November 29, 2015
This week: Contending for the Faith
The Epistle of Jude deals with a difficult topic within the church–false teachers. It’s clear in reading the text of Jude that he had zero tolerance for these predatory men and women whom he refers to as “unreasoning animals.”
How should the church respond to the existence of false teachers? Jude’s instruction is clear: “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” In this lesson, we will learn how to spot the presence of a false teacher within our midst and how we should respond to a false teacher. As with all topics of this nature, may we lead and instruct with humility as the Spirit directs our groups in the truth of the Word of God.
This Week’s Resources:
This Week’s Take Home Truth
Since false teachers creep into the church, the best way to protect yourself is to study the truth about Jesus Christ and the truths of the Word of God. If you are faithful in the study of God’s Holy Word, He will protect you from error.
- Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
- Have you ever had to study or learn something that is unpleasant, but it is ultimately for your own safety? Share some ideas with your group.
- What would you say to a parent who argues they do not want to teach an unpleasant topic to their children because it may upset them? How would you counsel this parent?
Read the Text (Jude)
Did you know that God has a “counter-espionage school”? That’s right. Every Christian believer is required to attend this important school. Unfortunately, not everyone who attends pays close attention to the Teacher. But it is critical that you pay attention, close attention, for false teachers are everywhere: at work, in government, in social clubs, in schools, in churches, and far too often even in homes. You must prepare yourself, stand guard against false teachers. If you fail, you will be deceived, led to believe a lie and doom yourself for eternity. Here is the thrust of the letter of Jude, the very purpose for which Jude writes. Here is one of the most horrifying pictures in all the Bible, a picture of the characteristics and judgment of false teachers. Read Jude 1-25.
1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,
To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Judgment on False Teachers
3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
A Call to Persevere
17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions.
- As a group, develop a working definition of what qualifies someone as a false teacher
- What signs of a false teacher does Jude give us to help us detect the presence of evil within our church and families?
- What do you think is the appeal of false teachers to a group of Christians?
- How can a church, a small group, and a family protect itself against the evil influence of a false teacher?
- What do you feel is your best defense personally against false teachers or false teaching? Why did you select this particular one?
- What step can you take this week to guard against grumbling, faultfinding, boasting, or using flattery?
- In what specific ways do you need to contend for your faith this next week?
November 29 – “Contending for the Faith” (Jude)
December 6 – To Fulfill: Christmas Scene 1
December 13 – Kids Christmas Musical (Morning Services)
December 13 – To Fulfill: Christmas Scene 2
December 20 – Begin Christmas Break
December 21 – Family Movie Matinee, 1:00 p.m. Student Center
December 24 – Christmas Eve Service, 5:00 & 6:30 p.m.
December 27 – Christmas Break
January 3 – Christmas Break
January 3 – New Series: Shoe-Leather Theology (James)