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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Contender or Pretender?

We are going to talk about contending for “the” faith.  The Bible teaches there is ONE faith.  Eph 4:4,5  This is in direct contrast to society today that says, “One faith is as good as the other” or “We all can get to Heaven regardless of where we worship.”  The Bible says we are to worship in “spirit and truth” in Jn 4:24.  If where we are worshipping isn’t teaching the truth, we are not worshipping God as he commanded!  Jesus said, “This do in remembrance of me” and Acts 20:7 tells us the early church gathered the first day of the week.  Jesus said, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved” Mk 16:16 and all the conversions in Acts include baptism as part of conversion/salvation.  **If people are not doing these things in the prescribed manner, they ARE NOT worshipping in truth.  Regardless of the fact that our family may have attended there or the name on the sign!  Therefore, we must not just contend for the faith, but do it earnestly!
I. There is only “one faith.”
Jude intended to write a more general doctrinal letter, but the present crisis demanded this short, pointed attack on doctrinal error.
        A. He changed his MIND
·         “common salvation” This has the meaning of the salvation which is offered to all people alike, upon the same conditions, from the same source, and entailing the same obligations. This salvation is not common in the sense of being ordinary, being on the other hand the most precious treasure ever made available to mankind.
·         “contend earnestly” What is meant is that Christians shall vigorously fight for and defend the truth. **Barclay pointed out that the Greek word used here "contains the root of our English word agony but literally means fight for or reference something when given an occasion.  **The defense of the faith may well be a costly thing; but that defense is a duty which falls on every generation of the church.  THE CHURCH IS FAILING MISERABLY @ THIS TODAY!  Proof is in denominationalism!
B. The Bible TEACHES one faith.
·         “faith” Not faith in Christ for salvation, but the body of teaching passed down in the church by the apostles.  Commentator and author David H. Wheaton says, "The faith here implies a recognized body of teaching such as we know emerged from Peter's early sermons. “
·         THERE IS ONE FAITH!  A careful examination of the Scriptures will show that the use of “faith” is always singular!  NOT ONE TIME IS THE WORD FAITH PLURALIZED!  2Co 13:5; Acts 6:7; 1Ti 4:1; Acts 16:15; Eph 4:13,14
·         THERE IS ONE LORD! Eph 4:5  Rom 1:16 says the gospel is the power of God of salvation to everyone.  ***Do we dare to say that another message is as as good as the Gospel of Christ?  I SURE HOPE NOT!  
·         “once for all delivered” The use of the Greek word [hapax] carries the meaning of "once only and forever." The gospel delivered to mankind was not a piecemeal revelation, "here a little and there a little" as in the Old Testament, but the full message in its entirety and completeness as delivered through Christ to the apostles.
·         The true church is to be of the SAME mind, SAME judgment, and SAME tongue.  1Co 1:10  WE MUST FIGHT AND CONTEND FOR THIS FAITH, NOT BE PASSIVE!
II. The Church is in a battle.
These certain men that crept in are the reason for this letter! 
·         If there were no false teaching, there would be no need or call to contend for the faith!
·         Jesus warned of this Mt 7:15 
·         Whenever false doctrine is taught, wherever dogmas are passed as doctrine, there is the divine call to contend for the faith.
·         Every sane person in the cults, denominations, or contradicting doctrines of today MUST recognize that they all can’t be true!  False teaching demands contending for the faith!
·         This contending and battle is necessary, not for bragging rights, but to save the souls that are lost!
·         CONSIDER PAUL!  Wherever he went he reasoned, disputed, and conteded with those who were bound in false doctrine!  HE WAS ALWAYS IN A FIGHT FOR THE FAITH!  2Ti 4:7  How many people in the Church can say that today!
·         Notice how Paul stood up against false teachings and doctrines and refused to compromise the faith.  Look up this week Acts 13:6-10; 14:8-15; 15:1,2; 17:16,17; 19:8,9; 1Th 2:2; Phi 1:17
III. Why should we contend for the faith?
          A. It is ­­TAUGHT in the Bible.
·         We already said the meaning for “earnestly contend” and that is basically what Timothy was told to do in Ephesus.  1Ti 1:3
·         The Philippians were told to “stand fast with one spirit & mind”  Phi 1:27
·         It is a duty of the Elders!  Tit 1:9
·         It is the Evangelist’s job.  Look at what Paul said to Titus Tit 1:10-13
          B. To PURIFY  the Church.
·         God isn’t pleased with false teaching and improper practices in the church.
·         The fact that God sent the Holy Spirit to guide the Apostles proves that He is extremely concerned what is taught.
·         Rev 2:20 Jesus holds false teachings and practices against the Church.
·         Without contending for the faith, false teachings and practices will flourish and multiply!
          C. To CLEAR THE AIR for the confused.
·         So many denominations makes a person say, “Who is correct?”  If we, the Church, say “I’m not sure” or passively do not refute the false teachings it becomes even more confusing to them!
        D. To save the LOST from false teachings and practices.
·         False teaching and practice is sin!  Whether we accept it or not!  We can sit and say “I just don’t believe it” but truth is truth whether we accept it or not!
·         It causes man to worship in vain!  Mt 15:9
·         It condemns both leader and follower.  Mt 15:14
·         Most people entangled therein don’t realize the teachings are wrong.  How will they come out unless we go forth and contend for the faith and press the Word of God in their hearts?   

     Finally, as Christians we must be set for the defense of the Gospel, to combat false teaching, and contend for the faith.  It must not be done hesitantly, shamefully, or half-hearted.  It MUST be done EARNESTLY!