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 Proverbs 31:10-31.
The Woman Who Fears the Lord
10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
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.