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What on Earth Are We to Do about Unbelief? (Part 6a of 10)

03 Jul

FirefoxScreenSnapz689We have been asking the question, how should we respond to the unbelief in the world?  We are not to wring our hands and become disillusioned, fall into despair, or give up.  Rather, we have seen from the little epistle of Jude that we are to, first, keep ourselves strong in the faith (vv. 1-4).  We must also be aware of attacks on the Christian faith (vv. 3-4) and be prepared to do battle for the truths of Christianity (vv. 3-4).  We must acknowledge the biblical truth that the God who saves is also a God who destroys (vv. 5-7).  We saw in our last post that we must realize the dangers of false teaching (vv. 8-10).

Let’s look at a sixth part of our response to unbelief in our world and it is this (it’s in three parts) –

Step #6a-  We must see that false teachers are simply repeating the errors of history (v. 11).

11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

Jude says that these false teachers have “taken the way of Cain . . . rushed for profit into Balaam’s error . . . [and] have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.” (v. 11)

Let’s notice first of all:  (1) They have “taken the way of Cain”:  Cain’s “way” is described in Genesis 4.  Adam and Eve’s two sons, Cain and Abel, had different professions.  Abel kept flocks; Cain worked the soil.  Both bring offerings to FirefoxScreenSnapz698the Lord — Cain brought vegetables; Abel brought the firstborn from his flock.  We read, “The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.” (vv. 4b-5).  Instead of asking the Lord how he could improve his offering, Cain became very angry.  He did not resist the sin that was crouching at his door (v. 7).  With premeditation Cain takes his brother Abel out to the field and kills him there (v. 9).  Cain is then put under a curse by the Lord and goes out from the Lord’s presence (v. 16).

Perhaps Jude’s point is that these false teachers are motivated by jealousy towards God’s people, want to set their own terms as to what should be acceptable offerings to the Lord, and are headed on a metaphorical pathway to murder!

Questions:
1.  We read in Hebrews 11:4-  “By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.”  How would Abel had known that his was a “better offering”?

2.  How does Abel still “speak,” do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments

Posted by on July 3, 2014 in unbelief

 

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5 responses to “What on Earth Are We to Do about Unbelief? (Part 6a of 10)

  1. john

    July 4, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Larry,
    I hope you don’t get tired in this series of defending against the unbelievers. I find it quite entertaining, mainly on account of the seemingly irrelevance (e.g. to bring Cain and Abel into does little to convince any unbeliever).
    You end each session with questions, obviously directed to the 385 subscribers to your blogs. Why is it that no answers are forthcoming? I still read your blogs, but am also unable to give you answers that would be meaningful to you. Even if I am inclined to post a comment, it will most likely be ignored not only by you , but also by most of the 385 subscribers.
    Maybe there is just not enough enthusiasm for joining your battles against the unbelievers. I take this as a good sign if actually more people would be willing to accept the view, that peace in this world is more likely to be achieved by toning down confrontational approaches.
    I still have difficulties in appreciating the need for recruiting (evangelizing) more believers, unless it is to get more soldiers to continue your envisioned battles.
    John

     
  2. Dr. Larry Dixon

    July 7, 2014 at 6:43 am

    John: I’m so glad you still read my blog. True, I’ve received very few comments from my 385 followers — but that’s okay. I’ve had several pastors tell me they appreciate what I’m trying to do. The questions at the end are meant to stimulate thinking, and it would be nice if some of my readers would take a stab at them. I apologize for any of the times you believe I have ignored your comments. I don’t purposely do so. I value your perspective, even if it is a bit harsh at times. I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood the battle imagery in my blogs (and in the book of Jude). I’m not looking for us to militarily take over the world. But we are in a mental and spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of people for whom Jesus died. And that message is worth laying down my life for. Your comments remind me a bit of the following story: Malcolm Muggeridge, an observer at a World Council of Churches’ meeting at Uppsala, Sweden, had this to say: “One may be excused for noting that institutional Christianity is inexorably extinguishing itself. At Uppsala, one could clearly see that they agreed on almost everything as they believed almost nothing. They reminded me of a group of drunks that I observed in a country Pub, in my youth. Individually they would have fallen over, but collectively they managed to remain upright.” Blessings. Larry

     
    • john

      July 7, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      Larry,
      You might think I misunderstand your battle imagery, by picturing you with a sword in your hand fighting your enemy. That is not so. I took the trouble to look up on the Internet the entry “Why evangelize”. There are some hundred responses. You can pick and choose from these what you want to hear.
      I go to the YMCA every day (unless I am at my cottage) at 5.30 am.
      YMCA= Young Mans Christian Association.
      Well, my friends there are not all young, men, or Christians.
      What we have in common is a love for life, health, good comradeship. Amongst us we have Jews, Muslims, Christians (Catholics, Protestants in all their variations), Atheists, Deists and Agnostics.
      Over the last 50 years I don’t recall a single argument based on religion.
      What is possible within a small group would also be possible on a global basis, if it would not be for the very few, who try to impose their views on others. This does not only refer to Christians, but is inherent in most other religions, going back as far as to ancient times.
      Would you not agree that without this push for spreading religion, the world would be a much better place to live.
      In my search for “Why evangelize” I could not find a better reason than what you alluded to with the drunks in a pup. The answer would be simple: don’t get drunk!
      John

       
  3. Dr. Larry Dixon

    July 7, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    John:
    Glad to hear that you exercise every morning! I appreciate the multi-religious group of friends that you have. I certainly don’t wish to spend my life “arguing” with others about religion. But two considerations come to my mind:
    1. Do none of them seek to persuade you of the truth of their religion? The religions you mentioned differ from each other in major ways. Could it be that they don’t take their own religions seriously enough to want to persuade you to do the same? Are they Muslims or Catholics or Atheists in name only?
    2. I’m all for religions getting along with one another peacefully. But Jesus says He is the only way to God. If I believe that, I’ll try my best to persuade others to believe in Him.
    3. What I hear you saying is that everyone should believe whatever they wish (as long as they don’t hurt others) and everyone else should just leave them alone! But Jesus doesn’t give me that choice. If I believe in Him, I have the responsibility and privilege of seeking to persuade others (you) as best I can to turn from your wrongdoings and believe in Him (as I did). Should I stop praying for you, John? Or does my praying for you show how much I want you to see the truth of the gospel? Blessings. Larry

     
    • john

      July 8, 2014 at 9:56 am

      Larry,
      Your question “Do none of them seek to persuade you of the truth of their religion? “ makes me think that you acknowledge the fact, that most religions have this notion of “truth”. You also mentioned that these religions differ in major ways. So if all claim truth in their favor then your truth becomes no more believable as all the others. The one that is told to you during your upbringing will in your mind become the true truth. But the same applies to all the other believers. So why would you think you act in my behave if you try to get me away from my belief to adapt yours. You have my full support to maintain your belief without me to steer you away from it.
      John

       

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