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FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT WHILE STILL KEEPING THE FAITH
by Dr. Chas Brothers
3/18/2010 / Christian Living
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses" I Tim. 6:12
Fighting the good fight while keeping your faith and testimony isn't as easy as you might think. America has turned her face away from God and as a result, Christians suffer. Workplaces are less tolerant of people's religious beliefs as well as friends and family.
A friend of mine who is a new creation in Christ Jesus, works in a place with an unspoken but known rule of hating Christians and testing their belief system to the limit by swearing at them, taking the Lord's name in vain along with many other vile circumstances and lies in an attempt to get the Christian to quit.
The company's management is all autocratic and all in your face every minute of every day. My friend's witness is still holding true to her new life as a follower of Jesus Christ and it's my belief as long as I've known this person that they won't be able to break her! Without fail she prays daily for their deliverance.
When I was working in the secular world, my own beliefs were challenged and called into question many a time but my zeal for the Lord never diminished. Along the line, we as children of the Most High God forgot about things that God values in each of us; Honor, Truthfulness and Loyalty.
A country without these attributes and a God that backs them up is doomed to Divine judgment! Remember, we serve a Holy God and will be judged accordingly.
While the secular business world is no picnic for the Christian, neither are some of the so called "Christian" companies out there. Granted, not all of either is bad all the time, but more times than not you'll run into a high incidence of hypocrisy especially in the so called Christian companies.
By nature, man is a competitive creature and faith or not will step over a brother or sister while working their own way up to the top of the company ladder. If I sound cynical it's because on more than one occasion I have worked for these companies and if you're not in the "clique" your back can become a coat rack real quick from all the knives sticking out of it!
Be devoted one to another in brotherly loveRom. 12:10
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. I Cor. 13:4-5
These verses seem to be pretty straight forward so why do we have such a hard time following them? Simply put, it's mans misunderstanding of what love truly is and all that it encompasses.
Man through his own inadequacies has tried to define what love is since the beginning of time. Webster's describe love this way: A feeling of strong attachment induced by that which delights or commands admiration; pre-eminent kindness or devotion to another; affection; tenderness; as, the love of brothers and sisters.
The Bible, the wholly inspired word of God describes love this way:
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal lifeJohn 3:16
This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins...I John 4:10
Wherever people gather together, whether it is work or church, differences of opinion or ideological ideas will always be present. It's how they're handled that separate the believer from the unbeliever. What makes the Christian so different in this area in a word Faith and truths that are grounded firmly in the Bible.
*How should disputes and offenses be dealt with between believers in the church fellowship?
How to deal with the trespasser: The following scripture is how Jesus taught for Christians to confront those brethren who have wronged them.
Matthew 18:15 "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
18:16 But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
18:17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."
First, Go to your brother privately (Matt. 18:15). If a fellow Christian has sinned or brought an offense against you, Jesus said for you to first go to the offending party, confront him with the offense, and keep the matter private between yourselves. Remember, the objective is to not merely to seek justice for a violation against us, but to seek "reconciliation" with our brother, and his restoration to a right relationship with God.
Why is the matter to be first kept private between you two? Because our love for our brother requires it. If we are sincerely committed to love for our brethren as Jesus commands (John 13:34), then even if a brother has sinned against us or has done us wrong, we will not want to maliciously injure that brother's credibility within the body that might hinder his restoration.
If this person's transgression against you is circulated within the body, but later he repents, many in the body will have already judged this brother and the accusations will have damaged their opinion of him.
By spreading our accusation against an offending party, it builds a consensus against them and makes it difficult, if not nearly impossible, to restore that person to the body should they repent and desire to make things right.
Also, many alleged trespasses between brethren are a result of "misunderstandings."
We need to first investigate the facts and find out for sure whether a trespass has really occurred. This is another reason why you are to first go privately to the brother or sister in question to confront them with the alleged offense and hear their side of the story. If we disclose the offense to friends in the body, we may later discover that the matter was only a misunderstanding. But by then, their reputation will have been damaged by our allegations.
Many people foolishly allow themselves to become offended by misinterpreting other's intentions, or listening to rumors and secondhand information which always contain distortions or exaggerations.
Many offenses could be immediately resolved by confronting the offending party and hearing their explanation. You'd be surprised how many people are so immature that they don't even bother to investigate the facts or hear the other side of the story.
Don't ever forget, "There are always two sides to a story," and never assume you know the truth of a matter until you've heard both sides.
I can guarantee that there would be far fewer misunderstandings in the body of Christ if people would be firmly devoted to love for their brethren.
Love for the brethren gives us a desire to believe the best in our brother, giving him the "benefit of the doubt," instead of jumping to conclusions and always expecting the worst. The Bible says "If you love someone... you will always believe in him, always expect the best of him" (1 Cor. 13:7 TLB).
If the trespass is proven valid, and he or she repents for their misdeed, you are to express your forgiveness (Luke 17:3-4). Let the matter be forever ended, and carry no resentment toward them. Remember, if they repent, but you continue to harbor bitterness, you too become a perpetrator of sin (Matt. 6:14-15, Acts 8:23, Eph. 4:31-32).
Second, take another brother (Matt. 18:16).
If your private attempt fails to resolve the issue, you are then to take one other Christian and again confront the offending party. The presence of another Christian is as a witness to strengthen the serious effect of confrontation, to collaborate the exhortation of scripture, to amplify the Lord's presence in the meeting, and to verify the exchange of testimony.
Third, tell Church leadership (Matt. 18:17).
If the first and second attempts fail, Jesus said then to "tell it to the church." This doesn't mean the "entire" church body, as this could cause unrest or damage the faith of young believers. The meaning is that the church pastors or elders are then to bear responsibility in dealing with the offending party.
Finally, if these three prescribed attempts fail, we are no longer required to entreat them with the courtesies shown to brethren. They may be dealt with in the same fashion as we would a heathen or publican (Matt. 18:17).
What to do if you trespass: If you are aware of any trespass you have committed against your brother, you have a responsibility to go to him and seek his forgiveness.
Should you not attempt reconciliation, this will hinder your relationship with God. Your worship, your prayers and service to the Lord will not be acceptable. "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (Matt. 5:23-24).
Note that the scripture says "if your brother has something against you." In other words, you might not feel that you have legitimately violated your brother or sister. But if you are aware that "they" harbor an offense against you, you still are obligated to go and try to resolve the issue.
Be willing to be humble and submissive to others, even when you don't consider yourself to be at fault. Don't be so rigid and self-righteous that you stand in the way of a brother or sister's reconciliation with you or with God (Rom. 15:1-3).
Offer your unpretentious, sincere apology for any unintentional offense and make every effort to reconcile, so that your relationship with God will not be hindered. Whether or not they pardon you, you have done your part and released your soul from blame.
* This portion of this article is copyrighted by Dale A. Robbins, 1995, used with permission and is a publication of Victorious Publications, Grass Valley, CA 95949
Christ left us this duty that we may have peace within the church, not dissention. Wouldn't it be nice if the secular world would follow this outline? You can't get laid off or fired from God's family so why not enjoy it to its fullest?
Always fight the good fight of faith not yielding to the world and its trappings. Will this be easy? No, but anything that isn't fought for with Godly courage and love isn't worth a whole lot. Just as in the Old Testament, if we lean upon God and trust in Him, we will be victorious!
Work within the world but don't be part of it. You're a child of the Living God and as such should act like it but don't appear to others as holier than thou always remain approachable for you never know when a chance to witness will come up!
Despite all the things we've mentioned here, we have it pretty good in this country so far. We're not persecuted like the Christians in India, Russia or China, at least not yet but if America keeps on her present course we very well could be!
Are you ready to be persecuted for your belief in your Savior? Are ready to be imprisoned, beat, tortured and suffer monetary loss for your salvation and belief in Jesus? If not, make your voice known while you still have that freedom.
Christians in this country are fast becoming the silent minority. I know you'll find this hard to believe but this country was founded on Christian beliefs and principles.
Only two of the original founding fathers were non-believers yet they're the only ones you hear of or are taught by our secular institutions of higher education.
Take a real good look at what's going on in America and around the world. Never in the history of mankind have people needed the Lord more than they do now.
Pray while you still have the freedom to do so without ceasing for prayer can move mountains fight the good fight of faith as we're instructed to do until our Lord returns. Don't let Him come back to find you neither hot nor cold but big and bold!
If you don't know forgiveness, you'll never understand or be ready for salvation. So ask yourself this, "What must I do to be saved?"
1.)Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. This is not a promise of a perfect life quite the opposite! Jesus said "Take up your cross and follow me!" You may be ridiculed, lose friends, lose jobs and be persecuted for your beliefs. If this happens, and more times than not it will, praise God for this tells you without a doubt that you are His child and when the day is over and everything is said and done, that's all that matters.
2.)Confess your sins. Bring all your sins to the cross of Jesus. Christ's blood has the power to cleanse all sins don't hold anything back! God knows everything but He wants you to come to Him freely and make your confession.
3.)Repent of Your Sins. What does it mean to repent? To repent is to completely turn away from old habits that cause you to stumble or sin in the first place.
4.)Live a Godly life. Christ said in John, Chapter 11 that "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even if he dies" In John 14 he reiterates this statement and adds that "no one comes to the Father but by me" There is no name under heaven other than Jesus that will unlock the gates of heaven to you when you die.
None of us know when our time may come. You and I may die today, only the Father knows the appointed time. Wouldn't it be nice to know that you've laid up for yourself treasures in heaven?
If you do not know where you'll go when you die, I would encourage you to examine your heart, listen and wait upon God and the Holy Spirit to work in your life. There is no decision you and I will ever make that's more important than this one.
If you've accepted Christ as your Savior, please pray this prayer with me;
Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner and that I deserve hell, but You sent Jesus to die for my sins.
I believe that He died and rose again and ask You now to forgive my sins, once and for all.
I now receive Jesus Christ as my personal
Savior. Please come into my heart and save me. Help me to know that I am saved and help me live for You the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray Amen
God patiently waits on those who seek Him. If you're unsure of your relationship with our Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, contact me. Together, we'll seek guidance from the Father to eliminate those things which are interfering with your walk with God.
Copyright 2010 Rev. Chas Brothers is an Independent Christian Minister with Honorary Doctorates in Biblical Studies and Divinity. He is also a motivational speaker and writer and may be reached at; firstname.lastname@example.orgAll Scriptures taken from the Zondervan 1984 NIV and used with permission
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