Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
May we all rejoice in the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). And this faith centers on the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ who loved us and gave himself for us. Wherever the Lord has you this week, know that your great Shepherd knows and loves his sheep personally and individually (John 10). The following is a reminder of some of the things going on in the life of the church:
1. Continue to be in prayer for our Outreach Sunday, April 21. Pray for your unbelieving family, friends, and co-workers; that the Lord would move their heart to join us for worship on April 21.
2. Pray for our Easter worship service on Sunday, March 31. Pray that the Lord would use his word to convict the lost and to comfort the hurting.
3. Men, be on the lookout for our next men’s breakfast in April.
4. Ladies, be on the lookout for your upcoming ‘Mugs & Muffins’ fellowship.
5. This week’s devotional is a reflection from Jude on contending for the faith.
Have a good remainder of the week, and know that you are in our prayers.
I look forward to worshipping with you this Lord’s Day,
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Contend for the Faith”
Jude 3, “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
Tucked in just before the Book of Revelation is the often-overlooked, one chapter in length, book of Jude. This book is a letter written by Jude, the brother of Christ, to believers. Incidentally, it is instructive to notice that although Jude was the brother of Christ and thus knew him from childhood, he refers to himself as a servant (or slave) of Christ (v. 1a). Also, Jude gives us a wonderful description of a Christian as one who is ‘called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ’ (v. 1b). Jude opens his letter with a call to ‘contend for the faith’ (v. 3), and closes his letter with a glorious doxology to the God who preserves his people: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (v. 24).
In this brief devotional, however, I want to make a few observations regarding the theme of the letter as it is found in v. 3: “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” First, as to the call to defend the faith. Jude, simply put, calls all Christians ‘to contend for the faith’ (cf. 1 Pet 3:15; 2 Cor 10:5). Those who are ‘called, beloved in God the father and kept for Jesus Christ,’ are to contend for the faith. The word translated ‘contend’ is an athletic term used for the effort and strain of athletes in the games. As believers, we are to exert effort and strain in the defense of the faith. As a runner gives all that he has in his race, so we are to give all that we have to contend for the faith! Second, as to the importance of defending the faith. The majority of the letter describes false teachers who were perverting the gospel. Thus, while Jude states that he was eager to write about our ‘common salvation,’ the pressing need of the day was to contend for the faith against such false teachers. Furthermore, Jude writes ‘appealing’ to them to contend for the faith. The word Jude employs means ‘to urge’ or ‘to beseech.’ Jude was not simply asking, rather he was urging the church to defend the faith! Third, as to the faith we are to defend. We are called to contend for ‘the faith.’ This implies the existence of an established core set of truths that was publicly known (cf. 1 Cor 15:3-5). A call to defend the faith necessitates a faith to be defended! And this, in turn, requires that we know this faith – that we love it, study it, and grow in our understanding of it! Also, it is a faith ‘once for all’ delivered to the saints. It is a fixed set of truths. We do not change it, tamper with it, or modify it for the culture. We simply proclaim and defend it!
Brothers and sisters, we live in a world that is hostile to the gospel and to the truth of Christ (John 3:19; Gal 1:4). May we be those who love the gospel of Christ! And may we show this love of Christ by – when necessary – contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Not to simply win arguments, but so that lost souls may come to know the glorious gospel of grace!
– Rev. Robert Arendale,