Contending For the Faith Today
By Pastor Bob Nolan,

Trinity Baptist Temple, Middletown, OH

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I. Several months ago I began to study through the Book of Acts trying to find My Church Today , and I couldnít but help notice the Early Church and itís Characteristics

    A. Church of Determination ( Acts 2 : 46 - 47 )

        1. continued daily
        2. singleness of heart
        3. Praised the Lord

    B. Church of Declaration ( Acts 4: 32- 37 )

        1. Great Power
        2. Great Witness
        3. Great Grace

    C. Church of Deliberation ( Acts 5: 1- 11 )

        1. Great Fear ( 11)
        2. Great Faith

II. You and I can not pick up Bible and read the Book of Acts without noticing that the Early Church had many Positives and a Negative by todayís Standards ............... Not a Tolerant Church!

III. In fact the Early Church was an Intolerant Church !

    A. Today, Intolerance is Scandalous

    B. Today, we go to Great Lengths ( Extremes) to prove we
        are Not Intolerant !

INSERT- Canít Pick the Berries without the Thorns . Just like we canít Pick what we like from Bible and without taking what we sometimes donít like !

        Thorn of Surrender / Cost to Follow the Lord

        Thorn of Service / Even though we could go Free, we are
        Bond Servants that have been Marked for Godís use

        Thorn of Suffering / Burdens and Trials we must bear !

        Thorn of Sanctification / being Separated by God

        Thorn of Intolerance / having to stand on the Word and
        not History or Tradition or Trends

    C. And I sometimes wonder if Tolerance isnít the Tool of the Devil
        that the Church has many times bought into today !

IV. Now, I believe the Church is supposed to have some Intolerance in it !

    A. I mean if we are going to Preach and Claim the
        Bold line to the Early Churches

        1. Success           4. Doctrines

        2. Spirit               5. Faith

        3. Hope              6. Message

    B. Then why should we not also claim some of
        the Intolerance it had about

        1. Sin
        2. Satan
        3. Surrender of Doctrine

    C. One thing that is very clear in the Scriptures is that the
        New Testament Church was Not a Tolerant Church !

        1. in fact they were Not Opened Minded about anything
        2. they were Not Moderate about anything
        3. they were Not Liberal
        4. they were Not Ecumenical
        5. they were Not Evangelical by our definition today
        6. they were Not Interdenominational

VI. The Early church Feared No Cost ! Feared No Challenge ! Feared No Man !

    A. The Early Church here in Acts was Feeling
        the Pressure of their Times just as we feel the pressure today

    B. The Pressure to

        1. Conform to a Sensual Society
        2. Concede to Worldly Views
        3. Condone the Chrisitianisms of our day !

( Promise Keepers, Life Builders, Men Builders are all just mimicking ecumenicals and evangelicals today )

    C. But like Peter and the other Apostleís in Acts 5: 29

" We ought to obey God rather than men "

1Sam. 15:22 " Behold to obey is better than sacrifice "

VII. I been studying Church history recently because I became dismayed today at what passes for Obedience to God in the Modern Church !

    A. By my own study I see 3 specific areas or
        Dispensations for the N.T. Church

        1. Dispensation of Premilleninalism when it was Preached
            there was a Coming Kingdom

                ( Acts/ Gospels to 1880ís in America)

        2. Dispensation of Fundamentalism the Preaching of a Coming King

                ( 1880ís to the 1950ís when it hit a fever pitch to 
                embers of 70ís and 80ís

        3. Dispensation of Monumentalism when many are just Keeping our
            Kingdoms intact , inspite of the Coming Kingdom and Coming King

    B. I see a Picture of these 3 Dispensations in Parable of the Talents

        1. One servant gets 5 talents and produces 5 Talents
            for the Master upon his return

               ( this is the Premillienial movement of the Church that
                produced the Missions at Home and Abroad )

        2. The servant who gets 2 Talents and produces 2 Talents
            for the master upon his return

                ( this is the Fundalmentalsim movement that
                Produced Great Institutions and Movements to
                the Glory of the Master )

        3. The last servant gets 1 Talent and goes and hides his talent
            so the Master has lost nothing when he comes

                ( this is Monumentualism where protecting what man has
                built and God has blessed, maintaining the Status Qou )

VII. I believe we are living in the Days of Monumentalism in America and in Christianity

    A. You see I can remember in my few years Church signs that read

" Independent, Fundamental, Premillennial Bible Believing New Testament Baptist Church "

        1. Independent is too Strong a Statement not User Friendly
        2. Fundamental is to Legalistic and not Consumer Friendly
        3. Premillennial is too Deep a Term for people to comprehend
            and definitely not attractive to the Yuppies
        4. Baptist is just to narrow minded, after all this
            is not my fathers oldsmobile
        5. So all we are left then is Bible Churches !

INSERT - Today, the Bible is even considered too much to be in our name

Cielo Vista Baptist ( 79% RC) I have heard of Churches in several States that have done simlar!  But I want to go on Record, I am a Christian by Conversion and a Baptist by Conviction !   And Iím not ashamed of my Chain !

Thatís like Sears hanging out a sign that sayís Walmart and but there all Sears in side.  Like Ford hanging out a sign that sayís Cadillac.

But Iíll tell you what I have noticed, When the R/C come into area with strong Baptist churches they donít take Down their name !   I have yet to a Lutheran, Methodist, Mormon, Jehovahís Witness take Down their name for any cause or reason!  Name doesnít mean anything ???????  Take Baptist off the Colleges and we have a Bible College.  Take Bible off the Colleges and we have Schools !  Take Baptist off the Fellowship and we have Bible Fellowship which would make some happy !  Take Bible off we have just a Fellowship!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery-

Were trying to come down to them, and they trying to look like us !

    B. I remember when there was No such thing as a
        Purpose Driven Church just Bible Believing Churches

( Phill. 3: 14 " I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus " )

    C. I remember when there was No Frog in the Kettle !
         Room Temperature Christianity !

( Phill. 1: 6 " ) Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ "

    D. I remember when there were No UserFriendly Churches !
        Super market Christianity !

VIII. We have

    A. Learned New Methods , Demographics, Marketing,
        being Purpose Driven , and Science of Psychology 
        ( Love Language to Phlegmatics )

    B. But Iím afraid we have Unlearned a few things as well

        1. That we are Called to Serve
        2. That we are Commissioned to Go
        3. That we are Chosen to Win the Lost

    C. We and myself included need to learn again

" Bible Disciplines of Distinctives "

" Baptist Distinctives of the Bible "

XI. The Christian Faith has always been something we are Contend for,

    A. the Early Church Contended for it, Our Forefathers contended for it,

    B. and so must we Contend for the Faith !

XII. So what do we Contend for then, Jude is pretty clear on what we are Contend for !

End of Introduction

I. Contend for the Common Salvation ( Jude 3)

    A. ( Acts 2:21 ) Thereís is No Other Lord !

" And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved "

    B. ( Acts 4:12 ) Thereís is No Other Name !

" Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men , whereby we must be saved "

    C. ( Acts 8:5 ) There is No other Gospel ! or Faith !

"Then Philip went Down to the city, of Samaria and preached Christ unto them "

II. Contend for the Common Faith

    A. This a Faith that takes in all the Bible and itís Doctrines !

        1. Salvation - one must be Saved by Grace
        2. Baptism - the mode is Distinctive
        3. Autonomy - Of the LNTC
        4. Death, Burial and Resurrection
        5. 2nd Coming - Distinctively Premillienial
        6. Infallibility and Innerancey of the Word of God

B. Now, I point this out to show that

        1. Interdenominationalism and itís Churches and Doctrine
            are not this Common Faith in Jude spoken of

                a. it means to Evolve or Occurring between Denominations
                b. is a set of exclusive set of man made rules and they might
                    agree on some things but not the LNTC, not Word of God

        2. Evangelicalism and itís Churches by itís very name like the
            Interdenominationalist doesnít share a Common Faith in all 
            the Bible as it is given

                a. they might agree on Death Burial and Resurretion
                b. they might even agree on Baptism but not is mode !
                c. they might even agree on Lords Supper by not itís
                    Distinction of given to the church

- Faith is more than Agreement on the Gospels ! "

        3. Charismatic church by it own name also cannot possibly
            have a Common Faith by itís own Definition

                a. Extraordinary Miracles
                b. Special Gifts
                c. Particular Gift of Anointing
                d. Methods for getting " the gift "

" this Common Faith is more than an Anointing of the Holy Spirit. "

                e. Ecumentalism -

                        1. they may agree on a Bible
                        2. they may agree on a Church
                        3. they may agree on a Lord

" but their Unity through Diversity is not Biblical "

    C. Jude speaks of a Faith once Delivered !

        1. Jude saw the this Faith being Diluted and
            Dissolved into a Uncommon Faith !

        2. in the beginning it was a Faith Not Open for
            Discussion and Debate

                a. Power in the Blood
                b. Son of God
                c. Lord of Lords
                d. King of kings
                e. He was God in the Flesh !

    D. Jude was Alarmed for he saw

        1. the Principles of the Past become the Practice of the Present

( Principles never change, we only confirm them or Deny them )

        2. Convictions of the Past become Conditional in the Present

        3. Faith once delivered in the Past become Faith without Discipline
            and Distinctives
in the Present

        4. Doctrine of the Past become Debatable in the Present

    E. Faith outside of the Bible is Not the Faith spoken of by Jude

III. Contend with the Creeps (3)

    A.  Contend (3) for the Faith once Delivered

        1. the Christian Faith is not a Faith that was Codified after a Time
        2. the Christian Faith is not a Faith that was Not Delivered to us in Parts
        3. the Christians Faith is not a Faith that was Revealed to us in Secret
        4. the Christian Faith is not a Faith that Evolved into a Belief

Insert - Spuregeon once said in being asked why if the Church fathers had done something historically and Traditionally why he shouldnít follow ?

" I like the early fathers, but Iíd rather follow the grandfathers "

    B. Therefore we find it necessary to Contend with 
        Creeps for the same reason Jude and the Apostle, and the
        Early Church and our Fore Fathers did because of

        1. Spectularism
        2. Mysticism
        3. Asceticism
        4. Syncretism
        5. Reactionism,
        6. Theosopism
        7. Elitism
        8. Universalism
        9. Relativealism

    C. No matter how the world

        1. , Changes itís ideals or Religious thoughts we have a.....
        2. Faith Once given that Cannot be Changed but we Should
            Contend for !

    D. We need to Contend against the Creeps

        1. Crept is past tense of Creep
        2. Definition of Creep - developing or slowly advancing by
            imperceptible degrees

        3. and my Friend that is how man and Satan has Diluted the Gospel 
            through the Ages

    E. Granted Contend is a strong word even for us toady because it Implies

        1. Not just a Believing Faith
        2. Not just a Spreading Faith
        3. Not just a Living Faith

    F. But a Contending Faith that is not the Popular stand to take today !

    G. But with this knowledge of the " once delivered faith " that Paul
        calls in Eph 4: 5 " One Faith " we must Contend !

I. If we are going to Rattle the Chain on this end and expect to Rattle on the other end then we had Better be willing to Contend against the Creeps

II. In our Church, in our Fellowship, in our Schools, in our Lives in our Ministries

III. My Friend if we are going to Claim the Early Church, we must Claim all of the Early Church !

    A. Itís Doctrines

    B. Itís Stands
    C. Itís Separation

    D. Itís Singularity to One Lord !

    E. Even the hardest thing to accept it Ďs Intolerance !

IV. To . Jude tells us to

"Earnestly Contend for the Faith once delivered unto the Saints "


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