Defending the Faith

Defending the Faith

In our culture there are innumerable philosophies vying for our attention as well as our devotion. How do we know what’s best; what’s right; what’s wrong; what’s true? Even in our churches, in which we should find the very truth of God, there are competing doctrines and biblical interpretations which seem to muddy the waters. And then there are those who use the platform of biblical instruction to promote themselves as they advance their ideas and philosophies for personal satisfaction and gain. This is why Jude pens his letter – to counteract those who would seek to coop the early church for their own purposes.

Jude begins with a brief salutation and then states his purpose – to encourage the believers to contend for the faith. Contending for the faith is something we need to do as individual Christians and as the church. The spiritual warfare is real. It is a real struggle – an agonizing struggle – and one that we can’t naively ignore. In our culture there are innumerable philosophies vying for our attention as well as our devotion and we tend to avoid the conflict of competing ideals. Conflict is stressful whether it is internal or external. To avoid the stress and pain of conflict we simply go along to get along. Indeed, tolerance has become the ultimate test of morality as opposed to the absolute truth of God’s word. If you choose to not follow the path of agreeably going with the societal flow, you will be branded as the most evil among us.

Therefore, we must contend for the faith – defend the faith – and do so with the love and compassion of Christ. The first step in contending for the faith is knowing the faith. Study the scriptures to “present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

The next step in contending for the faith is openly and honestly discussing the truth, but we must remember that our fight is not with people, but with demonic forces of evil who are dead set (pun intended) on opposing God and the One Who is the way, the truth, and the light. The struggle is not against those who espouse such errant thoughts, but against the evil forces that perpetuate them. Furthermore, as we defend the faith, we must not become defensive. While we argue for the faith, we must not become argumentative. In our contending for the faith, we must not become contentious. We must stand firm on the truth of God ‘s word – firm in our salvation – firm in the saving grace of Jesus.

We love because He first loved us. We speak truth because He spoke (and speaks) truth to us. And we speak the truth in love because His love and truth is the only thing that will save this dying world.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, November 27, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com .

Handouts are also available at: fromthebackporch.org .

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

Email – fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

The Hope of the Resurrection and the 2nd Coming of Christ

Paul, in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica was hoping to encourage the believers with the hope of the resurrection and, more specifically, the 2nd coming of Christ and the resurrection of all believers who had already died. In 1 Corinthians 15:14-17 Paul explained that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then our faith is useless. But the New Testament proves that Jesus did in fact rise again after His death and is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf. Because Christ rose from the grave, we too will rise again. That is the hope of the Gospel.

There will come a time when those who put their faith and trust in Jesus will experience first hand the light of the resurrection. “And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them.” (Revelation 22:5 NLT) We will pass from the dimness of this dark world into his glorious light. From the time God created light in the midst of the dark, formless, and void earth He has been moving from darkness to light. And the ultimate expression of God’s desire to move us from the dim, dark, world in which we live to His place of eternal light is the resurrection.

Therefore, encourage each other with these words. Paul gives this exhortation to the Thessalonians in both the 4th and 5th chapters. We should likewise take to heart this call to the ministry of encouragement. We must spread the news that in Jesus we can know victory over death; we can know victory over the darkness of this world; and we can walk in the light even as He is in the light – no matter how dark the world may grow around us.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, September 25, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

Email – fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Godly Leadership

In Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy he gives Timothy advice and encouragement by telling him what Godly Leadership looks like. In so doing he gives excellent advice to all Christians about how to respond to adversity. He says that Godly leaders will rejoice when they face persecution for Christ’s sake. They will endure hardships for the cause of Christ. The same should apply to all who believe.

Godly leaders must teach sound doctrine under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. They should do so in the faith and love found in Jesus. The same should apply to all who believe.

Godly leaders should accept the challenges laid down by the saints who have paved the road for the Gospel of Peace. They should persevere with the determination of the soldier in battle; they must press on to win the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ; and, like the farmer, they should wait patiently on the Lord because they know that He Who began a good work in them will be faithful to complete it in Christ Jesus. The same should apply to all who believe.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, August 21, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

Email – fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

My Uncompromising Mother

My mother grew up during the depression as one of 9 children of a Baptist preacher. Times for hard for all of them, but especially for a young lady who was taller than the average man. And quite frankly, she probably could have taken on any average man and won the fight. She grew up in a God fearing home and became a God fearing wife and mother and she was a force to be reckoned with. (I tested her many times and I don’t recall one time I came out on top.)

In her work for the state of Texas in Child Protective Services she was that same force only in the cases with which she dealt, she took it personally. When she came across a child who had been abused there was nothing that would keep her from protecting that child and seeing to it that the abuser would never have that opportunity again. Judges, Sheriffs, other Law Enforcement Officers, District Attorneys, Defense Attorneys, and even her own staff and her bosses in Austin feared her. She was relentless. She saw abuse as evil and believed strongly that it was not to be tolerated, but to be obliterated.

I learned much from her tenacious spirit, but one of the things that sticks out is her uncompromising faith based on the Word of God. Today we think of compromising as good and uncompromising as bad. It’s true that compromise is something we have to learn how to handle in order to get along with people around us. But there are times when we need to be uncompromising. When it comes to our faith in Jesus Christ we must stand firmly on the truth of God’s Word. We don’t have to be belligerent or obnoxious when we take our stand, but we must stand tenaciously holding to the truth. Thanks, mom, for teaching me that sometimes we have to firmly stand and oppose the things in this world that are evil, and thanks for teaching me that God’s Word is truth – truth on which we can stand firmly and not compromise with the values the world calls good.

Shuppim & Huppim

I was reading through 1 Chronicles this morning as part of my daily Bible reading. In this particular section – Chapter 7 – we find one of the countless lists of names. I actually enjoy reading through the genealogies, primarily to look for names that I recognize so that I can see from whence they came. I also enjoy the times when the scripture highlights something particular concerning one of the people mentioned like when Ephraim’s daughter, Sheerah, built Lower and Upper Beth-horon and Uzzen-sheerah. Fascinating!

However, today I was struck by the fact that we are absolutely boring when it comes to naming our children. My name is Bob. Just Bob. Three letters and two of them are the same. In 1 Chronicles 7:12 we find the names Shuppim and Huppim. I am in hopes that someone reading this will name their twin boys Shuppim and Huppim when the time comes for naming their precious bundles of joy. You may find it cruel but I dare say that, much like the boy named Sue, they will grow up strong and able to deal with anything that comes their way.

I can hear Ma Kettle now – calling Shuppim and Huppim to come in for supper. Try it. You’ll like the way it sounds.