Summary: A message concerning the need to recognize false brothers and remove them from the church.
Contend for the Faith
October 21, 2001
Have you ever had someone from your own family voice their opinion that you are out of your mind?
Here you are, out there trying to do what you think God has you doing, whether it is in full-time ministry, or ministry in a job setting, and your own brother says that he thinks you are crazy.
And he means it.
Today, as we continue in our series on “The Little Guys,” those books of the Bible which seem to get less attention, we look at the writing of a person just like I described.
In the third chapter of Mark, we read these words:
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."
According to the best known information, the author of our Scripture passage today is one of Jesus’ own brothers; His half-brother, actually.
Here is a guy who was at first embarrassed by his brother, then later served Him as a leader.
Jude identifies himself as a brother of James, who was also a half-brother of Jesus.
And Jude, far from wondering if His brother is nuts, now writes a letter saying that the brother he once mocked is the Sovereign Lord.
God is in the business of changing lives, folks, and He does not discriminate against those who had treated Him harshly if they come to Him in faith, as His brothers did.
In this letter, Jude beats the same drum as the apostle John did in his letters: truth is all-important, and needs to be defended.
Apparently, godless men had slipped in among the fellowship and tried to destroy the apostles’ teachings. They were not men who were followers of Christ who just made some mistakes in doctrine, they were intruders who did not belong in the first place, and who wreck the believers’ faith.
This will give you a handle on the urgency of this letter.
And in looking at this letter, I want to help us see not the challenge of first-century Christians, but the reality of this challenge in our own time, 20 centuries later.
Please turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Jude. If you are using the Bibles in the seats, this can be found on page 866.
My purpose this morning is to whet our appetites for defending the truth of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the Savior, and the only hope for mankind.
In doing this, I want us to look at the need to first of all…
I. Recognize the Challenge.
Please follow along as I read verses 1-13.
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ:
2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home--these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
8 In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" 10 Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals--these are the very things that destroy them.
11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.
12 These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm--shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted--twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.