2 Comments to “Contend for the Faith – Part 3”

  1. Donald McMahon
    February 11, 2019

    “Contend for the Faith” (Jude)(2.3.19) Part 3
    It has been reported that Dutch pastors often recite a familiar saying to their congregations. Though it defies exact translation into English, it can be summarized as follows: ‘If you pray me full, I’ll preach you full.’ So, as I pray now, I beseech you to pray for the Holy Spirit to come over me.
    Jude (NIV84) 1-4, 17-25
    1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
    To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ:
    2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
    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. 4 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 our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
    17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
    20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
    22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
    24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
    The word of God for the people of God.
    For two weeks now, I have been exploring this call by Jude for Christians to pray in the Holy Spirit. Remember this is for the called saints desiring to build ourselves up in our most holy faith. What does it mean? How do we do it? How does it fit within the whole framework Jude is constructing for us to earnestly contend for the faith?
    At this past Tuesday’s Lord’s Supper Service. I was having a problem with keeping the right-hand candle lit. Right before the beginning of service, it went out; so, I didn’t have a lot of time to fiddle with it. Taking it apart, the wick seemed short. So, I turned it upside down and used the lighter to melt some more of the wax and expose more wick. Putting everything back together, I relit the candle; but, it was a tiny flame, barely visible.
    Well, I thought, if it goes out, it goes out. Then an idea occurred to me. Lord, as a sign of the Holy Spirit, please cause this candle to burn. From where I was sitting over by the choir loft, I couldn’t see any sign that it was still burning. Our Praises and Concerns time was about 20 minutes later. I remember feeling somewhat inspired in my praying over everyone’s requests.
    A few minutes later, when I got up to begin the liturgy for Communion, I looked up to the altar area. The candle was in full flame. You may choose to dismiss this as coincidence or explain it by some natural phenomena; but, I take it as an encouraging sign from God.
    • What is prayer? It is “the soul’s automatic response to the Spirit’s work of regeneration.” R. A. Morrey explains, “According to the Word of God in Gal. 4:6, once a man, woman or child has been born again, regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit, they become children of God. The Spirit then functions as the Spirit of adoption and causes the believer to cry, “Abba, Father” from the very depths of [their] heart. As the indwelling Spirit of adoption, He bears witness to our spirit that we are the children of God and leads us to seek the things of the Spirit.”
    o This is supported by Jude’s claim that the ungodly do not have the Holy Spirit within them. Instead they follow base animal instincts.
    o Oswald Chambers raises the ante when he says, “The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.”
    o 1 Corinthians 6:17 (NIV84) But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
    o When we pray, our prayers are enhanced when we pray in the language of God; when we pray in the mindset of God; when we pray with the heart of God. We learn these things through God’s Holy Inspired word as illumined by God the Holy Spirit.
    o D.G. Bloesch addresses this when he says, “The Bible is the record of this irrevocable divine incursion into human history, and it is also the mirror and echo of what transpired in the past. It is not God’s direct voice, but it carries his voice by the power of the Spirit. It is not itself the light, but it reflects the light through the working of the Spirit.”
    • Pray in the Holy Spirit (v. 20).
    o A.W. Tozer: “I do not hesitate to say that most praying is not in the Holy Spirit. The reason is that we do not have the Holy Spirit in us. No man can pray in the Spirit except his heart is a habitation for the Spirit. It is only as the Holy Spirit has unlimited sway within you that you are able to pray in the Spirit. Five minutes of prayer in the Holy Spirit will be worth more than one year of hit-and-miss praying if it is not in the Holy Spirit.”
    o C.H. Spurgeon: Prayer is an art which only the Holy Spirit can teach us. He is the giver of all prayer.
     Romans 8:26 (NIV84) In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
     Octavius Winslow: It must be acknowledged by the spiritual mind that all true prayer is of the leading of the Spirit; that He is the author of all real approach of the soul to God. All true prayer is put into words by the Spirit. He is the Author of prayer in the soul.
    In our contending for the faith, we must be properly equipped. Surely we know that this is a spiritual battle. It is a battle within every human heart and it is a battle within every spectrum of our existence. Too many think of their Christian faith as a playground when in fact it is a battleground.
    Ephesians 6:10–20 (NIV84) The Armor of God
    10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

    Surely, you can see these are the same truths that Jude proclaimed. These two scriptures, Jude and the Armor of God are like the two great spans of a suspension bridge. It is a great bridge. It is a strong bridge. It is a beautiful bridge. Over this bridge the saints of the ages have crossed into the Promised Land. Not our heavenly reward only, but into the kingdom of God available to us today!
    After commanding us to pray in the Spirit, Paul continues this scripture known as the Armor of God with these two verses:
    19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
    o I have been reading Spirit Empowered Preaching: Involving the Holy Spirit in Your Ministry by A.G. Azurdia: “…preaching the word is a function and activity of the Church, not the function and specialty of a man.” Romans 10:17 (ESV) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
    • Paul warns us in 1 Thessalonians 5:19–23 (NIV84) 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    o Does this sound like you?
    o Obviously sin quenches the Holy Spirit.
    o Allowing our love of God to grow cold quenches the Holy Spirit: Imagine you had a friend and you believed you were fairly close. Your friend moves away. You stay in touch via email and texting. It seems though that you are always the one initiating the communication. Their responses get slower and slower. Sometimes you don’t hear back at all. You suggest some opportunities to meet, but they can never make it.

    There are a couple of phone calls, but the conversation feels forced and uncomfortable. Then imagine you find out they have been coming back into town on a regular basis; and, they never let you know. Now, there is no contact. Would you say that your relationship is in the spirit of friendship? No, of course not. You and I are the ones that are responsible for any breakdown in our communication with our Creator. Imagine how our God feels.
    o Azurdia argues, “It is necessary for evangelicals to acknowledge that the immediacy of the Spirit’s presence can, and does, vary. To say it differently, the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit is not synonymous with the effects or influences of the Spirit; what Christians from previous generations have termed ‘the manifest presence of the Spirit’, ‘the sensible presence of the Spirit’, or ‘the felt presence of the Spirit’.

    To be sure, the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit is a fact that Christians can always assume. Being fully divine, He is always present. In contrast, the effects of His presence can never be presupposed. That is to say, they can be graciously given. They can also be judiciously withdrawn.”
    o Ephesians 4:29–30 (NIV84) 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
    o Jesus promises in John 16:13–15 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
    Praying in the Holy Spirit provides the power to contend for the faith. I confess to you that much of my praying has not been in the Holy Spirit. Too often it is a shallow praying. Too often it is just a laundry list. Too often my praying is bound by duty and a dull routine. How about your praying? Does your soul yearn for that divine synergy of your spirit with God the Holy Spirit? Then we must pray in the Holy Spirit.
    Connie and BW and Henry’s conversion: Connie, BW, and Henry’s wife had all been reading scripture to Henry and talking to him about Jesus. NJ Christians & SC Christians praying. (profession of faith versus the real deal). Something different happened. According to Connie, the Hospice Chaplin led Henry to the Lord on Tuesday. Early Saturday morning, Henry was with Jesus in Paradise.
    We celebrate with Henry, all his family, along with the heavenly hosts his coming to faith. Jesus tells us in Luke 15:7 (NIV84) I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
    War Room Closing Clip.
    Amen and amen. Let us pray.

    • Donald McMahon
      February 11, 2019

      War Room clip:


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