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In A Fight With Jesus

Many who claim to believe the Bible and love Jesus insist that doctrine does not matter. But before we accept that doctrine, we need to lovingly ask those who preach it, "Does the doctrine that doctrine does not matter matter to you?" Revelation :12-17 records Jesus' letter to the church of Christ at first century Pergamos. That text depicts a very different Jesus from the popular notion that sees Him as all warm and fuzzy and accepting of all doctrines and tolerant of all moral choices and lifestyles. After commending the church for some very positive points, Jesus adds this terse rebuke in verses 14-16, But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate, Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth." This text depicts Jesus threatening and ready to do something our culture increasingly says He would never do — get in a fight! A fight over doctrine! Jesus Christ was not very happy about some of the doctrines and lifestyles being taught and tolerated by some at Pergamos. Counter to what many people (religious or otherwise) say Jesus would say, Jesus Himself said He is "against them" who taught false doctrine, and even refers to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate." But most sobering of all is the statement, "I come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth." Jesus Christ could never be accused of being one with a short temper, argumentative, eager to wrangle and do battle over words, straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. But the notion that He was / is a doctrinal and moral relativist to whom truth does not matter is patently untrue. The Jesus who is soft and fuzzy on truth is a figment of human imagination, not the Jesus revealed through Divine inspiration on the pages of the New Testament. The text under consideration depicts a terrible state of affairs. God's people at Pergamos are harboring those who have made themselves God's enemies. The church was tolerating teachers and teachings and practices which will quickly lead to the destruction of the church of the living God as the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15), and as the moral light of the world" and light in the Lord" (Matthew 5:14-16; Ephesians 5:8-14). The only thing more stunning and sobering than what was happening in the church is what the Lord threatens to do — "Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. Bible commentators are almost unanimous, of course, that this sword is the Word of God.

Mohammed Ali was a fierce and fearless boxer. When in his prime, there was always a high degree of probability his opponents would lose when they stepped in the ring to fight him. How much more so if we find ourselves in the opposing corner from Jesus Christ at judgement?! The thought of Jesus fighting against anybody is sad. But that He would have to fight Its own church for embracing and tolerating teaching and behaviors He hates is sobering beyond words. That's a fight we can't possibly win.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ