“IS THERE NOT A CAUSE?”
The story of David and Goliath is known to every child who has ever attended Sunday School. It is found in the 17th chapter of the Old Testament book of I Samuel, and is the exciting story of how one who was “but a youth” (verse 33) killed with a single stone shot from a sling a Philistine giant who was over 9 feet tall (verse 4).
Before his encounter with the giant, David had been tending the sheep of his father Jesse. But Jesse wanted young David to visit his three older brothers who were soldiers in the Israelite army, see how they were doing, and take provisions to them and their captain. When David arrived at the Israelite encampment he learned of the challenge of Goliath. “Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us” (verses 8-9). Of course, Goliath believed no one could win in a battle with him!
David the shepherd boy accepted the challenge. His older brother Eliab was angered by David’s audacity and accused him of pride and insolence. David’s response to his brother was, “Is there not a cause” (verse 29)? Yes, indeed, there was a cause! It was the cause of the honor and safety of God’s people Israel, and therefore the cause of God Himself!
Today, the people of God, His church, must realize that there is a cause to be loved, honored, advanced, and defended. It is the cause of Christ, the cause of simple, apostolic, New Testament Christianity in a world of so-called world religions and a multiplicity of expressions of corrupt, apostate Christianity as seen in Catholicism and Protestantism.
At the heart of this noble cause is the redemptive love of God as manifested in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for the sins of all mankind (I Corinthians 15:1-4). These truths constitute the gospel, God’s power to save those who will believe it (Romans 1:16). This gospel is to be preached in all nations and to every creature (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). The gospel must be obeyed by all who would gain eternal life in heaven (II Thessalonians 1:6-10). This gospel also must be defended and protected from those who would corrupt it (Galatians 1:6-10; Philippians 1:17). “Is there not a cause?”
Underlying the gospel and foundational to it is the existence of God, the deity of Christ, the revelatory work of the Holy Spirit, and the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of the Scriptures. The church (the aggregate body of those redeemed by the blood of Christ) is the fruition of God’s eternal purpose to redeem man through Christ (Ephesians 3:8-13). The church of which we read in the New Testament is pre-denominational and undenominational. It was established by Christ Himself, and not man. It has Christ as its foundation, head, and Savior. The divine plan by which one enters the church, the organization given to the church by the inspired apostles of Christ, the acts of worship engaged in by the early church as authorized by apostolic command and precedence, and the mission of the church as set forth in the New Testament is the very plan, organization, worship, and mission that the church must adhere to today! “Is there not a cause?”
Those who have been saved from their sins and added to the church (Acts 2:47) must commit themselves to “live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:11-14). God’s people must “present [their] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is [their] reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). They must be “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). They must avoid the works of the flesh and instead demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26). They must obey the great commandments (Matthew 22:37-40) and carry out the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark l6:15-16). “Is there not a cause?”
All of the above are essential elements of the cause of our Lord. They lie at the heart of the “one faith” so completely and clearly set forth in the New Testament (Ephesians 4:4-6; cf. Ephesians 3:1-7). Unlike the army of Israel who was afraid to go out against Goliath the Philistine giant, but in emulation of the shepherd boy David, God’s people must be willing to “put themselves on the line” for the holy and noble cause of Christ.
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
Is there not a cause? Indeed, there is!
March 7, 2017