Year 2 Day 320
Read - Jude 1v3-4
Message - Scott Woodburn
What was it that moved Jude to write his letter? Obviously every book of the Bible comes from the mouth of God by the hand and pen of man. But how did the Lord move His followers to write down the inspired Word of God? In Jude’s case he tells us clearly.
Jude was eager to write to discuss salvation. He was a saved man writing to a saved people and so he was more than willing to pen a letter that focused on the wonders of the salvation shared by Christians throughout the world. Such a topic never tires and Christians should always be delighted to speak in depth about the Gospel and the salvation that Christ has won for us.
Yet although Jude wanted to write about salvation he found it necessary to change his mind. Jude’s letter would instead be a Spirit inspired appeal for his hearers “to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (v3) We should never believe the years after the Ascension were some golden age for the church. Some like to cry “If only our church could be like the New Testament church!” As we will quickly discover in Jude, Christ had barely returned to heaven and Christian fellowships were already under attack from the enemy.
The problem in Jude’s day was the same as ours. Jude speaks against “certain people” (v4) who have crept into the church unnoticed. False teachers rarely enter a church riding a white horse. They don’t broadcast their false teaching when they first walk through the door and usually they work in the shadows, slowly but surely corrupting the true Christian faith. It is of vital importance that our elders know and understand the breadth of the Christian faith. If false teaching has crept into the pulpit or the Sunday school class or the bible study, our elders should spot it and move against it.
Jude’s opponents had turned grace into sensuality (v4). In other words they were pushing for moral compromise. You may have heard similar arguments. The false thinking suggests that because our God is a God of grace you and I can live how we want. We have received the grace of God and so it doesn’t matter if we engage in sexual activity before marriage. It doesn’t matter if two men want to marry. It doesn’t matter if John wants to become Joanne. It doesn’t matter if my boyfriend is unsaved. My brothers and sisters, the Gospel of grace is not to be used as a licence for wickedness. Grace is not an excuse for sensuality.
But the false teachers didn’t just aim their attack on morality, they launched a full scale war on Christ Himself. Jude says that the false teachers even denied Christ our Lord (v4b). The enemy hasn’t changed his approach. Today false teachers would have you believe that Christ wasn’t God. Those friendly people who call at your door think Christ was a creature. Others preach universalism which relegates Christ to being just another spoke on the wheel towards God. Northern Ireland is full of churches but we would be foolish to think we are immune from falsehood.
What is to be done? Contend for the faith says Jude! In simple terms we should hold the truth of Christ as so precious, so valuable, so golden that we will not allow it to be watered down or polluted by those who sometimes creep into fellowships. This requires effort on our part. We must first know the faith and then we must be prepared to contend for it.
Do you know what it is you believe and why you believe it? Do you understand why we cannot accept Jesus as a mere creature? Do you know why the universalists are wrong? Do you grasp the meaning of justification? Can you clearly articulate the Gospel?
Listen to your pastor as he preaches the Word of God. Meet with him during the week when he opens the Bible. Read God’s Word for yourself. Open the Westminster standards and work your way through the catechisms. Know the faith and contend for the faith because there is nothing as precious as the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
Q77 What is required in the ninth commandment? The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness bearing.