‘Defend and Contend for the Faith’
Letter of Jude
I was wondering if anyone here has heard of The Great Wall of China?
Apparently it’s quite a big wall, and famous.
Its origins go back to as early as the 7th century BC.
The 7th century BC is the era of the Prophet Jeremiah.
And he warned for 40 years: Repent and return to God or destruction will come.
Well, God’s people didn’t repent and destruction did come within Jeremiah’s lifetime.
Rebellion and sin and idolatry meant the destruction of Jerusalem’s great walls.
And these walls, China and Judah, are meant to protect the inhabitants and keep out invaders.
And, historically speaking, China’s wall has fared much better than Judah’s.
The Book of Jude is written by the brother of Jesus Christ (in the late 1st century).
His full name is Judas, but for some reason, that name wasn’t very popular anymore.
Now notice in the very first verse he doesn’t boast about his close family connections.
He calls himself “a servant of Jesus Christ” – if only my brothers would learn that!
In verse 1 he reminds those he writes to that they are: Called, Loved and Kept
In verse 2 he prays: Mercy, Peace and Love.
Jude is assuring the people that the Father and the Son hold them:
As in: It is God alone who is their fortress, their true wall of protection.
However, Jude was going to write a longer letter about Christian things v3 “the salvation we share.”
But it became obvious that the walls of the fellowship were under attack.
v3 “I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”
Jude is calling the church to spiritual arms.
To “man the stations”, to get ready for battle. Why?
v4 “certain people had slipped in among you.”
Now let’s be honest. We love it when we meet new people in church.
We welcome them and do our best to see Christ in each one.
But these people Jude writes about are what the New Testament calls: False Teachers.
What do they do that’s so bad?
“They are godless men, who change the grace of God into a licence for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only sovereign and Lord.”
Basically they said two things:
1. God’s grace means you can do anything and live any way you want.
2. Jesus Christ is not the only way to salvation.
In other words, the Walls of the church had been breached.
The next 12 verses are a brilliant whirlwind tour of the Old Testament.
Jude takes us on a breathless tour of what happens to people who defy and deny God.
He talks of Egypt, fallen angels, Sodom and Gomorrah (v5-7).
He mentions going Cain’s way, Balaam’s error and Korah’s rebellion.
Look at the beauty of Jude’s anger in these next verses (v12-13)
“These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating without the slightest qualm, shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown by the wind; autumn trees without fruit and uprooted – twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming at their shame; wandering stars for whom the blackest darkness has been reserved forever.”
If you want to know how bad they really are:
Basically, they are the kind of people that put the ‘blasphemy of ketchup’ on delicious Chinese ribs.
What is the answer? Jude shows us.
First, he gives the example from the Book of Enoch (not in the Bible).
From v17, reminds them that God’s people will always face these kinds of challenges.
So, beloved, I want to encourage you all here today.
Ensure the wall is built well, strong and protected.
We do that by knowing our identity in Christ. That we are (v2) Called, Loved and Kept.
We build ourselves up in our most holy faith (v20).
Christianity is relationship to a Person, and a Content received from the Holy Spirit.
So we learn and grow in the faith, and (v20) “pray in the Holy Spirit.”
And this way we (v21) “Keep ourselves in God’s love as we wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to bring you to eternal life.”
This is how Jude tells us to guard and protect our Walls.
But we don’t just lash out at the invaders, we reach out to the lost.
v22 carries the heart beat of Christian spiritual warfare:
“Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear, hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
The world has always tried to destroy the church by infiltration or indoctrination.
Infiltration comes by the Church accepting ideologies such as the Progressive Woke Marxist ideologies.
Indoctrination comes by letting the biblical worldview to be subordinate to an anti-biblical worldview.
It will never succeed, every century proves this to be true.
Our wall is the Word of God; The cement is the Holy Spirit and the weapons are prayer & praise.
That’s how we “contend for the faith that was entrusted to us” v3
All glory to Jesus Christ.
This sermon was preached early in January 2023 at a service held together with our Chinese and Hong Kong brothers and sisters in Christ.