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Contend Earnestly For The Faith

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The Believer's Assurance: the God Who Keeps 

Contending Earnestly For The Faith (3-4)
Jude's letter begins and ends with very comforting words to Christians. In verse 1 it describes us as "those who are called, loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ." All three verbs are passive. They stress the action of God. God calls, God loves, and God keeps. We are called, are loved, and arekept. Jude is very eager to begin by stressing the security of the believer in God's electing and preserving love.
INTRODUCTION
Then at the end of his letter in verse 24 he says, "Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God . . . be glory." Notice, in verse 1 we are kept by God for Jesus Christ. And in verse 24 God is able to keep us from falling. Jude begins and ends the letter by assuring believers that God exerts his omnipotence to keep them from falling away from the faith.
1. As we begin to focus on the purpose of The Epistle Of Jude, we see that his original desire was to write about our common salvation shared in Christ: "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." -
So what should you answer when someone questions how you can be so sure you will keep the faith to the end and so be saved at the judgment? You should say something like this: "God has called me out of unbelief. Therefore I know that he loves me with a particular electing love. Therefore I know that he will keep me from falling. He will work in me that which is pleasing in his sight (), and present me with rejoicing before the throne of his glory."
2. The need to change his purpose is seen in the next verse: "For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." -

The Believer's Call: Fight for the Faith 

3. That men "crept in unnoticed" should give us pause... a. That such could happen, despite the many warnings given by Jesus, Paul, and Peter b. How much easier, then, for this to happen today when we live in time far removed from those initial warnings!
That's the way Jude begins and ends his letter. But in the middle his concern is different. It is not to help believers feel content, but to help them feel vigilant. Having shown them the electing love of God and the unsurpassed power of God (vv. 2–5) to keep them safe, Jude now shows them the danger that surrounds them. And he tells them to fight for the faith.
4. In light of this, Jude's call to "contend earnestly for the faith" becomes even more relevant for us today... a. We ought to appreciate "the need" to contend for the faith b. We should understand "the how" when it comes to contending earnestly for the faith [In this study, "Contending Earnestly For The Faith", it is "the need" and "the how" that we examine more closely...]
Verse 3: "Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." In other words the assured victory of the believing church does not mean that we don't have to fight to win.
I. THE "NEED" TO CONTEND EARNESTLY FOR THE FAITH
Just because the brilliant Commander in Chief promises victory on the beaches doesn't mean the troops can throw their weapons overboard. The promise of victory assumes valor in battle.
When God promises that his church will be kept from defeat, his purpose is not that we lay down our sword and go to lunch, but that we pick up the sword of the Spirit and look confidently to God for the strength to fight and win. Wherever the promised security of God is used to justify going AWOL, we may suspect there is a traitor in the ranks.
A. SOME WILL DENY THE ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF THE SCRIPTURES... 1. This I infer from the phrase "the faith which once for all delivered to the saints" a. The expression "once for all" can rightly be worded "one time for all time" b. That is, "the faith" (that body of doctrine which we are to believe) was delivered to the church "one time for all time" -- Revelation was not to be repeated, nor was there more to be revealed later on! 2. That God has revealed all that He would have us know is evident from such statements like those of: a. Paul, telling the Ephesian elders he had not shunned to proclaim "the whole counsel of God" - . Peter, writing that God has given us "all things that pertain to life and godliness" - -- If we have "all things", and if we have the "whole counsel of God", what else is there? 3. Thus the Scriptures, which contain the faith delivered "once for all", contains all we need to become what God wants of us! - cf. 4. But when people suggest: a. That God's revelation is incomplete, or it is still in progress b. Or that God's revelation needs to be repeated -- Then our task is to "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered"! B. SOME WILL PERVERT THE DOCTRINE OF GRACE... 1. There were those in Jude's day "who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness (lewdness)" a. Their doctrine of grace gave them excuse to sin b. So much so, that they engaged in that which was openly shameful (lewd) -- Perhaps they said: "Let us sin so that grace may abound!" 2. There are some today who pervert the grace of God... a. To excuse their disregard for the commands found in God's Word b. To justify their lifestyle that is contrary to the principles of the Bible -- For they are likely to say: "God is too loving, His grace is too wonderful, to condemn us when we are so sincere!" 3. But those who "contend earnestly for the faith" will be ever mindful of what the grace of God truly teaches - cf. . To deny ungodliness and worldly lusts! b. To live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age! C. SOME WILL DENY GOD'S AUTHORITY... 1. Jude had to deal with those who "deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" a. The emphasis appears to be on the term "Lord", used to describe God and Jesus b. The term "lord" comes from kurios {koo'-ree-os} 1) Which is related to the word kuros (supremacy) 2) Meaning "supreme in authority" c. These people were denying the authority rightly belonging to God and Jesus 2. Today we often face people denying the authority of God and Jesus a. By their lack of respect to the Word of God b. By their setting up other standards of authority for what they believe or do 1) Such as a synod, convention, council 2) Such as a pope, bishop, minister, or their own person 3. But those who "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered"... a. Will recognize the authority which belongs to Christ - ; . Will recognize the authority delegated to His apostles - ; ; ; [Clearly the need to "contend earnestly for the faith" is present, for just as there were those in Jude's day who... - denied the all-sufficiency of God's Word - perverted the doctrine of grace - denied the authority of God and Jesus ...so there are such people today! How then shall we do it?] II. THE "HOW" TO CONTEND EARNESTLY FOR THE FAITH A. WE MUST CONTEND EARNESTLY... 1. From the "Believers' Study Bible": a. The vivid expression epagonizomai (Gk.) is translated "contend earnestly" and is related to the English word "agony." b. The term is associated with strife and combat of a most vigorous and determined variety. c. The present tense of the verb indicates that the Christian struggle is to be continuous. d. Jude believed that the foundational tenets of the Christian faith were under attack. Nothing but vigorous counter-contention would be sufficient. 2. The use of such an expression therefore suggests: a. The matter is serious; we are at war! 1) Paul describes the nature of our warfare in 2) And again in . This is not a time to be unprepared; we must arm ourselves! -- We must therefore contend with vigor, even to the point of agony, for "the faith once delivered to the saints"! B. WE MUST USE THE WEAPONS AT OUR DISPOSAL... 1. Paul defines our weaponry in . Girded with truth b. The breastplate of righteousness c. Feet shod with the gospel of peace d. The shield of faith e. The helmet of salvation f. The sword of the Spirit, the Word of God g. Watching with all prayer 2. Notice that most of these things are for our own defense, lest we be lost in the struggle! a. The elements of truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, etc., are needed for our own salvation as much as for those we seek to conquer b. Make sure that you let them "remove the plank for your own eye" so you will be able to see clear "to remove speck out of your brother's eye" - cf. . Some people are so quick to take up the "sword", they leave the rest of their armor behind! 3. Paul also has something to say about other weapons that are "mighty in God" a. Such qualities as "the meekness and gentleness of Christ" - . Making sure that we are first "spiritual", and then displaying gentleness and caution - . Refraining from quarrels, applying gentleness, the Word, with patience and humility correcting the opposition - CONCLUSION 1. The call to "contend earnestly for the faith" is not a license to engage in "contentions" and "outbursts of wrath" - cf. ; . But it is a call to vigorously contend with all the weapons at our disposal... a. First and foremost, with the Word of God, applied first to self and then to others b. But also, with the Christ-like qualities that are "mighty in God" to win people over to obedience to Christ 3. It is the fact... a. That many are not obeying Christ as Lord b. But perverting His teaching or setting themselves up as their own authority ...that makes it necessary that we "contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" Dear friend, whose side of this battle are YOU on? Have you submitted to Him whom God has made both Lord and Christ? Are you continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine? - cf.
So God's way, as we see it in Jude, is to give his people confidence that their faith will be victorious in the end (in verses 1 and 24) and then to send them out to fight for it.

Four Aspects of the Main Point of Jude 

The main point of this little book of Jude is verse 3. And so I want to make it the main point of my message, namely, it is the duty of every genuine believer to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. I will try to unfold the meaning of this doctrine under four headings.
There is a faith once for all delivered to the saints. This faith is worth contending for. This faith is repeatedly threatened from within the church. Every genuine believer should contend for the faith.
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