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"Earnestly Contend for the Faith"

(Jude 3,4,8,10,12,13,16-23)

Lesson 13 -- fourth quarter 2003
November 30, 2003

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications

"Building up yourselves on your most holy faith"

As time moves toward its grand finale, spiritual darkness and deception will continue to deepen all around us. From today's vantage point of February 18, 2003, I am quite persuaded that we already live in the midst of much darkness. By the time you read this in less than ten months, matters will not have improved. But never mind my views. The Lord Himself warned us that the spiritual peril of the last days would be such that "except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" lest the deceivers should "deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:22,24).

What can we do for our own survival in these latter times "when some shall depart from the faith" (1 Timothy 4:1)? Our spiritual success most definitely depends entirely on the grace of God (Jude 24). However, He does not intend for us to take a passive role in our own lives. So let's notice two specific survival instructions given in Jude.

"Building up yourselves on your most holy faith" (Jude 20). To survive we start where we find ourselves . . . and build upward, daily expanding our spiritual building on the foundation of faith. "OK," you say. "Fine. But don't you have anything more practical than that?" Most definitely! Read on.

"Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification" (Romans 15:2). Living for the blessing and benefit of another causes edification (building) to take place in his life...and in yours. To avoid deception, live selflessly and sacrificially.

"And he gave...apostles...prophets...evangelists...pastors and teachers ...for the perfecting of the saints...for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11,12). Listen to the teaching and follow the example of the godly leaders and teachers God has brought into your life. Study their writings. Apply their precepts. Then you will avoid deception.

"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do" (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Be an active, responsible, accountable member of a faithful congregation. Within that local body of believers, be an encourager and a builder in the lives of the others. God will use them to encourage and build in your life. Thus, together, you will all avoid deception.

Now search the Scriptures for other ways to build and reinforce your faith. Remember faith and faithfulness cannot be separated, so faithfully walk in the light you already have. As James observed, "Faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect" (James 2:22).

"Keep yourselves in the love of God"

Another piece of survival instruction from Jude is this: "Keep yourselves in the love of God" (21). If we do not step away from God's way of love, we shall not stray from His way.

When we interact with one another in truth and love, we experience growth in Christ in all things (Ephesians 4:15). When we keep His commandments, we remain securely in His love (John 15:10). What other ways can you find for keeping yourself in the love of God?

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