Can you imagine what it would be like to be able to travel to one of the congregations of the first-century Church of God. You would encounter first-generation Christians taught possibly by the apostle Paul or one of the other original apostles. You might encounter a member or two who saw and heard Jesus as He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
But, what would Sabbath services be like? What would the congregations of that time be like? More importantly, what would their faith and belief system be like? Would you encounter a people holding the same core belief-set of doctrines we hold to today? Though they lived in what we would call “bible times,” they would be just as different from the world around them as our Church of God congregations today are unlike every other form of religion on earth. That is because the true Christian faith traverses the breach that divides God’s realm from that of mankind.
In today’s sermon we will explore what Jude, the half-brother of Jesus meant when he instructed the Church brethren to contend for The original faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
We, the Church of God brethren, are living near the very end-time (Matthew 24:14). It behooves each and every generation of Church brethren, not only to preach the Gospel to the world until Christ returns, but it is most important that the Biblical knowledge that has been learned, be preserved and protected for those who follow. As we saw in Jude 3, the knowledge of the principles and values of the true faith must be sought, conserved and safeguarded. Jude was paraphrasing the Prophet Jeremiah who had written:
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your lives.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Hebrews, urging them not to relinquish the beliefs and practices they had been taught, but to cling to and defend the original faith once received.
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.
This profession of our faith which was widely known halfway through the twentieth century has been rapidly eroded to the point that it has become woefully diminished in this last era of God’s Church. It does not have to be that way – but sadly it is. Jesus rhetorically asked the question:
Luke 18:8 Will the Son of man find faith on the earth when He returns?”
It should come as no surprise to us that many would depart the true faith as we saw happened in Paul’s day when many left off believing the true Gospel of Christ. Paul wrote:
Galatians 1:6-7 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ.
Americans, British and other so called “Christian peoples,” do not have the Gospel of Christ – though they say, “In God we trust,” and “God save the Queen.” The time has come when the knowledge of the true faith and the wonderful sequence of God’s master Plan of events up to the return of Jesus Christ and beyond are sorely needed – even by the Church brethren. Except for the very elect saints, the entire world will soon be caught hopelessly off guard by end-time events – and that includes many Church brethren:
1Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
Yes, the all-consuming day of the Lord’s wrath will come suddenly and unexpectedly on all those who are not a part of God’s true people:
Matthew 24:22 Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved alive: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
But there is a way to come out of the spiritual darkness that encompasses the world—and only God’s people have been shown that glorious light. We can know—we will know—if our relationship with God is as it should be.
Your brother in Christ,