Steadfast and Abounding

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
—I Corinthians 15:58

THE BEGINNING OF another year is always an appropriate time to consider anew those things which are so closely related to our standing before the Lord as his children, to whom belong the “exceeding great and precious promises” of the “divine nature.” (II Peter 1:4) We are to be ‘stedfast’ in the faith; we are to be ‘unmoveable’—not “carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14)—and we are to abound in the ‘work of the Lord.’ How have we measured up to these principles of Christian character during the year that has ended and what are our resolutions concerning the year ahead? Are we zealously determined that in 2003 we will be more faithful to the Lord, the Truth, and the brethren, than we have been in 2002?

Our position today as Truth-enlightened Christians is somewhat paradoxical. The prophecies of the Bible pertaining to the end of the age and the time of our Lord’s Second Presence are being so marvelously fulfilled in the fast-moving events of the world that it is not uncommon to hear the brethren say that we are now almost walking by sight rather than by faith. On the other hand, many years have passed since the time when the Lord’s people firmly believed the kingdom would be established. We are still going into another year with its unknown and uncertain outcome.

“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick,” wrote the wise Solomon. (Prov. 13:12) The ‘deferred’ hope of the brethren concerning the glorification of the church and the establishment of the kingdom has caused a heartsickness among some, a sickness which manifests itself in a lack of zeal, perhaps, and a lack of steadfastness in the faith “once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3) We all need to be on the alert lest this form of spiritual sickness lay hold upon our own hearts, and we begin to wonder about the Truth, and as a result become “weary in well doing.”—Gal. 6:9; II Thess. 3:13

By the Lord’s permission, the element of time has been a test to many of the Lord’s people. Certainly Abraham’s faith was tested by his long wait for the birth of Isaac, and he “died in faith” (Heb. 11:13), without seeing the real fulfillment of the promise God made to him concerning the blessing of all the families of the earth through his “seed.” (Gen. 22:18) John the Baptist triumphantly announced Jesus to be the promised Messiah, yet when circumstances developed contrary to his expectations his faith was severely tested, and he sent messengers to Jesus to inquire, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”—Matt. 11:3

After Jesus was raised from the dead, and his disciples realized that death had not had dominion over him, they inquired, “Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) Although Jesus explained to them that the times and seasons were held in the Heavenly Father’s power, they still were confident that the fruition of their hopes was near. To them, the nighttime of sin and death was far spent, and the glorious new day of Christ’s kingdom was near.

The exact timetable of the progressive events of the new day are still being withheld from the Lord’s people. The Lord is merely testing our faith in him and in his precious promises, teaching us to put our trust more fully in him, and not to lean to our own understanding. “Let us,” then, as admonished, “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised).”—Heb. 10:23

The Lord is always faithful to his promises. Our tests of faith often result from putting too much confidence in our own opinions. This was John the Baptist’s difficulty. Jesus had said nothing to him to warrant his belief that the Messianic kingdom would be immediately established, John’s viewpoint being based entirely upon his own deductions. John is not to be censured for his eagerness to see the kingdom established. This is the natural heart-longing of all who love righteousness and hate iniquity. The thought is beautifully expressed by the Apostle John. After being shown those marvelous visions on the Isle of Patmos, culminating in the establishment of the kingdom and the destruction of sin and death, he heard the Lord say, “Surely I come quickly,” and John cried out from his heart, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”—Rev. 22:20

In Habakkuk’s prophecy he tells us of a “vision” that was to be written down on “tables,” a ‘vision’ which in “the end” would not “lie.” The Lord’s people are admonished to “wait for it,” because although it would seem to be slow of fulfillment, it would not actually “tarry.” (Hab. 2:2-4) Paul quotes from this passage applying it to the end of the Gospel Age, and time of our Lord’s return. (Heb. 10:37,38) We know that this vision is in reality ‘present Truth,’ and the fact that the Lord’s people are informed that it would not tarry suggests the foreknowledge of the Lord that to many in the end of the Gospel Age this vision would seem to tarry. To realize this should, in itself, help to increase our faith in present Truth.


“Ye have need of patience,” wrote Paul, “that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Heb. 10:36) In the preceding verse the apostle wrote, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.” (vs. 35) There is the danger of losing our confidence in the Lord and in the Truth if we fail to wait patiently upon him. The passing of time, without seeing the kingdom established is a great test of patience.

That is why, as we come to the end of each year and enter still another, we are reemphasizing the reality of the Truth, and reminding ourselves of the importance of having our faith firmly established in the Word of God. Solomon, at the dedication of the Temple, said concerning the Lord, “There hath not failed one word of all his good promise.” (I Kings 8:56) The same is true now. Our understanding of the Lord’s Word may fail, but not the Word itself. This is an important lesson to learn.

How blessed it is to know that God is faithful! His good ‘promise[s]’ are all-comprehensive, in that they reveal his glorious plan of the ages for the blessing of all mankind, and cover every situation in our individual relationship to him. And not ‘one word’ has ever failed! His promises did not fail during the past year, and we can look forward with confidence this year to knowing that again he who has called us will be “faithful.” (Heb. 10:23) If we have been steadfast and unmovable, it is because we have put our trust fully in the Lord, and have sought to be guided by his Word.


Steadfastness in the Truth leads to an ‘abounding in the work of the Lord.’ If we made the Truth our own because we have found it substantiated by the Word of the Lord, we will want to tell others about it. Do we have a burning desire to tell the whole world these blessed tidings? If so, it is one of the evidences of God’s favor, one of the signs that we not only have the Truth, but have received it into good, honest, and unselfish hearts.

The Truth is designed to mold our lives into the character-likeness of the Master, and it has also been given to us that we might be the Lord’s witnesses, ambassadors of the kingdom. Failure to use the Truth in either of these respects would denote a measure of unfaithfulness, and a consequent loss of the Heavenly Father’s blessing. Does the beginning of the year find us more humble, more kind, “more like our blest Master, and more like a child”? And as ‘children,’ are we abounding in the work of the Lord?

Our loyalty to the Lord and to the Truth is an individual and personal responsibility. Let us watch our own heart condition, and our own standing before the Lord, rather than that of our brother. It is no evidence of steadfastness on our part to be continually criticizing the expressions of others. This is not the work of the Lord in which we are to abound. We are, of course, to be on the alert to assist one another as together we walk in the narrow way, but we cannot help a brother by condemning him.


Paul says that our ‘labour is not in vain in the Lord.’ This should be of great encouragement to all steadfast and abounding Christians. Darkness still covers the earth, and gross darkness the people. (Isa. 60:2) The darkness hateth the light. Satan, who blinds the minds of the people, is still the “god of this world.” (II Cor. 4:4) We should not expect that, under these circumstances, the Truth will be favorably received by very many. Nevertheless, we are to let our light shine, aboundingly so, knowing that our efforts will accomplish the Lord’s design and therefore will not be in vain.

The Lord continues to be good to his people. He has allowed us to continue witnessing for him by various means, such as radio, television, the internet, public meetings, and personal contact. This abounding has been enjoyed by the brethren not only in the United States, but in many other parts of the world, such as the countries of Europe, parts of India and Africa, Australia and South America. We know that these labors have not been in vain. The Apostle Paul said that they would not be.

One of the greatest joys in any Christian’s life is to have the privilege of helping another come into the Truth. This joy is not experienced by very many individually, but cooperatively we all share in the general witness made possible because the brethren as a whole are abounding in the work of the Lord. And the joy which we experience now as a result of our feeble efforts to show forth the praises of the Lord is but a foretaste of that great rejoicing we will experience in the kingdom when together with our Lord and Head, we will share in that grand work of blessing ‘all the families of the earth.’


The rich blessings of the Lord upon his people throughout the past year have prepared them for the year to come. Just as not one word of all God’s good promises has failed in the past, we know that in the year before us he will continue to guide and strengthen those who put their trust fully in him. We know not the way that is before us, but he knows, and he cares, and will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly before him.

So far as we can see now the year 2003 should be another good year for bearing witness to the Truth. Plans are being made for many conventions—local, district, and general. Ecclesia activities are being planned in many places; and individually the brethren everywhere are looking to the Lord for guidance and help in doing with their might what their hands find to do in his service, and the service of the Truth and the Truth people.

The Lord’s richest blessings will go to those who earnestly and faithfully seek day by day to know and to do his will. He will draw near to those who, regardless of the cost, have made their principal aim in life to know and to serve him. To Israel God said, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, … and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”—Mal. 3:10

The tithing system practiced by ancient Israel is not binding upon the Lord’s people during the Gospel Age, but in principle it is still true that if we want to enjoy the rich blessings of the Lord, we must be faithful to him in all the ways he has outlined in his Word to be his will for us. Our wills are to be fully yielded to the doing of his will. Any holding back on our part, or any asserting of our own wills, even in the little things of life, will tend to close ‘the windows of heaven,’ hindering the free flow of Divine blessings into our hearts and lives.

The Lord’s will is revealed to us through his Word, so we need to study his Word to know his will. (II Tim. 2:15) This is the main purpose of Bible study, whether it be as individuals or in our class meetings. To learn the Lord’s will and then not to do it, is of no profit. We might think of each aspect of the Lord’s will as one of the ‘tithes’ which we have the privilege of paying to him; and if we want this year to be the best year in our Christian experience, let us determine that we will be more faithful than ever in bringing ‘all the tithes into the storehouse.’

To use the language of our text, if we continue abounding in the work of the Lord, we can be sure that his rich blessings will be abundantly showered upon us. Paul wrote, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” (II Cor. 9:8) Again, in I Thessalonians 3:12,13, Paul writes, “The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming [Greek, parousia, ‘presence’] of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” Notice how Paul indicates the relationship of our abounding in love one toward another, and toward all, to having our hearts established so that we will be steadfast and unmovable.

If we are abounding Christians we will be following the admonition of Peter to add to our faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. “If these things be in you, and abound,” writes Peter, “they make you that ye shall neither be barren [marginal translation, idle] nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 1:4-8) In verses ten and eleven, Peter concludes, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall [will always be steadfast and unmovable]: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

It is that ‘abundant entrance’ into the kingdom for which we are longing and praying. But first, we must make our “calling and election sure” (II Pet. 1:10), for those who will be with the Master in the kingdom must prove their worthiness of that high position. Through the Truth we have been called. It is because we responded in the spirit of full consecration that we were elected or chosen to run for the prize. But both our ‘calling and election’ would be of little avail if we fail to make them sure. The worthy ones who are with the “Lamb,” are described as those who are “called, and chosen, and faithful.”—Rev. 17:14

Dawn Bible Students Association
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