Jude wrote to the Christians to tell them that though he intended to write a letter focusing on the common salvation that they have, he saw it necessary to write a letter that exhorts them to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (v. 3). In the letter, Jude lists several who refused the truth and disobeyed the faith delivered by faithful preachers and prophets (v. 4-19). In other words, these folks had no regard for the faith. Jude’s letter is an attempt to keep the brethren on the right track!
Mr. Strong says that “earnestly contend” has to do with struggling. Thus, Jude’s point (through the Holy Spirit) is that it is the Christian’s responsibility to struggle for the faith. It was inspired by God (II Pet. 1:20-21), but we do not keep it with us by mere will. We must work to read and apply, as a “workman” (Eph. 3:4; II Tim. 2:15). Furthermore, we must be active in spreading this truth (II Tim. 2:2, 4:2). The seed (Lk. 8:11) will not sow itself! This word is twisted by many (Gal. 1:6-9; II Pet. 3:16), and denied by a majority (Jn. 18:38). Yet, it has outlived kingdoms for millennia (Matt. 24:35; I Pet. 1:25)!
When Jude spoke of “the faith,” this is contrasted with one’s personal faith. “The faith” is God’s objective truth (“one faith,” Eph. 4:5) that was “once” or “once and for all” (ASV, CEV, ESV, ISV, NET) delivered to the saints. Since God’s word was given “once and for all,” it is unique. This word is complete or “perfect” (I Cor. 13:8-10). This “complete” word makes us complete (II Tim. 3:17; II Pet. 1:3). It feeds us (Heb. 5:12-14; I Pet. 2:2). It is our armor (Eph. 6:14-18). It is our guide (Ps. 119:105). It saves (Rom. 1:16; I Cor. 15:1-2). How can we not struggle to spread and defend this truth when it does so much for us?
Let us take heed to Jude’s exhortation and make sure we are contending earnestly for the faith. This is all the revelation we have! We’re not getting any more! Therefore, let us believe the word, obey the commands, trust the promises, and look forward to Heaven when this life is over!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
When Peter spoke of the false teachers “among you” (II Pet. 2:1), he warned that these people would “with feigned words make merchandise of you” (v. 3). This concern about false teachers has been repeated since the gospel was first preached! In Matthew 7:15, Jesus warned, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Similarly, Paul warned the Ephesians about the “grievous wolves” that would come, “speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30). Paul also warned the Colossians, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col. 2:8). The term “spoil” in this text carries with it the same meaning as the term “making merchandise” from II Peter 2:3.
When we remember the broader context of II Peter, we can see why Peter was motivated to preach and remind the folks of the truth. He knew false prophets were active. This is the tragedy that faces us. As soon as the gospel is preached, there is a warning concerning false teachers! This fact shows us just how hurtful and deceptive Satan is. You see, as soon as something beautiful comes along, Satan is ready to ruin it. He did this in the Garden (Gen. 3:1-6), he did it through false prophets (Matt. 7:15; II Pet 2:3; etc.), and he still does it today. He wants us “drawn away” from God and drawn to his kingdom (Acts 20:28; Jas. 1:14-15). Satan has his false teachers promise us freedom (II Pet. 2:19), but they are trying actually to make us their “spoil” and enslave us in sin.
How can I know who the false teacher is? I will know when I see someone who is willfully teaching a doctrine that is opposed to the truth -- a “damnable” or destructive heresy! This is not someone who has a different opinion or a “quirk,” (Rom. 14) but someone who is teaching a doctrine opposed to the Lord’s word and wants you to go with him! Listen to Solomon, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not” (Prov. 1:10)! The warning against listening to false teachers was given in Deuteronomy 13, and it needs to be heeded still today (Rom. 15:4)!
False teachers are not your friends! The false teacher tries to endear himself to others, but he is merely using “feigned words,” misleading words, lies, or perverse teachings, to “draw away disciples,” and make “merchandise,” or make you a “spoil.” The false teacher may come along to tell you that he has “discovered” something that no one else has seen in millennia. Why, he has seen through the religious “fog” and has discovered something unique, special, and it will put you closer to God than you have ever been before (see: II Pet. 2:19). If you would only listen to him and follow him, then you could be smart, too! Don’t stay in ignorance, but accept this “truth” that has been hidden, or lost for ages! This is but one example of “feigned words,” and simply put, you are nothing more to the false teacher than something to conquer. You do not have value in the eyes of a false teacher. Your worth is gauged by what you can do for the false teacher rather than what you can do for God!
Don’t become the “spoil” or “merchandise” of a false teacher! Instead, submit your life to the inspired Word of God (II Pet. 1:20-21) and follow it all of your life (Rev. 2:10; Heb. 5:9). See the blessings that come when we listen to God instead of man (Jer. 10:23; II Tim. 2:15; Eph. 3:4)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
One reason why Peter thought it “meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance” (II Pet. 1:13), is because of the false teachers that abounded in that day (II Pet. 2:1). Peter declares this had been a problem for generations, and it is not going away when he said, “But there were also false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you.”
In times past, some have argued about what a false teacher is. Some said it had to do with a person’s bad attitude (If so, what about Jonah?). I have heard some say everyone is a false teacher since everyone makes mistakes. Is a false teacher someone who made a mistake and is ready to correct his error (like Apollos, Acts 18:24-28)? Let us allow Peter to tell us who the false teacher is. First, is this person promoting and preaching “damnable heresies” (II Pet. 2:1)? That’s a false teacher! How can I know when I hear a “damnable heresy”? Peter answers this question in II Peter 1:12-15. When my mind is saturated with God’s word, and I am reminded of the truth consistently, when someone says something contrary to what I have been taught in Scripture, I can know it is false (Gal. 1:6-9). This was one of the reasons why Peter wanted to safeguard the people while he was alive. The constant reminders would serve as protection against false teachers, those who were going to deceive the “unstable souls” (II Pet. 2:14).
Sadly, false prophets are not going away any time soon. Peter said they were a problem in the past as well as a current problem. We could say the same thing today. For as many as will tell God’s truth, there are as many who want to pervert it (Gal. 1:7). Therefore, let us make sure we know what God has said (Eph. 3:4, 5:17). Let us spend time studying and growing closer to God (Jas. 4:7-8). When we determine to accept only the inspired word of God in all of our faith and practice (II Pet. 1:20-21), then we are well-armed against the false teachers that come our way.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
“Remember The Alamo!” “Remember The Maine!” “Remember Pearl Harbor!” “Remember 9/11!” These are just a few of the rallying cries that have been heard in our country through the years. These cries showed people that the war being waged was for a cause greater than self.
When we read Nehemiah, we read a similar cry. When Sanballat, Tobiah, and others were intent on destroying the work of the Jews, Nehemiah stood and cried, “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Neh. 4:14). In other words, Nehemiah told the people that the conflict they faced was greater than themselves. They needed to fight for their families!
In a spiritual sense, Satan’s onslaught continues in this world (I Pet. 5:8). He wants to tempt us to leave the Lord (Jas. 1:14-15), and he has no problem hurting the weakest among us to do it! Fathers have the responsibility to bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). They have a responsibility to make sure a new generation knows, loves, and respects the God of Heaven! The younger need to be taught by the older to be sober-minded and develop into men ready to serve God (Titus 2:6). Men, are we doing that?
The juvenile delinquency problem continues to be a stain on our nation. This is a result, no doubt, of homes where the father is non-existent. Young people need a father, not a cash machine! Our young need fathers willing to stand and show them what sacrifice looks like as well as an authoritative figure who expects the rules to be obeyed. To borrow a phrase, how can children respect the Father they have not seen if they are not taught to respect the father they have seen? Men, are you doing your job? Are you fighting for your families?
Mothers have the responsibility to raise their children in a godly way and be “teachers of good things” (Titus 2:3). For example, they need to remind their daughters to “be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:4-5). Mothers need to be reminded that their work does not go unnoticed. Mother has a great responsibility to teach, train, to show love and caring, and to be the “heart” of every family. Children see sacrificial, consistent love in mom. Ladies, are you fighting for your families? Don’t let your children down!
Yes, we are in a fight against Satan and the “spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12)! Let us remember that we are not merely fighting Satan to protect ourselves. We are fighting for our families! Remember them! Remember their souls! Let us be busy in the Lord’s work and train a new generation to do God’s will while we have the time and opportunity! Satan, like Sanballat and Tobiah, is looking for his opening into our homes. Don’t let him have it!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
After Haman’s plans for killing the Jews, including Esther, were revealed (Est. 7:6), things moved very quickly. Mordecai’s enemy ended up hanging from the gallows he had made for him (v. 10). Not only this, but the ring Haman once wore was given to Mordecai (Est. 8:2). The position once held by Haman, Mordecai now held. The entire population of Jews, once oppressed, were allowed weapons and to have a fair fight against the Persians (Est. 8:11-12, 9:2-3). Yes, God in His providence caused a complete reversal in the plans of Haman “the enemy of the Jews.”
This is not the only time we read about this happening. When Jesus spoke about the eternal destiny of the rich man and Lazarus, we find another time when things were reversed (Lk. 16:19-31). Specifically, Abraham reminds the rich man, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (v. 25). Upon analyzing the context, we see many “reversals” that took place between the rich man and Lazarus. Just like Haman and Mordecai, many things changed between them. I marvel at this because perhaps those five brothers he left behind thought of their brother as a godly man and one bound for eternal bliss. God knew what was going on “behind the scenes,” and this man got what he deserved. In reality, the rich man and Lazarus experienced a true reversal from what they had experienced on earth.
The most significant reversal of all was the reversal Christ performed when He made salvation possible through His death, burial, and resurrection (Matt. 26:28; Col. 1:14, 20; Heb. 9:28; I Jn. 2:2; Rom. 6:2-6, 16-18; I Pet. 3:21). Satan thought that he had won. He had succeeded in tempting the first people to sin (Gen. 3:1-6). They sinned, and we have had to live with the consequences on this earth ever since (Gen. 3:16-24). Satan then tempted Cain (Gen. 4:1-11), Abraham (Gen. 12, 20), Moses (Num. 20), David (II Sam. 11-12), and every other man and woman on earth (Rom. 3:23)! He succeeded in getting humanity to sin and to jeopardize their souls before God.
Satan seemed to be winning until Christ came to earth! At that time, we see a reversal taking place. Christ was tempted like others, but did not yield (Matt. 4:1-11; Lk. 4:1-13; Heb. 4:15). He “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (I Pet. 2:22). Furthermore, when He died, He did not die in sin but died to be a sacrifice for others’ sins (I Pet. 3:18). Where Adam brought death, we see that Christ brings life (I Cor. 15:22). Yes, a complete reversal is possible in Christ!
Are you ready for a new beginning? Are you ready for “light, and gladness, and joy, and honor” (Est. 8:16)? Spiritually, you can have these things by following the Lord and doing what He says. Become a Christian (Acts 11:26; Mk. 16:16). Live faithfully for the Lord (I Cor. 15:58), and you can look forward to Heaven (another reversal from life on earth) when this life is over (Matt. 25:34)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs