Summary: Exposition of Jude 3-4
Text: Jude 3-4, Title: What was Jude thinking? Date/Place: LSCC, 9/3/06, AM
A. Opening illustration: Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying, “Henry, you’re holding the bat wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.” Aaron didn’t say anything, but when the next pitch came he hit it into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said, “I didn’t come up here to read.”
B. Background to passage: Usually in a 1st century letter following the initial greetings there was a prayer and some thanksgiving (which is why it is sometimes difficult to get out of the intro when you are preaching through a book). But not here! Jude passionately gets right to the point of his reason for writing. Jude not only is passionate about the truth, but about his readers as well. He uses the word “necessity” to describe his compulsion to write and warn them, instead of simply sitting passively back and allowing error to destroy others. How many of us are that concerned about others in our lives and churches? Today is a day and age for bravery for the truth, passion for Christ, and love of the lost to the point that we will lovingly confront them with the gospel, and minister to their needs. The biker Christian talking to me about not needing any more wimpy Christians…
C. Main thought: in our text, we will see four things that were on the mind of Jude as the central theme of Jude
A. Defend the truth earnestly (v. 3)
1. Jude was in the middle of or at least considering writing about their salvation, but got word of the invasion of these false teachers. Jude says that he felt compelled or burdened “to exhorting them to contend.” The word “exhort” means to come alongside and inspire. Jude wanted to infuse passion into their lives for truth. The word that Jude uses for “contend” is epagonizomai, which was used of athletes competing in the games. It is where we get our word “agonize.” It is present tense, meaning to continually contend. Jude doesn’t want them to simply resist or be orthodox, he wants them to rise up and fight for it! He wants them to boldly stand firm for truth.
2. Mark 3:17, Jer 20:9,
3. Illustration: MacArthur quote on p. 139 about truth, the neighbor kid that a family brought to church was asked if he believed what the preacher said, his reply was that he knew that the preacher did, “Hugh Lattimer, dost thou know before whom thou are this day to speak? To the high and mighty monarch (Henry VIII), the king’s most excellent majesty, who can take away thy life, if thou offendest. Therefore, take heed that thou speakest not a word that may displease. But then consider well, Hugh, dost thou not know from whence thou comest—upon Whose message thou are sent? Even by the great and mighty God, Who is all-present and Who beholdeth all thy ways and Who is able to cast thy soul into hell! Therefore, take care that thou deliverest thy message faithfully.”
4. Many of us are far less passionate about truth and the things of the kingdom than we ought to be. We have a very “ho-hum” attitude about it all. “If the church grows, it grows…if I witness I witness…if anyone gets saved…if the children have a SS teacher....” Sometimes we just need to act like we really care. We need a little “thunder” in our blood, and fire in our bones. We must constantly be about the business of defending and fighting for the faith with a blood-earnestness. Truth does matter, and eternities do hang in the balance. The eternal destiny of your family, your neighbors, your town may lie in your ability to stand firm and speak the truth against those who deny it. Has defending your faith ever cost you anything? Have you ever labored over a passage desiring to know what it means? Have you ever faced your boss, your spouse, your family, your neighbor taking an unpopular stand? Have you ever shed a tear or broke a sweat over an issue of truth?
B. Know the faith once handed down (v. 3)
1. Jude places the word “faith” at the end of the sentence for emphasis. And this is a unique verse in the bible regarding “the faith.” There are several statements like this one in the scripture that imply certain creeds or formulations of doctrine that were codified, at least orally, very early in the Christian tradition. Here Jude says that this body of truth was hapax: once and for all given to or handed down to the saints. Implication is that the apostles’ teaching was consistent, complete, and final.