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Bible Study and Devotional

Standing strong in faith in the face of the world's corruption.

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It has always been a morning ritual of mine after getting out of bed and putting my clothes on, to read the morning paper with a strong cup of coffee. With each day, it seems that I am greeted with the same headlines, which repeat themselves over the morning news updates which I watch to catch up on what is occurring around me. Tales of new lows of corruption in leadership, people seeking pleasure regardless of costs, young lives being squandered, human life being devalued and other such disturbing phenomena. Indeed, as I opened this morning's issue of the London Free Press, I was greeted by such headlines as "Black Market in prescription drugs thrives", "Belligerent teens thumb their noses at parental authority" and a barrage of stories about adultery in the White House. With this said, it may be suggested by some that I abandon this morning ritual as I am exposing myself to undue filth and discouragement. However, it is apparent to everyone who has lived outside an Antarctic cave that these disturbing trends are inescapable, even outside the media reports. At school on an everyday basis most of you are exposed to drinking, drugs, sex and other immoralities on the part of those around you. Perhaps you have even been the subject of persecution for your beliefs by those who disregard God's Word and the truth that it contains. In the magazines which we read, some of the music which we listen to and in the television shows which we watch, sinful behaviour is shown not as an abomination, but as normal or even superior to what is commanded in the Word. The signs which we see around us in our media, in our interactions with others, and in current events only go to show the increase in the corruption of the world.

Our Command to be "Beacons of Light":

In the early church, the apostles and prophets of that time experienced much the same conditions in their world as we are experiencing now, and they foretold that in the latter days that this would increase, as is said in Romans 1:18-32, where Paul speaks of such sinful practices as homosexuality, greed, deceit and impurity of the mind, which are accepted as being normal by many in our society. He sums up his thoughts by saying that: "Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them". Elsewhere in scripture, a leader in the early church by the name of Jude speaks of such corruption as being foretold by the apostles and Jesus himself, as he states: "But dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They say to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the spirit."

Yet although the attacks on our faith and the sinfulness of the world around us which both Paul and Jude as well as modern day Christians like us face are discouraging, we are not commanded to fall into despair as a result, but to persevere in this present darkness, acting as beacons to a fallen world. This view is echoed by Jude, as this scripture among others follows up what was said about the ungodliness of the world which existed in the time of the early church and was predicted to exist in these latter times by giving instructions on how we as Christians are to overcome and persevere in a sinful world.

1. Build yourself up in the most holy faith (Jude 20):

First of all, we are to, as is stated in Jude, "build ourselves up in the most holy faith". As we grow stronger in our walk with Christ, through prayer, faith and the reading of his Word, we are more capable of resisting temptation to engage in what is wrong and our resolve against the enemy's assault on our faith grows stronger. Faith alone in God's deliverance is also key to overcoming being tempted by what is wrong and standing firm in your beliefs when they are attacked. Building ourselves up in our faith and in our walk with Christ can be compared to training for an athletic endeavour. Athletes know that they must practice and stay fit so that they can reach their optimum performance out on the field or in the court. In the same manner, Christians must practice and stay fit spiritually through reading the Word, fellowship with other believers and prayer, in order to perform well in the mission field that is all around us.

2. Be beacons of light (Matthew 5:14-16):

Secondly, we are to act as beacons of light in the spiritual darkness of our world. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus states that "you are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let you light shine before men." As followers of Christ and his Word, we have a responsibility to shine the light of the truth that is in Jesus Christ to the world at large. Now for a second picture a large group of people walking through a dark forest on a moonless night, having only one person with a flashlight to guide them through. What you would most likely see happen is that everyone would follow the person with the flashlight through, and his beam would give them sufficient light to see their way in the darkness. Yet if his light was to suddenly go out, the whole group would find themselves lost in the forest, searching but never finding their way out. In the same way, there are many cases in which you will face a situation in which you are the only Christian among many other non-believers. If you hold true to God's word, for example, not swearing and drinking in the midst of those who do, or if you stand up for your faith even when it is not convenient or politically correct, you are acting as an example or a beam of light admist the darkness of scorn and other sinful behaviour, and perhaps others may take note of your example and seek Christ as a result. Yet if you are to give into the sinfulness that surrounds you, and join in the swearing and immorality, or denying your faith when others scorn Christ and his Word in order to avoid a difficult situation, it is as if the beam of light that was guiding other non-believers to the truth of Christ had gone out, leaving them lost in spiritual darkness.

3. Stoutly defend the truth which God gave (Jude 3):

Thirdly, we are to, as it is stated in Jude 3, "stoutly defend the truth which God gave, once for all, to his people to keep without change through the years." Our culture today holds to two basic tenets which put it at odds with the inerrant, God-breathed truths contained in his word. One of these philosophies is that there is no absolute truth found in any religion or value system, and thus man can do as he wish without constraints. The second philosophy is that man is capable with his purely mortal logic to accomplish whatever he seeks to do and discover everything there is to know by himself. God's word speaks against these basis points of our culture's thinking, and thus there is considerable opposition to scriptural truths in everything from a classroom discussion on evolution to a legislative debate about abortion. Often times, when we are faced with a situation in which the science teacher is mocking creation or our co-workers are speaking against "them (expletive) bible thumpers", we fear taking a stand because we might be spoken against, or we might get on someone's bad side. Yet in the early church, if Paul and many other martyrs had not stood up for his beliefs in front of the Jewish and Roman courts, and in his preaching to the people, despite facing imprisonment and even execution for not denying his faith, the Christian message may never have spread as it did, and millions of lives who were change by the message he spread may have remained in darkness.

For most of us, taking a stand for Christ in a difficult situation means perhaps making someone temporarily angry at us or centring ourselves out. And many young people will not take a stand because they see the consequences that I mentioned as being dire indeed. Yet you may remember perhaps either from reading the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abedengo in your bible, or by watching the adapted Veggie Tales version that three young men, teenagers in fact, no older than most of you were faced with a choice. They could either bow down to a golden idol, or in the case of the Veggie Tales version, a golden bunny, or be thrown into a fiery furnace. Obviously, the consequences of taking a stand in defence of their beliefs had far deeper consequences than the "centring out" that so many young Christians fear in standing up for their beliefs today in North America. Yet these young men held fast to their beliefs and did not take the easy way out, knowing full well what the penalty was for doing so, yet having faith that God would deliver them. As you Veggie Tales fans all know, God did come through and saved the three young men from certain death, and because they had faith and did not waver in defence of their beliefs even to their death, Nebuchnezzar came to fear the Lord as is stated in Daniel 3:28-29.

In case you are of the viewpoint that it was only in biblical times that Christians held true to their faith on pain of death or imprisonment, I will tell you that even to this day, Christians, in many cases only in their teens, are facing the choice of either standing up for what they believe in or paying the ultimate sacrifice. Recently, I read the story of a KGB agent named Sergei charged with the persecution of Christians in the former Soviet Union. He would break into meetings, beat, torture, and sometimes murder innocent civilians just for attending church services and worshipping God. One day, he found himself barging in on a church meeting and dealing blows to those Christians gathered there who were worshipping the Lord. He noticed a young woman there, who could not have been too much older than 15, and he took his anger out on her, lashing her for standing up for Christ and not doing what would be much easier, staying home and hiding her faith. Time and time again she returned to the meeting when few others would, and time and time again the meeting was broken up by this KGB agent, and she would be pelted with his truncheon. Slowly but surely, he began to notice the fact that she was so determined to stand for God that she would repeatedly compromise her own health and safety to do so. This caused him to believe that there must be something special in this faith in Christ that she had, and eventually he gave up a promising police career in the Soviet Union to convert to Christianity and flee to Canada, where he started a missionary effort that would see thousands of his own people accept Christ into their lives. All this came because a young woman chose not to take the easy way out by staying silent, but instead chose to stand up for her faith in Christ. This shows the impact that even us, as teenagers and young people can have in furthering God's kingdom and effecting change in a dark and sinful world if we are only to stand up for our beliefs, even when they are not "cool", politically correct, or popular. It is only by taking a bold stand, accompanied by an understanding of God's Word and prayer, that we can ever hope to bring about any significant change in a spiritually dark world.

4. Praying in the power of the Holy Spirit (Jude 20):

But if we wish to be successful in carrying out the three preceding points of advice given in Jude, we must, as is stated in Jude 20, "learn to pray in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit". Trying to make a stand for your faith, or trying to be an example of Christian purity admist the immorality of our surroundings is very difficult to do when you are alone, yet even when you are the only Christian in a difficult situation, you do not have to make a stand by yourself. As it is said in Romans 8:27, "the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will". By praying for strength and wisdom in the midst of a difficult situation, whether you are witnessing, having your beliefs attacked by non- believers or just trying to resist the temptation of sin, suddenly, as the verse I just mentioned says, you will find that you have a powerful force on your side, interceding on your behalf. Being in a difficult situation where your faith is under attack is just like if you are a small guy, just starting high school, surrounded by older and stronger guys in your gym class who decide that they just can't stand you. But when you pray and God intercedes on your behalf, it is as if that same small guy that's being picked on just made friends with the quarterback on the football team, and he can stand up without fear of the others in his class.

There were times in my own life when I was faced with attacks on my faith, yet I tried to fend them off myself, without first praying for his help in the matter, and I have found myself in a situation that was very difficult to handle, up until I came to the realisation that I can't expect to overcome my limitations by myself. Let's face it, no matter how courageous or wise we may be, we are still only mortal human beings. We can't expect to change the world, or even our schools by ourselves. I myself am a very independent person, and I once had the misguided notion that I could virtually take on the problems of this world by myself, until I grew discouraged at my own lack of influence in the grand scheme of things. We need a strong ally on our side that will help us in times of need, and we can call on someone who will help us when we need him, through prayer to Jesus Christ.

In addition, we are commanded, as the word states in Jude 23, to "save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself". To do so, we must witness, and proclaim our faith to others, as well as praying for those who do not yet believe. As I just mentioned, the Word states that God intercedes on our behalf when we pray. So if we are concerned about the sinfulness of our world and those around us, should we not pray for our friends, classmates, and even our government that God will intercede and bring about a real change in others lives and in our society?


It is true that we do indeed live in a fallen world, with the signs of corruption, filth and immorality all around us in our schools, on the street, in the government and elsewhere. It was predicted in God's Word that this corruption would occur in the end times. Yet this does not mean that we are to dismiss the world and its sinfulness and accept the way things are today. Like it is said in Matthew and elsewhere in the bible, even though the sinfulness of the World overwhelms us, we are to be beacons of God's light to a dark world, keeping the faith, acting as godly examples for those who do not yet believe, standing up for Christ and his Word, and always praying for his aide in doing so and for those who persecute us. We carry with us as Christians a powerful message, one that changes lives, brings peace, hope and real solutions to the problems we face. Thus, we cannot afford to hide this message, or the Scriptures, but as Jesus says, "don't hide your light, but let it shine for all".

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Last Updated: August 12th, 1998.