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Jude 2

Contend Earnestly For The Faith

We come to the second talk in this series on the New Testament letter of Jude.  The theme is found in verse three of the letter and it is: "Contend earnestly for the faith".  If we are to persevere in the faith we will be conscious of a continual warfare.  To contend means to combat for, or strive for, to fight for.  It is a word derived from the Olympic Games and it expresses a strenuous effort.  It could be rendered "strenuously combat for the faith".  True Christians care very deeply for the Christian faith.  It is a precious faith and it is worth contending for.  This is, of course, a command from our King, not an option or a possibility or a consideration.  It is something that we must do.  The faith is exceedingly important, and a very great deal depends on our contending for it.  Jude says that we are to "contend earnestly for the faith".  In verse 20 of his letter he will encourage us to build ourselves up on our "most holy faith".

As Christian believers we have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, and we have this command to contend for the faith.  So we must ask the question, ‘What is the faith"?  Let me quote from a Christian writer who says: "The faith is that extensive body of Bible teaching which makes up the whole of the truth revealed by God concerning our common salvation".  So it is very important that we understand what the faith is.  Paul tells the Corinthian believers: "You must examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith".  We are to prove or test ourselves as Christians.  The expression "the faith" occurs eighteen times in the New Testament.  Paul writes to Timothy and he says, "Holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience".  A mystery in the New Testament sense is something that was not fully revealed in Old Testament times, but is now made known.  Again, Paul writes to Timothy and says, "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons".  In the book of Acts chapter sixteen verses four and five we read of Paul and Silas going through the cities and declaring to the Christians the decrees they were to keep which were determined by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem.  "So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers".  The apostle gave systematic, faithful teaching of revealed truth, which would establish local churches in the faith.  This is what is needed in our churches today.  The Bible is sufficient; it is the truth "once for all delivered to the saints".  We must never add to it or take away from it.

So the question arises, "How do we contend for the faith"?  Well, of course, the context of Jude’s letter concerns false teaching and the serious issue of apostasy within the church.  We must always remember that the Holy Scripture is our foundation, not tradition or the views of scholars or mystics.  So, we earnestly contend for the faith in at least six ways:

First of all, BY KNOWING GOD’S WORD.  If you possess a Bible, make sure that you read it regularly, daily, and systematically, that is in an organised way.  Get to know the Scriptures, search them diligently so that you come to an understanding of what God’s word teaches.

Secondly we contend for the faith BY TRUSTING GOD’S WORD.  Our God cannot lie.  We can trust completely all that He has said.  This means that we will rest on His promises day by day in all the circumstances of our lives, whatever they may be.  In this way others will see that our faith is real, and that the faith we confess is true.

Thirdly we contend for the faith BY OBEYING GOD’S WORD.  A Christian preacher was once asked by a young person, "What is the greatest need of Christian young people today"?  And the preacher answered, "To live biblically".  That is to live in obedience to the Bible. Of course, that is the need of every Christian, young or older, to live according to Scripture. As we do this we will be witnesses to the power of the Gospel and of God’s word to change lives. It will be a witness to the faith.

The fourth way in which we can contend for the faith is BY TEACHING AND PROCLAIMING GOD’S WORD.  We must make it known.  There are still many places where the Word of God is not known.  There are places where once the Bible was taught, but this is no longer the case. It is our Christian responsibility to declare God’s Word, to teach it faithfully and accurately.  We are to do this earnestly, for the faith we contend for is the only hope for a fallen world.

And fifthly, we contend for the faith BY PRACTISING BIBLICAL SEPARATION.  As Christian people we have a Lord worth loving and a life worth living.  We are to live wholly for our Lord and Saviour as "living sacrifices."  We are called to live godly lives.  This means that we are to keep ourselves separate from the sinful ways and attitudes of the world.  We are to avoid all appearance of evil, as the Scripture says.  We are to show by the way we live that we are God’s children and that we are seeking to live to please him in all we do and say.  If we do not do this, then we only weaken our defence of the faith.

Sixthly, we contend for the faith BY LOVING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND ONE ANOTHER.  "By this", said the Lord Jesus, "shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another."  He also said that we would show our love for Him by obeying all that He has commanded in His Word.  The love of believers for their Lord and Saviour, and their sincere love for one another is a powerful witness to the truth of the faith.

So, Christians, and true Christian churches, must have a distinctive testimony; be different from the world; have a very clear message that Christ is the only way of salvation; and have a godly witness and strong convictions both founded on the Bible.

According to verse four of Jude’s letter there is every reason to "contend earnestly for the faith."  He tells us that, "Certain men, whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.  They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord."

So, we see that not all who profess to be Christian are true Christians.  In the church to whom Jude is writing, apostates had crept in amongst the true believers.  Satan had sown his "tares" among the "wheat" of God’s people in order to destroy them and to prevent their growth.  He is the enemy of the godly and he is very active.  He attacks and harasses Christians and Christian churches in particular ways.  We must resist him and be on our guard against his cunning efforts to spoil and destroy.  Faithful pastors often have to address particular snares and evils that may be threatening the church.  It is their duty to feed, to warn and to protect the flock and make clear what the dangers are.  Oh how serious false teaching us in God’s sight!  We must see it for what it really is and be on our guard at all times.  Let us take note of the teaching and the warning that Jude gives us in these opening verses of his letter

Click here for part 3.