This morning Pastor Alex walked us through the message of the little book of Jude. This is the second to last book in the Bible and was written by Jude to encourage Christians to contend for The Faith, which is the teaching of the apostles. During this early time in the church there were many false teachers who sought to lead people stray and so every Christian needed to contend, guard, and keep the faith. Jude begins and ends in vs 1 and 24 by telling the church that God will keep them, giving them great faith in the final outcome. But in verses 17-23 he encourages them in specific ways that they need to keep themselves, as they participate with God's story.
Jude gives us two ways to contend for the faith as we cooperate in God's keeping of us.
First, we are to keep ourselves in the love of God. We do this first of all by building ourselves through the Word of God and the gospel. We also keep ourselves by praying in the Holy Spirit. This involves an act of faith as well as praying in line with the word of God. A third way that we keep ourselves is by waiting for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the hope that drives our lives.
Secondly, we are to contend for the faith by having mercy on those who doubt. When there are false teachers in the church, some will be led astray and bring others with them. We are to urge people to come back to the faith, but to do this with mercy, kindness, and compassion. We must be with people who have departed and draw them back.
Jude finishes with one of the most beautiful doxologies in all of Scripture. It is a celebration of the faithfulness of God and what He will do for those who trust Him. We can read this for ourselves as we contend for the faith, trusting that God will keep us.
Questions to Consider
1. What do you think of when you hear the phrase "contend for the faith"? How does Jude's explanation of how we should contend challenge or confirm your ideas about contending?
2. Where do you struggle to "keep yourselves in the love of God?" How can you practice this yourselves, as a family, or with your church community?
3. What doubts do you have about the faith? Think about a time when someone has shown you mercy in your doubt. Who do you need to show mercy to?