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Contending Published: 13 November 2013

I am amazed at what I often hear - not from the mouthes of non-believers - but from the mouthes of confessing believers; 'Christians'. Whilst foul language may have departed long ago following their turning to Christ, what is said is no less troubling, if not more so than the unsavoury expressions of anger or frustration they may once have uttered. Indeed, what is expressed may be totally un-Christian; disobedient, unfaithful, ungodly.

Consider that Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6). In this foundational statement, Jesus made it clear that life with the Father is attained through the gateways of His way and His truth. This is a profound statement as it presumes that His way and His truth may in fact be known. To be sure, Christ indeed wants us to know His way - the establishment of faith and love in our hearts (righteousness) - and He wants us to know His truth, for, so He says, you will know the truth and the truth will make you free (John 8:32).

If then professors teach, authors write and preachers preach with impunity that truth can not be known whilst ordinary members suck up such dreadful drivel with pious dis-passion, Truth has indeed shown himself to be true, once again. For He says, these people draw near to Me with their mouth,
and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me
(Matthew 15:8). So many Christians say they love truth but, really, they don't. They'd much rather entertain something untrue for the sake of gaining other things than holding fast to His way and His truth.

Truth is a person. He is Jesus (John 14:6). He can and must be known for anyone to attain life. 'Nay' say the soothsayers, 'truth cannot really be known - it is an illusive mystery'. Indeed, so these affirm, 'Christ has not made Himself known to mankind'. It is as if they say, 'He has not come'.

Such arguments - strongholds of unbelief - are charged with unrighteous reasoning that says, 'because my truth is different to yours we cannot assume that anyone genuinely has a grasp of it'. Thus, 'no-one can possibly know Truth, so it is no use debating over it; let each one remain in their own version of it - that way we have peace' (see footnote 1)

Whilst it may sound appetising, this is not how Jesus went about it. Whilst peace was important to Him it never came at the expense of Scriptural integrity. Whilst relationships were important to Him, that too never compromised truth. If there was anything Jesus shared freely and perpetually it was truth. And so did His followers.

If there is anything the proud religious leaders of the time despised most it was this: Scriptural truth. Today, their followers do the same. Indeed, these prize relationship over Truth; they prize friendship with the world over knowledge of Him. It has become fashionable - even in Christian circles - to present a palatible Gospel - one that is void of sting; one that requires little or no change. A Gospel that asks no price, not even repentance. Not even giving up your own will and your own way. There is no giving up of anything, because there is no taking a stand. There is no contending for the faith. Alas, there is no faith. Indeed, these deny Him and they don't even know it.

What has since Jesus become even more important than many other things, even in 'Christian' circles, is maintaining a peaceful, passive truce with whomever, even if it denies Him. We are well advised to remember: But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven (Matthew 10:33).

"Let us agree to disagree" is the faithful mantra of the compromist, the one who contends NOT for the faith (compare Jude 1:3). "Not true!" I hear their angry voices. "We're just being respectful of another". Don't kid yourself, you are being cowardly. You are choosing the easy way out at the expense of the right way out. When Jesus rebuked Satan speaking through Peter's reasoning, He did not slay Peter, a man He loved. No, instead He retaliated with gusto to an idle attempt by the Adversary to bring His way and His truth to impotent passivity. Jesus knew who really was doing the talking through Peter's thinking; vicious Destruction sugar-coated as innocent words 'in pursuit of intelligent harmony'.

Jesus' knew the difference. So does His followers. C'mon, don't kid yourself! When next you hear a professing believer say something totally unscriptural or do something totally un-Christian, what will you say, or what will you do?

As I asked this question in yet another coffee shop debate with a Christian stranger recently, the answer offered astounded me: "the guy already knows what he is doing is wrong. God speaks to him. It is not my job to remind him."

Really? Really?! I think not. Because if that was true this same man would have heard God saying to him: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching., which, clearly, he did not! Instead, it took an ordinary man with a strange accent to bring it to him audibly. God speaks to us all in this way - me too.

It follows that this same coffee shop man himself did not know the truth and still he was bound in his error. My attempts to bring liberty will in many circles have been seen as an attempt that is 'in vain', but how could I not assist this man in his troubles?; I loved him.

"That's arrogant - how can you presume to know better?" The question in itself illustrates sorry ignorance; in truth I do not know any better. I never will. But the word does know better. And it needs to be shown. All I did was to bring him - the 'Christian' coffee shop man - the word of God. Nothing more. No judgement of his eternal destiny in my heart and no condemnation on my tongue. All he needed to do was to consider it for what it is worth. Then, where needed, to reject it as Jesus did with Satan in the desert while producing a more appropriate verse: it is written. Or, to accept it in full as He did with Nathanael when He was offered unwavering, unashamed light: you are the Son of God.

The word stays the word. My love for the man remains my love; but it is when I express it - the word - that it becomes truly powerful: then it is 'truth spoken in love so that we may grow up in Christ' (Ephesians 4:15).

Those who have ears to hear, let them hear what the Spirit of the Lord says to all those who believe: I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:1-2)

If this verse is not appropriate for your walk or mine, let us reject it while producing something more fitting. But if this verse indeed is appropriate for you and me, let us accept it and let it change us now!

"Yes, sure, but I prefer to make friends, not enemies, ....". There you go again, not loving a man or a woman or a priest or a pastor who is in dire need of being set free by that One Thing that can do it - His majesty, the Truth.

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Footnotes:

1. This should not be confused with Paul's advice not to get involved with disputes over trivial matters: As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. 5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, (1 Timothy 1:3-5) Back to the article.

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Please consult the Bible and test what is written here. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in this area. Keep that which is good and reject that which is not Scriptual. Should you come to a different understanding than I please let me know - perhaps I can learn from you.

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