An Exhortation

An Exhortation

Kenneth Shaw

Mr. Kenneth Shaw makes his home at Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. This is his first article to appear in “Food for the Flock” magazine.

“Beloved … it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).

Jude states plainly that in the keeping of the true faith there will be conflict — and in deadly earnest.

At the time of his writing, the apostasy we see today had already set in.

Never in history has the Christian faith been without opposition, beginning with the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, and though methods and procedures have changed, the principles have not. Why then should the Christian be discouraged, or indifferent, and withdraw into his shell as if this opposition did not exist?

Remember Mr. Milquetoast? Mr. Milquetoast was a comic strip character, appropriately named, who was a submissive, mild-mannered little man who strove mightily to avoid conflict of any kind. He was polite, changeable, agreeable — you name it — anything to keep the peace. Sadly, many Christians today have gone the way of Mr. Milquetoast, rationalizing, compromising, even surrendering what they know to be Scripturally true as insignificant in order to win more friends and influence more people.

But there are no insignificant truths in Scripture! God’s people, down through the ages, have been willing to stand and contend for the faith; if they hadn’t, real Christianity would have been obliterated centuries ago. Did our Lord Jesus Christ never encounter opposition? He certainly did — constantly. All during His ministry He was violently opposed, but He held fast God’s Word and never wavered from finishing the work the Father gave Him to do.

Suppose He had given in and conceded just a point here and there to His detractors to keep in their good graces? Perish the thought!

In the early chapters of Acts we see the apostles continually confronted by the political powers. We see Stephen and James losing their lives for the sake of the gospel, but nowhere do we see any giving up God’s truth.

Paul’s ministry was one of constant contending for the faith. In Acts 9 he was let down over a wall in a basket to save his life. At Lystra he was stoned and left for dead. At Philippi he was beaten and thrown in prison — the opposition continuing all the way to the executioner’s ax.

In later centuries there’s the witness of the reformers who, at the cost of torture and death, took their stand against Rome, refusing to give up salvation by grace through faith alone, even though it meant being thrown to the lions and other wild beasts.

Today the enmity is more subtle and, therefore, more dangerous. We now have new Bible perversions to contend with; unsaved men (and women) occupy modernistic pulpits, claiming devotion to Christ while denying truths every real Christian holds dear. Out and out atheists crusade blatantly against the faith; deceitful cults, with professed new revelations have infiltrated, drawing away disciples after them. The news media, television and newspaper, ridicule everything fundamental and evangelical, and popular stars of the entertainment world wisecrack about “born again freaks” — and the beat goes on and on.

Surely it’s a day of growing spiritual conflict, and Jude’s exhortation is many times more necessary today than when he wrote it.

Ironically, millions of nominal “Christians” neither know nor care that the faith is being attacked and subverted.

To hold the Bible faith these days will not make you popular; the world will not beat a path to your door; religious church-goers will dub you a fanatic. But there is sublime satisfaction in holding fast the Spirit-inspired Word of God.

Jude wrote to saints — true believers in Christ — urging them to be diligent in recognizing pretenders, to be fully aware of what is false and what is true. Sometimes there’s an almost irresistable temptation to join with the multitude — to go where the crowd is — but there’s a far greater gratification in “keeping the faith once delivered unto the saints.”