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 Luke.
11And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
17″But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ 20And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
25″Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'”
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.