Be a Contender, Not a Bender

Jude 1:Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.  20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Be a contender, not a bender—that sums up the challenge in our present hour especially with what has transpired in the last month.  The Bible says men will wax worse and worse.  At the beginning of the church age times were hard on the early church.  To continue was a matter of contending for the truth.  They had to fight for what they had by standing their ground and being bold.  Many ended up in prison.  Down through the centuries of the church age, there has been intense persecution and is going on now.  It has not reached us in obvious fashion until now.  Look for it to get worse.

If you believe in the papacy or in a popular Eastern religion or one of the counterfeit offshoots of Christianity, you are accepted.  These are popular. The bottom line is they are accepted because they are false.  I’m glad to know the truth.  Jude said we are sanctified and called out.  We are cared for.  God will do his part as we do ours.

Jude was the earthly brother of Jesus.  He knew his half-brother was the son of God.  Sometimes it is harder to reach family but Jude followed and believed.  Jude lived and grew up with Jesus and was convinced.  I’m glad to be saved now and be this far along in my Christian life.  Years ago things weren’t as “up in your face” as they are now.  It’s our part to attest to the truth of the Bible.  There are many ways to think, many viewpoints in the world.  There is no trustworthy source of truth except the Bible.  John Chapter 1 says in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.  I’m glad I know where truth is.

Our faith is challenged.  Faith in our country is gone.  We are not the country we were meant to be.  Though our nation has departed from God, I don’t have to.  You don’t.  If it becomes a crime to own a Bible that would be a law we are not compelled to follow.  Everything about real, Bible-believing salvation and the principles of living right are under fire and challenged.  All who believe the Bible is the source of truth find themselves challenged.  If the world knows I’m a born again believer who believes the Bible is the Word of God and that God is creator and his son is Savior, then that’s what God wants—us to be a witness.  This challenge is coming to all of us.  I can’t meet your challenge and answer for you.  You must do it for yourself.

When Jude talks about common salvation he speaks of it as something not mysterious that only a few understand. It’s common and obvious, not complicated.  We should be able to witness easily because it’s so uncomplicated.  We have to be ready.  Our Christianity is in the frying pan.  Verse 3 says that ye should earnestly contend for the faith.  That means to stand your ground.  Assert yourself in what you know is truth.  Plant your feet firmly.  It’s more than defending.  God needs his people to stand up for truth.  If we don’t stand, we’ll bend.  We’re already seeing people bending their standards.  People who used to say same-sex marriage is a sin are bending.  The book of Peter tells us that judgment will begin at the house of God.  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

It is sifting time.  You can back me up and I’ll appreciate it, but I can’t take your stand for you.  It takes more than one soldier to win a battle.  It takes teamwork of everyone holding the line.  How can we do that if we don’t know what to say?  I’m not just talking about one issue.  There are many battle fronts.  There is only one Bible and one truth.  It boils down to one thing.  There is one source of truth.  It’s not up to us to destroy but to help pull people from the fire.

Contend is to struggle without fists.  Jesus did it.  He spoke the truth.  That’s all we have to do—be faithful to the truth.  You’ll bend and compromise or stand.  We need to stand on the truth of God’s words.  When asked about issues, don’t start your answer with “I believe” or “my preacher says.”  What does the Bible say about it?  When you say what you think or your preacher says you are putting your words on the same level as what someone’s teacher or professor says.  It’s not your word or my word.  It’s about the Word of God.  Truth didn’t start in 1963 when this church was formed.  It started well over 2,000 years ago.  The way you answer the challenge is to say “the Bible teaches that….”  Then affirm your belief in the Bible and follow it.  When the Bible says it, nothing can be said against it.  Be studied up.  Lay aside your thoughts.  When you’re called for an answer, God will bring to your mind the things you’ve been taught from the Bible and you’ll be able to contend earnestly.

Who is winning?  The devil?  The wicked?  No!  Let’s meet the challenge and be faithful.  Stand for truth.  Tell every challenger what the Bible says and stand on that truth.

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