About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Fight For The Faith
friends …I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith
that was once for all entrusted to the saints”
No, that’s not me making this statement.
These are New Testament words found in Jude, verse 3.
word “epagonzomai” is translated as “contend” in this verse. (NIV)
This Greek word consists of “epa,” meaning upon or about, and
“agon,” meaning to contest. “Epagonzomai”
as a verb thus means to contest, as in a debate, a sporting event, or
any kind of conflict between people, whether friendly or unfriendly.
This is why the NIV and other translations translate this
Greek word as “contend”. Contend
means to strive, vie, or struggle against something or someone.
tells all saints, not just
those who are intellectually inclined, to contend, or fight for the
faith. He told his readers
to fight for the faith because even in those early days of faith in
Jesus the core truths of the gospel were being undermined by false
teachers from within their own ranks.
that Jesus actually entrusted us with the truth of the gospel, which is
somewhat surprising to me knowing man’s track record concerning
matters of trust. But that’s my carnal thinking.
I’m sure Jesus knows what He is doing.
haven’t changed since Jude’s days. Now more than ever core Christian
truths are under attack, and
its not always from those without. As
in Jude’s day, there are those within Christian circles attempting to
undermine the central truths of Scripture, and I’m talking about the
primary teaching, not secondary doctrines.
century Christians were being attacked on two fronts.
Roman soldiers were killing them, while false teachers were
trying to kill their faith. But
what’s worse, losing your faith or loosing your life? Loosing
your faith determines your eternal destiny, so that’s worse.
Loosing your life only gets you into eternity.
today’s world the attack from within Christian circles is eroding core
Christian values and truths. The
erosion begins by questioning the inspiration of Scripture and then its
primary teachings. Before
the core teachings of the Bible can be discarded, the Bible itself has
to be discredited in one’s thinking.
Once the Bible is discredited in one’s thinking, it makes no
sense to believe what it
says, and that includes basic teachings such as the divinity of Jesus
and even the existence of God.
erosion is not new. There’s
been a few re-occurring heresies throughout the centuries that keep
re-appearing in new packages. One
reason for the modern day erosion goes back as far as what is known as
the Enlightenment period of history when many people began to question
all kinds of belief systems.
This questioning led to skepticism.
This questioning and skepticism found its way into Christian
circles when some scholars demythologized the Bible in the 1800’s.
This means that these scholars chose to no longer believe in the
supernatural aspects of Scripture. Such
a teaching as the Deity of Jesus could no longer be believed
because it is part of the Bible’s supernatural content.
Well, once you remove the supernatural from the Bible, you’ve
ripped out most of its pages.
demythologizing caused people to believe that the Scripture wasn’t
inspired by God, and could not be historically or scientifically
accurate. Thus the Bible was only good for certain moral and religious
teachings. This kind of thinking has been firmly entrenched in much of
the liberal church but I believe this same thinking has slowly
infiltrated Evangelical circles over the last 70 or so years, and even
more so of late.
also my contention that many Evangelicals have put their Bibles on their
shelves instead of letting it take root in their hearts and lives. As
one Christian of 15 years absurdly asked, “do you think it’s time
for me to start reading my Bible”? And
for many who do read their Bibles it’s for inspirational purposes
only, not to really know and understand what it’s saying.
Bible is set aside from its proper place in Christian circles, it
doesn’t take long before Jesus and faith are set aside as well. This,
along with the humanistic liberalism I’ve mentioned is what the fight
is all about. The erosion of
the importance of the Bible in
the church and in the individual will eventually destroy the
believer’s trust in Jesus altogether.
that in “later times some will abandon the faith, and follow deceiving
spirits, and things taught by demons”. (1 Tim. 4:1 NIV) I’m
not sure how close we are to the end, but these words sure seem
Christians should resolve once again that the Bible is indeed God’s
inspired message book to mankind, and that we’ll stand up and be
counted for the its truths. Beyond
simply standing, we’ll contend for the faith in whatever way possible,
understanding that our fight is primarily against demonic forces who are
using people from within and without our ranks.
We should also remember that our weapons are spiritual in nature.
And lastly, we will certainly take the Bible off our shelves and
let it effect our lives in the way it should. We can’t afford to be
slack in this matter.