HOW TO “EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH”

Posted: December 16, 2014 in Defending the Faith, The Bible
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HOW TO “EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH” WE MUST CONTEND EARNESTLY – the Bible in the book of Jude clearly exhorts us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once given…” The vivid expression “earnestly contend” is translated from the Greek and literally means to earnestly agonize for the faith. This term is associated with strife and combat of a vigorous and determined quality. The present tense of the verb is indicating that this “earnestly contending” is to be ongoing and continues throughout our life. We are to always be “earnestly contending for the faith”. Jude believed at the time of his writing that the foundational principles of the Christian faith were under attack. I believe we could all agree it seems in this day and age that they are under an ever increasing and relentless attack; hence the need for our ever increasing relentlessness in “earnestly contending for the faith.” Jude in expressing his thought that way, inspired by the Holy Spirit, suggests to us that this is a serious matter; we are at war! Paul talks about the nature of our warfare in II Corinthians 10:3-6 – “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” And the Apostle Paul talks about this again in Ephesians 6:10-13.

WE MUST USE THE WEAPONS AT OUR DISPOSAL – Paul defines those weapons for us in Ephesians 6:13-18 – “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Notice that most of these things are for our own defense so we won’t be lost in the struggle with the world and what the world will try to tempt us with or discourage us with. Remember these weapons are needed for our own walk and life. Don’t forget all of the weapons we have. Don’t be so quick to take the sword and leave all the rest of these out of the equation. Make sure that you “remove the plank from your own eye” so you will be able to see clearly “to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7: 3-5 – And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.)

PAUL ALSO MENTIONED WEAPONS THAT ARE “MIGHTY THROUGH GOD” – Such weapons as “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” Let us not get too carried away in our attempt to “earnestly contend for the faith” that we forget about “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” II Corinthians 10:1-6. We need to be making sure that we are first “spiritual”, and then displaying gentleness and caution we are commanded to try to make right any fault with meekness. (Galatians 6:1– Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.) Do not think too highly of yourself if you are a Christian; remember you are just a rotten fault filled sinner saved by grace. The Apostle Paul also commands us to refrain from quarrels and to be applying gentleness, with the Word, patience and humility when we see the need to correct opposition. (II Timothy 2:23-25 – But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;) Notice what all Paul is saying in this passage. When we face opposition to ourselves or our beliefs how are we to handle it? Paul tells us to avoid unlearned questions. Why? – Because they cause strife among our fellow brethren in Christ. Paul also teaches us to be gentle to all men, to be apt to teach, to be patient and to do all of this with meekness.

THE CALL BY JUDE TO “EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH” IS NOT A LICENSE TO ENGAGE IN THIS WITH “WRATH” AND “STRIFE”. (Galatians 5:19-21) But it is a call to vigorously and agonizingly contend with all the weapons at our disposal. Most important of which is the Word of God. But we also need to be displaying the Christ like qualities of meekness and gentleness. Meekness and gentleness in your presentation will win more people over for the Lord than strife and wrath. Do not be guilty of not obeying Christ by perverting his teachings and setting yourself up as your own authority on the word of God; because of those that do this is why we need to be “earnestly contending for the faith”. Whose side are you on? Have you submitted to Christ’s authority over you and to follow his teachings and to emulate the example he set for us or are you setting yourself up as the ultimate authority in your life? Are you steadfastly continuing in the Apostle’s doctrine? (Acts 2:42 – And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.)

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