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It Was Necessary (Jude 3)
by Gino Geraci
3/13/2007 / Bible Studies
"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3,4 NKJV).
Jude's first choice was to write about "our common salvation." Few things are more frustrating than to sit down in your study and prepare a message only to find that the Holy Spirit desires an entirely different message. Jude wanted to write a careful compilation and positive presentation of the doctrines of the Christian faith.
He started out writing about our common salvation and then abandoned the theme to warn believers about false teachers in the church. Jesus warned that false teachers would come, Peter prophesied false teachers would come, and Jude confirmed they were there and already at work.
Jude's audience is found in the first word of verse three, "beloved" and the last word in verse three, "saints." The first word describes Jude's relationship to his audience; we are beloved. The second word describes our relationship to the world; we are saints. Saints are to love one another but we are also separated from the world and cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. The fact the false teachers were not just coming but were already there made it necessary for Jude to shift gears and change the focus of his letter.
Jude was a reluctant counter-cult apologist. "I found it necessary" can also be translated "it was needful." The Holy Spirit compelled Jude to write a defense of the faith. Jude did not pick the fight; he wasn't a heresy hunter. He didn't want to do it, but rather did it because it needed to be done.
There is a strange story that comes out of World War II. Two young men were captured by the Americans in Germany near the end of the war. The two men were shipped to a POW camp in the USA, but attempts to integrate them into the prison population failed. They would not or could not speak to American authorities. They kept to themselves and refused to talk to anyone, including their fellow German prisoners. In fact, the other German prisoners insisted they knew nothing of the pair.
The American officers were puzzled. The two men seemed frightened and bewildered, but not sullen or rebellious. After a few weeks in their new quarters they seemed willing to cooperate, but when they finally spoke, no one understood a word they said.
There was another odd thing; they did not look German. Since their features were more Asian in appearance, an expert in Asian languages was called in. He soon solved the mystery: the two were Tibetans who were overjoyed that at last someone was able to listen and understand their incredible story.
Their story goes like this. In the summer of 1941 the two friends, lured by a desire to see something of the world outside their tiny village, crossed the northern frontier of Tibet and for a week wandered happily in Russian territory. Abruptly they were picked up by Russian authorities, put on a train with hundreds of other young men, and shipped west. Outside a large city, at an army camp, they were issued uniforms and rifles and given some fundamental military training. After a few days they were loaded onto trucks with other soldiers and shipped to the Russian Front.
They were horrified by what they saw. Men were killing each other with artillery, rifles and even hand to hand combat. Because they were good Buddhists, killing people was against their moral principles. They fled to the rear, but soon were overtaken by German forces and captured as POWS. Once again they were loaded into trains and this time shipped to Germany. After the Normandy invasion, as the American forces neared Germany, they were put into auxiliary service in the German army. As the Americans continued to advance they were given guns and told to fight against the Americans. Once again they tried to flee, but this time they were captured by the Americans.
When they had finished their story, the interpreter asked them if they had any questions. They had only one: "Why are all those people trying to kill each other?" Why indeed! Why must we wage a war? Why can't we all get along? In the spirit of religious freedom why contend?
Many people today, both inside and outside of the church have that attitude. They wonder why it's important to contend for the faith. Why is it important to insist that Jesus is the only way? Part of this reluctance may stem from the fact that the moment you decide to defend your faith you may be called unloving or arrogant. You may be called a heresy hunter. You may be accused of being a basher of other people's deeply held religious convictions. You may get letters condemning you for your narrow minded, arrogant, bigoted blanket statement that only Jesus Christ can save the sinner and redeem the soul. You may be accused of presumption if you take a literal interpretation of the passage in John 14:6 where Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." People might say, "You condemn millions of well meaning people with deeply held religious convictions simply because they don't agree with you or your interpretation of the Bible."
At times believers choose to avoid fights and duck controversy because they hate confrontation, don't want to say anything controversial, or don't want people to be turned off. Others may not want to do something unpopular, fear they may be misunderstood, or feel presenting a controversial viewpoint is unloving.
None of these reasons are legitimate. For instance, consider this: is it unloving to expose a person's false gospel, to reveal their false Jesus and to rebuke their false lifestyle? Jude didn't think so. In fact, he knew he had an absolutely necessary word of warning: "the church is in danger." Jude knew that false prophets and false teachers threatened to destroy the church from within. His statement to "contend earnestly" is filled with a sense of urgency, emotion and passion. It was a message he proclaimed not because he wanted to and not because it was popular, but because it was absolutely necessary.
The enemy is deceitful, but we as Christians must not be dull or lazy or negligent. The church of Jesus Christ must be watchful and vigilant. Our enemy, the devil, goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour and destroy (1 Peter 5:8). Jude was forced to blow the trumpet. In a healthy ,well-balanced church, in spite of how unpopular it may be, discernment should and in fact must be a normal part of ministry.
Copyright by Gino Geraci
Gino Geraci is pastor of Calvary South Denver ( www.calvarycsd.org ). His radio broadcasts can be listened to live, M-F from 4:00 - 6:00 pm MST on www.krks.com. He can be contacted by emailing [email protected] .
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