Thoughts On… Contending For The Faith….

Jude 1:3, 4

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

We are living in a time when many men and women sadly are “ungodly people.”  These are a people “who long ago were designated for this condemnation….”  These are “…an ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

At the time Jude was led by the Holy Spirit to write this letter there was a serious apostasy in the churches. That apostasy has not abated in our time. In fact, the apostasy; that is the falling away from the Truth,  has grown to problematic proportions.

Look around! Pay attention! There are churches in every community in which the leadership finds a cause to ignore the Love of Christ and chase riches.  There are ministries of evil masquerading as purveyors of truth everywhere and the number of them is growing.

God demands we be aware of those who have crept in unnoticed. How do we know them?

The answer is simple, but not easy. We will know the apostates among us when we the know the Truth that comes from the Full Counsel of God; His Holy Word.

We’re not talking about small and minor disagreements. We’re looking at false doctrines that cause unsuspecting, untold numbers of people to flail in the world and to ultimately fail to save themselves.

Too often we hear a sermon based on a poorly understood scripture.  We do not protest.  We say nothing about it.  We don’t want to be seen as unloving or worse. Perhaps our own understanding is weak or our courage is. Perhaps we fear our good standing in the church community is at risk  if we question the teacher.

Because we are weak and do not have the strength of faith to call out a bad teacher a false doctrine goes unchecked and makes its way into the body.

There is only one Truth. Any deviation from it is reckless and potentially fatal in the lives of unsuspecting hearers.

We must contend for the faith as the Holy Spirit points out through this letter from Jude.

Jude’s first intent was to write to the church “of the common salvation.” It seems something came to his attention that caused him sufficient alarm to change his focus. I believe there many things today that should cause us alarm that should cause us to change our direction.

Our churches have seemingly stopped teaching the simple Gospel of Christ. I don’t mean that to be a blanket statement about all churches. Certainly there are many churches that do nothing more than practice evangelism as prescribed in Scripture.

Matthew 28:17-20

They saw him and worshiped him, but some of them doubted. Jesus came to them and said: I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.

The numbers of churches teaching this simple, basic Christian doctrine are dwindling, in my humble opinion.

Faith in Christ Jesus alone saves.

 John 3:15-21

Then everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life. God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!

No one who has faith in God’s Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn’t have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God’s only Son.

The light has come into the world, and people who do evil things are judged guilty because they love the dark more than the light. People who do evil hate the light and won’t come to the light, because it clearly shows what they have done. But everyone who lives by the truth will come to the light, because they want others to know that God is really the one doing what they do.

What will it take to repent? What will it take to bring whole generations back to God?

Nothing less than God’s mercy. Only God’s grace! And, that should be our prayer. “God, our Father, in and through Christ Jesus, lead us back to Your protective embrace. Save us from the trap of the evil one. Embolden us to contend for the gift of faith You have given. We humble ourselves before You, our Sovereign Lord, our King of Kings, our Lord of Lords, our All in All. Amen.”

We are cautioned to be aware of men whose intent is to draw us away from God. God has apportioned to them a just punishment.

Galatians 1:6-12

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.

For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Who might some of these men and women be? What are the false doctrines that pervert the Gospel of Christ Jesus?

To know who they (false prophets, false teachers) are or to know the perversions (false doctrines) they teach is not as important as knowing the Truth.

Psalm 119:1-12

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!

Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!

You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.

I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes!

Once we know the Truth we can discern the false. Once we know the Truth we can stand against the false. Once we know the Truth we begin to live so as to no longer sin against God.

Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes!

About Jim Barnes

A man seeking to please the Lord. A man striving to abide in Christ Jesus. A man whose hope is to see just one more come into the fold.
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One Response to Thoughts On… Contending For The Faith….

  1. Pingback: Everything Is New 100411 « Mennonite Preacher

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