Contending for the Faith
Jim Chavez – 10.23.22
When John asked if I was willing to preach and if there was anything God was teaching me that I might want to
preach on, I said yes and yes. “Yes”.. I was willing and “Yes”.
I wanted to preach on “Waiting on the Lord!” I’ve been doing a lot of that. Star and I both together have been
doing a lot of that. But have you ever started to do one thing. You were just sure this is what He has for me, and
then the Lord takes you in a completely different direction?
One day, feeling discouraged, Star said “I feel like nobody is willing to stand for truth….to contend for the faith”.
I am going to be preaching on “contending for the faith, standing for truth”. We are going to do a quick survey on
the book of Jude. It is probably one of the most neglected books of the Bible.
Jude is the next to the last book of the Bible. It is 25 verses and only 1 chapter.
My goal today is to take you through the key themes in this book. It is packed with hope, with warning, it has been
described as “A Call to Arms”. It is a reminder that we are not on a playground but on a battlefield. It is a
summons to stand and fight! That may seem odd for a preacher to tell you. To FIGHT, especially as a Christian. I
want to be clear, I’m not talking about violence, no round house kicks or throwing punches, or anything like that.
Jesus was not always “meek and mild”. In Matthew 21:12-13 it says that “Jesus entered the temple courts and
drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches
of those selling doves.” Jesus himself called the Pharisees to their faces “you brood of vipers”, “you white washed
tombs”, “you are of your father the Devil”. He called them out!
He was bold. He was unashamed. He had a reverence for The Father. He did not idly stand by while His Father
was blasphemed and neither should we.
My ask for all of you today is to listen and do a thorough examination of yourselves and heed its warnings.
Let’s start with a quick introduction to the Book of Jude.
The book is brief, but full. Nearly every verse is packed with references to the Old Testament or metaphors
describing false teachers (apostates).
You will notice there are many similarities between the Epistle of Jude and the Second Epistle of Peter, in fact
there are passages in Jude that are nearly identical to ones found in 2nd Peter and its believed that Peter
influenced Jude tremendously in his writing and indicates Jude was written after 2nd Peter or could have been the
other way around. It is speculated to be written between 60 and 70 AD since Jude doesn’t mention the
destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and since he seems to leverage Peters writing mentioned in the gospels,
best guess is around 67AD.
Apostacy is not a new concept we hear about in Jude. In several passages throughout the New Testament, we find
serious warnings about impending apostasy. If the danger of apostasy was already present in the 1st century A.D.,
we should not be surprised that the danger exists in the 21st century. The Epistle Of Jude is especially relevant
today. Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:11-13 that “many false prophets will appear and deceive many
people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the
end will be saved.” Paul foretold of many disciples being drawn away in Ac 20:29-30. It says 29 I know that after I
leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will
arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. Peter warned about the rise of false
teachers, and how many would follow their destructive ways in 2 Peter 2:1-3. It says 2 But there were also false
prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive
heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many
will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers
will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their
destruction has not been sleeping.
By the time the epistle of Jude was written, the danger was no longer pending, it was very much in existence.
Jude, in the Greek is Judas. That’s his full name and he identifies himself in verse 1 as “the brother of
James”…which makes him the ½ brother of Jesus. It’s interesting that he doesn’t chose to accentuate his physical
relation to Jesus, but his spiritual one (“a bondservant of Jesus Christ,” James does the same thing.
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the
Father and kept for [a] Jesus Christ:
Jude was not a follower of Jesus Christ while Jesus lived during his earthly ministry. Jude became a follower of
Jesus Christ AFTER the resurrection. In fact if we go back to Mark 3 right after Jesus appointed his disciples, it says
in Mark 3:20 “when Jesus entered a house, a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to
eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Verse 2 says Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
“Mercy” proceeds from God’s grace. “Peace” is the result of experiencing the grace and mercy of God and “Love”
is the motivation for all God does. Jude wants us to have these in abundance.
Jude (we see in verse 3) originally intended to write us a message about the salvation we share, but the words “felt
compelled” means pressured or constrained. The verb tense that is used here was one of urgency.
Verse 3 he exhorts us, he uses the words “urging, encourage, appeal to us”. It is an exhortation and the term is
used by a general who is giving orders to his army. Jude as I alluded to earlier is a battle guide.
There is a great deal in this book which ought to be a warning to us the modern church. Jude tells us to contend
for the faith that was “once for all” entrusted to God’s Holy people. That’s us and if it was once for all completed
when Jude wrote this book in 67AD then we have it all. We have the body of truth, that God wants us to live by.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Part of our problem today in America is we have lost the origin of truth.
Jude tells us that we need to contend for the faith, for truth. That word “contend” comes from the Greek word
“epagonizomai”.. We get the English word agonize, agony from it. It means vigorous, intense, determined struggle
to beat the opposition. If you are not spending time in this book, you will be driven and tossed by the waves. You
won’t know what to defend! This is our source of truth and nothing else, and the only way we are going to be
anchored is if we read and understand what is in this book. Now we see this letter is addressed “to those who are
called” in verse 1. That’s us
Verse 3 is where the purpose of the book is revealed. The Holy Spirit compels Jude to sound a warning of the
impending apostasy. A simple definition of an apostate is one who has “departed from the faith. I want to get a
little more technical on the definition of an apostate. An apostate is someone who abandons his religious faith.
It is clear from the Bible that apostates are people who made professions of faith in Jesus Christ but never genuinely
received Him as Savior. They were pretend believers. Those who turn away from Christ but never really trusted
Him to begin with, as 1 John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had
belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”
Those who apostatize are simply demonstrating that they are not true believers, and they never were.
Back to verse 3, What is the faith? It’s not talking about faith as exercised by an an individual. The faith is also
called the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42). The Faith is a reference to the body of basic Christian doctrine and
Christian truth. Christians are to take the basic doctrines – “the faith”- and live by them, extracting from them
principles for Christian living. They are not to be denied nor distorted. But that is exactly what was happening.
For one to be solid in understanding God’s Word and defending it, one must know God. This occurs through a
personal relationship with God in Christ. It does not occur with mere knowledge or academic scholarship. It
doesn’t matter if you know Greek, Hebrew, theology, or even systematic theology if you are devoid of a
relationship with God.
Notice in Jude’s charge to contend for the faith. Jude doesn’t just address pastoral leaders. He addresses the
entire church. All of us who are called. All believers. God, through the inspired writing of Jude, places the onus on
every member of the local church to maintain doctrinal fidelity by protecting “the faith.” We are all soldiers on
this battlefield and the question you have to answer today is what type of soldier are you?
You may be here today and not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and I want to encourage you to take
that step of faith, acknowledge you are a sinner, repent of those sins and put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. If
this is you, you aren’t one of His soldiers and the book of Jude isn’t really written to you.
So here is where I want you to examine yourselves.
If you truly have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, are you loyal to your commander? Are you a Christian
who will stand and take up arms. Will you be aware of those around you and when you hear someone preaching
another gospel or throwing shade on the truth of Gods word, will you call them out? Will you be bold and protect
the family of God.
Are you a nominal Christian? One who doesn’t really stand for anything. Sure, you’ve accepted Christ, but you are
more of a chameleon, you change colors depending on which crowd you’re in. You’re easily swayed because you
don’t have a strong understanding of “the faith” or maybe you just want people to like you. You’re kind of like
Peter, Jesus who? You can change that!
Here’s the big one. Are you a deserter? Are you one of those who slipped in unnoticed? Have you walked away
from the faith and you come to church because it’s familiar or because your wife does, or your husband does?
Jude tells us that we are Christs army, the Word is our artillery and the enemy is among us. I’ve spent the majority
of my time in the first 4 verses of this book so we are going to cover a lot of ground in a short time now. But I have
to wrap up verse 4 by walking through the 3 marks of apostates:
The 4 th verse tells us these apostates are “Ungodly men”, they are unconverted; people who have left God out of
their lives. They “turn the grace of our God into a license for immorality” which is blatant immorality; shameless
sin. They either arrogantly and proudly flaunt sin publicly or these might be the ones in your midst that say “where
sin abounds grace abounds much more” and they “Deny the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ”.
This is where this message gets really personal for me. I asked you to examine yourselves. Does this describe you?
As I look at the definition of an apostate it burdens me to realize that I may have some in my own household, my
own family, time will tell. Right under my roof, I never imagined it, nor did I see it.
What terrifies me about this is when you look at verses 5 through 16 and I want you to read them on you own.
They go through many occurrences from the Old Testament on different apostacy’s and describe God’s judgement
on them. Verse 5 speaks of Israel refusing to enter the promised land and the judgement God put on them and on
the nation for their sins. Unbelief is sin. Verse 6 speaks of the angels rebellion and how they are kept in chains.
The sin of angels does not escape the judgment of God. Verse 7 talks of Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin and how it was
destroyed by fire. Verses 8-16 talk about modern apostate teachers and how to identify them.
Verse 8 says “in just the same way”; it’s the key to unlocking the rest of the chapter. It can be interpreted “Yet in
like manner” Same way that Israel doubted, Angels were insubordinate, Sodom and Gomorrah were irreverent
(blasphemous) these people, these men, these women also, relying on their dreams, defile, doubt like Israel, they
are insubordinate or reject authority like the fallen Angels and they are blasphemous, irreverent, like Sodom and
Gomorrah”. Apostates (men and women) show utter contempt for authority….and they rely on their dreams.
Verse 10 says they blaspheme what they do not understand. Blasphemy, we typically think of as the act or offense
of speaking sacrilegiously or profanely about God or sacred things; But I had a pastor once tell me that there is a
broader definition of blasphemy. It’s not just speaking sacrilegiously or profanely about God, but it’s attributing to
God, that which God did not do. When verse 8 speaks of Apostates as dreamers, it’s the same word that is used in
Acts 2:17. Acts 2:17 speaks of revelatory dreams it’s associated with revelations and prophecy. False teachers
have to have a source that is convincing, so they say they that God has given them a vision. God has given them a
dream. God communicates with them in secret ways.
This is where I am bringing a warning to you on who you listen to. Because these so called revelations have been
received by everyone from Joseph Smith to Bennie Hinn. They give the illusion of authority; they attribute to God
that which God has not given. It is blasphemy. Apostates reject the word of God that has once for all been
revealed and claim God gave them a new revelation. The sad part we see in Jude is that they mislead, and they try
to draw away those who are desiring to have a true relationship with God.
Verse 12 says these men are a menace to our good fellowship. They are constantly trying to divide and they care
for no one but themselves. Here are some of the metaphors that Jude uses to describe these men in verses 12-15
Fruitless trees in autumn
Wild waves on the sea
Verses 16 -19 they are called
“Grumblers” — they mutter their complaints.
“Fault Finders” – discontented.
“Follow their own evil desires” means they live to satisfy their craving and overweening desires. You will
notice that most of these apostate teachers in our day and age are always promising you riches, money,
get rich quick schemes.
“Boast about themselves” is addiction to flowery, extravagant, and exaggerated language.
“Flatter others for personal gain” means that they do not look to God but to men for help and
So what do we do? Verses 17-22 tell us!
- Don’t be Surprised – Jude reminds us in verse 17 that Jesus warned us they were coming and are here.
- Don’t let them divide us – Verse 19 says they are here to divide us. When you feel anyone trying to drive a
wedge between you and another brother or sister, or confusing you with obscure teaching, ignore them. Go to
Pastor John, go to an elder, go to the Word of God and don’t just believe them, check them out.
- Be compassionate but careful – Verse 22 – 23 is a pretty complicated verse to exegete so I’m going to give you
the lazy man interpretation. While Jude is clear that we are to contend for the faith and warns us about those
who would distort the truth, here we also see that we are called to deal mercifully and wisely with those who err.
Just as God the Father has been merciful toward us, we should be merciful toward others. And we should strive to
see those who doubt or wander come to a place of repentance and restoration. But we also must do so in fear,
recognizing our own temptations and weaknesses.
Have compassion, make a difference. have compassion on some who are in doubt. Some folks are honest
doubters and need help and godly counsel in these days.
Other ACTIONS: I want to leave you with actions that you can take in “contending for the faith”
- Build yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit (V20). Study the Word of God.
Timothy tells us in 2:15 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to
be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
- “Praying in the Holy Spirit” (V20). Ephesians 6:18 it says And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of
prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
- “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (V21) — God loves the believer with an everlasting love, but we can get
out of fellowship with the Lord by sinning. And when we do, we become vulnerable to the Apostates who prey on
7) Fight the darkness. Stand for truth. Back to verse 3. We are going to be voting in November and there are
representatives who stand for everything against the word of God. Don’t vote for them. There are representatives
who represent the values God has called us to. Research them and vote for them.
There are many who do exactly what verse 16 says. They flatter for personal gain, they may call themselves
Christians, or Baptists or Catholics or they may have a form of godliness but they oppose everything God has told
us to stand for. I don’t know if you heard in the past couple weeks, Governor Gavin Newsome came out with an ad
campaign supporting abortion and he had the audacity to use Mark 12:31, “Love your neighbor as yourself. There
is no greater commandment than these.” Gavin Newsome claims to be an active Catholic. We have lesbian and
gay pastors advocating for LGBQT rights in the church. We have churches that are behind social justice regardless
of it’s antithesis to the word of God. We need to stand and fight, we need to make our voices heard and the best
way to do that is by voting. We can’t stop this car from careening off a cliff, but we can slow it down.
Will you contend for the faith this week? Will you Stand and Fight? I pray you do.
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and
with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.