Beloved, Contend and Beware
- We continue with our series on Jude, and let’s just recap
- It’s one of the shortest books of the Bible, written between 60 and 80 AD.
- It’s written by Jude brother of James, and half-brother of Jesus.
- Both brothers each wrote a general epistle and neither used their authority in being Jesus Christ’s brothers.
- Jude is very closely linked and can be read alongside 2 Peter, particularly 2 Peter 2.
Before we dive into verse 3 and 4 for today, I would like to read 2 portions of scripture.
And afterwards I am going to ask for your insight into whats some common themes between the two.
Please turn your Bibles to Joshua 9:1-9, 15. Keep your hand on that portion if you will. And let’s turn to Matthew 26, and read with from verse 46-50.
What is common theme between these two narratives? Deception and betrayal.
This is the the thrust of what we will be seeing in the book of Jude, Jude warning us, waking us up from sleep, calling out, being a watchmen and shouting from the lookout tower, the enemy is upon us, the enemy is upon us. In the time of AD 60-80AD, this was the message, and this message echoes on today, in this church, in your life, in your workplace.
Let’s turn to the Lord in prayer.
- Before Jude gets into the thick of things, he states one of his motivations, and it’s love.
- Note at the start of verse 3, he begins with the word beloved, that is, greatly loved.
- It’s one thing to receive a warning from someone, but when that warning has a foundation in love it becomes critical to pay attention. The person in question has taken the time to consider you, to consider your life, it’s course and apply their mind to equipping you for the future. This is what Jude is doing.
1.2 Diligence vs Needful
i. Common Salvation
We see the words “common salvation” in this case is that which is now common between those are Christ’s saints, those who are saved. Between us is the commonality of Christ, and His defining work on calvary to redeem us His bride, the church.
ii. Note the Tension
- But it is not to this that Jude calls to attention. Note the tension here on the first part of verse 3. He starts of with the intention to write about this common salvation but instead moves to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to earnestly contend for the faith.
- Note the words, “when I gave all diligence to write unto you” (perhaps he already wrote a letter, perhaps his mind had prayed and thought through what the Lord would have Him say, or what he would say from his heart)
- But we then see “it was needful”, as in more important.
iii. A breakdown
The focus of this verse is clearly on the latter half which we will get to in a moment. But it’s interesting to pause an learn from Jude’s behavior.
Diligence definition: steady application of effort
Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure. 2 Pet 1.
- Needful definition: necessary, as supply or relief
Luke 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
iv. Example of Mary
- We note from the story of Mary and Martha, one just to be busy fulfilling her duty, and the other choosing to that which was more needful, of necessity and that was to be at feet of Jesus.
- Note firstly how this interaction is recorded in scripture, and from the words of our Lord Jesus Christ himself.
- Note also how Jude shares this intent with the church to whom his writing.
v. Application to us
- That leads me too, today where are you in your walk with Christ?
- Yes we are bound by our duty to serve and love others and evangelize to the lost, but are heeding the Holy Spirit in what may be needful for you today.
- Martha was diligent, but Mary got Jesus.
- Had Jude not heeded the Spirit, perhaps there would be no Epistle of Jude, perhaps the church at that time would have missed the clear leading of the Lord to be wary of wolves in sheep clothing
So I turn to you today, are you being heeding the voice of the Lord and being vigilant enough to do whats needful?
II. Contend (vs. 3b)
1.1 How you Contend
i. Earnestly contend
- So coming to that which was actually needful for Jude to communicate, it was the church and us seated here today should earnestly contend for the faith.
ii. Definition of Contend
- Contend: To strive, or to strive against; to struggle in opposition.
- Note Jude exhorts the church to contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
- This was not the faith that Jesus Christ passed onto the Apostles, no, this was the faith that the Apostles had passed onto the church.
- The church was exhorted to strive and struggle for this faith against the opposition.
- This morning, are you striving, are you struggling? And I am not talking about with Eskom, with the country, with our government, with the crime.
- I am talking about spiritual warfare, striving in opposition to principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places
- I am talking about your testimony in the workplace? Are you reflecting Christ?
- In your relationship at home with your wife or husband? Are you striving against the spiritual forces that want to tear your marriage apart?
- Are you striving for healthy relationships with your kids?
- With those in this church?
- With the lost?
- Are you contending?
iii. How we are too contend
- Note how we are too contend - earnestly contend.
- Definition: warmly, zealously, with real desire
The Lighthouse Keeper**
In a quaint town named Hope’s Harbor, a towering lighthouse stood on the rocky shores, its light serving as a beacon for ships navigating through the dark, turbulent waters. This lighthouse was cared for by an old keeper named Samuel. For decades, he had ensured the light never went out, understanding its vital role in guiding vessels safely to the harbor.
One day, a group of town leaders approached Samuel with a proposition. “Samuel,” began Mr. Gilbert, the head of the group, “our town has decided to modernize, and we believe the lighthouse is no longer necessary. With advancements in navigation technology, ships no longer need this ancient method.”
Samuel listened patiently, his hands resting on the old, weathered logs where he recorded every ship that passed.
“Besides,” chimed in another leader, Mrs. Marsh, “that land is prime real estate. We could build attractions that would bring more tourists and revenue.”
Samuel took a deep breath, knowing the weight of his responsibility. “The lighthouse has served this harbor for over a century. It stands not just as a beacon for ships but as a symbol of our town’s legacy and faith. I’ve seen storms where all modern technologies failed, and it was our lighthouse that brought ships home. We mustn’t disregard the foundation on which our town was built.”
As days turned into weeks, a few town members began to join Samuel’s cause. They formed groups, sharing the importance of the lighthouse with others. They organized events at the lighthouse, allowing many to experience firsthand the beauty and significance of the towering structure. They highlighted not just its practical importance but its symbolic value – as a testament to Hope’s Harbor’s enduring faith and resilience.
One fateful night, as a massive storm hit Hope’s Harbor, all modern navigation systems failed. A ship, lost in the chaos, signaled for help. It was the lighthouse’s powerful, unwavering beam that cut through the storm, guiding the ship safely to harbor.
The next morning, as the storm cleared, the town awoke to the news of the ship’s safe arrival. The town leaders, realizing their oversight, decided to preserve the lighthouse.
Samuel’s dedication had paid off. Not only had the lighthouse been saved, but the town was also reminded of the value of its legacy, the importance of standing firm in its beliefs, and the need to earnestly contend for what truly mattered.
iv. Application: We must shine forth the light
- Friends, brethren, we have a responsibility to bear the light of Christ to a darkened world.
- May the Lord enable us to earnestly contend, the days grow dark, but in darkness, just a little light shines bright.
- We have the light, light us shine it forth earnestly!
II. Beware (vs. 4)
READ VERSE 4
1. Crept in unaware
i. Nature of men
- Note in the verse, certain men crept in unaware.
- These men were ungodly, that is, “wicked, neglecting the fear and worship of God”.
- They abused the grace of God into lust. Given the liberty the Christian has in Christ, unlike the rules / law imparted to Israel, these men started to lead others astray with sexual desires.
Tendency to excite lust, and promote irregular indulgences
- Not only that, they denied the God-head
- But also denied the Lord Jesus Christ
ii. Denied the Lord Jesus Christ
- Now if we consider denying God and the Lord Jesus Christ, well that’s easy right. We immediately recognize atheists, agnostics or other religions and are able to be weary of them.
- But I don’t think that’s the only point Jude is making.
- The word deny as per Websters 1828 dictionary is:
To contradict; to gainsay; to declare a statement or position not to be true. We deny what another says, or we deny a proposition
iii. Jehovah Witness
- A classic example here is the Jehovah Witness. They will talk of Jesus Christ to you, like it’s the same Jesus, they will even go as far as to say he was perfect. They will even tell you he’s the mediator between God and man and was even resurrected from the dead.
- Same Jesus right? No, as you dig deeper, their Jesus is a created being, their Jesus is Not Almighty God. It’s a close to similar book, a close to similar looking religion, but a vastly different Jesus.
iv. Prosperity Gospel
- I’m sure you all seen them charismatic preachers on CBN or TBN. They have members in their churches spanning the hundreds, and some even the thousands.
- You will hear those preachers like Benny Hinn, Joel Olsteen, Pastor Chris, TD Jakes (or better know as TD Fakes), these men will exposit scripture, even share the gospel when their finished speaking about money, and they will speak of Jesus equivalent to our own.
- But these men, their lives don’t speak to that of the Jesus of the Bible. No, their taking the best part of the Bible, the grace of God (His salvation), and turned it into a money-making vehicle.
- Again, the use of the name Jesus, but not Jesus of the Bible.
2. Types of Men
i. New people
- Lastly, I want to draw your attention to three types of men these ‘certain men’ could be.
- In the immediate context of scripture, it’s clear the men were already in the church.
- But it could be said as a general warning for us today, we need to be weary of men who enter the church and be mindful of them
ii. Existing people
- Speaking to scripture, it could be that in our midst could be someone who is one of these men.
- Ungodly, lacking fear and worship of God, perhaps someone who perverting God’s grace and lastly a man who could be denying the Lord God of the Bible.
- Perhaps that person is in our midst today.
- And while we think of that, it almost feels externalized. Like a new person that joins, or some individual other than you sitting here.
- But there too lies the danger. I’ve seen good men go bad. It maybe for some time. It maybe for a long time. Saved men.
- I’ve seen good men do bad things. Perhaps in your experience you have too.
- Pastors that split churches. I’ve seen Pastors fight over churches. I’ve seen godly men convince me of their own pet peeves or ideologues. We’ve seen men split churches over ungodly doctrine.
- Jude doesn’t say whether these men were saved or not. Most commentaries will say there were unsaved by deduction.
- But my point here, is don’t get caught up looking out and trying to identify the wolf in sheep’s clothing, when there’s potential for you and I to be just that.
- We need to not only watch out for the wolf amidst, but the wolf within.
- We have a responsibility to each other, to stay in the Word, stay at the feed of the Lord Jesus - to protect this body and to build up and not tear-down our church.
- Not the building, but the individuals members that make up Faith Fellowship
- In summary,
Beloved, Contend and Beware.
- Guard your heart, be diligent, but also look for that which is needful.
- Contend earnestly for the faith that has been repeatedly delivered to you
- And lastly, be weary for false teachers, men who are wolves but let us also be steeped enough in Christ and His Word and allowing that to outflow into action, so we don’t end up the wolf who destroys the flock