That Your Faith Not Fail
These were Jesus’ words to Apostle Peter before He was betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane; see Luke 22.31-32. Is it possible for your faith to fail? Apparently, failure is possible, or Jesus would not have stated this. Verses 54-62 detail the pressures that led to Peter’s faith-failure.
The contrast is Apostle Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 4.7: ‘I have kept the faith.’ Uncertainty about the faith of believers in Thessalonica had caused Paul to send Timothy there, since Paul had been forced to leave before he had completed discipling them.
Driven out by jihadists!
- · Acts 17.1-15 tells the story of Paul’s visit to Thessalonica after leaving Philippi.
- · What could Paul have preached that cause such a ruckus? After reasoning with Jewish and
Gentile listeners for three weeks, some Jews were not persuaded that Jesus was Messiah and became ‘envious’ and ‘set all the city in an uproar’ (verse 5). Perhaps, after persuading some (verse 4), Paul used Jesus’ words to the Pharisees in John 8.42-47 on the rest (John 3.16-21). Rationale for this possibility is that Paul had preached the return of Christ (1 Thessalonians 4.13-5.11) and used Jesus’ words to warn them of the wrath to come on unbelievers.
- · Likewise, Paul’s appeal to Gentiles was probably similar in content to what he preached on
Mars Hill. Acts 17.22-31 presents his conclusion that God would no longer overlook their ignorance in worshipping idols but would condemn them to wrath for not accepting His salvation through Jesus.
- · Are the arguments Paul heard the same that are stated today? If so, does this mean that
- · Paul knew well the arguments of Jews and Gentiles, as is evident from 1 Corinthians 1.22-25 (written in AD 55-56; also see Matthew 12.38-40). Acts 17.3 states that Paul ‘demonstrated’ that Jesus is Messiah. This, apparently, was his protocol, as he stated in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5. Evidence of such signs is found in Acts 14.8-10, 20.7-10, 28.8-9.
- · Acts 17.10 states that Paul was sent to Berea before the jihadists could get to him. There,
he found Jews and Gentiles ‘more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica’. What made them more ‘fair-minded’? The Bible is the absolute truth for comparing philosophies (John 17.17; Colossians 2.8-10; Jeremiah 13.10; Proverbs 14.12).
- · But, jihadists caused another ruckus, and Paul was sent to Athens (Acts 17.13-15).
Jihadists’ goal: destroy your faith in Jesus.
- · Paul had left Thessalonica before he had finished his teaching, as is inferred from 1 Thessalonians 3.10. He wanted to ‘perfect what is lacking in your faith’ (2 Timothy 3.16-17). What is lacking in your faith? Where does satan have an opportunity to steal your faith (John 10.10)? Since Romans 10.17 is true, what keeps you from studying the Bible? Contrast Jeremiah 13.10 with John 17.17. Proverbs 16.25!
- · Paul knew what those ‘envious’ Jews would insist upon. He had already written about this
in Galatians 1.6-9, 3.21-25, and 5.1-4 and would later warn church leaders in Ephesus (Acts 20.28-31; also Matthew 9.36) on his way to Jerusalem. The Law of Moses cannot save because of Romans 3.10-20 and Ephesians 2.8-9!
- · Jesus described this pressure from satan through non-believers in His Parable of the Sower
Praise God!!! Copyright (c) by Maurice L. Painter, 2013. www.sozoclass.com