[SW244] 08/19/2016 message notes by
Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016
“Are You A Contender?”
The Lord says, “Put up your dukes, church!”
A contender is one who has a chance at a title match, in prizefighting. For what must Christians contend? What is the prize?
Jude 3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
Contending — to struggle for earnestly, as a combatant, with intensive force.
Jude exhorts you, implores you, calls you near and beseeches you to be a combatant!
You do not combat sin in yourself, because you have died to sin so you do not continue to live in it (Romans 6:2). If this is not true of you, then repent and ask God to do it.
You do not combat slavery to sin, trying to loose yourself from its ponderous chains, because Jesus has fulfilled His promise to free you from those chains if you are truly His disciples, for you continued in His Word and know the truth. (John 8:31-36).
For what are you a combatant, then?
The faith — The gospel expressed in the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is to stand up for the faith upon which the church was launched in the Book of Acts. To see how this faith was contended for, go to Acts 2 to read Peter’s sermon, and Romans 5 and 6 to read the basic tenets.
But if you do not know His Word, you are boxing as if beating the air (1Corinthians 9:26), and you are easily deceived. No sword (Ephesians 6:17), no contest against deceivers.
You are required by the Lord to fight the good fight of faith (1Timothy 6:12).
Paul writes to Timothy, not long before the Romans beheaded him for his faith in Jesus Christ —
2Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept (guarded, protected) the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Ah! That is the prize! The crown of righteousness, awarded by our Lord!
Why is it essential to contend for the faith? Look at Verse 4 in Jude —
“For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness (immorality) and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
They are pretenders. They have crept in unnoticed because there were no contenders for the faith. They are savage wolves among the flock (Acts 20:29).
These pretenders deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ, by saying the more we sin, the more God’s grace abounds (see Paul’s response in Romans 6:1-2), and by saying that we cannot help it — we will always sin. How is that a denial of Christ?
Before Satan deceived Eve, she told him what God had prohibited. Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. To eat of it would be willful disobedience of God’s command — that is the definition of sin. But Satan said, “You surely will not die.”
In the same way, these highly popular pretenders say, “You can’t help but sin. But surely you will not die, for Jesus will receive you just the same. His blood covers all the sin you have done, are doing, and will yet do.” Just as Satan said to Eve, they say, “You surely will not die.” That is the “hypergrace” message of Joesph Prince, and others. God is grieved!
The wages of sin is death, whether you are “saved” or not, whether you go to church or not!
If you say you sin every day in thought, word and deed, then repent and ask the Lord to purify your heart by filling you with His Spirit!
And if you say that you must continue to sin, Christ died for nothing, for you are just as wretched and condemned as you were before we were “saved” through the teaching of these pretenders.
Some highly popular pretenders avoid mentioning sin at all, because if they do, you might not feel good about yourself. That is the teaching of Joel Osteen and many others.
If you go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, what awaits you? Christ is no longer able to save you, because you have trampled Him underfoot, treated His blood as unclean, and insulted the Holy Spirit. A terrifying expectation of judgment awaits you. (See Hebrews 10:26-27, 29.)
Jude goes on to say that these pretenders follow their own lusts. Many of them are very, very rich. They are arrogant, and they are flatterers, so they can gain an advantage with you (Jude 16).
These highly popular pretenders dangle God’s GOODIES before their followers, and their followers chase after them, instead of chasing after the Lord and asking Him to fill us with His GOODNESS! If you follow such pretenders, you will become like them.
Some of these pretenders teach just as the gnostics taught — that all flesh is evil and as long as we are in our bodies, but our spirits are pure because we are children of God.
Others say, “Thanks be to God for the blood of Jesus that keeps washing and washing and washing us dirty sinners!” That is a Baptist teaching.
I surely still need His blood to cover sins of ignorance — I do not always realize that I have inadvertently offended someone.
But beyond that, Christ has dealt with my sin nature, so that it is crucified and I live for Christ (Galatians 2:20)!
My flesh has died so I cease from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God (1Peter 4:1-2)?
I have died to sin (Romans 6:2)! He has filled me with His Spirit, so that I have power over sin and hate sin like He does!
I have escaped the corruption that is in the world because of lust! God’s divine power has granted to me everything pertaining to life and godliness (2Peter 1:3-4)!
These pretenders teach that homosexuality is no longer an abomination to God.
And in the same way as in Sodom and Gomorrah, they give hearty approval to those who practice homosexuality (Romans 1:32).
Against such things, beloved, you must ask Christ to enable you to contend, to defend the gospel as a combatant against the Enemy’s false teachers and their doctrines of demons (1Timothy 4:1).
How? Ask Him to fill you with His Spirit so you know Him personally and with a holy intimacy and are strengthened with His strength so you may fight the good fight of faith, guarding it and watching over it!
Here is the question of the day —
Are you a contender, or a pretender? Do you contend for the faith and truth which is in Christ, earnestly struggling as a combatant against the pretenders, or are you one who teaches as they do, or a follower of them?
Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith (2Corinthians 3:5)!
If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will boldly decry and identify the pretenders. You will boldly speak the truth which is in Christ. You will be a combatant against the pretenders.
Then you will be able to say, with Paul —
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept (guarded, protected) the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”