WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 7, 2021
TOPIC: CONTINUE IN THE FAITH
BY T. O. BANSO
“And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God’” (Acts 14:21-22 New King James Version).
To start the journey in the faith is not enough; you must continue in the Christian race to the end. Don’t be like Demas, who deserted Paul because he loved the present world.
2 Timothy 4:10 says, “For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica — Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia” (New King James Version). You can’t love the world in a sinful way, as Demas did, and love the Lord at the same time. Friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).
Don’t be like Judas either, who betrayed his Master for thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 26:14-16 says, “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him” (New King James Version).
Matthew 10:4; 26:25, 45-49; John 6:70-71; 18:2-11; and Mark 14:43-50 also refer to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. Don’t behave like him. Also, don’t be like Hymenaeus and Alexander, heretical teachers at Ephesus, whose faith was shipwrecked. They denied the faith.
1Timothy 1:19-20 talks about them: “Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples of this. I turned them over to Satan so they would learn not to blaspheme God” (New Living Translation).
There is nothing appealing in being a former Christian! It is a hopelessly miserable life to live. Paul, in 2 Timothy 2:17, again spoke about Hymenaeus, mentioned above, and another person, who went into error. “But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some” (2 Timothy 2:16-18 New King James Version).
Please take note that the two people mentioned in the last scripture strayed concerning the truth. They led some people astray by their false teaching. If you must continue in the faith, you must never stray from the truth. Proverbs 23:23a says, “Get the truth and don’t ever sell it” (New Living Translation). Love the truth, as Jesus said in the latter part of John 18:37. Hold on to the truth.
Continue in the faith. Don’t be tired; don’t be weary. The life of a backslider or an apostate is always worse than it was before he came to the Lord. 2 Peter 2:20 says, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning” (New King James Version).
Peter continues: “For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire’” (verses 21-22 New King James Version).
The Bible characters I’ve mentioned, who didn’t continue in the faith, were not the only ones. Many have failed to continue in the faith after the Bible was written. Some returned to the Lord sometimes later while others died as non-believers.
Even there are some people alive today who have discontinued their journey in the faith due to one reason or the other. They have abandoned the faith, and there is no justifiable reason for that before God.
No doubt, these are perilous times. 2 Timothy 3:1 says, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come” (New King James Version). In other words, difficult times, grievous times, or times of many troubles would come. They’ve come. As we get closer to the rapture, perilous times would get even worse. Nevertheless, that is no excuse for anyone not to continue in the faith.
In these perilous times, we must continue in the faith. Hebrews 10:39 says, “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul” (New King James Version). We must never draw back or turn our backs on God. We must not deny the faith.
Colossians 1:23 also makes reference to continuing in the faith. Notwithstanding the challenges you face, continue to be a Christian. Only those who endure to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22b; 24:13; Mark 13:13b). Cast not away your confidence for it has great recompense of reward (Hebrews 10:35). There is no reward for those who abandon the faith.
Talking about the missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas, Acts 14:21-22 says, “And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God’” (New King James Version). That phrase, many tribulations, means many troubles, many hardships, many trials, or many afflictions.
Writing to the church in Colosse, Paul encouraged them to continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which they heard (Colossians 1:23).
Paul continued in the faith despite all the troubles he had gone through. “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed — always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:8-11 New King James Version).
Paul continued in verses 16-18, “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever” (New Living Translation).
Take note of this phrase in that scripture: For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. The New King James Version says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17 New King James Vesion).
As you run the Christian race, don’t give up; whatever troubles you’re facing are quite small and won’t last very long compared to the glory that will last forever. Don’t lose the eternal because of the transient!
Hebrews 10:23 says we should hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. According to verses 24-25, we should consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as we see the Day approaching.
Continue in the faith. We may be undergoing tests in the furnace of affliction, but we must never give up (Isaiah 48:10). The heat may be intense, but don’t forget this: “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22b New King James Version). Therefore, we must look up to God for strength and ask for the grace to pass our tests.
We must keep looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).
Continue in the faith, no matter what.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I receive the grace to continue in the faith to the end. I receive strength to stand and keep standing. I shall not deny the faith; I shall not quit.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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