Old Testament Reading – Psalm 78:1-8
New Testament Reading Matthew 16:13-21
Earnestly Contending for the Faith
“Holding to the Truth
In the Midst of Apostasy!”
Wayne J. Edwards, Pastor
According to the New Testament, the primary purpose of the Church is to:
- Proclaim the evident reality of a Holy, infinite, and yet personal God who is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and to:
- Proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, whereby a sinner can be reconciled to God by their expressed faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
According to a recent Gallup survey, the percentage of Americans that believe in God has dropped to an all-time low.
- Americans are turning their backs on God at a astounding rate, and attacks on Christians have nearly tripled in the last four years.
- The fundamentals of the Christian Faith have been eradicated from our public schools, and as a result, we are now raising a generation without any moral foundations whatsoever.
- Once, America was known as a Christian nation, but now much of our society is openly hostile to the Christian faith.
Our forefathers failed to heed the warnings:
- “There is a worldly kind of Christianity which many have and think they have enough; a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, requires no sacrifice: it costs nothing and it’s worth nothing.” – J.C. Ryle, Anglican bishop in the 1800s
- The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” – William Booth – early 1900s.
- “Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer – 1920s
- “The Church has suffered untold injury at the hands of well-intentioned but misguided persons who believed they knew more about running God’s work than Christ and His apostles did. Rather than improving on the biblical pattern, these pragmatic tools have been, one and all, hindrances to the effective proclamation of biblical truth, and they have so altered the divinely-planned structure of the New Testament Church that if the apostles were to return to earth today, they would hardly recognize today’s church as being anything like what the Bible intended them to be.” – A.W. Tozer in the 1950s
Because of the way the gospel has been compromised, Christians today do not have the spiritual discernment to know when they are listening to a false teacher – they haven’t heard enough of the true gospel to understand when they hear a lie.
- However, just as those who came before us will answer to Jesus for not guarding the truth in their day, so will today’s spiritual leaders have to answer to Jesus for the compromised gospel we are handing down to our children today, and that includes parents as well as pastors.
- While we are facing many serious issues today – globalism, fascism, woke-ism, and the cancer of theological liberalism, if we are to perpetuate the true gospel to the next generation, the issue the Church must focus upon is to prepare our children not only to live in this wicked culture but to be saved from it by their expressed faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
- “If parents do not teach their children how to discern the truth about the Lord Jesus, they are leaving them open to believe the lies about Him.” – Pastor Wayne
- “If parents raise their children to be great doctors, lawyers, athletes or musicians, but they do not train their children to honor them and obey God, they have failed.” – Voddie Baucham
Jude was one of four half-brothers of Jesus. While he identified himself as the brother of James, who identified himself as one of Jesus’ apostles, Jude referred to himself as a “servant” of Jesus, for he did not believe Jesus was the Messiah until he saw His resurrected body.
- Jude wrote his epistle around 68-70 AD – Christianity was under attack politically from the Roman Government and doctrinally from the false teachers who had infiltrated the individual churches.
- Since it had been about 30 years since Jesus ascended back into heaven, and most of the apostles were martyred, Christianity was losing its initial momentum.
- Jude’s epistle was to urge the 2nd generation of church leaders to stand firm; to take up their fight for the true gospel, or the movement would end in apostasy,
- “Apostrepho” is to deliberately defect from the true faith, or the true gospel, and to embrace Satan’s lie that there is another gospel.
- As the Book of Acts describes the beginning of the church age, the epistle of Jude describes the end of the church age, the age of Apostasia, the age in which we live, as evidenced by the masses of people who have fallen away from the true faith and have now embraced the lie.
- In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, the Apostle Paul referred to this event as the great “falling away” that would precede the rapture of the Church.
- In Matthew 24 – Jesus said false teachers would arise.
- In 2 Timothy 4:1-5 – Paul said false teachers would arise.
- In 2 Peter 2:1- Peter said false teachers would arise.
- In 1 John 4:1-3 – John said false teachers would arise.
- In Jude 1, Jude said, “they have arrived!”
- The greatest issue facing the church today is not how to attract the next generation to a building or to unite with a dying organization or denomination. The greatest issue facing the church today is whether it can survive without the preservation and the proclamation of the true gospel, and the answer is, “NO!”
- The term “once for all delivered to the saints” means Jesus delivered the whole gospel to the Apostles at one time,” which means nothing can be added or removed without compromising the whole truth.
- In 1 Corinthians 15:1-3, the Apostle Paul defined the whole gospel as:
- “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried. And that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
- God established the Church as the “pillar and ground” of truth, but the proclamation of the gospel is not the main focus of the contemporary church, which is why most church members today do not have the spiritual discernment to preserve them from apostasy.
In verse one, Jude addressed those to whom he was writing as “those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” In so doing, he identified the current state of every true born-again believer in Jesus Christ.
- “Called” – The Greek word means to be invited or to be summoned.
- “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9
- “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
- “Sanctified by God the Father” – “Sanctified” means to be purified of sin, i.e., to be made holy and set apart for God’s use.
- The Sabbath Day was sanctified by God and set aside for the people to attend the services at the tabernacle or temple, which were also sanctified, as well as the furniture and the implements used in the worship services.
- Jesus was sanctified by the Father, and therefore, every born-again believer in Jesus is sanctified by God the Father.
- We were sanctified when we were born again by the Holy Spirit.
- We are being sanctified by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
- We will be sanctified when we are removed from this evil world and taken to heaven.
- “Preserved in Jesus Christ” – The Greek word translated in our Bibles as preserved is in the aorist tense, which means it is a continual process.
- The true born-again believer is as secure in Jesus Christ as if we were already in His presence, for once we are saved by grace alone through our faith alone, and in Christ alone, we cannot do anything to increase or decrease God’s favor upon our lives, nor can we do anything to alter or affect our perfect standing with Christ.
- Our life goal is to live up to that level of righteousness that God imputed to us when we received Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord
Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John said a day would come when Satan would ramp up his attacks on the gospel, on those who preach it, and on those who believe it, and that false teachers would lead many to turn away from the true gospel and embrace Satan’s lie that there are other ways to be saved.
- Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John all said such a day would come.
- Jude said, “that day is here,” they “crept in unnoticed,” and they will be with us until the rapture of the Church, and then with those who receive Christ as their Savior during the Tribulation.
- Only when Jesus comes again will He defeat and destroy Satan and all of his followers. The godly will go to heaven forever, the ungodly will burn in hell forever, and we will reign with Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords forever, world without end, Amen!