Series on Jude, I The Exposure of the Enemy. Jude 1-4.Title: Contend for the Faith

Introduction:


Jude? isn't that a song somebody sang-Hey Jude! No it’s the next to the last book of your Bible. It is so short it has no chapters. Few people know anything about it other than the key verse which is “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” The authorship is uncertain,the references obscure, and the book neglected. This is a tragedy  because this is the inspired Word of God and also because the message of Jude is message for the 21st century. This man uses great oratory to warn the churches about false teachers. They were abundant in the first century. John Calvin says that what was useful in Jude's time was more than necessary at the time of the Reformation because, in his day, “Unprincipled men calling themselves christians had entered in to try to lead the unstable and the weak into a profane contempt for God.” In 1949 a United Presbyterian minister, Harry Jaeger, wrote "The message of Jude applied to Christendom today would empty half or more of the pulpits and professor's chairs,the pews and the classrooms of our churches and seminaries, it would rid our American protestless Christianity of the curse of blind leaders of the blind. The message of Jude points the divine finger of accusation at traitorous apostates and lifts the curtain to give us a glimpse of their dismal doom." And today, more than ever, we need to look at this exposure of the enemy. there are three things in our text that initially require our attention: the purpose, the prophet, and the people.

I The Purpose


We read in verses 3 and 4, Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.   For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. they are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. This letter is called catholic meaning universal or general because it is addressed to the Church at large. It is true that Jewish Christians would be more familiar with some of the references which are not from the Old Testament, but from other books which were part of the Jewish background. However, it was to be widely circulated and there is an allusion to this in verse 3 when Jude speaks of our common faith. So the problem addressed here is universal. Now what is interesting is that Jude tells us that the subject which was near to his heart is the gospel, The salvation we share. But in order to write to them about what was most precious he found it necessary to warn them, even alarm them concerning the danger of losing the faith. There is, for him, a faith, a body of doctrine upon which the church stands.This truth once delivered is the revealed truth, the Word of God. And then there are those he describes in verse 4 as these men who are destined for condemnation,whose condemnation was written long ago. They are cleverly gaining entrance through lies and falsehood, and under the guise of being Christians they teach immorality and deny Jesus Christ. Who are they? They haven't changed in centuries. Today in the Church at large there are many false christians and false shepherds who teach that there are alternative lifestyles which are legitimate,that free love is ok, that homosexuality is acceptable, and that the traditional family should be discarded. In Nov.1993 there was a "Reimagining Conference," styled a global theological conference by women for men and women. 2000 people attended, virtually all of them from churches: Methodists,USA Presbyterians,Lutherans, Roman Catholics, United Church of Christ, and many others. In this conference the participants worshiped sophia the Greek word for wisdom as their expression of God. They affirmed lesbianism. they made crude licentious sensual statements.They rejected the God of the Bible, and mocked the atoning work of Christ on the cross with crude references like, “I don't think we need folks hanging on crosses and blood dripping and weird stuff.” They dismissed His shed blood as totally unnecessary. This is only one example of many where a large number of people calling themselves Christian leaders believe nothing Christian.They are totally pagan, and they're tolerated in their churches.and the people in the pew are so naive they do not even know this is going on. Dear friends, it never ends no matter how well you start, and no matter how pure you think your church is, this threat is real.On this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday we should also mention the selfish murder of the innocent preborn. How many of these participants do you think were in favor of abortion? probably 100%. Life has become so cheap that politicians use it to get votes. I know nothing personal about Samuel Alito, but I do know that the major issue in his confirmation to the US Supreme Court was the issue of abortion,and his opponents had the self-righteous gall to suggest that we need to protect womens' rights.A baby is not part of a woman’s body! It is in a woman‘s body. The murder of the innocents is no different than the purges of Hitler, Stalin, and of Saddam Hussein, as Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everret Koop pointed out in their series “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?”

II The Prophet

The author introduces himself in verse 1, Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, Now, who is this brother who sounds the trumpet of warning? His name is Jude. Calvin believed that he was Thaddeus, another form of the name. Thaddeus was an Apostle, and Calvin believed the James referred to was James the son of Alphaeus, also an Apostle.Verse 17 says hat we should remember what the Apostles said, so most modern commentators believe that Jude or Judas was one of the half brothers of our Lord and that the James he refers to was another half brother of Jesus who was the renowned leader of the church in Jerusalem and the author of the book of James. However, the important thing about this man is his identification as the servant of Jesus Christ. Paul was an apostle, but he often refers to himself as a servant of Christ, even in his salutations. In Romans 1:1 he says, Paul a servant of Christ Jesus,called to be an apostle: in Phil. 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus: in Titus 1:1 Paul a servant of God and an Apostle of Christ Jesus. The New Testament apostles and prophets saw themselves first of all as servants of Jesus. The world insists on degrees and honors, on the timeclock of education, and the opinions of experts. However there is only one gauge of truth, the Bible, inspired by the spirit of the prophets and understood by spirit controlled believers. Wisdom is not found in ivory towers, but in the Book of God. Only a true servant of Christ is ready to stand on the Bible alone.as Martin Luther said at the dawn of the reformation, “Here I stand, I can do not other.” Only a true servant of Christ is ready to make a world of enemies for the sake of the gospel. Do you think that the powerful ones will not hold him in derision? Jesus spoke only the truth, but his life was filled with scorn and mockery from the religionists of his own people. The blessed man of Psalm 1 is described as not standing in the way of sinners or sitting in the seat of the scornful. The threat is both within and without. here is Jude, a true prophet, exposing the enemy, whatever the cost.

III The People

The letter is written to those he calls his dear friends. They are designated in verse 1 as those who have been called, who are loved by God the father and kept by Jesus Christ. They are genuine Christians,those who have been called. The word call refers to the life-giving work of the Holy Spirit in raising us from spiritual death and darkness. It means we have been born again, effectually called. Therefore the recipients of this leter are designated as those whom God has loved with an everlasting love so that they are saved and kept by Jesus Christ forever. Jesus died for them and Jesus is the high priest of their calling. He is the one who has opened the gates of heaven and paid the price of entrance by shedding his own blood.and he has, therefore, the authority to keep them forever. He sent the Holy Spirit to insure their being kept. He blesses them in verse 2, mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. This mercy peace and love are the blessings God gives to his true children; not to those who are Christian in name only. The children need these blessings precisely because there are those who are trying to deceive them and rob them of their birthright. Jude prays that they might, therefore, have God's blessings in abundance, but we need to remember we will only have these blessings if we keep the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. we are kept only by keeping the faith.

Conclusion


The danger is exposed. the threat is clear. the reality is all around us. Many contemporary churches and denominations exist today because faithful men have heeded the warnings of Jude. They did it in the Reformtion and they have done it in the 20th century. So let us hear the words of Jude and heed the warnings. In future studies we will be looking at the examples, the estimation, the engagement, and the expulsion of the enemies of our Lord.