Hey Jude Don't Be Afraid Series
Contributed by Jeff Strite on Sep 3, 2017 (message contributor)
Summary: Jude speaks of people who "infiltrate" the church to damage it. Who are they and why do they do that? And how can we "contend for the Faith" when faced with these kinds of folks?
It was the winter of 1944. The German army was in a desperate situation and ultimately launched what became known as the Battle of the Bulge. A key part of their strategy was to disrupt and mis-direct reinforcements that the Allies would be sending into the battle. They called it “Operation Grief” and they sent German spies dressed as US Military Police who infiltrated the American line where they setup road blocks and directed military units the wrong way. The plot was quickly discovered and 18 of the infiltrators were caught and tried and executed.
But even though the plan fell apart quickly, the greatest damage came in the afterward. Soldiers did not know who to trust. Several American soldiers were killed for not answering questions about the United States correctly. And High ranking officers were detained when their credentials were questioned. (Paul Barreca, Sermoncentral.com)
An Infiltrator can cause great damage because he can create doubt among those fighting for good.
APPLY: In this letter from Jude we find the church has an infiltrator problem. They have enemy spies in their midst.
Jude 3 & 4 tells us “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For CERTAIN PEOPLE HAVE CREPT IN UNNOTICED who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
For the next 4 weeks we’re going to talk about how to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Each week we’re address a different aspect of what we need to understand so that we can effectively contend with those who would undermine our faith.
And every week we’re going to start out with this statement… We don’t have to APOLOGIZE for our faith. We don’t need to rally to God defense. Our God is bigger than we are and He doesn’t really need for us to defend Him. But God still calls for us to contend for our faith. He calls us to stand up boldly and declare what we believe in, and to stand firm against false teaching/teachers.
ILLUS: When I was in my early 20s I had conversation at a secular college in my home town with a couple of professors… and we were talking about Christianity. These professors were not favorably disposed toward our faith and as we stood in the dining area of that college it became apparent to me that I was out of my depth. These guys were way smarter than I was. I was on the edge of despair – because it was obvious I wasn’t scoring any points. But it was then that God delivered these men into my hands. I didn’t convert them, and they didn’t concede defeat… but God put doubt into their minds.
What happened was – one of them confidently said “Jeff you need to see this from an unbiased position.” And it was then that a light came on in my mind and I remembered something I’d heard a few weeks before that. I looked at the professor and said “There’s no such thing as an UNBIASED position.” And his friend turned to him and said “HE’S RIGHT!”
From that point on they became distracted by this and pretty much let up on me.
Everybody has a bias. I’m biased toward God… those men weren’t. And depending on what a person’s bias is - either for God or against Him - that bias will determine where they spend eternity.
We believe (our bias is) that Jesus is the Way, the TRUTH and the Life and that no one comes unto the Father EXCEPT through Him. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 talks about people who are deceived by those who oppose Jesus. It says that “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”
You see, it’s critical that we contend for the faith once delivered to the saints because people will go to hell if we don’t stand up for our faith.
Satan knows that and he uses INFILTRATORS that slip into churches to make it hard for folks to know who to trust. The letter of Jude focuses on people who are infiltrators. He calls them deceivers, godless men, evil people (he doesn’t mince any words).
But what drives these godless individuals is their bias. And what is their bias? Jude tells us: “(They) pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and (they) deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
These folks have a motivation. An agenda that drives them. They are “biased”. And their bias is: They want to be in control. They want what they want from Christianity and they’re not above changing the rules whenever it suits them. They pervert the Grace of God. They deny Jesus is our master and lord. They don’t want God telling them how to live. They want to live how THEY want to live and they want the church to be ok with that.