Jude 3 contains a well-known phrase that many ministers use for sermon titles. This one-chapter book of the Bible exhorts us to contend for the faith. Next, the brief epistle reminded its readers that many false teachings were spreading to a dangerous level during the time period in which the book of Jude was written. False teachings and apostate doctrines are alive and well today. Some of the most dangerous of those are prevalent in the western portion of the world, especially in the United States.
What does it mean to contend?
The Greek word that is used for contend is epagonizomai meaning to struggle for, to combat. The word is a verb indicating an action that is to be taken. In other words, we are to be willing to fight for our faith.
When looking throughout the Bible concerning spiritual warfare, it is imperative to note that our struggle is not against people. Unfortunately, people are involved when we have to stand boldly for the faith in loving disagreement. Often, people take our disagreement with them to mean we lack love. Although there are cases in which that may be true, a genuine child of God, learns to disagree yet still love the people involved.
Contending in Deed more than Word
Although standing boldly for the Word of the Lord often requires us to speak boldly, our actions should speak louder than our words. If we say we believe in a certain principle, we should stand by it. Saying one thing and doing another is one sure way to make faith-contending less effective.
When we have to speak against the actions of a person, or a group of people, it is important to do so in love. In Ephesians 4, Paul admonishes his readers to speak the truth in love. Speaking the truth without love often does more harm than good. Truth coupled with love brings change. However, it is important to note that if you have spoken the truth in love, and people are still offended, you have done no wrong.
Beware of a False Gospel
What I am about to write is without malice because I love my country. I am thankful to live in the United States of America. With that being said, it is vital that I make it clear that we in the western portion of the world often are used to being comfortable. Confrontation and boldly proclaiming the gospel demand that we come out of the comfort zone. The disease of political correctness is plaguing the Christian church in America. Pastors and teachers will not speak out about controversial issues such as abortion, questioning one’s gender, and so on.
By remaining silent, we are allowing the gospel of comfort to spread rather than the true gospel of Jesus Christ. The true gospel saves sinners and sanctifies them. The agape love of God loves the sinner, but when the sinner comes for salvation, He loves the individual too much to leave him in his sin. I do not believe we have to beat people down, but I do believe we have to let them know that God has a much better way.
The book of Jude closes on a positive note. Verse 24 reminds us that Jesus Christ is able to keep us from falling. Our boldness and ability to contend for the faith comes from Him and not ourselves. When I am reminded of that, it brings comfort because I am not able to stand boldly without Him. Neither are you, but the good news is that you don’t have to stand alone.
For a more in-depth study on the book of Jude, check out the study guide I have on Amazon.