NOTE: These are my notes that I used March 2 at the Expository Preaching Workshop on “Preaching Jude” at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The lecture along with these notes will be posted online within a few weeks at www.swbts.edu.
“…I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to earnestly contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed…who turn the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”
I. What is the “Faith” (body of doctrine)?
- The substance of Apostolic faith (body of doctrine) is complete and must govern the meaning of the terms in which doctrine is defined – (it has been “once for all delivered). “Once for all” – adverb. 2 Tim. 4:7 – “I have kept the faith.”
- Doctrine must have been translated into our own Christian experience. We must know God, not just rely on the speculations of others about God.
- Though theologies be in conflict, the faith of the church is one. (Ephesians 4:1-6)
- Keep an open mind with respect to theologians and theologies, but regard sound doctrine as not an open question.
- Our system of faith has two sides: doctrinal (3), ethical/practical (4).
1 Cor. 15:1-3
1 Tim. 3:16
10 Doctrinal Non-negotiables:
- Inerrancy of Scripture
- Literal Adam and Eve
- Sinful nature of humanity
- Deity of Christ
- Virgin Birth of Christ
- Sinless life of Christ
- Substitutionary Atonement of Christ
- Literal, bodily resurrection of Christ
- Literal second coming of Christ
- Literal and eternal heaven and hell
II. Who Must Contend for the Faith?
Not just pastoral leaders, but the entire church.
You betray a spirit of absolute disloyalty if you regard with indifference any addition to or subtraction from the body of truth once delivered to the saints. (B. H. Carroll, Founder and first president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)
“I believe in Jesus but don’t care about doctrine” is like saying” I love flowers but I don’t care anything for botany.”
III. Why Must we “contend” for the Faith? (False Teachers – Apostates)
1. Jesus & NT authors warned of false teachers.
2 Cor. 11:13-15
1 Tim. 4:1
1 Tim. 6:20-21
2 Tim. 4:3
2 Peter 2:1
2 Peter 3:4
2. Strategy of Satan is to counterfeit.
IV. How Must We “Contend” for the Faith?
“Earnestly contend” = (root word speaks of an athletic context. Intense struggle. Energy put forth in wrestling, foot race, combat in the arena. Word of intensity that you cannot add to it!)
- Doctrinal Error must always be taken seriously in the church.
- Doctrinal Error must always be refuted in the church.
- Debate but don’t “contend” over secondary doctrines: such as some issues in (Eschatology, Calvinism, Armininianism, etc.).
- We are not to contend in a “contentious” manner.