Bill Maher is a social commentator, comedian, actor, and TV Host, who’s highly critical of religion. Several years ago he wrote and starred in a documentary entitled “Religulous”, a combination of the words “religious” and “ridiculous.”
Maher once described Christians as having a neurological disorder that keeps them from thinking. “Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don’t need, Maher boldly claimed. “But I’m not an atheist, no. I believe there’s some force. If you want to call it God… I don’t believe God is a single parent who writes books.”
Bill Maher represents the thinking of an unbelieving world hostile to Christians, critical of Christianity and who speaks disparagingly of the Bible.
There’s probably not a whole lot we can say to convince those of Maher’s ilk otherwise. However, we can encourage one another to remain faithful, stand firm in the faith, and continue to shine as lights in a crooked and corrupt world.
Our text today is one of those passages that Barclay calls “the synopsis of the Christian life.” It reminds us of where we came from, who we are, and where we’re going.
13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,
17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (2 Thess. 2:13-17)
(1) We’re guided by Truth.
Jesus promised, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (Jn. 8:32). Later, in his prayer to the Father, He said, “Your Word is Truth.” In a world that scoffs at the idea of absolute truth, we remain committed to “belief in the Truth.
Here’s the Truth.
- There is a God who created the world, the cosmos, and you.
- God loves you. He demonstrated that love by sending Jesus to die for your sins.
- God called you. Not by some mystical, miraculous means, but through the gospel. It is the power of God to salvation.
- God chose you. We are the chosen in Christ, according to God’s eternal plan (Eph. 1:4).
- God sanctified you. The word “sanctify” simply means set apart. We’re not to be conformed to the world and its wicked ways, but to be transformed. Changed. Different. Holy. And ever progressing to live a life of purity.
- God desires that we obtain eternal glory. The culmination of the Christian life will be realized when we bask eternally in his glorious presence.
(2) We’re challenged to stand firm in the truth.
Skeptics and scoffers are not unique to our culture. There have been unbelievers in every generation who’ve rejected God’s Word. It was true in Paul’s time. To the first-century Christians, and by implication and application, he challenges us to “stand firm.” To “hold on to the (apostolic) traditions.”
In previous epistles, Paul expressed this important ingredient of Christian faithfulness this way.
- “Stand fast in the faith” (1Cor. 16:13).
- “Stand against the wiles of the devil’ (Eph. 6:11).
- “Stand fast in one spirit” (Phil. 1:27).
- “Stand fast in the Lord” (1 Thess. 3:8).
- “For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm” (Gal. 5:1)
Stand strong. Don’t give in. Don’t give out. Don’t give up.
(3) Live the Truth.
Paul wants to encourage these brethren in “every good word and work.” These two go together. What we say and what we do must be consistent. It’s often said, “it’s not enough to talk the talk, we must walk the walk.” Our words are our work must agree. As Warren Wiersbe wrote, “It is good to be defenders of the faith, but we must not forget to be demonstrators of the faith.”
Truth. Believe it. Obey it. Embrace it. Live it. And don’t be distracted or discouraged by detractors who deny it.
God’s Word is Truth.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman