Contention in the church, except for our “contending for the faith,” must be removed.
Acts 11:2 – And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
My friend, we must, in fact, we have been commanded to “contend for the faith.” That term, “contend,” is one of the strongest words you can imagine having to do with fighting for a victory. It is the Greek word, “epagonizomai.” It is connected with a term for a Greek warrior called the “agon.” We derive the word “agony” from it, which indicates the potential for great suffering in this process. It speaks to a life-and-death battle in which there are no-holds-barred. And once again, this is commanded of us. We ARE to CONTEND FOR THE FAITH.
Please note that we are NOT commanded to contend “with” or “against” the faithful. Yet it seems that there is much more contention AMONG the believers ABOUT their faith (beliefs) than there is BY the believers FOR their faith. It seems to this writer that the more Christians draw back into the walls of their sanctuary, and make the church the central focus of kingdom work, the more contention we have within the church about what should be the true focus of the work of the church within the kingdom. I realize it may seem to many that all I am writing about is a matter of semantics, but this is NOT the case. The work ON the church WITHIN its walls should be equipping the church for its work outside its walls. Consider this. Truly active church attenders are likely in the church facility about three hours per week. That leaves 165 hours per week outside the church facility. So, do the math. It seems to me that the focus of our attention, energies, and resources should be on the work OF the church OUTSIDE its walls. We likely spend 55 times the hours OUTSIDE the church walls than we do WITHIN the church walls. If, as the Scriptures command, we are to “redeem the time,” where would you believe we should invest the most attention, energies, and resources?
Surely, we can agree that if we invested more time in working together than spending time in contention about so much frivolity, we could achieve so much more. I often refer to what is called the “101% Principle” in leadership. Find ONE thing on which we can agree, and give it 100% of our efforts. Think of this. Which is more important?
- winning the lost to Jesus or meeting a public dress code
- controlling the volume of the music or shining the light of the Gospel in darkness
- having the latest internal technology or using our current external technology as a witness for Christ
You be the judge. Ask your own questions. Make your own determinations. Just remember to do it all to please the Lord.
Manna for Today – Acts 11:1-18: Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Matthew 24:1-14; Amos 3:3; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Jude; Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5