Learning to Contend

In 2 Peter 3:3 the apostle Peter wrote that “In the last days mockers will come.” From Peter’s perspective, this statement was prophetic. Many so-called “believers” had already abandoned the faith led astray by heresy, lust, or greed. Peter’s words suggested that these were just foreshadowing what was to come. In fact, it seems likely that the words of Jude 17-19 refer directly to Peter’s prophecy: “but you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ”

By being prepared to contend for the faith, we are less likely to be swept away.

5 COMMANDS TO STRENGTHEN YOU TO CONTEND FOR THE FAITH

1. Remember the teaching of the apostles (v. 17)
The apostles taught that this would happen. Don’t be shocked, don’t be surprised. Jude gives us marks of apostates so we know what to look for.

First, they are mockers who tease, make fun, and ridicule orthodox Christianity.

Second, they are immoral. Corrupt theology always erodes into corrupt morality.

Third, they are divisive. They cause division by leaving the clear teaching of Scripture and sowing seeds of discord.

Fourth, they are worldly minded. This is a person who doesn’t accept the things of the Spirit because they are foolishness to him.

Fifth, they are devoid of the Spirit.

2. Keep ourselves in love with Jesus
To keep ourselves in God’s love is to abide in Christ so that His love flows through us. We keep ourselves from stumbling only as we lean into God’s grace and depend wholly on His power.

We cultivate this in a number of ways.
Primarily, by building ourselves up in the faith. This requires that we study the Scriptures and doctrines of the faith.

Second, by praying in the Holy Spirit. We begin with nothing but He gives us everything, we come empty but He fills us.

Third, by waiting for Jesus to return. We keep our heads up anticipating the return of Christ who will set all things right.

3. Convince some who doubt
Some Christians are caught between those who proclaim truth and those who twist it. With people wavering in the faith due to deception, contending for the faith means persuading doubters of the right way and refuting the wrong.

4. Save others by snatching them out of the fire (v. 23)
The kind of person mentioned in this command is not a doubter, but a person who has slid into deception. There’s still time, they have not yet caught fire. However, rescuing them will require quick and determined action.

5. Have mercy on some (v. 23)
This is the most extreme category. Those who have been fully engulfed in false teaching and seek to harm the Church, the body of Christ. We’re called to make a distinction between the garment of polluted flesh and the person wearing the garment. This points to the cleansing that comes from repentance when God saves a person from destruction.

Jude’s closing in verses 24-25 highlights the Lord’s protection during today’s battle and the battle to come. Our strength for the mission is given to us and to preserve us only by Jesus.

How do we come to the aid of a Christian who has been wounded, is doubting, or experienced the trauma of false teaching?

1. Listen to the person
Don’t shun or avoid them. Be sensitive and watch for deeper issues.

2. Build a relationship
Don’t beat them down, take time to build a relationship.

3. Get the right help
Walk with them while modeling the grace of Jesus. If their heart remains hard you may have to confront the individual with a strong warning and appeal for repentance.

Has Jesus put someone in  your path or on your mind?
Pastor Chris Williams
To learn more about Pastor Chris and his teaching, visit us on the web at fcfamily.org  and make sure you subscribe to receive these biweekly encouragements in your inbox.

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