“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
– Thessalonians 2:13-17
Sunday past, people around the world, and we here in The Bahamas, celebrated Remembrance Day, a day set aside throughout the Commonwealth to remember those who participated and died in previous wars, particularly World War I and World War II. The first Remembrance Day was held in 1919, shortly after World War I ended. The war ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month.
We say thanks to families around the world and particularly to families here in The Bahamas, whose loved ones died in past wars to defend our freedom. We give thanks to God that he has kept us safe through the sacrifice of the many who have died.
Even though we talk about remembrance, do we really remember? The above text tells us to stand firm and hold fast.
How quickly we forget. The saints in the church at Thessalonica quickly forgot and allowed rumor-mongers to infest the church with false doctrines. Some of the brothers in the church were misleading the church about the second coming of Christ. They pretended to have knowledge which they did not.
Therefore, the apostle wrote this epistle to put matters in the church at Thessalonica right. The false information about the coming of the Lord which plagued the church at Thessalonica is one which has beset the church throughout the life of the church.
Christians in the early church and throughout the ages have anticipated, longed for and misrepresented the day of the coming of the Lord. However, no one can hasten it along or predict the exact time of our Lord’s return.
In our world today, there are all kinds of so-called men of God promulgating all kinds of false information. Notwithstanding this, you cannot be swayed when you are grounded in God’s word. It is imperative that we stand firm and stay in God’s word. You can truly know what is right when you know God’s word.
Consequently, as we remember and commemorate the lives of those who died to bring us freedom, we must remember the greatest sacrifice of all. God gave up his dear, beloved son to redeem us from our sins.
Because of his selfless act, we need not be afraid of His coming, or the evil one who seeks to deceive us. It is true our Lord Jesus Christ will return to judge the world, but in the time and moment he chooses.
Therefore, cling to Jesus the righteous one and his word. It does not matter what the false prophets say and do, because you are grounded in Christ, you are safe.
That is the point of the epistle text. The apostle reminds us that in Christ, the father gave us eternal encouragement and good hope. The things of this world are transient. That is why we should stand firm and hold fast to God’s unchanging word. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.