Today’s sermon was on vigilence in contending for the faith, based on Jude 1-4. I don’t get through to Jude very often, but it’s a really nice little book. Here are key points I marked down:
vs 1. – “…kept/preserved for Jesus Christ.” ~ I love this promise, that no matter what, God holds us in His hands and will preserve us through the end.
vs 3 – “…contend for the faith…” ~ dictionary.com says that to contend is to struggle in opposition. But I like the other definition for this verse: to assert or maintain earnestly.
What faith is this? – the faith delivered to the saints.
- It’s a noun, both as substance of something hoped for and faith placed in God.
Faith is not: a verb.
- not something you build up yourself inside yourself. That would be courage.
- not being irrational or believing the unbelievable
- not something you speak into existence or activate into reality.
- not something you claim by demanding
How do you contend for the faith?
- gently if possible
Have any of you ever noticed how you can begin a prayer one way and by the end of it, your whole demeaner, content, and desire has changed? I’ve often begun a prayer angry and frustrated about something, or depressed and wounded. It’s a sick feeling when you feel the only thing left to do is to cry out to God. And you know the words that you utter are filled with hate and despair, and nothing to grace the ears of your King with, but I am so grateful that He still listens to them. Note that I didn’t say “He still hears them”: He listens to them, with the attention of a lover listening to his beloved.
As I am speaking to Him my sorrow, His Spirit is working in me, and comforting me. He whispers sweet words of love to my heart so that my mind is not wholly aware of a change of atmosphere. My words filled with guile are now resting on adoration, and express hope and praise to Him. I was accusing Him and now I am thanking Him. Ever notice that? Not only is my attitude changed to Him, but also to the one or ones who filled me with that anger in the first place.
What kind of a God can do that?! I am amazed every time at His mercy and His sincere love for me. With some recent events, I noticed that God changed my prayer from revealing the secret to salvation of the person who has afflicted me. I despise when someone’s character is assaulted, and this time, when it was mine, I had all sorts of wild and crazy emotions that flew through me. I was exhausted. I was overly emotional. And while it is still fresh, my emotions have since settled into the peace that comes from God.
I know that He will protect me. I am His precious child. I have faith that He will because He has proven to me over and over again. He has placed that faith into my heart, so that when circumstances arise, and I could easily be knocked down, that faith is already my support and my shelter. The wind may howl and beat against my faith, but I am protected within.
Our God is greater, stronger, He is higher than any other, healer, and He is awesome in power. And if our God is for us, then who can ever stop us? And if our God is with us, then what could stand against? Nothing and no one…that’s who. Praise Jesus!