Summary: Jude in writing to believers expresses a deep concern that the precious faith that has saved and keeps them is repeatedly being threatened both from without and within the church. He further states that it is every believers responsibility and duty to con
CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
Introduction: Jude in writing to believers expresses a deep concern that the precious faith that has saved and keeps them is repeatedly being threatened both from without and within the church. He further states that it is every believers responsibility and duty to contend (struggle, strive) for the faith that once for all was delivered to the believer. Unfortunately many have mistaken views of what contending for the faith really means.
I. Contending for the Faith is not Complacently Congealing: it is Confronting the Culture.
A. Matthew 16:18 “...I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
B. Gates are a defensive object. They are designed to keep things in or out. When was the last time that a gate attacked anything? The gates of hell do not attack us. But we sit waiting for the world and the lost to come to us and ask us about our faith or how to become a Christian. We are to be on the offensive not sitting idle. The key word in the Great Commission is GO!
C. Too many Christians are settled and at ease, content to be passive Christians.
D. In Luke 19:23, Jesus Christ taught that we are to “Occupy” until He comes. Some seek to interpret this as to take us space when what Christ was saying that we are to “engage in His business until He comes” by confronting our world with the truths of the gospel.
E. Christianity spread rapidly during the first century because ALL Christians saw themselves as responsible for disseminating the gospel. – Erwin W Lutzer
F. The church is under orders. Evangelistic inactivity is disobedience. – John R. W. Stott
G. The church must go into the world because the world won’t come into the church.
H. Mark 16:15 “And He said to them, Go into all the world, proclaim the gospel to all the creation.”
I. Luigi Tarisio was found dead one morning with scarce a comfort in his home, but with 246 exquisite violins, which he had been collecting all his life, crammed into an attic, the best in the bottom drawer of an old rickety bureau. In his very devotion to the violin, he had robbed the world of all that music all the time he treasured them; others before him had done the same, so that when the greatest of his collection, a Stradivarius, was first played it had had 147 speechless years. Yet, how many of Christ’s people are like old Tarisio? In our very love of the church we fail to give the glad tidings to the world; in our zeal for the truth we forget to publish it. When shall we all learn that the Good News needs not just to be cherished, but needs to be told? All people need to hear it. – -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 492.
J. We are to be world changers not to be changed by the world.
II. Contending for the Faith is not Unconscious Contentment: it is Conscious Comprehension.
A. There are two reasons for us to be skilled and knowledgeable in our faith – first to defend against corruption within because of apathy and second to be able to give a logical answer for our faith when asked.
B. Jude 1:4 “For certain men crept in secretly, those having been of old previously written into this condemnation, ungodly ones perverting the grace of our God for unbridled lust, and denying the only Master, God, even our Lord Jesus Christ.”
C. I Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason of the hope in you, with meekness and fear.”
D. In the early and middle 20th Century, liberal theology began to challenge conservative Christianity under the guise of scientific and intellectual enlightenment. In reaction, many conservative Christians adopted an attitude of anti-intellectualism. They were content simply to say, “I don’t understand it and don’t need to.” To too many Christians ignorance is bliss.
E. I believe a very large majority of churchgoers are merely unthinking, slumbering worshipers of an unknown God. – Charles H. Spurgeon in Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 11. Christianity Today, Vol. 40, no. 1.
F. Part of contending for the faith is knowing what we believe and why we believe it.
G. Scripture never denounces gaining knowledge. It is the world’s wisdom not its knowledge that God considers as foolishness.
H. I Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those being lost, but to us being saved, it is the power of God.”
I. It is interesting that word for preaching is logos – logic, or reasoning.