Summary: Instructions from the Doxology
When Jude began his letter, his original intention was to write a general letter about the “salvation that Christians share”. But, he modified & narrowed his concern to urging the believers to “contend for the faith”. When her used the words salvation and faith he was referring to the same Christian message; but the different words highlighted the problems in the Church to which he was writing.
Salvation – great future hope of Jesus’ return. This hope was being undermined by those who did not share it.
Faith – fixed Christian gospel. This was being eroded by those who denied that it was given to the Church once for all. They wanted to change the doctrine to suit what they wanted to do. They thought that Christian freedom meant licence to do whatever they wanted to do.
In verses 1-19 he explained WHY we should struggle or contend or fight to preserve the doctrine that we have. He indicated:
1. Our faith tells of our full salvation – now and in the future
2. Our faith is Complete – given to us once and for all. All that we need has been given!
3. Our faith will be challenged by the opposition of false teachers (godless, dreamers, scoffers).
Here, in vs. 20-25, he tells us HOW to contend. Here he gives three steps, which are necessary if we are to do so.
I. LOOK INWARD (VS. 20-21)
We must take care of ourselves, taking care that we are properly centered on God and his gospel.
- Faith – body of doctrine. Recognition that from the outset, there has been a recognizable & defensible gospel.
- See Gal. 1:9, 11
- In OT anything that belonged to the holy God – automatically holy. Punishment for stealing or mistreating it.
- BUILD UP YOURSELVES – Must be growth/Must be growth in every area/Must be corporate growth.
- Prayer must be in the Spirit
- Second time that he refers to the Spirit (v. 19 counterfeit leaders do not have the Spirit)
- Correct the falsehood about lower class Christians (saved but no HS) and upper class Christians (higher spiritual awareness)
- Pray in Spirit – tongues? NO – not to deviate from our faith and hope (New Christians - healthy roots; Leaders – keep from error; Fallen into error – restored)
- Keep yourself in God’s love
- Two sides:
1. Paul – “God’s love compels us” (2 Cor. 5:14) & so he prays that the Ephesians might “grasp how wide and long and deep is the love of Christ” (Eph. 3:18)
2. On the other side, Jesus warned us to “remain in my love. If you obey my Father’s commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
So, though God’s love is fixed and is promised in his covenant, it is possible for us to position ourselves outside of it and instead to face his anger
- Wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Christianity makes sense only if the promises that God has made are kept.
- OT – many promises were given and the believers then waited patiently. Micah saw other around his deserting God and declared, “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Saviour; my God will hear me.” (Micah 7:7)
II. LOOK OUTWARD (VS. 22-23)
We have certain responsibilities to those who are falling foul of wrong teaching.
- Persons who are asking questions; at odds with themselves; halting between opinions
- Don’t create the environment where it is hard for the searching believer to admit that they have difficult questions & misunderstandings.
- Willingness to listen and talk things through – characterized by mercy
- We are objects of God’s mercy – show mercy
- Gone further than questioning; they are actually playing with fire. Engaging in the thinking and lifestyle of those “who change the grace of our God into a licence for immorality”
- Recognize the deadly position they are in. Sodom & Gomorrah “serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire” (v. 7). Dabblers are playing with fire
- Rescue is all the more dramatic. Without being offensive or insensitive, we are instructed to save them/snatch them from the fire.
- Fully involved in the false doctrine – maybe even ringleaders or teachers.
- Again, mercy must be held out to them. But mercy mixed with fear (FEAR: contamination; persuasive ability; God, the righteous & holy judge) All good reasons to fear & get involved.
- Hate the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. Requirement for total repentance. We can’t lower standards in the hope that more will come in.