By Dr. Walter A. Maier

"Ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
Jude 3.

JESUS, THOU AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH: Forgive us the cowardice which often makes us fail to contend earnestly "for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints"! Penitently we confess that too often we are unconcerned about the brutal attacks on Thy Gospel of grace, unwilling to stand up bravely for Thy saving truth, unprepared to pay the price demanded for membership in Thy kingdom. By Thy sin-removing self-sacrifice on the cross of shame cancel forever all our transgressions, together with their curse and guilt! Stir flames of holy zeal within us! Lead us to know Thy marvelous mercy daily to thank Thee for Thy life-giving, death- destroying love and then eagerly to battle for Thy kingdom! Rebuke every enemy of Thy Word! Send us Thy Holy Spirit, and by His soul instruction lead many to realize that the penalty of unforgiven iniquity is banishment from Thy presence and the unending horrors of Hell! Then, as we seek the promise of pardon and peace, show us again that all our sins are washed away forever by Thy cleansing blood. O Christ, who didst give Thyself for us and our salvation, grant the outward blessings of this peace to the leaders in both management and labor! Stop the scourge of strikes and the reign of hatred! Help the helpless! Cheer the cheerless! Give faith to the faithless! Earnestly we entreat Thee to lead our country closer to Thee. Bring back the days when most of our people recognized Thee as their God and Savior! Therefore bless the preaching and the broadcasting of Thy marvelous mercy and make us witnesses to Thy redeeming love! All this we ask, trusting Thy divine power, our only Savior. Amen!
 You will hardly believe this, but I have it here on black and white before me: a New York newspaper advertises mink coats for dogs, pastel coats for cocker spaniels, plaid coats for scotties, Tyrolean coats for dachshunds. A made-to-measure mink dog jacket is offered at $246, while across the ocean Europe is filled with hungry, starving children, who have no shoes or stockings, only burlap to cover their feet, newspapers for underwear, thin, dirty rags instead of warm clothes. Caracul, Persian lamb, silver fox, mink, ermine coats, for American dogs, but as yet not even an old, discarded garment for all of Germany's dying babies, who certainly are not responsible for the evils of Nazism! Did we fight the war to create a society in which poodles are protected against cold winds by tailor-made fur ensembles, while innocent children slowly freeze to death? Did we spend more than $341,000,000,000 in the last war to help make a world in which dead dogs are laid into expensive caskets, buried in exclusive canine cemeteries, and memorialized with costly monuments, while in war-racked China some of the 15,000,000 sick, hungry orphans daily drop over dead and lie in the gutter, while passers-by refuse to turn their heads for a second glance at them? Did 300,000 of our physically strongest youth lay down their lives to help establish a new age in which a Connecticut couple selects as the only witness for their marriage before a justice of the peace a black cocker spaniel and has his paw print placed on the wedding certificate - an age in which tens of thousands of American marriages are more disastrously going to the dogs as the number of divorces in many places exceeds the number of weddings, while on the other side of the Atlantic and the Pacific masses of young folks, their homes blasted away, their hopes for happiness shattered, cannot even begin wedded life?

     On this January Sunday, when management and labor fight each other with snarling bitterness, whereas, if both had the Savior's spirit, they would work together in happy cooperation; when the seeds of dissatisfaction with our American way of life are being sown more widely than ever before; when, I believe, we see the beginning of a tremendous postwar struggle between Christ and chaos, with this choice: either the faith and truth of Jesus or the fang and tooth of the jungle, we should recognize that the enduring hope of real peace for ourselves, our souls, our families, our country, our world, lies not in purely human arrangements, atomic energy control, labor boards, United Nations, but in the power which shortsighted men neglect, misunderstand, oppose, even curse and seek to destroy - faith in Jesus Christ, God's Son and your Savior. While statesmen warn us that the next war will bring devastation, bankruptcy, disease, and agony incalculably worse than the terror of this last earth-shaking conflict, we should know that above and beyond political panaceas we need a divine force to change men's hearts and lives, supplant selfishness with self-sacrifice, insure Heaven's guarantee of personal and national blessing. Thank God, we can have it! For the unfailing power to bring men under the Almighty's benediction and protection, to curb the cruelty of bestial, degenerate hearts, to give you "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding," I point you to the cross of Jesus. And because Christ, the Son of God, is opposed today as never before, I call out:



the appeal of Scripture itself in our text, the third verse of Jude's short Epistle, "Ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."


     Just what does Jude mean when he says, "Ye should earnestly contend for the FAITH"? Although the word "faith" is used in many different ways, to Jude this glorious term has only one chief meaning. He sums it up in his last verses: "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." Be sure, then, Jude pleads not for faith in yourself, in your own strength, brain power and ability; not for trust in your fellow men, human help, promise, and direction; not for reliance on saints, martyrs, angels; not for confidence in some manner of creed, some sort of holy book, some kind of God. No; sweeping all this aside, he asks you to fight for faith in Christ's truth, faith in the Bible, faith in the Bible's Lord.

     To Jude, as to the other sacred writers, this is "THE faith," the one, true religion. Today, of course, men violently disagree and claim that every creed is good. In this spirit a syndicated feature-writer who looks at life in hundreds of American newspapers protests, "All religions are good for those who believe in them." What an utterly absurd statement! Is the religion of Hinduism "good" as it leads its followers to throw babies into the Ganges River, incites its victims to have hooks inserted into their flesh by which they are swung high into the air, divides mankind into different exclusive castes? Masses in India are getting sick of that; yet in America a columnist sweepingly asserts, "All religions are good."
   Is Buddhism "good" when it worships sacred cows but tramples human beings; when its rich devotees, as part of their religion, actually pay poor people to sleep on beds of lice and maggots, so that these vermin will have something to eat? Hundreds of thousands who have left Buddhism will tell you that it comes from hell; yet this feature writer insists, "All religions are good."

     Is Confucianism a "good" religion, which teaches millions to bow down before the graves of their ancestors and permits its priests to make money by managing houses of prostitution? President Chiang Kai-shek of China does not think much of Confucianism. He left it, and now appeals for the help, not of Confucianist, but of Christian chaplains. Nevertheless daily papers in our country print, "All religions are good."

     Is Shintoism "good," with its emperor worship and its adoration of the sun goddess? General MacArthur does not applaud it. He ordered state Shintoism abolished. Even Hirohito now rejects it, denying its claim that he is god. Yet a newspaper man, blind to the truth, declares, "All religions are good."

     Are the American cults that spring up in contradiction of God's Law and man's "good"? For instance, is the Kum Bum creed "good," promising, as it does, to show how miracles are performed, how the opposite sex is attracted? The courts of the United States sentenced its founder to imprisonment for fraudulent use of the mails; yet a highly paid columnist claims, "All religions are good for those who believe them."

     This shows a second mistake, the popular delusion that if you sincerely believe in any form of worship, your creed, whichever it may be, is commendable. What a fatal folly! Earnestness will never save anyone. The Voodoo priests in Haiti are sincere enough when they chant their weird rituals and concoct their subtle poisons. African mothers are surprisingly sincere when they murder children born as twins. People who venerate snakes in New York's Bronx Park Zoo, the devil worshipers of Asia Minor, are more sincere in their perverse practices than many who regularly attend church; yet this will never bring them to Heaven. You can be sincere and still go straight to hell.

     Again, that columnist is wrong when he says of all religions, "They are merely different roads, all taking you to the common goal." Do all railroads reach the same destination? Try it! In the Chicago stations you will find hundreds of Pullmans almost identical in size, material, and color. They have the same number of wheels, the same number of doors and windows, the same number of berths; yet one Pullman car takes you to Boston, another to Los Angeles; one to Portland, Oregon, another to Miami, Florida; one to Winnipeg, Canada, another to Mexico City, Mexico. Now, if these trains which look alike and are alike actually carry passengers to different destinations, even different countries, how can any of you say that religions which are as different as day and night all lead to the same place? Whatever you think, Jesus has spoken definitely. He says, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." His Word points to Him and declares, "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."

     That is the creed Jude means when he says, "Ye should eternally contend for the faith" - the Bible faith, the Gospel faith, the Christian faith. Oh, that it were possible fully to describe and completely to realize the merciful, marvelous, magnificent blessings it offers! Recently the largest diamond ever discovered in East Africa was found in Tanganyika. It weighed about 120 carats. Not long ago, too, the world's largest pearl, the famous 605-grain "Pearl of Asia," was put up for sale at $500,000. Yet barrels of even larger gems could not purchase the inner joy and peace which are yours when you follow the truth Jude exalts in our text. We have a faith worth fighting for, a faith for life and death, for joy and sorrow, for health and sickness, for body and soul, for earth and Heaven.

     Picture, as far as you can in human limitations, the glory you as believers receive through trusting Christ's promise. First, you have God the Father, who created you, provides for you, and preserves you.

     Second, the Christian faith gives you God the Savior, who, moved by endless mercy, came into this world to face divine judgment for you, to transfer all your transgressions to Himself, to suffer the curse, pain, and punishment which you should have endured for your sins, to die in your stead, so that, cleansed by His blood, you can be freed from eternal death and Hell.

     Third, the Christian faith gives you God the Holy Spirit, who graciously directs your heart, soul, and mind to the Lord Jesus and enables you to call Him your Redeemer - the cleansing Spirit through whom you, even with wrecked lives, shattered hopes, sin-branded careers, can be reborn into a new, blessed existence.

     Fourth, the Christian faith promises full salvation as it pledges, "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." No transgression of God's Law is too terrifying, no sin too blasphemous, no secret vice too engraved and depraved to be removed and canceled if only you lay your sins on the spotless lamb of God.

     Fifth, the Christian faith extends free forgiveness of all iniquities which stain your soul and mar your life, with no price or payment demanded by the divine compassion that declares, "By grace are ye saved through faith."

     Sixth, the Christian faith does not permit you to escape sorrow and suffering, since then you might be ruined; but for those who are the Lord's, its comfort turns life's cruelest blows into its choicest blessings and makes "all things work together for good to them that love God."

     Seventh, the Christian faith provides strength to resist wickedness, power to overcome temptation, heavenly help for you young folks who really want to lead pure lives and keep yourselves clean for the young man or woman you will marry.

     Eighth, the Christian faith gives you the Bible as God's guidance, which never makes a mistake but which can always "build you up" in Jesus, direct you through the darkest hours, and answer every question concerning your salvation.

     Ninth, the Christian faith offers the blessing of Baptism, through which, when you trust the Savior's mercy, your guilt is washed away.

     Tenth, the Christian faith extends to you the privilege of the Lord's Supper, where, through the blessed Redeemer's own body and His blood, you, believing His mercy, receive a divine seal and assurance that your sins are forgiven and your soul is strengthened to resist evil.

     Eleventh, the Christian faith enables you to approach God in prayer, confident that He who can do all things will keep His word and grant your true petitions, according to His will and for your good.

     Twelfth, the Christian faith endows you with a sure conviction, a positive, unfailing, unbreakable promise. The adverbs "probably" or "possibly" are not found in the Bible; and when you come to Christ you have that unmistakable sureness by which you, too, can exult, "I know whom I have believed."

     Thirteenth, the Christian faith grants you God's pledge of full and universal grace. You may be cut off from a thousand earthly privileges and blessings, but not all the devils in hell can deprive you of the Savior's grace. Heaven, with its hallowed happiness, its endless bliss, its indescribable beauty, is yours, yours personally, yours positively, yours perpetually - in Jesus.

     Fourteenth, finally our text adds a crowning glory when Jude speaks of the faith "which was once delivered." God has given us only one revelation of His saving mercy. We want and need no new religion. The Gospel was the same in Jude's day as it is in ours because men's hearts are still the same sources of debauchery, degrading vice, and damnation. Scripture calls our Lord, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever." Men have sought to change this faith, but everything they have added to it or taken away from it has brought curse instead of blessing. The tragedy that churches which call themselves Christian do not heed the repeated plea for complete spiritual unity, which Jesus Himself made on the night of His betrayal when He asked His Father that those who believe in Him might be one before the world; the tremendous sorrow that the followers of our Lord are divided and subdivided and subsubdivided into different, opposing groups, is due to the lamentable fact that teachers with itching ears and proud hearts have not been satisfied with the "faith once delivered," but, in effect, have put themselves over God, contradicted His Word, added to it, or subtracted from it. - The other day one of England's most widely publicized churchmen, returning to London from this country, said that the United States is 150 years behind the times in religion. Like many others, he thinks that our creed must be fashioned to fit the times. - The whole world, these people insist, is in change and evolution; therefore religion must keep pace with it. See where this delusion has helped bring us, with two ghastly global wars within our memory! When America was closer to the "faith once delivered," it usually had peace and progress; but when, as particularly in our generation, multitudes strayed from that "once-delivered" truth to a man-made creed of lies, we suffered war and woe. If our country continues to despise the "once-delivered" Gospel, the once-crucified Christ, the once-inspired Bible, we can expect ruin in the wake of divine retribution, even as now in labor- and-management battles, in military mass movements, in mounting national debts, in the spread of godlessness, we can witness on our own shores the imprint of a pattern which twenty-five years ago brought disaster to Europe.

     My beloved, I have laid before you the fourteen fundamental facts of the faith for which Jude asks us to fight; and before I go on, I beg you to banish from your minds any evil influence which keeps you from saying, "This is my faith." In the name of the Savior who sacrificed Himself for the sins of the world, I have offered every one of you pardon for your transgressions, peace for your minds, the promise of Christ's perpetual companionship on all your earthly pathways, the pledge of resurrected bodies in Heaven with Him. What else in life can begin to compare with this magnificent mercy? Yet some of you - may the Spirit arouse you to the reality of hell and the terror of eternal banishment from the Almighty! - simply shrug your shoulders, and as I speak these words, prepare to tune in to another station. Stop! This may be the final, fateful moment of God's pleading for your soul! For years he has vainly sought entrance into your heart and home; if you spurn Him now, this may be too much even for His long-suffering patience. You may be cut off from hearing the Gospel of the crucified Christ again, until you stand before Him at Judgment and to your horror realize the truth of His warning, "Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in Heaven." Why will you perish when you can have joy, calm, courage, strength, victory, through the Savior? We praise the Holy Spirit for the hundreds of conversions recorded in your letters during the past month; but how we would thank Him if you would write us that today His Spirit has touched your soul and brought you, repentant over your past sins, but reliant on Christ's mercy, to trust in the Savior!   


     With all these blessings bestowed by faith: joy, peace, power, pardon, the promise of Heaven, one would expect the Gospel to be welcomed, cherished, preserved, by everyone who has heard its glorious grace. You would think that if last week income tax headquarters were swamped by those who paid millions to the government, then certainly the church treasuries would have billions with which the message of the Kingdom could be spread to the uttermost parts of the earth. You would suppose that if in our department stores long lines of people wait hours to secure their quota of limited supplies, then masses would clamor for admission into the Church; that if American colleges and universities are swamped far beyond capacity by new students, then in a much greater degree the youth of our country would eagerly petition for instruction in Biblical truth. You would assume that with the Christian faith always helping men and never retarding it, always working for peace, never for war, no one outside an insane asylum would ever raise his voice against the Savior's truth.

     Yet it is convincing evidence of the treachery in the sin-poisoned mind and the sin-cursed heart that no religion has ever been more brutally opposed than our faith. Tens of millions have been driven from their homes, sold into slavery, tortured, torn by wild beasts, burned at the stake, beheaded, shot down in cold blood, simply because they were believers, while atheists, proud scoffers, brilliant- minded opponents of Bible verity, have been greeted and feted as the men of the hour. If the Son of God, who did no sin, never harmed anyone, instead always aided men, was nailed to a cross, we cannot be surprised when we see that His truth is likewise viciously assailed.

     That hostility to the Church began early, even in the generation after Christ, when Jude wrote. If you read through his short Epistle, you may be startled to note that the attacks on the faith were essentially the same in that first century as they are in our twentieth. Thus Jude denounced as enemies of Jesus those who "despise dominion and speak evil of dignities." Is not this widespread rebellion against both divine and human authority one of the serious sins of our day? We thought that with the surrender of the Germans and of the Japanese peace would dawn upon our war-weary world; but mankind seems headed for continued bloodshed, drawn-out quarrels, with internal strife, revolt against government, and a reign of Communistic atheism. Over areas many times greater than our country, Christ is ridiculed, His Gospel mocked, His blood despised.

     Again Jude numbers among the enemies of the faith "filthy dreamers," who "defile the flesh," "walking after their own lusts." Do not these words also describe the sensual sex-ridden opposition to our faith? On the one hand we have the true Christian Church pleading for purity, teaching the sanctity, the life-long union and the blessing of marriage, the glory of childhood, obedience to parents - the Church denouncing divorce, birth control, indicting spoken, printed, screened, broadcast filth; and on the other hand the world which revels in the sordid sins of the flesh, agitates for easy divorce, tells husbands and wives to plan parenthood away, causes the shocking upswing of juvenile crime, produces a repetition of Sodom and Gomorrah perversions, and spends billions directly and indirectly in its pursuit of impurity.

     "Woe unto them, for they have gone the way of Cain!" Jude cries, as he sees the madness of massacre and hatred destroy his fellow men, even as Cain slew Abel, his brother. Have we within the last quarter of a century, however, not gone much farther "in the way of Cain" than the bloodthirsty tyrants of Jude's day? The last seven years recorded more than 42,000,000 military and civilian casualties on the field of one war! Not even a madman like Nero could approach that figure; and the vilest of those ancient fiends could learn something from Nazi and Nipponese torture camps. Have we on this side of the oceans done our utmost to avoid "the way of Cain"?

     The Pearl Harbor inquiry now reveals that before the attack and the declaration of war, some of our men were under orders to shoot Japanese planes or ships at sight. Have you ever stopped to realize what might have happened, under God, had we gone the way of Christ, ceaselessly working, pleading, sacrificing for peace? If we had only used ten percent of the billions spent in killing the Japanese to keep them alive in Christ; if before the battles started, we had prayed for the German people, strengthened their faith with large missionary forces, helped prevent the conditions which gave rise to Nazism, we might have had peace instead of bloodshed, saved the world's youth from slaughter and the churches from the shocking losses the Second World War produced.

     Another enemy of the Church, Jude finds in those who run "greedily" "for reward" - the same madness which has gripped our age in its covetous grasp. Look behind the scenes of this war, and often you will find traces of power politics, conquest. According to the revelation published last week in one of our country's largest weeklies, hardly had V-J day come, when one of the Big Three nations presented poor little Siam with twenty-one demands which would have met virtual slavery for that land - this is an age which glibly claims to support the rights of smaller nations. In the same spirit millions of people in this country and every country, belligerent or neutral, tried to get out of the conflict everything they could for themselves, while the appeal for the support and extension of the Savior's kingdom was often overlooked, as "the love of money" proved itself "the root of all" kinds of "evil."

     Again Jude indicts as destructive foes of the faith the infidels and unbelievers who "speak evil of those things which they knew not." Today too brash and blasphemous enemies of the Gospel "speak evil" of Christ, His Church, His Word, His atonement, although they are often ignorant of its truth. The fact that a university teacher is acquainted with atomic power does not qualify him to speak on spiritual power. An expert may be an authority on postwar conversion without understanding anything of soul conversion. Sworn enemies of Jesus often had to admit that they have never read His Bible. Brutal opponents of His grace show by their mistakes that they do not know even the basic facts of Christianity. Yet these poison-minded adversaries of the truth they do not know are increasing in number and in the fierceness of their assault.

     Even more dangerous, however, are the foes of the faith within the churches themselves. Jude had them in his day. "Ungodly men," he calls them, who "crept in unawares," and who despite their unbelief remained in the congregation as lip worshipers, though their hearts were far from Christ. The churches today have few more disastrous adversaries than the hypocrites in their own ranks, who as they live their godless lives, shake hands with infidels and scoffers, secretly speak contemptuously of what they publicly confess, actually help to keep seeking souls from the Savior and in their deceit send themselves to hell. - The Apostle wants the Christians to be holy, separated people, for he says that the faith "was once delivered unto THE SAINTS." When the New Testament uses this word "saints," it denotes true believers who - their sins washed away by Jesus - are holy in God's sight, and with the Spirit's help try to lead blameless lives before men. Are you churchgoers twentieth-century "saints," true men and true women of the Lord, who in public and private show consecrated devotion to the Redeemer? If you are a saint in this sense, you are the very salt of the earth; but if you are with Jesus only outwardly on Sunday, and as far as your godless life shows, a scoffer during the rest of the week, may the Holy Spirit now touch you, both with the terrifying realization that you are helping lead others astray and with the repentant determination to rededicate yourself as a ransomed "saint" to the everloving Savior!

     Finally Jude indicts those guilty of the most serious crime, the teachers and preachers of this day and ours who deny "the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." Disloyalty to the nation's cause, as the war repeatedly showed, brings disgrace, demotion, discharge, and often death; but disloyalty to Christ's cause often brings advance, acknowledgment, and applause. Because some men in high positions refuse to acclaim Jesus God and Savior, as the Bible, the Church, and the Christian creed do; because the costlier and more fashionable some churches are, the less you hear of the blood and atonement, this modernist, sinister, often disguised attack on the Gospel is restricting the spread of the saving faith, keeping souls from heaven, weakening the nation's moral fibre.

     Now, since this trust which sings, "All hail the power of Jesus' name," and crowns Him "Lord of all" is the only, the last, the never- failing hope of a world hurrying on to its collapse; since the Savior's cross is your guarantee and mine of life and salvation, courage, and comfort, we are to fight for the faith. The cry of Jude re-echoes down through the centuries to us, "Ye should earnestly contend for the faith!" Oh, that all churches, as they are divided into several hundred different groups, were determined to contend for the truth, first, by studying the differences which separate them and then surrendering to God's clear Word! It is time, high time, for a Christian conference on doctrine which, under divine guidance, could do much in bringing those who accept Scriptures as errorless and Christ's atonement as the one means of salvation into full doctrinal agreement, for a united front against our enemies.

     However, every one of you who knows that the Son of God gave Himself into the agony of the crucifixion to bring you into the glory of heaven should personally fight for the faith. You should resist the denial of God's Word wherever you meet it, whatever the cost and consequences may be. In your own community speak out bravely against everyone who publicly ridicules the Lord Jesus, against schoolteachers who, violating the constitutionally guaranteed separation of Church and State, misuse their tax-paid positions to inculcate unbelief and contradiction of Scripture. The reason denial of Bible truth has grown so alarmingly in the United States is partially due to the tragedy that too often church members sit by unconcernedly while the disciples of doubt and denial spread their sinister poison. Fight for the faith with your prayers, your gifts, your testimony, your work, your zeal for Christ! Fight for the faith in grammar schools, high schools, and colleges! Fight for the faith in your home and in your church! Fight for the faith everywhere and always!

     Note that the Apostle asks us to contend "earnestly." Can you think of any greater and more pressing need for postwar Christianity than an all-out, self-sacrificing, consuming zeal in behalf of the Gospel? Too often we have made Christianity a soft, easy, pleasant, luxurious thing with rose windows, sweet-smelling incense, pretty colors, dreamy music, lofty Gothic architecture, all completely removed from the blood and tears, the groans and screams, the burden and blackness of Christ's cross. How "earnestly" are believers contending for the faith when the most that many members do in their church life is to attend dances and vaudeville performances conducted in the name of religion, all of which gives as much help to a foundering soul as a cast-iron life preserver would offer a drowning man? How "earnestly" are American churchgoers contending for the faith when they never spend a single day eagerly searching for souls redeemed by Jesus, never once open their lips in urging a sinner to accept his Savior? How much of earnest desire for the spread of the saving Gospel can you find in the United States when last year alone our people spent $350,000,000 in race track gambling? Someone has figured out that if every one in our country gave thirty-nine cents annually, the Gospel could be brought to men over the whole world, yet millions do not give even that small amount, less than a penny a week. The first atomic bomb cost $2,000,000,000. For that sum, devoted to destroy lives, the Church, every year, could send out a million missionaries at a salary of $2,000 a year. Long ago John Wesley declared: "If I had 300 men who feared nothing but God, hated nothing but sin, and were determined to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, I would set the world on fire." If that spiritual conflagration could be started by 300 earnest contenders for the faith, what could a million do? Yet in their blindness and selfishness nations pay more for a bomb which will blast people to pieces than they do to help bring their fellow men to heaven.

     Where are the self-sacrificing Christians who, following Saint Paul, "count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ?" Too frequently churchgoers prefer cardplaying to Bible reading, a good seat at the theater to a missionary call, the warmth and shelter of a comfortable home to the hardship involved in the Savior's work. Many churchmen know nothing of the self-sacrifice, the perils by land and sea, the opposition, the punishment and persecution, the closeness of death that marked the life of the Apostle and hundreds of thousands of the Lord's messengers since his time. Today our clergy has become a respected and privileged class. Preachers in America are not drafted for war, as they are in many European countries. Those with five-figure salaries become upper- class people, separated from personal contacts with the poor and laboring classes. They have attended the best colleges; they list the so- called best people in their congregations; thus they lose touch with the needs of the masses and do not know what it means to be "all things to all men," particularly to the poor and hungry, who can be easily won for the assault against class-conscious churches.

     America, above other nations, should never forget the unparalleled grace with which the Almighty has blessed our people. Our churches should be the most earnest contenders for the faith. Not even the horrors of two world wars, however, have helped produce this consuming zeal. When the earthquake shook Yokohama in 1923 and 60,000 lay dead in the ruins, while hundreds of thousands were made homeless and orphaned, the citizens of the United States gave the Red Cross $10,000,000 to send the afflicted sufferers ship upon ship loaded with food, clothing, medicine, doctors, and relief workers. Then cablegrams to our country brought the repeated message: "Japan will never forget. Japan will never forget." Pearl Harbor showed that she did forget. Yet before we charge these orientals with ingratitude, must we not admit that many Americans fail to remember the God who only a few months ago gave us the double victory?

     Show that you do not forget Heaven's grace! Contend "earnestly" for the Gospel! Fight for the faith in Christ's spirit, with his lowliness and love for souls! Let Him, the Son of God, be ever uppermost in your hearts! Finally, nothing else counts but Jesus. Years ago when Lord Guthrie started out for church one Sunday, he paused for a moment at a street corner to hear a lay preacher declare in a simple Gospel message, "I have never been to college, but I have been to Calvary." On that same day Lord Guthrie heard eloquent and moving addresses by such world-renowned preachers as Canon Lyddon and Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Yet years later he stated, "Of all that I heard on that Sunday I still remember only the simple words of that street preacher, ‘I have never been to college, but I have been to Calvary.'" If you can remember just one thought from my message, may God the Enlightener teach you to see your Savior and say: "I have never deserved pardon for my sins, but I have been saved through Christ. Him, my merciful Savior, I will trust, proclaim, and defend, so help me God!" Then you can battle for the Gospel of grace with the assurance, "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." Then, beholding your Redeemer, you too can face every foe of the Cross with the challenge, "If God be for us," - and He is, in Jesus - "who can be against us?" The Holy Spirit give every one of you the determination to know Christ and, through Him, to fight the good and triumphant fight of faith! Amen!

The preceeding Lutheran Hour sermon first aired in January 1946