Contending For the Faith

The Book of Jude

1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.

17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Introduction

When we read the book of Jude we find the reason for this little book in verse three – “it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith . . .”

For those of you who insist that this is a Tribulation epistle, and that it has no doctrinal application to the church age, consider the group addressed in verse one – “sanctified by God the Father, and PRESERVED IN Jesus Christ, and called.”  If you don’t think THAT is not addressed to someone that is saved, IN CHRIST, preserved with eternal security, I have some land in the Atlantic I want to sell you.  While there may be some “tribulation application” (say for instance verses 21-24), you can’t pass up material aimed at someone “preserved in Jesus.”

What does it mean to “contend?”

A person who “contends for the faith” is not the typical effeminate Christian psychologist or “slick tongued” Christian celebrity that is overly displayed today.  On the contrary, someone who contends for the faith argues that the Bible is infallibly true, false teaching is still false, hell is still real, and those who disagree are fools!  I don’t see the word “nice” within the etymology of the word “contend.”  In fact, just the opposite is given as a definition:  “to struggle in opposition . . . to strive in rivalry . . . . to strive in debate . . . dispute earnestly . . . to assert or maintain earnestly . . .

Who is to Contend?

Jude is writing to someone that has been sanctified in Christ:

  1.   Sanctified in the past – when they got saved: Saved from the penalty of sin.
  2.   Sanctified in the present – on a daily basis: Saved from the power of sin.
  3.   Sanctified in the future – at the rapture: Saved from the presence of sin.

God doesn’t expect unsaved people to “contend for the faith!”  That would be crazy.  They don’t have any “faith” to contend for!  Nor do they believe in the revelation of God!

[By the way, God doesn’t expect unsaved scholars to tell Christians which Bible version is the right one!  Unsaved scholars who deny the blood atonement, the literal resurrection, and the doctrine of hell, should never be looked to as any kind of an authority on the Bible.  Those God denying rascals believe you should treat the study of manuscript evidence like you would any other book of antiquity.  You can’t treat the Bible like any other book!  The “controversy” over which Bible version to use is a spiritual controversy.  It is not simply a matter of who’s got the most facts, it is a matter of: are you spiritual enough to tell God’s book from Satan’s?]

God has entrusted US with contending for the faith!!  Jude is writing to saved people.  He is exhorting them to move beyond a “John 3:16 mentality” (i.e. “I’m saved so I don’t care about anything else!”) to an aggressive military type of offense!  If you are not in a position to defend and contend for the Bible and its great truths, you are not where you should be as a Christian!

Why Contend?

Watered Down Christianity

Bible believing Christians need to contend because the faith is getting “watered down” in the mainstream Christian world.

No doubt the proliferation of corrupt Bible versions has stimulated this downward trend toward apostasy.  The only reason there is still some truth in what is known as “evangelical” circles is because the teachers of the evangelical leaders were trained on the old King James.  Who knows how bad it will get in the next twenty years!

In WWI a French general was asked, “Which side will win?”  He replied: “The side that advances!”

Folks, we need to advance!  The side that has been advancing for the past fifty years has been the liberal, anti-King James, soft styled non-offensive “teachers.”  We need some Bible believers armed with the truth (1 Peter 4:1) on the front lines advancing for Jesus Christ!

John Wesley said:  “Give me a hundred men who love nothing but God and hate nothing but sin, and I will shake the world for Christ.”

If You Don’t Stand Who Will?

Let’s look here in Jude at some examples of saints who stood and contended for the faith.  Along with these, we are going to see the ones who were apostate and “ungodly.”

Notice in verse 11 that Cain is the example of the apostate.  His counterpart is, of course, Abel.  While Cain rejected the truth, Abel embraced it, and obeyed God!  He brought the right sacrifice and God was pleased.  Abel stood even though his brother didn’t.  Abel had to do what was right even if his brother refused to.  We need more Abels!

Verse six mentions the fallen angels of Genesis chapter six. [“Sons of God” are always referred to as “angels” or “angelic creatures” in the Old Testament:  Gen. 6:2,4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7.  These “sons of God” are also connected to the temptation of Eve by Satan, where they are mentioned as “gods” (Gen. 3:5).  See also: Psa. 82 and Gen. 1:28.]  These fallen angels rebelled against God and His will for them.  But there was a man who lived during that time that did not rebel.  Even though the scriptures say, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” – Gen. 6:5), there was a man that got the Lord’s attention by doing right– Noah.

You can be a Noah for God!  Just because the world is evil and corrupt does not mean you have to succumb to its pull and pressure.  Dare to be a Noah, dare to stand up for the Lord and “contend for the faith.

Verse seven mentions the horrific event of Sodom and Gomorrha.  Those wicked men with their “alternative life styles” finally invited the judgment of God.  Lot moved down there among them, and the Bible says “vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds” – 2 Peter 2:8.  His soul might have been “vexed” but he sure didn’t try to do anything about the wickedness, nor did he move out of town.  Look, sometimes you need to simply withdraw from a situation.  The Bible admonishes us sometimes to FLEE:

1 Cor 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

1 Cor 10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

1 Tim 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

2 Tim 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Sin is too powerful for you to play around with it.  Lot should have packed his bags, grabbed his family and MOVED! He waited too late!  Only until the judgment was falling out of the sky (literally) did he become concerned.

Folks, we need to protest, contend, argue, debate, STAND UP for what is right and STAND AGAINST what is wrong!

Verse 11 mentions Balaam and his wickedness.  He perverted the faith by his carnal appetite to have more.  He began his departure from the faith by disobeying the word of God.  If you notice back in Numbers 22:20 the Lord gave a stipulation to Balaam:

Num 22:20 And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.

The men NEVER CALLED HIM, but he went anyway!  He didn’t care what the word of God said!  His mind was already conniving how he could prosper through this deal with Balak.  Balaam finally subverted the will of God by advising Balak how to get God to turn against his own people (see: Numbers 25:1 with Rev. 2:14).

But, thank God for people like Phinehas, the son of Aaron.  Through his aggressive stand, he caused the Lord to spare hundreds and thousands of lives (see Num. 25:11).

Thank the Lord for people like Joshua and Caleb (see Jude 5)!  Even though they were outnumbered 10 to 2, they still contended for what was right!  God later blessed them and used them mightily.

If you are discouraged because it seems that every one is doing wrong, and you are the only one, cheer up!  God will bless your faithfulness and reward you according to your heart attitude of contending for the faith.

Listen to the words of a pastor who withstood persecution because he decided to “contend for the faith:”

Pastor Kaj Munk spoke out against Nazi annexation of Denmark.  Said to fellow pastors:  “We stand as a temple of the holy God.  All others have their obligations to this or that.  We alone have our obligation to the truth.  …  When justice or injustice is at stake, then we must never ask whether it is worth it.  For then the devil always wins.  On these issues it is always worthwhile to fight….  What we as the church lack is most assuredly not psychology or literature; we lack a holy rage.”  In January 1944 the Nazis dragged him out into a field and riddled his body with bullets.

For Our Own Sakes

Look, we need to contend for the faith, not just because truth is a rare commodity, but for our own sakes, and for the sakes of those who will follow in our steps. If you don’t stand for the truth now, what will happen?  If your church does not preach right doctrine NOW, what kind of a church will it be in ten to twenty years?

We need to stick to the old paths, the old songs, the old time preaching, and the old King James Bible!  If you fall for this new modern, slick, polished, ear tickling, compromising, philosophizing, contemporary Christianity, you will doom generations to come with infidelity to the word of God.

There is a legend that is told about a man who began protesting in his city because of the wicked vices that were allowed to take place.  Week after week, month after month, year after year, the man would protest with absolutely no results.  Things went from bad to worse, and  from worse to “worser.”  One day after many years a young man came up to the now old man and asked him, “Sir do you really believe you are accomplishing anything?”  “No, not really.” the man replied.   “Well, why do you still do it?” the boy asked.  “Son, when I first began I did it to try to change them, but now I do it so they wont change me!”

Are you going to be changed by the world, modern Christianity, or evil influences in your life, family or country?  Do you have what it takes to contend for the old time faith, and the old paths?  Remember, the old paths are always better!

Jer 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

How NOT to Contend

Before we give some scriptural truths on “how” to contend for the faith, let’s see how NOT to do it:

  1.   Don’t contend just for the sake of contending.

In other words, don’t go out looking for an argument.  Believe me, if you stand for the truth, you will have plenty of opportunities to defend it.  You are not super spiritual if you find someone to argue with today!  Don’t think it is your job to go up to an apostate preacher or leader and pick a “theological fight” with him!  If the opportunity comes, defend and contend for what is right.  But don’t go out of your way to argue with heretics.  There are too many people who simply don’t know the truth that you can reach to be wasting all of your time with idiots.

  1.   Don’t contend to prove how smart you are.

Invariably, when a person begins to learn the truth about the scriptures, there is a temptation to show off how much they know, especially in a religious setting (i.e. Sunday school etc.).  The problem is this: when a person begins to learn what the truth is, they can see clearly what “it” (the truth) is NOT!  In other words, once you learn what it is, you know “what it aint.”  And when a person is “truth sensitive” they can become super critical and nit picky.  Some Christians are so super spiritual that they cannot even find a church doctrinally sound enough for them to attend!  Hogwash!  They have simply become their own measuring stick and cannot listen to anyone who may disagree with them ever so slightly.

You must be careful, and avoid the temptation to insert your truthful comments in a conversation, class or other forum of discussion when they are not requested.  Unsolicited advice is never heeded.  Don’t get contend just to argue and prove yourself!  You are not going to get anywhere, unless that is where you intended to go in the first place.

Job 6:25 How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?

  1.   Don’t contend when it is not necessary.

Too often than not, it seems some preaching is nothing more than “disagreeable bashing.”  It is like they have nothing of any real spiritual importance to say, so they in turn begin to bash this and slam that.  While I concede that there is a time and place to warn and blast heresy and heretics, you must be careful to use the proper timing.

Brethren, we must know how and when to use our sword (Heb. 4:12).  I’m afraid too many times we “contend” to prove something, when we should have left the sword in the scabbard.  The most important part of the sword is the handle.  You need to know how to “handle” it.  Don’t be like Joab and his men, who didn’t know when to stop killing with their swords!

2 Sam 2:26 Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren?

How to Contend

Jude verse 20 gives us a key as to our abilities in this fight:

Jude 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

If you are to contend and actually be on the offensive for God, YOU MUST BE GROWING yourself!  You see, contending is not just about putting people who are teaching false doctrine down, it is about building yourself up!  If you are not growing in your devotional life as a Christian, you are NOT going to be able to contend for the faith!

Keep in mind that your contending words of reproof and rebuke are only as potent as the Christian life you live.  If you are not consecrated in your daily walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, it don’t matter what you say!  Unsaved people are watching your life!  If your actions don’t back up your words, you are wasting your breath, and are a bad testimony for the Lord.

How to contend:

  1.   Build up yourself with spiritual exercise:

1 Tim 4:7-8

7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

You need to be a student of the scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15).  You need to spend time regularly in prayer.  You need to grow in your FAITH, on a daily basis.  Learn how to trust God.  Learn how to wait on God.  And, you need to grow in your LOVE for the Lord and the brethren.

The Lord did not say, “All men shall know that ye are my disciples if you believe the word of God from cover to cover.”  Nor did He say, “All men shall know that ye are my disciples if you attend church every Sunday.”  He said:

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

  1.   You need to contend for the faith in empathy.  Notice verse 22:

Jude 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

When you stand up for the truth, do it in such a way that if the person refuses the truth, they have to do so because they don’t agree with the truth, instead of HOW YOU PRESENTED IT.  If someone rejects the Lord; fine.  As long as they did not reject Him because of your sorry attitude and puffed up mentality!

Where do you think you would be if it wasn’t for the mercy of God?  Need I remind you that you would be in hell right now, if it wasn’t for God’s mercy and grace?  Need I remind you that when the Lord revealed Himself to Moses He mentioned His attribute of MERCY first, before He mentioned judgment (Ex. 34:6,7)?

  1.   We need to contend expressly.  Look at verse 23

Jude 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Folks, the time is short.  We do not know how much longer we will be here!  You don’t know if you will have another opportunity to witness to that lost friend or loved one.  Quit wasting time. If you are not right with the Lord, then GET RIGHT!  Time is running out.  And, we are going to regret all the wasting years we spent on JUNK instead of serving the Lord Jesus Christ.  There are people that need to know the truth, and they are not going to learn it unless you tell them!  They are waiting on you!  The great commission is still in the book:

Matt 28:19-20

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Conclusion

We are going to stand in front of the Master one day.  Jude calls himself a “servant of Jesus Christ.”  Are you a servant of the Lord?  Are you contending for the faith, or do you think modern Christianity is okay?  What is going to happen if churches who have the truth, and Christians who know the truth fail to contend and pass it on to others?

Who wins the battle?  The one who advances.  Are you advancing or backing up?  Are you cow tailing to this modern contemporary purpose driven garbage that is out there?  Are you supporting a church or organization that has left “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints?”

Life is too short to stand back and let the world, apostate Christianity and the devil gain ground.  Bible believers, fellow soldiers – LET’S TAKE A STAND – LET’S CONTEND!

 

About the Author: Pastor David Walker