I have found that most people (Christians and even Ministers) in Australia fail to understand even the most fundamental of facts regarding Jesus’ ministry on earth.
The fact is that Jesus claimed He was sent to earth by His Father in order to bring not peace, but a sword:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
I haven’t taken this quote out of context because He was addressing His apostles when He was sending them out into the community preaching and healing as recorded in Matthew 10:34. He was telling His followers one of the most crucial pieces of understanding required for a Christian to function in the world.
Jesus is presented by many ministers today as the Man of Peace and many pew-sitters are just soaking it up.
The fact that they tell us to focus on Jesus and His comfort, grace, forgiveness and love is certainly not false teaching in itself, but it completely ignores and bypasses the crucial point about preparing Christians for dealing with the world – people must be confronted with Jesus’ claims and their sinful lifestyles.
The result is that so many Christians today have a faulty understanding of who Jesus is and why He came to earth. Jesus came to bring a sword to separate families and friends from one another. People will either obey Him or reject Him; there are no other possibilities.
This is why so many people and ministers are reluctant to stand up to the false teachers, the purveyors of false doctrines and the wrong understandings of who Jesus is, based on what the Bible clearly teaches.
Jesus was very clear in His opposition to false teachers and the legalistic Pharisees in His day. He never failed to confront the “White-washed tombstones” with their lies about Himself and God and neither should we today.
Jesus was completely outspoken and blunt when dealing with His opponents (eg, think about the cleansing of the Temple) and His true followers the apostles followed suit.
Every letter that Paul, Peter, John and Jude wrote included warnings about heresies and false teachers that had manifested themselves in the early Church. In several places Paul even named the heretics or those who had left the faith.
Today, as Jude tells us, Christians must:
“…contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3.)
In the Oxford dictionary to contend means to fight, argue, compete and assert. This is not a quiet acceptance of the prosperity gospel (a la Brian Houston) or Roman Catholicism or any number of unbiblical teachings we hear these days, even from the pulpit. This is not just a passing mention of such evil teachings so as not to ruffle feathers. This requires a deliberate and blunt proclamation so congregations are not left with some wishy-washy understanding of what we are (or should be) fighting against.
I pray that Christians everywhere would stand up for truth and challenge their ministers to bravely declare the truth that Jesus actually came to earth to warn us all to fight the good fight with His sword.