Earnestly Contending

During this afternoon’s service I reviewed the basic, essential purposes of a church thus:

A local church exists to glorify God by obeying Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. A local church glorifies God by obeying Christ’s commands, which are—

  1. Evangelize the lost through personal witnessing and public preaching of the gospel (Acts 1:8; 2:47)
  2. Edify believers through the systematic teaching of the Bible (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim 4:13; 2 Tim 4:2), public worship (Col 3:16; 1 Tim 2), ministry of believers (Eph 4:12), observance of the ordinances (Acts 2:42), and the administration of biblical discipline (Matt 18:15–16; Rom 15:14; Gal 6:1–2; 1 Thess 5:11, 14; Heb 3:13; 10:24–25; 12:12–13)
  3. Equip believers to do the work of the ministry for the unity, maturity, protection, and growth of the body (Eph 4:11–16)
  4. Exalt the Lord Jesus Christ in public worship (1 Cor 14:24–25; Col 3:16)
  5. Establish churches of like faith and practice at home and abroad (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Gal 1:2; Phil 1:1; et al)
  6. Earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints (1 Tim 3:15; 6:12; 2 Tim 4:2; 2 Pet 2:1–3; 1 John 4:1; Jude 3)

I spent a bit of time on the last point as extremes can be easy to fall to on this (either not contending or being contentious). After the service one of our men (Dave Ring) came up to me and shared this excellent thought:

Another difference between earnestly contending and being contentious is that in the one you’re seeking to glorify God but in the other you’re glorifying yourself.

That’s a paraphrase, as I can’t remember the exact wording, but that was excellent, I thought. I’m thankful for godly men like Dave at our church!

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