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                         "THE EPISTLE OF JUDE"

                Contending Earnestly For The Faith (3-4)


1. As we begin to focus on the purpose of The Epistle Of Jude, we see
   that his original desire was to write about our common salvation 
   shared in Christ:

   "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." - Ju 3

2. The need to change his purpose is seen in the next verse:

   "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." - Ju 4

3. That men "crept in unnoticed" should give us pause...
   a. That such could happen, despite the many warnings given by Jesus,
      Paul, and Peter
   b. How much easier, then, for this to happen today when we live in
      time far removed from those initial warnings!

4. In light of this, Jude's call to "contend earnestly for the faith"
   becomes even more relevant for us today...
   a. We ought to appreciate "the need" to contend for the faith
   b. We should understand "the how" when it comes to contending 
      earnestly for the faith

[In this study, "Contending Earnestly For The Faith", it is "the 
need" and "the how" that we examine more closely...]


      1. This I infer from the phrase "the faith which once for all
         delivered to the saints"
         a. The expression "once for all" can rightly be worded "one
            time for all time"
         b. That is, "the faith" (that body of doctrine which we are to
            believe) was delivered to the church "one time for all 
         -- Revelation was not to be repeated, nor was there more to be
            revealed later on!
      2. That God has revealed all that He would have us know is 
         evident from such statements like those of:
         a. Paul, telling the Ephesian elders he had not shunned to 
            proclaim "the whole counsel of God" - Ac 20:27
         b. Peter, writing that God has given us "all things that 
            pertain to life and godliness" - 2 Pe 1:3
         -- If we have "all things", and if we have the "whole counsel
            of God", what else is there?
      3. Thus the Scriptures, which contain the faith delivered "once 
         for all", contains all we need to become what God wants of us!
         - cf. 2 Ti 3:16-17
      4. But when people suggest:
         a. That God's revelation is incomplete, or it is still in
         b. Or that God's revelation needs to be repeated
         -- Then our task is to "contend earnestly for the faith once
      1. There were those in Jude's day "who turn the grace of our God
         into licentiousness (lewdness)"
         a. Their doctrine of grace gave them excuse to sin
         b. So much so, that they engaged in that which was openly 
            shameful (lewd)
         -- Perhaps they said:  "Let us sin so that grace may abound!"
      2. There are some today who pervert the grace of God...
         a. To excuse their disregard for the commands found in God's
         b. To justify their lifestyle that is contrary to the 
            principles of the Bible
         -- For they are likely to say:  "God is too loving, His grace
            is too wonderful, to condemn us when we are so sincere!"
      3. But those who "contend earnestly for the faith" will be ever
         mindful of what the grace of God truly teaches - cf. Ti 2:
         a. To deny ungodliness and worldly lusts!
         b. To live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age!

      1. Jude had to deal with those who "deny the only Lord God and
         our Lord Jesus Christ"
         a. The emphasis appears to be on the term "Lord", used to 
            describe God and Jesus
         b. The term "lord" comes from kurios {koo'-ree-os}
            1) Which is related to the word kuros (supremacy)
            2) Meaning "supreme in authority"
         c. These people were denying the authority rightly belonging
            to God and Jesus
      2. Today we often face people denying the authority of God and
         a. By their lack of respect to the Word of God
         b. By their setting up other standards of authority for what
            they believe or do
            1) Such as a synod, convention, council
            2) Such as a pope, bishop, minister, or their own person
      3. But those who "contend earnestly for the faith once 
         a. Will recognize the authority which belongs to Christ -
            Mt 28:18; Ep 1:21-22
         b. Will recognize the authority delegated to His apostles - 
            Jn 13:20; 1 Co 14:37; 1 Th 2:13; Ac 2:42

[Clearly the need to "contend earnestly for the faith" is present, for
just as there were those in Jude's day who...

                  - denied the all-sufficiency of God's Word
                  - perverted the doctrine of grace
                  - denied the authority of God and Jesus

...so there are such people today!  How then shall we do it?]


      1. From the "Believers' Study Bible":
         a. The vivid expression epagonizomai (Gk.) is translated
            "contend earnestly" and is related to the English word 
         b. The term is associated with strife and combat of a most 
            vigorous and determined variety.
         c. The present tense of the verb indicates that the Christian
            struggle is to be continuous.
         d. Jude believed that the foundational tenets of the Christian
            faith were under attack.  Nothing but vigorous 
            counter-contention would be sufficient.
      2. The use of such an expression therefore suggests:
         a. The matter is serious; we are at war!
            1) Paul describes the nature of our warfare in 2 Co 10:3-6
            2) And again in Ep 6:10-13
         b. This is not a time to be unprepared; we must arm ourselves!
      -- We must therefore contend with vigor, even to the point of 
         agony, for "the faith once delivered to the saints"!

      1. Paul defines our weaponry in Ep 6:13-18
         a. Girded with truth
         b. The breastplate of righteousness
         c. Feet shod with the gospel of peace
         d. The shield of faith
         e. The helmet of salvation
         f. The sword of the Spirit, the Word of God
         g. Watching with all prayer
      2. Notice that most of these things are for our own defense, lest
         we be lost in the struggle!
         a. The elements of truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, 
            salvation, etc., are needed for our own salvation as much
            as for those we seek to conquer
         b. Make sure that you let them "remove the plank for your own
            eye" so you will be able to see clear "to remove speck out
            of your brother's eye" - cf. Mt 7:3-5
         c. Some people are so quick to take up the "sword", they leave
            the rest of their armor behind!
      3. Paul also has something to say about other weapons that are
         "mighty in God"
         a. Such qualities as "the meekness and gentleness of Christ" 
            - 2 Co 10:1-6
         b. Making sure that we are first "spiritual", and then 
            displaying gentleness and caution - Ga 6:1
         c. Refraining from quarrels, applying gentleness, the Word, 
            with patience and humility correcting the opposition - 2 Ti


1. The call to "contend earnestly for the faith" is not a license to
   engage in "contentions" and "outbursts of wrath" - cf. Ga 5:19-21;
   1 Co 3:1-3

2. But it is a call to vigorously contend with all the weapons at our
   a. First and foremost, with the Word of God, applied first to self
      and then to others
   b. But also, with the Christ-like qualities that are "mighty in God"
      to win people over to obedience to Christ

3. It is the fact...
   a. That many are not obeying Christ as Lord
   b. But perverting His teaching or setting themselves up as their own
   ...that makes it necessary that we "contend earnestly for the faith
      once for all delivered to the saints"

Dear friend, whose side of this battle are YOU on?  Have you submitted
to Him whom God has made both Lord and Christ?  Are you continuing 
steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine? - cf. Ac 2:36-42
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