Summary: We are called to hold on to what we believe
A young man was making poor grades in school, particularly in math. His parents tried various things, none of which seemed to produce the desired improvement. Finally, they decided to enroll him in a private Christian school.
At the end of the first grading period, the young man came home and proudly presented his report card to his parents. They were shocked to find that all of his grades had improved significantly. Most noticeably, he had received his first-ever "A" in math.
His parents were overjoyed and began to question him to determine what it was that had finally produced the improvement they had sought. "Was it the non-traditional teaching methods in the private school?" No. "Was it the strict discipline?" No. "Was it the smaller class sizes and more individual attention?" No. "Well, what WAS it then that caused such a big turn around?" they asked.
"Well," the son replied, "when I walked into that school on the first day and the first thing I saw was that man nailed to that plus sign, I KNEW I’d better take math seriously here."
What he believed changed how he acted.
What we believe (as members the family of God) will not only change how we act individually, but will help us to achieve our common goals.
o What we believe is the glue that binds us together in the family of faith. It is what gives us commonality of purpose, interest and behaviour.
Why does it matter that we understand ourselves as being part of the “family of faith” (As opposed to our actions being a private response)?
o To achieve our functional relationship with Christ – Servants
o To appreciate our positional status in Christ – Called, Beloved in God and Kept/Preserved by Christ.
In this book, Jude is concerned about the preservation of that community – this resource that God gives us to help us achieve our functional relationship with Christ - Servants.
ORIGINAL vs. REVISED INTENTION
When Jude began this 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/fight for the faith”.
"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." - Jude 3
Use of the words salvation and faith – refer 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.
o Salvation is not just being converted or being a Christian - Full Works/Complete Plan
o Tone of Letter: God our Saviour; God will save us in the future; God is able (vs. 24) to save us from condemnation, judgement, and punishment.
o 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 there was any fixed gospel. They wanted to change the doctrine to suit what they wanted to do.
His Original Intention in writing “…salvation we share”
His Revised Intention in writing “…faith once entrusted to us”
His Reason for Changing - Church is in Danger
"For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." - Jude 4
The church has some people today who are telling us that: **doctrine doesn’t matter or that **the doctrine we have is not good enough.
THEREFORE, We must CONTEND (fight or struggle) to preserve the gospel.
STONG Instruction that is given. Why?
The Gospel is that which binds us together in faith. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” or “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.” Rom 10:17
Jude provides three reasons we must be uncompromising in our guarding of the Faith We Are Urged To Defend. Because our Faith is COMPLETE
FAITH IS CLOSED IN CONTENT “…which was once for all…”
0. Those things we believe NOT fact of belief
1. Objective not subjective - Contents always a source of controversy e.g. Denial of Resurrection (1 Cor); Return of Christ (2 Pet)
2. Finality and Definiteness.
. Paul, telling the Ephesian elders to proclaim "the whole counsel of God" - Ac 20:27
i. Peter, writing that God has given us "all things that pertain to life and godliness" - 2 Pet 1:3