Contend For the Faith
There is an epidemic that is sweeping across the local church of what can be defined as irrational complacency. In other words an illogical, unreasonable understanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ. However this isn't something new, but has been warned of in the Book of Jude. In this series we are going to take a deeper look into what it looks like to be a follower of Christ and contend for your faith.
God’s Grace through Jesus Demands a Whole Life Response to fight for your faith
Jude 1:1-4 (NLT)
1 This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ. 2 May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love. 3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Greek word for depend is: epagónizomai (v): to earnestly contend for.
To fight for you faith you must:
1) Believe in what you are fighting for
Romans 10:9-10 (NLT)
9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
Be·lieve (v): accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of.
2) Have a love for what you are fighting for.
1 John 4:14-19 (NLT)
14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.
Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT)
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
What is Love?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
This defines the nature of God for He is love
John 14:15 (NLT)
15 “If you love me, obey my commandments.
3) Guard against complacency.
vs. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives.
God’s Grace is not a license to sin- the enemy lulls us to sleep and cheapens Gods Marvelous Grace. If grace allows us to do whatever we want then why did Christ die for us. He died because sin demands justice and therefore Christ took on that Justice for you and me.
1 Peter 1:13-20 (NLT)
13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.
Revelation 3:15-17 (NLT)
15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
Self absorption creates chaos wherever you go.
Self Absorption - n. preoccupation with one's own emotions, interests, or situation.
Jude 1:5-10 (NLT)
5 So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. 6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. 7 And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. 8 In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. 9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) 10 But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction.
Self Absorption connects to a common theme of issues with God’s Children including us today
1.) Rebelling against God Authority
2.) Sexual immorality
3.) Rejecting God’s Messenger
Self Absorption leads to rebelling against God’s authority.
Israel’s Wilderness Rebellion (Numbers 14)
5 So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful.
1 Samuel 15:23 (NKJV)
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
Rebelling against God’s authority leads to sexual immorality.
Rebellious Angels (Genesis 6)
Jude 1:6 (NLT)
6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.
Men of Sodom (Genesis 19)
Jude 1:7 (NLT)
7 And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.
In Verse 8 Jude connects these rebellions with the issues facing the Church.
In Verse 9 Jude references the Testament of Moses - which is a creative retelling of Moses and the stories of Deuteronomy.
Rebellion ultimately leads to rejecting God’s messengers.
Jude 1:10 (NLT)
10 But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction.
Rebellion demands justice.
Jude 1:11 (NLT)
11 What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain (Genesis 4), who killed his brother. Like Balaam (Numbers 22-25, 31:16), they deceive people for money. And like Korah (Numbers 16), they perish in their rebellion.
Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)
7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.
Guard against associating with self-absorption and those self absorbed.
Jude 1:12-13 (NLT)
12 When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. 13 They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.
- Selfish shepherds - Ezekiel 34:2
- Clouds without rain - Proverbs 25:19
- Known by fruit - Matthew 7:15-20
- Chaotic waves - Isaiah 57:20
Jude 1:5-13 Self absorption creates chaos wherever you go.
Three by products of self absorption:
1.) Rebelling against God Authority
2.) Sexual immorality
3.) Rejecting God’s Messenger
How do I know if I’m self-absorbed?
How you live is the most reliable indicator of what you actually believe.
Self absorption is the opposite of love.
1 John 4:8 (NLT)
8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Self Absorption is the root of all sin.
Genesis 3 - Sin entered the world-God promises hope and provides a way to worship Him.
Isaiah 9:5-7 - Prophecies of the Messiah - Jesus.
John 3:16-17 God sent His Son to save the world not condemn it.
Self Absorption leads to a rejection of the One True Living God and requires justice.
Jude fires two warning shots to the believer.
An Ancient Warning from the Book of Enoch (vs 14-16), and a Recent Warning from the Apostles (vs 17-19)
Jude quotes from the first chapter of Enoch which in itself references several Old Testament books (Genesis 5, Deuteronomy 33:2, Zechariah 14:5, Isaiah 66:15-16)
Jude 1:14-16 (NLT)
14 Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones 15 to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.
Self Absorption is dangerous and will demand justice.
Isaiah 66:15-16 (NLT)
15 See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his swift chariots roar like a whirlwind. He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke. 16 The Lord will punish the world by fire, and by his sword.
He will judge the earth, and many will be killed by him.
Romans 6:23 (NLT)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
James 4:17 (NLT)
17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
Recent Warning from the Apostles
Jude 1:17-19 (NLT)
17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
Each points to warnings from the apostles such as: Peter (2 Peter 2:1-3) John (1John 4:1-3) Paul (2 Timothy 3:1-9). They were echoing Jesus teaching on this matter (Matthew 7:15-19).
Is this warning relevant to us today?
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NLT)
1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
Self-absorption fights you every day, you must make a conscious choice to selfless over selfish.
Philippians 2:1-11 (NLT)
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.