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The Epistle of...
-- Jude --

Contend Earnestly for the Faith:

"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."(Jude3)

These are very interesting words, to "contend earnestly." "Contend" means "to strive in opposition against difficulties, in controversy, debate, dispute." And "earnestly" means "deep sincerity and seriousness; of an important or weighty nature..grave."

Jude had apparently been writing to his audience about the doctrine of salvation, and had done so with great care. And now explains that everything that was needed to know, had been given "once for all." As Paul also issues a "curse" against any who would bring a DIFFERENT gospel "than what [we] have [already] received."(Gal1:9)

So, if the gospel has been given clearly, what is the need for "contending earnestly?" Because "certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men..."(vs4) These men are in place and the "church" doesn't know it. But they were "designated" long ago for this purpose. And, while they are camouflaged within the church, they are actually of the evil one. (2Cor11:12-15)

The book of Jude essentially is one which describes these antichrists. (1Jn2:18) As I was reading the book recently, I noticed that years ago I had made marks in the margin next to 10 descriptions. Somehow that number seems "appropriate." When Egypt was judged, there were 10 plagues corresponding to 10 Egyptian deities, and Israel was then delivered. Then, by contrast, God delivered 10 "commandments" to be obeyed. As we look at the structure of the New Testament, we see first the Gospels, recording the earthly ministry of Jesus. Israel rejects the Holy Spirit as the Church age begins, in Acts. Then, we have the various epistles to the Church. And just before the judgment of Christ over the world, as recorded in Revelation, we have the book of Jude, describing the time JUST PRIOR to God's Wrath...with 10 characteristics of the apostasy.

Let us look at these 10 characteristics of the days just prior to Christ's coming, and then, the exhortations to Believers.

  1. They turn the grace of God into license and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.(vs4) People say, "Oh, it doesn't matter how you live, God accepts you JUST AS YOU ARE. Situational morality. That's graeeesss." Whereas Paul writes, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!"(Rom6:1-2) If we have died to sin, why would we want to continue in it?

  2. While Israel was saved out of Egypt, there were many who did not believe, and God destroyed them.(vs5) "With most of them God was not well pleased." (1Cor10:5) If you look at this passage, you see how they (Israel) all experienced the same benefits of being "under the cloud." Translated to today, there are many who are "in the church." But just like with Israel, with "most of them" God is not well pleased. They are there in unbelief.

  3. "..in a similar manner to [Sodom & Gomorrah] these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh.."(vs7) Pastors and leaders carry on with the opposite sex, and with the same sex. And being unrepentant, churches welcome them as their leaders. Music recordings are sold with "sex" as the performers are photographed for the album covers as the world does. The music being used in the churches is often "sexual" in nature. It is utterly corrupt!

  4. They "reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries [angelic beings]."(vs8) What authority do they reject? God, the Holy Spirit, God's Word. They clamor after "experiences" which are contrary to sound doctrine of God's Word. And as they puff themselves up, they lash out at Satan, supposing they can "bind" him; something which God in Scripture nowhere tells us to do. Righteous angels do not do this, as even Michael the "top" angel would not denounce satan but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"(vs9) In spite of the "authority" they claim to wield, they actually have "no idea" what they are doing.(vs10)

  5. "Woe to them! ..they have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit." (vs11) Unlike the Master Whom they claim to serve, Who had "nowhere to lay His head," (Lk9:58) they strut around in designer suits, at home they garage their fleets of Cadillacs and Rolls Royces, and pamper themselves with their gold-plated toilet fixtures. They rob from the poor, promising healing and prosperity if only their hearers will send them their "seed money." And even, cast fear into hearts as to the supposed calamities that will befall their hearers if they don't send money.

  6. "These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves."(vs12) "SELF" is the big operative word today. Self-esteem has so ingrained the "church" that true repentance is impossible. Everybody is so busy being "worth a lot to God" they don't know what humility and repentance is. And, the purveyors of this doctrine teach without any fear of reprisal, as nobody stands up to them. In the early church, when God was at work correcting wrongs of selfishness and lying, it says that "great fear came upon them all."(Acts5:11) And such was it that "none of the rest dared to join them."(vs13)

  7. "these are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts." (vs16a) People who understand the need for accountability in the secular world, if similar standards are expected of them in the church, complain. If someone is "on fire" for the Lord, wanting to urge the people along to "get off their duffs and get to work" for the Lord, they grumble. Choir singers don't want to commit to rehearsals to get the music "right" because it's too much work. Nobody shows up for "work day" because that new boat needs testing. Can't show up for Prayer Meeting, because the basketball game is on tonight. And then, there's the "business meetings"... We won't even touch that one!

  8. "they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage." (vs16b) These are the same people from point #7. If a visiting pastor comes to speak, they are "right there" with the hand shake and "howdy do." They will provide that aforementioned "boat" for the church picnic, not because they think people will enjoy it, but to display their wealth so that others are impressed. And then, of course, at next business meeting, they will certainly be voted to "positions" of prominence.

  9. "mockers..who..walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions."(vs18-19a) "Lust" is a "longing and craving after something forbidden." "Sensual" is an interesting word. "Having the nature and characteristics of breath; principal of animal life, which men have in common with animals...appetite and passion."

    Not only does this cover sensualities regarding immorality, but these people also lust after baser animalisms. They lust after "experiences" which Scripture does not condone. They relish in "electrifying" outpourings of spirits which make them twitch and slither such that men are warned to "not lust after" women so caught away. They bark like dogs and growl like lions, and laugh uncontrollably like hyenas. These manifestations are a "break-away" from fundamental doctrine during the past century, and has caused division "contrary to the doctrine."(Rom16:17) And being thus "spirit-filled" they are characterized by...

  10. "...not having the [Holy] Spirit."(vs19b) And as such, by definition, are not in Christ. "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." (Rom8:9) They are not True Believers... They are not "Christians."
As we have briefly reviewed these points, perhaps you chuckled a bit at some of them? Perhaps thinking of some of them as mere "quirks" of people just "getting along" in the church. Not all that "serious." Some of these things, after all, have "been around" for many years. Others are more recent developments. For some of the "older" ones, perhaps we have become mesmerized into complacency. As for the newer ones, we are urged to just accept them and "love our diverse brothers."

However, notice the judgments for these things. Condemnation (vs4), destroyed (vs5), reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgments of the great day (vs6), vengeance of eternal fire. (vs7)

And, these things caused Jude to exhort us to "contend earnestly" for the faith. These are characteristics of non-Christians. But they exist in the "church." They have snuck in, and have now become accepted as the "norm."

So, how do we go about contending?

First of all, we must see to ourselves. "Building yourselves up on your most holy faith."(vs20) It would behoove us to "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? --unless indeed you are disqualified."(2Cor13:5) Oh, the sorrow and lamentations for those who thought they were Christians, but end up hearing the words, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Mt7:23) If you are not sure, get into God's Word. It was written "that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe in the name of the Son of God." (1Jn5:13)

If we know we are in Christ, we strive to keep pure before Him. We "pray in the Holy Spirit." In other words, we give God full rein/reign in our lives. "Do not quench..but be filled with the Spirit."(1Ths5:19,Eph5:18) And we look, fully expectantly for His return to receive us.(vs21)(Jn14:3,Tit2:13)

Then, once we know we are in right standing, we are qualified to reach out to others.(Mt7:5)

First of all, we are to practice discernment. "Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God"(1Jn4:1) And so, as we make "a distinction"(vs22) we have compassion on some. In one case Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more."(Jn8:11) Another cried out, "I believe, help me in my unbelief"(Mk9:24) And Jesus healed the boy. To the multitudes He invited, "Come to me...and I will give you rest."(Mt11:28) And to Peter who had denied Him, he asked, "Do you love Me?"(Jn21) In the same way, if we know the person is, truly, in Christ, but still an "infant" who needs tender guidance, we help out, remembering that we, too, were where they are...and it is by God's grace that we stand.

"But others save with fear, pulling out of the fire..."(vs23) This word "fear" means "dread." It is a "RESCUE MISSION!" They are drastically in error. They are doomed. Headed to eternal judgment. Just as a life guard may have to give a knock-out punch to a nearly drowning person who is thrashing about, to "calm him" in order to save him and pull him out, sometimes a Christian must be strong and forthright when confronting error. Paul confronted Peter in this manner "before them all" about an error that the whole church was becoming carried away in.(Gal2:14) Paul writes to Titus, "rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in faith."(Tit1:13)

Sound in faith, "hating even the garment defiled by the flesh."(vs23) And, while we strive for our own purity, and to save others, the glory goes to Christ. The "bondservant"(vs1) writes of his former "half- brother"...

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. (vs24-25)

Common Salvation: once for all delivered

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