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SHOULD A STUDENT IN A SECULAR
COLLEGE CONTEND FOR THE FAITH?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, June 16, 2002


"It was needful [necessary] for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).


The word "contend" here is from the Greek word "epagonizomai." It means "epi" (for) "gonizomai" (from "agonizomai" - meaning "to struggle…with an adversary or enemy, to fight fervently, to strive"). So "contend" means to "fight fervently, to struggle for," to contend for, the faith. What faith? "The faith which was once delivered unto the saints" in the Bible. This verse plainly tells us that every good Christian should stand up for the Bible and defend it when it is attacked. It is especially important for students in secular colleges to earnestly and strongly stand in defence of the Bible when it is attacked in your secular college classroom.

Now, that is a difficult thing to do in this age of apostasy. Nearly all of your secular college professors are humanists, which means that they reject the Bible and its authority. You know very well that they do that. You hear them nearly every day, in nearly every class, attack the reliability and the authority of the Scriptures. Young person, will you stand up for God and the Bible, or will you just let the teacher give his attack on God's Word and say nothing?

I. You will probably feel that you should be quiet.

That is the feeling that a normal person usually has - at first. It's perfectly normal and understandable that you should feel this way. You will probably think, "I'm not going to cause any trouble in my class. I'm just going to be quiet and go through school, and get my diploma." That is very much the way the young Jeremiah felt. Please turn with me to Jeremiah, chapter twenty, verse nine.

"Then I said, I will not make mention of him [God], nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary [tired] with forbearing [holding it in], and I could not stay [I could not endure it]" (Jeremiah 20:9).

He wanted to stop contending for the faith. He wanted just to live his life and be quiet. But he couldn't do it! God's Word was like a burning fire in his bones and he had to speak up!

The Psalmist said the same thing. Turn to Psalm 119:46,

"I will speak of thy testimonies [the Bible] also before kings, and will not be ashamed" (Psalm 119:46).

You may think that I am very brave, and that I am not afraid to speak out and contend for the Bible. But you are wrong. As a young person in a secular college (Los Angeles City College and, later, at Cal State L.A.) I was often terrified to raise my hand and speak out in defence of the Bible when it was attacked in my classrooms. Later, in two liberal, Bible-rejecting seminaries, I was often frightened literally to the point of sweating and trembling, when I felt that God was telling me I must raise my hand and challenge the professor. I am telling you the absolute truth when I say that it has never been easy for me to earnestly contend for the faith - but I did it anyway - even though it was hard to do.

I'm not telling you to be a "nut" or a troublemaker, just to show off. No! No! People who enjoy "spouting off" usually have something wrong with them.

The Bible says:

"Be ready always to give an answer [a defence] to every man that asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Peter 3:15).

The Bible tells us to be humble and even fearful when we answer the critics of God's Word in the classroom.

Dr. Christopher Cagan is a deacon in our church. He is a very quiet and reasonable man. But time and again Dr. Cagan did not let his liberal, secular professors get away with attacking the Word of God. Kelly Lui is a quiet girl in our church. When the Bible was attacked in one of her college classes, Kelly passed out to her classmates one of my sermons which defends the Bible from an archaeological standpoint. Neither Dr. Cagan nor Kelly Lui felt like they wanted to cause a fuss, but the Word of God burned in their hearts and they had to defend it!

II. You will not be rewarded greatly at the Bema judgment
if you do not speak up for the truth.

Jesus said:

"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets" (Luke 6:22-23).

When you earnestly contend for the faith, as the Bible tells us to do in Jude three, many people will hate you for it. They will "separate you from their company." They will "reproach you, and cast out your name as evil." But remember, "your reward is great in heaven."

And then Jesus said, "for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets." All the great men in the Bible had people who hated them. Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah, all the minor prophets, John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus Christ, Stephen, Paul - all of them were hated and shunned because they defended the truth of God's Word. Now we honor them, but they were often hated while they lived on earth. The Bible reminds us that

"Others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword…of whom the world was not worthy"  (Hebrews 11:36-38).

Dr. Harold Lindsell was the editor of Christianity Today and was considered one of the greatest evangelicals of his day. But Dr. Lindsell became very disturbed by a trend of denying the infallibility of the Bible among evangelicals. As a mature man with much to lose, the fire of God burned in his heart until he had to speak up for the truth. I am looking at a photograph of Dr. Lindsell as I write these words. He was a quiet man, had been all his life, but now the fire of God burned in his heart. He could not hold back. In 1976, at over sixty years of age, Dr. Lindsell wrote The Battle for the Bible (Zondervan, 1976). It blew the lid off of the problem! I quote from the last paragraph of that remarkable book:

Whatever the cost, whatever the sacrifice, God calls His people to faithful service based upon an unsullied adherence to His Word with the firm conviction that not one jot or tittle shall pass away until all has been fulfilled. When Jesus comes, faith shall turn into sight and what we do not know now we shall know then. And when all the mysteries of Scripture have been unlocked, we shall see what we have always believed - that the written Word of God is free from all error, and all parts of it in some fashion or another bear witness to the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ the righteous Branch, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Harold Lindsell, Ph.D., The Battle for the Bible, Zondervan, 1976, p. 211).

Dr. Lindsell named names and gave proof of what he said. He was hated for it. Friends of a lifetime turned away from him and spoke evil against him. But he stood firm, and wrote a second book, The Bible in the Balance (Zondervan, 1979). The second book was just as hard-hitting as the first one. The closing sentences of the second book are worth repeating:

God will be victorious, His Kingdom will come, and His will be done on Earth as in Heaven - even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus! (Harold Lindsell, Ph.D., The Bible in the Balance, Zondervan, 1979, p. 348).

You see, Harold Lindsell always had his eyes on the real audience, God, the angels, and the Lord Jesus Christ. It was their opinion that mattered most to him. He was thinking, "What will Jesus, the angels, and God think? What will happen to me when Jesus comes again?" It was thoughts like that which made this quiet, unassuming man into a giant - in the sight of God!

My wife and I will always be proud that it was Dr. Lindsell who preached the gospel of Christ in our wedding ceremony. He was our hero - a man of God who earnestly contended for the faith.

Young person, will you be our Dr. Lindsell in your secular college classroom? Will you raise your hand and say a word to defend the Son of God? Will you dare to speak out and defend this holy Book? God help you to do it!

III. Thirdly, I must give you a Bible example of contending for the faith.

I could have chosen many others, but my heart is drawn to three Jewish boys, far from home, in the great court of a Babylonian king. They were told that they must bow down in worship before a statue of that king. It was against their religion to do that. But the king threatened to cast them into a furnace of fire if they did not obey him. What would they do? Would they bow down and say, "In our hearts we are not really worshipping the king. This is just a formality. Why make trouble?"

Turn with me to Daniel, chapter three, verse sixteen to find out what they told the king:

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee [we do not need to answer you] in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thy hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up" (Daniel 3:16-18).

There were undoubtedly many other Jewish boys there that day who thought, "I'm not going to cause trouble. I'm just going to be quiet and get through this, and believe in God in my heart." Those boys bowed down and went out free. But we don't know their names. They are forgotten! It is only these three boys that we remember, the boys who said, "We will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Those are the boys we remember! Those are the boys God remembers in His holy Word! Those are the boys I want you to be like when you are down in Babylon, in that secularist college classroom! Be like them!

Where did John R. Rice become a fundamentalist? I'll tell you where - in a secular classroom at the University of Chicago - that's where! That's where he learned to defend the Word of God. That's where he learned to earnestly contend for the faith! Be like John R. Rice in your classroom! You'll come out of it a fighting fundamentalist!

I once heard a preacher say, "A fundamentalist is an evangelical who is mad about something." When I first heard him say that I thought he was wrong. But I have changed my mind. I now think he was exactly right!

A young person who gets the fire of God in his belly (or her belly) will get angry and say a word for the Son of God. When you do that, separation will not be an issue. They will separate from you!

"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets" (Luke 6:22-23).

Go and earnestly contend for the faith! God is watching you! The angels are watching you! The Son of man is watching you! They are the real audience! Speak up for them and you will receive a great reward in Heaven!

Now, if you are not saved yet, you must come to Christ and be washed in His Blood from your sins. It will do you no good whatever to defend the Bible if your sins are still not washed away. Come to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is risen! He is not here! He is at the right hand of God in the third Heaven. Come to Him and be saved from the penalty of sin. Then go and live and witness for Him in this lost and dying world! Then you can say:

"I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed" (Psalm 119:46).

Will you do it?  Will you take a stand for the Bible and Jesus Christ in your secular classroom?  Come and kneel before this pulpit, and promise God that you will never again let them drag His Word through the mud without taking a stand for Jesus Christ, the Son of man.


(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Luke 6:22-23.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Who is on the Lord's Side?" (by Frances R. Havergal, 1836-1879).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

THE OUTLINE OF

SHOULD A STUDENT IN A SECULAR
COLLEGE CONTEND FOR THE FAITH?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"It was needful [necessary] for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).

I.   You will probably feel that you should be quiet, Jeremiah 20:9;
Psalm 119:46; I Peter 3:15.

II.  You will not be rewarded greatly at the Bema judgment if
you do not speak up for the truth, Luke 6:22-23;
Hebrews 11:36-38.

III. You are given a Bible example of contending for the faith,
Daniel 3:16-18; Luke 6:22-23.