Steadfast in the Bible, Steadfast in Fellowship

Steadfast in the Bible, Steadfast in Fellowship

Aug 25, 2015

Steadfast in the Bible, Steadfast in Fellowship – 8 Minute Messages

Pastor Steve Osborn

On Thursday evening during Conference, Pastor Steve Osborn (Boulder SDB church) gave two 8-minute messages. Here is what he shared:


Steadfast in the Bible

Philippians 2:12-18

There you are, clinging for dear life to the face of a rock with a hand that you know can’t possibly hold your full weight for more than a couple of minutes.

Does life ever feel like that? I think we can all agree that we live in a crazy, mixed-up, turbulent world. It’s getting harder and harder to live a STEADFAST life, isn’t it? People tell you you’re crazy for believing that outdated, irrelevant mumbo-jumbo. Your beliefs are narrow-minded, arrogant, judgmental, hypocritical, and prejudiced. Truth becomes more “relative” every day. Morality is whatever you want it to be. The most important thing is to be true to yourself. Look around: ISIS is brutally assassinating people around the world and right here in our backyards. Anyone with a gun can go in to a movie theater or a school or a church and take the lives of others for any reason, or no reason at all. Women and children are beaten and bullied. Pornography floods our computer screens. Abortion has been legal for thirty years and now gay marriage is here to stay and you are trying to wrap your mind around what all this means. Does it ever feel like your world is spinning out of control? Like you are hanging on by one weak hand, trying to remember what you believe, what’s true? Wanting desperately to live a steadfast life?

Paul talked about how hard it is to live as Christians in a “crooked and twisted generation.” He said, in Philippians 2:12, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (there’s the challenge, and here comes the promise), for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Now there’s a piece of good news. You aren’t left here to figure it out on your own. God is working in you to help you desire and do what He wants you to do, to believe what He wants you to believe.

He goes on, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Isn’t that what we are looking for — to be blameless and innocent? To live as children of God? To shine the light of Christ? To live a STEADFAST life in this crooked and twisted generation?

So you’re hanging on for dear life; you don’t know…how much longer…you can hold on. When suddenly from above comes the most beautiful thing you have ever seen…a rope! The rope is stability, security, your lifeline.

God has thrown us a lifeline like that. Paul mentions it in verse 16, “holding fast to the word of life.” Paul was talking about God’s Word, the Bible, our lifeline.

*The truth of God’s Word provides a lifeline of stability and wisdom for a steadfast life in this crazy, mixed-up world.*

So what do you do? This isn’t rocket science — when God throws you a lifeline, you grab hold and hang on for dear life! Paul uses the words “holding fast,” which means two things: 1) believing God’s Word and 2) living God’s Word. Psalm 1:1 (ESV)talks about this lifeline:”Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;” As Christians, that sounds like something we want, right? Part of our STEADFAST life? To not get caught up in the twisted logic of the world. To be able to live free from sin and to avoid temptation. To stand true to our God in the midst of a world that shakes its fist and mocks Him openly.

What’s the secret? “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2 ESV) The Psalmist goes on to describe the life of this man or woman who clings to God’s Word, who delights in it, who fills his mind and heart with it: “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:3 ESV) Doesn’t that sound like a description of a STEADFAST life? A tree planted by streams of water; yielding fruit; not withering; prospering.

Knowing and believing that God’s Word is true provides stability in a world of shifting truth. If you fix your eyes on the world, you’ll never know what to believe because the world doesn’t even believe that truth exists. “Believe whatever you want to believe and that will make it true for you.” But when Jesus prayed for His disciples, He asked His Father to, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17 ESV) So believing God’s Word provides stability for a STEADFAST life.

Just believing it isn’t enough, is it? We have to actually LIVE it if it is going to make a difference. The Bible is chock-full of wisdom and guidance for how to live a godly life. To whom else would we look for wisdom in how to live other than the One who designed life itself? Does the Bible address EVERY situation we’ll encounter? No. But does it teach us God’s standards; His principles; how He relates to His people; how He expects His people to interact with one other? Absolutely.

*The truth of God’s Word provides a lifeline of stability and wisdom for a steadfast life in this crazy, mixed-up world.*

“Hold fast” to the lifeline of God’s truth so you can be STEADFAST in your life. Here’s the thing — it is impossible to believe the truth of God’s Word and live the truth of God’s Word if you don’t KNOW the truth of God’s Word. That’s why the Psalmist said, “he meditates on it day and night.” You have to fill yourself up with it.

In Matthew 13, Jesus lays out some interesting principles for sowing the seed of God’s Word. The seed may fall on the path. If we just read it and don’t try to understand it, it does not sink into our hearts and Satan will come and snatch it away. The seed may fall on rocky soil and be received initially but not take root, so when tribulation and persecution come, it quickly withers. The seed of God’s Word may fall on hearts filled with thorns — a person who is consumed with the things of the world: worries, fear, materialism — and it gets choked out by all the other things growing there. But when the seed of God’s Word falls on the soil of a heart that is cleared of distractions, focused and ready to receive, it will take root and grow: 30, 60, even 100 fold.

Imagine if we would all do that. We’ve had it easy — far too easy for far too long. But times are changing. You’re going to have to be able to defend what you believe. You’re no longer going to be able to say, “Well this is just what Christians believe.” People are going to ask you, “Why?” And the only way you’re going to be able to answer is by sticking your nose in the Bible and knowing what it actually says.

Imagine if every one of us would allow the truth of God’s Word to be planted deep in the good soil of our hearts; seeking to hold fast to the word of life. Imagine a generation of Christians committed to understanding the truth; invested in God’s Word; living it out…a generation of Christians who really knows what they believe and are not only living it, but can also articulate and defend it. That would be a generation of Christians who are living a STEADFAST life, secure in the truth.

*The truth of God’s Word provides a lifeline of stability and

wisdom for a steadfast life in this crazy, mixed-up world.*


Steadfast in Fellowship

Philippians 2:1-4

We left ourselves on the face of that rock wall, clinging to the lifeline of God’s Word. Well if one lifeline is good, twois better, right? Another lifeline that God has dropped for us is — FELLOWSHIP. The Holman Bible Dictionary ( defines fellowship as: “The bond of common purpose and devotion that binds Christians together and to Christ.”

We were never intended to live the Christian life alone. We have this strange, romantic fascination with the Lone Ranger mentality — that somehow, I have an inner strength to be able to be steadfast in life all on my own and I do not need anybody to help me. Fortunately, God has a better plan. He created us to NEED each other; to live in Fellowship with one another. And that is a large part of why He created the Church — so that we can live the steadfast life together with other, like-minded believers.

*Fellowship with God’s people provides a lifeline of strength

and accountability for a steadfast life in this crazy, mixed-up world.*

Philippians 1 ends with the image of going to war together

for the sake of the gospel: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so…I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27 ESV).

Paul carried this image over to chapter 2: “SO if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy…” (Philippians 2:1 ESV).

Do not be fooled by Paul’s use of the word “if.” He was using it for effect — wanting his readers to reflect and ask themselves: Do I have any encouragement in Christ? Have I received any comfort from His love? Is there any evidence of participation of the Spirit in my life? Do I have a mutual affection and sympathy for my brothers and sisters in Christ? Paul knew the answer to the questions but he asked them anyway to get us to think and to understand and to build up this passion among us as we read it, “YES!! All these things are true in my life, so what comes next?”

Well then, “…complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:2 ESV). That is easy as long as everyone is willing to adopt my way of thinking. But that is not what Paul was encouraging here. He was urging us toward unity with one another: that we would have the same mind, love, heart and life. Well that’s hard isn’t it? “Look at these people, Lord. You want me to have unity with THEM???”

In the Body of Christ, there are so many personalities, ideas, approaches, understandings …how are we supposed to bring all those together and be UNITED? 1 Corinthians 2:16 tells us the key; EACH ONE of us has “the mind of Christ.” And as we work and struggle and fight to conform to HIS mind, then we’ll all naturally fall in step with one another because we’re all following the same leader. The key isn’t the two of us arguing about whose mind-set is right. The key is all of us conforming to the mind of Christ. Then we will be of the same mind; then we’ll be of the same love; then we’ll be in harmony in spirit and mind and will walk lock step with one another as we move forward together in His grace.

*Fellowship with God’s people provides a lifeline of strength and accountability for a steadfast life in this crazy, mixed-up world.*


Let’s talk about Strength. How many of you are always strong enough to live a steadfast Christian life? Ecclesiastes 4 gives a simple description of this concept of being strong together: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow…Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV)

We are better together. We strengthen each other. During times when I am weak, I can draw from your strength and hopefully sometimes in your weakness, you can draw strength from me. And guess what – sometimes we’re weak at the same time, and that’s okay…because at least we are weak together and we will fight our way through our weakness together.

Together is always better.

Accountability goes hand-in-hand with strength. (Galatians 6:1-2 ESV) “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness… Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” If we want to fulfill the law of Christ, Paul tells us that we should “bear one another’s burdens.” Well…what’s our tendency? “Share my burdens? No way. I keep that stuff to myself” — right? But that’s not Biblical is it? That’s not living together and it certainly isn’t fellowship.

And so I’m going to ask you: Who are you accountable to? Who knows you well enough to perceive when something isn’t right; whom do you trust enough to be completely transparent; whom do you call when you are in trouble or facing temptation; whom can you count on to ask you those hard questions — knowing that they will not judge you but also not let you off the hook? We need those people in our lives. Desperately need them because…

*Fellowship with God’s people provides a lifeline of strength and accountability for a steadfast life in this crazy, mixed-up world.*

How do we do this thing called Fellowship? Paul gives us a

hint: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4 ESV) It’s a pretty simple formula, isn’t it? But it’s hard to live because…let’s face it, we are selfish people. Right? We are self-centered, self-absorbed, self-serving people. That’s our sinful nature. But Christ is transforming us! And as He transforms us, and as we conform to His mind, I learn to look out for you and to let you look out for me. That’s the way the body of Christ works.

You see, Fellowship is more than pot luck and ice cream and watching our kids grow up together. Those are fun parts of

Fellowship, but they are only a tiny piece of what Fellowship

really is. Fellowship is loving each other through thick and thin; Fellowship is grinding through the dog days of life together — rebellious teenagers, or bankruptcy, or divorce, or all those other things that we don’t want to happen in life but they

happen anyway; that’s Fellowship! Fellowship is putting our heads together to solve a problem or dream about the future; Fellowship is being willing to endure tense situations as we wrestle through disagreements together; Fellowship is being willing to give either a hand up or a swift kick in the backside —and knowing which one is needed; Fellowship is serving heart-to-heart, side-by-side and hand-in-hand.

Fellowship is another one of those lifelines that God drops down to us in this crazy world that’s making less and less sense every day. Don’t think of it so much as a rope but more like having a dozen other climbers all around you; and some of them are pulling you from above, and some of them are showing you the next handhold, and some of them are below you making sure you don’t fall. And we are all pulling each other through this thing we call life.

The Bible encourages us to grab this lifeline too and hang on for all we are worth. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

*Fellowship with God’s people provides a lifeline of strength

and accountability for a steadfast life in this crazy, mixed-up world.*

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