Contend for the Faith part 1 — The Faith of Christ

By Michael Pearl

Scripture: Topics: Contend for the Faith

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Contend for the Faith part 1

The Faith of Christ

Good evening and welcome to The Door. I'm Nathan Pearl, and tonight we're going to be looking at the faith of Christ.

Get ready to study the Bible!                           

This is a Bible study. If you can, get your Bible, get it open, get your thumbs warm. We're going to go through some Bible verses tonight, and I would very much like you to follow along. If you have a highlighter or a pen, get those things out. We're going to study the word of God. And to do that, we need the word of God.

What Makes Christians Different?

While you're doing that, as a Christian, I am different than my non-Christian counterparts. I have a different worldview and a different endgame that is completely inexplicable to the world. I think the hardest thing for an unbelieving skeptic to understand is that my life goals are not attainable in this life. Instead, I am living for a hope that can only be realized after I'm dead and gone.

The Bible says that, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (1 Corinthians 15:19) If the only thing that I can hope for in Christ is this life, then my life has problems. My life has difficulty for no purpose.

To further compound this seemingly inexplicable worldview, the only evidence I have to support this way of life that I'm embarked on is faith.


The Bible says in the book of Hebrews that, "Faith is the substance of things to hope for, the evidence of things not seen."  (Hebrews 11:1)  Now to those outside of the faith, we're going to talk about that a lot tonight, the faith, this worldview is at best ill-conceived. And if we're being honest, it's just stupid if you're not standing in the faith where I'm standing.

Paul said it best in the book of Corinthians, he said, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but to unto us which are saved, it is the power of God."  (1 Corinthians 1:18 )

So as a Christian, I have a higher calling than seeking my own way to peace and joy and happiness and fulfillment. Instead, I'm seeking God's righteousness and God's kingdom, not my own joy, not my own fulfillment. In essence, I've replaced my life goals with following Jesus. In other words, my life that I live is not my own life, but I live my life now in Christ, in the faith. My goals, whether they be wealth, or privilege, financial wellbeing, food, whatever, those goals have now been replaced by the faith of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:9 says, "And be found in him not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Now this idea, the faith is what we're going to be looking at. I'll go through the passages, but before I get started, I want to explain what I'm going to tell you.

Dad told me a long time ago, he said, "Tell him what you're going to say, tell him what you've got to say and tell him what you just said." So here's what I'm going to say.

What's your faith?

The easiest way to understand the faith is if I came to you and you're a Muslim and I said, "What's your faith?" You would say, "I'm a Muslim." That would be your faith.

If I came to you and I said, "What's your faith?" And you said, "Well, I am a Christian." Then I would say, "Oh, well then you're part of the faith of Christ." You understand that? So the faith is a body of evidence, a body of truth that's been revealed to us by the apostles, by Christ, and we abide in or dwell in or live in the faith.

Now, the means by which you are inducted into the faith of Christ is that you believe on him. That's how you get into the faith. You see, you don't join a club, you don't sign some paperwork, you don't give some money away. You believe on him and through faith in his blood, you are a recipient of his grace inducted into his body which was dead and now lives and you become a part of the body of Christ, the faith of Christ.

Christ's faith

Now, the important thing that I'm going to be pointing out over and over is that this faith is not yours. You don't own it. You didn't establish it. It didn't begin with you and it doesn't end with you. It's not your faith. It's Christ's faith. Now you can have faith and that's your faith. You have faith in Christ and the scripture talks about your faith a lot, talks about our faith, but this faith that we're talking about isn't your faith. It's Christ faith. He owns it. He started it.

If you join the faith of Christ, there is an expectation that you will follow a charter that was laid down a long time before you were ever born. The rules of this faith, this system of belief was laid down by holy men, by apostles before you ever got here. It'll be here long after you're gone. You don't have the right to add to it. You don't have the right to take away from it. It isn't yours, it doesn't belong to you. It's ours collectively, and Christ is the one that started it.

Should we Contend for the Faith?

It says in the scripture, "It was needful for me to write unto you and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered under the saints."  (Jude 1:3) So the faith was delivered to, given to the saints.

Again, it says, "Watch, ye. Stand fast in the faith. Quit ye like men and be strong." (1 Corinthians 16:13)

And again in another place it says, "Therefore brethren stand fast and hold to traditions which ye have been taught whether by word or our epistle."  (2 Thessalonians 2:15) So Paul says, I've given you these traditions, this understanding, this group, this bundle of knowledge. You stand firmly in that. Don't be removed from it, whether I spoke it to you or I wrote into an epistle.

Now because of this fact, I feel that it is incumbent on those of us that stand in the faith, especially those of us that teach the faith, that expound on the faith. I feel that we need to defend the faith of Christ and its tenets as they were laid down by the apostles and we don't have the right to waiver, change, add to or remove from this faith of Christ.

How was the Bible Written?

The Book of Peter says, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation for the prophecy came not an old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved of the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:21)

You see, it wasn't a bunch of willy-nilly men that got together and decided what they believed and we base what we believe on what the early church believed. Guys, the early church had problems. If you don't believe me, read the book of First Corinthians and when you're done, read second Corinthians. After that, read the Galatians. The early church had problems. They had to get straightened out. But God ordained these men to deliver to us the oracles of faith, the understanding of our body of truth that we have. God ordained these righteous men to give those to us and they're from God. They're by God. He is the founder of it. He's the author of it. He's the King of it and it isn't ours.

The Oracles of the faith

The faith as we know it is built on the rock of offense, they call him. On Jesus. But then God continued to add to that body of truth information that built on who Jesus was. Information that we then were delivered about how we live, about how we minister, about how we conduct church, about what kind of clothes we wear, about how we speak, about how we conduct ourselves among each other, about how we conduct ourselves in the community. God wrote those things down and he called it his New Testament. He called it his new covenant and it was based on and abides in Jesus. He's the foundation of it, but there's other parts to it that bring us further until we get perfected. Not without sin, but we become perfected in Christ.

Understanding the Bible

The intention when this body of truth was laid down, the intention was never that you would need a translator or an oracle or another prophet or a lawyer or a preacher or a clergyman or a father to explain to you the faith. God gave that job to the apostles to explain the faith and they wrote it down as plainly as it could be written down in a really small book called the New Testament. It's not large. I had read more words than that by the time I was 11. I read all the Louis L'Amour books. I still unfortunately remember most of them.

The New Testament's not that big and it is the entirety of the New Testament faith. It's what God has to say to you, to me, and it's not un-understandable. It's not difficult to peruse. You can read the New Testament and understand what God has for you really easy. It's not difficult, but we've been told that we need a label. So we say, well ... the other day I was putting a roof on and I told the man:

Nathan:  "Well, I'm a believer."

Man: "Oh, what kind?"

Nathan: "Well, I'm a Christian."

Man: "Well, what kind of Christian?"

Nathan: "I'm a Bible-believing, God-fearing, blood-bought Christian."

Man: "What denomination?"

Nathan: "Oh, I'm not a particular denomination.” It kind of bugs me when people ask.

Man: "Oh no, I'm sorry."

Nathan: "No, no, no, it's fine,"

So I got to go on and give them the gospel for an hour and a half.

Are you a Baptist or a Christian?

You see, we get clustered together and we say, what are you? Well, I'm Baptist. Well, what does that mean? That means that you have a particular group of application of the scriptures, of the faith of Christ that you ascribe to. In other words, what do we do with, let's say Acts 2:38, but if you're a Baptist, that means that your application for Acts 2:38 is different than if your Church of Christ.

Okay, well what are we going to do with John chapter one? Well, if you're this brand, you'll have one thing. If you're this brand, you're something else. Well, if you're a Lutheran, you're going to go through the things a year for every three years, you loop about. But so we have all these different applications, and you know what you need when you have that? You need somebody that studied your application of the faith that can parcel it out to you. You follow that idea?

See, if your faith is bound up in you being a Methodist, then you need a Methodist to give you the method of understanding the scripture. It's simple. If you're of the faith of Christ, you've got a book that tells you everything that there is about the faith of Christ. You can take that book and correct me with it. You can take that book and correct my dad, your preacher, your sister, each other. The Bible says, "Submit to one another." You can take that book and you can come and say, "Brother, you're off in your life. Brother, you're not loving your wife. And let's open the book of Ephesians and see where you've messed up," and you can correct because of the faith as opposed to a doctrine that was laid out by men.

What is the Faith?

So let's look at the scriptural passages that talk about what is the faith. Turn that book of Acts chapter three. We're going to start right in the beginning. This is the first time that we really dig into in the New Testament the faith.

Peter Heals the lame man

Christ has died. Peter's started preaching. Souls are being added to the faith every day.

Acts 3:13 It says, "The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers."  Now this is, to give you context, Peter was walking to the temple and the lame man is there and he says, "Can I have money?" And Peter says, "I haven't gotten money, but what I'll have, I'll give to you. Get up and walk." And so the Pharisees were like, "That's on the Sabbath. That's bad." So Peter gets to address the Pharisees. Man, he's pretty excited about this because this is the first time that Peter gets to say, "Boys, you crucified the Christ and I can prove it. Here's how I prove it. Do you see the lame man? He's walking." So he gets to expound on and declare that Jesus was the Christ. So how does he do it?

He says, "The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our fathers have glorified his son, Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied him in the presence of Pilate." (Acts 3:13) Man, Peter's grinning when he says that, right? He's so tickled to be able to say this. "When he was determined to let him go, but you denied the holy one and just and desire to murderer to be granted unto you and killed the prince of life whom God have raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses."  Peter's probably got this big old beard and he's ... spit flying at this point. He's excited. He's yelling at the Pharisees and he said, I love that, "The holy one, the just and killed the prince of life whom God has raised from the dead, where of we are witnesses. I his name," that's Jesus' name, "Through faith in his name," once again, Jesus, "Have made this man," he points down to the lame man who's walking, "Whom you see and know, yay, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all." (Acts 3:13-16)

So Peter says, the faith of Christ, this truth that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, the just one, the prince of life, that he redeems you, that he calls you. This truth, this evidence is based on the fact that the faith of him, of Jesus made this man whole. So Peter points to this lame man as a way to signify that the faith is true.

The Faithful Church of Pergamos

Turn to the book of Revelation 2:12. So Jesus is speaking to the churches.

Revelation 2:12 "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos; write these things sayeth he which half the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name and hath not denied my faith."  See, Jesus says it's my faith. They haven't denied my faith. “Even in those days where Antipas was my faithful martyr who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth."

So Jesus says to the church, I know you guys and I've got something to say to you. You haven't denied my faith. You haven't turned your back on my faith. I gave you that faith and you're walking in it. You're steadfast in that faith.

The Faith or Your Faith

Now this is where we dwell, guys. This is where we stand. We stand in the faith. Acts 16:5. I'm going to bump through a few verses pretty quick.

Acts 16:5 "So were the churches established in the faith and increased in number daily."

Now, I was teaching a Bible study one time and I had some guys there that did not like the King James Bible because it was too hard to say thou. And so we're going through the scripture and I was reading one and I asked him, "Why do you think the Bible says the faith and not your faith?" And the one of them perks up and he says, "Well, my Bible doesn't. It says your faith." And I said, "Well, why do you think that is?" And he goes, "I don't know. Why do you think that is?" And I said, "Because your bible's wrong. It's the faith. It's not yours. You don't own it. You didn't charter this thing, you didn't set it up. Now you can have faith and that's your faith, but this is the faith."

So the churches were established in the faith.

Weak in the Faith

Romans 14:1 "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations." 

Now if that is your faith, or his faith, if you said somebody who is weak in faith received but not to doubtful disputations, that means if he's got something weird that he's talking about, don't receive that guy, that'd be a weird verse. If this guy's faith is weak, don't hang out with him. Well, how's he supposed to get better faith? But if you understand that he says if he's weak in the faith, in other words, if the man doesn't understand the scriptures, the things that I've told you, he doesn't get it. And if he's full of doubtful disputations, don't receive him. But if he comes along and he doesn't really know the ins and outs of the scripture, that's all right. You can receive that guy.

Preach the Faith

Galatians 1: 23, "But they had heard only,"  this is Paul talking, given his credentials. He says, "But they had heard only that he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which he once destroyed and they glorified God in me."  Do you see what an odd verse that would be if it was your faith or in faith or some other faith? He says that Paul once destroyed the faith. Now how did he do that? He went to people that were in the faith and he killed them. He fought against it. It was his stated obligation and duty to stand against this faith that Christ had given us. But now they see that he's preaching the faith, and they glorify God in me.

James 2:1 "My brethren have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with respect of persons."  So James says to the church, he says, don't hold the tenets of this faith while respecting persons. In other words, while you're well off, you sit up here. No, in the faith we're all one. We're all one in Christ. So he says, be careful not to do that with respect of persons.

The Common Faith

Titus 1:4 says, "To Titus, my own son, after the common faith, grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our savior."  So he says to Titus, Titus, you and I have a common faith. Our faith is the same, yours and mine, because we're both one in Christ, we're both following the same faith.

Precious Faith

2 Peter1:1, "Simon Peter, a servant, an apostle of Jesus Christ to them that have obtained like precious faith."  So Peter's writing a book and he says, I'm writing this book to you guys who have obtained the same precious faith that I have obtained. He's not talking about his own faith, he's talking about Christ faith that was given to us. “precious faith with us through the righteousness of God.” That's how we got it. "And our savior, Jesus Christ, grace and peace be multiplied under you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."

So you see that the faith is a constant theme in the New Testaments, constantly referred to all the way through. And this is just a smattering handful of verses. We're going to go through some more, but I hope you understand when I say “the faith,” I'm talking about Christianity as though I would say, "Have you left the faith?" Or, "Are you of the faith of Buddhism or Mormonism or of Shintoism or what's your faith?" You follow that?

Paul Rebukes Peter

So moving forward, Galatians chapter two, we're going to camp here for a minute. Turn to the book of Galatians chapter two. Now, if you recall the book of Galatians, Peter had gone up there, a bunch of the Jews had gone up there and when they got there, they started judaizing again. They started trying to keep some of the law. And Paul is bold when he rebukes Peter, when he comes down there and talks to him, he's bold because Peter's not just another guy though, Peter is the guy. I mean, he walked with Christ. He won the first 3,000 to the Lord. I mean, if you talked to Peter, you'd be awfully careful. But see, Peter has violated the faith in doing this. Marginally just on the edges, but he's violated the faith by what he was doing because the faith says that there is one way to be reconciled to God and that is through Jesus Christ, and Peter's skirting the edge of being reconciled by keeping the law.  He's not, but the people that are watching him are being led that direction.

The Truth of the Gospel

So Paul Rebukes Peter, Galatians 2:14 it says, "But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel."  Now them not walking uprightly, they weren't in sin, they were eating kosher, they were keeping the feast days. Paul says, I see that they're not walking uprightly according to the truth.

Now, was the Old Testament not true? Was it an error? Was it wrong? No, but he says, according to the truth of the gospel.

See, there were some foundations laid in the gospel that were different than what was in the law. And he says, I see you're not following it. Galatians 2:14 "And I said unto Peter, before them all, if thou being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why compel us thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews who are Jews by nature and not sinners of the Gentiles?"  Paul says to Peter, why are you if you're a Jew, you were born a Jew, you grew up eating kosher. That's the way your house is. You haven't started being like a Gentile. Why are you asking the Gentiles to be like a Jew?

The Faith of Jesus Christ

He says, Galatians 2:16, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ."  So Paul says, Peter, nobody's justified by keeping that law, you're justified by the faith of Jesus Christ. So this body of evidence. It says even we have believed in Jesus Christ that we might be justified by the faith of Christ. So he says, Peter, man, you and I grew up not like these Gentiles. We didn't grow up in fornication, we didn't grow up as disobedient to parents. We didn't grow up doing all these things. We grew up keeping the law, but we needed to be justified through the faith of Christ. Now you're getting these Gentiles to follow the works of the law. So now he's going to contrast the faith and he says, "And not by the works of the law, for by the works of the law, shall no flesh be justified." Galatians 2:16You see, that's the old covenant. That's a different system of faith. That's the old way, not the faith of Christ.

Galatians 2:17 "But if while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves are also found sinners is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid, for if I build again that thing which I destroy, I make myself a transgressor." 

So in my Bible I've gone through and I've yellowed the faith of Christ, where it says, "The faith of Christ," that's in yellow. "The faith of Christ," yellow. "Justified by Christ," yellow. That's my faith. That's what I've been inducted into.

I've got green on the Jews, the works of the law, works of the law. "If I build again the thing which I destroyed," So it gives me the difference as I'm reading it on when he is talking about the faith of Christ or the faith of the Jews.

The Faith of the Son of God

So he says, "For I through the law am dead to the law that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live yet not I, but Christ live within me and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God."  (Galatians 2:19-20) So Paul says, I'm dead to the law because I'm in Christ, and Christ died. So Paul's laying down the foundational tenets of the faith of Christ and he says, "I'm dead to the law because I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” “I do not frustrate the grace of God." And he that's talking about the law again, he said, I'm not trying to keep the law to frustrate the grace of God, "For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

So you see, when Paul goes through this passage, if you understand what the faith of Christ is, then it makes this passage real plain, real simple, real fun to read.

The Promise by the Faith

Galatians 3:22, it says, "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin that the promise by the faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."  So this is later on in the same book he says, the scripture concluded, it found out that everybody was under sin in the old covenant so that the promise that was made to Abraham that by the faith of Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law. Shut up unto the faith. So he said before this faith of Christ came, we were under the law. We were condemned by the law until we were shut up, until the faith of Christ came.

Now, do you see how important the word right before faith here is? If this “the” wasn't there, if it just said before faith came, but Abraham was justified by faith. So you have to understand that the faith is talking about Christ's faith, which should afterwards be revealed.

Children of God by Faith

Galatians 3:24 "Wherefore the law was our school master to bring us unto Christ that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a school master."  So the old way, the old covenant, the old way of doing things, the schoolmaster is finished because now I'm a part of the faith.

Galatians 3:26 "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."  That's how you're inducted into the faith. That's how you become a child of God is by the faith of Christ Jesus.

What’s Next?

Now, the problem is that we get to this point, right? We get born again and you say, "I am now a part of the body of Christ. I'm born again, I'm done. That's it. Now I can just sit back and relax. I can go to work, I can do my things," but you're not done. That's the beginning. You just started this walk. You've just started this path. Now Christ has all of these tenets, all of these truths for you to suss out, to understand, to look into, to grow with, so that you can abide steadfastly in the faith of Christ. It's really fun to do too.

Galatians 3:27 "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ, there is neither Greek nor Jew, bond nor free, neither male nor female for ye are all one in Jesus Christ. And if you be Christ, then ye are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." 

Now while we are in this faith, we are expected to have unity in the faith. We are expected to walk together, to work together, to abide together in the faith.

Striving for the Faith of the Gospel

Philippians1:27 "Only let your conversations be as it becometh the gospel of Christ, that whether I come and see you or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs that you stand fast in one spirit with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel."  So in Philippians, he says, I want you to stand fast together, to have your conversation together, your walk in the gospel of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11, "And he gave some apostles, some prophets, and some evangelists, some pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints."  Now wait, didn't Christ perfect the saints? Hasn't that been done? See, he's not talking about perfecting your righteousness in God. He's not talking about making God's righteousness somehow more officious, he's saying that you're not finished when Christ borns you again.

The Perfecting of the Saints

 When you were born the first time of water, you weren't done yet. See, that's the beginning. That's where you start. When you're born again, Christ hasn't finished working on you. He's not done with you. He wants to perfect you, to grow you, to get you to walk. And to do that, you need to stand in the faith. You need to understand it.

Ephesians 4:12 "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith."

So if we will walk together, look into what Christ has, follow the scriptures, then we will be perfected for the work of the ministry, for the edifying the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:13  "Till we all come in the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man under the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."  So there's a song I really like that says, "I want to get so close to Jesus that there's no big change on the day when Jesus calls my name."

Now, this was Paul's vision for the church. Not that we get our grimy tail ends out of the gutter just long enough to believe, and then we sit back down in the filth and say, "Well, I'm redeemed now." But that we walk in the faith, in the newness of life and enjoying each other's company and in unity until we gain that measure of stature in the fullness of Christ.

One Faith

Ephesians 4:2 “With all lowliness and meekness and long suffering forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit of the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all who is above all and through all and in you all."  We are not Baptist, Methodist, Anglican, so on, so forth. We are one body, we are one unit in Christ and we are to walk in unity. There is no difference in believers in God's eyes and it should not be in your eyes. We should walk in unity.

Exhortation to not depart the faith

Now, the New Testament is full of exhortation not to depart the faith, don't leave it. If you get there, stay there.

2 Corinthians 13:5, it says, "Examine yourselves whether you be in the faith prove own selves." So he says, look to make sure you're in that faith, you're not in some apostate faith. You're not in some screwed up version of it.

Continue in the Faith

Colossians 1:21, "And you that were sometimes alienated in enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight."  Isn't that awesome, that he will present me unblameable and unprovable in its sight? “if you continue in the faith grounded and settled and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel” 

You see, he's not talking about sin, he's talking about leaving the faith. He's talking about saying, "You know what? I don't think Jesus is officious anymore. I'm going to keep the law in order to get born again, in order to keep my salvation, I've got to keep the law."

He's talking about saying, "You know what? I did that Christianity thing for a while, but now I'm going to pray to Allah," and you move away from the hope of the faith, hope of the Gospel and you step outside of the faith. He says, don't do it. Be careful. Guys, I didn't write it, but it's in the Bible.

Colossians 1:23 " not moved away from the hope of the gospel which he have heard and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven. Where of I, Paul am made minister,” That gospel had been preached.

Be Steadfast in the Faith

Colossians 2:5 “For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, Joying and beholding your order and steadfastness of your faith in Christ."

See, we got to be steadfast in faith, unmovable. We've got to abide in it.

Colossians 2:6 "As ye therefore receive Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him, rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith."  So he says you've received Jesus and this gospel, this faith, you've received it. Walk in it. Walk in him. Rooted, and built up in him, established in the faith. "As ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit after traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ."  There are people that will come with good sounding words, with good sounding doctrine, with enticing things to say that will try to draw you, trick you, connive you to get you to step out, to step away from the faith, to turn your back on it.

He says, beware and be careful.

1 Peter 5:8 it says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil as roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resists steadfast in the faith knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren, that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us onto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, that after ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."  So Peter says in the book of Peter chapter five, it says, be vigilant because the devil is looking to mess with you.

Illustration of Faith

Now, I want you to think about the faith as a merry-go-round. It's not moving. Think of this big platform that's going to take us to heaven. The platform is made of marble. It stands up pretty nice and high, and it says across the bottom, "The rock of offense. Jesus, the son of God, the lamb, which take it the way the sins of the world." It's got his names all around it. And you come up there and Jesus stands by it and he says, "Nathan, I want you to come unto my faith. I want you to step up here because I'm going to take you home today. There's only one way to get there, that's with Jesus."

So you step up there and you stand on this foundation, on this big platform and there's other believers there, and then Christ says, "Okay, I'm going to go to heaven, send the comforter and he'll talk to you. He'll be with you and I'm going to give you more information." So he starts giving you information.

The Pillars of the Faith

He says, "Husbands love your wives, because Christ also has loved the church and giving himself for it that he might present it to himself."

So husbands that are on this platform, Christ has some words for you, love your wives as I've loved the church, and there's this pillar on the side of this platform that's loving your wives.

There's another one that says, "Flee fornication. Flee youthful lust." There's this pillar up here on the side.

 "Wives submit yourselves under your own husband's as unto the Lord," there's this pillar of the faith that's standing here.

Now that's not going to save you. You understand that's not going to save you. You can love your wives, flee fornication, obey your husband. That's not going to save you. There's one thing that's going to save you, that's that foundation, but around that foundation are these pillars, these truths that we're to look at, we're to follow. There's all kinds of them over there.

There's all these different things that are for your edification that says, "Love the brethren as Christ also loved you. Man, love each other. Wash each other's feet, pray for each other." Spiritual warfare. There's all these things around it.

Playing on the Edge

Then you have all these believers. They're on there. They get excited. Jesus invites them, they get on there and they're like, "Man, I'm on it." They get over by the edge and they look out there and they're like, "Man, I used to be out there where all that sin was. That stuff stunk. I wonder if it still stinks." So they get down, they scoot over to the edge and they get their arm and they stick it out between there, "And flee fornication." They just get a little closer. They reach their arm out there and they play around in the mire a little bit.

"Yep, still stinks." That's the Christians, man. That's what too many of us are doing. The Bible says, "Flee youthful lust." Yeah, but I have to be at church. I have to be at work. I'm the pastor and secretary has to be there too. We just like eating lunch together with the door shut. And man, these pastors fall off in sin because they didn't abide by the pillar of faith, by the understanding, flee youthful lust. Stay away from it.

Stay away from the edge!

Now the Bible says, guys, don't sit the edge, stand in the center and abide. Be steadfast. Don't waiver. Be careful. Stay away from the edge. Don't try to remove pillars. Don't try to put pillars there that I didn't put there.

“Oh, well see, we got to love everybody and you can't say that you don't like homosexuals because the Bible says God is love. So we're going to just get some tires and some rebar and we're going to build a new pillar that says God is love, love homosexuals.”

Guys, that's not part of the faith. Scripture doesn't teach that. Well, the scripture says love everybody. Guys, it's not hard to understand. Scripture is not hard to understand. It doesn't need clergymen to tell you the truth. What you need is to love God because God loves you, and if you love God and you pick up his word and you read it, it's not hard to understand.

Another Platform

Then you see these guys over there, and there they are out there in the mire and they've got some plywood. They've got an old pallet, they've got kind of some rusty screws and they're putting together a platform and they say, "Man, your platform is full of hate. Come to my platform. It's much better."

"Dude, your platform's sinking."

"No, no, we got some inflated tires, some stuff we're going to put on. This is a great platform." Peter says, guys, there's a roaring lion that's walking around this gate, walking around this faith that you're in and he's sitting there and he's waiting for you to poke your head out because he's going to bite it. Now, if you're a son of God, God's not going to let you get eaten by that lion if you're a child of God. God's not going to let you slip up sin and fall off the platform. You have to choose to leave the platform, but guys, sin is deceitful. Sin will trick you. You get over there by the edge and you play around that mud for a while, the mud doesn't stink anymore.

My Truth!

Say, I'm fine. I'm safe. I just have to get this one pillar out of the way that says not to fornicate, because I like living with my girlfriend, so I'm just going to move this pillar and I'm going to throw that away from my faith because my faith is true. My truth is that if I really love her and she loves me, that we're one in Christ and that's my truth.

Guys, your truth stinks. There's guys out there with platforms built out of old tires and pallets and all that full of their truth and their truth is garbage. Their truth won't save you. You see, let God be true and every man a liar. If you want to be in abiding in Jesus Christ, then you abide by his faith and his rules. You do it his way.

Earnestly Contend for the Faith

Not just that. Jude 1:3 says, "Beloved, I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation."  That's our faith. "It was needful for me to write unto you and to exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude says, guys, I know Peter and Paul and John gave you the faith, man. They gave you the truth. They gave you the information that you needed to walk in the newness of life, and I need you to contend for it. I don't need to retell you what the faith is. You know what it is. You've read those books, you've read Ephesians and Galatians, but you got to fight for it.

“Our faith is based on what the Bible says, not on what you believe”

When somebody comes along and they tell you, "Well, it's old fashioned to obey your husbands. That's not the way. I mean, that's chauvinistic." You have to say, "Let's open our Bibles and read what the book of Ephesians chapter five says." You have to say, "Let's open the book of Peter and read what the scripture says to us, because my faith and your faith, our faith, the unity of our faith is based on what the Bible says, not on what you believe, not on what the world tells you." It's not based on what is in the news and in the media. It's based on the word of God in it alone, let God be true and every man a liar. And you need to contend for the faith, fight for it, defend it, stand up for it.

When somebody comes in, they're wearing gaudy apparel, makeup and earrings and jewelry, and that's the men. You look at that dude and you say, "Dude, you are not walking in the newness of life. You're not walking the way you ought to be walking. You're slipping up, man. You're doing the wrong things the wrong way. Let's open the Bible and see what the Bible says about how the bride of Christ ought to be dressing, about how the ambassadors for Jesus ought to be presenting themselves." You need to contend for the faith.

Stand fast in the faith

Says in 1 Corinthians 16:13, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith. Quit ye like men. Be strong."  Paul says to the church at Corinth, he says, guys, I'm putting you on watch. You stand there and you watch each other. You watch the flock and you watch the world and you say, “guys, I see you going the wrong way. Stop it. Turn around and come back.”

Quit ye like men, be strong. Stand fast in the faith. Don't sit by the edge and play in the mire and look longingly at what they're doing over there. Stand fast in the faith.

1 Corinthians 16:14 "Where unto you are called, he called you by our gospel."  That's our collective, the thing that we're standing in, "To obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold to traditions which you've been taught, whether by word or our epistle."

1Corinthians 11:2, "Now I praise you brethren that you remember me in all things and keep the ordinances as I delivered them to you."  That means you don't change them. That means where it says homosexuality is sin, you don't come along and say, "God loves everybody and this can't be true." You keep the ordinances the way that I gave them to you.

The word is faithful

Titus 1:9 says, "Holding fast the faithful word as ye has been taught."  The word is faithful, my friends. The word of God is faithful. It's true and it's righteous. It's godly. It's what you need. It's what I need. It's what makes us happy and it's what makes us fulfilled, "That he may be able by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convince gainsayers, for there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, especially they of the circumcision whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses teaching things which they ought not for filthy lucre's sake."

There are people teaching stuff that will send your kids to hell if you're not careful. He said especially, especially the Jews, circumcision. Those vain talkers, those guys that say, "Come in here and obey the law." Keep the ordinances so that you can go to heaven. They've got a tire and a platform made out of pallets and old rebar and they've got all these wonderful pillars around them. All this stuff that keeps falling down, they prop it back up, sinks a little ways. They put more stuff on it. It sounds good, man. It sounds like a good thing to be.

"Are you a Mormon?"

I went to a place doing a job and I'd done a roof or two for this guy. And I walked up there talking to him in the office and he's got some other people that came in and there's four or five of them there, and all of a sudden they all kind of stopped laughing or whatever in the middle and got kind of quiet.

The main guy says: "I got a question," and they all are looking. I can tell what's coming.

Nathan: "Oh yeah, what's that?"

The main guy: "Are you a Mormon?"

Nathan: "Nope. Why would you think I'm a Mormon?"

The main guy: "Well, you don't curse. You're a family man. You have your haircut. Y'all don't have any tattoos. You obviously, you don't talk about the Lord. I figured you're a Mormon."

Man, that's just a bummer. That is a bummer, that people see a clean cut Christian walking like a Christian ought to walk dressing like an ambassador of Jesus Christ and join his marriage and his children keeping the faith, and he says, "You look like the dude on the pile of crud over there because your pillars look similar."

Mormons are doing a better then us

Guys, Mormons are doing a better job without the foundation than we are, without Christ. Guys, they're staying sober. They're fleeing fornication. Now, their hearts are wicked. They're not regenerative. They're not born again and they don't love Jesus, but they're doing a better job than we are. Why on earth is that?

Why are we not standing up for the faith?

Why are we not standing up for the faith? Why do we not fight for it, contend for it, stand up to people. “Rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men that turned them from the truth” (Titus 1:13)  The commandments of men, the Jewish fables turned them from the truth.

Now, this is the first in the Contend for Your Faith series. This is the foundation, and there is a lot of doctrine that can be taught that's part of this faith that plugs into this.

Now, I wouldn't teach this to non-believers because I just want to preach Jesus. I like preaching Jesus best of all. I like telling the stories of Jesus. I like you telling me stories of Jesus. I really love Jesus.

 But if we don't stand fast as teachers, as members of this faith and defend the faith as it was given, we end up with a bunch of believers that look like non-believers. We end up with a bunch of ambassadors that have earrings hanging off different places that ought not get holes in them, that are covered in tattoos. Now, guys, I'm not downing something in particular.

Look Like a Child of God

A great friend of mine, guy I love fellowshipping with. Only reason I'm not is because he moved away. One of my favorite guys, man, we go to work and we would just worship the Lord together and rejoice in the Lord, and he had Christian tattoos all over him and a goatee and a bald head. I told him this too when we were working together, had different sorts of rings and stuff on him, but the man loved the Lord. Different culture than me. I didn't throw stones. He didn't throw stones at my geeky hair, but we were working together in this lady's house and she was leaving and she gets me over to the side, and it was his job. I'm helping him on it. She gets me over to the side and she says, "Can I leave you with the keys?" And I'm like, "Yeah, you can leave me the keys. Why?"

"I don't know if I want to leave him the keys." I go, "Ma'am, he's a Christian brother. He loves the Lord."

"Really?" That was her response, "Really?" Guys, I don't ever want anybody to say, "Really," about me. I don't ever want somebody to say, "Really?" I want to look like a child of God. I want to walk like a child of God. I want my conversation to be the conversation of a child of God. I want my marriage to be the marriage between two children of God. I want to walk in unity. Now, he and I had a pretty good laugh about that. It was kind of amusing, but I don't want to walk that way. I don't want to look that way. Now, I might not be able to minister to the heavy rockers because I look like a nerd, but I don't live with heavy rockers. I want to walk, talk, act, conduct myself steadfast in the middle of the platform, not on the edge. Okay, I'm Nathan Pearl. We're at the door and I am two minutes late. Thank you.

Bible teaching with Michael Pearl.
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