THE VALUE OF STEADFASTNESS
By Bob Myhan
There are many needs in the church today, but the greatest need is steadfast members. Being "steadfast" means being “firm, settled, set; being planted, anchored, fixed; being strong, determined, faithful; being dependable and reliable; being someone that others can count on." The apostle Paul wrote,
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor. 15:58)
The word, “therefore,” is “there for” a reason. It is to connect the exhortation to steadfastness with the dissertation on the general resurrection.
Steadfastness is valuable for a number or reasons. First, it is valuable because one who is steadfast is not easily deceived.
Jesus answered them and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority (John 7:16-17).
Second, one who is steadfast is not easily discouraged.
For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict (1 Thess. 2:1-2)
Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me (Phil. 1:27-30).
Third, one who is steadfast is one of the faithful few.
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matt. 7:13-14)
Fourth, only one who is steadfast can always be counted on to do his or her part.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Eph. 4:11-16).
Are you being steadfast, dear reader? &
THE CONSEQUENCES OF ACTING WITHOUT AUTHORITY
By Bob Myhan
The word "authority” means, "the power of rule or government, the power of one whose will and commands must be obeyed by others" (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 91). As Peter said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Does acting without authority have consequences? Let’s notice what the Old Testament teaches by example and what the New Testament teaches by direct statement.
Under the Law of Moses, the priesthood was given to Aaron and his sons (Num. 3:1-3). Not even they, however, could act without authority. When two of Aaron’s sons did so, the consequences were swift and severe.
Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord spoke, saying: 'By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.'" So Aaron held his peace. And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, "Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp." So they went near and carried them by their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had said. And Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons, "Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the people. But let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord has kindled. You shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you." And they did according to the word of Moses. (Lev. 10:1-7)
Not only did Nadab and Abihu die because they “offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them” but Aaron and his remaining sons were not even allowed to put their duties on hold long enough to mourn the loss of the two priests who acted without authority.
On two occasions, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, Moses was instructed by God to get water out of a rock. On the first of these occasions,
And the Lord said to Moses, "Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink." And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel (Ex. 17:5-6).
But on the second occasion,
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals." So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, "Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?" Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them" (Num. 20:8-12).
This time, God did not tell Moses to “strike the rock.” He said, “Speak to the rock.” But Moses acted without authority and was not allowed to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land.
During the period of judges the ark of God was taken into battle without God’s authority. As a consequence, the children of Israel were defeated and “the ark of God was captured” (1 Sam. 4:1-11).
[To be continued]