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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

Contend Earnestly For The Faith - February 11, 2005


Sermon of the Week – February 11, 2005

The book of Jude is composed of only one chapter, but it contains some of the most scathing denunciation of false doctrine and false teachers found in the word of God. However the amazing thing about this book of one chapter is the fact that it was written by a very humble minister of Christ. His humility is apparent in his introduction of himself. He calls himself a servant or slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.

Now Jesus had four half brothers according to Matthew and Mark and according to John they did not believe in Jesus as the Son of God.

Paul tells us that after the resurrection, the Lord made a special appearance to James and James became a prominent leader in the Church at Jerusalem. He is mentioned several times in that capacity. Evidently Jude became a believer also and was humble enough to call himself a slave of Jesus his older half-brother in whom he did not at the first believe to be the Son of God.

Not only that but he shows no jealousy in being identified as a brother of his famous brother James. He mentions James as though the people who first read the epistle would be aware of the identity of James. Everybody knows James and Jude was content to be who he was as the lesser known brother and slave of Jesus Christ. What an example for the rest of us preachers: Let us rejoice that God in His grace has given us some small part to do with gratitude in the service of Jesus. So Jude styles himself merely as a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James.

 How demeaning for a man of the cloth and such expensive cloth at that. He did not even call himself Reverend. The term Reverend for as a title for preachers was not used until about 500 years ago and at first the title was rejected by most as being too pompous for a true servant of God. Actually most of the great servants of God in the scripture were content to wear the same title of Jude, slave of Jesus Christ.

Then Jude Says "Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied." When he speaks of mercy I have to say that this is the only way we can approach God. I have no other claim on God's attention. I cannot say “Lord, look I have served you for over sixty years and preached thousands of sermons and given thousands of dollars in money, surely you will hear my voice and answer my prayer.” No, I have no such claim or expectation of being heard. My only approach to God in the matter of obtaining His attention is a cry for mercy.

Jude not only said mercy, but he said mercy be multiplied. I need mercy and I need it to be multiplied. He not only said mercy be unto you, but he also said peace be unto you. The message of Christ is the message of peace. It gives us the greatest peace there is. The same kind of peace old Simeon had in the temple when they brought, the infant Jesus for circumcision. When Simeon realize who the baby was he said, “Now Lord lettest Thou thy servant depart in peace for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” The Christian can have that same peace today because he has come face to face with the Lord in His salvation. Whatever happens nothing can take away that peace.

Now after he identifies himself he has this to say. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

He says I gave all diligence. This is the only way to serve the Lord is with diligence. Paul puts it this way, "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office ..." We need more people who will magnify their office.

Elders need to magnify their office. Deacons need to magnify their office. Preachers need to magnify their office. At whatever level of service it may be, that position needs to be magnified. If every position were magnified it would boggle the mind to see the progress of the Kingdom of God on earth.

           He said, “Beloved while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith, which was once delivered to the saints.” He says it was needful or he was constrained to write to them about their common salvation. How many times have you ever felt the need and constraint to write to some one, or call them on the phone, or fax them a message, or send them some email concerning our common salvation? One man called me one time and said, “Come and see me, and when you do we will talk about the Lord.” Then after a pause he said, “What else is there to talk about?” That is a good question. What else is there to talk about? Maybe there are a lot of things we need to talk about, but nothing of any greater importance than our common salvation.

We have a common salvation. It is not common in the sense of being ordinary; it is an extraordinary salvation. However there are many aspects as to why it is common. For one thing it is the same for men as it is for women. A man wrote one time to say that the gospel that is preached on this broadcast is needed by all the sex in religion. I think he meant to say sects S.E.C.T.S. But he wrote sex S.E.X. Whichever he meant he was right in both cases. People in all religious sects need the gospel that is preached on this broadcast. In fact the more sectarian they are, the more they need it. But it is also needed by all the sex in religion and out religion. It is needed by every man, every woman, every boy, every girl, every they, every them,            every who, every he, every she, every it, and everybody. He said I give diligence to write unto you concerning our common salvation.

            It is common also because we have a common Savior. Jesus can be and must be the Savior of all mankind. There is no other. Jesus said, “No one cometh unto the Father but by Me.” And Peter said, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Unless Jesus was grossly mistaken and unless Peter was completely bumfoozled, bewildered, mystified and freaked out by what the Holy Spirit told him, there is absolutely no other way for anybody in any generation, any place or any time to go to heaven other than through Jesus Christ. I write unto you concerning our common salvation.

It is a common salvation also because we have a common plan of salvation. Peter tells out that common plan the day the Church began on the day of Pentecost: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Now isn't that refreshing? Peter not only told them this, but then he told them it was not only for them, but for their children and he told them that it was not only for their descendents, but to all that were afar off, and not only for those who were afar off, but for all as many as the Lord would call unto Him. Truly we have a common at salvation because one plan fits all. I write unto you concerning our common salvation. Consider also it is a common salvation because we belong to a common Church.

There is only one Church in the New Testament. Jesus said, "I will build My Church." There is no other Church recognized by New Testament writers. I want to be sure I am a member of that Church. Is your denomination mentioned in the Bible? When you find it let me know where it is, I would like to join it. I want to belong to any Church that is found in the Bible, whether it be one or a dozen. I would like to join every one of them, because I don't want to miss out on anything. On the day the Church was born the Lord added unto the Church in that day those that were saved. Jude said, "It was a common salvation." It is common also because we have a common name.

            Doesn't it sound strange to read the New Testament and never find modern day denominational names? Listen to these strange names from the New Testament. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. If any suffer as a Christian let him not be ashamed. Where did you ever read of Protestants or Catholic in the Bible? If there are Protestants and Catholic in the Bible, let me know what book, what chapter and what verse so states and I want to join both groups. Ladies and Gentlemen, I don't want to miss out on anything. But until then, why can't we be satisfied to call ourselves Christians, or saints and nothing else? I write unto you concerning our common salvation.

It is common also because we have a common message. This is the Bible and the Bible only. There is no other book or written communication of any kind that has been given to us by the inspiration of God. John tells us on the last page of the Bible, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

These words on the last page of the Bible stand there like a red flag, a big flashing sign that says danger, a warning to all who would write or believe or teach any other document as the inspired word of God. I write unto you concerning our common salvation. Now after speaking of our common salvation Jude has something to say about contending for the faith. I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

He said contend. One important way to contend for the faith is in the Christian life style. If we contend for the Lord's Supper on the Lord's Day the greatest testimony for our conviction is a congregation whose members have the reputation of one hundred per cent faithfulness every Sunday. No one will doubt the conviction of a Church like that. That message is a crying need for the Church today. Most folk in the Church don't contend for anything. While there is more to being a Christian than mere attendance, it is a litmus test as to the contending efforts of the majority.

Contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints.  Man did not figure this faith out for himself. It was delivered. If a delegation of angels had come down to earth and sat in conference with Einstein and all the other leading minds on planet earth, there would be no equation they could come up with that would equal out to salvation. Einstein would tell us that E=M.C.2. They say that only a few people understand this equation. I know a harder equation to understand than that. See if you can understand this. Acts 2:38 = remission. If you can figure that one out, you are a genius. I doubt that even Einstein ever figured that one out. I exhort you like Jude, “Contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.”

The faith was once delivered and it was delivered to the saints. It was not delivered to the United States government. We have a Secretary of State and a Secretary of Defense, a secretary of this and a secretary of that, but no secretary of the Bible. It was delivered to the saints, to the Church. It is the duty of the Church to send the word out to a world that lives in the suburbs of Hell.

           Paul tells us in First Timothy that the Church is the pillar and ground of truth. The Bible has been deposited by God into the hands of the Church.

The Church cannot change the message. The Church as the pillar and ground of truth must support the truth and hold it up to a lost world. The Church must deliver the message even as it was delivered to them. Paul said, “I received of the Lord that which I delivered unto you.” The big problem today is that while all Churches have the same Bible they are not delivering what they have received. They deliver something else.

           All Churches have the same Bible. You can go into some Church in the middle of the week when no one is present and open the pulpit Bible to Mark the sixteenth chapter and it will say, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Go back on Sunday and if someone responds to the invitation he is informed that he is saved before he is baptized. If we are puzzled, the answer to the problem is that while they have received the same word as everybody else they have not delivered what they have received. Paul said I received it and I delivered it. I did not deliver something else.

Go to other Churches during the week when no one is present and open the Bible to the eighth chapter of the book of Acts and read where they went down into the water both Philip and the Eunuch and he baptized him and then they came up out of the water. Go back on Sunday and someone responds to the invitation and he gets water sprinkled on him and they call it baptism. Again we may be puzzled at the difference and we may say, "Hey, your Bible says one thing and you do another." The mystery is cleared up when we understand that they have received the same Bible as everybody else, they just haven't delivered what they have received. Paul said, "I delivered unto you that which I also received." He did not deliver something else.

Notice also that there has only been one delivery. It was once delivered unto the saints. There is only one delivery. The truth of God was not delivered twice just once. The Bible is the only book where you can find the way to heaven. There is no other. John said, “After the resurrection that these things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and believing ye might have life in His name.” There is just one delivery. So when someone tells you they have another book besides the Bible that is inspired of God you know that you are talking to a false prophet. There is no other book. As God looks down on the world to day there is no chance that He will send another gospel. We do things now that would have been miraculous to people a few years ago. God will never say, "Well it looks like I will have to invent a high tech plan for this high tech age." They need a high tech Church and a high tech gospel. Ladies and Gentlemen, our high tech age has produced high tech sinners, who are headed for a high tech hell. God will not give these high tech smart alecks a customized plan of salvation. There will be no designer Church or a designer plan of salvation except the one designed in the New Testament.

Lord through the desert drear and wide,

Our erring footsteps need a guide

Keep us, keep us by thy side,

Let us not fall, let us not fall.

We have a fear that we should lose

One whom eternal love could choose.

So we would neer this grace abuse,

Help us not fal,l Help us not fall.

Lord we are blind and halt and lame,

Our only stronghold is thy name,

Great is our fear to bring it shame,

Let us not fall, let us not fall.

Lord ever more thy face we seek,

Tempted we are and poor and weak,

Keep us with lowly hearts and meek,

Let us not fall, let us not fall.

All thy good works in us complete,

And set us daily at thy feet.

Thy love, works, name, how sweet,

Let us not fall, let us not fall.­

         Ladies and Gentlemen, I say unto you with Jude, “Beloved, I have given all diligence today to preach to you, concerning our common salvation, that you should contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints.”