JUDE — A CALL TO EARNESTLY CONTEND
Our faith was “once delivered” but it must be contended for in each generation. This Bible passage says, “It was needful.” Contending for the faith is not simply a gooidea; it is an absolute necessity.
The Bible says in Acts 17:1-3, “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.”
Notice the expression, “must needs.” There is no way our salvation could have been accomplished without the cross. “Christ must needs have suffered.” When Jude, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, penned the words in the epistle of Jude, God declared to us that there was something that was “needful.” It “must needs” be done.
In education, there are courses we call electives; they are not required to be taken. There are other courses that are requirements. In order to finish a course of study, the required courses must be completed. The Lord says, “What I am writing to you in this passage is not an elective; it is a requirement. It is needful.”
Notice again verse 3 of Jude, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation.” He is not saying here in this verse, “I was going to write to you about one thing, but my mind was changed.” He says, “I was led of the Spirit of God to write this and to take this particular path concerning our common salvation.” He is saying that is is impossible to speak of our “common salvation” unless we are willing to contend for the faith.
The word “beloved” means “loved of God.” How wonderful it is to know that there is nothing we can do to make God love us less or make God love us more! We are His beloved. We are loved of God. The word “exhort” means to “plead or persuade.” “Contend” means “to stand agonizingly, seriously.” “The faith” is the body of doctrine we believe.
Though there was particular audience to whom this letter was first read, we understand that this verse is to all believers. It is not only for all time; it is to all believers for all time. This verse is not limited to preachers or what we might refer to as “full-time Christian servants.” It is directed to all God’s children for all time.
In other words, God says that every Christian should earnestly contend for the faith. If you are a Christian, it is just as important for you to earnestly contend for the faith as it is for the pastor of the church to earnestly contend for the faith. If you are one of the beloved, it is your responsibility to contend for the faith. It is needful that we contend for the faith. Remember, there can be no message of the “common salvation” unless we contend for the faith.
We contend for the faith when we stand for what we find in the Word of God. We contend for the faith when we strengthen and hold up the hands of those who are teaching and preaching God’s Word. We contend for the faith when we encourage the pastor. We contend for the faith when we give out gospel literature. We contend for the faith when we stand in a Sunday school class and teach the truth to others. We contend for the faith when we resist error and call it by name. We contend for the faith when we proclaim the gospel message.
Every Christian needs to be a contender for the faith. This means it is our business to get agonizingly serious about contending for the faith. There is someone in this world who will never see another Christian except you. That person will never know anything about Jesus Christ except what he knows about Him from your life.
The faith that we are called to contend for in the book of Jude is our body of doctrine. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand.” We are contending for salvation, the message of the gospel.
The Bible continues, “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.”
We are contending for the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ of our sin. We are also contending for the Scriptures. We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scripture. Every word in the Bible is the Word of God. All of it is the Word of God, and it is without error. God has preserved His Word, and we hold it in our hands and should hide it in our hearts. The Bible continues in 1 Corinthians 15:4, “And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” We are contending for the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He came forth bodily from the dead, alive forevermore.
The Bible makes a very powerful statement to us in Revelation chapter 3. As God addressed the church in Sardis, He said in verse one, “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.”
The Lord Jesus had a specific message for each of those churches. As He spoke to each of the seven churches, each message was different.
The very next words in verse two are, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain.” Professing Christians are drifting in record numbers. What remains must be strengthened. How do we strengthen the things which remain? We strengthen them by contending, by standing seriously, by agonizingly taking a stand for God, by proclaiming the truth and crying out against error. Remember, our faith was once delivered, but it must be contended for in each generation.
“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:13