Sermon: Arise Contend For Pure Faith

Written by Timothy

The Book Of Jude
Arise Contend For Pure faith
Year 2002

We will look at the book of Jude and see how it applies to today, not with a lot of fanfare or tearing it apart, but rather, taking it for what it has to say.

Jude 1:1-2 – Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

Jude begins his message of love by talking about the fact that Jesus Christ is the one who keeps our faith and keeps us strong. We need to focus on him.

Jude 1:3 – Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share…

He wanted to discuss the love, grace, and mercy God has poured out. We need to know how to securely keep the grace and mercy we have. God began a work here to raise up a pure and holy church, and it would be very easy to lose that good start. That is what Jude talks about.

Jude 1:3 – Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend…

He wanted to talk about the love, mercy, and grace that are in Jesus Christ, but instead he focuses on contending for the truth. I know one group that takes the phrase to contend to mean that you pick on churches you think are evil. That is not what Jude means.

Jude 1:3…to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

We must receive the truth that the Holy Spirit puts in us, not truth that comes from Bible schools, colleges, commentaries, or even Sunday school classes. God wants individuals who thrill and rejoice in the truth they have received. When this takes place they will naturally stand up and contend for the truth. You will want to rise up and say, “This is what the truth is about,” and speak in the greatest of love and mercy to people. Jude wrote that you have God’s truth, mercy, and grace, now rise up and make sure you hold on to it and start to contend. Go into the arena and declare the truth. In verse 4, he gives us the reason why.

Jude 1:4 – For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.

He doesn’t talk about contending with Mormons, a particular group, or an evil person. He said you should contend with certain individuals who have come in to the church. You need to purify the body in the church where you are. The message today and what Jude wrote about is that God works his purity in a church. Yet, how often do we hear stories about churches that self-destruct two, three, or even five years later? God begins the good work and purification. In the beginning, everybody desires to change and repent, but then they sit back and relax, so to speak, in the love and the grace that God began. They don’t rise up and contend to make sure the body remains pure. They rely upon the pastor or elders to do it. This letter urges everyone to contend for the truth in order to keep the church body holy and to continue in God’s righteousness.

Jude 1:4 – For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.

They don’t come with an announcement or wear a shirt that says, “I’m a false Christian.” They secretly come in and say the right words. They agree with everything that should be said and done. The only way we can see them is if we contend before the Lord in prayer about the truth and living it with one another. This draws these men out for who they really are. They get the false sense of love and grace that the church often preaches—the one that says we are not supposed to judge, examine, or ask questions. Everybody has a secret part of their lives they hang on to. So, it is not too hard for false Christians to slip in.

Jude 1:4 – have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men…

It must be clearly seen they really are godless men. How can godless men secretly slip into a church that tries to seek after God? It is because the church did not contend for the faith. They are not full of zeal and effort. They don’t look and examine. They won’t follow through in prayer and ask God to keep things pure, and make sure their own lives are righteous and holy. We don’t want to become a church that allows godless men to come in, sit down, and fellowship with us.

Jude 1:4 – They are godless men who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

They come into the church and alter the words and concepts of grace. They say grace allows you to continue in your sin. Grace then becomes the justification to continue in sin. People say, “Well, it’s all under the blood.” No matter what you do, how you behave, what thoughts you have, or what sins you are in, God forgives you and overlooks it because it is washed under the blood. Why bring it up? Why deal with it? They take the grace and mercy of God, that which has the power to change us, twist it into a license for immorality and sin, to justify self. “They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality.” They literally take the grace of God and say, “You are permitted to live a sinful life.” Instead of presenting the grace that says you have to deny yourself, say “No” to sin, and live a righteous and holy life, they come in and preach, teach, and live in such a way as to allow someone to remain in their sin. They change the grace of God into a license for immorality.

Jude 1:4 – and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

How does a man deny Jesus Christ? Do these men come into the church saying, “I’m glad all of you took me in. By the way, I deny Jesus Christ.”? No, they come in secretly. Well, how can a man secretly slip into the church and deny Jesus Christ? Paul tells us very clearly in Titus.

Titus 1:16 – They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

Paul says they are a group of men who call themselves Christians and claim to know God. They come in and say, “We know the grace of God. We’ve been Christians for so many years. We love the Lord. We pray, serve, give, and do all these things.” It says they claim to know God, but how do they deny Jesus Christ? “By their actions, they deny him.” The things they do show whether they really follow Jesus Christ or not. We have a whole host of individuals who say they love Jesus Christ. Look at their behavior and see what they do. Do they deny Jesus Christ or not? Don’t just listen to the words they say. See if what they do matches their words. Look at Paul’s attitude toward these individuals, and ask yourself, “Do I have this attitude not only toward others, but myself?” I might say I love Jesus Christ, but what do my actions declare? Titus 1:16 says, “They are detestable.” Christianity has been reduced down to an emotionless religion. People go to church on Sunday, listen to the sermon, have a discussion, and then go out to eat. That is about it! Very little passion is left.

Titus 1:16 – They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

Paul says if they claim to know God, and belong to him, but if their actions deny him, they are unfit—they are not qualified. They cannot obey one single thing in Jesus Christ. The grace of God should be so life-changing that when somebody comes in a certain way, God changes him or her into a totally different person. Their actions are totally different from when they first arrived. Paul says these men are detestable because they are disobedient. He says they cannot do anything right in Jesus Christ because their hearts are not in a proper place. We will lose what God begins to work if we don’t rise up, and contend to make sure the body is safe and secure. I refer especially to the men in this body for whom God has called into the kind of leadership that protects the flock. We need to lift up prayers for the Lord to keep this body pure and clean, to show no favoritism toward anyone, whether it is the preacher or someone in leadership. We need to pray and ask God to keep mockers and liars far from us. We need to ask God to keep self-righteousness away from our own hearts so we can have a clean and pure body. Paul says:

Acts 20:27 – For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

Men would accept it if I preached half of the message, three-quarters, or even 90 percent, but Paul says, “I have preached the whole will of God.” The first thing we do in contending for the faith is to look at our own hearts and lives. Do we match up? Are we really in a right place with the Lord?

Acts 20:28 – Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Realize what you guard. Think about where you worship. You don’t just come to church. The blood of Jesus Christ bought this place. When you tell somebody you are a Christian, you mean you were bought by the very life and blood of Jesus Christ. Should not our lives match up? Should not our hearts be excited? Let’s rise up and say, “I was purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ” and be in love with him. We need to have the same zeal as Paul when he calls these disobedient men “detestable.” Here is the key verse. Underline it. Circle it. Paul says “I know that after I leave…” What was it about Paul’s presence that kept something from happening?

Acts 20:29 – I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.

As long as he was there, the wolves were driven away. As long as his fire and zeal were there, certain men could not come in. They would not survive ten minutes there. Each of us need to have the kind of zeal and fire that comes from the Holy Spirit, knowing certain men who are savage wolves, and would tear up the body and use it for their own benefit. We should have such fire and love for God that we could see them coming immediately and not allow them to even come into the church. But, Paul knows that after he leaves they won’t have the same fire and zeal they need to protect the body. Where is the fire and zeal that will step in and say, “I will not permit this to happen anymore”? Everybody complains about leadership and pastors taking advantage of the congregation, but who rises up to say, “Okay, there has been enough! We will not allow it any longer”? God began a good work here, but we have to guard it. We have to have such a fire in our hearts that savage wolves cannot come in and cause destruction. They must know they will not survive if they come in.

Acts 20:29 – I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.

They don’t care about love, mercy, or kindness. They only seek to please themselves.

Acts 20:30 – Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

As long as Paul was there in the power, grace, and love of the Holy Spirit, these men could not rise up. These men listened and took in the sermons. Yet, they had not been exposed for what was really in their hearts. They weren’t going to the cross to die to self. When Paul leaves their presence, wicked men will rise up to distort the truth and draw people away. In the same way, when a Paul leaves, and the protection isn’t there, we need to have the fire and zeal so these men do not take in individuals, and the rest of the body is also protected. Listen to how he preached. This is not a minor thing or a one-time sermon.

Acts 20:31 – So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

He went from house to house, brother to sister, person-to-person, and pleaded with them night and day with tears. “Watch out! Get yourself ready. Be prepared. It will take place. I will be removed from you, and you will have to have fortitude, grace, and fire.” He didn’t just say this one time. He repeated this over and over again because they had to have the grace and fire. We have to pick up the cross and walk the walk. Otherwise, men will come in to distort the truth and we will be drawn to that twisted truth, or they will try to devour and scatter the flock.

Acts 20:31-32 – Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

He pleaded with them to lay hold of God’s grace. Night and day with tears he said, “I give you to the grace of God. Build yourself up in that. Make yourself strong. Now is the time for the comfort and grace of God to work in your life. But, after I leave, and the testing time begins, make sure you are in that grace. Be sure you really are sanctified and have made your life holy in the Lord.” It is one thing to listen to sermons and say, “Oh, what a grand sermon. It talked about holiness and righteousness and how we all need that.” You have to ask if you have really denied yourself, if you hate your own life, and if Jesus Christ really lives within you. Because there will come a testing and sifting time. We might indeed, I am sorry to say, see a time when some people are scattered to follow other things or are destroyed by savage wolves.

Acts 20:32 – Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Look to the grace and lay hold of it now. It is a comfortable time now, so cry out for God and seek his mercy. Don’t sit back and enjoy it, but make sure you have hold of the truth.

Jude 1:5 – Though you already know all this…

You are aware of this fact. Everybody else will readily admit Jesus Christ came to bring righteousness and holiness, but look at what he said.

Jude 1:5 – Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.

Who is this letter written to? Is it written to the next-door neighbor who is not a believer? No, it is for the church, to Christians who lay hold of the grace of God and to those who belong to the living God. “I want to remind you, that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt.” They were rescued from sin. They were rescued from the wolves, “…but later destroyed those who did not believe.” Jude said that we as a body need to believe solidly in God and what he is able to do. I know people talk a lot about faith and belief in the church, but how little real faith there is anymore—a real trusting in God in our lives even when things don’t go right.

Jude 1:5 – Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.

Many people walk with God. They are in the desert with him, but really don’t believe or trust in him. They don’t surrender all things to him or rest in his grace, mercy, and what he will work. Let us see to it, as the book of Hebrews says, that none of us has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. Let us make sure each person worships the living God—not Christianity as a religion, concept, or idea. Ask yourself, do the brothers and sisters you fellowship with worship a living God? Are they really in an alive relationship with him? Do they learn to trust God no matter what wrong things happen in their life? God initially delivered his people, but later destroyed them because they never trusted him. How does Jude say we should contend? We should first contend with our own lives, that we really are believers. When you see a brother or sister’s faith sinking down, and they begin to rely on their own effort, or take their life in their own hands, go to that brother or sister. Pray with them, rebuke them, or encourage them—whatever God leads you to do and say to continue to worship the living God. Trust God and believe no matter what happens because each of us will have our faith tested. There will be times when my faith is totally in the gutter and there will be times when yours is down there too. That is what the body does—build one another up in Jesus Christ and say, “Trust the living God.” It is so easy for Christianity to become a concept or idea to believe in a God who does what we want him to do.

Jude 1:6 – And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.

As we saw in Acts, when Paul leaves certain men will rise up to take positions that are not theirs to take. They always want to be a teacher, preacher, or leader or somehow be noticed. He wants to remind you that angels who did not keep the positions for which they were made were sent into gloomy dungeons to be held for the Day of Judgment. Each of you has a work to do in Jesus Christ. Find out what it is and don’t desire some other position or work. James says if you have selfish ambition in your heart, do not deny the faith. So often when people come to the church we promise them grand things or tell them, God has a great plan for you. You will be in charge of a ministry.” Nobody says, “Here’s a broom. Just sweep the hall.” Everybody wants a different position in Jesus Christ and that has to stop. We have to be content with the position God gives us no matter how boring it might seem because some angels abandoned their positions.

Jude 1:6 – And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.

They were not content where they were. Sometimes following God can be extremely boring and you want some other position, something else to do or something a little more exciting. Angels abandoned their homes. They were in heaven and saw his glory but became discontented. Let us guard against the same thing and watch for men who will want positions. They may even come in with false humility, but they will not be content with where they are supposed to be in Jesus Christ. They are not content to be servants of all.

Jude 1:7 – In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

When I first became a pastor, I heard story after story about pastors who ran away with somebody in the congregation. The church is loaded down with all kinds of lustful perversions and indulgences of the flesh and sexual immorality.

Jude 1:7 – In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up…

Each of us has a burning desire within us to commit sexual immorality or indulge the flesh. The cross must be there to crucify this desire and put it to death. But some just give themselves up to it and stop fighting. They give in to whatever sensuality they want to enjoy, whether they go to a picnic to have a good time, or whatever it is the flesh wants to do. They give themselves up to having fun. Often I heard it said, “But, we need to show the world that Christians can have fun, too.” Give yourself over to the indulgence of the flesh and I guarantee you, it will lead to sexual immorality. It may start out indulging the flesh in some small way. Many things go on behind the scenes in a lot of churches because they indulge their flesh. Goodness, you can go to churches today and get cappuccino or donuts before you go hear the service. I guarantee you, they are loaded down with all kinds of sexual immorality―you just can’t see it. Men no longer find it pure joy, as James says, to face trials of any kind.

Jude 1:7 – They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

Jude wanted to talk about the grace and mercy of God, but he has to talk about hell instead. Let us not be afraid or ashamed to sit down and contemplate a God who comes with judgment. We need to be holy and righteous. We need to move beyond that, of course, but let us not fail to realize what will take place.

Jude 1:8 – In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.

It is an amazing thing to watch certain preachers. They talk about stomping on the devil. I have heard preachers talk about poking the devil’s eyes out, or stomping on him. With music in the background, everybody dances around as if they are stomping all over Satan. They don’t take the adversary seriously. They slander Satan because they have no understanding of the real battle they are involved in. “In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies…” That is, they go out to indulge the flesh, do whatever they want to do, and use the grace of God to justify the indulgence of their flesh. Think about it when you pollute something, some element of truth was originally there. There may be something that started out as good, but they polluted what was holy, righteous, and proper. Let us be holy and pure in all that we do, and grow in that purity and righteousness. “These dreamers pollute their own bodies.” They take their own thoughts and dreams—that is, what they think about and what they want to do—and use their bodies to please those dreams. They take the dreams of the sinful nature (self-will, pride, and arrogance) and go after greed, lust, and the things of this world. They use their bodies and pollute themselves by giving themselves over to their dreams. Verse 8 says they reject authority. They always want to be in a position of leadership. They have no humility to be taught by one another because they have all of the truth and are correct in everything they do. They reject anyone over them. In American churches today, everybody has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and nobody can interfere with that relationship at all. We have no true concept of the authority that is in Jesus Christ, where God brings people into our lives to teach and build us up in Jesus Christ. Jude says “they reject authority and slander celestial beings.” Their pride and arrogance are so high and lofty that they will go against anything, it doesn’t matter what. They believe they are the truth and the standard. You can see this sometimes in the way they talk. “Oh, this offends me,” or, “I think this,” or “This is the truth,” or “I experienced this.” They have become the center of truth so they are not afraid to slander even celestial beings, let alone those who love the Lord.

Jude 1:9 – But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him.

If there is one person you think you could rebuke, it should be Satan, and everything you could say against Satan would be true. If Satan was in this room and I turned to him and said, “You are a liar,” that would certainly be true. But it says the archangel Michael did not dare to bring an accusation against Satan himself until God moved him to do that. He simply said “the Lord rebuke you.” What we see in the church today is slander about other people and groups without even thinking about what we say or do. We are to be holy people full of grace, mercy, and love seeking to bring all men to the truth. We are not to gossip, slander or put them down, but seek to lay down our lives for them so they might see the truth. If we are not called to declare or bring anything against their character, then all we need to say is, “The Lord will rebuke you,” and he will deal with Satan in due time.

Jude 1:10 – Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand.

Right now, a whole host of people speak against someone, and they don’t even understand what they speak against. They just have this feeling, a gut instinct it is wrong, but they don’t even know why it is wrong. They haven’t asked the question to know what they are against. Remember, these are men who have secretly come into the church who are really unreasoning and do not think, pray, wrestle, or struggle. To find the will of God in my life and have the mind of Christ requires some effort on my part. I have to deny myself and let him crucify me. I have to let him transform my mind and let the Holy Spirit fill me up. To come to a conclusion about any Scripture is a long process sometimes. Yet, these men come in, read a Scripture, and they instantly understand it. They will slander anybody who doesn’t agree with them or says anything any different. They are not able to come before the Lord and reason with men or God.

Jude 1:10 – Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand.

Such men need to either repent or be driven from the church.

Jude 1:10 – …and what things they do understand by instinct…

They have a certain understanding that is like the beasts in the field. What things they do understand in Jesus Christ comes to all men who can naturally comprehend, like understanding there is a God or that Jesus Christ died for our sins. They have some basic things down, but it is by instinct, not enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. They don’t know anything by the process of hating their own thoughts and letting the mind of Christ be put in them.

Jude 1:10 – …and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals…

Animals do what they do naturally, and certain men secretly come into the body and follow along for a while. They do the things they understand, but they don’t really know why they do them. These men have secretly slipped in. This is what destroys them. They lay hold of the grace of God, but it is that grace that will condemn them. They say the grace of God permits them this sin, yet the grace of God says, “No. I taught you to say ‘No’ to that.” It will be the very thing that destroys them.

Jude 1:11 – Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

We have a Christianity with an emotion, life, love, and zeal. This isn’t a Sunday school class where everybody sits around and shares their nice little opinions about what they think. Look at what it says. “Woe!” Ask yourself: Do I have this emotion and zeal? Do I really have the truth? Do I have anything I would consider worth dying for? Is Jesus Christ so precious to me that when I consider who he is and what these men live that all I can say is “Woe to them!”? Where are the emotion, fire, zeal, and the love for Jesus Christ? We are so cold and calculated, and everybody tells us, “Oh, keep it cool. Think about it. Let’s reason. You are just following your emotions.” Christianity is full of emotions. It is full of love and zeal. My wife would not even want to be married to me if I loved her without any emotion, or, I have to love here because I want to go heaven. She wants fire, zeal, passion, and a communication of the heart. This is about contending with the truth. This is not about a bunch of Pharisees who decide to go to the Sadducees. This isn’t some intellectual understanding about Jesus Christ and ink on pages called the Bible to just go and debate everybody. This is about passion and our first love for Jesus Christ. We shall turn to them and say, “I see the sins you participate in. I see what is in your heart and if you don’t repent of this—woe unto you.” It is a real sense of urgency and zeal. How often we go about our daily life meeting people and we don’t have a sense of urgency, zeal, or fire! We say, “Well, I tried. They opposed me a little, so they’re no good. They won’t receive the message.” Or, we pass out little tracts and do things, but have not the passion that says, “Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain.” Jude wrote with passion and emotion. He said with his own hand that they have taken the way of Cain.

Woe unto these men because of the sins they participate in and they need to repent. The first thing Jude talked about is the sin of Cain. What was the sin of Cain?

I John 3:12 – Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.

Certain men come into the body and simply hate those who live a righteous life in Jesus Christ. John told us “Don’t be like that,” because we feel it well up within us. We try with all of our best to live the Christian life. We fail and God crucifies us. Many times you will feel weak and then see somebody else doing well. They praise God, get their quiet times, and are happy. God blesses them. You will wish it didn’t happen to them and that they would be as miserable as you are. When you see somebody else doing well in Jesus Christ, rejoice and don’t ever hope it becomes miserable for them just because you are miserable. We should rejoice when all men are righteous, even when we are unrighteous. Let us rejoice when we are in sin, but they are righteous and holy. Don’t be like Cain who murdered his brother and hated other people. This is where selfish ambition comes in. We want to be like somebody else or we want to be known as righteous. We want to make ourselves feel better and so we push and slam aside other brothers and sisters to get to the position we want so we might be at peace and feel righteous and holy. We stomp on other people in order to feel better. We make little undercutting remarks. When anybody compliments them or says, “That’s a good thing in the Lord,” we are always there as a buffer to make sure they won’t accept the full compliment. Do not be like Cain, who destroyed his brother. He destroyed him because his brother’s actions were righteous. What Abel did was holy, and Cain resented it. Let us always rejoice when we see good being done.

Jude 1:11 – They have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error . . .


A not-so-subtle teaching comes from the church that says if you are righteous and holy, God will bless you financially. It used to be a secret doctrine—men lived it, but they didn’t stand up and declare it as truth. Fifty years ago if someone stood up and said, “You know, Jesus Christ will give you a Cadillac if you follow him,” it would have been utter blasphemy. But, this is how far we have gone into these sins. We are at the point now where people write books on this kind of teaching and are accepted. This is Balaam’s error, because Balaam wanted financial blessings. He wanted financial benefit for serving the Lord.

2 Peter 2:15 – They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.

They have a greedy desire for financial blessing, a desire to be blessed with the things of this world. But, if you decide to follow Jesus Christ, you will not gain the blessings of this world. Satan will see to it!

2 Peter 2:16 – But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey.

Let there be a church body or a group of believers who don’t have to rely on donkeys to rebuke the Balaams. Let them be better than donkeys and say, “We will not tolerate a doctrine, belief, or subtle attitude that somehow someone is righteous before the Lord because everything goes fine or because we are financially rewarded.”

2 Peter 2:16 – But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech…

Let us open our mouths since we have been entrusted with the truth. Don’t make God have to use a donkey to declare the truth.

2 Peter 2:16 – …who spoke with a man’s voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

Again, do you see the emotion with which he writes? This is not a debate about the prosperity doctrine. This is about a madness that has been let loose on the land. We should preach from our hearts, speak from our spirit, and jump up and down saying, “It is lunacy to say that if you follow Jesus Christ you will be blessed financially. It is total madness.” How would you even begin to debate with a madman? Go to a mental institution, sit down and try to reason with an insane patient. It won’t work.

2 Peter 2:17 – These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm.

These men look promising. It looks right and holy. If you look long enough at this, you would say, “Well, they do get answered prayers.” When they ask for something, their prayers seem to be answered. They are springs, but without water. There is no life to that! But, more than that, look at what Scripture says is reserved for these men:

2 Peter 2:17 – Blackest darkness is reserved for them

The blackest darkness of hell is reserved for anyone who thinks they will be blessed in any way financially by serving Jesus Christ and not only hell, not just the regular torment, but somehow the blackest, darkest part of hell. In light of this, contending for the gospel takes on a whole different meaning. No wonder Jude says, “Woe to these men.” So when I meet people who believe in a prosperity doctrine, who have taken Balaam’s error—or maybe they don’t even believe in prosperity, but they live as if they do—the zeal, love and emotion of the Lord says, “Don’t you understand that blackest darkness is reserved for you?” Love can’t help but compel me to speak. Even if they slander or hate me because I told them they will die and enter the blackest part of hell. I won’t be silent while they claim to belong to Jesus, claiming his name and his blood, and yet say they’ll be blessed financially by following Jesus Christ.

Watch for things in the church, and don’t be worried so much about everybody else. God will take care of them and move in certain ways. We need to pray for our body to be pure, and look for the secret parts in our own hearts. Put to death the greed in you that wants to be blessed so you can be comfortable. Make sure it is crucified so that we will work to hate and despise money as Jesus said to do.

Jude 1:11 – …they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

Korah’s rebellion is where someone says, “I’m holy. I’m righteous.” They become insolent, Scripture says. They become disrespectful and rebellious. They don’t like their position of authority and want to be known as spiritual people, also. They are tired of Moses getting all of the compliments.

Numbers 16:1-3 – Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far!”

Within a church, there will be people who become insolent. Their attitude will show they don’t want to be taught by certain individuals and they will gather other people and infect everybody’s attitude. It can happen very easily and very quickly.

Numbers 16:3 – They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”

Moses was able to write in Scripture that he was the most humble man on the face of the earth. It takes a very humble man to write that down and not become puffed up in it. Here the most humble man on the face of the earth had a whole group of people coming against him basically saying, “We will not be taught by you anymore. We are righteous and holy, so just get out of our lives.” We need to watch within our own body for those secret elements of pride that rise up, as well as selfish ambition. When one or two people begin to become insolent and unteachable, it isn’t long before it infects the whole body. So, don’t take these things lightly. Don’t wait until 250 men are infected with the same rebellious attitude.

Numbers 16:4 – When Moses heard this, he fell facedown.

To contend for the faith means we contend against pride. We contend against the lusts of the world. We contend against the hatred in the body that would destroy somebody else. We must pray for that kind of perfection and holiness in the body.

Jude said these aren’t just men in somebody else’s church. He talked about contending in our own body and prayed that we would be holy.

Jude 1:12 – These men are blemishes at your love feasts…

They sit down to eat with us. Those within the church need to be dealt with. They have to be contended against. You have to rise up against them to lead them unto repentance or they can go somewhere else.

Jude 1:12 – These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves.

You see, something is wrong with the church. They all come together, sit down, and have their feasts. As they eat together, nobody feels any indignation toward these guys sitting with them. Imagine the tolerance! They probably believe you are not supposed to judge or “It’s none of my business.” Where is the love and passion for Jesus Christ that sits down next to certain men and says, “What are you doing here?” At least you should whisper in their ear, “Woe unto you!” or, “The Lord rebuke you!” These men are blemishes at your love feasts. They are spots. They are unholy things that need to be dealt with, cleansed, cut out, gotten rid of and purified. “Eating with you without the slightest qualm”! On the other hand, as long as Paul was there, these guys couldn’t even get in! But this church allows them to come in, sit down and have a picnic together. There needs to be fire and a zeal that will not tolerate this! We will cry out to the living God and have a holy place! Verse 12 says, “they sit with you without the slightest qualm―shepherds who feed only themselves.” All they are after is to please themselves in Jesus Christ and use you for their own benefit. If we want a church where the leadership won’t take advantage of the flock, then it is up to each one of us to plead with God to never allow it to happen. It falls upon your own shoulders. Everybody likes to throw out the scare tactics, such as, “What if my pastor winds up like this in the future?” It is your responsibility to make sure he doesn’t! It is your responsibility to see if he moves in that direction, you will deal with it. Just be careful you are not insolent and using that to justify those kinds of actions.

Jude 1:12 – These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves.

If you hate your own life, pick up your own cross, and do what Jesus Christ calls you to do, it is easy to spot the man who just feeds himself. The people from that type of church have laid down the cross and unless they rise up again, it will cost them. Savage wolves will destroy them. They will lose the good God had started.

Jude 1:12 – They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.

Men who were once in Jesus Christ, but they are dead again! They are twice dead. They are uprooted.

Jude 1:13 – They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

This is not a minor thing. If we want a clean and holy church, then it is up to us to see sin for what it really is. What makes them so vile and wicked is the one thing they do. They come to church for themselves. They come to take from Jesus Christ and get something from you. They come to puff themselves up. They take positions of authority and become teachers and preachers in order to bless themselves. Scripture is clear we need to believe blackest darkness is reserved for those who feed and care about themselves. The solution is not to whine and complain, but do something about it. Rise up and say, “We will not permit it.” In the twenty or so years I have preached, all I’ve heard is complaint after complaint about the church. I always tell them, “Well, then do something about it! Don’t just sit at home whining! Get in there and do something. Wrestle it out a little bit.” It is so easy just to sit back and have an attitude that says, “Well, I can’t do anything.” Where is your love and passion? “They are clouds without rain.” They look promising, but they offer no life. They are blown wherever the wind blows. Whatever current fad the church does, they are involved in it. They are not nailed down on the cross. They just blow and go wherever they can feed themselves, just like animals. If you lay food out, the animal will follow. If they find a doctrine that will please them, they will go after it. When they are all worn out using that doctrine, they will search out another church. Whatever group they are in, it is just to please themselves. We need to have the cross in this body so when men come in, we can say, “This is the cross. You have to be nailed down and crucified. You have to die.” They will either accept that, leave, or be exposed for who they really are. If we contend for the gospel, if we preach in such a way to show the truth—that we have something worth dying for and I mean dying to self.

Jude 1:14-16 – Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

God has thousands upon thousands of holy ones to judge these kinds of men. Don’t be like one of them. Let us not allow them to come in and survive. May we be able to say that as long as we are here, it will not be permitted and will not happen! Now is the time to prepare yourself so the body can remain clean.

Verse 16 says these men are grumblers and faultfinders. They come in to find fault. Nothing is ever right or proper. To them it will never work. Nobody is holy enough or as pure as they should be. One thing is for sure! They can find all your faults and nothing is ever clean enough. They manipulate because sometimes a lot of truth is in what they say. But, they miss the love and discernment of God that allows the body to grow and change. They look at the church body as you would a small child. They point out all of the facts about the small child; he is still in diapers and he can’t feed himself. He can’t put himself in bed or bathe himself. All of these things are true, but he, that is, the church is too young to do those things. Grumblers and faultfinders always look for something wrong. Many times they may be right, so don’t be fooled by a man who may be right by the faults he points out. Scripture says they follow their own evil desires. They have an agenda to please the flesh. They boast about themselves. “We are righteous and holy. We seek after the Lord.” They put other people down by building themselves up. “That person is not quite righteous. He doesn’t really pray or serve enough. But, look at what I did!”

The passage in Jude says “they boast about themselves and they flatter others for their own advantage.” They say the whole community is holy, too! “Moses, you have lifted yourself up above everybody else. You think you are above the assembly, don’t you? You think you are just a little bit better than everybody else, don’t you, Moses?” They grumble and complain, moan and groan. Then, they don’t begin to like the positions they have in Jesus Christ and their flesh wants more. Eventually, you have a Cain and Balaam and all of these sins are wrapped up into one. It is up to you to guard against this. I cannot emphasize this enough! Do you really think the leadership in the body will be the first place they will want to do their work? No. They will begin back in the congregation where leadership is not always present. They will begin to infect good attitudes while they play up to you with flattery. Maybe the cross does its work by dealing with you, and you are not too happy right now. That is when they work the best. I guarantee it is human nature to look around to see who does bad and use them for your own benefit. Begin to pray now that God will keep the body pure and clean, and find obedient people that will rise up and say, “It won’t happen here.”

Jude 1:17-18 – But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”

Right now, many people say Christianity is as powerless as any other religion. They live and act as if they really believe it. If you were to stand up and say with Paul, “How righteous and holy I was among you,” they would scoff saying, “No way! Nobody is that clean and pure. Christianity doesn’t have any power. It doesn’t really change anybody. He was self-righteous and arrogant.” They say the Christianity they know is absolutely powerless to deliver them from sin. They cannot envision in their wildest dreams a Jesus Christ who delivers, crucifies, and deals with pride, greed, and all of the sins in us. They scoff at any notion that Christianity is alive.

Jude 1:18 – They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”

You see, they don’t want a Christianity that has any power. They will destroy any notion about a Jesus who changes lives deep down in the soul of man. The biggest threat is a Christianity that really does have power to change lives because it leaves them with no excuse about their evil desires. You see, up until this time, they only saw a Jesus who was just a belief or philosophy and not so different than anything else. They could say, “Hey, nothing is any different out there.” But, when they see a Jesus who will crucify, demand all, be righteous, and lead people on a narrow road through a small gate, then they are threatened because they have no excuse.

Jude 1:19 – These are the men who divide you…

They are in the church, and they should not be in the church. They should be contended against. “These are the men who divide you.” They cause separation and destroy the unity because they want to please their ungodly desires. It is up to the church body to contend against them and to say, “We will not permit it.” Just think of the church body as your own body. When foreign matter comes into your body, it produces antibodies to go out to deal with it. Those antibodies will surround the germs or infection in order to destroy them. In the same way, if one man comes in and says something stupid or rises up in sin, the whole body comes around and says, “We will deal with this sin and lead you in grace and love toward repentance. But if you don’t repent, it will be dealt with.” That is how the body remains healthy, strong, and secure. Don’t you want to worship in a place where you know it is safe? Then, it is up to you to see that it happens, and see that everybody remains strong. Then, you can rest that nobody will take advantage of anybody. You know sexual immorality will be dealt with, hopefully, long before it does damage to somebody else. You know righteousness and holiness will be there, and people will know what it is to deny themselves and count that to be a joy. You know no one is after your money or wants to get into your pocketbook because the cost of the cross is present. It is up to you as a body to contend for the faith.

Jude 1:19 – These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

They just do what men do naturally. Men are naturally greedy, full of lust, and prideful, so you have to make those things look good. That is how they work. But they don’t have the Holy Spirit, so we need to look for the Holy Spirit in people’s lives. That is how we can tell.

Jude 1:20 – But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.

Don’t pray your prayers, but the prayers of the Holy Spirit to work this love within you. Work this passion, prayer, and love in you. Work this desire for the body to be clean. Let God work the kind of love within you that makes you very concerned about the purity and well being of your church. Then, if we all have that same desire, both righteousness and fire will burn there.

Jude 1:21 – Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Make sure you remain in that love and grace, waiting patiently. Don’t become discontented wanting some other position, something more exciting, or a church that entertains more. Wait and be content in his love and mercy. You may not be able to ever do anything in Jesus Christ, but to just sit and wait. Let that be your supreme joy if that is all he calls you to do. Verse 22 tells us what course of action to take outside the church. We have been dealing with people inside the church. Do we have men who secretly slipped in?

Jude 1:22 – Be merciful to those who doubt.

You need to have mercy, and understand why men doubt. You must understand the darkness they walk in and have God’s love and grace toward them. This isn’t a self-righteousness that says, “Oh, we are a righteous and holy church. We try to care.” We can get all puffed up in that. Show some mercy toward those who do not believe and understand. It is reasonable to expect men would not believe what goes on here is holy. Outside the church, all the evidence says, “This isn’t true, or right, but it is strange and weird.” “Be merciful to those who doubt,” who have never seen it before.

Jude 1:23 – Snatch others from the fire and save them. . .

Different classes of people are out there. Some doubt, and really don’t have it. They want to believe, they really do! They want to know what is there, so show mercy to them—don’t tromp on them because they don’t believe. When we first started the body here, all we had was a bunch of unbelief that it was possible. When people highlighted the fact that they didn’t believe, we showed mercy, understanding fully why they couldn’t believe. That is reasonable to expect. Regarding other people, it says, “Snatch others from the fire and save them.” Some people you have to reach in and save. They can’t even save themselves because they are so weak and despondent. You have to reach in and snatch them and be quick about it. I know all of us like to walk with the attitude that says, “Well, maybe I’ll reach out to them next week, or six weeks from now or ten years from now,” or “I’ll plant a little seed here and watch it grow and then God will just lay it in my lap.” But with some, you have to reach in and grab them now. You won’t have another opportunity. They have to be snatched from the fire that is very close. They will be delivered over to the destruction of their very lives, and you have to reach in and grab them as quickly as possible to show them the truth. You have to ask for discernment, asking, “Who do I snatch and who do I not snatch?”

Jude 1:23 – snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear.

To the rest of the people, to those whom you cannot snatch, you should show mercy mixed with fear. This is a real dichotomy that says, “Man, don’t you know you will die? You will burn in hell. But let me tell you, here is God’s grace.” The mixture lays out clearly that judgment comes, but also that mercy is available. Most churches just either want to have all of the mercy that lets them continue in sin, or they want to be self-righteous and judge everybody. We are supposed to “show mercy, mixed with fear.”

Jude 1:23 – … hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

This passage means I have nothing at all in common with these people. They don’t believe in the Lord. They don’t really walk the walk. We have nothing in common—not even our clothing. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them—I certainly love them and am in their life, but I hate their clothing. I hate what they stand for, but I want to deliver them. I want to snatch them from the fire. I want to lay down my life and say “Woe unto you!” I want to get involved and say, “Get out and rescue yourself.” But, we have nothing in common. No friendship is here.

Jude 1:24 – To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—

He began by pointing us to Jesus Christ. Let us contend and fight because with all of your sins, faults, and struggles, he is able to present you “without fault and with great joy.” It is almost unfathomable, but that is how powerful the blood is to deliver the word. To think that somewhere along the line Jesus Christ can present me before God and God will be happy to see me? Without fault—that God will not see any faults within me. Unfathomable! Unbelievable! That is the depth and richness of his mercy. We want other people to taste this kind of mercy. In spite of who we are and how much he has to do to change us, he is able to present us “without fault and with great joy! Great joy”! “I am excited to see you here,” the angels and Jesus Christ will say. That is how we will enter glory if we give ourselves over fully to love him with this kind of first love.

Jude 1:25 – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forever! Amen.

That one sentence is a whole other sermon in itself because you know he didn’t write this as some ending to a letter. This isn’t “Sincerely yours, Jude.” He knows the taste of majesty, authority, and power that is in Jesus Christ. He says it all belongs to him, and so if we have a holy church here, where the power of God really dwells, it will be because of his will, his power and his glory only. That is why it says Amen and we all agree.

Let’s pray:

Father, work within us that first love that is hidden in you and give us perseverance that is hidden in Jesus Christ. We do pray, Father, that you can keep this body clean and purge the sins in our lives. Work within us, O Father, the zeal and the love for the truth that will also keep this body clean. Show us, Father, who to snatch from the fire. Show us how to live our lives for all men, Father, and to lead lives in love. Father, we pray and ask that you show us how to contend that we might not lose, Father, what you have begun to work. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.


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Host of The Consider Podcast
Examining today’s wisdom, madness, and folly.