MP3: The Rapture Road Thru 1 Thessalonians 3
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Since the first installment of The Truth Will Set You Free podcast series titled “The Rapture Road,” Vic Batista of Miami’s Calvary Chapel Broward and Nathan Jones of Lamb & Lion Ministries have been teaching through the Bible’s prophetic book of 1 Thessalonians in a verse-by-verse study. We will continue on with chapter three and learn what it means to “stand fast” in the faith.
Nathan Jones: The Apostle Paul continued his letter to the church in Thessalonica by being encouraged that his aid, Timothy, who was sent to encourage the new church, had returned and in turn had encouraged Paul with a good report. The next section covers 1 Thessalonians 3:6-10.
“But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?”
Vic Batista: Verse 8 really stands out to me because it reminds me of what the Bible says in Ephesians 6 about the spiritual warfare that Christians face. Paul says here, “For now we live…” and I love this, “…if you stand fast in the Lord.” Christians are advised to stand fast, not in our own strength, but in the Lord’s strength.
Nathan Jones: Exactly! Vic, as a pastor, what does “standing fast” even mean, and what do you do to “stand fast” in the Lord?
Vic Batista: Those are good questions. I believe the biggest challenges Christians face are Satan’s attempts at undermining our Christian faith. There are so many false religions attempting to pull people away from the true teaching of the Lord. We are seeing more and more false religions popping up and discrediting the name of Jesus. They teach that there are many ways of salvation and paths to get to Heaven.
Therefore, Christians need to constantly encourage our brethren to study the Word of God. To stand fast in the Lord means to stand true to the Word of God by putting our faith in His promises and not wavering. By diligently studying the Word of God we can grow in our personal relationship with Jesus Christ and by His Spirit we will stand strong against unbiblical, false teachings.Vic Batista: By diligently studying the Word of God we can grow in our personal relationship with #JesusChrist and by His Spirit we will stand strong against unbiblical, false teachings. Click To Tweet
Nathan Jones: So, in order to stand firm in the Lord, we grow in our understanding of God by studying His Word, that being the Bible. Bible study facilitates spiritual growth and deepens our relationship with God.
It’s interesting that Paul lives that out when he asks in verse 9, “For what thanks can we render to God for you…?” He’s making sure God gets the glory. There’s a deep relationship of thanksgiving and praise to God.
We can also use Paul’s example when it comes to standing fast in the Lord. He shows us it’s important that we Christians remain in constant worship and praising of our Lord. A life of worship and praise, along with Bible study, also grows our relationship with the Lord. Giving God all the glory due Him will help us stand fast against challenges to our faith.
Vic Batista: How can we stand fast in the Lord? Ephesians 6:10-11 tells us to put on the full armor of God. That armor helps Christians stand against the wiles and the attacks of the Enemy. We all experience a lot of discouragement throughout the week, those “fiery darts” of the Enemy. The Ephesians 6 passage reminds us, “Finally brethren be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil.” By putting on the full armor of God — righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God — you will be fully dressed spiritually to take a stand for the Christian faith.
Nathan Jones: That is so true. We Christians really have to be reading our Bibles in order to grow and develop that deeper relationship with our Savior. If you have a relationship with somebody and it’s just hands-off and you don’t really talk much or do much together, then when any kind of little problem arises between you comes up, that relationship oftentimes is going to fail. Lack of attention causes people to drift away from each other. The same can be said of the Christian’s relationship with God. We really need to be studying His Word because this is the primary way by which He communicates with us. We need to be in prayer. We need to be able to discern what is false teaching from what is real teaching, and that real teaching is what the Bible teaches.
Vic Batista: Paul taught the Church that the Christian must make Bible study, prayer and worship a lifestyle. When these three practices become second nature to us, we can stand firm when assaulted by spiritual warfare.Vic Batista: Paul taught the #Church that the #Christian must make #Bible study, prayer and worship a lifestyle. When these three practices become second nature to us, we can stand firm when assaulted by spiritual warfare. Click To Tweet
Nathan Jones: Christians live under spiritual warfare, especially in living in these last days. The Bibles warns us that in these end times Christians will face increasing persecution by those who engage in false teaching. We face so many trials that an apathetic, apostate church just cannot stand firm in the faith. But, a lively, engaged, Bible-centered church can survive all of Satan’s fiery darts.
I’m encouraged to read that Paul sent Timothy to encourage the Thessalonians, and when Timothy returned and gave Paul his report, we learned the church in Thessalonica was doing a great job at standing firm in the faith. They were standing by the Lord strongly against the pressures of that pagan city. The report clearly lifted Paul’s spirits. I’d imagine he must have been smiling broadly. Learning that the Thessalonians were standing firm lifted Paul’s own faith and encouraged him. That this little baby church that was only a few months old was still standing firm on the Word of God, despite hardship and trials, still encourages the Church to this day.
The Thessalonians also ended up providing a model for all the churches going forward across the centuries. As the Gospel spread throughout the world over the past 2,000 years, those who accepted Christ and became saved immediately faced challenges to their faith. This newly established church stood strong in their faith and their knowledge of God, and so provide us with a great example to live by. They teach us, even to this day, how important it is that Christians stand firm by walking in the Word of God.
In the twelfth part of our travels along the Rapture Road and our verse-by-verse study of 1 Thessalonians, we will finish up chapter three before moving into chapter four.