Jude 1:3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Sometimes we think that the original New Testament church was full of people who were completely united and totally happy in their work together for the Lord. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those First Christians struggled to keep the Church alive, not just they were persecuted by the authorities, but because of the tribulations within the Church itself.
Different people had different ideas about what was important to Christianity. Some felt that God’s grace through Christ was unlimited so that they had complete freedom to do anything they liked. If they were immoral or made mistakes, Jesus would constantly forgive them.
But other Christians like Jude, believed that faith in Christ placed obligations and responsibilities on His followers. They were entrusted with Christ’s ministry and mission, which made them personally accountable for their lives, their actions, and their beliefs. Being a Christian was never meant to be easy or cozy. It required persistence in the face of persecution, and resistance when confronting temptation.
Eventually, Christians like Jude won the day and the Church survived. But every generation since then has had to struggle with the same issues. Our faith is not a given. Each generation can squander it by allowing the world to shape the Church’s culture, principles, and beliefs.
The struggle that we fight today is inconsistency and a laissez-faire attitude to what is important for Christians to believe, practice, and accomplish. Jude’s words sound critical and judgmental to us today, but does that make them unimportant or wrong? Are we more interested in a Church that suits our beliefs and is tailored to fit our lifestyle choices, or are we up to the challenge of having Christ mold us?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, these are challenging days and turbulent times for the Church. In every generation, people are called to serve and honor You with their lives. This involves sacrifice and dedication, persistence and determination. Help us each day to keep focused on what You would have us do and accomplish with our lives for Your Kingdom. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.