Lucia's Blog: 2020-09-20
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Saturday, September 26, 2020

LIVING RIGHTEOUSLY IN AN EVIL WORLD - TITUS 3

 

"Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned."   
Titus 3:1-11


The greater tragedy is not in failing to understand what God wants from us, but in failing to put into practice the wonderful life that God wants us to live. When we understand God's words we are so much closer to the Paradise of God. How tragic to be so close, to have the fruit in our hands, but not to taste it and enjoy its benefits, benefits that are ours only if we do what He wants!

The apostle Paul concludes this letter to Titus by reminding him to charge Christians to do their duty to God.  Don’t we all need to be reminded of our Christian duties, especially our reverent conduct before God, even if we already know?   Paul stresses the importance of repetition in the whole teaching process.  The purpose of this letter is to stress God’s Grace (Titus 3:1-7).  In verse 3, Paul contrasts how God views sinners, before and after they obey the Gospel and are saved, forgiven, and justified.  We can be “heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (verse 7) only through God’s kindness, love, and mercy, which we do not deserve.  Paul is also instructing Titus on how to deal with false teachers.  Those who would divide God’s children with their unprofitable, worthless, and useless man-made doctrines.  Titus, as a preacher, was urged by Paul to be prepared to defeat such challenges and threats to the faith,  which is the Gospel.  Paul closes this letter to his young preacher friend stressing salvation through Christ (Titus 3:1-7) and those things that need to be affirmed constantly (Titus 3:8-15).    

"The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.  12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.  15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith."


I.   HOW CHRISTIANS MUST CONDUCT THEMSELVES IN AN EVIL WORLD:

  • Christian Duties And Reminders:
    •  Titus 3:1-2:
"Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities,  to be obedient, to be ready for every good work."

Titus 3:1-2
describes how Christians must conduct themselves in an evil world. Paul reminds the brethren in Crete that they must be subject to the rulers and authorities among them. Remember how immoral the Cretans were. The leaders of that island were worse than their people. Moreover, this letter was written when Nero was emperor over the Roman Empire. It was a difficult time to yield to the authorities.  And though in our times, we also have immoral, and godless leaders, it is nothing compared to the godlessness and lawlessness, that existed on the island of Crete and within the Empire.  

Despite the lawlessness that surrounds us and extreme circumstances, God calls on Christians to yield to the government.  God does not want us to be zealots, like the Jews of that time, against our government.  It is so easy for many, even Christians, to get caught up in political issues and politicians.  But God calls us to reflect Christ by imitating Him, walking in righteousness. Notice that in verses 1 and 2 of this letter we are commanded to be obedient to our government, not rebel against the government. We must continue to be equipped to do good works regardless of political circumstances!

"To speak evil of no one, 'to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people“showing every courtesy to everyone.'"  (Titus 3:2)


      • "To speak evil of no one." 

Let us soak in these words!  No one is excluded in our context.  Have you ever heard the saying, “Speak evil of no one. Speak good of everyone?” It certainly is a good motto to live by.  It is not only a good motto to live by, but it is also a command for all Christians who desire to live godly and do the will of their Father in heaven.  Paul is urging Titus to remind Christians to speak no evil of anybody.  God will not tolerate His children judging others and speaking evil of them!  Why?  Because we were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving our lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another before we obeyed the Gospel.  

Christians are commanded not to speak evil of anyone. It means no malicious words. No exceptions. We are also urged to avoid quarreling, for it is not godly and righteous.  It is a reproach before God to be quarrelers, especially over nonsense. We must be cautious about arguing for the sake of argument and winning an argument. Instead of quarreling, we are commanded to be gentle and kind to all people. This world of darkness must see Christ living in us, His gentleness and kindness, instead of the spirit of fighting and evil speaking in us!   

God commands us not to speak evil of anyone, even nonbelievers.  We live in a world that is full of people that hate one another, love gossip, are contentions, and love strife. However, we must not be like them, for we are called to be different, to be set apart from this world of darkness.  We Christians must strive to never speak evil of anyone, even if they sin against us.  Period!  

Just look around you; evil speaking is everywhere. Speaking ill of someone is the norm in this world of darkness. It’s what the news thrives on, especially for ratings. It is all over social media. Many speak evil of others to let out their frustrations.  Yet, the Lord calls us to a higher standard. 

“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation”  (1 Peter 2:12). 


Our "good deed" is to not speak evil of anyone but to speak well of others.  I know very well how hard it is, but we must control our words before a watching God!

Sadly, our lips reflect what is inside our hearts.  We are carnal minded when we let our flesh come out in the words of our mouthsHow often do we put ourselves to shame, and it is God whom we put to shame,  because of the words of our mouth and the things we say about others?!  We must repent!  We must stop to reflect and examine our hearts and purge out the old leaven so that we may be a new lump. Thus let us repent and remove the sin of evil-speaking as we continue to strive to walk on the path of righteousness.


      • “To be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” 

This phrase literally means showing all gentleness (courtesy) to all people. There is a double “all.” Everyone must see our kind conduct at all times. 


    •  Titus 3:3:

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” 

      1. Why should we do this? 
      2. Why should we be in subjection to the authorities? 
      3. Why should we speak evil of no one, avoid quarrels, be gentle, and show all gentleness and courtesy to everyone? 


Because we were the same as they were before we obeyed the Gospel and were forgiven of our sins. We behaved in the same evil way as the unbelievers and did the same evil things that they are doing to us. 

      1. We made the same mistakes when we disobeyed God.   We were a mess also, for we were foolish and disobedient!  
      2. We were like sheep led astray before we obeyed the Gospel.  
      3. We were slaves to sin. 
      4. We behaved with malice and evil toward others. 
      5. We hated those who hated us because that’s the norm for a world without God in the picture. 

So let us not be so self-righteous, for we did the same thing! 

When we Christians forget how far we have come in Jesus, our Lord, and where we came from before we were forgiven of our sins in the waters of baptism, we are behaving worse than unbelievers, the world.  We forget that we must be set apart, be different, and refuse to behave like the world.  So if the world is kinder than we are, then we are certainly failing and falling short of what God commands.  


    • Titus 3: 4-7:

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” 


What makes us different from the world (unbelievers) as faithful followers of Christ is that we understand that the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared to us, bringing us salvation (Titus 2:11). The goodness and loving kindness of God has appeared to us. A concept cannot appear, but a person can. Hence, “He saved us.”  At the appearing of Jesus, God saved us. Paul in verse 3 of our text is reminding us of where we came from and what we were.  But God in His goodness and loving-kindness intervened on our behalf when He appeared. 

The Greek word for “loving-kindness” is a compound word - philanthropia. The English word  “philanthropy” derives from this. The first part of the compound word is phileo, which is love. The second part of the compound word is anthropia, which is humans. But when the goodness and love for us (humankind) appeared, God saved us, but not because we had already lived a sinless life. We were sinners! There is nothing that we can offer God but our own sinfulness, a history of lawlessnessIs there anything that we can contribute to God? Nothing, but our sin-stained lives!  

God did not save us because of our goodness or what we did.  We were enemies to God who deserve God’s wrath, punishment, and judgment because of our rebellion and lawlessness.   God was not compelled to act on our behalf because of our goodness but because of His Grace and Mercy and His love for all men appeared through Jesus.  Indeed, there is nothing that we sinners could have offered to a holy and righteous God, for we were too evil and undeserving for God to send His Son to die for us!  

God saved us because of His love and mercy.  He chose to be merciful rather than pouring His wrath on us.  We received His mercy “by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” The Greek word for “regeneration” is also a compound work- palingenesia, meaning new birth, re-creation, new beginning. We receive God’s mercy by the washing of a new birth. 

Therefore,

"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4)

"In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not done with hands, by putting off the body of flesh, in the circumcision of the Messiah. 12 Having been buried with Him in baptism, you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him and forgave us all our trespasses."  (Colossians 2:11-13)


In John 3:5, Jesus gave Nicodemus the answer to the new birth.  

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."  


In baptism, we put our trust in God when we ask Him to take our sins away. God’s mercy is applied to us in baptism.  We continue to receive God’s mercy through the renewal of the Holy Spirit. This concept is key to the book of TitusThus we must live in a distinct way by the renewal of the Holy Spirit as God’s purified possession for good works.  The renewal of the Holy Spirit is not waiting for Him to whisper words in our ears. The renewal of the Holy Spirit changes our hearts to righteousness when we hear the words revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit, the revealed words, can change, transform, and renew our hearts when we obey them.  The revealed words by the Holy Spirit can change our hearts of stone like it did the Cretans.  The Holy Spirit cannot work in us when we have stone hearts that refuse to obey His revealed words found in the Scriptures.  

Further, the Holy Spirit blesses us when it is abundantly poured out on us. Just as Peter tied together baptism for the forgiveness of sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, so the apostle Paul does the same. The blessings of the Holy Spirit include the restoration of the kingdom of God, the restoration of God’s blessings on His people, and the restoration of God’s covenant with His people. Jesus’ sacrifice made all these blessings possible.  

Thus, we are justified, for we have been declared righteous and pronounced innocent. And though we were miserable and evil wretches like the rest, God saved us because of His goodness and lovingkindness.  

      1. He saved us not because of our own righteousness but because of His mercy, goodness, and love. 
      2. We receive His mercy when He washes away our sins.  
      3. In the new birth, we are baptized in water, putting our trust in God and asking Him to forgive our sins.  
      4. We allow the Holy Spirit to change and renew our stony hearts through obeying His revealed Word.  
      5. Through Jesus’ sacrifice and death on the cross, we receive God’s abundant blessings.  

Undoubtedly, Ezekiel was prophesying of a time when God would give new life to people.  

      1. A time where God would wash them clean and give them a new heart and a new spirit. 
      2. This new birth would be the transformation into a pure and clean heart that would make it possible for them to enter the kingdom of God. 
      3. This complete transformation (new birth, new creation) would bring life to them from the dead.  
      4. A cleansing of the heart would occur so that they might be holy and follow God.  
      5. Their stony hearts no longer stony but of flesh easily pricked by the admonition of God because they hunger and thirst after His righteousness.  

This is beautiful beyond words!!  

Thus, God declares us innocent of our sins and heirs of eternal life by the washing and renewing of our hearts and lives.


    • Titus 3:8:

“The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.” 


This saying is trustworthy. This is how we will obtain mercy.  We can have a new life in Jesus. We must insist on these things. We must devote ourselves to God’s righteous ways and good works. God insists that we be born anew and begin a new life.


    • Titus 3:9-11:
"But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned."


Christians must not get tangled in worldly things. We must not tolerate those who cause divisions. They must be avoided after two warnings.  We must be spiritual-minded, not worldlyHow can we become embroiled in senseless, useless disputes, when we have received the mercy, goodness, and love of God?  Winning arguments is foolish and must not be our goal.  We must focus on the Word of God, nothing else. Our focus must be on the renewing and transformation of our hearts and lives.  Thus we must focus on devoting ourselves to good works and being faithful servants of Christ, not Cretans.


CONCLUSION:

The apostle Paul urged Titus in this letter to remind the brethren about their Christian responsibilities.  Remind them, Christians:

  1. To obey those in authority.
  2. To be considerate toward all.
  3. To slander no one.
  4. To be peaceable and considerate.
  5. To show humility toward all men.  
Why all these reminders?  

  1. Because they as well as us, Christians, were at one time also very foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasure.  
  2. We lived in malice and envy, hated and hating one another.  
  3. Mostly, they, as well as us, were to be reminded of God’s love, kindness, and mercy.  
"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."  (Romans 12:17-18)

"Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."  (Hebrews 12:14)


We must strive for peace with all people.  We cannot shine our Light for the Lord if we don’t live in peace and show peace to others.   

Titus was urged by Paul to remind the Christians in Crete to remember God’s love (Titus 3:4-7).  Jesus came to earth from heaven to seek and save the lost! 

For God so love that He gave His one and...”  (John 3:16)

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."  (John 3:36)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23)


What do all these verses mean? They remind us of the promise of eternal life that we have by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  God’s gift to mankind of eternal life is the greatest act of unselfishness there is.  It’s the greatest sacrifice ever made in order to give us God’s greatest gift. No human person has sacrificed more nor offered more than what God has done for us and offered to us.  It’s the greatest promise ever given but that promise isn’t always received. Sadly, not everyone believes in this gift or will accept this gift on God’s terms.   

Jesus saved us not because of our own righteousness but because of His mercy, goodness, and love.  We receive His mercy when He washed away our sins, the new birth, and put our trust in God, asking Him to forgive our sins and by allowing the Holy Spirit to change and renew our stone hearts through His revealed Word.  Through Jesus’ sacrifice and death on the cross, we can receive God’s abundant blessings. We are pronounced innocent from our sins and declared heirs of eternal life by the washing and renewing our hearts and lives.

When we remember and are grateful for God’s love and what He has done to redeem us through His beloved Son, it will be easier, and not a burden to obey Him on a daily basis and be quick to do what is right in our lives.  His love must motivate us to work righteousness!  We can have a new life in Jesus. We must insist on these things. We must devote ourselves to God’s righteous ways and good works. God insists that we have a new birth and a new life.

The church in Crete, and us also, was urged to avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels (Titus 3: 9-11).  Christians are urged not to get tangled in worldly things, pursuits. We are also commanded not to tolerate those who cause divisions. They must be avoided after two warnings.  We must be spiritual-minded, not worldly, for we must seek the heavenly things of God.  Christians must not get embroiled in senseless, useless disputes since we have received the mercy, goodness, and love of God.  Winning arguments is foolish and must not be our goal.  It is the work of the devil.  But instead, we must focus on the Word of God, nothing else. Our focus must be the renewing and transformation of our hearts and lives daily.  Thus we must focus on devoting ourselves to good works and being faithful servants of Christ, not Cretans.

May we be reminded of our Christian duties, especially our reverent conduct before God.  May we always focus on devoting ourselves to good works and being faithful servants of Christ.   May we never get tangled in worldly things or pursuits.  May we always be spiritually minded, not worldly, for we must seek the heavenly things of God.  May our focus be on the renewing and transforming of our hearts and lives daily. May we Christians never forget how far we have come in Jesus, our Lord, and where we came from before we were forgiven of our sins in the waters of baptism.  May we never forget that through Jesus’ sacrifice and death on the cross, we can receive God’s abundant blessings. 


Luci

Monday, September 21, 2020

BE YE STEADFAST & IMMOVABLE


"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."    
I Corinthians 15:58


Our lives are constantly changing.  The waves and tides on the sea come and go.  The branches of a tree blow back and forth in the wind.  Some things in life, like large rocks and mountains, are constant and show no signs of movement.  Jesus' faithful followers must be immovable in their faith.  They must stand on His teachings, live in purity, and trust in Him just like the large rocks of the sea.  They show no sign of movement despite the fierce winds that blow, for they are steadfast.  Jesus' faithful disciples must be steadfast, just like these rocks.  

 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”  (1Corinthians 15:58).

In 1 Corinthians 15:58, we are urged to be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the Lord's work, knowing that our labor in the Lord is not in vain.  Let us consider each of these admonitions.


I.   STEADFAST AND IMMOVABLE:

We must be steadfast since Jesus our Lord has promised that He will return to resurrect the dead and judge both the living and the dead.  The word "steadfast" literally means “firm” and implies an unwavering commitment to Christ and His rule (His will and commandments).  And though we must be firm or steadfast, that does not imply that we won't have our ups and downs, a few storms now and then, tossing great waves into our lives.  But we must resolve in our hearts to hold fast to the rope that is tied to our anchor (hope), refusing to let go until Christ calms the furious waves of our lives.
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil”  (Hebrews 6:19). 

  • Firm (Steadfast and Immovable) In Our Faith:
Many begin their journey as faithful Christians but lose their faith easily.  It is tragic!  Without faith in Jesus, there is no hope. In John 6:66-69, we find some hard words Jesus said to His disciples.
“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.  Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’  But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”  

You see, Jesus has the words of eternal life.  Without faith in Jesus, we have nothing.  Abraham is an excellent example of faith.
“He (Abraham) did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.  And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness’”  (Romans 4:20-22).

Thus, we must be like Abraham, who did not waver through unbelief but was strengthened in faith.  We must be steadfast and immovable.
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong”  (1 Corinthians 16:13).

All Christians must stand firm on the teachings of salvation and righteousness without wavering.  
“That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 4:14).

We must constantly be learning and growing in the Truth that we might recognize false teaching, reject it, and take a stand for the Truth.  When we accept false teaching, we run the risk of being blown away by it.  In 2 Thessalonians 2:15, the apostle Paul urged us saying,
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle." 

Since we have been given the hope and assurance of a glorious, righteous resurrection and an eternity in heaven (within the veil), we must be unwavering in our commitment to the Lord, keeping a steadfast hold on our anchor!

  • Firm (Steadfast and Immovable) in Righteous Living:
All Christians are commanded to stand fast or be firm in living a righteous and holy life despite temptations.  We must not allow sin to rule our lives, but rather we must give up all pleasures of sin for salvation's sake.   In 2 Peter 3:17-18, we have an admonition.
“You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  

You see, Esau, the brother of Jacob, sold his inheritance for some bread and stew.  In Hebrews 12:16-17, we are given another exhortation about being steadfast and immovable.
“Lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.  For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”  

We must not, under any circumstances, sell our salvation for the pleasures of sin.  We must remain firm and immovable in our faith. 

The word “immovable” is used in the New Testament only once, and its meaning is similar to “steadfast.” It means to be firmly planted and unwilling to budge from our position or run away from it. While we are standing firmly in the Lord and fighting for righteousness against the fierce attacks of the devil, we must be “always abounding in the Lord’s work!” We must be fighting tooth and nail for God's kingdom of righteousness, abounding in His work. 

Many believe today that all we have to do is believe in Jesus to be eternally safe and secureIs that right?  No, and No!  Being faithful Christians demands hard work!  It demands great effort to serve the Lord faithfully in righteousness and resist Satan's allurements.  We can rest assured that if we are steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the Lord's work, He will always be with us to help us remain faithful.  
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12).

As long as we remain faithful to God, fighting the good fight of our faith, He will never leave us alone in our struggles!  We have so much to fight for in light of Christ’s glorious return!

The apostle Peter also spoke about the coming of Christ to motivate us to serve Him faithfully and live our lives in righteous devotion to Him.
“Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11).  

Amen to that!

Nothing this world has to offer us is worth losing heaven over!

Thus, stay steadfast and unmovable!


II.   ALWAYS ABOUNDING IN THE WORK OF THE LORD:

Besides being steadfast and immovable, we are also commanded to abound in the work of the Lord always. 
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”  (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Since we were saved by grace through faith and were also created in Jesus for good works, we are urged to abound in the work of the Lord always.  Since the Lord has promised that He will return and destroy the works of Satan, and sin and death will be swallowed up in righteousness and victory, we must make our calling and election sure, being on the right side with the sheep when the parting occurs (Matthew 25:31-33).  
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left."

Since we are awaiting a resurrection, let us not drink and be merry (I Cor. 15:32; Luke 12:19).  But rather, let us be steadfast and immovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord.  In doing this, we can rest assured that we will receive all that God has promised us.  Our labor in the Lord will never be in vain!
“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.  And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises”  (Hebrews 6:10-12).

As we walk our path of faith, we must become aware that we must work hard for the Lord.  The work that the Lord has entrusted to us must be done by all the brethren. 
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Although this command was given to "the church of God, which is at Corinth" (1 Corinthians 1:2), it applies to us today as well.  The work that Jesus wants us to do must be done by His children. God's children are those who have been baptized into Christ.
"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:26-27).

The work of the Lord cannot be done by some government organization or by the denominations of the world. One must be "in Christ" to do the work of the Lord. Otherwise, our labor is in vain. The message is clear.
 "Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain" (Psalm 127:1).

The work that the Lord has commanded Christians to do involves evangelism, edification, and benevolence.  What a privilege it is for God's children to spend time and bear good fruit in the work of His kingdom, saving souls!  Jesus said,
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:15-16).

The work that our Lord wants us, Christians, to do for His kingdom is to edify and build others up. Paul wrote,
"From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love" (Ephesians 4:16).

The work of the Lord is to be involved in benevolence.
"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10).

All Christians must study, pray, worship, and work to the glory of God. We must be faithful about everything we do or say because it is "the work of the Lord." All the work that we do for the Lord helps us to stay faithful!  So, let us be like "Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord." Let us be like, "the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord" (Romans 16:12).

The work of the Lord must be done by Christians who are strong spiritually (1 Corinthians 15:58). God demands that we Christians be steadfast and involved in the Lord's work. Each member of each local church must be faithful and busy in the Lord's work. God's children must be "immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." Each Christian must be steadfast and have a strong desire to do the work of the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength without complaining.

When Jesus gave Himself for our sins, He died to purchase a people "zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14).  As faithful disciples of our Lord and Savior, we must always abound in the work of the Lord. We must not be "on and off" in the Lord's work. We must be working with all of our might for the Lord daily! The early church was described as being steadfast, faithful, and abounding in the work of the Lord, even amid persecution and hard times. 
"And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ"  (Acts 5:42).

Those who are steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the  work of the Lord, will receive their reward, for God has promised saying,
"Your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58).

CONCLUSION:

The one who conquers and endures until the end will not be hurt by the second death (Matthew 16:24-26; Revelation 2:10-11).  As faithful Christians, we must endure, keep going, keep working, stay with it, and move forward despite life's hardships and difficulties.  We are commanded to be courageous and not resign.  It does not matter if everything collapses, we must keep working hard, be steadfast, and abound in the Lord's work.  We must be careful not to be carried away by this world's lawlessness, darkness and lose our own stability or steadfastness.
"You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability."  (2 Peter 3:17)

We must remain on our heavenly call and be abounding, making progress always.  And though hard times and various trials might come (James 1:2-4; 12), we must choose to remain steadfast and immovableacknowledging the purpose behind it all.  Our faithfulness, stability, steadfastness or firmness praises, honors, and glorifies our Lord.
"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love."  (2 Peter 1:3-7)  

So we must prepare our minds for action and remember that we were ransomed with the precious blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:13-19).  Let us choose to put our faith and hope in God and nothing else.
"He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God." (1 Peter 1:20-21

Although there are times in life when we find ourselves in a season of frustration, challenges, discouragement, and confusion where everything seems to be falling apartwe must be steadfast and immovable.  God demands that we be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in His work.  We must do God's will!  

Can we tell God that He is wrong for demanding that we be steadfast and immovable?  Can we dare to question the depth of His wisdom?  It is God's purpose that we stay steadfast and immovable to grow us and mold us to His glory.  You see, when we are not steadfast, we run the risk of not growing in God and cutting His work short.

The apostle Paul declared, 
"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus"  (Philippians 1:6).

Remember, God has begun a good work in us and expects us to bring it to fruition!  He will make sure through His Grace that we finish the work He has purposed for us despite our circumstances.  He will lead us toward confidence.  He will reassure us.  He wants us to not lose our confidence despite our circumstances.  Momentary unhappiness is not a reason to lose our confidence.  God tells us not to.  He demands that we be steadfast and immovable to do His will.

Notice that the word steadfastness means to be firmly fixed in place, not subject to change, firm in belief, determination, or adherence.  The Hebrew word for steadfastness is "chessed" (steadfast kindness, love, reliability).  It is in our steadfastness that we can show the right attitude toward God and glorify Him.  It is then, in our steadfastness, that we can definitely show our love and faithfulness to God.  The same way He shows His love and faithfulness to us.

The Lord has promised us that He will bring the work He began in us to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  So my question is, "should we not stay steadfast and immovable until God has completed His work through us?  Let's be wise and not become blind.  Let us not build walls of blindness that would prevent us from seeing the possibilities of what God can do through us.  We must trust God as our long term eyes.  He can see the long term goals for us and others.  God wants us to stay steadfast and immovable, shining our light. 

Maybe, He wants to refine us; grow us in wisdom; grow us in our relationships with others that are difficult to deal with in a godly way.  It is in all this that He is growing us into His image and less like the world.  His only desire for us is that we be steadfast, reflecting His righteousness to others, even amid our difficult times and trying circumstances.  Yet when we behave in a way that is just like the world, we are not allowing God to grow us in our steadfastness.  We are not allowing Him to shine through us.  What if we are the only ones who can show Him and His kingdom of righteousness to others right where we are, in our steadfastness?!

So, let us trust God with all of our soul, heart, and mind in our trials, frustrations, difficulties, fears, and whatever it is that we want to move away from.  Let us remain unmovable and steadfast in our faith and godly living.  Let's not cut God's work short but rather let us abound in His work and finish the work He has planned for us to bring to completion.  Thus let us be steadfast and immovable!  It is the only way we can move on confidently, knowing that we have finished what He has purposed for us to do.   Even amid our difficulties and trying circumstances, God is growing us and molding us in His likeness. He is revealing Himself to us and others and leading us all the way!  However, we must remain steadfast and unmovable.  We can be confident when the work He purposed for us is finished, that is, abounding in the work of the Lord, that our work is never in vain (I Corinthians 15:58).

Consider that nothing is ever wasted when it is done with steadfastness for the Lord.  God's eyes see the quiet things, our thoughts, and the unseen.  But He demands that we be steadfast.  He is steadfast for us and has always been.  Remember, Christ was steadfast when He went to die on the cross for us.  He was not afraid, nor did He cut His work short.  He finished it!  And what did we get as a gift from God?  Salvation and the hope of eternal life!  Our steadfastness will help us to grow in Christ, be fruitful in His work (abounding), find peace, and have eternal life with Him. 

May we learn to be steadfast and immovable to grow in our daily walk with our Lord and receive our reward. May our Father in heaven give us the strength to complete what He has purposed for us to finish.  May He give us steadfastness in our faith and our daily walk with Him, trusting His plans for us with confidence and joy.  To Him be the glory.  Amen.

Luci