judgment Day, and I am exhorted to keep His deposit,” whatever that is, and we will find out directly. “I am exhorted to keep it in faith and in love. I am exhorted to keep it through the Holy Ghost. I am not exhorted to keep it through the Holy Ghost in any general sense, but through the Holy Ghost that dwells in me, through the indwelling Spirit of God.”
There are three ways, then, by which you may determine how you are to guard the deposit which God has placed with you. You are to guard it in faith, you are to guard it in love, you are to guard it through the indwelling Holy Ghost.
The first thing to be determined, then, is, what ground had the Apostle Paul, what reasonable ground had he, for making a valuable deposit with the Lord Jesus Christ? Man is so constituted that when he takes anything that is precious to him and puts it in the keeping of another, there must be some strong reason for doing that. He doesn’t do such a thing as that blindly. There must be some indubitable evidence in his judgment, at least, of the trustworthiness of the one with whom the deposit is made, and not merely the trustworthiness, but the ability of the one who holds a deposit to keep it safely.
It would be an act of folly for me if I had a bag of jewels, very precious jewels, to go and deposit them in a bank about whose trustworthiness I knew nothing, and it would still be an act of folly, even if I knew that these people were trustworthy, if they had no ability to keep what I had deposited with them. Before I make, then, a precious deposit, there devolves upon me this obligation, to acquaint myself fully with the trustworthiness of the party in whom I repose this confidence, and then of the ability of the party to safely keep what I do commit to him.
Now, the Apostle Paul alleges that he has made a deposit of the most precious thing to him in the world; that he had taken his priceless jewel and put it as a deposit, not for a week, nor a month, nor a year, but even after he was dead, even until the Judgment Day shall come. He says, “I have put my inestimable treasure in the hands of Jesus Christ and left it there, confidently persuaded in my mind that I acted wisely; that He is to be trusted; that He is able to keep what I did put into His trust. I am fully persuaded of that, and that He is able to keep it, not only today and tomorrow, but next week and next year, and when I am sick and when I am well, in a storm and in a calm, and in death and in eternity. I think He is able to keep it. I am persuaded of that.”
What, then, is the ground of that persuasion? Here is what he says: “I know whom I have trusted”; that is to say, knowledge preceded my faith. It was not credulity, blind credulity, that led me to put my soul and my body, myself in my entirety, myself for time and eternity-it was not blind credulity that led me to put so valuable a treasure, that is more valuable than this whole world, so valuable that a world could not be received for it in exchange.
“I did not act the fool in depositing that with Jesus Christ. My faith rested upon evidence, evidence as clear as the sunlight, abundant evidence, evidence overwhelmingly convincing in its cogency and force, evidence such as the thoughtful, reasonable, wise man might accept. And on the score of this knowledge that I possessed-a knowledge of what? No what about it. It is not a knowledge of what. It is a knowledge of whom. I know whom I have believed.
“I have not trusted an abstraction. I have not put my head down on a pillow of speculation. I have not predicated this act of mine upon any knowledge of geography, nor astronomy, nor mathematics, nor of any science, but upon the knowledge of a Person. I know whom I have believed. Not in whom I have believed; that is not what I know. I know the Person. I am acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now, mark this point, that our satisfaction and rest about the care of our soul and body and eternal interest will largely depend upon the degree of our knowledge of the One in whose hands we place the deposit. If you do not know much about Jesus, and what you do know is vague, by so much as it is small, by so much as it is misty and indeterminate, by that much will your confidence be shaken.
Every now and then in your weak moments, an enemy will come and whisper a doubt in your mind, either as to the trustworthiness or as to the solvency, or as to the ability or as to the reality of the One in whom you have placed your most precious treasure. I say your freedom from doubt, your freedom from distrust, after you have made the deposit, will be gauged by the kind and degree and satisfactoriness of the knowledge that you have of Jesus.
Now, I want to illustrate that and I want to take my own case, and it will be an experimental illustration. I do not believe that any man understands one-tenth part of the value of Jesus when he is converted. I think his knowledge of Jesus is all the time increasing.
I know when I was converted there was just this one thought in my mind: I wanted the forgiveness of sin. I wanted a Savior. I never had a thought about sins I might commit next year or ten years from now. I dealt only with my case in its present features, such as at the time forced itself upon my attention. I trusted in Jesus as far as I knew Him as a Savior and found peace in believing in Him.
But it was some time after that before I found out something else about, Jesus. I found by the study of the Bible that in the Atonement that He made for sin there was a provision not only for past sin, but there was a way by which you could get rid of future sins, and that Jesus was not only my Savior in that He died for me, but that He was my eternal Priest who ever liveth to make intercession for me, and is therefore able not only to have saved me, but to save me unto the uttermost, to save me next week, to save me next year, to save me in the hour of death, to save me in the disembodied state, to save me on the resurrection morning, to save me at the Judgment Bar of God. You see that as my knowledge of Jesus Christ increases my confidence is increased, is strengthened.
That is what Paul says:
“I know whom I trusted. I found out that I could not keep myself. That was evident. I could not keep myself an hour. I found out that my soul might be on its guard as much as it pleased, but that the ten thousand foes that were rising about it to seek its life would overcome it; that if my soul was left on any spot on this sin-cursed earth, it was lost, and so I took it, my treasure, and I hid it. I hid it in Christ. I let Christ take it with Him to heaven, and my life is hid with Christ in God, and now let the enemy howl. Let the clouds gather. Let hell open her yawning jaws and vomit out her legions of demoniacal hosts. How are they going to hurt me? Come up here and attack me. ‘Where is your treasure? Stand and deliver!’ ‘You cannot get it. I have deposited it in Christ. Christ in heaven holds it’.”And as J. R. Graves used to say,“Before the devil can get that, here is what he will have to do: He and his angels will have to overturn all the armies of God here on earth, and they will have to scale the battlements of heaven and beat back the countless legions of shining angels that stand in the presence of God, and they will then have to thrust their hands, their felonious hands, into the bosom of God and tear my life out, for my life is hid with Christ in God; and the devil cannot do that.”Now Paul says,“When I made this deposit I did not do it like a fool. I am not ashamed that I put that treasure there. Persecute me as much as you please. Manacle my hands. You cannot bind the Word of God. Immure me in a dungeon if you will; you cannot shut up in prison walls the Word of God. Throw me to the lions in Ephesus, the wild beasts, and let them gnaw me until I am pronounced dead. Do what you please. I have a light you cannot put out. You may put my feet in stocks. You may put me down in the dungeon of Philippi, and the sun may set and the clouds shut out the stars, but there will be light in my dungeon and in my heart, and though it be midnight I will sing praises to God that shall cheer the prisoners, because I am persuaded that my treasure is safe, fully persuaded about that; that I will be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation that is to be revealed in that day.”Now that is why, to me, the study of Jesus Christ is the most precious study in the world. Every time I learn a new thing about Him my confidence increases. When I learn that He was anointed, not with that holy oil which Moses ordered to be compounded, and which was to be reserved as a sacred anointing oil to be poured only on the heads of kings and priests and prophets, but when I know that He was anointed by that which that holy oil typified, to-wit, the Eternal Spirit Himself, that He was anointed the day He was baptized, when as He came up out of the water the Spirit of God descended and rested upon Him in the form of a dove, and therefore He said, “I am anointed to preach the Gospel to the poor, to deliver the captives, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” I know that Jesus is anointed that way.
I know that He is thus anointed and accredited to be my Teacher. If I want to know anything about the hereafter, if I want to know anything about the secret of graves, if I want to know anything about the principles that shall prevail at the Judgment Bar of God, if I want to know something of what the earth shall be after the fire has swept over it with as broad and comprehensive a wave as the waters of the deluge; if I want to know about the Water of Life that bursts up from under the throne of God and on whose border grows the Tree of Life; if I want to know anything about the everlasting life that is there; about the absence of all tears and pain there; about the glorious presence of God and Jesus there, I go to my Teacher and I say, “Lord Jesus Christ, here is a subject that I cannot find anything about in my geography. My arithmetic doesn’t tell me anything about it. I do not care how far I go in the calculus, it cannot tell me anything about this. I may find out about the humming birds in South America, or about the spume of the ocean. I may be able by the microscope to measure the down on the leg of a flea, but it doesn’t tell me anything about all of this. O, my Teacher, my Teacher, tell me about this! My King, let me obey this will! My Priest, here is my brief record. It is a ragged one. O, Lord, I committed this offense and that offense, and even since I have been a Christian, and I have not a word to say about it. It cannot be justified, but O, my righteous Advocate with God, take my case and go before the Court and plead your own righteousness and your own atoning blood and let my sin be covered.”
Now, I say, as you know more about Jesus, your confidence is increased as to the wisdom of your having deposited with Him your inestimable treasure.
What is gratitude? Have men got much gratitude? Suppose I go off somewhere from home and I want to leave my little children in somebody’s trust, how sweet a thing it would be when far away to know they are in safe keeping. Now while I am away, resting in the sweetness of the thought that what I have entrusted to another is safely guarded, suppose over there, in a little bit of a matter that he has entrusted to me, I rob him of it, actually rob him of it.
Now I am coming to the point and the application. We are to consider first what we have deposited with Jesus and how safely He keeps what we have deposited with Him. Now then, He says, “Let there be a little reciprocity about this. I have something I want to commit to you; I want to make you a custodian.” “O Lord, what do you want to commit to us?” Paul says, “That form of sound words which you heard of me.” That is the good deposit that you are to guard.
What does “form of sound words” mean? You would get the idea better if you could just see the way it was originally written. It means that system of clean-cut doctrine embodied in the book that Paul writes to Timothy. As Luke puts it, “The things that are most confidently believed among us,” the doctrines about God and heaven and hell and the church and salvation, “the form of sound words.” “I want to deposit that with you.”
Well, will any danger attach to this business? “Yes.” “From what direction is danger most likely to be apprehended?” “From science falsely so-called.”
Now let me read it to you, 1 Timothy, sixth chapter: “O Timothy, keep that deposit placed in thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so-called.”
Why, the Spirit of God enabled him to see the emergencies of this hour. God’s prescience, His knowing beforehand, saw just as plainly as you see it today, the attempts made to minify, to discredit, to dilute, to render powerless the form of sound words which God placed as a solemn trust in the keeping of His people.
There are two ideas that operate on my mind in accounting for my fidelity in standing up for the Bible just as it was given.
One is, I never can surrender a chapter nor verse, nor a jot nor a tittle, so long as my grateful heart remembers what Jesus is keeping for me.
My deposit He lets no devil lay his filthy hand on. My deposit no lapse of time or mutation of revelation is allowed to interfere with. Oh, how faithful He is! He is faithful to His promise. He keeps my deposit intact. When I come to reach it, when I see it again, it will weigh just as much as when I put it in His hand. When I get to it, there won’t be a speck of dust on it. When I get to it, it will not be gnawed off at the edges and clipped off. It will not be tampered with. It will not be mixed with alloy and false coin. It will be my treasure just like I gave it to Him, and I am sure of that. And O, Lord Jesus Christ, when my grateful heart thinks of that, I do not want to surrender the ninth part of a hair of Thy deposit.
You may call it a little thing, but I will fight for the ribbon; I will fight for the tassels on its ornament; I will fight for the outer edge of the circumference, and not one foot of it shall ever be mutilated, not a foot. The truth is, we want it all, every bit of it, as the truth, as the whole truth, and as nothing but the truth, precious to the heart, enlightening the eye, comforting the soul in death and flooding the gloom of eternity with its radiance.
Some of you perhaps thought I was too strong last Sunday when I said that a man who would seek to rob me of what God had revealed ¾ secret things belong to God, but revealed things belong to us, and they belong to our children, and my child after me is entitled to every bit of it, and my grandchild when I said that a man who would come to rob me of any part of God’s revealed truth was a more heinous robber than Kidd, the pirate, I do not care what flag he floats.
There are two rights of property, the most sacred and the most inestimable, inherent and inalienable, that earth can consider, and one is that secret things belong to God, and the other is that revealed things belong to us, and they belong to our children. They belong to our children forever. They not only belonged to the little children that walked the streets of Jerusalem when our Lord Jesus Christ revealed them, but they belong to the children of Waco; they belong to the naked, destitute children that cower in African jungles; they belong to the skin-covered, dwarfed children in Lapland and Esquimau countries. Wherever there is a child, though he knows nothing of his property, as God’s attorney I stand and – say, “Let him have his property. Let him have it. It is right.” Palsied be that robber hand that would steal it from him! The curse of God rests upon that church that finds it and tells a lie about it and won’t carry it to the owner.
If a man finds your purse and keeps it and says it is his, why, you look on him with contempt as a thief. But here is a church of Jesus Christ that finds a treasure that belongs to the heathen over yonder, and just holds it here. It keeps it here. It is your business to carry it to him. Go, let that ignorant man know about his rights and property.
“The oppositions of science falsely so-called.” Yes, indeed, “falsely so-called.” You see a man put on his spectacles and take up a book of the Bible without a document in the world, without a witness in the world, without evidence that is visible or palpable, but just simply what can be evolved from his German consciousness. He says, “Just scratch out that book there.” Now, I cannot help being amused, while I am horrified. I will tell you what it reminds me of. When I was a child I did laugh a great deal over Washington Irving’s “Knickerbocker,” when I read how the common people found which way the wind was blowing. They said they knew which way the wind was blowing. “Well, how do you know?” “Well, the Governor every morning sends a little Negro up to set his weathercock the way the wind is blowing, and as soon as he sets his, all the rest of them set theirs like the Governor’s, so that the direction of the wind every morning depends on how the little Negro sets the Governor’s weathervane, and if it is nine o’clock before he goes up, you have to wait until he goes before you know, and if he sleeps one day and doesn’t set it, why you are wrong for that day.”
Now, I take up this book. of the Bible, and I am told that I have to wait until I hear from Germany. Last week there were two or three books left, I know, but some theological professor in Germany may find out next week that two of those books have to be scratched out. Now, just think of that and just look at the littleness of science falsely so-called. A worm of the dust, a mere worm, whose ignorance is almost as infinite as God’s knowledge, taking the treasure that is more priceless than all earth’s gold and silver and diamonds put together, and saying it will put a price on this every day, and you have just got to keep a price current to see what your property is worth. It will just go up and down according to my opinion.
O Timothy, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is keeping thy soul safe, who lets no devil touch you, Timothy, He told me to tell it to you just as I received it, and now, on your honor as a trustee, on your conscience as the custodian of the property of others, I charge you to keep it. How? In faith. Is that all? In love. Love it. Keep it in your heart. Let the Word of God dwell in you. How else? Through the indwelling Holy Ghost.
Now what does that prove? That proves that the only men who can be trusted with reference to the deposit which God has given to us are men, first, of faith-men that have faith in Jesus Christ; second, men that have love, heart-faith; third, men in whom the Holy Spirit dwells; and as for the rest of the crowd, why they have got nothing to do with it as to keeping it. God did not pitch it out as a football, to be kicked here and there. He did not throw it as a winged ball for one shuttlecock in Germany to pitch it yonder and another to pitch it back to him, but to men who honestly and faithfully believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and know whom they believe; men conscious of what He is keeping for them; men grateful for what He is keeping for them; to men that love Him and love it; to men in whom the Holy Ghost is an abiding guest; to these men, to keep it; and they will keep it, and don’t you fear it. They will keep it. They have kept it, bless God! in every age of the world.
One has come and blown on it and said, “I have puffed it out.” And so the “higher critics,” but the Book is here and here it will stay until, dear brother, it is lifted off of your table at home, off of the pulpit in the church, and put on the Judgment Bar of God as the law by which the opponents of it shall be judged.