Jude 3,4 Spoiling for a Fight

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Spoiling for a Fight

We are urged to fight.  It seems like many of us do not like conflict.  we would prefer to hope that everything would pass over without any nasty words or other cruelty passing between us.  However, whether it is perceived as cruel or not, the truth must be spoken.  Sometimes the truth has to be unleashed because holding back the tongue will have far worse consequences.  We should live at peace with everyone, as far as it rests on us, but sometimes peace can not be preserved without losing too much.  In many churches people arrive who want to hear pleasant things from the pulpit.  I mean that there are some people who can not abide the truth if it demands change or uncomfortable thoughts.  They will go around the church seeking comfort and seeking to promote what is called Post-Christian Moralistic Therapeutic deism by Christian Smith and others.  People want to melt Christianity into a balm that provides comforting words in life and meaningless platitudes at a graveside.  We need to fight this desire for relief with a desire to change.  It will mean fighting for control of the church for those whose focus is fun, selfishness, or even permissiveness.  God’s people are set apart and our difference is one of walking on an adventure not one of sitting in an armchair grading the worship leader as one grades a contestant on American idol. 

Prayer

Help us to know when to contend for things that are being swept under the carpet by our culture.  I think of same-sex marriage.  Is this a battle that we need to fight?  I think of the way that we do not take care of the poor.  Do we need to be stirred?

Questions

  1. How are Peter and Jude similar?
  2. What did Jude want to write about?
  3. Why did Jude change his mind?
  4. What issues bring conflict in the church these days?
  5. How might you be challenged to become a ‘contender’?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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4 Responses to Jude 3,4 Spoiling for a Fight

  1. Eric Wildermuth says:

    I am currently in a class with Dr. McDuffee and we are studying Modern Religious Movements (Cults). In this class we have studied nearly all of the major cults stemming off from Christianity and how some of them have invaded the Church at points in history. Certainly these have been times to fight.

    Likewise, my favorite Church Father comes to mind– Athanasius. He fought for a proper understanding of Christ and God used him to preserve orthodoxy. The courage and wherewithal he had to continue in the face of such opposition is encouraging and inspirational.

    There are issues of social justice, racism, sexuality, abortion and the like that the Church is dealing with. God might use me to contend for the faith in a context that is unfriendly to Him and His gospel to spread that Gospel and to fight for it. Both against attacks that come in against it and against the deceptive doctrines of false teachers. Especially false teachers who do not know that they are false teachers.

  2. Both Peter and Jude urged their readers to defend the faith in the midst of false teachers within the church body. Jude wanted to write about the salvation that is shared but felt the need to warn them about those who are trying to diminish the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. Jude changed his mind because he was compelled, I would assume that this compelling was from the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
    There are many issues that bring conflict in the churches today. Within a local church, issues of money, leadership, how services are done, etc. are argued about and churches even split because of these matters. Local churches often have conflict with one another about doctrinal and denominational differences. Most of these being non-essentials in the faith. I might be challenged to be a contender of the faith when people tell me about their very unbiblical worldview and claim to be a Christian. I am reminded of the many people in my family and from back home that are “Post-Christian Moralistic Therapeutic deists” or at least self-worshipping hedonists. Although I do my best not to merely ignore the discussion but to get them thinking about what they actually believe and the issues that come with it, but I also need to defend the truth in love and with perseverance.

  3. kevin w. says:

    2 Peter and Jude both issue a challenge and warning about false teachers. Jude wanted to write about their common grace, but it appears that they do not all have it in common because some have sneaked into the assembly who do not belong. The perversion of the truth is indicative of their falseness. To know the truth, to understand and love the words of God–this is extremely important. We do not want to ignorant so as to follow false teachers nor to become them. Not only do we need to know the truth of our faith, we need to stand firm in it against opposition. The gay agenda and forced tolerance are the two big lies which are mounting an attack on the Church. The problem is that so many Christians have bought into it because it is presented with so much truth. It becomes especially hard when there are websites like gaychristian101.com which claim “sola scriptura” as their motto and make defenses for their case from the Bible. This is why it is imperative to have a deep knowledge of and love for the truth of God’s word: so we can see the perversion of truth for what it is and love the truth enough to make a stand (and the other person for that matter).

  4. Bronwyn says:

    Well-written Mr. Worrall! I just read your blog entry out to my roommate because I liked it so much. 🙂 Maybe this class is my favorite after all. jk. 😉
    I don’t think any believer should like conflict, per say, I mean, we shouldn’t like quarreling or pulling people down by our words in an arrogant sort of way. However, it’s true that some particular people like a challenge in this way and that discussing and defending the faith are not bad or wrong, but important, and like we see here in Jude we’re commanded to, “contend earnestly for the faith.”

    I think the problem comes when a believer doesn’t like conflict so much, that they’d rather let the truth be compromised then speak up and potentially lose friendships and “stir the pot.” This shows that they value the truth less than they value “maintaining the peace.” “Maintaining the peace” is a bit ambiguous, but probably what this means is that they don’t want to cause division and potentially be judged and persecuted.

    I think this is where the importance of verse 4 comes in. If we don’t have an understanding that even today, ungodly people are in our churches suggesting vile things and influencing God’s people, than yes of course we’ll feel terrible in bringing up issues that the devil whispers are, “not worth fussing about” because we’re scared that we might bring division to the flock and we know that God cares so much about unity. But if we have an understanding that not all of the people in our church may be Christians, and that some most likely are deceivers, and they may be the ones from whom some or most of the trouble is coming, than I would hope that this would stir in all Church leaders a proper holy rage and jealously for their flock to not be led astray..and they would see that the truth is worth fighting for and suffering for because people being lead astray..well, it would be fatal and we want God in our midst.

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