Summary: How do we go about "contending for the faith once delivered to the saints"?
Bobby Bowden, (former football coach of Florida State University) said that when he was in college, he played college baseball. During one game he managed to hit a ball right down the right-field line, into the corner.
He rounded 1st and looked to the 3rd base coach.
He turned at 2nd, was halfway to 3rd - and coach was still waving him on to home… and when he reached home, he stepped triumphantly on the plate. He had scored his first home run as a college player, and he was excited. Everybody on his team was giving him high-fives and slapping him on the back.
But then the pitcher took the ball, threw to the first baseman, and the umpire called him out.
How come? What happened?
Well, in his excitement… he’d failed to touch first base. Bowden later applied that lesson he’d learned to his personal life… and to his life in Christ:
"If you don’t take care of first base, it doesn’t matter what you do.
If you don’t honor the Lord first, it doesn’t matter what else you do."
Here in Jude, the writer is telling the Christians of his day:
Take care of 1st base.
“Contend for the faith once delivered to the saints!”
Because, if you don’t take care of first base… it doesn’t matter what else you do.
If you don’t contend for the faith that was ONCE DELIVERED to the saints - if you don’t make it a point to touch THAT base in your church - you could really mess things up.
Then the writer of Jude goes on to say that the failure to contend for the faith has consequences:
· “… godless men (will) change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” Jude 1:4
· This will lead to some not believing and facing judgment from God. Jude 1:5
· And eventually God will bring damnation on those who rebel because of your lack of faithfulness in contending for the faith once delivered to the saints. Jude 1:6-7
You can do ANYTHING ELSE you want to for the church.
You can be highly successful and build large buildings.
You can write popular books and receive the praises of men.
But if you fail to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints you can bring disaster and judgment upon those who depend on you
Paul makes the same warning in Philippians 1:27-28
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, CONTENDING AS ONE MAN FOR THE FAITH of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved— and that by God.”
Now why would that be? Why is it so important?
Why can’t we believe whatever we want to believe?
What difference does it make what the church teaches/ believes?
ILLUS: Well, it’s kind of like this: Phil (a member of our congregation) owns a stunning sports car. It’s a Viper. It’s a thing of beauty. And it has a powerful engine with 10 cylinders.
Most of us common folks have cars with 6 and 8 cylinders… but this car has TEN cylinders. I’m pretty sure it can take you anywhere you want to go as fast as you’ll ever want to go.
Well, let’s say I come into some money, and I decide to buy Phil’s sports car, and he’s kind enough to sell it to me. But buying that car just about taps me out. Money gets tight and I have to start cutting some corners. And one of the places I decide to cut corners is in the oil I buy for oil changes. The oil I’m supposed to put in that vehicle begins to look a little too expensive for my budget, so I decide to go down to the grocery store & buy some Wesson cooking oil.
I mean – it is oil isn’t it?
Now, what do you think is going to happen to that car?
It’ll turn over just once, and then that engine isn’t going to be worth much.
On the outside it will probably still be a beautiful sports car but on the inside… the power of its engine will be destroyed.
It will ultimately be unable to take me the places I want to go.
And that is what God tells us about the Faith Once Delivered to the saints.
If I go to changing the oil and putting something in the engine that doesn’t belong I might still have a good looking chassis on the outside, but on the inside… I’ll have destroyed the power that the Church has to help people go where they want to go.