“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11 (ESV)
In the first century and today Christians need to defend the faith. The apostle Paul wrote these words in his letter to the assembly of Christians who were in Ephesians. This is a familiar passage for many and it is an encouragement for all at any time. He knew that the believers were facing difficult times as were most Christians in the Roman world at that time. As Christians in the world today, we too are facing greater hostility from a world that continues to reject Jesus and His message of Salvation for all. We have this promise just as the Ephesians had it that God makes us strong in His might. Taking on the “whole armor” means to accept and choose to believe and live according to the way God has planned and designed for us. In this passage we learn that our battle is actually against spiritual forces of wickedness. But Paul tells us to take up what God has given us and live accordingly in defense of the battle. Truth, Righteousness, Gospel of Peace, Faith, Salvation, Word of God, and Prayer is our armor against anything the enemy might throw at us. That is our promise.
“Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” 2 Timothy 2:17-19 (NASB)
Don’t be like Hymenaeus and Philetus, who Paul called out. Our passage today is from three verses of 2 Timothy chapter 2 bringing us a truth and promise from God. Every person putting his or her faith in Jesus Christ as Savior has this assurance⸺that God knows about it. He is aware of our faith. God welcomes each of us into His family. He knows us personally and we can know that we belong to him because of that knowledge. Hymenaeus, named in 1 Timothy 1:20 and again here had first with Alexander and then with Philetus later spread false teaching about the resurrection and created a crisis among believers in Ephesus. Paul calls them out and reassures Timothy, and us, that God is intimately acquainted with each of us. That is what our verse means when it says, “The Lord knows those who are His.” Our heavenly Father has a personal connection with each of us who by faith believe. This gives us a special assurance, doesn’t it? We have a special confidence and encouragement today that God knows each of us and He knows just were we are and what we need. A cause to rejoice.
“For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” 2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NASB)
If you have ever been in a church service or revival meeting there is a good chance you’ve heard someone cry out “Amen!” They are agreeing with the speaker or preacher who hit on a point that means much to them. In some churches, the minister needs the congregation to be giving him Amens. Although the Apostle Paul is writing in the Greek language he transliterates a common Hebrew word of affirmation. The word is used by Jesus when He would say, ‘verily’, or ‘truly, truly.’ Amen, amen, our God is very much involved in our lives. Today’s verses remind us of this truth. Paul’s, ministry was blessed by God in many places for many years. But Paul tells us the he didn’t do any of this by himself. He recognized that God was involved and directing his life and work. This is true for us too. God is involved in our lives. We don’t live by ourselves. When our faith stands firm in Christ it is because God establishes us to stand firm. And more than that, he seals us with His Spirit as a promise to keep us established in our faith.