Sermons

Summary: Jude the younger brother of James calls believers to contend against calculating enemies in prayerful “narrow door” faith. We contend with the purpose of evangelism and repentance even if it means personal sacrifice and suffering.

You can listen to the full message here:

https://nec.org.au/contend-for-the-faith/

Message

Jude 1-4

How To Contend

Jude is a one chapter book with 25 verses.

It doesn’t take long to read so let’s do that now.

Read Jude

In Greek the name is pronounced “Judas” – in the Bible there are a number of different of people who have the name Judas. But the only Judas we know whose brother is James is this Judas:-

Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us?

Matthew 13:54-56

The way Judas describes himself is very interesting.

He is not the brother – or half brother – of Jesus. He is the brother of James.

Which says a lot.

Firstly it shows that Jude doesn’t want to elevate his position or play on his family ties to Jesus. Indeed he only calls himself the servant of Jesus Christ. Which, above all else, makes Jude a humble ministry vessel.

Secondly this description helps us understand a bit about the date and location of the book. If we have a closer look at the family of Jesus we discover a great transformation. At an early point in the ministry of Jesus this happens:-

Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

Mark 3:20-21

Those of us who have family members and close loved ones who are not-yet-believers – be really encouraged by these words. Even those who lived with Jesus at first didn’t believe him to be the Messiah.

His ministry caused embarrassment and shame.

The family felt like they were a laughing stock – who is so spiritually minded that they don’t even eat.

Yet … eventually … they came to see the truth.

After Jesus was ascended, but before Pentecost the 11 disciples gathered regularly in an upper room.

They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

Acts 1:14

Never give up on those you love – because you never know when the grace of Jesus with take hold. You never know when the reality of repentance and confessing the name of the Lord will be seen.

Few people had greater exposure to Jesus than his brothers … his family.

Yet even they took decades to finally see the truth.

When they saw the truth … well what a transformation. In Galatians 1 Paul gives us an outline of his conversion and the years following.

(After three years of living in Damascus) I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas (Peter) and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother.

Galatians 1:18-19

Many years later in about 58AD after his third missionary journey ...

We (Paul, Silas and the missionary team) arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters received us warmly. The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.

Acts 21:17-19

This James is the Lord’s half-brother – James the brother of John was put to death by Herod in Acts 12:2. James who is now one of the most senior leaders in Jerusalem.

Now his little brother is writing a letter.

Jude the brother of James.

Where the home base is Jerusalem where the church is predominately made up of Jewish background believers.

- Which explains the high use of Old Testament examples.

- And also explains the use of Jewish books not included in the Old Testament.

In the time frame when James was a predominant leader – so around the AD60-AD70.

Jude is writing into that social situation.

Once the introduction is out of the way the first thing Jude says is:-

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.

Jude 3

I wanted to write about the salvation we share

We are one body because of the sacrifice of Jesus which enables all peoples from all tribes and languages and nations to be brought into the kingdom of God and know that they have a place and a purpose.

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