TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

I.  General

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Chapter 36  Part I

General

The New Testament contains numerous warnings and exhortations to be faithful to God and to hold to the Christian faith. It is every Christian’s constant challenge to do so. We need to stand firm, until the end – while ever watching for Jesus Christ’s return and the fulfillment of our hope.

Be Faithful to God

See also:

Be faithful to God and Jesus Christ

1Ki 8:61  [Solomon, to the people:] May you, his people, always be faithful to the Lord our God, obeying all his laws and commands, as you do today.”  GNT

Acts 11:23  When he arrived and saw how God had blessed the people, he was glad and urged them all to be faithful and true to the Lord with all their hearts.  GNT

Hold fast to God and his ways

2Ki 18:6  For he [Hezekiah] held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses.  ESV

Serve God faithfully

1Sam 12:24  Obey the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Remember the great things he has done for you.  GNT

Do not be unfaithful to God by not keeping his commands

1Chr 10:13  So Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord and did not obey the Lord’s instructions; he even tried to conjure up underworld spirits.  NET

Do not forsake God

2Chr 29:6  [Hezekiah, to the priests and Levites of Judah:] For our fathers were unfaithful; they did what is evil in the sight of the Lord our God and abandoned him! They turned away from the Lord’s dwelling place and rejected him.  NET

God protects and blesses those who are faithful to him

Ps 31:23  Love the Lord, all his faithful people. The Lord protects the faithful, but punishes the proud as they deserve.  GNT

1Sam 26:23a  The Lord rewards those who are faithful and righteous.  GNT

God punishes those who are unfaithful

Neh 1:8b  [God, to the Israelites:] If you act unfaithfully, I will scatter you among the nations.  NET

 Questions for Section A

Remember God and His Word

Ensure you remember God

Deut 8:11, 18  [Moses, to the Israelites:] Be sure you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments, ordinances, and statutes that I am giving you today. … 18You must remember the Lord your God, for he is the one who gives ability to get wealth; if you do this he will confirm his covenant that he made by oath to your ancestors, even as he has to this day.  NET

Remember what God has done

1Chr 16:12  Recall the miraculous deeds he performed, his mighty acts and the judgments he decreed, …  NET

Remember God’s word and commands

Ps 119:16, 93  [A psalmist, to God:] I will take pleasure in your laws and remember your words.93I won’t ever forget your teachings, because you give me new life by following them.  CEV

Persistently meditate on God’s word and commands . . .

Ps 119:97, 148  [A psalmist, to God:] O how I love your law! All day long I meditate on it.148My eyes anticipate the nighttime hours, so that I can meditate on your word.  NET

. . . Keep God’s word and commands in your heart and thoughts

Deut 11:18a  [Moses, to the Israelites:] Take these words of mine to heart and keep them in mind.  GW

Deut 6:6-9  [Moses, to the Israelites:] “Let these words that I’m commanding you today be always on your heart. 7Teach them repeatedly to your children. Talk about them while sitting in your house or walking on the road, and as you lie down or get up. 8Tie them as reminders on your forearm, bind them on your forehead, 9and write them on the door frames of your house and on your gates.”  ISV

God’s commands are to be on the hearts of his people (v. 6). As such his people should take steps to keep his commands in their thoughts (vv. 7-9).

Note: Forgetting God has dreadful consequences

Deut 8:19  [Moses, to the Israelites:] If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship them and bow down to them, I warn you today that you will be destroyed.  NCV™

 Questions for Section B

Hold to the Faith

Continue in the faith

Acts 14:22  They strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “We must enter the kingdom of God through many persecutions.”  NET

The body of Christian beliefs is often referred to as “the faith”.

Stand firm

1Cor 15:58a  [Paul:] My dear friends, stand firm and don’t be shaken.  CEV

Hold to Christian teaching . . .

2Thes 2:15  [Paul, to the Thessalonian believers:] So, brothers and sisters, stand strong and continue to believe the teachings we gave you in our speaking and in our letter.  NCV™

. . . Continue to live by Christian teaching

3Jn 1:3  [John, to his friend Gaius:] I was so happy when some fellow-Christians arrived and told me how faithful you are to the truth—just as you always live in the truth.  GNT

Grow in the faith and in your knowledge

Phil 1:25  [Paul, to the Philippian believers:] Since I’m convinced of this, I know that I will continue to live and be with all of you. This will help you to grow and be joyful in your faith.  GW

Col 1:10  [Paul, to believers:] You will produce fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God.  NCV™

The final phrase quite likely speaks of growing or increasing in knowledge about God, quite possibly encompassing coming to know him better (cf. CEV, NIrV, NLT). But note that some commentators interpret Paul to be speaking of “the knowledge of God” as the sphere in which we grow, or the means by which we grow.

Grow in all aspects of your Christian life . . .

2Pet 1:5-8  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith [moral] excellence, to excellence, knowledge; 6to knowledge, self–control; to self–control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; 7to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love. 8For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately.  NET

. . . and produce spiritual “fruit”

Gal 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self–control. Against such things there is no law.  NET

These characteristics are described as “fruit of the Spirit” because their source and means of growth is the Holy Spirit – like fruit from a tree. The implication is that our lives should produce such “fruit”.

 Questions for Section C

Persist until the End

Stand firm until the end

Matt 24:13  [Jesus, to his disciples:] But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  ESV

Persist so that you will receive the reward . . .

Rom 2:7  He [God] will give everlasting life to those who search for glory, honor, and immortality by persisting in doing what is good.  GW

Heb 10:35-36  So do not throw away your confidence, because it has great reward. 36For you need endurance in order to do God’s will and so receive what is promised.  NET

. . . Be like an athlete, striving for a prize

2Tim 4:7-8  [Paul:] I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith! 8Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day – and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing.  NET

Be careful not to turn away from God . . .

Heb 3:12  Be careful, brothers and sisters, that none of you ever develop a wicked, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  GNT

Heb 2:1  Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  NET

. . . Do not rebel against God

Num 14:9a  Only do not rebel against the Lord.  ESV

Josh 22:29  [The Israelites:] Far be it from us to rebel against the Lord by turning back today from following after the Lord by building an altar for burnt offerings, sacrifices, and tokens of peace aside from the altar of the Lord our God located in front of his dwelling place!  NET

Some people do fall away

1Tim 4:1a  The Spirit says clearly that in later times some believers will desert the Christian faith.  GW

Falling away brings dire consequences

John 15:6  [Jesus:] If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out like a branch, and dries up; and such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and are burned up.  NET

 Questions for Section D

Be Ready for Jesus Christ’s Return

See also:

Wait eagerly for Jesus Christ’s return and for all that will follow

Phil 3:20-21  [Paul:] We, however, are citizens of heaven, and we eagerly wait for our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven. 21He will change our weak mortal bodies and make them like his own glorious body, using that power by which he is able to bring all things under his rule.  GNT

Jude 1:21  Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the Lord Jesus Christ with his mercy to give you life forever.  NCV™

As we do not know when Jesus Christ will come, keep watch and be ready

Matt 24:42-44  “So keep on watching, because you don’t know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But be sure of this: if the owner of the house had known when during the night the thief would be coming, he would have stayed awake and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44So you, too, must be ready, because at an hour you are not expecting him the Son of Man will come.”  ISV

To be ready for Jesus Christ’s return, live a godly life . . .

1Tim 6:14  [Paul, to Timothy:] Do what you were commanded to do without wrong or blame until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.  NCV™

Likely Paul mentions Christ’s return (v. 14) to inspire Timothy to obey his instructions in order to be ready for it.

. . . and live a constructive life

Matt 25:19-21  Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’  ESV

The returning master (v. 19; cf. 24:50 ⇓) represents Jesus Christ on his return, whereupon he will reward his faithful servants.

Do not live an ungodly life, leaving you unprepared for Jesus Christ’s return

Matt 24:48-51  But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  ESV

Do not be deceived by false claims, for Christ’s return will be only after certain events – and obvious to all

Matt 24:4-14, 26-27  Jesus answered them [his disciples], “Watch out that no one misleads you. 5For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. 7For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these things are the beginning of birth pains. 9“Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of my name. 10Then many will be led into sin, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11And many false prophets will appear and deceive many, 12and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the person who endures to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.26So then, if someone says to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe him. 27For just like the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so the coming of the Son of Man will be.  NET

2Thes 2:3  Do not let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until the final Rebellion takes place and the Wicked One appears, who is destined for hell.  GNT

The “Day” is the day of Christ’s return. The “Wicked One” is quite likely the first beast of Revelation 13, understood by many to be a final antichrist.

 Questions for Section E

Pray for persecuted Christians