Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Letter From William Bradford - February 25, 2022

Letter From William Bradford

February 25, 2022

Contend for the Faith - Part 1

As we look back on recorded church history from the early second century AD, we see a church that had clearly deviated from the teachings and truth taught by Jesus Christ and His apostles. Some years before, in the latter years of the original apostles, Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, felt compelled to write the following. 

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3, NKJV)  

Historians estimate that Jude was likely written around 66 AD and we see that Jude wrote then with an exhortation related to our common salvation.  The crucial message Jude was sending to church was that they needed to diligently contend for the faith that had already been delivered to the saints.  Let's notice some key items related to this direction from June. This is the faith that was "once for all delivered".  The faith that the Christian church had as a result of the teachings of Jesus Christ were delivered once and not to be modified or changed.  Sadly, we see from history that there were likely only a few who headed Jude's exhortation at that time, and today most Christian denominations are drastically removed from the very teachings of Jesus Christ and the original apostles.   

Christ said He would build His church and it would prevail to the end (Matt 16:18).  We can have full confidence in the Savior's statement. But the church has to take what Jude wrote very seriously and contend earnestly for the faith which supports our common salvation.  If we do not do that, we will not continue to be God's church. In 1 Timothy, Paul wrote to his son in the faith and described what the church would be if it was contending earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered.   

These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.  (1 Timothy 3:14-15, NKJV)  

The church that earnestly contends for the faith once given will be the church of the LIVING GOD and the pillar and ground of the truth! Truth does not change and the faith for salvation is based on a sure foundation of truth as we see in Ephesians 2. 

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, (Eph 2:19-20, NKJV)  

What is the foundation of the church?  It is based on the true teachings of the prophets and the apostles, with the very cornerstone of that foundation being Jesus Christ and the truth He brought from the Father as recorded in the scriptures. 

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.  (John 17:17, NKJV)  

With this in mind let's be thankful for the faith that was once for all delivered and be earnestly contending to study and understand the truth described by the prophets, apostles and Jesus Christ Himself.  Let's rejoice in the understanding that we are in the same body of believers as those who were originally called into the church on Pentecost, 31 AD, and those who earnestly contended for the original faith during the ministry of Jude.    

Have a wonderful Sabbath and as Jude wrote in Jude 1:2, may "mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you" this Sabbath.

-Bill Bradford