Sunday, August 7, 2011

Are you willing to fight?

Are you willing to fight? Even the most timid people in the world will become bold and aggressive when their family is being threatened; however, the fact is, when a person is “backed in to a corner” they have no choice but to come out swinging. I am not talking about that type of battle. I am talking about Christian men and women ready to fight for their King….so….are you willing to fight?
This is not a battle of brawn. This is not a battle of flesh and blood. This is a battle in the spiritual realm.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Is it possible that those unwilling to fight either 1) do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ that is such that they have determined He is willing to fight for or 2) they do not really believe that there is a spiritual battle raging in this world in which eternal life depends?
Jude is among many in the Word of God who warn us about false teachers and he leaves no reading between the lines about how we are to respond to it….we are to fight….we are to contend for the faith:

Jude 1:3 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.
Let’s get right down to it…there are many that have fallen prey to false teachers that have crept in to their church, in to their theology, on to their book shelves, in to their daily devotionals, and even in to their Bible studies. This isn’t anything new! False teachers do not come in and announce, “Thank you for having me. I will be distorting God’s Word, trampling on God’s Grace, and, ideally, leading many of you astray.”  No!  They come in stealth, and judging from the sincerity of many of them, many of them are unknowingly being used by the enemy. Possibly they have bought in to a certain theology and they continue to preach it without having the discernment that can only come from the Holy Spirit when a person is born-again. Whether the false teaching is sincere, or intentional, does not make its devastating impact any less.

Jude 1:4 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.
Jude is warning his readers of men that deny the Lord Jesus Christ by their actions. Their immoral life style, and the condoning and encouraging of immoral lifestyles is evidence of their perverting the Grace of God and denying Him.

Romans 1:27-32  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29  being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30  backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31  undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32  who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Jude gives us 3 examples of God’s response to pride, disobedience, sexual immorality, and unbelief:

Jude 1:5-7 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

We should not be surprised to hear that the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, we are warned of this over and over again. Jude even says plainly in reference to these three accounts, they are “set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”

There is no doubt that we are saved by Grace through Faith:

Romans 1:5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,

Romans 5:2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

God has sent His Son to be the final Sacrifice to redeem all men from their debt of sin. This is a free gift for all who will put their faith in Him and repent. The repentance piece of the puzzle was clearly missing in the false teachers Jude was referring to and it is also missing from the lives of many professing Christians today. Jesus said to follow Him. He was asked, “how can I inherit eternal life?”

Luke 18:18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

After Jesus makes it clear to this man there is still something he was not willing to let go of, He tells him plainly what he must do to be saved:

Luke 18:22b and come, follow Me."

When we are born-again we follow Jesus. When we are born-again we are willing to follow Jesus unto death. We dare not think that we can deliberately continue in sin and have any confused notion that we belong to Him:

Romans 6:15-23  What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16  Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17  But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18  And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19  I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. 20  For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21  What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22  But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 
So, back to the original question….are you willing to fight? If you recognize that you might be one of those that is missing a piece of the puzzle, are you willing to fight on your knees in prayer that God will save you, that He will grant you repentance? If you belong to Him, are you willing to fight the good fight, are you willing to face the mocking…are you willing to reach into the fire and with love and compassion share this Truth that God bring in the harvest of which you have been blessed to plant seed and water?

Jude 1:17-23 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19  These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. 20  But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21  keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22  And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23  but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Matthew 9:37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.

Matthew 9:38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

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