Contending for the faith
With the start of a new ministry year, we’re also starting a new five-part preaching series in the Letter of Jude.
How did we come to the conclusion, as Christians, that the faith we have in Jesus wouldn’t need some tearing down and rebuilding from time to time? It is not that the gospel itself provided a poor foundation or that the construction materials of faith were less than adequate, but that the manner in which we as humans put it all together was marred by our sin and weaknesses, resulting in a building that lacked structural integrity. It is a faith-filled Christian, not a weak one, who says, “Let’s tear this down to the essential biblical building materials and make it better.” To preserve a faulty structure, preserving human traditions and institutions at all costs, is to put everyone in the house at risk of it collapsing.
We live at a time when the threats to the gospel from those outside of the faith are significant, but not nearly as dangerous as those from within the believing community. Those who once professed faith in Christ but who have, as they say, “deconstructed” their faith, lead others to abandon what they once believed and practiced. They ask good questions, but refuse the answer. Faithful Christians should have no fear of deconstruction and should, in fact, scrutinize, inspect, tear down, and rebuild their faith throughout their lives resulting in a stronger building in which to live out their faith in Jesus.
In what is a timely message to our generation, the short Letter of Jude provides insight into what it means to tear down but also rebuild our faith in Jesus Christ.
Series: Deconstructed-Reconstructed (Jude)
Message: 1 – Contending for the faith
Harvest Bible Chapel
Text: Jude 1:1-4
September 10, 2023
As a Christian, I must contend for the faith by…
…trusting what God says about me (1:1-2)
…understanding what I believe (1:3)
The 5 Gospel-Centred Essentials: Verbal Inspiration, Virgin Birth, Vicarious Atonement, Victorious Resurrection, and Visible Return
Deconstruction is the process of systematically dissecting and often rejecting the beliefs you grew up with. Sometimes the Christian will deconstruct all the way to atheism. Some remain there, but others experience a reconstruction. But the type of faith they end up embracing almost never resembles the Christianity they formerly knew.
Alisa Childers, Another Gospel
A reconstructed faith will require recovering Christian orthodoxy, not departing from it.
to contend – to exert intense effort on behalf of something—to struggle for
…and by being aware of threats within the church (1:4)
9 current perversions of the grace of our God…
“me” at the centre of the story;
God not knowing things;
distortions of the Trinity;
undermining of the authority of the Scriptures;
the elevation of one person to celebrity status;
political engagement as the means of fulfilling the gospel mission; downplaying holy living as the fruit of genuine faith;
adding to or subtracting from the simplicity of the gospel;
caving into the culture to affirm what is biblically unaffirmable.
Discernment plays a vital role in surviving the spiritually treacherous times we live in. We must continue to value and embrace historical roots and doctrinal truths. Times will change, but not truth. Methods will change, but not history. Each generation of believers has the serious responsibility to anchor its beliefs anew in the unchanging doctrines laid out in the Scriptures.
When you encounter new teachers and new ideas, listen carefully to those who are teaching. Listen to what is said and what is not said. Listen to what is conveniently left out. Listen to the wording, listen to the subtle phrases, listen to the implications. Then look closely at those who are following. Do they know their Bibles? Are they serious about their faith? Are they sharing Christ with others? The answers to these questions will give a strong cause to the meaning behind the message.
Charles R. Swindoll.