If someone asked you that question, how would you answer?
It wouldn’t be an easy answer to give someone. In this study we will attempt to learn why it is important to contend for the Faith.
I will use Scripture taken from the Amplified Bible (copyright - The Lockman Foundation) for our study.
We will be doing our study in the book of Jude. Please turn there in your bibles.
Jude 1:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ (the Messiah), and brother of James, [writes this letter] to those who are called (chosen), dearly loved by God the Father and separated (set apart) and kept for Jesus Christ:
Jude 1:2 May mercy, [soul] peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Question – Who this letter is written to?
According to verse 1, it is written to those who are set apart and kept for Christ Jesus. Yes, Believers.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, my whole concern was to write to you in regard to our common salvation. [But] I found it necessary and was impelled to write you and urgently appeal to and exhort [you] to contend for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints [the faith which is that sum of Christian belief which was delivered verbally to the holy people of God].
Jude was impelled to write to us… what does that mean?
Jude was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this letter to Believers. To urgently appeal to and exhort us to contend for the faith.
Why was this so important? Let us look closely at the following verses:
Jude 1:4 For certain men have crept in stealthily [gaining entrance secretly by a side door]. Their doom was predicted long ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality, and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
We see here that Jude is warning us that there are some men who pretend to be what they are not. They sneak in without being noticed.
Question - How will we know these men?
We are given a few qualities to watch for to identify these men:
1. They are ungodly men – they hate God, but hide this.
2. They pervert the grace of God by making it sound like we can live any way we like – that it is indeed our right to live any way we like.
3. They are immoral men – men who cheer on others to be immoral.
4. They deny our Lord Jesus Christ.
Believers tend to be tolerant of others. We try to show love, even to those who are not very lovable. We reach out to those who appear to be hurting and troubled.
Now, this is the way Jesus wants us to be isn’t it?
Yes, that is what Jesus taught us. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
But don’t you think... that our enemies know that we are like that?
That they may play on our compassion and mercy, our patience. That they may try to take advantage of us as we try to be like Christ.
So, what are we to do?
We must be able to see these men for who they are. We can recognize ungodliness can’t we?
Can we understand the grace of God well enough to know when someone is perverting it? Is it our right to live any way we want? Or to encourage others to live without restraint?
We can recognize immoral behavior can’t we? And if someone denies the Lord Jesus Christ, we know it immediately, right?
Then what is the danger? Why do we need to contend for the faith?
Let’s come back to this later.
Jude 1:5 Now I want to remind you, though you were fully informed once for all, that though the Lord [at one time] delivered a people out of the land of Egypt, He subsequently destroyed those [of them] who did not believe [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him].
Jude 1:6 And angels who did not keep (care for, guard, and hold to) their own first place of power but abandoned their proper dwelling place--these He has reserved in custody in eternal chains (bonds) under the thick gloom of utter darkness until the judgment and doom of the great day.
Jude 1:7 [The wicked are sentenced to suffer] just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the adjacent towns--which likewise gave themselves over to impurity and indulged in unnatural vice and sensual perversity--are laid out [in plain sight] as an exhibit of perpetual punishment [to warn] of everlasting fire.
Although the Lord brought out the Israelites from Egypt with great power, some refused to trust in the Lord. These were destroyed in the desert. They did not enter the Promised Land.
Even angels who abandoned their proper dwelling place, have been reserved in bondage until the judgment.
Question - Why is Jude telling us this?
Jude is telling us that God will judge those who set themselves in opposition to Him. God is able to deal with them in His own way. They gain no advantage over us.
But Jude goes on and elaborates more:
Jude 1:8 Nevertheless in like manner, these dreamers also corrupt the body, scorn and reject authority and government, and revile and libel and scoff at [heavenly] glories (the glorious ones).
Jude 1:9 But when [even] the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, judicially argued (disputed) about the body of Moses, he dared not [presume to] bring an abusive condemnation against him, but [simply] said, The Lord rebuke you!
Jude shows us a few more qualities of the men he is warning us about:
1. These men corrupt the body.
2. They scorn authority (Law & Order) and government.
3. They revile and defame heavenly glories.
Even though these are really unpleasant characters, we are not to condemn them. Even the archangel Michael did not dare to condemn the devil during a dispute. A rebuke was all he was willing to say.
We can see that we must allow God to deal in judgment and condemnation. That is not our place.
Jude has more to say about these stealthy conniving men:
Jude 1:10 But these men revile (scoff and sneer at) anything they do not happen to be acquainted with and do not understand; and whatever they do understand physically [that which they know by mere instinct], like irrational beasts--by these they corrupt themselves and are destroyed (perish).
Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have run riotously in the way of Cain, and have abandoned themselves for the sake of gain [it offers them, following] the error of Balaam, and have perished in rebellion [like that] of Korah!
These men scoff and sneer at anything they do not understand. They corrupt themselves and are destroyed by what they do understand. They have chosen error for what it may gain them, just as Balaam did, and perished like Korah did when he rebelled.
Do you remember Balaam?
He was hired by a king, to curse God’s people, though God told him not to do it. Do you remember the donkey that talked?
Do you remember Korah?
Korah stirred up rebellion in the Israelites under Moses leadership. He led people against Moses, challenging Moses authority to lead them.
Korah and all those who followed him, were separated out from the rest of the Israelites and the earth opened up and swallowed them alive.
Again we see that God is able to deal with those who rebel against Him.
So then, why do we need to contend for the faith? Please be patient with me, now…
Let’s go a little further into God’s Word to learn more about these men:
Jude 1:12 These are hidden reefs (elements of danger) in your love feasts, where they boldly feast sumptuously [carousing together in your midst], without scruples providing for themselves [alone]. They are clouds without water, swept along by the winds; trees, without fruit at the late autumn gathering time--twice (doubly) dead, [lifeless and] plucked up by the roots;
Jude 1:13 Wild waves of the sea, flinging up the foam of their own shame and disgrace; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of eternal darkness has been reserved forever.
Jude 1:14 It was of these people, moreover, that Enoch in the seventh [generation] from Adam prophesied when he said, Behold, the Lord comes with His myriads of holy ones (ten thousands of His saints)
Jude 1:15 To execute judgment upon all and to convict all the impious (unholy ones) of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed [in such an] ungodly [way], and of all the severe (abusive, jarring) things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.
The time will come when Jesus comes for all who are true Believers (The Rapture).
Then, when Jesus returns at His second coming, He will bring us with Him to rule and reign here on earth.
HE will at that time, execute justice upon all those who are ungodly.
Jude now gives a more complete description of these unholy men:
Jude 1:16 These are inveterate murmurers (grumblers) who complain [of their lot in life], going after their own desires [controlled by their passions]; their talk is boastful and arrogant, [and they claim to] admire men's persons and pay people flattering compliments to gain advantage.
These men grumble about everything. They are not thankful for anything. They pursue their own passions without regard for anyone else. They are boastful about themselves and arrogant to others. They use false flattery to persuade others, to gain advantage over them. They lie without remorse to gain what they want.
Jude is very descriptive of the qualities and character of these ungodly men. But he also has taken pains to stress that we must not take judgment into our own hands. We are not to condemn them.
If you will bear with me for just a little longer, we will discover why we must contend for the faith.
Jude 1:17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions which were made by the apostles (the special messengers) of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
Jude 1:18 They told you beforehand, In the last days (in the end time) there will be scoffers [who seek to gratify their own unholy desires], following after their own ungodly passions.
Jude 1:19 It is these who are [agitators] setting up distinctions and causing divisions--merely sensual [creatures, carnal, worldly-minded people], devoid of the [Holy] Spirit and destitute of any higher spiritual life.
We have been told by the Scriptures, in advance that these men would come – and indeed are here now.
Question – What kind of division is Jude talking about here?
They are agitators, causing division, having no spiritual understanding. They are causing confusion, anarchy, lawlessness.
Could these divisions be to divide even a country? Even America?
Could they be to divide families? Could they be to divide even churches? Are they calling what is evil – good? And what is good – evil?
Jesus said a house divided can not stand. If America can not stand then who or what will stand for what is right in this world?
Jude 1:20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit;
Jude 1:21 Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)--[which will bring you] unto life eternal.
Jude 1:22 And refute [so as to] convict some who dispute with you, and on some have mercy who waver and doubt.
Jude 1:23 [Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality.
Jesus prayed for unity for Believers.
Final Question – Why must we contend for the faith?
Do you see it in the last verses here?
We are to build ourselves up in the Faith. We are to guard and keep ourselves in the love of God. We are to expect and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The last two verses here reveal the reason. We are to contend for the Faith in order to win others for Christ.
Others before us were faithful to preserve and protect the Faith & to guard the Truth. When each of us were ready, we were able to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, because of those who were faithful before us.
We are not to judge or condemn those who are unholy. We are to pray for them, refute those who dispute with us in order to convict them. We are to have mercy upon those who waver and doubt. Striving to snatch some from the fire, having pity on others but being careful to not be enticed into sin by what they are doing.
(16) For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
(17) For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.
It is God’s desire that all might be saved. The true church is a redemptive community. Our mission is to share with others, what God has freely given to us. We are to: “Love God, Love Others, Know CHRIST & To Make HIM Known”.
I pray that the Lord has anchored this truth deep into our hearts. May God help us to be faithful, for those who will come after us.
Brothers & Sisters… this couldn’t be more relevant today. We can see this all around us – it’s on the news – the battle rages – right Now!
Let us contend for the Faith as we are led by the Holy Spirit of God. Let us work together, shoulder to shoulder – United in the love of Christ Jesus our Lord & Savior. If we will not do this now – then when will we?
Thank you for your patience with me.
Bible study by InAwe