This message was part of the ‘How to Pray’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Fallowfield in early 2018. The full series included the following sermons:
This sermon was based on Jude.
1Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,
To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
2May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Judgment on False Teachers
3Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
8Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.
11Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
14It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
A Call to Persevere
17But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22And have mercy on those who doubt; 23save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
24Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
There Is a Faith Once For All Delivered
- Christianity does not change from one generation to the next.
- The canon of Scripture is closed.
- Historically, the church has summarised this faith once for all delivered in the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments.
- In the reformation, the fives ‘solas’ were also emphasised as central to the faith.
The Faith Needs Contending For
- Jude is writing into a context of false teaching where people are trying to pervert God’s grace for sensuality. This is just as much of a challenge in our day as it was in Jude’s.
- The false teachers were within the church.
- Verses 5-16 are quite complex, but they elaborate this point. They contain:
- Three corporate rebellions
- Three individual rebellions
- Four specific charges
- Two strange quotations
- Six graphic metaphors
- ONE big idea – Judgment on these false teachers.
- In light of this, we must contend for the faith.
- This isn’t about picking arguments – and the way in which we contend will vary depending on how central the issue is (it has been said that some issues we write in ‘pencil’, some we write in ‘pen’ and some we write in ‘blood’).
We Should All Be Ready to Contend
- It starts in you own life. Keep yourself in the love of God by:
- Building yourself up in the most holy faith.
- Praying in the Holy Spirit
- Waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ the leads to eternal life
- Then we contend outwardly by:
- Having mercy on those who doubt.
- Saving others by snatching them out of the fire.
- Showing mercy with fear.