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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Barcus & Laura Neal

March 3rd, 2024: Defending Our Faith: Jude 1:17-25

Defending the faith, the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is a godly calling on every member of the body of Christ. This lesson comes from the New Testament book of Jude. Jude (Judas) was a half-brother of Jesus Christ. 


And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:54-58).


 Jude became a follower of Christ after the resurrection.  His book is very small - only one chapter, but his thoughts are big and applicable to us all.  It is not known which church or group of people he specifically wrote to; however, he specified that he was writing to those set apart for God, saved through Jesus, and called to God’s purpose.  Jude wrote about “contending for the faith.” Faith is not your personal belief alone, but the truth protected, practiced, and proclaimed by the church of God.  Jude included maintaining the sufficiency of the work of Jesus for salvation and the practice of daily living in accordance with the lordship of Christ and in obedience to the word of God.


But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.


Jesus warned the disciples of the difficulties that they would experience, the hatred they would endure, and the persecution that would result from their testimony of Christ.  Many such warnings are in the New Testament, written by men who experienced firsthand the anger and wrath of men who had their sin revealed and their lies uncovered.  

  • They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. (John 16:2).

  • These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.(John 16:33)

  •  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. (John 14:24).

  • Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. (Matthew 7: 15-17).

Jude reminded his readers that the war is spiritual, but the battle is with the flesh. The natural man may act spiritual but what he does will tell what he truly believes. Jude wrote about what happens when the truth of God is defended, and when the gospel is neglected. Then, as now, wicked self-righteous men, use the church of God the wrong way and for personal gain.  Even Old Testament examples teach that a form of godliness does not always equal a right relationship with God.

  • Cain does not give his sacrifice in Faith as does his brother Abel. He chooses his own way despite God’s conversation with him.

  • Korah decides he is just as good as Moses and that Moses is not a good leader.  Korah attempts to take over as the children of Israel leave Egypt.

  • Balaam sells out and plans a way to cause Israel to sin.  God told him not to go with King Balak, but he chose money over obedience. 

 

Jude also reminded his readers of the consequences of rebellion against God.  Today we use the word apostasy to describe churches, religious systems,  or individuals who claim the name of God but have changed the word of God, making it into what they want it to say in order to do what they want to do. They are not living by His commandments or upholding His authority. Instead, they are leaning on their understanding and ignoring the teachings and commandments of God expressed through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 


These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

Paul wrote to Timothy, This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:5-7).


Unfortunately, Jude was already seeing the beginnings of these characteristics as he wrote to the early church. Many were without true repentance and had not surrendered their lives to Christ. They were not living by the Spirit of God but by the traditions of men.  Jude makes reference to Sodom and Gomorrah, to angels that rebelled in heaven, and to the murmurers coming out of Egypt among the congregation. Consider their end.  God will have the last say.  The consequence of not standing in faith abiding the wrath of God. 


But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.


So what are we to do?  Jude says to build up our strength, determination, and confidence in the most holy faith. The truths of God, the resurrection of His Son, the great commission to spread the gospel, the fulfillment of the law through Christ’s work, cannot be changed, watered down, or made palatable for a world offended by the truth. Believers must stand up for the truth. If you have been born again, your desire should be to know His word, to live His truth, and to commit yourself to draw others to Christ.  Don’t be content with a “form of Godliness,” operate as a member of the body of Christ.  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6)  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12).


And of some have compassion, making a difference:

Compassion is an imitation of Christ’s example. When contending for the faith, we must strengthen our ability to care about and to love God and our enemies. Those who are angered by the gospel are not our enemies, they are our mission field.  Kindness, gentleness- the fruits of the Holy Spirit in you, toward others are your effective witness.


Those who are angered by the gospel are not our enemies, they are our mission field.

And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

We are not bullies. We speak the truth, but different approaches work with different people.  Let the Holy Spirit be your guide and the guard of your mouth. Our battle is with wickedness, not with the individual.  The consequences of our conversations are eternal.  Whatever it takes,  contend for others, you are fighting to see souls saved, to protect the truth of the gospel, and it is a worthy calling.


Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.


Thank you for studying with us! God bless!


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