Galatians 1:10 (KJV) “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
Last week, we discussed…
Paul knew that the only way to overcome the obstacles of the enemy and environment is by “Living to Please God.” He sent Timothy to encourage the believers in Thessalonica to “Live to Please God” by their…
“Steadfastness” pleases God by …
Let me state this again, “Church is NOT what we DO, it is who we ARE!”
Hebrews 10:25 (MSG) “not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching” (Emphasis Added).
Since the Word of God establishes that marriage is a mirror of Christ’s relationship with His Church (Ephesians 5:32), and we understand that it is practically impossible to BE “married” alone, we must accept that it is practically impossible to BE the Church alone.
“It was one of the Wesleys, I think, who said that the New Testament knows nothing of solitary religion. We are forbidden to neglect the assembling of ourselves together. Christianity is already institutional in the earliest of its documents.” — C. S. Lewis
“Steadfastness” pleases God by …
Apostle Paul was highly educated in socio-political and religious ethics, economies, and energies. Being a student of history and experienced in politics, Paul knew fully well that the Roman Empire was beginning its downward spiral and would disappear from the face of the earth. He was experiencing the demise of Judaism and had fought to overcome its consequential irrelevance. It is easy to recognize his concern that the Thessalonian Christians were not only soundly established upon the “Sure Foundation” of Jesus Christ but were also ensuring that all new converts were equally enjoined.
1 Thessalonians 3:7-13 (KJV) “Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” (Emphasis Added).
We have the advantage of the “historical view” to understand why the Roman Empire fell. Most historians present the primary reason for Rome’s Fall as the numerous invasions by Barbarian armies, with the “deathblow” given by Odoacer the Germanic leader in A.D. 476. Nonetheless, these “outside” forces were able to succeed because of three critical factors from “within” …
- Governmental corruption and discord
- Economic overextension and military spending
- Loss of traditional values and the rise of Christianity
We must recall that the Roman Empire was a “Kingdom!” So is the Kingdom of God! While Rome was been called the “Eternal City,” the City of God IS Eternal! Let us be mindful that the Enemy is attacking God’s Kingdom; therefore, we take great comfort in the promise of Jesus Christ…
Matthew 16:18 (KJV) “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Emphasis Added).
The Roman Empire fell because of the demise WITHIN its kingdom. As we look upon our nation today, we can see that the weakness is rising from within – NOT because of the attack from without! Paul had the same concern for the Church in Thessalonica. He emphasized the need to be united so they could, and would, stand!
1 Thessalonians 3:7-13 (MSG) “In the middle of our trouble and hard times here, just knowing how you’re doing keeps us going. Knowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive. What would be an adequate thanksgiving to offer God for all the joy we experience before him because of you? We do what we can, praying away, night and day, asking for the bonus of seeing your faces again and doing what we can to help when your faith falters.11May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you! And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers.” (Emphasis Added)
There is a great deal of new building construction going on in our area today. When I can, I try to look at the foundational layout in the early stages of a building. Regardless of any pictures or drawings of the proposed building that are presented, the quality and size of its foundation predicts the stability and steadfastness of the structure that will be built thereon.
Paul was certain about the steadfastness of the “Foundation of Jesus Christ”. He knew that there is no Surer Foundation. He had been careful to build the faith of the believers in Thessalonica upon Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (KJV) “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (Emphasis Added).
Many are attempting to build their eternal salvation upon the “foundation of works.” Their fruitless hope is that their good works will impress God enough so He would remove their blot of sin in reward for their personal goodness. How sad this is! God holds the following view of our “works” …
Isaiah 64:6 (KJV) “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Emphasis Added).
Romans 3:10 (KJV) “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Emphasis Added).
Romans 3:23 (KJV) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Emphasis Added).
There is only ONE “Foundation” to build an Eternal Life upon – Jesus Christ of Nazareth! He is the ONE Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Every “House” built upon Him WILL last for eternity!
1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (MSG) “Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ.” (Emphasis Added).
“Never try to explain God until you have obeyed Him. The only bit of God we understand is the bit we have obeyed.” — Oswald Chambers in Run Today’s Race
Jesus was very pointed in His teaching on “Foundations of Works” …
Matthew 7:21-27 (KJV) “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Emphasis Added).
“A salty pagan, full of the juices of life, is a hundred times dearer to God, and also far more attractive to men, than a scribe who knows his Bible … in whom none of this results in repentance, action, and above all, death of the self. A terrible curse hangs over the know-it-all who does nothing.” — Helmut Thielicke
Our “Steadfastness” is only as lasting as the strength of our faith’s foundation.
Ephesians 2:19-22 (KJV) “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Emphasis Added).
Growing up on the Atlantic Coast, I spent long hours working on intricate sandcastles; whole cities would appear beneath my hands. One year, for several days in a row, I was accosted by bullies who smashed my creations. Finally, I tried an experiment: I placed cinder blocks, rocks, and chunks of concrete in the base of my castles. Then I built the sand kingdoms on top of the rocks. When the local toughs appeared (and I disappeared), their bare feet suddenly met their match. Many people see the church in grave peril from a variety of dangers: secularism, politics, heresies, or plain old sin. They forget that the church is built upon a Rock (Mt. 16:16), over which the gates of hell itself shall not prevail. — Gregory P. Elder, Del Mar, California
Ephesians 2:19-22 (MSG) “That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home” (Emphasis Added).
“Steadfastness” is manifest in “Faithfulness, Fellowship, and Foundation.” It is a conscious decision to make the choice of “Living to Please God” in ALL circumstances.
“I certainly don’t think that the death required that ‘ye be born again,’ is the death of reason. … One of the effects of modern liberal Protestantism has been gradually to turn religion into poetry and therapy, to make truth vaguer and vaguer and more and more relative, to banish intellectual distinctions, to depend on feeling instead of thought, and gradually to come to believe that God has no power, that he cannot communicate with us, cannot reveal himself to us, indeed has not done so, and that religion is our own sweet invention.” — Flannery O’Connor in Habit of Being