Last week I wrote about my struggle in letting go of people from my life due to their fellowship with darkness, realizing the Lord gave us all that admonition both for our benefit and the benefit of His kingdom. This morning I watched a podcast entitled “Plagiarism, Homosexuality, Pastoral Integrity and the State of the SBC”. Click the link to watch it for yourselves when you have a little over an hour to watch it because it is important.
I was raised in a Baptist church in my hometown, and our pastor Brother Bennett never had a problem preaching the whole Bible, even those parts that made people squirm. The squirming is the Holy Spirit at work in our hearts and minds with God’s Word, and that’s called godly conviction. If what is preached is tickling your ear and making you comfortable in your sin, then you aren’t hearing the whole council of God. Run from that church!
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Rom 16:17-20)
As Christ followers we must contend for our faith: “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:3-4)
Jude wants all believers to contend earnestly for the faith. A true contender vigorously endeavors to win the competition, not holding anything back. In this case, the struggle is for “the faith”, which is the saving truth of Jesus Christ and His teachings. “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Cor 11:3–4)
Since this faith was “entrusted to God’s holy people,” all believers, not just Christian leaders, are called to defend the truth of Jesus Christ. And since this faith was entrusted “once for all,” Jude intends to stand against those who claim to receive “new” revelations of truth. Through Christ’s personal teachings and the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has already given the full message of truth to the apostles (John 14:26; 16:12-13). Paul gives a similar warning not to let anyone pervert the gospel of Christ with new and different teachings (Gal 1:6-9). God has spoken, and any new, continuing, or special revelations of “truth” are to be rejected.
The two basic false teachings Jude contends with are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” First, Jude opposes the false teachers in their sanctioning of immoral behavior—they “pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality.” Second, Jude calls them on their rejection of the deity of Christ—they “deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”
The faith entrusted to God’s holy people for which they must contend is grounded in Jesus Christ. He is the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Matt 16:16), He is God with us (Matt 1:23), He is the Word, and He is God made flesh (John 1:1-18). This faith is expressed through holy living to which all believers are called (Lev 20:7; 1 Pet 1:16; Rom 6:1-14; Rom 12:1).
How will you know if you are hearing the truth of God’s Word from a preacher? You must prayerfully study God’s Word for yourself or you can be swayed to follow false teaching. Don’t just read along on the screen in church, read His Word from your Bible. “These [Bereans] were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
We must contend for the faith, because we are at war “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). Suit up for the battle we are in!