Summary: The world lives by the concept of "go along to get along" but God says "no - stand firm and stand for Me!" Why is that important to God and how do we "stand firm?"
OPEN: The story is told of a man who was on his way to a costume ball on a Sunday evening. He’d rented a fairly realistic Satan Costume. It was a red suit with a tail and a skintight mask with horns. It was a quality outfit, and … he kind of looked like Satan. In order to get to the party, he had to walk a fair distance, and was caught in a sudden rainstorm, so he sought shelter in a church building where the service was just ending. Just as he ran into the building, there was a loud clap of thunder, and as the crowd turned to look, a flash of lightening lit up the doorframe. It was so sudden, and so shocking that the people thought THIS was really Satan, and they panicked and rushed for the exits. But the intruder didn’t realize what was frightening them and thought that maybe the church had been struck with lightning and was on fire… so he raced after them.
Everybody got out… except for one elderly lady. Turning in fear, she stretched out her hands, “Oh devil, please don’t hurt me. I know I’ve been a member of this church for 30 years, but I’ve really been on your side all the time!”
Now… what was that lady saying? She was saying: I surrender, I give up - You WIN! She was afraid that he would hurt her, so she abandoned her faith… and yielded to the enemy.
Now, that’s just a humorous story – it never happened. But too often, there are Christians who literally surrender to Satan. They give up and refuse to stand firm in their faith.
That’s why the Bible repeatedly tells us to stand firm. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain”; 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong”; Ephesians 6:13 “Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
And, of course our text today says: “Stand firm and hold to the traditions (the teachings) that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15
The Bible is very clear on this - God calls us to stand firm. What’s interesting is that God repeatedly tells us stories of men and women who stood firm. Moses STOOD before Pharaoh and ultimately led the people of God out of slavery. The people of Israel STOOD before the walls of Jericho… and the walls fell down. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego STOOD before Nebuchadnezzar’s idol and refused to bow and God delivered them from the fire. And Esther STOOD before the throne of Xerxes and saved the Jews from destruction.
Now, what’s interesting about all those stories is that… that's about all these folks did - they STOOD! Their victory didn’t come by their force of arms (swords/spears, etc.); Their triumph wasn’t accomplished because of their personal power; They didn’t win the day because they were influential people. They overcame evil because they trusted in God and they STOOD FIRM.
Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for triumph of evil - is for good men to do nothing.” But when Godly people stand firm in the face of evil, evil is frustrated, and evil is defeated. And so God tells us to stand - stand firm. YOU may be the only person who is able to stand up FOR God in the face of a bad situation so… stand firm.
And oft times – people who stand for God have to stand ALONE. Many of the great heroes and heroines of Scripture faced danger all by themselves. But it was their courage - in those times of danger - that turned the tide.
ILLUS: I’ve read that in WWII, the Germans nearly won the Battle Of The Bulge. All they needed was just enough time to reach their objectives… but they never got to their destinations quickly enough. The Germans didn’t lose Battle of the Bulge because they faced a huge Allied army. No! They lost because they kept running into small groups of soldiers who refused to yield. Small companies of men who stood firm because they knew that they were the only ones who could stand against the might of the German war machine. They STOOD FIRM and they STOOD ALONE, and they turned the tide of the battle. That is what God calls you and I to be willing to do. God calls us to STAND FIRM, even if you have to stand alone. Because everything may depend upon you.