2 Timothy 1:13&14 “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 – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

The apostle Paul had extraordinary and supernatural authority. He could command that his letters be read and obeyed in the churches, and he could say to the Thessalonians, “If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother” (2 Thess. 3:14&15). God has taken care of Timothy’s life and soul and gospel. All that Timothy needed God has provided, and now Timothy, in return, is to take care of the apostolic message – what God has given us in Scripture. Paul had taken very seriously the commission given to him by the Son of God and so must Timothy and so must we. Timothy had to teach exactly what Christ had delivered to him to speak, and not add a word to it (as the cults do) or detract from it (as the modernists do). Yet Paul was not a tyrant or an egotist, demanding from people total allegiance whatever he said. Paul was totally open about all the sufferings he had gone through because of the gospel, listing them, and yet mocking himself for doing so, speaking like a fool, he felt, for making such a list. He even acknowledges that the good he often wanted to do he failed to do, and the evil he hated he found himself doing. “Oh wretched man that I am!” he sighed. There is something very lovable about Paul.

And so we are not offended when we read here these words, “What you heard from me, keep!” He saw the risen Christ, not us. He personally received from Christ truths that he passed on to the church. He had a commission from our Lord which no bishop or pope has ever received, or ever will. We hear Jesus speaking in every one of Paul’s letters, and we believe what he teaches. What we hear from him, we keep. That is one way we show our submission to Jesus Christ as our Lord. If he is your Lord you love and obey what Paul wrote.


What you heard from me, keep!” (v.13). That is the first word God is speaking to you today. That is one reason he has brought you here, to receive and think about that word in its length and breadth and height and depth. You think you are doing that already, and that this theme is pretty familiar territory, that this is ‘Alfred Place stuff’. Then let me try to make it fresh and mind-stretching to you. That is my vocation. O Let me say something simple but new to your understanding, something I have not said like this before. Let me put it this way, that there are four important areas of truth experience we hear from the apostle Paul. We must heed each one of them if we want to be known as credible New Testament Christians.

i] There is the realm of Christian doctrine, or we can refer to it as theology, or a ‘body of divinity’ or ‘things surely believed by us’, and scrupulously we have to keep them. I am talking here of crucially important things, of what Paul tells us about God, and about Jesus Christ his Son and his achievements, and about ourselves, our plight and how we are to redeemed. I am talking about what the apostle says in the first 11 chapters of Romans, or the first 3 or 4 chapters of Ephesians, or the first couple of chapters of Colossians. The Bible refers to it as ‘the faith once delivered to the saints.’ That is plain Christian teaching, confessional Christianity, and we are under a holy obligation to gird up the loins of our minds and read it and grasp it so that it becomes the stuff of believing meditation and it shapes the hymns that we sing and the preaching we love. It is that truth that sanctifies us. Error fails to sanctify, in fact it encourages self and division. So we have to receive Christian teaching and theology from Paul.

ii] There is a life we are to live that is pleasing and honouring to God. That again is indispensable; “you are the light of the world.” Our light to the world is our daily life in the world. The truth we believe is “unto godliness”, in other words the consequence of trusting in the life and death of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour is that we will want to live like him and serve him. We present out bodies as living sacrifices to him. We walk worthy of the profession we make to be his disciples. So the life described in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5,6 and 7, which is described in Romans 12, and again Ephesians 5 and 6, or in the letter of James we are to seek by the power of God to live out day by day. How can you who have died to the domination of sin over your life (ordering you about and encouraging you to live for self), how can you go on living like that one day longer when the Son of God has come and loved you and died to take away your guilt and shame? You men have to live like husbands are told to live in Ephesians 5, and so must mothers and bosses and workers and elders and neighbours live not perfect lives but new lives, elevated lives and noble lives, God-honouring Christ-like lives. That is the second area in which what we read and hear preached in Paul’s ethical sections we are to keep. Then there is another area . . .

iii] There is the life of devotion to God. Individually we go to God every day; we seek the face of God; we whisper into the ears of our heavenly Father; he go to him through his Son Jesus Christ our mediator; we have a quiet time and we read Scripture and we pray and in our praying we remember the little word ACTS, ‘A.C.T.S.’ as a simple familiar mnemonic.  A IS for adoring God for all he has done to send his Son to save us and all he continues to do to keep us by his intercession and love. We say to one another, “Where would we be without Jesus?” C is for confessing our sins, how often we live in a sub-Christian way, failing to love God, divorcing chunks of our lives from him, cold to our neighbours instead of loving them as we love ourselves. Our tongues run away with us. We hurt the ones we love on whom we depend for the best hours of each day, and we put things right with them when we lost our patience and sharp words slip out, and we confess our sins to God. T is for thanksgiving for temporal mercies (safe journeys, restoration to good health, success in exams, daily bread, good rulers and so on) and also we thank God for eternal blessings, forgiveness of sins, a living mediator with God, all things working together for our good, all our needs richly supplied, the hope of heaven and seeing the Son of God and being like him). Gratitude is a mark of a regenerate heart. Finally, S is for supplication,  interceding for the kingdom of God to come and spread, praying for our church, and our family, and for our neighbours, for the sick and bereaved, for the preaching of the gospel in our congregation and around the world, for the mission field, for the Christian Union at the university.

So there is a variety of devotional expressions and we must make sure that we are not negligent of any aspect of them. And of course we have to remember that along with the disciplines of private devotion there are the public devotions of our congregation. Let us all be singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with understanding and from our heart and not let our minds wander. Let us attend to the preaching of the Word, the prayers at our services, to baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and the influence we have over one another when we meet and share, bearing one another’s burdens, and confessing our sins to one another. So I am saying to you that in what we have been given to us by the apostle Paul here is the whole life of personal and congregational devotion and we see this clearly in the book of Acts, how important prayer and worship was to the early church. But there is one more area that we have heard from Paul that we are to keep . . .

iv] There is the life of the Christian affections required by God. What am I talking about? The fruit of the Spirit, love, joy and peace. Paul tells us that he had learned in every state he was in to be a contented man. Have we learned it? Paul says that we are not to worry about anything but pray and trust in God. God challenged Elijah asking him what was he doing under the juniper tree quite suicidal. The psalmist challenged his own moodiness – “why are you cast down O my soul and why are you disquieted?” There is an exhortation that is so important that it is repeated by Paul, Rejoice in the Lord always. We are warned of the danger of being neither a hot nor cold Christian but luke-warm. The psalmist says that God does not despise a broken and a contrite spirit, but rather those affections he loves. In fact blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. Such command and norms are focused on the inner life of every Christian. They are non-negotiable. You may not say that they are a matter of personality. The Spirit of God who dwells in you is greater than your personality. We do not simply ‘accept’ out personalities; that is a fundamental approach of New Testament Christianity.

So I am saying to you that the apostolic message embraces all those four areas of life. We need to maintain a commitment and determination to be strong in every single part. Would you sit down on a chair one of whose legs was six inches shorter than the other three? It would be a very tricky and demanding and uncomfortable and unnatural exercise to do so. You would always be in danger of falling over, and that would especially be the problem if there were two of the legs six inches shorter than the other two. I am saying that all four areas of life are addressed by the apostle in all his letters and all four are to be kept by us, whose calling is to continue steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching.

Or let me turn my application in this way, think of what would happen if you absolutized just one of the four, if you said, “Ah, this area is the crucial area and I am to give myself to this.” For example, if you simply emphasized the apostolic teaching and crammed your life with the doctrine alone, then you could end up with the faith of demons, they believe all the dogma but are devils yet. Or if you simply emphasized the morality then you would end up with the faith of the Pharisees, being as straight as a gun barrel and just as empty. Or if you emphasize only the devotional life of prayer then you would end up in monasticism, with prayer vigils day and night, living apart from the world. Or if you emphasized above all else the personal life of one’s emotions and feelings then you would end up in self-help religion utterly centred on yourself. We all need an all-round Christian life and we need to attend a church where all four aspects of apostolic Christianity are constantly taught and nurtured according to their proportion in Scripture, and the worshipping congregation ‘keeps’ them as Paul tells Timothy here. “Keep everything you’ve heard from me.” You see the wonderful balance in Paul’s letters and in Paul’s own life. We want to be Pauline in our beliefs and behaviour.


People say that they are perplexed by the presence of different denominations and beliefs in the professing church concluding, “How can anyone know what is true?” Paul will tell us that that is not a dilemma for the man who has bowed down and worshipped Jesus Christ as his Lord and God. He knows that everything that Jesus Christ has said is true. He has said about the Scriptures, “Your word is truth.” He has said that the Scripture cannot be broken. When he was tempted by the devil he answer him by saying, “It is written,” and he quoted three times from the book of Deuteronomy. His apostles had the same view of Scripture, that holy men in the Old Testament spoke and wrote as those carried along by the Holy Spirit. Paul reminds Timothy in this letter that all Scripture is God-breathed. A church which believes and preaches the Scripture as wholly true is the church to attend and the pulpit to listen to, and some of them have minor difference about such issues as church government and the people to be baptized and details of the second coming of Christ. They are what I call leaf and twig doctrines, but in trunk and branch doctrines we are united. We can tell you what our great confessions say about the Trinity and the person of Christ and all his great achievements and what you need to do to be saved, to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and so on. We may have different labels but we are not divided over those central things. In other words there is still today what Paul speaks of in the verse before us as, “a pattern of sound teaching.”

Do you think God would leave the church ignorant or perplexed as to what sound teaching really is? It has been defined by the church in its great confessions over the centuries. The gospel came under attack, as it does in each generation. Heresies emerge and the church gathers together and states what the Bible teaches. You find it in the Apostles’ Creed and in the confession at Chalcedon 1600 years ago, a magnificent statement on the person of Christ, and in the 39 Articles (all of which apart from a few minor points concerning bishops and baptism I believe – I am more of an Anglican than many vicars). And then there is the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the 1689 Baptist Confession, in the 1823 Confession of Faith of the Welsh Presbyterians. You find it summarised in the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship’s confession of faith, and when I speak at a C.U. meeting I am always delighted to be asked by an officer in the CU to sign the confession of faith to show I am in agreement with it. I love to do that because it is another expression of this “pattern of sound teaching” that God has given to us. This word ‘sound’ means ‘healthy.’ So it is telling us that an individual Christian and a church will be sick and ailing and lacking in forcefulness and energy if any of those four areas of Christian belief and practice are abandoned. We used to ask one another in the old days about a preacher, “is he sound?” if a church was looking for a minister it was for them utterly paramount that he be sound, for so much hung on that. Now we seem to take that for granted and we demand many more characteristics that being sound, but for Paul what is in first place is that a man of God keeps a pattern of sound teaching.

Then you notice Paul talks to Timothy about the teaching of the Bible as a pattern. How did I learn handwriting in junior school in the 1940s? I am sure the older people in the congregation were taught ‘joined-up writing’ in the same way as I learned it then just after the war. It was a boy’s class and each of us was given a piece of paper, and along the top, in beautiful copper-plate writing, was a proverb such as “All that glitters is not gold.” Then there were five blank lines under it. The top line was the pattern, and we were to copy the proverb in beautiful clear writing line after line on the empty lines underneath the proverb “All that glitters is not gold.” That is how we were taught to good handwriting, by following the pattern. There is also a pattern by which you are taught what Christianity is. The pattern has four areas. There is the truth, and there is the conduct, and there is the devotional life, and there are the religious affections and each one is presented to us as the pattern of sound faith and life, and we copy them. Believe these truths – the pattern. Live like this – the pattern. Pray like this – the pattern. Express your feelings in this way – the divine pattern. We have been given a pattern by the grace of God.

I am insisting that there is no doubt as to what authentic, historic Christianity is. It is not ours to choose the pattern of what we are to believe. We might not like what Jesus taught about the judgment of God and hell. We might not like what Paul taught that women are not called and gifted by God to be preachers, or what he taught about the sovereignty of God, but we may not form our own Christian religion by cutting out of it doctrines we believe to be unpleasant. There are two ways of destroying a house. You can put a stick of dynamite under it and blow it up. That is one way. Or you can take it down brick by brick, and there are people who will say to you, “We are not going to break fellowship over the infallibility of the Bible are we? We can be Christians and not believe in that.” And so one brick is removed. “We can be Christians and not believe Jesus walked on water can’t we?” And so another brick is removed. “We can be Christians and not believe in the virgin birth can’t we?” And so another brick is removed, and so brick by brick the pattern of sound teaching is changed. If you are knitting a sweater you do not pick up a knitting pattern for a doll or a pair of socks. If you are going to live the Christian life then the pattern is the one given to us in the Bible.

Imagine an army being defeated, and it is in retreat fleeing back to its garrison and safety. The victorious army is advancing on it, and it keeps shooting down one retreating soldier after another soldier after soldier is shot dead. At long last the remnants of the defeated army reach the garrison, but the disaster is that at the garrison gate the final solider is shot dead. They have all been annihilated. None were saved. That story is applied to the pattern of sound teaching. There is this book with these words, God-breathed words, written in it, but men have come along and they have torn out book after book of the Old Testament and many sections of the New Testament, arguing among themselves how much is to be censored or denied. The pattern is gone, and all that is left is a blank piece of paper and you write on it in whatever way you choose. Terrible handwriting results because the comprehensive pattern has steadily been removed. The pattern has shrunk and shrunk until the piece of paper is bare; “all that glitters is not . . . all that glitters is . . . all that glitters . . . all that . . . all . . .” and finally there is no pattern at all for what we are to believe and how we are to live. Christianity is gone. All that is left is you, and you say, “Well I think of Christianity like this . . .” Everyone believes and lives according to what is pleasing in his own eyes. Then no one can answer the questions, “What is true . . . what is good . . . what is prayer . . . what does God require of us . . . even, what are good vibrations?” If you have the Bible then you can answer the questions we are asked.


Keep the pattern of sound teaching Timothy, but remember, Timothy, how you fulfil this duty, in other words, what is going to be your attitude when you defend the faith. How important this is. When people will criticise Christians they generally won’t criticise their orthodoxy or even their morality, but they will criticise their spirit. They will say, “Oh yes he is evangelical and moral enough, but there is something about his manner I find so unattractive.” The critics of Paul didn’t dismiss his doctrines so much as they sniffily commented on his bodily presence – which was quite unimpressive. It was weak, in other words he wasn’t a towering figure of a man with natural charisma, and his speech, the way he spoke, was quite contemptible. They will criticise Timothy’s spirit too, and so Paul is concerned that Timothy does not become a ranter and a bully, proud that he is the minister of the great church in Ephesus, famous for the magisterial letter Paul had once written to them. Rather Timothy’s defence of the gospel was to be characterized by the two principle graces, and this was crucial, by faith and by love. The four aspects of the Christian life, yes, absolutely essential, but all were to be marinated in faith and love.

i] We are to uphold and defend the gospel in faith. Now it is important to flood this word ‘faith’ here with the definition you find in the opening words of Hebrews chapter 11, that great chapter on the power of faith. You remember the powerful opening words, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” In other words, visitors to our congregations are made sure and certain that we really believe what we are singing, and what we are praying about, and what the preacher is saying, and that – most of all – the Lord Christ is present in our midst hearing and helping us. There was an article in the Times this week on Thursday written by a man named Edward Lucas who writes for the Economist. He called the piece, “Soppy Christians Are Their Own Worst Enemy.” The piece began, “Wherever we go on Sunday mornings, we have to arrive early to get a seat . . .” And he describes the churches he attends and he makes a few interesting points. He says, “The language of the prayers is archaic, butt that does not bother the scores of youngsters as they sing the hymns and read the Bible.” He says, “none of this gives you the feeling of what statistics suggest is a dying religion in a post-Christian country . . . What these congregations have in common is a belief that Christianity matters. It matters because it is true . . . conviction matters much more than the differences between the various strands of Christianity . . . the real problem is that so much of the Christian church in Britain has lost its conviction – and thus its power to convince . . . embarrassed jokiness has become the house style of many Christian churches . . . People want meaning in their lives, and will flock to those who offer it . . . The lack of conviction and the apathy that it stokes is a big problem.”

What is paramount is our faith in Jesus Christ. We make much of him; we speak of him, how through him we’ve had forgiveness of our sins, and we have hope in dying that death is not dark annihilation.

He rose from the dead and because he lives we shall live too. We believe the Bible and so we quote the Scriptures as often as we can. Maybe we say, “The Bible says . . .” very often and even too often, but that Book is the pattern of sound teaching which we believe to be absolutely true. The conviction of faith is essential for our testimony to the world. Two American young men came to Aberystwyth on their bikes and stayed in the Manse for a few days before riding on. One was a young Christian in his views and his experience while the other was far more mature and spiritually minded, and he was bearing witness on this vacation to his companion about the grace of God. He was wonderfully gentle and patient and backed all he said from Scripture without ever going on too long. He was respectful to the opinions of the other. It was very impressive to listen in to their conversations. He is now a missionary in Spain and a few months ago he and I spoke together in a conference and I was helped by what he preached about. I spoke to him last year of this friend who had stayed at our house and he told me how well he was doing as a husband and father and church member and in his work. My friend had wanted to do this man good, and he cared for him and was on this two week cycling holiday around Wales with him. He put himself in his shoes. He was humble and approachable, a thoroughly good human being. And all this he did by the assurance of faith.

That is the great message of Hebrews chapter 11 isn’t it? What was the secret of the great achievements of the people of God in the Old Testament? We are told, that it was through faith they “conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised” (Hebs 11:33). We are told that “their weakness was turned to strength; and they became powerful in battle” (Hebs. 11:34), and all this transforming power became theirs as more and more they exercised their trust in God. They said to one another as they battled with the worshippers of Baal, and the Assyrians and the Babylonians, “He’s promised not to leave us, and that we will be more than conquerors and that we can do all things through him and he will work all things together for our good, and nothing will ever separate us from his love. Let’s keep going on, trusting in him.” Someone like Abraham and his wife didn’t trust in God’s promises as they should have at the beginning and so Abraham brought great anguish on himself and on a servant girl in his home. He failed in faith at first. So did Peter. He didn’t begin by standing up and preaching to thousands of men. He began by trembling with fear when a teenage girl asked him if he were a companion of the arrested Jesus, and Peter denied that he knew his Lord. He needed to say what a man once said to Jesus, “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” But how different he was after the resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit. It was by faith that Abraham and Elijah and Peter overcame, and Timothy too has to keep trusting in God as he defends the gospel. Without him we can do nothing. Let us believe that.

ii] We are also to uphold and defend the gospel in love. We would all say ‘Amen’  to that. Love is not something optional, we agree. It is vital, to have a growing measure of unfeigned love for the gospel, and for the people we are speaking to – the importance of that cannot be overemphasized. If any of us lack love then far better to be silent than to speak of the Lord Jesus in a loveless way. Then Timothy, love the flock in Ephesus for whom God has called you as their pastor. You are to keep the pattern of sound teaching not only for your sake but for their sake. You are to be willing to lay your own life down for the Ephesian sheep, not redemptively as Christ did, but for their spiritual well being and safety. Shepherd the flock which he has purchased with his own blood. Speak the truth in love to them, Timothy, with all true humility, mercy, forbearance, longsuffering, gentleness, and kindness. Feed them with the word of life, if necessary from the cradle to the grave.

Most of all Timothy, love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and keep oneself unspotted from the world. Out of that love an overflow of defending the faith will come. Contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. Hold fast the profession of your faith without wavering, Timothy, Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. Timothy be determined not to know anything among the people, except Jesus Christ and him crucified. Remember what God told Moses, “You shall not add to the word which I commanded you nor take anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God.”


Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (v.14). Keep it! Guard it! Yes make sure you guard it Timothy. Paul tells him twice with only eight words between the two exhortations. Never forget your vocation is to be a guard, not a railway guard, or a prison guard, or a security guard, but you too as a mere Christian are also a guard of the gospel that’s been deposited with you. So then after the law, repeated and underlined, after the law, or rather with the law, comes grace! With the command of God comes the promise of God! We are not crushed by a sermon of exhortation after exhortation. There is help at hand in this high calling of guarding what God provides! Divine help! Angels? Yes but not here. Principalities and powers and all the hosts of heaven? Yes, but not here. What God requires God will provide. We are never given the mere law alone, and so Augustine can say to God, “Command me to do whatever you wish, as long as you provide for me whatever you command. Guard the gospel, yes, but Timothy never forget this, that I will give you “the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” It is not, “Timothy resist every temptation to compromise the deposit of the gospel that’s been given you, and fight for it, and sweat for it, and bleed for it, and die for it, full stop.” No! Do all that yes, but it doesn’t stop there, no full stop. There’s a hyphen – a stroke of the pen – do you see it? Dash “– guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” Paul throws away this remark at the end of very 13, as if this were the most obvious fact but crucial for Timothy and ourselves to remember. It is not that we are facing a future of grim opposition and constant warfare with surprising skirmishes and attacks on the faith leaping upon us relentlessly week by week so that we hardly are getting over one battle for the faith when another battle starts, or perhaps two or three are going on at the same time. So we are exhausted and at our wit’s end every day, longing for deliverance, wondering whether it’s all worthwhile. Can’t God give us a break? Church meetings and officers’ meetings become full of debate and pressure because of the holy deposit we have to guard is being challenged and some Christians in the congregation are grumbling, “We are getting too finicky,” and so discerning people are keeping their peace and hoping for the best, but the downgrade goes on. A weary congregation. It is not like that. Help is here.

The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge. We have the Holy Spirit who is here not just as the orthodox third member of the Godhead (which he is), not just as a slogan and a talisman, but he is here to help us. You remember when you were at your wit’s end, with a small family all at home, and a sick husband, and work being done on your house, and dust everywhere and then the children all got a bug and you weren’t feeling great? Do you remember times like that? And then your mother heard and got in the car with a bag of nightclothes and her toilet bag and she arrived, and what did she do? Sit in the comfiest chair and spectate and comment as you limped around carrying your baby and mopping up the children’s vomit and putting some food on the stove. Her presence then would have made things ten times worse.

She came and got cracking, doing the washing and the ironing and making the beds and cooking and putting you down on your bed for a couple of hours and wonderfully taking over. She came as Mary Poppins and lifted your burdens and got you through that tough time and after a few days when they had all recovered from their bugs, and your husband was better and back in work and the house was shipshape and there was food she had cooked in the freezer she did not outstay her welcome but went home again. Thank God for mothers!

Now multiply be infinity. The Holy Spirit is with us to help us not to make things worse to convict us of being poor Christians. Where is he? Paul says, “He lives in us.”  There is a phrase I have given you which I hear some of you repeating in prayer, which I wish was original with me, but I got it from someone else. It has been great help to me. It is this, ‘We have illimitable access to an indwelling Spirit.’ He helps us keep the pattern of sound teaching, guard the deposit and be filled with faith and love, and he never grows weary of doing this. He always has the resources for the task and the wisdom of knowing what to do. He never leaves us. He doesn’t go off to China when we need him in Wales. He is with us today. He is with us now so that every Christian can say, “I can do all things through the Spirit who helps me. I can cope with my spouse being incurably ill and troubles in the church, and my husband’s unemployment with bills to pay, and my children getting wobbly with false teaching and persecution touching my life. He makes us competent. He makes us know that we can do it. I cannot merely cope with the situation, I can more than conquer it. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through the indwelling Spirit.

I asked a Christian how were things and he quoted to me 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” We can say that through the indwelling Holy Spirit who helps us.

17th January 2016   GEOFF THOMAS