3 Factors In Our Fight For The Faith
BIG IDEA: To fight for the faith, we follow God's instruction.
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Division and discord had been sown in the first-century church when its members received the letter we know as the New Testament book of Jude. False teachers had defied God’s authority as conveyed through His Word and were putting tremendous pressure on the Christians in that congregation to compromise their faith.
In one short but theologically dense chapter, Jude, a concerned pastor, clearly identifies the problem and presents the solution: Christians must contend for the faith through fervent obedience.
Thankfully, Jude’s inspired letter didn’t stop with telling the Christians of his day (and ours) WHAT to do, he detailed HOW to do it. This is good news because clarity of what to do, when combined with confusion surrounding how, is a formula for failure.
There is no question, if we’re to have any hope of accomplishing God’s will, we have to do it God’s way.
In verses 17-23, Jude presented clear instructions for HOW Christians are to fight for the faith:
1. Remember that God is in control. (v 17-19)
What the Christians in Jude’s church were experiencing had already been predicted by God through the apostles in multiple places in the New Testament. Now it was happening in real time. The good news was (and is): God’s past prediction points to His power over the present. For us, too, this means that every unexpected circumstance we experience was already in the mind of God before He created us. He knows and is in control.
2. Resolve to keep yourself in God’s love. (v. 20-21)
While it is true that God has Himself promised to keep us in His love, we are also responsible for doing our part, by
- pursuing spiritual growth (understanding the importance of God’s Word, prayer, reflection, and commitment to a local church);
- praying the Spirit’s agenda (aligning our hearts with God’s plan to form in us the attitude, heart and life He desires);
- patiently waiting for Christ (trusting the certainty that Jesus IS coming and will bring redemption, healing, freedom, and victory).
3. Reach out to others with God’s mercy (v. 22-23)
As disciples of Jesus, it’s not enough to be merciful people. We must also labor in evangelism, actively proclaiming God’s mercy to those who are struggling with doubt, who have walked away, or who have no relationship with Him. Jude warned of the importance of doing this with humble fear, knowing that one bad decision could cause us to fall victim TO the very sin we’re sent to save others FROM.
Contending for the faith means we must remain steadfast when it ceases to be comfortable and we are under pressure to compromise. We must commit to following God’s instructions to faithfully pursue fervent obedience.