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Contending for the Faith - 2

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
January 22, 2023 7:00 am

Contending for the Faith - 2

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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January 22, 2023 7:00 am

In this sermon we learn the unpleasant necessity of vigilant warfare to preserve the integrity of the Christian Faith. Pastor Greg Barkman continues his exposition in the book of Jude.


Well, continuing in the short epistle of Jude, one chapter, 25 verses. Today we take up the second section, the first one being the salutation of verses one and two.

And the second section, which is an introduction to the body of the epistle in which Jude tells us why he wrote what he wrote. He is the brother of James. He introduces himself as such in the salutation and is therefore a half-brother of Jesus Christ, though that he does not mention. And he is a minister of the gospel of Christ.

According to the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians, he is evidently an itinerant evangelist along with at least one other of the brothers of our Lord. And he intended originally to write an epistle that was encouraging and positive and uplifting about the gospel of Christ. But instead, he ended up writing a strong warning about enemies of the gospel who have infiltrated the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because the Christian faith is in danger because of people like this. And true Christians have an urgent duty to come to the defense and even on the attack against those who are attacking our Lord Jesus Christ and the faith once delivered unto the saints. And so Jude says, Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

For certain men have crept in unnoticed who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Two verses, two sections. We have number one, an urgent necessity in verse three and number two, an immediate danger in verse four.

An urgent necessity. In verse three, Jude talks first about a pleasant prospect delayed and secondly, an overriding concern addressed. What he wanted to do was write about something that was pleasant. Beloved, while I was very diligent, while I was endeavoring diligently to write to you concerning our common salvation. Jude wanted to encourage God's dear children that he addresses here as beloved because they are especially loved by God. They are loved by Jude.

They are loved by all true Christians. And he wanted to write to God's people and to exalt Christ and to talk about the gospel that is common to all of God's true people. This wonderful message of deliverance from sin and the impartation of eternal life. And there's so many things that can be said about the gospel of Christ. It took Paul chapters and chapters and chapters and chapters to write about the gospel of Christ. I don't know how long Jude would have written if he'd done that subject instead of the one that he wrote about instead. But the subject, the gospel that Jude wanted to write about, this wonderful truth, is positive, encouraging, welcoming to all of God's people.

A subject about which all Christians delight and rejoice. But God said, no, that's not what I want you to write. Okay, said Jude, inspired by the Spirit of God, what do you want me to write about? He said, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith, which was once for all delivered unto the saints.

A pleasant prospect must be delayed until another time because an overriding concern must be addressed. And Jude recognized this as a compelling necessity. I found it necessary. Jude found that necessary, no doubt, by troubling circumstances, which he himself had observed going on in churches as he apparently was traveling from place to place in his itinerant ministry. It was a compelling necessary because of a positional duty that had been given to him as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was called upon not only to proclaim the wonderful good news of the gospel, but also to be a watchman upon the tower, upon the wall, looking for the enemy and warning people about dangers to come. And that was as much his responsibility as proclaiming the good news of salvation.

And no doubt, compelled by the Spirit of God, in other words, by divine necessity, Jude had to change his plan and write about something very different from what he intended to write about. A compelling necessary, a serious responsibility. I found it necessary, he says, to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith, which was once for all delivered to the saints. I found it necessary to write to you to join other Christians in this same responsibility, which I have shouldered as a minister of the gospel. But it is not just my responsibility to contend earnestly for the faith.

It's also your responsibility. I must exhort you to do the same, to contend. That word is used in the New Testament scriptures in two ways, sometimes for military conflict, sometimes for athletic contest. But it always has the idea of striving, of exertion, of earnestness, of giving it all that you have in order to accomplish the purpose, whether it is to overcome an enemy or whether it is to win an athletic contest. It requires a great deal of effort and diligence. Agonizing earnestness with all diligence is what contend means. To agonize earnestly with all diligence and thus with great exertion and thus with costly expenditure. Those who are contending for military battle have to be willing to leave comforts of home and endure rigorous training and learn how to operate various weapons of warfare and put themselves in danger and sometimes be wounded.

And occasionally, of course, some are killed. But that's what's necessary if you're going to be a good soldier in the cause of defending an enemy to your country or likewise in athletic competition. If you're going to succeed, you've got to give it strong, strong, strong, strong effort. You've got to be committed to this and willing to discipline yourself, willing to train yourself, willing to forego comforts and foods and pleasures that other people might be perfectly allowed to enjoy.

But you're going to have to give those up for the sake of the contest that you are involved in and for the goal that you have set before yourself. This is what Jude is calling upon all Christians to understand and to partake up. This is not a message which is widely proclaimed in our day. In America today, we love our comfort. We love our ease.

We love things to be smooth. In America today, a few raindrops will keep people from gathering with the people of God in the assembly of the saints on the Lord's Day because I might get some raindrops on my hair that I just got fixed at the beauty shop this week. It doesn't sound like much willingness to sacrifice and to pay a cost. That's the attitude that is required if we're going to successfully maintain the body of truth that has been deposited with God's people. We are to contend not only to defend, but also to attack is involved in this word.

When we identify the enemy, we are supposed to go after him, not just wait for him to come after us. It's all compelling necessity, a serious responsibility, a foundational deposit. Jude tells us that we are to contend earnestly for the faith, which was once for all delivered unto the saints. The faith, something that is explicitly definable, though he does not define it, but he describes it for us in this way, the faith is not the act of believing. That's the way the word faith is normally used in the New Testament.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, have faith in the word of God. But when it's given the definite article, the faith, it takes a very different meaning, though it's related. It's talking not about the activity of believing, but it's talking about the message that we believe. It's one thing to believe, it's another thing to know what it is you're called upon to believe. Some people treat Christian faith as if it's just an exercise in believing whatever I want to happen.

It's sort of a wishing upon a star. I saw something on Facebook not too long ago about faith, erroneously said about faith by somebody who's one of my Facebook friends. I keep accepting these requests and I have all kinds of friends.

I have no idea who they are. I usually try to check them out and I don't just accept anybody. They're usually identified as Christians in some way. But one of these unknown friends posted something about, it's not real faith if you don't believe God's going to do it. And I had to respond to that. I was tempted to pass it by, but I said, no, real faith is believing. Yeah, what they said was, it's not faith if you simply believe God can do it. You have to believe that God will do it. And I said, no, real faith is believing what God says he will do.

We don't know whether he will do things he hasn't said or not, whether he'll do that. That's not faith. If I believe hard enough that God's going to heal me, I'll be healed. I wonder how many millions of Christians are lying in graves today of diseases that they firmly believed God was going to heal them from.

But they had no warrant to believe that because God had not given them that word. He didn't say he tells us that he can heal. He certainly has the power to heal. And he gives illustrations of people that he has healed.

But he didn't promise you that he would necessarily heal you of the disease that you have. And to say faith believes that God will heal me is presumption. That's not faith. Faith is believing the word of God, the revelation of God, believing what God has spoken, not what you wish he had said, not what you want him to say, not what you hope to be true. And somehow faith is going to make it true. That's nonsense. That's foolishness.

And we don't contend for that. We contend for the faith, the truth, the body of truth, the message which has been delivered to us from God. Let me show that to you in a couple of places. Galatians one twenty three, Paul says, but they were hearing only about people who heard the report of his Paul's conversion. They were hearing only he who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith, which he once tried to destroy. He's preaching a message, isn't he? He's not preaching about faith. He's not saying, believe, believe, believe. He's preaching the faith, which once he tried to destroy.

He is preaching a message. It's called the faith or again in First Timothy four one. Now, the spirit expressly says that in the latter times, some will depart from the faith.

And what will they do instead? Giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. In other words, contrary doctrine. They are going to depart from the faith, true doctrine, the word of God, the message which God has delivered. And instead, they're going to believe the doctrines of demons, those things which are contrary to the word of God. That is contrary to the faith.

And Jude says we've got to contend for the faith. This is doctrine to believe. And furthermore, it is not only a foundational deposit, the faith which is under which underlies the whole Christian religion. Christianity is based upon a message. It is based upon truth. It is based upon a revelation that comes from God.

Everything is built upon that. But it is not only a foundational deposit called the faith, but this deposit has been carefully circumscribed because Jude says it was once for all delivered, not it is still being delivered. It was once for all delivered. That is complete, final, not continuing.

There is no divine revelation being given to people today. It has been done. It was once and for all delivered unto the saints, carefully circumscribed and safely delivered. Delivered unto the saints how? By Christ to his apostles and by his apostles to the churches, to Christians.

That's how. And it is finally gratefully received. It is delivered not to the world.

It is delivered to the saints. It is not delivered to people who have no appreciation for nor capacity to receive it and understand it. But it is given to people whose hearts have been changed so that they do love it. They do welcome it. They do appreciate it. They do understand it.

They have been enabled to receive it and appreciate it, and they have been given the responsibility to transmit it faithfully down through the generations. That's why Paul says in Second Timothy two, one and two, therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications prayers. And I've got the wrong text here. It should be Second Timothy. And I brought First Timothy to the pulpit.

So we'll just do the old fashioned way. Find it in the Bible. Second Timothy.

Therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus and the things that you have heard from me. An apostle. The things that Christ taught Paul, an apostle, the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Christ gave this deposit to Paul. Paul gave this deposit to Timothy.

Timothy is instructed to give this deposit to others. And thus it continues on from generation to generation to generation to generation. It is the faith, the revelation that comes from God, the foundational message, which is the Christian religion. It has been delivered once for all from Christ to the apostles and from the apostles to the church. But it is under attack. And that is Jude's concern. And so this urgent necessity of an overriding concern, which must be addressed before we can sit back and enjoy the blessings of the gospel and the common salvation. We better take care of business first. That brings us secondly to an immediate danger. Why is this so necessary?

Why is it so urgent? Verse four, for certain men have crept in unnoticed. We long ago were marked out for this condemnation.

Ungodly men who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the reason why Jude's direction was changed. I started to say why Jude changed his direction. That would be a true statement, but it's a stronger statement than that. He changed his direction because his direction was changed not only by circumstances, but by God himself.

And this is the reason why. And he talks in verse four about deceitful infiltrators and dangerous opponents. Deceitful infiltrators, certain men have crept in unnoticed. Certain men, he does not name them, but they are clearly distinguished from the beloved.

You can see the difference here. Verse three, beloved, he's writing to Christians. Verse four, certain men. In other words, verse three, y'all who are true believers in Jesus Christ, my brothers in Christ.

Verse four, them. They don't belong. They're not part of the body of Christ.

They're not of the beloved. They're certain men, but they want you to think they are. They have crept in unnoticed, crept in unawares. They have come in to the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ by stealth, by deceit. But they hide their true nature and motives.

Now, this is not the first time that we have been told about this kind of activity. Jesus himself in the Sermon on the Mount said, beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. They come to you, the people of God, dressed like a sheep. They come to the sheep dressed like a sheep. They look like on the outside, but what they really are inwardly is dangerous wolves who are there to destroy the sheep, to damage the sheep, to injure the sheep, to hurt the sheep. They're not one of the sheep.

They're an enemy of the sheep. Jesus told us about them. He mentioned them again in John 10, verse one, that wonderful passage about the good shepherd.

But he said, most assuredly, this is how he begins that whole chapter. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way as a thief and a robber. In other words, he doesn't gain entrance through Christ. He doesn't gain entrance through the new birth. He doesn't gain entrance by truly being made a child of God. But nevertheless, he climbs up some other way. Instead of coming in through the door of the sheepfold where the sheep are, he climbs up over the wall and he gets inside, even though he doesn't belong there.

He's not a sheep. He's a thief and a robber. He's there to take advantage. He's there to gain something for himself.

He's there to impoverish those who belong there. That's the kind of person he is. Jesus has told us about him.

We shouldn't be surprised. And Paul warns us about people like this. Here's the 2 Timothy text I couldn't find a moment ago.

There it is. Paul warns us about people like this in 2 Corinthians 11 verses 13 through 15. He says, for such, as he's already been describing, such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

This putting on sheep's clothing idea again. And no wonder, he says, where do they come from? No wonder, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. He doesn't come with a pitchfork and horns.

He comes like an angel. Therefore, verse 15, it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. Now, I could cite other passages, but surely that's enough to demonstrate that the scripture is peppered with warnings like this. It's peppered with descriptions like this. It shouldn't take us off guard. We shouldn't be surprised.

We should expect to hear about this from time to time. Why is it that this kind of teaching and this kind of warning is so seldom heard in conservative, claiming to be Bible-believing churches in America today? Why is it that so many Christians are totally unaware of this danger? Why is it that so many Christians think that contending for the faith is an impolite, rude thing to do, that Christians shouldn't do that? They should always be loving and gracious and invite the devil into their house and set him down at the table and feed him. Because we're Christians and we love everybody. Certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men who turned the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. So these are dangerous opponents, not only deceitful infiltrators implanted by Satan himself among the people of God, in the churches of God. I couldn't help in preparing this message this week, but several times finding myself praying, Lord, do we have anybody like this on the membership rolls at Beacon? I hope not. Could we? It would be foolish to think we couldn't. Who are they? I'm not sure.

If I knew, I'd tell you, warn you. I think, and I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself here, but I think if we heed the words of Jude and are earnestly contending for the faith, then people like that will find out they're not going to be successful here, and so they'll go someplace else and try it where they can be more successful, where people are not prepared to contend for the faith. And hopefully that's what happens. I hope there isn't anybody like that now. But there could be. That really brings it home, doesn't it? You thought I was talking about what's happening over there. You thought I was talking about what's happening in the church down the street.

It could be something that's happening right here at Beacon Baptist Church. We'd better take these words seriously. They are deceitful infiltrators and dangerous opponents.

But here's how Jude describes these dangerous opponents, and I'll give you four things, and then we'll look at them in the word. But first of all, he says, their destruction is certain. Then he goes on to tell us their religion is hypocritical, their influence is degrading, and their doctrine is heretical. But their destruction is certain.

That's what he starts with. Certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation. They are condemned.

They were marked out for that long ago. What does that mean? Well, that could mean two things. It certainly means that God knows who they are.

He's got his eye on them. They're not going to do anything that God isn't watching and judging and restraining and containing and keeping them from accomplishing what they are trying to accomplish and is going to bring them to utter condemnation. But this could be talking about Old Testament warnings about judgments upon false prophets, and you can find some of those in the Old Testament scriptures. These kind of people were marked out even in Old Testament days for judgment. Or it could be saying they were marked out by God a long time ago for the judgments that we're now going to tell you about in verses 5 and following. Verse 5, but I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. There's one judgment.

And on and on through the next few verses, you've just got judgment after judgment after judgment after judgment after judgment upon people just like this. So why does God bring that up first? So we won't despair. So we won't be discouraged. So we won't say, help, it's hopeless.

What can we do? We're going to be swallowed up. No, God's marking them every step of the way, and he is going to bring them a judgment. They're not going to win.

We are. They're not going to win. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

They're not going to win. This puts the closing benediction of Jude in a little bit different light, doesn't it? When he says, now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling.

These false teachers sneaking in look very much like they're going to be successful and stumbling a lot of God's people. But God is able, even if you're not the brightest bulb in the closet, wherever you keep your light bulbs, God is able to keep you from stumbling. He's able to keep you from being destroyed. He's able to keep you from the damage that these people want to incur.

That's why he begins with this. These dangerous opponents are people whose destruction is certain. But number two, they are people whose religion is hypocritical. He calls them here ungodly men.

And the word ungodly here means irreverent. Now, if they're sitting beside you on the pew, it doesn't appear that they're irreverent. But they are because they are hypocritically singing the songs that they don't believe. They're hypocritically entering into the prayers that they don't enter into.

Maybe even praying in turn from the pulpit, prayers that mean nothing to them. They are hypocritically going through the motions of religion, but their hearts not in it. Like the Old Testament Jews, so many of them, who were hypocritically going through all the rituals, but their heart was far from God. And they were judged and destroyed by God because, though going through the motions, they were unbelievers.

And Jude says that's the way these people are. Maybe they're hypocritical. They're unbelievers, even though they appear to be Christian worshipers. They are involved in the external practices of the Christian religion for show and for deception. So the destruction is certain. Their religion is hypocritical.

Number three, their influence is degrading. Notice this. Now my Bible flipped a page.

Notice this. Who were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men who turn the grace of our God into lewdness. That is, into lasciviousness, into licentiousness, into immorality. They turn grace into license. They turn liberty into immorality. There is such a thing as Christian liberty.

I don't have time to explain that now. They are what we would label, if we wanted to use a theological term, antinomians, because there are some people in the Christian religion who are legalists, in the sense of being Pharisees, adding requirements to the Bible that are not in the Bible, and making those equally authoritative with what God has actually spoken, and that's an error. And so that makes it easy for people to come along and say, that's a bunch of nonsense. We have Christian liberty, and indeed we do, in areas that God does not require or forbid. We have Christian liberty, therefore, because of the grace of God that forgives us of all of our sins, past, present, and future. Doesn't matter how we live. We can live any way we want to, and it doesn't matter. We can ignore all the commandments and prohibitions of God's word, and we can still be Christians. I would wonder, only God knows, how many people in conservative, so-called Bible-believing churches today think just like that, and are encouraged to think like that. That's not what the Bible teaches.

It's in your bulletin. The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, what? Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age. That's what God's grace teaches us, so anyone who says God's grace gives us license to live in an ungodly, immoral way is distorting the word of God. They are misusing God's word. They are twisting God's word for sinful purposes, and Jude says that's what characterizes these people. Their influence is degrading.

They will cause God's people to begin to practice forbidden activities, to break the instructions and commandments which God has given, and to say, It's okay. It's okay. I'm a Christian. I'm under the blood. My sins are forgiven.

I'm going to heaven. It doesn't matter. It's okay. It's not okay. The grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.

What else? Their doctrine is heretical. It says they deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

This phrase is interesting because in the Greek there's only one definite article, one the for two persons. The only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Greek construction when you find those joined together in this way, then they are virtually synonymous. In other words, the only Lord God is our Lord Jesus Christ. He's God, and He has all the authority of Almighty God. He deserves all the worship that goes through Almighty God. He demands and expects the same submission to His rule as we acknowledge is due to Almighty God.

The Lord Jesus Christ is sovereign Lord to be obeyed. But false teachers deny teaching, true teaching about Christ, both by what they say about Him and by the way they live. By their ungodly living, they deny the authority, the rightful authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to rule all people and particularly those who claim to be His people. They call themselves Christians. And yet, didn't Jesus say something like that?

Why call you me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say unto you? That's the height of hypocrisy. That's the height of unbelief. Claiming to be one who acknowledges Jesus as Lord, but failing to submit to His rule. And that's what characterizes these people.

And they're teaching other people to do the same. False teaching about Jesus, whatever that false teaching may be. Now, there's so many lessons to be drawn from this passage.

I'll have trouble getting to them all, but let me see how many I can get to. We find in this passage some lessons about the nature of true Christianity, namely that it's not always positive. Therefore, if you are involved in a church or some Christian ministry that seems to center on trying to make people feel good all the time and is always positive, I'm here to tell you something. That's not the Christian religion. That is not the Christian religion as is presented in the Bible. The true Christian religion is not and cannot always be positive if it's true to the word of God.

Of course, there are positive elements. We all rejoice in that. Glory, hallelujah, as we talk about Christ and the common salvation. But there are times we have to deal with matters like this. If you're not willing to do that, say, oh, people don't like that. They won't come to church if you do that. We've got to make them feel good when they come to church so that they'll come back, and this is what they want. And, boy, it's a circular thing, isn't it? You have people that heap to themselves, teachers having itching ears.

The leaders decide that's what people want, and they give it to them, and the people like that and want that, so they encourage the leaders to go on in that way. And so round and round and round we go. And what have we got? False Christianity. That's not the Christianity of the Bible. I wonder how many churches that applies to.

I'm just wondering. I hope not this one, by God's help and grace. Lesson number two, the responsibilities of all Christians to contend for the faith, not just Paul, not just Peter, not just John, not just Timothy, not just Jude, but all of us. We're all called upon to be alert to these things.

We're all called upon to be informed about these dangers. We're all called upon to be willing to contend whatever the cost, and sometimes it's costly. Sometimes God's people find they are going to have to leave a church that they loved and probably still love. Love the people, love the church, and yet it has departed, and it is no longer a true Christian church and no longer a true Bible church. And perhaps they've made appeals without success, and they've been called a troublemaker and divisive since it'll be because they're trying to call the church back to the word of God. And they may have no choice but to find another place, and that sometimes can be costly, yet that's a pretty small cost compared to some of the costs that our forefathers have done in even being willing to lay down their lives for the faith. But that's the kind of backbone. That's the kind of determination.

That's the kind of sacrifice that all of God's people are called upon to exert in regard to this danger, the responsibilities of all Christians. Lesson three, the nature of false teachers. They are deceitful. They are disguised. They are skilled at fooling.

They are usually nice and personable and loving and gracious and friendly. And how could a person like that be a dangerous enemy? You've got to look beyond the surface, don't you? They can be difficult to detect and, therefore, many times difficult for us to denounce.

That seems so unkind. But we better listen to Scripture and be informed by it. Number four, this section teaches us about the nature of false doctrine. And it indicates that it comes to us in endless varieties, and I take that from the fact that Jude was not specific. He didn't identify the certain men. He just told us that there would be people like this. He didn't identify the particular heresies. He just told us that there would be false teaching.

Because as soon as you identify one, then it pops up someplace else. You can't keep up with that. False teaching comes in endless varieties. It attacks where least expected.

It's always changing its approach. And, therefore, though we should try to inform ourselves as best we can, the best defense is to be so saturated with Scripture that you understand error whenever it pops up its head. But you've got to know the truth in order to be able to do that. You don't judge whether something's right and wrong by what your dear Christian friend thinks. They may be deceived.

They are deceived if they are not following the Word of God. You don't decide what is true and what is false about Christianity because this is what our church teaches or has taught or is teaching. And I love our church and have confidence in it. You better get the step or two beyond that. I hope you are in a church like that.

And God does give us teachers to help us and to lead us, but how do you know? That's not a wolf in sheep's clothing. How can you tell? They're so nice. They're so likable.

They're so lovable. So you've got to know the faith, which was once delivered unto the saints. And it's impossible to know every deviation. A couple of years ago when I first came into what we call the Reformed faith, and it goes by other names, that was new to me. I didn't know hardly anyone in my circle of acquaintances, the pastors I knew, the people I knew. I didn't know anybody who believed like that. But I realized this is what the Scripture teaches.

It's difficult to have to pull away and realize that some people who used to like you are now going to not like you because of this change. But that's a pretty small cost to pay. But I thought if we can just find people who embrace the Reformed faith finally, we'll be in a safe place. We can relax.

And guess what? I have realized over the years that vicious attacks, heretical attacks, dangerous attacks arise within Reformed churches and institutions just as much as among those who are non-Reformed. You can't pick out any particular group or denomination or anything and say, that's got it right, now we can just relax and coast and follow that.

You've got to remain alert and constantly checking everything with Scripture. And one final application is to point out the nature of Christian warfare. It is demanding this defending the faith responsibility. But for Jude, it was unwelcome and he told us it was unwelcome and why did he do that? He said, I'm doing this because I have to, not because I want to. Why did he tell us that?

Well, maybe because he knew there would be some people who come along who would take great delight in this. They seem to have some kind of a fighting contentious nature and they're almost gleeful in being able to spend their whole time finding things to criticize and to find fault in others. And that can be just as ungodly as allowing heresy to go unchecked. Yes, defending the Christian faith is necessary, but it is not something we should enter into gleefully. Defending the Christian faith is necessary, but that's not our primary mission. The gospel is and we actually do spend more time proclaiming the gospel and explaining it and exalting in Christ and holding up these wonderful truths than we do in exposing error and defending the faith. But we cannot omit defending the faith. But if we get to the place where we think that's my main mission in life is to correct everybody else.

I'm right and everybody else is wrong. No, we haven't got it right. We don't have the right spirit. We don't have the right attitude that is necessary to do this successfully in a Christ honoring way. I wanted to talk to you about the common salvation. Reluctantly and sadly, I'm going to have to talk to you about something else, but I'm going to do it because it's my responsibility. I'm going to do it because it needs to be done. But I want you to know I'd rather be talking about the gospel.

I'm not doing this because I delight in denunciations. That's not the spirit that Christ has placed within any of us. Shall we pray? Father, help us in these matters to be true to your word and to honor our Savior, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-23 18:41:02 / 2023-01-23 18:56:02 / 15

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