Saturday, June 16, 2007

Contend Earnestly For the Faith

“Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:”

(Jude 1 NASU)

The Apostle Jude introduces himself as a “bond-servant” of our Lord and a brother to the Apostle James. Although he could have stated his kindred to Jesus in a more direct way he choose to use the more spiritual authoritative intro as a bond-servant. The nature of his message to the saints required that he address them with spiritual authority.

He addresses his letter to those true believers who are the called of the Father, beloved and kept for Jesus. We must keep this in mind, if we consider ourselves to be one of these, and understand this letter is written for our instructions.

“May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you”

(Jude 2 NASU).

He bids the saints mercy, peace and love be multiplied that their needs be fully met as the perils that lie ahead fall upon them. From the Fountain of love flows truth and mercy, and truth and mercy brings forth grace in the time of need.

“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

(Jude 3 NASI)

It appears that Jude had a change of mind from his original intentions. The common salvation he speaks of is as it pertains to both Jew and Gentile. Some think that Jude intimates that he had at first planned to write to the church at large, on the nature and design of the Gospel; but seeing the dangers to which the churches were exposed, because of the false teachers, he changed his mind, and wrote pointedly against those false doctrines exhorting them strenuously to contend for the faith.

To contend earnestly is to strive or struggle against any opposition with sincerity or seriousness; the opposition being the false teachers and their doctrines.

Jude instructs the true believer to contend earnestly for the faith; the faith that comes by way of the truth which was once for all delivered to the saints; the truth that was set forth by our Lord and His Apostles and written for our instructions.

From his writing one can sense the grave concern for the saints being led astray by false doctrines. His mind apparently being deeply affected with the dangers to which the church is exposed from the false teachers that are gone out into the world, he found it extremely necessary to write and exhort the believers to hold fast to the truth which is taught from the beginning; the beginning being in the teachings of our Lord and His apostles in the beginning of the church.

He warns, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 4 NASU)

Jude was not alone in his concern for the future of the saints in light. The Apostle Paul, foreseeing his soon departure to be with our Lord expresses his concern.

He writes,

"I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

(Acts 20:29-30 NASU)

Men from without and from within come as wolves in sheep clothing (Matthew 7:15), unnoticed by men because they appeared as angels of light.

And, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. (2nd Corinthians 11:14-15 NASU)

These are deceived ungodly persons who present the grace of our God to be a covering for all types of immorality and other crimes (Jude 4). These men teach that because of God’s abounding grace that those who believe their gospel might sin safely. They trod under foot the Son of God and regard as unclean the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified, and insult the Spirit of Grace (Hebrews 10:29). Thus they work against the word of God and deny the truth that is in our Lord; they are anti-Christ.

But they do not go unnoticed by our God for they “were long beforehand marked out for condemnation.” (Jude 4)

The Apostle Peter also exhorts the saints to pay attention to the word of God as it is first written.

“So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.”

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

(2nd Peter 19-21 NASU)

No preaching of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation but a matter of being called and anointed of the Holy Spirit that he might speak from God. The Holy Scripture was given to the church by the Holy Spirit, written by the hands of anointed men of God, as a textbook, that He through these writings teaches God’s children.

Jesus promised the Spirit,

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26 NASU)

And the Apostle John writes,

“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” (1st John 2:27 NASU)

The Word of God is the “tree of life” in the person of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13-15) and was given to the church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).

The Holy Spirit, the teacher of the church, has been programmed out of the modern day church, removed through unbelief, abused, mocked and replaced with the intellect of man. It is no great wonder that the masses are so easily deceived and led astray.

Today I write to the church is the same spirit as our beloved apostles; for I fear that the church has set aside the charge of the apostles and has fallen away from the true gospel to follow after strange doctrines, myths, fables, lies and traditions of men.

Paul, writing to Timothy speaks of today’s church. He writes,

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”

(2nd Timothy 4:3-4 NASU)

It is apparent to the true believer that the mass majority of today’s church has not taken heed to the Apostle Jude’s charge to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. It is sad to say, but true, we have seen the fulfillment of Paul’s prophesy to young Timothy. The masses have taken the broad road to destruction (Matthew 7:13), while only a few seek the narrow gate that leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:14).

There will be those who will read this journal and will agree; and there will be some who will gnash their teeth, and speak harsh things; and then there will be those, hopefully, who will be sorrowful and seek repentance. To those who agree, I ask you to join me in prayer for the church. For those who gnash their teeth and say harsh things---we weep. And with those whose repentance is accepted---we rejoice, for they have been restored.

James C Sanford

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