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How to Earnestly Contend for the Faith

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
February 1, 2021 1:00 am

How to Earnestly Contend for the Faith

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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February 1, 2021 1:00 am

Pastor Mike Karns gives timely instructions from the book of Jude.

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Or read to you from the book of Jude book right before the book of the Revelation 25 verses makeup. The epistle of Jude Jude beginning in verse one.

Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ and brother of Jane, to those who are called sanctified by God the father and preserved in Jesus Christ, mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you, 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 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, but I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe in the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day as Sodom and Gomorrah in the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also. These dreamers defile the flesh reject authority and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the Archangel, in contending with the devil when he disputed about the body of Moses.

Dare not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said the Lord rebuke you, but these speak evil of whatever they do not know whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them, for they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of bail him for profit, and perished in the rebellion of these are spots in your love feasts while they feast with you without fear serving only himself. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots, raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame, wondering stars for home is reserved the blackness of darkness forever now unique, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also saying, behold, the Lord comes with 10,000 of his saints to execute judgment on all to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are grumbly others complainers, walking according to their own lusts and they mouth great swelling words flattering people to gain advantage.

But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, how they told you that there would be markers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons who cause divisions not having the spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life, and on some have compassion, making a distinction, but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire hating even the garment defiled by the flesh now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy to God our Savior, or who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.

Amen this morning as we gathered here in this place, we heard a message from Pastor Barkman, the expositional series of second Corinthians. In that message.

He said Paul wrote to rescue the Corinthian believers from deception. That's why Paul was writing and that portion of the letter to rescue the Corinthian believers from deception by Smitty tonight to Jude is writing for a similar there is deception all around us. There are multiplied voices competing to be heard and we need great discernment to be able to discern truth from error and Jude rights to help us in that way. Or the words of a well-known him, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace not hymn writer is pointing us in the direction that our hearts are constantly in need of being tune walking in this broken world contending with the world the flesh and the devil are hard to get out of tune and we need times where we come before God and before his word, and have our hearts retuned come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.

Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above.

Praise the mount time fixed upon it, mount of thy redeeming love. Here I raise my Ebenezer, either by thy help, I'm come and I hope by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger wondering from the fold of God.

He to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood 02 grace how great a debtor daily. I'm constrained to be let thy goodness like a fetter bind my wondering heart to the prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

Again, hymn writer is acknowledging that the Christian the believer stands in constant need of having his heart cultivated and challenged and stirred up, lest he become cold and indifferent and wonder from the way prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love and its God and is keeping power that keeps us in the way that is cause for rejoicing. We know there are some books of the Bible that are neglected because of their brevity, particularly in the New Testament.

Philemon is one of those books consists of only 25 verses second John 21 versus third John 14 versus and this short epistle that considering tonight epistle of Jude 25 verses this. Out of curiosity, how many sermons have you heard collectively from these four epistles, Philemon 2nd John third John and Jude will because you're a part of this church, I'm glad to be able to say to you, you probably heard the exposition of each one of those epistles, but that is not the case in for for many Christians.

There are some Christians who probably never heard an exposition of some of these epistles. Let's take a brief overview of what is going on here in this epistle the short epistle was written by Jude. He identifies himself there in verse one. Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ and a brother of Jane bondservant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, that is a half-brother of Jesus Christ, a servant of Jesus Christ.

He's writing to Christians to believers to those verse two is writing to those who are called sanctified by God the father and preserved in Jesus Christ.

So he identifies these believers these Christians in a threefold manner. What is that threefold manner again is very obvious there is writing to those who are called those who are sanctified by God and those who are preserved in Jesus Christ called sanctified and kept then as a threefold salutary blessing of prayer that's conferred on these ones that he's mentioned mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you not be added to you.

But be multiplied to you. Then we come to verse three and it is in verse three that we get the purpose of this short epistle he 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, Jude states that he began to write with one objective with one purpose, and something else.

Some other circumstance altered that original intent and dictated that the course of the letter would address some other more pressing more urgent need.

What was his first intent. Well, he says his first intent was to write of their common salvation to write to them concerning their solidarity and Jesus Christ.

The tone of the letter probably was to be along the line of encouragement to speak to them about Christ and the salvation that he is secured first. People but something occurred that made him aware of the need with such importance and implications that he must fight concerning that instead.

So the purpose of this letter is again to exhort them to contend earnestly for the faith, the faith was under attack. The faith was being assaulted in their midst and Jude is writing to challenge them to encourage them to rally and to earnestly contend for the faith and will talk more about what that means. In a moment.

Why did they need to earnestly contend for the faith. Verse four for certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, certain men ungodly who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Imposters danger to the church danger to believers.

And isn't it interesting that that is something that is addressed over and over again in the New Testament.

Paul is writing to the Ephesian elders in acts chapter 20 and he says this in acts 20 verse 28 therefore take heed to yourselves and to the all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to shepherd the church of God which he purchased with his own blood, for I know verse 29.

I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, from among you among yourselves man will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw way the disciples after themselves therefore watch and remember that for three years. I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. So here it is again, and that's what was going on in Corinth.

It is in Jude ungodly men, false teachers seeking to spread their false teaching, creating divisions among the believers and they crept in unawares.

They worm their way in spreading a very dangerous teaching that is turning the grace of God into lewdness as it says they claimed to know God, but by their actions. They denied him. So the main purpose for this epistle, we can say it a couple of ways. Number one, to exhort and to equip his readers for Christian living in a context of false teaching or how to stand against false teaching how to defend themselves against it, how to fortify themselves against it. Then in the language of verse three how to earnestly contend for the faith and always have my interest peaked when I see language that speaks to the how to how to contend earnestly for the faith.

We have not just the exhortation to earnestly contend for the faith but we have instructions on how to do that. What does that look like we will get to that in a moment with the challenges to be on guard to be watchful because air creeps in unnoticed unawares.

It slips in it worms its way in and we we have a responsibility. The shepherds of God's flock have a responsibility. The profile of a biblical pastor or under shepherd or elder is he's a watchman he's been charged with the care and the protection of some of God's sheep. There is error everywhere in the news. I think it was earlier this week Larry King died and I heard watched a clip of an interview that was conducted with him Larry King said this, that if he could interview God, he would ask him one question my interest was piqued. What one question would Larry King like to ask God and I thought Wells probably has something to do with suffering and evil and that I was an integral Larry King said if I could have an interview with God. I would ask him.

Do you really have a son is the mark of a false teacher denying the Lord Jesus Christ denying the sun ship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Interesting. So here is Jude writing this letter to these believers and he begins with one intent, but must change the purpose of his writing enters a principal I think here.

I don't want to make it hard and fast, but I think it's worth observing and drawing attention to.

He wanted to write about their common faith. He wanted to write to encourage them in the faith, but here I think is the principal that the ministry of encouragement must take a backseat to the ministry of exhortation and the need for warning when danger in the form of false teaching is a legitimate threat to the sheep and there was a threat here to the sheep and that's what caused Jude to change the reason in the purpose for his writing, and it necessitates at times speaking negatively, exposing false teachers and their deceptive dangerous ways. Methods and teachings know what follows here in this short epistle, beginning at verse five all the way through verse six Dean is a description of false teachers and not only a description of false teachers but the certainty of God's judgment of them.

Jude employees three analogies to show the certainty of their condemnation and their judgment.

There is the analogy of unbelieving Israel in verse five I want to remind you, though you once knew that this that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe the analogy of unbelieving Israel number two. The analogy of the fallen angels in verse six and number three the analogy of Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities. In verse seven and again in verse 11 woe to them, for they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the air of a lump for-profit and perished in the rebellion of Cora three more Old Testament examples that show the certainty of God's judgment and condemnation.

That's what he's writing. Don't be deceived. These false teachers will receive their just condemnation what is the we don't have the time tonight to a whole series of messages could be. I think probably preached from the short epistle because there is so much so many references to Old Testament a narrative for our purposes tonight. I'm simply giving it an overview in and get to the main point here of what is, what does it look like to earnestly contend for the faith, but their fundamental characteristic that is true of all of these that Jude cites their ungodly their ungodly again verse for certain men have crept in unnoticed too long ago were marked for out for their condemnation, ungodly men, ungodly men, four times in verse 15 the same thing ungodliness is mentioned to execute judgment on all to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. And then again in verse 18.

How they told you that there would be markers in the last time he would walk according to their own.

What ungodly lusts.

Their deceptive their subtle creep in.

They've crept in unawares. He mentions that several times mentions it again.

There verse 12 verse 19 he says these are sensual persons who cause divisions not having the spirit.

The worldly minded there devoid of the spirit. They are sowing discord and division among the brethren, and in contrast to them. He says this, verse 17, but you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 20 but you, beloved, there's that same identification there in verse 17, but you, beloved verse 20, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit now here are some instructions. Here are some biblical injunctions for Christians who are being threatened with the ungodly influence of false teachers and their godless teaching, and it is here that he picks up on what where he left off in verse three again. Verse three writing to them to earnestly contend for the faith. Here are the particulars of how to do that. Was it mean to contend for the faith, what to contend means to exert oneself without distraction toward a particular goal. It means self-denial to overcome obstacles and to avoid perils. This isn't something that you're going to do in an afternoon or in a couple of hours. This is something you're going to have to be diligent about stat be watchful concerning for injunctions for injunctions that will protect that will fortify that will equip any saint to contend and continue on in the faith in a climate that is permeated with false teachers and their destructive ways and folks, Jude wrote that in a context in a church context that was legitimate. There was a threat. There were false teachers all around has much changed. There are false teachers and false teaching all around us if this was helpful and needful and Jude's day is helpful and needful in our day. Here is the key to spiritual profit. Here's the key to spiritual benefit.

Here's the key to spiritual growth for injunctions what are they begins there in verse 20 but you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith is the first injunction, praying in the Holy Spirit. That's the second injunction keeping yourselves in the love of God that is the third injunction and looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

That is the fourth and there are the four injunctions that will protect, fortify and equip any any saint to continue on in the faith and acclimate permeated by false teachers and false teaching.

Here's what it means to maintain your Christian walk with the Lord. It is by cultivating the familiar virtues of faith and of prayer and of love and of hope those of the four subjects that these four injunctions address so let's look at them one by one. Build your self up in the most holy faith building yourselves up on your most holy faith, the new King James says Bill Bill Dean now denotes activity. It's an action verb. Build your self speaks of personal responsibility for every professing believer for every Christian to be active, involved in this something that we are to do if God is commanding us to do it. God is not going to do it for us. Sounds like second Peter chapter 1.

Give all diligence to add to your faith virtue and virtue, knowledge and you know that list of virtues that Peter gives.

But you, beloved, building your selves up now to build up implies a foundation what is the foundation that a Christian must build upon what this takes us back to verse three. The front of the foundation is faith.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith he's returned to the subject of faith which he began with in verse three. The latter half of verse three exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the same now there's not two different aspects of faith being spoken to hear. I believe that in verse three and in verse 20 he is speaking to objective faith, not objective faith in verse 33 and subjective faith in verse 20. You might get that because of that word. Your buddies talking about objective faith in both cases, again the reference here is not to subjective faith. What I mean again, but subjective faith that the personal trust the believer places in Jesus Christ but I believe this is a reference to objective faith. The body of truth that has been given by God and preserved for us in verse three he says to contend earnestly for the faith, the faith, and anytime you see the definite article attached to the word faith is speaking of the objective truth of Scripture, the Bible, the word of God. The body of truth that is been given by God to us and he says to earnestly contend again. Verse three for the faith which was once for all. Once for all, that those words once for all. Translate the Greek word hotbox which refers to something that is done for all time with lasting results. Never needing repeated. God is given his word once and for all. It's never going to be repeated. Similarly, that hope locks is used in reference to the shedding of Christ's blood, the death of Christ on the cross once and for all, never to be repeated what he saying here is nothing needs to be added to the faith that has been delivered once for all. Is been once and for all delivered to the saints in the were delivered, which was once for all delivered in the Greek is an error rest passive participle say what is that mean well when you see the use of an Aris passive participle. It's indicating an act has been completed in the past with no continuing element that's very important something is been completed in the past with no continuing element. What are we talking about were talking about the revelation of God. When God gave the final revelation in his son the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no continuing revelation to be expected by the church by you and for me, those who believe in continuing revelation have missed this point God has once and for all delivered the body of truth, and he is not going to give us anything more than what is already given the references to objective faith. The body of truth that is been given by God and preserved by God for us so those who are longing for experience and for revelation. We don't need something else. God not going to give us something else. We just need to know better what he is already given and delivered to us.

That's the charge. My question to you tonight is, is that foundation in place in your life is that the foundation of your spiritual life, truth, objective truth, the word of God, and if so, there is something there to build upon something there for God to begin to work in continually work we must cooperate with that in an uncompromising and in an unwavering way, how do you combat air combat air was truth. How do you combat falsehood you combat falsehood with truth is the first injunction, what is the second injunction, pray in the Holy Spirit, verse 20. Again, the first one, building yourselves up on your most holy faith. Secondly, praying in the Holy Spirit, what is that that is spirit direct did prayer prayers informed and directed by what informed and directed by the objective truth of God's word that's how we learn to pray that's what's spirit led praying is praying in concert with the revealed will of God is he's given it to us in his authoritative word. The third injunction. This is how we earnestly contend for the faith but is he saying verse 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, there's that personal pronoun your again in yourself emphasizing what our responsibility is now there's a question. How do we reconcile this command to keep ourselves with other truth taught in God's word that we are And preserved by God himself. In fact, we see it right herein, the book of Jude.

It concludes with a reminder of what God is committed to do so.

He says keep your selves and the love of God. Listen to a couple of other passages of Scripture that we again have to work at reconciling with this exhortation, John 639 this is the father's will, which this is the father's will, which have sent me that of all them, which you have given me I should lose none of them, but raise them up again at the last day. John 1027 through 29 my sheep you're my voice and I know them and they follow me and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My father, which gave them to me, is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of my father's hand and in John 1712. Christ's high priestly prayer.

He prays to the father while I was with them in the world. I Them in thy name.

Those that thou gavest me I have captained none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scriptures might be fulfilled.

How did Jude begin this epistle to those who are called sanctified by God the father and preserved in Jesus Christ.

The epistle lands in verse 24. Now onto him was able to keep you from stumbling. So again the question is our eternal security dependent on him or upon us will is dependent upon him. It's a dependent upon him, but that does not release us of our responsibility to persevere. You see he has ordained that we should persevere to the end and we are Capt. preserved by God.

But God has ordained the means whereby we will persevere.

We are to keep ourselves in the love of God that leads us to a quick examination of the word love, not a feeling or an emotion or a sentiment was it mean to keep yourselves in the love of God speaks of cultivating a love relationship with him. In John 15 Jesus said, as the father hath loved me, so have I loved you continue ye in my love. If you keep my commandments you shall abide in my love. If you love me. Jesus said, keep my commandments. So how do we keep ourselves in the love of God, obedience. Obedience is the litmus to the litmus test of our love for God and that begs the question, how resolute are you how committed are you to obedience to the revealed will and word of God is that something that is front and center that marks your life. You are obedient Christian or have you been deceived into thinking that you can discard disobey the word of God and on many of front and still consider yourself a Christian, back to the objective truth of God's word was the fourth injunction. The third is keep yourself in the love of God. What is the fourth notice what he says in verse 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life question how can you be protected. How can you be fortified and equipped to continue on in the faith in a climate that is permeated by false teaching and false teachers and their destructive heresies build yourself up on the faith, pray in the spirit keep yourself in the love of God and wait expectantly for the consummation of your salvation. Keep an eye toward and for the second coming of Christ. Notice again what he says looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Looking that is waiting with eager expectation with our heart and I and gaze fixed heavenward, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. These are the four Christian virtues. You see them there in those four injunctions faith. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith first Christian virtue, praying in the Holy Spirit prayer. The second Christian virtue, keep yourselves in the love of God. The third Christian virtue and the fourth looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Hope, faith, prayer, love and hope is a practical message practical in that we been exhorted to contend earnestly for the faith, and here are the practical instructions on how to do that.

Practically speaking, this is how we earnestly contend for the faith and how we fortify and protect our lives from danger and apostasy. It's sobering.

It's alarming in some respects to read from time to time of people, theologians, authors, pastors, renowned people who have after 2530 35 years renounced the faith, embrace heresy, turn to apostasy and we say will send possible and if it has happened to them who are well studied and learned in a bin in the way. What about me. What about you, well here's how we fortify ourselves. Here's how we protect ourselves. Here's how we earnestly contend for the faith. This is practical and this is helpful and I trusted God will use it in your heart and life. Listen to the words of this hymn by Thomas Kelly prays the Savior all praise the Savior. Ye who know him who can tell how much we owe him gladly let us render to him. All we are and have Jesus is the name that charms us. He for conflict fits in arms us. Nothing moves and nothing arm harms us while we trust in him, trust in him, ye saints forever. He is faithful changing. Never neither force nor guile can sever those he loves from him. Keep us Lord oh keep us cleaving to thyself and still be leaving until the hour of our receiving promised Joyce with the then we shall be where we would be then we shall be what we should be things that are not now, nor could be soon shall be our own, shall we pray father, thank you for your word that is profitable for doctrine, for instruction for review for correction. Thank you Lord that we need these reminders.

Thank you to remotely thank you for your mercy and kindness to remind us of danger around us now to fortify and protect ourselves from it. Thank you for the practical portions of your word and answer the how to questions of our Christian life and would you buy the operation of the spirit of God equip us, help us enable us to do the very thing that is being exhorted here to earnestly contend for the faith. And as we do, we rejoice.

Now onto him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy to God our Savior, or who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever


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