This posting is one of my messages from a series I did in Jude, but I am so concerned about the vital necessity to defend our faith in these confused and evil times that I am submitting it to RaptureReady. The defense of the faith is taken up more in the second half of this article.
VERSE 3: THE NECESSITY OF THE BATTLE
Jude 1:3, “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you, appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith, which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
. OUR COMMON SALVATION. This verse is in two parts. In the first part, Jude speaks about “our common salvation.” In the second part, he speaks about what our position is to be regarding that common salvation. The NIV uses “the salvation we share.” We can see that Jude was ever so keen to write to the Christian world, or to certain Christians, about the very important matter of our common salvation, that is, the faith we hold to and the body of belief we have.
Let me make it clear that there is not one faith for Gentiles and another for Jews; there is not one faith for native Fijians and another for Eskimos. Christ is not divided; neither is the faith we uphold or the beliefs of that faith. It is criminal that false teaching and men’s pride have mutilated the simplicity of salvation and the doctrines we uphold. One of the most insidious doctrines eating into the church today is the one called “the prosperity doctrine,” and I intend speaking about this sometime in the future, in Jude.
Jude was making every effort to write to these Christians and set out before them, no doubt, the facts of the faith and to encourage them in what we all have in common. He had been thinking of God’s salvation, the wonder of it, and the mystery of it. The Church was being formed. It was while he was in deep contemplation of that, the Holy Spirit directed him to the urgency and necessity to defend this faith.
One commentator said, “He had been intending to write to them on what is the common interest of all Christians, salvation through Christ, but was compelled to abandon his intention because news had reached him of a special danger threatening the Gospel once for all delivered to the Church. His duty now was to stir up the faithful to defend their faith against insidious assaults.”
We are going to look at this common salvation.
If you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, you don’t have a different salvation from mine. There might be many paths to the cross, but there is only one Door, one entry, and one sheepfold. The door is the door of faith, the entry is through confession and belief, and the sheepfold is for those who are born again through the Good Shepherd laying down His life for the sheep.
Salvation that belongs to God embraces all ages throughout time, all nationalities and all cultures. All who are part of it know there is only one Way, one Truth, and one Life. All come as sinners, hopeless to fix themselves, realizing that salvation is obtained only through believing in the Saviour and receiving Him personally.
That is our common salvation.
A truly converted person will accept the Bible as the inspired word of God and will trust the Lord through the journey of life. His and her fellowship is with the Lord as He comes to dine with His own. We dine with the Lord, and he dines with us.
Jude was as Jewish as you could get, his father being Joseph the carpenter and his mother being Mary, the one blessed among women. “Blessed among women,” NOT blessed over women. However, he knew his salvation was exactly the same as that of any saved Gentile.
There is one body comprised of all those who have entered in by faith, the Body of Christ, the Church redeemed by the Lamb, sanctified by the Spirit, faithfully kept by the Father who will bring all things to pass.
Great is the mystery of godliness – 1 Tim 3:16 – God was incarnate in Christ, God the Word taking on the form of man and being found in fashion as a man. He humbled Himself, going to Calvary for the redemption of mankind.
His completed work on that cross has paved the way for man to be right with God – reconciled – man, the enemy, with a holy God. The Bible uses different words and expressions for this common salvation à reconciliation, redemption, justification, born-again, conversion.
The ones who are God’s are believers, saints, sanctified, heirs, beloved. All these terms and descriptions belong to every Christian who is a member of the Body of Christ, the Church, the Bride of Christ. This is our common salvation.
The disciples, early after the cross, were to learn that the entire flock of God was much greater than the household of Israel. It was to extend to Samaritans and Gentiles. In fact, the first lot of people in history to believe were not Jews but Gentiles, for Abram had not yet been called by God in covenant relationship.
From Adam to Abraham or Moses, none were Jews. Even after the people of Israel were formed, some Gentiles came to connect with the chosen people – Rahab, Ruth, Naaman, just three we know of.
Jude had been thinking of God’s salvation, the wonder of it, and the mystery of it. The Church was being formed. It was while he was in deep contemplation of that, the Holy Spirit directed him to the urgency and necessity to defend that faith and the common heritage we all have. Jude was writing to the whole early Christian community, addressing men widely separated from each other by nationality, race, culture, and general outlook on life. And he beautifully and humbly unites himself with them all as recipients of a “common salvation.” Paul himself used this same thought. Titus 1:4, “To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.”
. OUR EARNEST CONTENTION. Now, in this second section, I am going to do this in a certain order.
(a). Let us begin with “once for all.“ Once for all – let us understand that. This expression “once for all” means that there is no further anything to be added – once for all time. What God delivered is totally complete. God’s whole essay is set in stone. It does not need amendment or addition. It does not need any church traditions. It does not need extra revelation or prophecy from God. Any of those things is spurious, man’s inventions, man’s arrogance, and man’s sinfulness. The theology, the doctrines, the patterns and behavior for living the Christian life, have all been given by God in the New Testament, and the faith is sealed up in that book. No more will ever be added in any shape or form.
The verse ends with “delivered to the saints,” or the larger version, “once for all delivered to the saints,” a clear statement that what God has delivered and entrusted applies to all the Christians Jude wrote to and to every Christian from that time to the present. Let not one of us seek an experience, or follow a speculative doctrine, or the adoption of some practice in the name of Christian experience, or a new Pentecost. For God has laid it all out in His book, and that book was completed with Revelation written on Patmos. There is no more prophecy or “new thing” ever needed.
(b). Delivered to the Saints. Secondly, this faith has been delivered to the saints (NIV – “entrusted”). By delivering this faith to the saints, it is imperative that the saints handle the body of truth correctly and safeguard it against all attacks. We are entrusted with a great treasure.
A person you admire comes to you and gives you a diamond and asks you to look after it for a week until he returns from a trip, and you agree because you love that person and promise that you’ll keep it safe in his absence. When he brings it to you, you nearly fall over backward when he informs you the stone is worth two million dollars. If you knew it to be just an average, not too expensive a diamond, then you would seek some place to seclude it away for safety in the owner’s absence.
If you were the guardian of a precious diamond worth two million dollars, then how much extra care you would take of it to ensure it was guarded with the utmost endeavor and dedication.
This precious faith that was delivered to the saints once for all is beyond worth, for it is the living, eternal words of the living God. We must ensure its safekeeping and, with all our energy and resources, protect it until the owner’s return. In other words, we must protect the truth of God and fight for its purity and accuracy until the Lord comes back for us.
Jude 1:3 “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
(c). Feeling the Necessity. Let us try to look into Jude’s mind as he made this statement, “I felt the necessity.” (The NIV is a bit weak in “I felt I had to.”) Jude was setting out the points of our common salvation when the importance and urgency to defend that salvation overtook him, and he asked the readers to “contend earnestly” for the faith.
He appealed to them to do that (NASB); urged them (NIV).
We are not playing tiddlywinks here, for the matter demands our full attention. This expression, “contend earnestly,” is a very strong term.
It means an attitude that takes up arms for the cause, though not literally so. We are to be soldiers who will not lie down when the word of God is attacked, and when men and women preach and distort the word and compromise the truth because they are cowards, or take the position of liberal theology.
We must not give ground to false teaching, and it obligates us to make sure that we ourselves are holding to the truth and shut the door to error.
(d). Contending for the Faith. I want to look at how we contend for the faith. It will involve effort on our part as we equip ourselves to be worthy. I think the most important aspect is that we can’t defend the faith if we don’t know what the faith is, or if we are not established properly in the faith. How can we be established? Paul wrote in 2Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.”
When it comes to knowing the Bible and living according to its precepts, the principle of osmosis does not apply. Osmosis is when liquid seeps into another substance. The Bible does not seep into us, and we do not absorb the word of God.
There is no easy fix. We must study for ourselves, which means reading and meditating on our own, reading good commentaries by good Christian teachers, listening to good messages by gifted men and through electronic means or using other resources, attending Bible studies, and not neglecting attending a church where the Bible is honored. Sadly, these churches are becoming scarcer.
My understanding is that our generation has seen the quickest decline, departure, and mutilation of the faith of any generation before us. We live in a post-Christian era, and secularism and paganism are openly in revolt against Christianity. It comes from all aspects of the media, a full-frontal attack on education in our schools, and from so-called initiatives from politicians such as we see in homosexual marriage and WOKE agendas. All these things are attacking the very tenants of the Christian faith with an increasing hatred.
What is sad is that too many preachers who stand in pulpits today are compromising the truth and adopting the thinking and standards of the world. Some are advocates for gay marriage; quite a number have adopted liberal theology; others are on the environmental or social gospel bandwagons as the ideal for Christians.
Many are adopting the health and wealth ideas of neo-Pentecostalism. These are the days of Laodicea where all is lukewarm, meaning a denial of the power of the gospel. These men preach to itching ears a watered-down, powerless gospel so that no member of the church is offended or challenged as to faith or belief.
In the so-called Western “christian” nations, the militancy against anything Christian is advancing rapidly. We have seen persecution of Christians simply because they hold a belief that is not in accord with this world or world socialism under the WEF with its insane push on climate action because of its delusion. Christians are being canceled, another evil in the culture war that has descended.
It is with that situation in mind that Jude strongly appeals to his readers to contend earnestly for the faith, and this he develops in his letter. Synonyms for “contend” include struggle, resist, oppose, challenge. This Greek word for “contend” means to be focused on a contest or competition, and to struggle. It is like the sportsman who will give his all, fighting to win the prize. It suggests skill and commitment.
Let us never be part of the word being denied or adulterated. For, believe me, the progress of evil against the true gospel is as subtle as the enemy sowing tares (weeds) in the night, unnoticed, that grow up looking like the wheat. The Apostle Paul also stressed the urgency of this matter. Philippians 2:27, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (ESV).
I think that, in these days, we need the encouragement of each other. The battle is long and hard. We must support one another because those who would uphold the truth of God are becoming fewer and fewer. Do you recall the time when Moses was involved in the battle against the wicked people called Amalek? This is it:
Exodus 17:8-13 “The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands. So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”
What we gain from this is that Moses held up his hands in intercession, that is, his effort and involvement was winning the fight, but when he eased off, or when it became too hard for him, then the battle was being lost. But Moses needed the encouragement and help of Aaron and Hur to hold up his hands. Joshua overcame by the sword of iron and steel. We overcome by the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
In the fight against the enemies of God’s word, we need the help of our friends to hold our hands up in the fight, and our friends need our help in holding up their hands as well. Moses contended earnestly that day, and so must we.
We must contend against the enemies of the word. They are now everywhere. Christians are being taken down by the homosexual lobby, and hatred is attacking from other quarters.
We are not able to defend anything of the Lord if our lives are compromised, or we are living with the world’s standards where we find no time for separation to God and His pursuits; no time to be with God’s people; and little interest in promoting God’s interests.
May we all be strengthened in our common salvation and equipped for the seriousness of the struggle before us. Amen.
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