2004-11-18 - Hold Fast
Rev 2:25 'Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. (NAS)
Whenever I get bogged down in life, the book of the Revelation can refocus me. The pressing things of life are rarely urgent, and the urgent things in life are rarely pressing. Storing up an understanding of the Bible and the Creator, Savior and Lord of our lives is critical. The things with eternal value somehow seem to land near the bottom of the list.
But an understanding of the Bible and the Creator, Savior and Lord of our lives is critical. It is one, very wonderful thing to know that God's eternal life has been given to you. It is another thing to be able to explain it to someone else. Some people will see the change in a life and that is enough for them. God will use many things to communicate to those around us. Other people will have questions that deserve answers. Paul speaks of equipping ourselves for service. To study and to understand the gospel and to be able to answer questions about God and salvation to someone who is asking can take time. Once equipped, we are instructed to hold fast to those things that we have learned.
The story behind the verse today is that a woman had come into a church and set herself up as a leader. The problem was that her teaching was in error. The above verse is an exhortation. It is an encouragement to resist false teachings. But how do you recognize bad teaching or incorrect ideas? You need to know the truth yourself! God gives us teachers and pastors and evangelists to give us some of that truth. Some of it we must read for ourselves. And all of it should be checked against other scriptures to be sure they do not conflict. Handle the Bible like a sword you are learning to use. Learn to handle it well and it is a tool for defense and offense. Learn to manipulate that sword with skill and the movements become a thing of beauty. However, if it is not handled with care it will cut even the most practiced owner as well as the enemy.
If anyone reading this would walk up to their Minister and tell them that they had taken every sermon they had heard for the last five years at face value and left it at that, some might be surprised by the reactions they would get. Some would be angry, some dismayed and others would just be very sad. I challenge you to bring a pad and pencil with you to church and take notes during the sermon. If you don't understand something, if something impresses you, or if you want to dig a little deeper into a point, write it down and go back to it later. You may be amazed at how much better you remember the things you write down. If you want to be able to hold fast, you must have something to hold fast to. Build hand and footholds into the truths of the scripture and begin exploring. It becomes a fascinating journey.
Eph 4:11-16 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (NAS)
Lord Jesus, give is the courage to dig into Your letter to us, our manual for living. Give us patience and understanding in all our ways. Amen.
Grace & Peace,