07/28/W – Stand Firm and Hold On

Jeremiah 25:1-38; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17; Psalms 84:1-4; Proverbs 20:7

NT: “But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, so that you might obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught, whether by what we said or what we wrote. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word.” (‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:13-17‬ ‭CSB)

After addressing the untruths that were being spread about the second coming of the Lord, Paul reminded the Thessalonian believers that the reason they were chosen in Christ, saved and sanctified was because they believed the truth. So Paul encouraged them to believe the truth, stand firm in guarding the truth, and practice the truth in work and word. The full gospel that Paul brought them was the truth – all of it, including the sure hope of a certain future in Christ.

God led Paul to bring the truth of the Gospel to Macedonia – and God chose the Thessalonian believers for salvation and sanctification when they believed and responded to the truth of the gospel… all that the believers in Thessalonica would be able to obtain the glory of Christ. Therefore, it was pertinent that the Thessalonian church stand firm and hold on to the traditions they were taught. We can sometime view the word ‘tradition’ in a negative light. We may view traditions as old and stale things that are from the past that are no longer relevant to today. Here, the word tradition merely means something that was transmitted from one person to another by word of mouth or writing. Paul wanted them to stand firm (persevere in) and hold (powerfully possess and not let go of) the truths that he passed on to them verbally while he was there, and through his letters while he was away. Part of standing firm and holding the truth is actually practicing the truth. Faith become alive when we actually act on what we believe. Paul said that as the believers practiced the truth in word and deed, God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ would grace them, encourage them, and strengthen them in their faithfulness to believe, guard and practice the truth. The gospel is full of powerful, salvational and transformational truth – but the truth only has power when we believe it… and to continue believing it, we must stand firm in it, hold on to it and practice it.

Psalms: “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord of Armies. I long and yearn for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God. Even a sparrow finds a home, and a swallow, a nest for herself where she places her young — near your altars, Lord of Armies, my King and my God. How happy are those who reside in your house, who praise you continually. Selah” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭84:1-4‬ ‭CSB)

This psalm is attributed to the sons of Korah. The sons of Korah were a sect of Levites descended from Korah, who was a cousin of Moses that rebelled against his position of authority (Numbers 16). The role of the Korahites was to serve in the temple. Apparently, the Korahite that wrote this psalm was prevented, for some reason or another, from being able to make pilgrimage to Jerusalem and serve in the temple. From the time of Moses until the resurrection of Christ, Jews had to go to a place to worship God… either to the tabernacle or the temple. The tabernacle, and then later the temple, was the place where the Name of God abided – and that was the only place where true worship could occur. So, for this son of Korah, being kept from the temple was being kept from enjoying the presence of God and worshipping Him.

Thankfully for us on this side of the cross, one of the truths of the gospel is that true worship is no longer about a place. It is about a person. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well in Sicar that the time was coming when it didn’t matter where worship occurred – what mattered was that the worship was done in spirit and truth (John 4:21-24). In Christ, we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit – and if we believe the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done for us, rivers of living water will never cease to bubble up from within us and flow out to a dry and thirsty world. In Christ, we never have to go through a season of being withheld from the presence of God, for in Christ, the presence of God is in us and with us always. As we stand firm, hold to and practice that truth, Christ Himself will be with us – even to the end of the age.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the surety that comes from knowing that You are truth and that everything that comes from You is truth. I can prevent myself from becoming confused or led astray by believing You, standing firm in You, holding on to You and walking in all that You call me to do. Be ever with me as I remain in You by faith. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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