Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Letter From William Bradford - March 4, 2022

Letter From William Bradford

March 4, 2022

Contend for the Truth - Part 2

Last week we reviewed that many in the early second century AD church began to shift from the teachings of Jesus Christ and the original apostles. We also highlighted Jude's call in Jude 1:3 to diligently contend for the faith that had already been delivered to the saints. Continuing with this theme, let's look at further guidance provided in the New Testament on ways to further contend for that faith.

The early New Testament church was based in Jerusalem and included observance of the Sabbath, holy days, clean meats etc. as well as the many stunning teachings of Jesus Christ in the sermon on the mount, in parables, and other public and private teaching directly to His apostles.  But as some, especially those in more remote regions, had begun to drift from the way of life Jesus and the apostles observed.

Because of this, Paul told the Thessalonians to imitate the churches of God in Judea in Jesus Christ.   

For this reason, we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus.  (1 Thessalonians 2:13-14a)  

Paul told them that the truth would effectively work in each of those who believed the teaching that came from God the Father through Jesus Christ.  And then he praised them for following the lead of the Christian churches in Judea to help them stay faithful to Jesus' gospel and example.  They were to stay faithful to this and not allow themselves to change to a different gospel with different doctrines that were already starting to enter some of the churches.  Paul strongly warned the members of Galatia in this regard.

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-8 NKJV) 

We will be challenged to stay faithful to the truth once delivered till the end of the age, but the church that Christ is building will prevail.   Let's never be like Pilot who sarcastically said to Jesus "what is truth" after Jesus told him everyone who is of the truth hears His voice.  

Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no fault in Him at all.  (John 18:37-38, NKJV)  

Let's hear the voice of Jesus and stay faithful to the truth He brought and to the example that His apostles faithfully continued. Let's appreciate the truth given to the church, the pillar and ground of truth that once for all delivered to the saints.  

Have a rejuvenating Sabbath and as Jude wrote in Jude 1:2, may "mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you" this Sabbath.

-Bill Bradford