Let me begin by saying, “the church will prevail.”
Those who live for Jesus Christ and seek after him will prevail. There will be nothing that can ultimately take you away from the God who set you free, and gave his Son for you.
There is inherent victory in serving Jesus Christ.
You serve a God that will always be for you.
He stands ready in your corner to defend you and fight for you. He gives his angels charge over you and you WILL be able to make it through your situations because of the power and strength of Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit in you.
You cannot make it on your own…but with Jesus you can make it. The very familiar, very often quoted scripture says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
This is true. There isn’t anything that Jesus cannot help you do, and there is nothing that you cannot go through if you are living under his authority.
The grace of God is sufficient to meet your every need.
- The grace of God will help you through problems.
- The grace of God will remove sin.
- The grace of God will calm the storms of life.
- The grace of God will sit you above your problems.
You need to know that Jesus and his grace have never failed.
In fact, Jesus says when he is LIFTED UP, he will draw all men to himself. So…we need to be people who choose to lift up Jesus.
In our life, in our speech, in our manner of living, in our home, in our schools, in our community, in our nation, and in our prayers…lift Jesus up.
With all this being said, the Bible does give us some warnings to live by. There are going to be some things that believers face. We will have to make it through some difficulties.
Scripture clearly defines the age in which we live.
In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul informs him of what will transpire in the last days.
2 Timothy 3:1–5 NLTse
1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.
If you think the world is going crazy, you just might be right. Although no one knows the day or the hour when Jesus will come, we certainly can know the signs of the age we live in.
Paul lists some of them for us…
2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.
Certainly, we can see that the majority of the world no longer considers ANYTHING sacred.
They are willing to use and abuse anything that catches their eye.
To the world, there is nothing that is worthy of being sacred. Even the world’s own thoughts and ideas are easily cast aside when some new, usually worse, idea comes onto the scene.
3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.
4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.
5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
Most thinking people can see that something is shifting in the world.
Something is happening on a national level, but it doesn’t stop there. Things are taking place, even in our local communities, things we never thought we would see.
In this time of shifting and unraveling, it is up to believers, not only to STAND for Christ, but also to DEFEND the faith.
Do we win in the end? Yes…but still we must defend the faith.
Will Jesus come through for us? Yes…but still we must defend the faith.
Now is the time for you and I to become serious about defending the faith that Jesus has given us.
With this being said, allow me to make another statement that is important to understand, about defending the faith:
People are often ready to fight for THE faith, but are less concerned about fighting for THEIR faith.
To be clear: One fight makes a POINT, the other makes a DIFFERENCE.
Making a point is good, but making a difference is better.
This is the time to be concerned with YOUR faith.
How can I defend and fight for MY faith? We need to ask ourselves the question, “Am I closer to Jesus now than I’ve ever been?” Ask yourself, “Do I want Jesus more NOW, than I ever have?”
If you cannot answer, “yes” to those questions, it’s time to step up and start making a difference in YOUR OWN faith.
Maybe it’s time for you to defend your faith and fight for it.
Maybe the reason that believers seem to be falling apart, and marriages aren’t lasting, and believers allow things into their lives they never used to allow, is because we are not fighting for our OWN FAITH.
Certainly, we need to be concerned with all the things happening in the world, but not at the expense of our personal faith in Jesus Christ. YOUR FAITH is the bedrock of your life. When the bedrock is gone, the foundation is gone and everything you build in your life will no longer be able to stand.
The book of Jude, a simple one chapter book, has something to say about defending your faith.
Jude echoes what we have been talking about…
Jude 3 NLTse
3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.
Scripture urges us…pushes us…to defend the faith.
God has entrusted something to you that is valuable. In fact, your faith is the most valuable thing you will ever possess.
The value of your faith goes far beyond money, fame, or fortune. Its worth outlasts everything we think of as valuable.
Why? Because only your faith has the power to give you access to eternal life. Scripture says that we have “access” by faith, to grace. Grace is what gives us eternal life.
It is faith in the grace of God and in the person of Jesus Christ that affords us the opportunity to be in heaven someday.
You will not make it to heaven without faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He MUST BE your savior.
Satan will come in and use your circumstances to erode and wear down your faith. He seeks to gain entrance into your life, and the places he looks for are the ones where you and I no longer put up a defense.
Now, let me make something clear, defending your faith is different from fighting temptation.
Pastor Craig Groeschel of Life Church, made a great point the other day when he said, “Rather than always fighting temptation, consider fleeing from it. Distance yourself from any point of vulnerability. Why would you battle a temptation in the future if your have the power to eliminate it today?”
So…We must run from temptation, but STAND and DEFEND our faith.
When seeking to erode your faith, the devil will usually attack three things:
- What you hold as a firmly rooted belief or worldview.
- Your personal relationship with God, created through prayer.
- Your attachment to a local church.
The enemy has a strategy to destroy these three things IF you won’t defend them.
When seeking to erode your deeply held beliefs or worldview, the enemy uses a simple tactic. He will inundate you with things contrary to your deeply help beliefs, to the point that you change your views because everyone else seems to have changed their views.
If you are going to retain and grow a strong faith in God, you cannot afford not to defend your firmly rooted, deeply held beliefs. No one will defend these things for you, and just because everyone else in the entire world seems to be going another direction, it doesn’t mean YOU have to walk that way.
The devil will attack your personal relationship with Jesus, created through prayer. I refuse to believe that your personal prayer life with Jesus is not the MOST IMPORTANT thing in life.
Your prayer life is the ONLY thing that truly connects YOU to GOD.
If the enemy can get you to stop praying, your faith will begin to erode.Your prayer life is the ONLY thing that truly connects YOU to GOD.Click To Tweet
I’ve known many, many people over the years who have slipped from faith, and a major reason is that they left off their personal relationship with God. Listen, communication is key in ANY relationship. Prayer is your communication line…so defend that line!
Finally, the enemy wants to attack your attachment to the local church. Whatever he needs to do to sway your opinion, he will do it. If he can get you to stop gathering with a body of believers…consistently…faithfully…YOUR FAITH WILL ERODE.
We live in a time when people declare that planting yourself in a local church is no longer important, but what people say doesn’t change the truth.
The Bible is clear about this. In fact, it says that we should gather MORE not LESS as we see the end approaching!
People are often ready to fight for THE faith, but are less concerned about fighting for THEIR faith.
When you won’t defend your faith…
- Your family will pay the cost.
- Your friendships will pay the cost.
- Your marriage will pay the cost.
- Your inner sense of peace will pay the cost.
- Ultimately, YOU will pay the cost.
The short book of Jude gives some simple strategies about how to defend your faith…
Jude 17–25 NLTse
17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted.
18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires.
19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
Be careful of those who make divisions, especially in the church. Why? Because they are NOT sheep. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They seek to gain entrance among the people of God for the purpose of dividing.
They scoff at authority. They mock things that are true. They seek to harm the church through their division.
To be clear, these people often do things that are harmful, with the notion that what they are doing is good. Most of the time, wolves in sheep’s clothing don’t even know they are a wolf.
This is why it is all the more important for you to recognize and defend against division. Those who divide in the church are operating under different instincts instead of by the Spirit of God.
Now Jude is very plain about what we must do to defend our faith.
20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,
21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
Jude mentions three things we need to do to defend our faith:
- Build up each others faith.
- Pray in the Power of the Holy Spirit.
- Wait for the mercy of God.
Building each other up happens easiest in the context of the local church. We are already gathered together. We are already coming to give AND to receive. We are already OPEN spiritually. So use this gathering as a time to BUILD EACH OTHER up.
We need to ask ourselves, “what can I do today to build up the faith of those around me?”
Praying in the power of the Holy Spirit happens, first of all, when you pray IN the Spirit. Now is the time to be baptized in the Holy Spirit if you haven’t been. Now is the time to seek God for this gift.
God wants to move through your life with his Holy Spirit and he can empower you so much as you give yourself over to prayer directed by the Holy Spirit.
Waiting for the mercy of God is simple…be open to what God wants to do in your life.
Be quick to forgive and to ask forgiveness from God. Allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse your life totally and completely. If you haven’t received God’s mercy, you won’t be able to show God’s mercy, as the next scripture directs us to.
22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.
23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
This scripture is clear: We love the sinner, but we hate the sin.
Defend your personal faith. Don’t allow your worldview regarding sin to change just because everyone else is changing. Love the people, but hate the sin.
24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.
25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
Don’t give up your defense of the faith.