The gospel of Christ includes everything contained in the Scriptures but focuses our attention on the person and work of Christ Himself. The gospel centers in the suffering and death of our Savior in order to earn for us salvation from sin. We learn of our fall into sin and the ensuing guilt and corruption that has enveloped the human race on account of that fall.
We learn of the all-powerful work of our Savior in delivering His people from the guilt and power of sin. And there is much more too. The church of Jesus Christ must at all times contend for the faith, that is, the truths contained in the Scriptures. What makes those truths so precious to us is indeed that they are the object of our faith!
Faith is a certain knowledge of those truths of the gospel, but also a hearty confidence that they apply to us personally. And that is indeed a precious possession! Do not rob us of the assurance that we are justified by faith. Do not take away from us the precious knowledge that God is in control of all things and therefore nothing will separate us from His love!
All of this is the objective truth, the gospel, the faith that belongs to us! Our hope is based on that. It is our comfort in life and death. It is our strength that holds us up under the most adverse of circumstances in life. The great, all-powerful, all-glorious God of heaven and earth is our God and we are His people! He holds us in His mighty hand all for the sake of the suffering and death of our Savior on the cross.
That is our possession. Do not, Jude says, do not let anyone rob you of that!
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Contend for that faith! Strive with every ounce of your being to maintain that faith. That faith ties us together with the church of the past. It has always been the precious possession of the saints.
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You know, there is another error that goes hand-in-hand with the lasciviousness that pervades the churches of today. Much of contemporary, evangelical Christianity, sad to say, has cut itself off from the church of the past as if that is a good thing. Because she wants to accept into her midst all kinds of people who walk openly in sin, she cuts herself off from the church of the past that condemns her.
Ask members of the modern church about church history, ask them about the battles that were fought in the church of the past over issues that have crept back into the churches today, and they cannot tell you how the church answered those issues.
The creeds of the church of the past are totally ignored. There is a total disregard for the biblical truth of the covenant and the promise God gives to His church that He will save believers and their believing children in the line of their generations. The church is not viewed as a body of people that God has gathered from one generation to the next since the beginning of time, engrafting many from nations and peoples while continuing the line of the church in generations. The contemporary church is of the mind that with each succeeding generation there is a whole new body of people who have to reinvent the wheel for themselves each time.
Without referring to the church of the past, the church of today must set out on her own path to discover the faith. That is a horrible error. And Jude points that out clearly enough. This faith that we must strive to keep was once delivered unto the saints! It does not make reference to the fact that Christ at one time passed on the faith to the disciples and from then on we must strive for that faith.
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It is a faith that has existed from the beginning of time, when Christ was promised to Adam after the fall of man into sin. It is a faith that was passed on orally from father to son in the very early stages of the church. It was taught in the ceremonies of the law of old and in the prophecies. It was taught by Jesus Christ to His apostles, who in turn taught it to the church of the New Testament.
This faith has always been taught by God to His saints, that is, to the members of His church who are holy in the blood of Christ. One church of Christ. One body of saints, those sanctified and cleansed in His blood.
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And one faith passed down from father to son throughout the ages from one generation to the next. Contend for that one faith! A faith that has been defended in the past by the church. A faith that has been set forth in beautiful soul-stirring creeds of the church. That faith is our possession, believing saints. God has, by His grace, freely given it to us! May we not lose the tie that binds us together with the saints of the past!
That is what Jude was concerned with in the church of his day too.
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So concerned was Jude that he changed the original intent of his epistle. It was needful. It was necessary. Oh yes, very necessary! There are no dramatic captures or battles to watch on TV. Our surveillance devices are useless in detecting its progress. Yet the enemy is among us, and is intent upon destroying the True Church of Jesus Christ.
The infiltrators insert themselves into pulpits, religious organizations, and congregations. They fill the news and dominate the religious media on television, radio, and book store shelves. We do not know for sure when Jude wrote this letter. There are parts of it which are similar to 2nd Peter. Whichever one was written second may have gotten information from the prior writing. In either case, God superintended the writings to ensure that both Peter and Jude correctly reported what was true. The problems Jude dealt with became worse during the 2nd century.
Jude uses many examples from the time before Jesus showing that the challenge was not new. We recognize these same concerns today. Jude is a good warning, a heads up. There are infiltrators in the church. We need to watch out for them, and not let them succeed in their subversive goals. The author was Jude, a brother of James.
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Since he does not tell us which James he is, he must have been a person who was known well to his readers at that time. It was probably the James who was an important leader in the church. Acts , The first thing he told his readers was that he was a bondservant of Jesus Christ. He saw it an honor to be bound to the service of his Lord. This obedience and service is not an oppressive slavery as it might imply to some readers today. As servants of Christ we are liberated to be what we were made to be, honorable representatives of God, and much loved instruments in his sovereign and loving hand.
Their coming to faith in Christ was a response to the work of God in their hearts.
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