Earnestly Contending Women's Devotional

Earnestly Contending

Julia Bettencourt

Posted June 04, 2014


...earnestly contend for the faith...   Jude 1:3


Bible Passage to Read: Jude 1:1-25 


I think we all know what it means to flip flop.  I’m not talking about the things you wear on your feet either, but to flip flop on how we feel or believe.  The dictionary definition means, "a backwards handspring" or "a sudden change of opinion" (Webster).

When it comes to our faith, we just can't be doing backward handsprings.  Jude encourages us in his letter to the early Christians to stand firm and reminds us just what happens when we flip flop on our faith.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.  Verse 3

Do you see that?  That they should "contend for the faith"?  Contending implies that it is something that is going to have to be struggled for.  Jude was telling these early Christians that standing for their faith was going to require a little work.

It isn't an easy thing to do.  Life hasn't changed for the Christian.  We still have to struggle to stand for our faith. We have to work at it.

Jude knew it wasn't going to be easy for these people to do.  Read through verse 3 again.  He says it was needful for him to write this.  He had to do it.  It also says that he was exhorting them to do this contending for the faith.  Exhorting means to encourage to do something.  That's what Jude was doing here.


Why Contend for the Faith.

Jude tells us one of the specific reasons to contend for the faith in Verse 4

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

There’s always going to be evil and ungodly people sneaking in. Isn’t there?  They sure are sneaky too.  Jude says they "crept in unawares".  Sometimes we don’t even know what is happening.  We don’t see evil people and the ways of evil people for what they are.  Kind of brings up how the devil is seen as an angel of light.

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  
2 Corinthians 11:13,14

We are warned in 1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

Jude is warning the early Christians in this letter to be careful.  That verse in 1 Peter reminds us what's out there waiting for us.  We have to really be discerning, especially where the Word of God is concerned.  We have to compare anything others teach against God's Word.  The Word of God is our measuring stick.

We are living in a modern world and a world where everyone is connected online.  If we were traveling in a foreign land or something, we'd really be careful.  We'd watch our back.  Some of us travel far and wide across the internet in a day.  How careful are we?

We can't let our guard down.  We can't get comfortable.  Just because someone hangs a shingle on their website that says, "Christian", that doesn't mean it's the place for you or I to visit.  We have to compare what these people are teaching and saying with God's Word.

Another shingle you have to watch out for it that "ministry" one.  If they say they are a "ministry", are they really ministering?  Don't get involved in something that is not God honoring.  If you think you see a red flag, heed it.

Remember what real ministry is.  Ministry is not profit driven.  It is people driven.  Ministry is something you are compelled to do.  Ministry is serving.  Ministry is when we attend to other people's needs, not to the needs of ourselves.  With all of their ministry wares they tout, some of these websites remind me of the old peddler carts coming down the road.  We have got to watch out for that snake oil.

I urge you to really be discerning where websites are concerned.  Let me interject here that is what I expect you to do when you visit my website as well.  We all have to be careful.  We have to be diligently contending for the faith.

Jude is telling us in these verses that we have to watch out for those who have "crept in unawares".  They don't wear nametags.  You have to be discerning.  You have to be diligent to do your homework.  Check a person’s doctrine they teach against the Word of God.

It's so easy to be swept away.  It is so easy to start flip flopping on your faith because you've been led down the wrong path.


What to Remember.

On down through the verses in Jude, he asks the people to remember some of the things that happened in the past.  He was exhorting them here—encouraging them by reminding them of what was written in the Scriptures.  He reminds them what happened in the past when people didn't take a stand and contend for the faith.

Jude doesn't water down the stories for them either.  He tells them straight out what happened when people didn't stand firm in the faith.  I'm not sure why people think they have to sugarcoat it when talking about God's wrath.  He's God.

He's allowed to have His wrath and we should be scared of it.  Maybe it will help us contend for the faith a little harder.  When sin is allowed to take over, God eventually steps in and His wrath is the result.  We are supposed to hold the ground.  Hold the fort.


The Israelites

First Jude reminds the people of the Israelites who had wandered in the desert.  These people had seen the wonders of God up close in Egypt but they didn't contend.  They lost their faith and didn't stand for what was right.

I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.   Verse 5

Have you read the 11th chapter of Numbers lately?  Some of the Israelites complained and God burnt them up.  "Consumed" the people. (Numbers 11:1)  Then on down in the chapter, God hit them with a plague. (Numbers 11:33) 


Rebelling Angels

What happened to all those angels that rebelled with Satan?  Job reminds us.  They went from living in Heaven with God to living with everlasting chains under darkness.

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.   Verse 6


Sodom and Gomorrha

Next Jude cites Sodom and Gomorrha.  God rained down fire and brimstone on that place.  Now I know it is not popular today to talk about what happened in this city, but Jude puts it here as one of the reminders of what happens when people don't contend for the faith.

We are not to forget about it.  It serves as a warning.  When we are not standing firm on what God's Word says, ungodly ways creep in unawares.  The next thing you know, sin and disobedience become rampant.

It is so important to contend for the faith—not to flip flop.  If we don't, take a look at Sodom and Gomorrha and see what the result can be.

Some people think that it was just Sodom and Gomorrha that burned.  No, the sin wasn't contained and God's wrath wasn't contained either. Look what Jude says in verse 7.

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Notice that? "and the cities about them".

God didn't just burn the cities with all that fire and brimstone.  It was everybody in those cities.  Not only that but anything "which grew upon the ground".  Not even a blade of grass was left.

Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;  And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.  Genesis 19:24,25

Jude doesn’t mention Lot’s wife here in this passage when he talks about Sodom and upon Gomorrah, but these people knew and studied the Scriptures.  I’m sure they all thought about her when they received the words of Jude.  Who could forget that she was turned into a pillar of salt?


Now all these things that Jude mentions are pretty good reminders of what God can do.  Burning flesh, a plague, darkness and chains, burning cities, and more burning flesh.  He shares these things to remind the people to be diligent—to encourage them to contend for the faith.  He warns them not to let sin take over and then end up with God's wrath.


How to Contend for the Faith.

How do we contend for the faith?  Jude says, "earnestly".

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.   Verse 3

That means we do it with zest.  We do it with zeal.  We put effort into it.  We make it a priority.  We take it seriously.  We do it with conviction.  We do it with enthusiasm.  We do it with excitement.

We prepare ourselves by studying the Bible and putting effort into our prayer life.  We keep our communication with the Lord clear.  We stand firm.  We don't go backwards.  We don't flip flop.



Conclusion:

When we read through this entire chapter of Jude, we see how he describes what kind of evil and ungodly men will be on the earth.  They

 ...defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.  Verse 8


Doesn't that verse sum up the world we are currently living in?  We live in a world where Christians are mocked.  God is mocked.  Christianity is seen as a joke.

Aren't you glad there is an end game?  God is going to judge in the end.  All we have to do is just keep on keeping on.  Keep on contending for the faith—avoiding those flip flops.  Up through verse 19 Jude tells about the ungodly and what they do but in the next verses he gives us what we should be doing.

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

And of some have compassion, making a difference.
   Verses 20-22

Building on our "most holy faith".  Living holy is the key ingredient that separates us from the world and how they live.  Praying in "the Holy Ghost".  We have to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Keeping ourselves in "the love of God".  Looking toward eternity and "eternal life".  And oh to have "compassion, making a difference"  in such an evil world where sin and ungodliness run rampant.

In Verse 23 Jude reminds us of one important thing.  There is an eternity waiting out there.

And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

How much are we doing to keep others from an eternity without God?

If we are going to care for people's souls, we can't be idly sitting in a pew somewhere.  Contending for the faith requires movement.  It requires prayer.  It requires all that Christian living that we are encouraged to do throughout the Bible.  It requires all that love that Jesus showed us that we should have.  It requires our knowing the Scripture in order to know right from wrong.

To keep from flip flopping in this ungodly world we are living in, it may require us to speak up.  It may require some action.  It may require us to draw some lines in the sand.

Jude ends his letter with the One Who can help us with all this contending.

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.  Verses 24, 25

So, are you contending for the faith?


Copyright ©2014 Julia Bettencourt
Scripture References are from the King James Version.
www.juliabettencourt.com


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