by pastor david
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Like never before, the Church of Jesus Christ around the world has been infiltrated with false teachers and false doctrine. We expect this kind of aberrant teaching from the cults outside of the Church but, unfortunately, the greater problem, at least in our Western civilization, is false doctrine within the borders of the Evangelical Church.
We have somehow become more interested in being Politically Correct than we are in being Biblically Correct. We are so afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, or for that matter, anyone’s feelings that, even though they may be dead wrong about a particular truth, we are unwilling to challenge them or correct them.
I am in full support of maintaining peace within the Church, but at what price? Are we willing to take a flimsy stance on Biblical doctrine just to avoid a conflict or to maintain our current Sunday morning attendance?
The clarity of the Biblical message has, in our day, become muffled in many places and muted in many more. The doctrine that is heard in many pulpits and classrooms across America is incomprehensible or implausible or, incomplete at best.
Whether we are willing to admit it or not, imposters have penetrated our lines of defense. They have secretly and systematically contaminated the main supply of spiritual sustenance – that is the pulpits and classrooms that were intended to be a major source of Biblical nourishment. Many so called preachers and teachers have poisoned or at least polluted the simple yet powerful message of the Gospel. The disastrous result is masses of Christians who are Biblically illiterate.
Many do not know the Epistles from the Apostles. One man thought the Epistles were the wives of the Apostles. Another said his favorite book of the Bible was the Book of Parables.
In answer to the question, “What do the members of the church have a right to expect of their ministers?” the Scottish preacher George Duncan writes, “First, he is a preacher. He has been ordained to the ministry of the Word. ‘Preach the Word’ was Paul’s order to Timothy. Members of a church have a right to expect their minister to do just that; to come to them from the presence of God with a message, which is the Word of God. He will not come to tell them what he thinks, but what God has to say.”
Duncan goes on to say, “Every time the members come into the church they should be, they must be, expecting that to happen.” (George Duncan: Preach the Word-Marshall Morgan and Scott - 1989)
There are three distressing facts that we must face today.
1. Most churches in America are not comprehensively preaching the Word of God.
The second and more deplorable fact is…
2. They think they are.
The last and most dangerous fact is…
3. Most church members don’t know the difference.
How timely then is the message of The Epistle of Jude, whose main thesis is, “Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints”. (Jude 3)
The expression “contend earnestly” occurs only here is Scripture. It means to contend about an issue as a combatant. The adverb “earnestly” is added to convey the intensity of the verb. The reason we must declare war is because, “Certain men have crept in unnoticed…who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ”. (Jude 4). The battle Jude was facing then has escalated today to the point that we have no alternative but to go to war! When the great truths of Christianity are attacked, it is criminal to sit on the sidelines. Therefore, Jude sounds the battle cry for all to hear, “Contend earnestly for the faith”.
How do we, “Contend earnestly for the faith”? We do that by faithful and fully, expositionally and earnestly preaching and teaching the Word of God. That is our commitment to God and to God’s people.
Many years ago in the early days of Judaism there was a breakaway sect formed known as, “The People of the Book”. Their views and beliefs would certainly be different from ours as born-again believers. Nevertheless, it is the title that intrigues me - “People of the Book!”
these days, what we need above all else is a band of redeemed people who will be so familiar with the Word of God and so full of the Word of God that they will be faithful to the Word of God. We must be “People of the Book!” Amen?
Pastor David Boggs
I hope these occasional posts will encourage and challenge you as we grow in Christ together.
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