Contend

Scott Stevenson

"Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.  For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."  Jude 1:3-4

The men of Sunrise Church and myself are doing a deep study on this portion of scripture.  During my study time, I found the text both alarming and convicting once I grasped the meaning. 

As a group (Boot Camp), we focused our study on what “contend earnestly” actually means and it comes from the Greek word EPAGONIZOMAI.  It means "to agonize greatly or intensive force".  So, if we are to agonize greatly for the faith, what is faith?  Jude is referring to faith in the gospel and everything pertaining to our common salvation.

Speaking of salvation, would you consider salvation to be the most important subject to address Christian's about?  I didn’t realize just how important contending for the faith was until I noticed it in Jude.  The author changed from talking about salvation to talking about contending for the faith…look at verse three again.

Did you know that it’s every believer’s responsibility to contend with people who attempt to pervert the gospel?  Jude is talking about ungodly people perverting the truth not only on the streets, but in the church!  He is telling us point blank that we are not to stand by and just let it happen.  I’m not talking about fistfights in the middle of the quad area at church.  We must do everything in love and treat people the way we want to be treated.  I’m referring more to just standing by and letting it happen.

Why would a Bible carrying Christian let something like that happen?

I want to encourage you to be aware of your responsibilities as a believer.  At the same time, we need to know Jesus.  In order to know someone, you have to spend time with him or her.  That means, the more time you have spent with someone, the better you know them. 

The reason we can’t say too much is obvious; we don’t spend time in His Word in order to refute a person who may say an outright lie about God and His Word.  The Lord tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15 “study to show thyself approved…”  We can’t say anything because we don’t know anything about Jesus…that is pretty sad when you actually think about it.   

Like the men at Sunrise Church, I want to encourage you to spend time with Jesus in His Word.  Don’t just read the Bible and not act on it.  That’s what you call knowledge, but those who act on that knowledge have wisdom.  Make Christ the number one priority in your life and be ready with a word about your Lord.

 

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