by John Hever
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
The context of Jude 3 is the rise of false teachers who contended that the gospel message of Jesus was errant, lacking, or simply fallacious. Life could be found in hedonistic pleasure, or in the worship of the Romans gods, or in gnosticism, acquiring secret knowledge about the universe and becoming enlightened. The first century was a marketplace of ideas competing for one’s attention. Today, we live in that same marketplace of competing ideas for where the good life can be found.
In this series that we’re teaching on, we’ve attempted to give a rational justification for faith in Jesus based on the evidence of fulfilled prophecy, eyewitness testimony, the Big Bang, and DNA. The point is that God has left His fingerprints everywhere, from the origin of the universe to the blueprints inside of every cell of your body…from the scriptures telling us of the Messiah hundreds of years before He came to earth, to the testimony of transformed lives, willing to die while saying, “This is what I saw with my own eyes.”
What I want you to notice in the above verse is one word that describes the strength or vigor with which our evidence is to be shared. And that word is…contend.
To contend for something is to assert something as a position in an discussion. It is to make a case. “I contend that this particular view is correct and factual.” It is to make a truth claim. It is to insist, profess, declare, allege. It is much more than saying, “Well, I think…” Christ followers are NOT called to argue our case. We are called to communicate with clarity and conviction.
How convinced are you? How clear are you in making a case for the Christian faith?
The reason we must be clear is quite simply that God has been clear. He has spoken boldly through the life, words, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:2 says “in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” God has spoken. As recorded by an eyewitness, Jesus said, as recorded in John 14:6,
Actually, Jesus modeled for us precisely how to contend. With clarity and conviction.
The other day while I was walking my dog, I had a delightful conversation with my neighbor. We’ve become friends over the past few weeks. “Man, I am so bored,” he told me. “Really?,” I responded. “I have a way out of your boredom! Come hear me speak about the biggest questions people have about God. I promise you it will be anything but boring!”
I believe my friend will come. That is my prayer and my hope. I can’t wait to sit in his living room and tell Him what Jesus has done for me.
Contributing author: John Hever
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