Dear Friends,
We begin a new series today in the book of Jude. Whilst a short book it packs a punch and is full both of the wonderful keeping power of Jesus Christ and the need for us to contend. It is a reminder that we are in a battle if we are Christians, and that if we are considering the Christian faith, it is only for the courageous who are willing, as Jesus Christ says, to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow him. There are several battles in the Christian life. The Christian battles with sin: “…the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other…” Galatians 5:17. A Christian battles with sin, even though we have the Spirit and will be victorious in this battle because Christ has dealt with the penalty of our sin and will rescue us from its power. The Christians battles with satan: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 6:12. We are to put on the full armour of God because every Christian is in a battle with the devil, yet it is a battle that we will win because of Christ. Every Christian is in a battle with false “Christianity” or the godless within the church. Jude says: “I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men, whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men who change the grace of God into a licence for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” We will see in the book of Jude that the way we fight this battle is by being clear and convinced that God will judge them. The rest of the New Testament adds to this, but in Jude, our first response in this battle is to be convinced that they will not go to heaven, and then to build each other up and to pray in the Spirit. Jude does not tell us every way in which to respond to false teaching. He emphasises the response we have to each other rather than to the false teachers. How can we contend? When we build the church here, when we support decisions that are made, when we work hard and come regularly, we are contending for the faith. When we speak to build each other up, when we serve faithfully, when we give, we are strengthening the church here so that we can contend for the biblical faith. Conversely, when we stop coming, when we speak to destroy and discourage, when we undermine those who are on the front line contending for the faith and are divided because of it, of course this is not contending. Contending is something every Christian is to do, with others doing the hard work of being united under the Bible. So we contend by uniting with others who are contending, particularly those organisations who have been set up for this very purpose. So if you are a Christian, contend! Do find out more about Reform (www.reform.org.uk) GAFCON – the Global Anglican Future Conference (www.gafcon.org) and AMiE – Anglican Mission in England (anglicanmissioninengland.org) so that together we can contend with many other Christians who are fighting this battle. We are to do all we can to contend for the Biblical gospel in our day when both the culture and the church are against it.

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