Earnestly Contend for the Faith
Jude has no intention of writing this letter about the apostates. Some Expositors calls this Epistle the “unintentional letter”. He wants to write about the common salvation Christians have. However, there is an urgent need to he felt that it was necessary to write in order to encourage them to earnestly continue the struggle for the faith which they received.
I. The common Salvation – not because it is cheap and worth little, but because:
A. It comes from a common source—God, the God who gave His only begotten son to die for us.
B. It is offered to all classes. “Common” means relating to the community as a whole, or belonging to the public. So we can say that salvation is for all.
C. It supplies a common or general need, we all need to be saved
D. It is the common theme of all the writers in the Bible.
The author of salvation, the Lord Jesus – Heb. 5:9
The way of salvation, through faith – Eph. 2:8-9
The knowledge of salvation, by the Word – Luke 1:77
The day of salvation, now – 2 Cor. 6:2
II. The faith delivered unto the saints:
A. Faith here is not the simple trust we put in Christ for salvation.
B. It is the whole body of Christian truth once and for all revealed in the Scriptures.
C. Nothing can be added to it and nothing can be removed.
Illustration: We are branded as Fundamentalist because of the following:
1. We maintain an immovable allegiance to the inerrant, infallible, and verbally inspired Bible.
2. We believe that whatever the Bible says is so.
3. Judges all things by the Bible and is judged only by the Bible.
4. Affirms the foundational truths of the historic Christian Faith: The doctrine of the Trinity; the incarnation, virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, bodily resurrection and glorious ascension, and Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; the new birth through regeneration by the Holy Spirit; the resurrection of the saints to life eternal; the resurrection of the ungodly to final judgment and eternal death; the fellowship of the saints, who are the body of Christ.
5. Practices fidelity to that Faith and endeavors to preach it to every creature.
6. Exposes and separates from all ecclesiastical denial of that Faith, compromise with error, and apostasy from the Truth.
7. Earnestly contends for the Faith once delivered.
III. How are we to contend?
A. “Earnestly contend” is used only one time in the NT. It is from the Greek word epagonizomai.
B. It was used to refer to athletes intensely agonizing in the gruelling training for a coming contest. Thus, Jude graphically stresses the urgency of depending the faith (Phil. 1:7, 17; 1 Tim. 6:19, 20; 2 Tim. 4:1-4).
C. The defence of the gospel is no difficult matter to be left to a few specialists, but one to which all believers should be trained and committed (The Defender’s Study Bible).
D. I would say that we are to contend militantly with zeal in soul winning.
E. Militantly in the sense that our weapons are spiritual not carnal as listed in Ephesians 6:11 – 17. We don’t use physical violence.
IV. Our enemies
A. False Teachers – Church leaders, pastors, TV evangelist, famous Christian teachers and authors of bestselling books, radio commentators, those whom people look into and trust are the one who are leading people astray by their false teachings.
B. They were ungodly (v. 4 b). This is one of Jude’s favourite words. While these men claimed to belong to God, they were, in fact, ungodly in their thinking and their living They might have “a form of godliness,” but denying the power thereof (2 Tim. 3:5).
C. They were deceitful (v. 4 c). “They crept in unawares.” The Greek word means “to slip in secretly, to steal in undercover.” Sometimes Satan’s undercover agents are “brought in secretly” by those already on the inside (Gal 2:4), but these men came in on their own. Peter warned that these men were coming (2 Peter 2:1) and now they had arrived on the scene.
D. How could false brethren get into true assemblies of the saints? The soldiers had gone to sleep at the post! The spiritual leaders in the churches had grown complacent and careless. This explains why Jude had to “blow the trumpet” to wake them up. Our Lord and His Apostles all warned that false teachers would arise, yet the churches did not heed the warnings. Sad to say, some churches are not heeding the warnings today.
E. They were enemies of God’s grace (v. 4 d). Why did they enter the churches? To attempt to change the doctrine and “turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness” (Jude 4). The word lasciviousness simply means “wantonness, absence of moral restraint, indecency.” A person who is lascivious thinks only of satisfying his lusts, and whatever he touches is stained by His base appetites. Lasciviousness is one of the works of the flesh (Gal 5:19) that proceeds from the evil heart of man (Mark 7:21-22).
F. Peter had already warned these people that the apostates would argue, “You have been saved by grace, so you are free to live as you please!” They promised the people freedom, but it was the kind of freedom that led to terrible bondage (2 Peter 2:13-14,19). The readers both Peter and Jude addressed knew what Paul had written (2 Peter 3:15-16), so they should have been fortified with Rom 6 and 1 Cor. 5-6.
G. The apostates, like the cultists today, use the Word of God to promote and defend their false doctrines. They seduce young, immature Christians who have not yet been grounded in the Scriptures. Every soldier of the Cross needs to go through “basic training” in a local church so that he knows how to use the weapons of spiritual warfare (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
H. They denied God’s truth (v. 4 e). “Even denying the Lord that bought them,” Peter had warned (2 Peter 2:1). Jude was not writing about two different persons when he wrote “the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” for the Greek construction demands that these two names refer to one Person. In other words, Jude was affirming strongly the deity of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God!
I. But the apostates would deny this. They would agree that Jesus Christ was a good man and a great teacher, but not that He was eternal God come in human flesh. The
first test of any religious teacher, as we have seen, is, “What do you think of Jesus Christ? Is He God come in the flesh?” Anyone who denies this cardinal doctrine is a false teacher no matter how correct he may be in other matters. If he denies the deity of Christ, something will always be missing in whatever he affirms.
J. They were ordained to judgment (v. 4 a). Jude did not write that these men were ordained to become apostates, as though God were responsible for their sin. They became apostates because they wilfully turned away from the truth. But God did ordain that such people would be judged and condemned. The Old Testament prophets denounced the false prophets of their day, and both Jesus Christ and His Apostles pronounced judgment on them.
K. Why should these men be judged by God? To begin with, they had denied His Son! That is reason enough for their condemnation! But they had also defiled God’s people by teaching them that God’s grace permitted them to practice sin. Furthermore, they derided the doctrine of Christ’s coming (2 Peter 3). “Where is the promise of His coming?” They mocked the very promise of Christ’s coming and the judgment He would bring against the ungodly.
L. Of course, they did all these things under the guise of religion, and this made their sin even greater. They deceived innocent people so that they might take their money and enjoy it in godless living. Jesus compared them to wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15). (The Bible Exposition Commentary).
The challenge is will you contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered unto the saints? Will you join the Christian soldiers in doing so?