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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stand Firm and Hold On

English: Grazing near Stottesdon, Shropshire A...
English: Grazing near Stottesdon, Shropshire A public footpath runs along the other side of the hedge and oak trees. Park Wood can be seen on the sky line past the big oak tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1 Thessalonians 3:8 Paul says this: 7Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?

Paul was in Athens after he left Thessalonica because of the mob violence, and he longed to hear from the church there.  So he sent Timothy back to check on them and encourage them.  They were new to the faith and he feared they might fall back to the idols they had worshiped before.  

Timothy returned with a wonderful report of their faith.  He used the words standing firm to describe their position.  He doesn't say they are progressive or modern or updated.  It sounds like an old fashioned position--standing firm.  Paul had planted this church on good ground and their roots had gone deep.  He could rejoice that they were still standing firm. 

In 2 Thessalonians 2:15 he gives them this command again with another injunction:  Stand firm and hold fast.  He expected them to hold fast to the teachings he had delivered to them on his previous visit.  Once they got hold of the truth of the Lord's deliverance, they had to hold on to it.  They could not be deceived by those who would mix their faith with other tales or superstitions or traditions.  They were rooted in good ground and the basis of their faith was unshakable.  They must stand fast and hold on to those truths without regard to the new stuff that flooded around them.  

New thoughts and ideas and philosophies are everywhere, and many of them are appealing or interesting.  But they don't do justice to the old standards of truth and righteousness and salvation that come with the foundation on which we stand firm holding on to Christ Jesus.
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