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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

STAND FAST IN THE LORD

1 Thess 3:6-8 But now when Timothy came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: 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.

The last few verses of the preceding chapter, of this letter, tell us that Paul was hindered, in some unforeseen way, from experiencing his great desire to revisit the Christians of Thessalonica. Therefore, he thought it better to remain in Athens for a while and send Timothy our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: that no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto (Prev. Vss. 1-3). Being warned of the trials and tribulations that lay before them, as Christians in the midst of much opposition, Paul was deeply concerned about their faithfulness to God and His Son, Jesus Christ (Vss. 4-5).

In the lesson text, we find that Timothy brought a very favorable report to Paul regarding the church of Christ in Thessalonica. From Acts 18:1-5, we know that when this report was brought to Paul. he was preaching in the synagogue in Corinth. From Timothy, Paul learned of their faith and charity. They had fond memories of Paul, and desired to see him once again, as much as Paul also wanted to see them. Paul rejoiced over their faithfulness. The good news lifted his spirits, even while he was experiencing severe opposition to his teaching, that brought him much affliction and distress. Even through all of the misery, suffering, and distressful conditions placed in his way, by Satan and his anti-Christian followers, Paul was able to say that he, and his fellow servants of Christ, were comforted by the faithfulness of the members of the church in Thessalonica.

Paul's life - his very soul, was revived, because those in this city continued, in the face of adversity, to walk in the pathway of righteousness. In order that he may continue to do so, Paul encouraged each Christian of this city to stand fast in the Lord. What does this statement mean? Our Savior, Jesus Christ tells us as He gave this encouraging message to those Jews, which believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32).

To stand fast in the Lord was a prevalent theme throughout the preaching, and inspired writings of the apostle Paul. This, he assured all Christians, in these additional teachings regarding the necessity of steadfastness in Christian living, and carrying out the spreading of the gospel message of Christ throughout the world. To the Corinthian brethren he wrote, Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58).

To the churches of Galatia, he wrote, Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Gal. 5:1). To the church founded in Ephesus it was Paul's prayer That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:17-19). To the church at Philippi, Paul's encouragement was that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God (Phil. 27b-28).

And if Paul was the writer of the Hebrew letter, he wrote that we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; while it is said, Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation (Heb. 3:14-15).,He also wrote,Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching (Heb. 10:23-25).

Not only was this message from the apostle Paul needed in those days, but it is needed just as much today. We too, must live faithfully to God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, and stand fast in the Lord!