So Stand Firm

So Stand Firm

Words of Faith 4-23-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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2 Thessalonians 2

    [13] But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. [14] He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. [15] So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

    [16] May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, [17] encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

 

        Paul shared a word of thanksgiving and blessing as he moved from his teaching on the day of the Lord to some exhortations for contemporary living in chapter 3. 

       In contrast to the unbelievers just mentioned, the Thessalonians were a source of joy to the apostles. Paul felt a strong obligation to thank God continually on their behalf. They were his brothers and sisters in the faith, loved by the Lord though hated and persecuted by their godless neighbors. 

       Paul expressed great joy and gratitude to the Lord for His initiative in the work of salvation they had experienced.  Paul had already expressed gratitude to the Thessalonians for their response to the Gospel, how they had received God's grace with power and deep conviction, and how they had persevered as imitators of Paul and of the Lord in spite of severe persecution( 1 Thes. 1:4-10).   

        But Paul gave this reminder that salvation is always by grace and is still at the initiative of God.  God chose the believers in Thessalonica not based on their love for Him, or any merit on their part, but because of His love for them.

       Paul gave thanks for the work of the Spirit in the lives of the believers at Thessalonica. The Holy Spirit works to effect salvation as He sets aside chosen individuals for lives of holiness and separation from sin (John 16:7-11).

       The Holy Spirit regenerates, indwells, and baptizes Christians into the body of Christ. The human aspect of salvation is belief in the truth of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit then uses the Word of God to purify the believer's life (John 17:17). 

       God called the believers of Thessalonica to salvation by using the Gospel as it was proclaimed by the apostolic missionaries. God's purpose in doing this was that the believers might one day share the splendor and honor that Jesus Christ now enjoys, seated at the right hand of the Father. 

       Given their calling, the Thessalonian believers were to stand firm.  Paul called them to maintain their faith in God, care for the brethren, and hope in the imminent return of Jesus Christ.  They were to stand firm in the face of the constant danger of being swept downstream by the currents of the ungodly culture around them. As young believers, there was also the danger that they might let the truths they knew and the relationship they enjoyed with God grow cold.  

        Paul was calling all believers to vigorously hold to what they have been taught by God's servants. The Thessalonians were in danger of loosening their grip on the apostles' teachings which they had received in person from the missionaries and from their letters. They were in danger of slipping backward in their Christian experience because of the pressures of their trials and the daily negative influences of the world, the flesh, and the devil.  Stand firm.

         This is very much a word for us today.  Knowing the truths of the End Times should motivate us to earnestly hold on to the faith that He has given us.  We need to stand firm in an age that is growing relentless in its attack on those whose hope is in Jesus.  May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage our hearts and strengthen us in every good deed and word.

 

        Father God, draw us near to You in these days.  Cause us to stand firm, established in the Word of God and filled with hope because of the Gospel of Jesus.  Anchor me in Your grace and cause me to be an encouragement to those around me.  Strengthen me in every good deed and word.  In Jesus' name.