Contend earnestly for the faith

In the last article, I wrote about how to study the Scriptures in such a way that you understand the original intent of the author, who ultimately is God. I would like to apply these principles to Jude’s principles. This article will be more like a study than an actual article but I hope that it will be helpful in future studies.

I. Author

After reading through the passage and marking every reference, we learn the following things about the author of this text.

  • Jude (1)
  • Brother of James (1)
  • Wanted to write about common salvation (3)
  • Felt necessary to write about a different subject
    • Appeal earnestly for the faith
    • The one handed down from the saints
  • Wants to remind them of what they already know from the Scriptures but in a way that will help them in their current situation (5)
    • Redemption from Egypt
    • Angels who rebelled
    • Sodom and Gomorrah
    • The Devil
    • Cain
    • Balaam
    • Korah

Jude tells us why he had to write and sets the tone for the rest of the letter. He wants the recipients to understand that they are in a battle and the battle is coming from within just as much as from without. He wants to prepare the believers by equipping them to be able to win the battle for genuine faith. Jude’s solution is the Word of God. Let’s see what we learn about the recipients of this letter.

II. Recipients

  • They are the called
  • They are beloved
  • They are in God
  • They are kept for Jesus Christ (1)
  • They have mercy, peace, and love (2)
  • They are beloved to Jude (3)
  • Need to contend for the faith
  • Know about the teachings of the Scripture (5)
    • Redemption from Egypt
    • Angels who rebelled
    • Sodom and Gomorrah
    • The Devil
    • Cain
    • Balaam
    • Korah
  • They have love feasts (12)
  • Know the Words spoken by the apostles (17)
  • They have been taught by the apostles (18)
  • They build themselves up in the faith (20)
  • They can be kept from stumbling (24)
  • They can be made to stand blameless (24)

God has already been working in their lives and they are now in danger because of false teaching that has crept in unnoticed. In order to keep them from fallen, Jude was moved by God to remind the recipients of the Word that they had accepted and begun to follow. This Word would continue to build up and strengthen their faith that is in danger. Now, let’s turn to the exhortations and commands to get to the heart of the problem and God’s solution to this problem. Let’s take a closer look at the troublemakers and find out why they are so dangerous.

III. The dangerous problem

  • They are certain persons (4)
  • They have crept in unnoticed
  • They were marked out long ago for condemnation
  • They are ungodly persons
    • Why?
    • They turn the grace of God into licentiousness
    • They deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ
  • Compared to (5-11)
    • Redemption from Egypt and unbelief
    • Angels who rebelled
    • Sodom and Gomorrah
    • The Devil
    • Cain
    • Balaam
    • Korah
  • They dream (8)
    • Defile the flesh
    • Reject authority
    • Revile angelic majesties
  • Revile the things that they do not understand (10)
  • The live by instinct
  • They live like unreasoning animals
  • They destroy themselves
  • They are hidden reefs in the believers’ love feast (12)
  • They are in the church without fear
  • They care for themselves
  • They are clouds without water, carried along by winds
  • They are autumn trees without fruit
  • They are doubly dead
  • Uprooted
  • They are wild waves of the sea (13)
  • They cast up their own shame like foam
  • They are wandering stars
  • They are ungodly (15)
  • They do ungodly deeds
  • They do them in an ungodly way
  • They speak harsh things against the Lord
  • They are grumblers (16)
  • They find fault in others
  • They follow after their own lusts
  • They speak arrogantly
  • They flatter people for the sake of gaining an advantage
  • They are mockers (18)
  • They follow after their own ungodly lusts
  • They cause divisions (19)
  • They are worldly minded
  • They are devoid of the Spirit
  • They doubt (22)
  • They are in the fire (23)

This group of people is described in detail because Jude wants everyone to know who they are and how to recognize them. They have crept in and begun to teach and lead people astray. They are just a giant facade. There is promise with no substance. Now, let’s turn to the exhortations and commands to get to the heart of the problem and God’s solution to this problem.

IV. Exhortations and Commands

God has the solution and that same solution applies to all believers all throughout the ages.

  • Contest earnestly for the faith (3)
  • Reminded of what you already know (5)
    • Redemption from Egypt
    • Angels who rebelled
    • Sodom and Gomorrah
    • The Devil
    • Cain
    • Balaam
    • Korah
  • Remember the words spoken by the apostles (17)
  • Remember what you were taught by the apostles (18)
  • Build yourself up in the holy faith (20)
  • Pray in the Holy Spirit (20)
  • Keep yourselves in the love of God (21)
  • Wait anxiously for the mercy of Christ to eternal life (21)
  • Have mercy on some (22)
  • Save others (23)
  • Have mercy on some with fear (23)

It is all about the Word of God that they have been taught, that they know, and that they must live by day by day, which is what Jude has in mind when he tells them to contend earnestly for the faith. This is a spiritual battle and the only way that believers can be victorious is to live by the Word of God, the only protection and weapon that we have against our spiritual enemies.

All of this put together shows us that there are genuine believers in the church who hear the Word of God and with sincerity, apply what they learn. They sit under the authority of the Word of God and the spiritual leaders who teach the Word. Then, there are others in the church who also hear the Word of God yet they do not apply It as is because of their rebellious spirit. Not only do they not sit under the authority of the Word, nor under the authority of the one teaching the Word, they seek to teach others their own heresy. Which group are you in? Do you know how to spot the ungodly in the church? What has this passage revealed to you about locating the ungodly in the church? Are you building up your faith in the Word of God? Are you encouraging others to get into the Word and submit to the authority of your church’s spiritual leaders? May the Lord help us all contend earnestly for the faith.

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3 comments on “Contend earnestly for the faith

  1. Pingback: Evidence of genuine salvation | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

  2. Pingback: An ungodly person does not submit to authority | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

  3. Pingback: Patiently await the coming of the Lord! | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

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