Summary: "The faith once for all entrusted to the saints" is under attack inside and outside of the church. We are called to contend for that faith. What reward is in store for those who do so?
Contending For The Faith
Please stand as we read our newest memory Scripture together …
“To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy –
“To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”
And our memory refresher verse(s) for today is(are) …
“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we disown Him, He will also disown us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot disown Himself.”
Jude 1:24-25 has been our memory Scripture for the past three months.
And, before we move on to another memory Scripture I thought it would be good to take a look at how an important part of this passage relates to in important part found in verses 1-3.
So, let’s look at: Jude 1:1-3 & 24-25
(Prayer for help)
Who is Jude – brother of James / servant of Jesus / half brother of Jesus
What does Jude want to communicate?
The wonder of this fabulous faith that we share is what is driving Jude to write this letter but there is something that is diverting him from doing so.
What does Jude feel so urgently about that he is willing to divert the entire focus of the letter he is about to write?
He is calling all saints, all of God’s holy people to battle
What are they battling for?
- For the faith – the Gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus
- For the faith that was “once for all”
o A faith that is total and complete
o Nothing to be added
o Nothing to be subtracted
- For the faith – entrusted to God’s holy people – the saints – us!!!
Illustration of the importance of contending for the truth ..
Around the year of A.D. 280 a baby named Nicholas was born in Pantara in Asia Minor. He was born to wealthy Christian parents. In his late teens a plague took both of his parents and he was left as a wealthy orphan.
Through this experience he grew closer to the Lord and became a man known for his righteousness and his generosity; he fervently followed the two great commandments.
Eventually he became the archbishop of Myra. This would be similar to what we call our District Superintendent. Our DS oversees the churches in upstate NY and Nicholas was the overseer of the churches in Myra.
That is what we know of Nicholas from history. In the meantime the story of Nicholas of Myra has take two completely different paths.
In one path he has moved to the North Pole where he oversees a workforce of elves to make toys. He has also captured and trained some reindeer to fly and has built a flying sled as well. And every Christmas eve he flies all around the world delivering presents to children by landing on their roofs, entering through a chimney, eating cookies and milk and then escaping through the chimney all while remaining clean and jolly. Oh, and, by the way, he never REALLY judges anyone …
On the other path Nicholas has been elevated to the status of a demigod who can hear and answer prayers. This happened because “church tradition” claimed that he could perform miracles and would sometimes appear to sailors who were in distress.
OK. So Nicholas of Myra has basically become one (or both) of two mythical creatures. Why? Because no one ever contended for the truth about this man who loved God and loved others.
Jude does NOT want that to happen to “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints”, to God’s holy ones, to you and me!
But people were trying to pervert the gospel even back then just as they are trying to do now!
Gospel “entrusted once for all to the saints” God’s faithful people
- to add anything to the faith (the Gospel) perverts the faith
o traditions that supersede Scripture
o additions to Scripture
- to subtract from the faith perverts the faith
o to claim that certain parts of the Bible are no longer relevant
o to claim that the Old Testament is really an unnecessary part of the Bible
o to claim that certain sins are no longer sins
o to avoid preaching about sin because it could cause a decline in church attendance
- the same thing that happened to Nicholas is happening to the gospel
How to contend for the faith