Summary: We should not accept any form of Christianity except that which contains the original power and life experienced by the New Testament Church. We are exhorted to "contend for that faith" until we achieve it. The genuine article will have the same results a
CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
A. HUMOR: THE PROS & CONS OF IMITATING
1. A new missionary recruit went to Venezuela for the first time. He was struggling with the language and didn't understand a whole lot. He attended the church he hoped to serve in, but arrived late and the church was already packed. The only seat open was on the front row.
2. Since he didn’t know the language, he decided to imitate the man sitting next to him.
a. When the man sang, the missionary tried to sing;
b. when the man prayed, the missionary prayed.
c. When the man stood up or sat down, he did too.
3. Then he perceived that the preacher was giving announcements. People clapped, so he clapped.
4. Then the preacher looked toward him and said something and he saw the man next to him stand up. So he stood up too.
5. Suddenly a hush fell over the congregation, so he sat back down.
6. After the service ended, the missionary recruit met the preacher, who said in English: "I take it you don't speak Spanish." The missionary recruit replied: "No I don't. Is it that obvious?"
7. "Well yes," said the preacher, "I announced that the Acosta family had a newborn baby boy and would the proud father please stand up."
1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: 2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. 3 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 you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
1. Our Scripture this morning calls for us, not only to imitate, but to recapture the freshness and transformational power of the Gospel as it was in the New Testament.
2. We’re going to look at what the Original Gospel looked like, examples of Contenders, the nature of the Original, and its High Price.
3. The title of this morning’s message is, “Contending For the Faith.”
I. CONTRAST BTW COMMON & ORIGINALS
A. THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN IMITATIONS
1. Gal. 1:6. False Gospels, False Christs.
2. So we must be able to distinguish the true, Original Gospel from the Counterfeits.
B. ORIGINALS ARE HARD TO COME BY
1. Imagine holding an original copy of:
a. The Declaration of Independence
b. The Liberty Bell
c. Original music score of Bach, Beethoven, or Braums;
d. Notes of Leonardo da Vinci
2.DIFFERENCE OF VALUE BTW ORIGINALS & COPIES
a. Elvis Pressley -- many impersonators
1). Cigarette case with picture $12.06
2). Collector Plate $20.00
3). Autographs $99 -$500
4). Clothing, guitars, cars $millions
b. Vince van Gogh (painter)
1). Posters of paintings $1 - $3.99
2). Limited Edition Prints $195.
3). Actual Oil Painting $9 million
C.COMPARING COMMON/ GENUINE
1. Definition for “common;” – occurring frequently, ordinary. Of mediocre or inferior quality; second-rate. Same is true of the Gospel.
2. Imitations...anyone can copy them; they look right, but they’re not genuine; no real substance.
3. But imitations exist ... because the flesh can imitate them; but only God can produce the genuine!
4. Paul talked about “other Jesus’, other spirits, other Gospels than the original (2 Cor. 4:11).
5. Jude challenges us to “holy dissatisfaction” until we contend and gain what the Apostles/ early believers had in the Book of Acts.
II. EXAMPLES OF CONTENDERS
A. ELISHA WAS A CONTENDER
1. When Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?” Elisha said, “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. 2 Kgs. 2:9.
2. Words for Elisha’s mindset were “excellence, superiority, distinction, greatness.” If you can do more for Christ, then why do less?
B. PAUL WAS A CONTENDER
1. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him [even] in his death….I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” Phip. 3:10, 12.
2. Many of us are ambitious in business matters, but are we “spiritually ambitious?”
C. JAMES & JOHN WERE CONTENDERS
1. James & John wanted to on Jesus’ right and left in His kingdom! Jesus asked them, “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from My cup, but to sit at My right or left is not for Me to grant” Mt. 20:21-23.
2. You may think their motives suspect, but Jesus admires people who press for the best, spiritually; that’s why both of them were in Jesus’ inner circle.