“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Jude 3
The dictionary defines “contend” to mean to strive for or strive against; to use earnest efforts to obtain; to defend; to reprove sharply (to strive to convince). There are some things we need to be against and some things we need to be for. Therefore, they are worth striving against or for which ever the case may be.
I. Some things to strive against.
“Contend” in our text comes from the fierce competition of athletes contending in a contest striving to win. “Earnestly contend” means to fight strenuously in defense of and speaks of a vigorous, intense determined struggle to defeat the opposition.
1. Strive against temptation.
You had better strive against temptation or you will be overcome. (James 1:13-15) Paul said in Eph. 6:13 that there is a time to stand and in I Cor. 6:18, 10:14, II Tim. 2:22 that there are some things to flee from. He also said in I Cor. 9:27 that he had to contend (buffet his body) to keep from being overcome. Temptation leads you into the world and away from the Lord. Thus, we are commanded in I John 2:15 “Love not the world” and in Rom. 12:2 “Be not conformed to the world.” To obey we must strive (contend) against temptation or we too will be overcome.
2. Strive against error.
To strive against error involves striving against the people who promote error. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Eph. 5:11 “Reprove” implies to contend. “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isa. 58:1 Paul told Timothy in II Tim. 4:1-2 to reprove in his preaching--means to contend against error and those who promote it.
3. Strive against our real enemy.
Our real enemy, as well as the Lord’s, is the devil. (Eph. 6:12) Therefore, we need to strive against some things.
II. Some things to strive for.
1. Strive for the faith.
Our text says so. “The faith” is the whole body of revealed truth delivered once to the saints. To strive for the faith involves:
1) Striving for the truth.
One must encounter truth to be saved. “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. Psa. 145:18 Isa. 59:14 says “Truth is fallen in the street;” therefore, we must contend for truth.
2) Striving for the gospel.
The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation.” (Rom. 1:16) I Cor. 15:3-4 states that the gospel is the “death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.” The gospel includes the virgin birth, His sinless life, His vicarious death, His burial, His resurrection, His ascension, His ministry of intercession, His bodily coming back in the rapture for His saints, and the sanctification work of the Holy Spirit in one being saved. We must contend for the gospel so it will come to a person “not in word only, but in power, in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” (I Thess. 1:5) The sad thing today is that many have removed from the true gospel to a false one like Paul told the saints in Galatia in Gal. 1:6-9.
3) Striving for the old paths.
In Jer. 6:16 the prophet told the people to “ask for the old paths and walk therein.” But they said, “We will not walk therein.” We must Learn To Contend in 2010.
2. Striving for harmony in the home.
“Husband, love your wives as Christ love the church and gave Himself for it.” (Eph. 5:25) Our homes need to be in Bible order. Pro. 22: 6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go.” This involves example, instruction, and discipline. (We have a series of cds available on the home just for the asking.)
3. Striving for modesty in your dress.
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” I Tim. 2:9 “In like manner” means the man, as well as the woman, should dress in modest apparel. This is not legalism or law but Bible and it is right.
4. Striving for a closer walk with God.
The Bible states plainly in Gen. 5 and 6 that Enoch and Noah walked with God. And we can too. James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you.” John 15:4, 7 says, “Abide” in Him. “Abide” means to have no known sin unjudged and unconfessed, no interest into which He is not brought, no life which He cannot share, to take all burdens to Him, and draw all wisdom, life, and strength from Him.
Strive for a closer walk:
1) In His word.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psa. 119:105
2) In prayer.
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Mat. 6:6
3) In obedience.
Jesus said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” John 15:14 and “His commandments are not grievous.” (I John 5:2-3) May we strive to neck reign to our Lord’s commands.
5. Striving in salvation.
1) Your own if not saved.
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Luke 13:24 Remember one of the definitions of “contend” was to use earnest efforts to obtain. This is not talking about works for salvation but striving to overcome all the obstacles, the devil, the flesh, and the world places in your way to hinder you. This means earnest, active seeking and continuing in His word. (John 8:31-32)
2) Of others.
If you are saved you need to intercede for others. Stay with them where they are and love them so they may be drawn into the fold of God by those cords of love spoken of in Hos. 11:4.
Learn To Contend in 2010 that some may get in. In Jer. 12:5, Jeremiah said there is a problem--if you can’t contend with the footman, how can you expect to contend with the horses? He is saying if you can’t keep up in a footrace, you will not make it in a horse race. In other words, things were going to get worse for Israel and they did. Applied to us, I believe we are going to face greater trials in the future than we have in the past. Therefore, we need to Learn to Contend in 2010.
This is just a skeletal outline of the message preached January 3, 2010 at New Hope Baptist. If you would like for us to send you a cd or tape of this message, we would be glad to do so at no cost to you. We also have some more material at no charge that might help you to Learn To Contend in 2010. If I can be of any help to you please feel free to contact me. I will be your friend in 2010.
THE PERSUADER - Oct.-Dec., 2009