Jude 3 is excellent for shepherds to study. â€œEarnestly Contendâ€ has a root that is used elsewhere in Scripture. In Col 1:28 and Col 2:1 it is in regard to doctrine and reflects the striving agony, energy and intense effort akin to that of an athlete. In 1 Tim 6:12 and 2 Tim 4:7 it is used as a military termâ€”a constant duty. Paul examines his life and we ask how does one say a ministry was successful? Isaiah was told that the people would not listen to him even if he diedâ€”yet his success was not in them listening it was in him finishing what the Lord had him do.
One must strive for mastery with personal discipline, keeping their life in subjection and being fit for use. This, in totality, is Sacrifice. For example the Olympicists will train for years focused on exercise, diet, a rigorous schedule and foregoing personal pleasures to compete so that they can win by a fraction of a second and gain a corruptible award. This Sacrifice will be combined with constant vigilance for the word pastor is not a noun (as a title) but a verbâ€”it is a work and the characteristics therein are part and parcel to what the overseer is. Sometimes small assemblies have men who are not everything on those lists in 1 Timothy and Titus knowing that they ought to be but they wind up in the position as elders by default. These may be good men who want to see the testimony of the Lord continue and would gladly step aside if someone comes and steps upâ€”and with God’s help they will serve in any capacity they can. Sometimes the Sacrifice and Vigilance consists of keeping the doors open while training younger men to come in and lead. So it takes Sacrifice, it takes Vigilance and Perseverance.
The Faith! It is what was commonly confessed at that time: 1) The gospel (1-3), the Church (4, 12), Proactive Reception (not having people creep into the church without knowing where they’re from but being clear on who is in fellowship), Holiness (4, 24), the Lord’s Return (14), Judgment to Come (7), Person of Christ (25), Authority of the Lord Jesus (24).
Question: do we know The Faith? How can we contend for what we don’t know? We must seek venues for extended teaching on the Faith to feed the flock! Question: what part of The Faith is disposable? What would you demarcate as peripheral? We have to be careful with how we answer these questionsâ€”is any part of God’s word something that â€œdoesn’t tie inâ€?
The Dangers are listed in verses 5-7. There was the Historical Departure of Egypt, Sodom and Angels and there will be a Future Departure (1 Tim 4:1). So because these dangers exist we must contend.
But also because the extreme value of The Faith. They are wholesome and sound words! They are a sacred Trust (1 Tim) and worth fighting for!
Session 08 Larry Price