Contend For The Faith

Thursday, June 12, 2014, 7:35 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song “WAIT!” in mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read the book of Jude (NIV).

I Felt Compelled

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,

To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. ~ vv. 1-4​

Isn’t it nice when we can give positive and uplifting messages which make people feel good and which bring much joy, happiness, and peace of mind? Wouldn’t it be nice if we never had to give depressing or difficult or hard messages? I can tell you I surely enjoy giving the happy ones, of the Spirit, and I enjoy receiving those given in the Spirit, as well, but the reality is that we are in a spiritual battle, and that Satan is very much alive and at work, and he is working hard against the Body of Christ, God’s church, and so we need to be made aware of how he works, and we need to be urged to contend for the faith.

There are those, though, who are bent on only feel-good messages and who avoid the hard ones altogether, because they make people uncomfortable. Yet, we can’t just be lulled to sleep by sweet-talking messages which often candy-coat the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to make the gospel more pleasing to the flesh of man and more palatable for its listeners. We are very much involved in spiritual warfare, and Satan plays for keeps. These feel-good messages based on human flesh and human teachings, and not on the word of God (of truth), often give their adherents the clear message that they don’t have to be concerned about their sins now that they are under grace, for God’s grace covers it all.

They often avoid the subject of sin altogether, exclude Biblical instructions on repentance and obedience; and don’t talk about the necessity of death to sin and walking in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness. Instead, they water down the gospel to reduce it to a mere prayer one prays to receive Christ just so they can go to heaven when they die, but they don’t tell their “converts” that salvation means death to their old lives of living for sin and self, and that it means submission to Christ and to the cross, now walking in obedience to him. So, they deny Jesus Christ by their lifestyles, and by denying the very purpose for which he died, which is so we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15; cf. Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1-5).

God’s grace is not a free license for continued willful sin. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled and upright lives in this present age while we wait for Christ’s return (See Tit. 2:11-14). We cannot continue in immorality thinking God’s grace covers it all. If we do, we also are guilty of denying Jesus Christ.

Ungodly People

God has a day of judgment in mind for the ungodly and the unbelieving, even among those who profess the name of Jesus Christ. He judged his own people in the day of Moses for their unbelief, after he had delivered his people from Egypt. He judged and will judge the angels of heaven who rejected God’s authority and who followed Satan in his rebellion against God. And he cast judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sexual immorality and sexual perversion, including their practice of homosexuality. “They serve as examples of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”

This passage in Jude gives us a vast description of the ungodly. They:

· Have secretly slipped in among you – like wolves disguised as sheep
· Are deceivers and manipulators, twisting scripture to their own advantage
· Pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ
· Follow after their own imaginations and reject the authority of Christ/Scripture
· Slander and mock what they don’t understand; and what they do understand by instinct (by their own sinful natures) will destroy them
· Follow the way of man-made religion; the works of human flesh
· Hate, reject and/or kill those who do not conform to their own imaginations
· Are greedy, and they lead God’s people astray to what is false (a false gospel)
· Lack the fear (awe; honor; respect) of God
· Mock what is true and mock those who hold to the truths of scripture
· Fellowship with you without the slightest hint of guilt over their hypocrisy
· Feed only themselves, i.e. they do not care for the flock (See Ez. 34: Jn. 10)
· Are devoid of true spiritual refreshment and the true promises of God
· What they promise they can’t fulfill, because they give out a false hope
· Bear no fruit for God’s eternal kingdom; not rooted in Christ and in his Word
· Are busybodies; unsettled and untamed (wild at heart)
· Provide little or no guidance for the direction we should go as followers of Christ
· Are grumblers and faultfinders, i.e. they love to complain and gossip
· Follow after their own flesh appetites and teach others to do the same
· Follow their own natural inclinations, i.e. their own psychic and reasoning
· Are proud, boastful, and sweet-talk others for their own advantage (are liars)
· Speak defiant words against Almighty God and against his Word
· Divide the Body by including (targeting) those who “fit” with their fleshly course, and by excluding – filtering out - those who hold fast to the truths of God’s word
· Do not have the Spirit of God

We need to be wise and discerning about all who claim to know Christ and about all who claim to be ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not everyone who says he or she is a follower of Christ is truly one of his disciples. We need to test everything we read and hear against the Word of God to make sure it adds up, and so we don’t buy into the lies.

Build Yourselves Up

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. ~ vv. 20-25​

Instead of being drawn into humanistic teachings and philosophies which deny Jesus Christ, we need to be focusing our attention on developing our relationships with Jesus Christ and growing in the faith taught by Christ and by the apostles. We need to daily pray in the Spirit, meaning according to the Spirit and according to God’s will and purposes. We need to remain in God’s love, too, meaning we need to rely and depend upon Christ instead of on our own resources and reasoning, and we need to walk daily in fellowship and obedience to him, for that is the way we show that we love him. And, we wait expectantly on the day when Jesus Christ will return for us and will take us to be with himself forever! Amen!

As well, we show God’s mercy (compassion and sympathy) to those who have doubts, by encouraging them in the truths of God’s word. We save others by snatching them from the fires of hell. We do this by continually defending (contending for) the faith of the gospel; by exposing the lies, by telling the truth, and by calling people to repentance and faith. And, to others we show mercy mixed with fear. In other words we show them compassion, sympathy, kindness and forgiveness, but we don’t give them a free pass to continue in sin, but we help all we can, and all they will let us, so they will not go back to the sin that once enslaved them, by teaching and encouraging them in the truths of God’s word and in holy living, and by setting the right example before them in how we live our lives. We do all this in the power and working of Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit within us, who is able to keep us from falling into sin, and is able to bring our salvation to completion at his coming.

Wait! / An Original Work / February 8, 2014

Wait for your Lord. Be of courage.
Be strong, and take heart today.
God is always watching o’er you.
Trust Him with your life always.

Sing of your Lord. Praise His blessings.
Believe in His sovereignty.
He delivered you from your sin;
Gave you life eternally.

Rest in your Lord. Know His promise.
Beneath His wings rest secure.
Your God has a plan and purpose.
Let your faith in Him endure.

Trust in your Lord. He’ll not leave you,
Because He is faithfulness.
He will lead and guide; protect you.
In His love you can find rest.