Contending for the Faith – Jude

Jude was a half-brother of Jesus and it is believed that he wrote this epistle around 68 A.D.  (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). Jude wrote to address apostasy which had risen within the early church. If Satan is not having success attacking the church from without, he will attack the church from within. Jude’s letter is a wake up call not only to the early church but also to the church throughout history. The infiltration of apostasy is like a cancerous threat to the body of Christ and must be dealt addressed. Nothing will kill a church faster and more completely than heresy within its ranks.

Jude 1a – “Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,”

Notice first that Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, and full brother of James, did not try to use his familial connection to Jesus to elevate himself over others. Instead he saw himself as a “bondservant” or a servant by choice, a servant out of love for their master. As to the identity of Jude one commentary states:

The most probable identification is that the author Jude was a half-brother of Christ, a son of Joseph and Mary after Jesus. The term “servant” would be fitting, for though at first Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him (John 7:5), yet later they saw the resurrected Christ and were convinced (Acts 1:14). Among these was Judas, who did not consider himself worthy to call himself a “brother” but just a “servant” of Jesus Christ.

The James referred to by Jude as his brother was thus also a half-brother of the Lord (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3), as well as a leader of the church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:13), and author of the epistle bearing his name (James 1:1).[1]

Therefore, right from the start we see the heart of Jude. He wasn’t going to address the apostates in the church to defend his position or out of self-exaltation or pride. Jude would confront the apostates because he was humbly submitted to Christ and serving Him in His church.

Jude 1b -  “To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:” 

God calls us. The word “called” (Greek adjective kletois from kletos) means called out, invited, chosen, appointed. God takes the initiative to reach out to us. When He calls us He calls us with purpose. He calls us to sanctification and preservation. When we respond to His outstretched gracious hand, He sanctifies and preserves us. This epistle is addressed primarily to those who have answered that call of God and who are a part of His church, the body of Christ.

The word “sanctified” is translated from the Greek term hagiadzo which means, “to make holy.” Something “holy” is something set apart for God’s use.

The word “preserved” is translated from the Greek term tero which is a very interesting word that means, “to guard from loss or injury by keeping an eye upon something; hold fast; keep; watch; preserve.” [2] Jesus has His eye on His church, on us, on those in the church. When He sees apostasy arise in the church He sets apart and sends servants such as Jude to address the problem in His Spirit.

The keeping power of Jesus. Jesus looks out for His own. He is a good Shepherd who watches closely so that wolves don’t come in and steal His sheep to devour them. Jude ends his epistle by saying:

  • Jude 24 – “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,” 

See also: John 6:39; 10:28-30; 17:11, 12, 15; 1 Thessalonians 5:23. 2 Timothy 4:18; 1 Peter 1:4, 5.

Jude 2 – “Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” 

Notice, Jude is inspired to pray that mercy, peace and love be “multiplied to you.” Not just added, but multiplied abundantly to those he is writing to. Pastor Chuck Smith makes the following comments here:

“We need them all. The mercy, the peace, the love, and I like this, not added but multiplied. I love God’s mathematics. In the book of Acts so many times we read, “And the number of disciples was multiplied” (Acts 6:7). It doesn’t say, And was added but was multiplied. And I have discovered in the ministry that many times as you begin pastoring a church, you have blessed subtractions. But I’ve also discovered that God never subtracts but what He multiplies. So we after years learned not to worry about the subtraction because we knew that oftentimes it was necessary for God to subtract before He could multiply. And so “mercy, peace, love, multiplied.”[3]

Those are wise words from pastor Chuck. As we study this portion of scripture we may be tempted to sweep the doctrinal falsehoods and apostasy under the rug, but if we do so, “mercy, peace and love,” will not be multiplied to us. We need to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) and trust God to do the subtracting and multiplying in His church. Our call is to obey His word no matter what!

Jude 3 – “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

An exhortation and warning. Here we are given the reason for which Jude wrote this letter. He is writing, “concerning our common salvation”  and exhorting these believers to not deviate in any way from that “salvation.” The reason he wrote this letter was to warn and exhort true believers against apostasy that was creeping into the early church. Even at this early date, the church was being infiltrated by false teachers who needed to be contended with by teachers of the Word of truth.

“Our common salvation . . . the faith.” In this verse the church is identified as the group of people who are united by, “our common salvation . . . .the faith.” We are speaking not of “faith” generally, but of “the faith” in particular; the set of scripturally based doctrinally sound beliefs that makes Christianity “Christian.”

This common salvation and the faith is what sets the group of people apart from other groups. What is the basis of the common salvation and the faith of the church? Jesus said:

  • John 17:14-18 - “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.15 “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.16 “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.18 “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” 

Notice that these called out ones are sanctified or made holy by God’s truth as it is revealed in His word (Greek hagiadzo -  “to make holy, to purify, to consecrate.” See above vs 1). Something that is “sanctified” or “holy” is something that is unique, set apart for God’s use. What is it that makes the church different, unique from any other group? THE CHURCH IS HOLY, SANCTIFIED, UNIQUE, SET APART FOR GOD’S USE, BY GOD’S WORD THAT IS APPLIED TO IT BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT. God’s word plays an integral part in the identity of these called out ones. The faith therefore, is the teaching of God as it is revealed in the Scriptures.

The church. What is “the church”? In Jude 3 we see that Jude is writing to a group – “you” (Greek humin – plural) about their “common salvation” which implies that he and the group are united by a common belief system.

Jude also refers to this group as “saints” (Greek hagios - “holy ones,” “saints”) meaning they had been made holy by salvation in Christ. The term “saints” means those who have been set apart for God’s use.

While Jude does not use the term “church,” it is the church which he is addressing. The word “church” is translated from the Greek term ekklesia and first appears in Matthew 16:18 which states:

  • Matthew 16:18 - “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” 

Ekklesia is a compound word that combines the Greek prefix ek which means “out of” and the Greek term klesia (from kaleo) which means “to call out.” In its secular use the word ekklesia was used to refer to the assembling together of city officials. If the church is made up of the called out ones, you might ask, “Called out of what?” We are called out of the world of sin and out of the sinful false teachings that undermine the church.

What does “contend” mean? The word “contend” is a translation of the Greek term epagonidzomai which means, “to struggle for:— earnestly contend for.” [4] This Greek term is a compound term created by combining the preposition epi with agonidzomai. The prepositional prefix epi means over, on, on the basis of. Agonidzomai means, “to carry on a conflict, contest, debate, or legal suit.” “The word is employed in classical Greek to refer to fighting a war or to struggle in politics or law.” [5] Agonidzomai is the term from which we get the English word “agonize.”  Paul uses this word to speak metaphorically of competing for a prize in athletics (1 Corinthians 9:25; See also Colossians 1:29; 1 timothy 4:10). One commentary explains:

In verse 3 Jude explained the reason for his writing the epistle. It was vital that he write a letter urging these Christians to struggle to defend the Faith. Epagōnizesthai comes from the fierce competition of the athletic field. Believers must fight with all their strength to preserve "the faith" which has been handed down to them. Hapax means "once for all," because the message of Christianity was given to the Church at the beginning; it had not come in installments. The content of the apostolic gospel is fixed, not to be revised for each new era.[6]

Contend for what? To contend is to put up a fight. But what are we called to contend for? It’s very important for us to recognize that we are not called to contend for denominations, groups, etc., but in Jude 3 it states the believer should take a stand on and stand up for “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

Contend for that which was “once for all delivered to the saints.” It is not just “faith,” but “the faith” we are to contend for. “The faith” refers to that which “was once and for all delivered to the saints.” That which was once and for all delivered to the saints is primarily what we have in the Word of God. Secondarily it would be that which the church passed on to its disciples from the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles.

“The faith” that God had once for all entrusted to the saints is the body of truths taught by the apostles. The term “the faith,” used also in Galatians 1:23 and 1 Timothy 4:1, refers to things believed. The false teachings of the apostates called for the believers to contend (epagōnizesthai, “agonize earnestly”) with all diligence in defense of those truths, which ungodly men were trying to destroy. In effect Jude said, “Let us hold firmly to the faith we profess” (Heb. 4:14).[7]

The Word of God is not something that changes with societal trends  or with each succeeding generation. The Word of God is unchanging and each succeeding generation is to abide by it. Generations are to come into alignment with God’s word, not visa versa. This is attested to in the following verses:

Psalm 119:89 (NKJV)

89   Forever, O Lord,

Your word is settled in heaven.

 

Isaiah 40:6–8 (NKJV)

 

6     The voice said, “Cry out!”

And he said, “What shall I cry?”

“All flesh is grass,

And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.

7     The grass withers, the flower fades,

Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it;

Surely the people are grass.

8     The grass withers, the flower fades,

But the word of our God stands forever.”

 

Matthew 5:18 (NKJV)

18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

 

Matthew 24:35 (NKJV)

35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

 

1 Peter 1:22–25 (NKJV)

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because

“All flesh is as grass,

And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.

The grass withers,

And its flower falls away,

25   But the word of the Lord endures forever.”

Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

 

The gospel taught according to God’s word is what we are called to contend for.

Jude 4 – “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

What is apostasy? Jude substantiates his call to “earnestly contend for the faith,” by pointing to “certain men,” who “have crept in unnoticed,” who are not only disrupting the body of believers but are described by the words, “ungodly” (Greek asebes) or without reverence toward God, irreverent, impious, and “lewdness” (Greek aselgeia) or giving license to sin, legitimizing sin, unbridled lust, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence.   These are men who distort the doctrine of God’s “who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Any definition of grace that encourages sin or makes sinning against God a little thing is a misinterpretation of grace. Grace doesn’t mean we can sin, it means we are free from having to sin. The proper definition of grace encourages holy living and appreciation for God’s provision for when we do sin. The way these people misdefine sin leads to an aberrant definition of Jesus and His redemptive work. This aberrant definition of God’s grace diminishes the purpose and power of Jesus and His atoning work on the cross. Coming to Jesus means picking up the cross and following in His steps (Luke 9:23-26), it means being crucified with Jesus to do away with sin (Galatians 2:20). Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, of which sin is a big part (1 John 3:8). By defining it in a way that gives license to sin and “deny” (Greek arnomai ) or contradict, disavow, reject, abnegate, refuse Christ.

Those who act in such ways are those “who long ago were marked out for this condemnation.” God has always marked such intruders into His flock with “condemnation” (Greek krima ) or avenge, condemned, damnation, judgment. Isaiah spoke of those who led people away from the LORD and His word saying:

Isaiah 8:19-20 – “And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

The word “apostasy” is a translation of the Greek term apostasia which means, “a revolt, a departure, to forsake” and is used primarily to connote a departure from the true faith (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Therefore, anything taught that contradicts Scripture falls under the heading of apostasy. This is what Jude earnestly exhorts believers to contend against. Those who teach unbiblical teachings are referred to as apostates or false teachers.

What does a false teacher look like? What are their characteristics? The rest of the letter of Jude paints a picture of apostates that very often continues throughout history. Let’s look at what false teachers look like.

Jude 4 describes in some detail the nature of the false teachers who infiltrate the church with false teachings.

Creepiness. Jude referred to, “certain men who have crept in unnoticed.”  (Jude 4)The first characteristic of false teaching and false teachers is that they are deceptive and refer to creeping techniques that gradually rather than abruptly make their way into the church. The church was experiencing corruption and apostasy even at an early date is seen such passages as that in Jude, as well as in numerous other verses in the New Testament.

Long ago marked out for condemnation. False teachers have lived lives of condemnation because they relied on themselves rather than God’s word. That they were marked long ago implies first that God knows who they are, and second, that they have lived their entire lives in this path of condemnation.

Ungodly.  They live not in a way that uses God as their pattern (Ephesians 5:1-2) but in a way that is opposed to God.

Turning the grace of God into lewdness. Such false teachers use the “grace” of God to indulge their own fleshly desires. The word “lewdness” is translated from the Greek term aselgeia meaning, “filthy, lasciviousness, wantonness.” [8] They use God’s law to partake in all kinds of perversity. Grace does not lead to sin: Romans 6. Grace is not an excuse to sin but rather freedom from having to sin. Be aware of the riches of God’s grace, but don’t abuse them (Ephesians 1:7; 2:1-10; Romans 5).

Deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Such false teachers ultimately deny God and Christ. The word “deny” is translated from the Greek term arneomai which means, “to contradict, i.e. disavow, reject, abnegate:— deny, refuse.” [9] These false teachers are unteachable and contradict the word of God. 

Jude 5 – “But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” 

Unappreciative. Notice, Jude has no problem with reminding these people of basic truths that they had apparently forgotten.

Jude likens the false teachers to those “who did not believe” and were “destroyed” by God after they had been brought out of Egypt at the exodus. Even though God did great and mighty things on their behalf, they still did not give God their hearts and chose to persist in their unbelief.. Such things are meant to be an example to us – 1 Corinthians 10:6. See: Numbers 14:22-37; 26:64, 65; Deuteronomy 2:15, 16; Psalm 106:26. Romans 1; Hebrews 3:16-19; 4:1,2

Jude 6-8 – “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.” 

Rebellious and subversive, lewd and lustful. These verses describe the destiny of those who follow Satan in deception. Just as the angels of God, (who were meant to serve the LORD – Hebrews 1:14) who existed in the presence of God’s glory, turned their backs on God to follow Satan, so have false teachers who saw God’s glory and work and yet still turned from God to follow Satan.

Just as those who lived in the fertile and fruitful area of Sodom gave themselves over to sexual immorality, so do the false teachers. When people move into an area they begin by spending the majority of their time working ot produce enough food to survive on. As they work they apply their intellect and begin to innovate. Perhaps they make a plow that can hook up to a beast of burden to make their work more effective and efficient. This newfound efficiency leads to less time needed to work and more time for recreation. It is during this time of recreation that the seeds of sin are sown. Someone has said, “Idle time is the devil’s workshop.” For the Sodomites their leisure time led to sexual immorality of the grossest for, e.g. homosexuality (cf. Genesis 18-19).

“Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.”  (Jude 8). False teachers are adept at degrading those in authority in an effort to exalt themselves. They might say, “Hmmm, that pastor is a good person but that’s not the way I’d do it.” Or, “You know, I love the pastor, but I just think  he hasn’t attained to the spiritual fullness as yet; he just doesn’t understand the true meaning of that scripture.” We’re not talking about honest questions or disagreements, but about questions raised to subvert and undermine, questions with ulterior motives. See; Revelation 12:4; John 3:17-19

Jude 9 – “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”  

Irreverent. If Michael the archangel did not directly rebuke the devil, neither should we! Its best to avoid direct confrontations with the devil and rather keep Jesus in between us and the devil. Someone has said, “When the devil comes a knockin’, let Jesus answer the door!”

Here and in verses 14-15 Jude draws from pseudepigraphal works. In verse nine he alludes to traditions found in The Assumption of Moses and/or The Testament of Moses. In verse 14-15 he quotes from 1 Enoch. These works are not canonical. Just because a work is quoted in scripture does not mean they are canonical as a whole. It only means that the Apostle or writer was inspired to mention a portion of the pseudepigraphal work that was indeed truthful.

Material found in these extra Biblical works can be interesting. 1 Enoch is supposedly penned by Enoch who “walked with God; and he was not, for God too him” – Genesis 5:3-24. 1 Enoch contains prophetic material from Enoch directly related to the generation who would live in the time of “tribulation.” In 1 Enoch information is provided about fallen angels who left their proper domain in heaven to come to earth and through intercourse with human women create their own kingdoms. There is also information on giants produced by this sinful sexual activity; “Watchers” or angelic beings; Enoch’s journeys to the heavenly realm; Parables concerning the End Times and God’s judgment; and a host of other material. It is interesting. It is prophetically insightful. But whether or not it can be completely trusted as true is not completely verifiable.

While information found in apocraphal and pseudepigraphal works are interesting and can even be true, it is always best not to go beyond the inspired truth of scripture.

Jude 10 – “But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.” 

Fleshly not spiritual. Such people live on a natural fleshly plain and are driven by natural desires out of control. “Like brute beasts” refers to the way they make life decisions, they live to feed and prey on others. Again Pastor Chuck Smith makes a comment worth mentioning here:

“Now there is tremendous attempt today to try and it’s from the homosexual community, to try to say, Well, the Bible actually condones homosexual activity. And they like to suggest that maybe Jesus even had homosexual activity with the disciples and that David and of course, Jonathan surely were involved in a homosexual relationship. And they are twisting, twisting and denying the plain teaching of the Scriptures because they are living like beasts. “As natural brute beasts,” he says. And “in those things they corrupt themselves” as they are living like animals.”

Rely on the clear sense of scripture to be the true sense of scripture. Don’t twist scripture or take it out of context to appease people or fit into the world’s mold.

Jude 11a – “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain,”

Religious and haters of the truly spiritual. Cain was religious and brought an offering to God that was just going through the motions. He came to God, but on his own terms. He rejected redemption by blood and hated his brother Abel who approached God in a spiritual manner with a blood sacrifice as God had likely instructed (Genesis 3:21; 4).

Jude 11b – “11 Woe to them! . . . have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit,”  

Greedy. Balaam was enticed by greed to undermine the faith of God’s people Numbers 22-23; 31:16).

Jude 11c – “Woe to them! . . . and perished in the rebellion of Korah.”

Jealous. Korah challenged Moses’ authority because he was jealous of his position and craved the spotlight (Numbers 16).

Jude 12a – “These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves.”

Fellowship foilers. In the early church there were many slaves and the poor who could not afford to buy food and the church would have potluck types of meals where those who could afford extra food brought it to be shared in the fellowship. This was a way to express love to one another in a time of food and fellowship. At the end of the meal everyone would celebrate communion. This was to show love to God. The false teachers and apostates only sought to fill their faces and gave no thought to helping others. They foiled the entire purpose of these love feasts. (See 1 Corinthians 11).

Jude 12b-13 – “They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

Frivolous and fruitless. These people are not what they seem to be, they are fruitless and have no direction. Its as though they are blown from place to place for no apparent reason.

Jude 14-15 – “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,15 “to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” 

Under the judgment of God. When Jesus returns with the saints at His 2nd Coming those like the ”ungodly” apostates and false teachers will be judged (Matthew 16:27).

Jude 16 – “These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.” 

Grumblers, complainers, and fast talkers. They talk big and flatter people in order to take advantage of them. They grumble against authority and offer themselves as an alternative.

Jude 17-19 – “But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” 

Lustful mockers who cause divisions. Peter wrote that there would be those in the last days who scoff at the return of Jesus (2 Peter 3).

Jude 19 – “These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.”  

Spiritless. The main problem with these apostates is the THEY DON’T HAVE THE SPIRIT! Without the Spirit you are not saved from your sin (John 3:1-8).  Without the Holy Spirit you cannot understand the word of God (1 Corinthians 2). You can’t serve the Lord with out the Spirit (Acts 1:8). Without the Spirit you are not God’s (Ephesians 1:13-14). Without the Spirit you are a fool (Galatians 3:1-5). Without the Spirit we cannot know God as our Father (Galatians 4:6-7). It is the Spirit that draws and convicts the sinner (John 6:44; 16:8-11) and regenerates and sanctifies the repentant person (Titus 3:5).

Other marks of false teachers. In the scriptural sections below we see the clear warnings against apostasy threatening to infiltrate the church. 

  • Self-centeredness - Acts 20:28-31

Paul warned the Ephesians that false teachers would come in among the church who were like “savage wolves” who speak perverse things in order to “draw away the disciples after themselves. “ False teachers try to gain a following. They love groupies and the spotlight of attention. False teachers feed their egos by securing a following and will stoop to anything to do so.

In John’s third short epistle he gives a good example of such a false teacher in Diotrephes (3 John 9-10).

  • Destructive - 2 Peter 2:1-22 

False teachers are destructive. They seek destroy people spiritually, psychologically and even physically. Even if they do not set out to be destructive, the end product is destruction and in the end they will destroy themselves.

  • Pseudo-Christians - 1 John 2:18-19

John writes that about antichrists. The word “antichrist” is compound in that it adds the prefix anti in front of the term Christ. The prefix anti can mean either “opposed to,” or in the place of.” Therefore, an antichrist is one who opposes Christ by putting themselves in the place of Christ. John speaks that as such persons arise it is a sure fire indicator that the Antichrist of the last days is around the corner. These antichrists, according to John originate from within the church at times but have not authentically and genuinely received the gospel by faith. They may look like Christians and even use Christian words, but in truth, “none of them were of us.”

What does the Bible say about false teachers in the End Times?  The Bible is very clear and very emphatic in its statements concerning false teachers. What is interesting is that the Bible teaches that while there are always false teachers looking to manipulate believers to their own ends, in the Later Days before Christ’s 2nd Coming false teachers will proliferate exponentially compared to other times in history. The proliferation of false teachers in our day is a sign and indicator that the Rapture of the church cannot be far off.

The following verses attest to this as well as describe the characteristics of such false teachers:

Matthew 24:4–5 (NKJV)

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

Matthew 24:23–26 (NKJV)

23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.

26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.

 

1 Timothy 4:1–5 (NKJV)

4 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

 

2 Timothy 3:1–17 (NKJV)

3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 3:1–18 (NKJV)

3 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

1 John 4:1–3 (NKJV)

4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

 

How do we contend for the faith? The final verse of this epistle tells us how to be prepared against false teachers and how to contend for the faith.

Jude 20a – “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith,”  

Build yourself up on the word of God. We need to get into God’s word and build a strong foundation and then a strong structure of faith. Isaiah was ridiculed and mocked for teaching God’s word,  “precept upon precept, line upon line” (Isaiah 28:10,13), but that is exactly the way God’s wants His word taught. We need to be students of God’s word and know it well enough to defend ourselves (by the Spirit’s power) with God’s word: See: Matthew 7:24-27; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17; Ephesians 6:10-18.

Jude 20b – “praying in the Holy Spirit,” 

Pray in the Spirit. We need to have a vital and living prayer life if we are gong to contend earnestly for the faith. Prayerlessness is evidence of going to battle in one’s own strength. Prayerfulness is a declaration of dependence upon God (Psalm 143; Romans 8:26).

Jude 21a – “keep yourselves in the love of God,” 

Keep yourself in the love of God. What does this mean? Pastor Chuck gives the following comment:

“Keeping yourself in that place where God can do the things He wants to do because He loves you.” 

Whatever you do, do it in the Spirit and love that God has given to you (Romans 5:5; 1 Peter 4:8).

Jude 21b – “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” 

Looking for Christ’s mercy. Look for an opportunity to be merciful; look at people through the compassionate eyes of Christ. Look at people in terms of their eternal destiny.

It’s interesting that one of the ways some believe 1 Enoch refers to the Rapture is through the phrase “the mercy.” [10]Could Jude be exhorting his readers that one way to contend for the faith is to be looking for the return of Jesus? Perhaps.

Jude 22-23 – “And on some have compassion, making a distinction;23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” 

Act with compassion – proceed with caution. We are to act in love, but that does not mean to condone, tolerate, of excuse apostate teachings or lives. We are to hate the sin but love the sinner and act in a way that will save the person but throw off the sin.

Jude 24-25 – “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.” 

Depend on God. Without God we are not able; with God we are able in His ability. He is able to keep us from stumbling and to bring us through pure and joyful as we contend for the faith. We are not wise enough to contend; but He “alone is wise.” Always glorify Him, rely on His power and rule.

Someone has said:

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John  Are read by more than a few, But the one that is most read and commented on is the gospel according to you.  You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day  by the things that you do and the words that you say,    Men read what you write, whether faithless or true. Say, what is the gospel according to you?  Do men read His truth and His love in your life?  Or has yours been too full of malice and strife?       Does your life speak of evil, or does it ring true? Say, what is the gospel according to you?

Arthur McPhee.

To contend for the faith is to present a pure and holy living epistle to the world around us, it is to live out God’s word. It is to be like Jesus, the word made flesh (John 1:1-2,14). 


[1] Pentecost, E. C. (1985). Jude. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 916–917). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[3] Word For Today audiotape #8239 (P.O. Box 8000, Costa Mesa, CA 92628)

[4]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[5] Gilbrandt, Thoralk, The complete Biblical Library, The NT Greek English Dictionary – Delta-Epsilon, (Springfield, Missouri: The Complete Biblical Library, 1990) p. 494.

[6] Complete Biblical Library Commentary - The Complete Biblical Library – Hebrews-Jude.

[7] Pentecost, E. C. (1985). Jude. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 919–920). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[8]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[9]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[10] Ken Johnson, Ancient Book of Enoch, (self-published)   1 Enoch 5:5 comment.