Treasures New and Old
Elkmont Baptist Church
Beloved: Grace and Peace
The Faith Delivered unto the Saints (Part 6)
". . . the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 1:3
May God bless you all!
Jude, perhaps frustrated that so many believers of the Way now being called Christians by the world, would be enticed and deceived to fall back into both the ways of the world and old failed religious practices, has penned a short, and to the point, letter. Look whom he addresses:
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ,
that ye should earnestly contend for
the faith which was once delivered unto
called. Mercy unto you, and
peace, and love, be multiplied. 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
- Jude 1:1-3 (bold added)
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation. (Original work published 1890)
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!
We have a faith that Jude says was once delivered to the saints. That can be interpreted a couple of ways. One - that it was delivered to us only one time and hasn't been delivered since then (or multiple times). Two - that this faith (the gospel that we have believed) is the ONLY gospel that we are to believe. Some of the greatest attacks on the gospel and our faith have been those who seek to either introduce another gospel or twist parts/meaning of the gospel. Let me give you some examples:
The Judaizers came behind Peter and Paul as they preached the gospel (and saw many Gentiles saved) and insisted that they had to also follow the law (the Five Books of Moses). Acts 15:5 tells us: "But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them [the Gentiles], and to command
to keep the law of Moses." However, we are
warned by Paul, in several places, of this dangerous addition to the gospel: Galatians 6:12-13 says, "As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh."
The Gnostics came later and taught that the material world was created by a 'work' of a lower god (demigod), which somehow trapped the divine spark within all of our bodies. Our divine spark needs to be liberated and this by acquiring spiritual knowledge (gnosis). This was to be experienced in order for it to happen. Gnosticism does not deal with "sin", only spiritual ignorance. So another lie is heaped upon the truth of the gospel. Peter warns us "don't trust experiences":
2 Peter 1:15-21:
Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake
as they were
moved by the Holy Ghost.
Here are some others:
The Jesus Only movement takes verses out of context to prove that God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are no longer around or needed. That it is "Jesus only" now.
Mormons have added the Book of Mormon to the gospel which includes a lot of "new revelations" that supersede the gospel and must be followed.
Legalists have an entire wardrobe of rules of do's and don'ts that we must follow. Fortunately, most of them are not speaking about salvation, but how we are to behave once we are saved.
Some believe that we can lose our salvation and must get it back by a new repentance. I guess when I accept Christ and receive forgiveness of my sins, and have His righteousness imputed on me and receive eternal life, that it isn't really eternal. OK, so I guess I need to be careful to get saved just shortly before I die so that I can be assured I will get to Heaven . . . . What a burden, to never know if this time it will stick!
Some teach that there are two kinds of sin, venial and mortal. Venial sins will get you an undetermined sentence in a place called Purgatory, to be freed eventually after you have paid for your "minor" crimes. However, to die with a mortal sin is unforgivable and straight to Hell with you. Do not pass go, do not collect eternal life.
Some teach special diets or to avoid marriage (be celibate), but we are warned against such by Paul as he wrote to Timothy: 1 Timothy 4:1-3: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."
Go on the Internet and you will find lists of known heresies that have risen since the true gospel was delivered to the saints. All of these "new gospels" have a few things in common that we can watch out for:
They all add to the simple gospel that we were first taught.
They all have an element of human works involved.
They all claim that belief in Christ and repentance is not enough - like you must be baptized to be saved. By the way, true repentance is a decision and a gift. It is not a work that we can do, but a work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as He changes us (sanctification).
Some claim to have been delivered by a special messenger angel (Mormonism).
They all either add new revelation or have a new interpretation of isolated Scripture verses. Jehovah's Witnesses, Jesus Only, and Seventh Day Adventists are examples.
When you do try to verify their teachings, you will find it simply does not harmonize with the Scriptures.
OK, Will Robinson, Now What?
We need to do two things (among others - but these are the main two I suggest):
Stay in the Word and ask the Holy Spirit to guide and teach you. Do this regularly (daily).
If you are approached by anyone who starts pushing a philosophy or doctrine other than that you have learned from the pure Scriptures, TURN AWAY!
Look at another of Paul's warnings:
2 Timothy 3:1-6:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, hightminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
If you have read this, chances are you are a true believer in Christ and have received the true gospel. Don't be turned away by another gospel which really isn't one. If you believe these things - happy (excited, merry, blessed, joyful, cheerful, blissful) are you who do these things (live like you believed it!) I hope to share over the next many months principles, truths, tidbits concerning the "faith which was once delivered unto the saints." The goal? To therefore put you in remembrance.
Allen, I. (Producer). (1965-1968)
Lost in Space
[Television series]. Los Angeles,
California: 20th Century Fox Television.