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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, June 30, 2002

"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 Timothy 6:12).

"Fight the good fight" - "agonizou ton kalon agona" - "fight the good fight of faith." This is a Greek word favored by the Apostle Paul, found in I Corinthians 9:25, "Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things," and in Colossians 1:29, "Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." So, "fight [agonizou] the good fight [agona] of faith." To fight is to "labor fervently, strive, fight" (Strong's). To fight the good fight is to enter a "conflict, contention, fight, race" (Strong's).

Every Christian is called on in this verse to enter into a conflict, a good conflict, "the good fight of faith." No normal person goes out looking for a fight, but the Bible commands us to fight for the right things, in the right way, "Fight the good fight of faith" (I Timothy 6:12). Let us, therefore, think of three things concerning this text, and its admonition to enter Christian warfare.

I. First, what the good fight of faith is not.

In this passage of Scripture we are told to withdraw ourselves from people who fight about things which are of no real importance. Notice I Timothy, chapter six, verse three,

"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome [sound] words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting [having an interest] about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings [constant friction] of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself" (I Timothy 6:3-5).

Let me give you several illustrations of this. First, on the question of Ruckmanism. I wrote a book on Ruckmanism, the doctrine that the King James Bible is itself given by inspiration and itself is preserved in some supernatural way, in the English. Many of those who hold this heresy have tried to fight with me, because I hold to the infallibility of the Hebrew and Greek text alone. I have answered their main questions and objections, but I will not go on and on with it. To me, and in my ministry as a pastor, to continue would be for me to enter into "perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself" (I Timothy 6:5). There are others who feel led to continue this fight. God bless the good men who stand for the Hebrew and Greek. They are right. But as for me, I rest my case with the book I have written - take it or leave it. I go on to preach the gospel of Christ and other matters that the Lord has laid on my heart. I leave the Ruckmanites with my book. Take it or leave it!

Or, for another illustration, my boys can tell you that I was once on the Internet with a group of so-called "progressive" preachers. Every time I gave a good, Bible answer, they wanted to pick a fight. I soon found out that there was no reasoning with them, and that I was simply wasting my precious time trying to defend the old-time religion - and God seemed to say to me, "from such withdraw thyself" (I Timothy 6:5). I did exactly that. I dropped out of this Internet group, and have never looked at what they say again. Why continue fighting with people who simply will not listen?

When I was young, I worked on a secular job while going to college at night. One of my coworkers was a Jehovah's Witness. Every day he wanted to argue with me. After answering him many, many times, I finally found out that he simply would not listen, and so, again God finally seemed to tell me, "From such withdraw thyself" (I Timothy 6:5). I followed that good, Scriptural advice and stopped answering him. I simply said, "That's your opinion," and let it go with a smile.

I am not telling you to do that every time, in every situation. But I am saying that arguing on and on with someone who does not want to listen is useless.

The good fight of faith does not mean that you should go on and on and on arguing with someone who does not really want an answer.

II. Second, what the good fight of faith is.

Among other things, it is earnestly contending for the faith. The Bible tells us "that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). I do not believe you should let some teacher in a secular college or high school classroom get away with a subtle attack on God, Christ or the Bible without speaking up, at least occasionally. It isn't enough to whisper to the person next to you that what the teacher is saying is wrong. No! No! That isn't "earnestly contending for the faith!" That is a coward's way out! Earnestly contending for the faith means speaking out - saying what it unpopular, if it is the truth from this sacred Book!

Jesus Christ is our great example. I have just finished reading the four gospels aloud in our evening devotions in our home. I was struck once again with how often, and how sharply Jesus answered the false statements and ideas of the Pharisees and other religious leaders of His day and time on earth. Jesus fought the good fight of faith again and again by earnestly contending for the faith with the false religious teachers He encountered. He is our example. Christ left us "an example, that ye should follow his steps" (I Peter 2:21).

Rev. Richard Wurmbrand was my personal friend. I admired him greatly for his courage and faith.  He spent 14 years in a Communist prison for preaching the gospel. He made this statement, in his book, In God's Underground:

I met Western church leaders who advised me to preach the Gospel and avoid attacks on Communism; this advice I had also from the secret police in Bucharest. But wrong must be called by name. Jesus told the Pharisees that they were "vipers," and for this, and not the Sermon on the Mount, he suffered crucifixion (Richard Wurmbrand, In God's Underground, Living Sacrifice Book Company, 1968, p. 4).

Judas was a conformist. He wanted to fit into the culture of his time. He wanted their approval, and he got it. But he lost his soul.

Before the resurrection of Christ, Peter was also a conformist. The night that Jesus was arrested, Peter wanted to keep quiet. He wanted to conform to the crowd around him. He didn't want to stand out alone - and be noticed. He was afraid. He tried to fit in and go unnoticed. Then the rooster crowed, and Peter remembered that Christ had told him that he would deny Him out of fear.

How about you? You have been taught to conform, to be quiet and listen, when you were in church. But now you are alone, out in the secular classroom. You will want to conform and be quiet and "fit in" there as well. But if you do, you will be as big a coward as Peter, and as big a traitor as Judas!

III. Third, it takes Christian men to fight the good fight of faith.

I am passing by you ladies just now. You must forgive me for doing so, because now I am going to speak only to the men, particularly to the young men, in our church. It is true that women must also fight the good fight of faith, but this passage of the Bible speaks particularly to young men, so please allow me to address them on this subject.

Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was speaking directly to young Timothy, to whom First Timothy is addressed (ref. I Timothy 1:2). And it was to Timothy that he said, "Fight the good fight of faith" (I Timothy 6:12). By application, the verse speaks directly to the young men in our church. Will you young men be courageous enough to fight the good fight of faith?

Yes, it takes manly courage to earnestly contend for the faith. That is man's work. Anyone, even young girls, can learn the martial arts, but it is to men that God says, "Fight the good fight of faith."

In an age dominated by secular feminism, that may sound strange, but notice how often the Bible speaks of men who stood up for God's truth. In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews we read of Abel, who "offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh" (Hebrews 11:4). The passage in Hebrews eleven speaks of other men - of Enoch, who "pleased God" (Hebrews 11:5), of Noah, who saved "his house" (11:7), of Abraham, who "obeyed" (Hebrews 11:8), of Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Joshua - of men who stood for God in a darkened world! These were men like Gideon, Barak, Samson, David, Samuel, and the prophets,

"Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens…of whom the world was not worthy" (Hebrews 11:33-38).

These were men who dared to stand up for Christ.

When our churches were stronger, there was no fear of calling men to action and to Christian warfare. This is all through our old hymns.

Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
With the Cross of Jesus going on before!
   ("Onward, Christian Soldiers" by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924).

The Son of God goes forth to war, A kingly crown to gain;
His blood-red banner streams afar, Who follows in his train?
   ("The Son of God Goes Forth to War" by Reginald Heber, 1783-1826).

Soldiers of Christ, arise, And put your armor on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies Through his eternal Son;
Strong in the Lord of Hosts, And in His mighty power,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts Is more than conqueror.
   ("Soldiers of Christ, Arise" by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the Cross; Lift high His royal banner, It must not suffer loss.
   ("Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus" by George Duffield, Jr., 1818-1888).

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life"
    (I Timothy 6:12).

Now our nation has entered what will certainly be a long and bloody war with militant Islam. I do not think we have enough men left to ensure that a Christian civilization will outlast this battle. But I do know that the Christian faith and God's Word will outlast and finally defeat all the armies of Satan. I want the young men in our church to prepare for battle - the greatest battle that has ever been fought in the history of the Christian world.

Young man, prepare now. Prepare by laying hold on eternal life - as our text tells us. Get ahold of the Son of God, and get converted! Get to work for Christ in this local church. Stand up for Christ wherever you are, and don't let those secularist teachers in your classroom bully you into silence! Be a real Christian soldier. Stand up, Stand up for Jesus, Ye Soldiers of the Cross! Lift high His royal banner, It must not suffer loss! Agonizou ton kalon agona! Fight the good fight!

"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 give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (I Timothy 6:12-15).


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I Timothy 6:12-15.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: Medley:

"The Son of God Goes Forth to War"/"Soldiers of Christ, Arise"/
"Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus"/"Onward, Christian Soldiers."

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



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"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 Timothy 6:12).

(ref. I Corinthians 9:25; Colossians 1:29)

I.   What the good fight of faith is not, I Timothy 6:3-5.

II.  What the good fight of faith is, Jude 3; I Peter 2:21.

III. It takes Christian men to fight the good fight of faith,
I Timothy 1:2; Hebrews 11:4,5,7,8; Hebrews 11:33-38;
I Timothy 6:12-15.