Contending for the Faith
In the past we as a staff at our church preached through a series on the epistle of Jude. This little letter proved so relevant and increased my fervency for the truth for the church living today (like back then too) amidst a compromised and pressuring culture.
As Paul and Peter both previously warned about coming apostasy and false teachers, Jude now warns the church in the present that they are here! Jude’s admonition really is not as much a warning as a battle cry for the church to WAKE UP.
Jude passionately pleads for the churches in his day to wake up, see the present threat as grave, and then to collectively contend for the faith once delivered for the saints.
As I look first into my own heart and see my propensity to walk away from the God I say I love, my heart is grieved. Why don’t I more fervently contend for the faith in my own heart! Truly, our hearts are deceitfully wicked, and we must… we must… guard them for they are the wellspring of life. It’s what proceeds from our hearts that defile a man. As we are encouraged to delight ourselves in the Lord, and He will give us the desires of our heart, sometimes our desires deep inside are compromised and down right selfish.
As I look around at people I love and watch as some head toward compromise and/or outright destruction, my heart breaks. As a pastor and as a friend or even family member, you try to do what you can to warn souls of difficulty or impending disaster if they continue their present heading. All of us can relate to this at some points, right? In the spirit of personal introspection and growth in Christ, we all as believers are tasked with building one another up in love. This love is an edifying and maturing love, so sometimes it calls us to humbly confront others, attempting to resurrect their focus on the Savior and His Word. As Proverbs tells us, “faithful are the wounds of a friend.” And yet, it’s so hard to watch believers careening themselves off a proverbial cliff with warning signs everywhere!!!
Thus, Jude pleads for the church to contend for the faith. Furthermore, his plea is collective.. meaning every believer regardless of his or her “position” is to take part. This contending isn’t just for the lay leaders or even the pastors, but for the whole church.
Finally, as our hearts are grieved over our own sin and the sin of others in the world, may we also realize our God is still in control. A friend of mine once text me a note that relates to this so well… “It sure makes you realize how powerful He [God] is to allow all this junk to happen and not be threatened by it. ANY human institution would jump into damage control to ‘save face.’ Somewhere here there’s a balance between His sovereignty and His mission to redeem. If He wants these people of this generation to be saved, He’d get the right people out there AND stir their hearts. He’s still doing the heavy lifting in their hearts. In the meantime, what’s it [our own grieving over sin] doing in our hearts?” - Rob Dillingham
Rob is so right to direct our focus on the God above all of our wanderings, frustrations, and burdens. Church, dig into the Word with an insatiable desire to know God, develop a culture of repentance and submission to God’s Word in your own heart, lovingly point others in your sphere of influence to our coming King and His Word, pray with passion, and worship fervently this amazing God Who redeems us and works with us patiently.
Church, let’s contend for the faith and lock our eyes collectively on Jesus!