KEEPING THE FAITH....FROM OTHERS


Contender Ministries


Jen and I live in the Seattle, Washington area.  Being conservative Christians in this area is sort of like visiting a foreign country where you don’t speak the native language.  One thing I’ve noticed here is the fact that on any given weekend, you can find a demonstration in Seattle to protest something.  Most of these demonstrations are peaceful, unlike the WTO riots that occurred here a couple years ago.  As I watch the news, and see the latest liberal cause being protested on the streets of the emerald city, I often wonder how these things get advertised.  I never notice announcements of the upcoming pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, or “save the dwarf chipmunk” rallies.  Either I’m looking in the wrong places, or people just show up.  I once asked, “Why don’t Christians ever rally for something around here?”  Jen replied with a rhetorical question, “Do conservatives and Christians even know HOW to organize a rally?”  Good point.  The truth is, Christians in this area aren’t an endangered species, but we are a quiet group.  This is not just a Puget Sound area problem, either – it’s a nationwide epidemic of Christian malaise.

            I was having a conversation with my neighbor Chuck in his driveway the other afternoon, and he actually gave me the title for this article when he stated, “Too many Christians think ‘keeping the faith’ means keeping it from others.”  I thought that was a great line, and unfortunately, too accurate.  We’ve become a nation of “armchair quarterbacks” when it comes to our faith.  We take a great deal of comfort in attending weekly worship services and mid-week Bible studies.  Some even form a Christian clique of sorts, where they’ll shop only at Christian-owned business, or find other ways to insulate themselves from the unbelieving world.  But when our faith and values are attacked, we just grumble at the news.  The problem is that we too often shield our faith from the eyes of the world.  Are we too selfish to share it with others, or are we too afraid?  There are exceptions of course, and noteworthy ones.  But the fact that they are exceptions defines the rule – we do not openly and freely share the good news of Jesus Christ with the world around us. 

            Contender Ministries regularly profiles stories where Christian values are being endangered in the courts or in our legislature.  Yet there is rarely an outcry from Christians.  A recent study has shown that Christianity is now the most persecuted religion in the world, yet we shrug our shoulders, grumble about it, and move on.  We don’t speak out loudly enough to bring attention to these issues.  Why is that?  I’ve heard two excuses that I want to address. 

            One of the excuses goes something like this:  “All of this has been prophesied, and we’re not going to stop it.  It’s part of the overall plan.”  While it is true that the Bible tells us we will be persecuted, and that this persecution would increase in the last days, that is not a reason to go along with it.  Jesus said, “But small is the gate and narrow the path that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt 7:14).  Does that mean that we should not follow the great commission, and share the gospel with the world?  No.  Jesus does not want us to resign ourselves to the fact that many will not find salvation.  He commands us to fight for the souls of the unsaved.  I predict that all of you will eventually have mechanical problems with your vehicles, if you drive them long enough.  Does that prediction mean you won’t have your vehicle repaired when you DO have mechanical problems?  No!  As Christians, we must “earnestly contend for the faith.”  That’s what Jude 3 says.  It does not say, “Be earnestly content with your faith.”  I cracked open my dictionary to see what the word “contend” means.  According to the American Heritage Dictionary, contend means “To strive in opposition; struggle.”  It also means to “maintain or assert”.  As you can see, “contend” is not a passive verb.  It is full of action.  It is a struggle

            The second excuse I want to address is this:  “My faith is a private issue.”  This means that you intend to keep the faith from others.  That is contrary to the great commission.  This great commission can be found in Matthew 28:19, 20 when Jesus said, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Go and make disciples.  Those are marching orders.  The Lord does not want us to keep our faith a private issue.  He wants us to share the good news with the world.  Let me share some more words of our Lord to back that point up:

Matthew 5:14-16:  “You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 10:32-33:  “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”

            Jesus wants us to let our light shine in this world.  He wants us to acknowledge Him before men.  He wants us to make disciples of all the nations.  How do we do this?  First of all, we evangelize.  Evangelism is not left for only full-time missionaries.  All of us are called to evangelize. This means we must always be ready to give an answer regarding our faith.  It means we have the courage to make a stand in our corner of the world.  It means we must share the gospel in our communities.  We have a poll on our site that asks, “Does your church do missions work in your community?”  We have yet to receive a “yes” answer to that.  On an individual and church basis we must let our lights shine in our communities.  Do not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ – put on the full armor of God and contend for your faith in your communities. 

            Secondly, we must not roll silently as our values and rights as Christians are attacked.  Be aware of what is going on in our world, in our country, and in our individual states, counties, and cities.  Be involved.  At election time, vote for candidates that will support and defend our Christian values.  When legislation is being considered that could impact Christians, write to your legislators.  This is particularly easy in the age of email, and I have included links at the bottom of this article for you to do just that.  As Christians, we must speak loudly and not be counted out.  Yes, prophecy tells us that things will get worse for Christians in the last days.  But that doesn’t mean we must silently accept that.  Churches should band together and organize peaceful demonstrations to show others that we TOO have a voice, and we’re not ashamed to use it!

            In closing, let me pose this question to you:  Do you want to contend for your faith, or simply be content with your faith?  The choice is yours to make.  In my opinion, it is time for Christians to show the same passion for our faith and the issues that impact our values, as environmental activists show for their issues.  Remember the words of Jesus to the Church in Laodicea in Revelation 3:15, 16: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Contact your representative:  http://www.house.gov/writerep/

Contact your senators:  http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index.cfm

Email the President:  president@whitehouse.gov

Email the Secretary of State:  Secretary@state.gov

Email the Attorney General:  AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AS YOU CONTEND FOR THE FAITH!!

 

Contender Ministries

http://contenderministries.org