Three Reasons to Persevere in the Faith

Hello Church,

What joy it is to share my heart with you through this electronic avenue as I seek to encourage your walk in the Word and your worship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I want you to know how grateful I am to have the undeserved privilege to serve God as your shepherd who follows in the footsteps of the Great Shepherd (1 Pet 5:1-4). This journey we have embarked on is one in which we seek to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ together (2 Pet3:18). Church, please hear me when I say that I have the great pleasure of growing in my walk alongside of you as I hear the Word and apply the Word to my own life first and foremost (Js 1:22-25). What a blessing it is that we can pray for one another as we seek to encourage each other to not give up and to not grow weary in well doing (Gal 6:9-10). Therefore, following Paul’s point of encouragement to the Colossian believers to not turn away from the truth (Col 1:23), I want to explain three reasons why these commands to persevere in the faith are given in the Scriptures. My prayer is that this will further help you understand what often confuses people.

Three Reasons to Persevere in the Faith

Perseverance

One of the most sobering truths in the entire Bible is that not all professing Christians are actually saved (Mt 7:22-23)! Jesus Christ Himself declared this reality multiple times (Lk Mt 10:22; 14:25-33) and taught this truth in many of the parables (Mt 13:1-43). Thus, the first reason that the Bible is filled with exhortations to continue in the faith is in order that false faith may be revealed, and true faith understood (Mk 13:13; Heb 3:12-14; 1 Jn 2:19). The Scriptures patently teach that there is such a thing as spurious faith that is marked by a confession, but lacks the substantiating conduct that always follows genuine belief (Js 2:14-26). Martin Luther rightfully proclaimed this biblical truth when he said, “Man is saved by faith alone, but true saving faith is never alone.” The Gospels actually display “believing unbelievers” who started out following Christ for what He gave but turned away from Him when they realized what He demanded (Jn 6:66; also see Jn 8:30 v/s Jn 8:59). Moreover, the Scriptures speak of those from the church who will depart from the faith (1 Tim 4:1), those within the church who will seek to distort the faith (2 Tim 2:16-19) and destroy the faith of others (Acts 20:29-30), and those who will leave the church completely denying the faith (1 Jn 2:19). One can see a dramatic picture of those who pretend to be of the faith in the lives of Judas (Lk 22:3-6), Demas (2Tim 4:10), and Simon Magus (Acts 8:4-24). True Christians do not pretend to be like the world (Js 4:4; 1 Jn 2:15-17) but people of the world do pretend to be like Christians (1 Cor 11:12-15; I Jn 2:19)!

Another reason for the exhortations to continue in the faith is to encourage an enduring faith in the midst of persecutions and hardships (Heb 12:1-4). The Christian life is often fraught with pain, peril, persecutions, and problems (Phil 1:29) which demands that we endure, not shrink back, persist, and not grow weary (Mk 13:13; Gal 6:9; 2 Tim 2:3). Thus, we are to follow the example of Christ who endured joyfully and faithfully to the end (Heb 12:3), even though He was falsely accused (1 Pet 2:18-25). The Bible gives us a myriad of faithful witnesses who endured despite the difficulties and death they faced (Heb11:1-40). The Apostle Paul stands as another enduring example of persevering faith as he was perplexed but not in despair, he was afflicted but not crushed, persecuted but not forsaken (2 Cor 4:8-9). Thus, we love to hear Paul’s swan song of perseverance in that He fought the good fight and he finished the race and he kept the faith (2 Tim 4:7)! The final reason for these warnings and commands to persist in believing is to provoke a dependent faith (2 Tim 1:12). You see Church, we ultimately persevere in the faith through and because of the strength and the faith that God provides (Phil 2:12-13). That is why God told Paul that His grace was sufficient to sustain Paul through his sufferings (2 Cor 12:8-10). God has promised to sustain us to the end (1Cor 1:7-8), protect us through times of temptations (1 Cor 10:13), and to complete the work He started (Phil 1:6)! While we will and must suffer and endure hardships as believers, we must rest secure and stable in our faith in knowing that God will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us in Christ (1 Pet5:10). Therefore, these exhortations help us learn to strive for holiness (Heb 12:14) and persevere in the faith with all the energy that God Himself provides (Col 1:29).

That last verse provokes my thoughts to this Sunday’s message where we will consider the persevering portrait of the life of the Apostle Paul. The next section in Colossians shows what a model minister looks like, which helps equip us in our ministry both as a church and as servants of the King. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday as we contemplate some marks of what a biblical ministry looks like.

Yours for the Master,

Pastor Matt

Tags:

Subscribe to Sermon Podcast


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply