Study to show…

Did you know that we were to examine all teaching? (4a) We should never just take the word of a pastor or teacher. The Bibles shares that we are to study to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the word of God. As we return to our study on Jude, he now explains why he wrote this epistle. Jude 4~For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (ESV) From the beginning, in the very first books in the Bible, there are warnings about changing God’s Word and following false teachers. Ole Mo tells the Israelites in Deuteronomy 4:2~Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. (NIV) 

False teachers try to slip into Bible-believing churches unaware. Then, they seek influential places in the church and even in denominations. They are often sharp, educated people who want to push their own agendas. As Paul gives his farewell address to the Ephesian elders, he warns them. Acts 20:29-30~I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. (NIV)

These false teachers act as though they just want to be part of the local church, when in fact they want to pervert the Gospel. This is especially true today regarding homosexuality, abortion, the alphabet community, and the acceptance of standards less than holiness. Listen, I pray for individuals who have been led astray by the world and its enticement, and you should also. These people have had the wool pulled over their eyes and we can, in love, reveal what God’s word says. This is what it means to win people to Jesus Christ and make disciples. However, to do this we must be an Authentic Christian, one who has labored in the word of God and who can share the spiritual blessings that we have been given in Jesus, who must become Lord of our lives to receive these blessings. That is why we must take the time necessary to examine all that is taught in the Bible. Hey, don’t worry that you didn’t read every verse today. Life is a journey and we must take a step each day. So, today take a step forward in the faith. After your devotional time ask God to help you share His word. I bet your devotion will speak to more people, than just you.

Contend for the faith

Today, let’s understand how we can agonize for the faith (Jude 3c-d). After mentioning his original intention for this epistle, Jude writes, Jude 3~I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend (ἐπαγωνίζομαι epagōnizomai) for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (ESV) Jude writes, exhorting us to earnestly contend for the faith. (ἐπαγωνίζομαι epagōnizomai) to contend, it means to struggle for something. The Greek root gives us agonize. Conveying the earnest intensity of the struggle. The word contend is written in the present tense, meaning we have to continually, every day, earnestly contend for the faith, even to the point of agony. Matthew 16:24~Then Jesus said to his disciples, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (NIV) This is what Paul was writing about in his final epistle, just before he was executed. Listen to how he describes this in 2 Timothy 4:7~I have fought the good fight (καλός kalos ἀγών agōn), I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (NIV) Paul says I battled for Christ.

In Jude 3, it says “faith that was once for all (ἅπαξ hapax) delivered to the saints.” (ESV) We are to contend for the faith delivered to us by the saints. (ἅπαξ hapax) once for all, it means that what was delivered was something completed in past time and that it has lasting results. It refers to something perpetually complete and valid. This is the word of Jesus. We cannot add anything to the gospel, we can only testify of its power at work in us. So if someone knocks on your door to share something new with you, say have you read Jude 3? The faith which was once delivered to us by the saints is complete and nothing was left out. 

Remaining Authentic as believers and faith practitioners requires that we defend the faith against all attempts to pervert or dilute. We are to keep the faith pure and teach it to others with no additions or deletions. 2 Peter 1:3~His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (NIV) I understand that when we share this some people will say but. And you need to comprehend now, that everything that comes before but is about to go out the window. When they say but, they are essentially setting aside everything said to this point. And again it is complete. There is an old expression: If it’s new, it ain’t true. That means if it’s not in the Bible and it claims to be the inspired Word of God, it’s false teaching. Authenticity is a big part of what we work on in our spiritual lives. One of the ways we do this is by Diving Deep into God’s holy word and then applying it to our lives. It helps remind us of our spiritual blessings, it helps us to delve into our faith to grow and mature spiritually. Today, take a few moments and pray for your leaders. Those the Lord has placed over you. Ask God to grant them wisdom, to guide them in making decisions, and to give them favor as they lead.

Dive Deep

So, here is the question that we are posed, as we approach Judes’s epistle here in verse 3, are you cognizant of the spiritual blessings we have in Christ Jesus our Lord? Listen as Jude shares the purpose and explanation for writing this epistle. Jude 3~ Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (ESV) Jude begins by saying Beloved, which means he is writing out of a deep love for his fellow-believers. He has no selfish motivation for writing his letter, just a deep love for God’s people. 

Next, he writes in Jude 3~Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation…(ESV). Our common salvation is the salvation that belongs to every one of us as believers. No, it is not common in the sense of mass production, rather, that your salvation is like mine. We both made a decision for Jesus Christ and walk out our salvation by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude’s original intention is to write a very positive epistle about the blessings of the salvation we all share in kind. Some more of those blessings are answered prayers, peace that passes all understanding and having a divine purpose for our lives. However, the greatest blessing of our salvation is what Paul quotes from Psalm 32:1-2 in Romans 4:7-8~Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin. (ESV) Maybe I am more excited about my blessing than you because I know what He forgave me for.

As CS Lewis wrote: It would be worth it to be a Christian, even if there were no heaven, just to have our sins forgiven so we wouldn’t have to live with our guilt. Yeah, that is a great spiritual blessing for those who believe in Jesus and accepted Him as their Lord. Psalm 38:4~My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. (NIV) To remain Authentic in our Faith, we must become Cognizant of the spiritual blessings we have been given in our salvation. Why not take a few moments and remind yourself of all that God has covered with His Son’s precious blood. And know that in Jesus we have no more guilt and that heavy burden of sin was rolled away.