Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hold to the Teachings

Today's Reading:
2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23
2 Thessalonians 2:1-17
Psalm 119:33-40
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Focus Verses: 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17
15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and  strengthen you in every good deed and word.

Of all the scripture written by Apostle Paul, this chapter contains some of the most difficult to understand and interpret. The passage must be approached with care because it is a clarification of teachings he had previously given Thessalonians when he was with them. The original teachings are not available to us.

While we might not be able to grasp all of what Paul is saying here, we can certainly profit from the principles he gives to help them avoid being deceived. He warns them that not every claim to Apostolic authority is true (v.2). They should be careful to remember the teachings they received directly from the Apostles (v.5), stand firm in them (v.15), and consider them to be authoritative over competing or conflicting teachings and ideas.

He tells them that false and deceptive teachers are marked by: a rebellious spirit (v.3), a disregard for law and morality (v.3), and an inflated view of self that has no reverence for God (v.4). Self-deception, he says, results from delighting in wickedness, refusing to love truth, and believing lies (vv.10-12).

Response and Action:
I need to love and seek out the truth. Delighting in wickedness makes me vulnerable to being deceived by lies, and it leads to an inability to ever see or want truth. I must immerse myself in scripture in order to know the words of Jesus and the teaching of the Apostles. I should be extremely guarded against teachers who have an inflated view of self, even if they claim to be teaching what the Bible says. I should watch out for teachers who have a haughty spirit, demonstrate a low regard for others, and are motivated by personal gain.

God of Truth, I believe that Jesus, your son, is the way, the truth, and the life. Help me to know him and follow him closely that I might walk in your truth. Help me to hide your word in my heart, to read and memorize the Scriptures, and to meditate upon them day and night. Help me to discern lies and to delight in the truth. Help me to love and use your word that I might be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: 1 John 4:1
1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Enemies With Smiling Faces
by Donald C. Posterski

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