June 8 – This week our focus is on ‘defending the faith – apologetics’ using the book of Jude as a basis for the prayers.
Father, thank You for the epistle of Jude. We acknowledge the sincerity of Jude’s love for his ‘beloved’ brothers & sisters & do pray for that sincere love to permeate our own church. Jude had wanted to focus on helping his readers understand more fully the salvation they enjoyed, v 3a, ‘Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share.’ However, he was forced to help his readers recognise and overcome those who would pervert the true Gospel.
Jude opens a window into a different set of challenges the early Church was beginning to face from some who were joining it: ‘I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to His holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvellous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ’ (3b-4).
These did not come into the Church through the doorway of salvation in Christ – a saving faith in Your Son into the Way of the Cross – but by a false door. They sought to turn the grace of God into a license to be able to gratify the desires of the flesh, of the carnal nature. Help us to learn, from Jude, how to expose the false arguments, polemics, of imposters – how to counter their fleshy/carnal influence – how to stand for truth against soulish men & women who are without the Spirit – how to overcome the emissaries of Satan wanting to make it okay to live biblically immoral lives.
Your word is clear that there will be wolves in sheep’s clothing – grant us discernment to identify those who appear to be true but are in fact the enemies of Christ. As we identify them, enable us to engage with them in godly ways protecting the church while drawing the imposters towards Christ’s true light. Amen
June 9 – Father, as Jude reveals in verse 4, he was warning the church about people who were an insidious group of outsiders questioning the church’s teaching on morality. Jude wanted his readers to understand that these people were insurgents and destroyers of that which is true, righteous and wholesome – not part of God’s Kingdom; instead they were seeking to establish a worldly base in the church.
The imposters aim was to spread their own soulish ideas of into Christianity taking over the church thereby (cf. Galatians 2:4; 2 Peter 2:1). Jude knew it was important that his readers view them as outsiders, and not to be drawn into their web of false teaching and practice – he exhorted his readers to strenuously contend in the defence of the Faith.
We pray for biblical understanding and spiritual discernment because there are many voices urging the Church to change its stance on a variety of issues. These issues include a more modern liberal approach to human sexuality, gender and acceptance of the world’s standards for ethics and morality. Grant us godly wisdom to counter such arguments, under the Spirit’s anointing, in the name and authority of Christ. Amen
June 10 – Father, guide us to be good at defending the Faith. Godliness is a key pre-requisite to a stable, consistent and righteous witness for Christ. Jude wrote about defending the Faith against people who were ungodly in heart and mind – not off the Spirit. We acknowledge that such people can be difficult to identify at first – but they will ultimately reveal themselves by the ungodly fruit they produce: the fruit of division, unfaithfulness, compromise with the world, soulish attitudes to morality and ethics.
‘Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks’ (Matthew 12:34); whatever reigns in the heart will be revealed through their words and relationships with others. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 speaks of those who are spiritually powerless and lists the type of fruit they will ultimately produce: ‘lovers of themselves, money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy – nothing is sacred to them, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal – cruel, hate was is good, traitors, headstrong – reckless, haughty – puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away.’
Such people pervert Your grace and seek to justify a religious spirit, and their ungodly fruit, by twisting what Your grace really is and what You now accept as society changes (cf. Romans 1). ‘Lewdness’ means absence of moral restraint, indecency, and is a fruit of the flesh (Galatians 5:19).
Father, we pray for those who promise freedom, but really have a libertine attitude (freely indulge in sensual pleasures) which leads to bondage (2 Peter 2:13-14), convict by Your Spirit and save them. Thank You that ultimately, by their fruit, we will know them (Matthew 12:33 et al). We pray for three things: 1. That they will be quickly identified so as not to pervert the Gospel; 2. For Your Spirit to guide in how we engage with them and challenge their attitudes and behaviour; 3. For Your Spirit to convict them and draw them to repentance and a saving faith in Christ. Amen
June 11 – Father, the ultimate attack of the enemy is always to subvert or hide the power of Your grace to save sinners, and then keep Your people in the way of salvation. It was the rediscovery of the place of grace in salvation that led to the Reformation of the sixteenth century which restored a biblical focus to the new Protestant Churches.
‘Denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ’ (Jude 4d), gives the idea of an attack on who Jesus really is, God the Son. Thank You that the interpreters in verse 4 add ‘God’s marvellous grace’ because they want to highlight that these ‘outsiders’ deny both Your uniqueness as the only God, as well as that of Your Beloved Son (cf. 1 John 2:22).
‘Our Lord Jesus Christ’ is a title explicit of Jesus’ deity and points to the very foundation of our defence of the Faith – the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. We make a declaration of this truth today. Enable us to understand the full implications of Christ’s deity, and to apply the principles of His Lordship to every area of our lives, our church online and in person, and in every setting we find ourselves. Holy Spirit, anoint us to be true witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
June 12 – Father, our defence of the Faith must include ‘these things’ – Your whole counsel revealed in the Bible, not just those things that are our favourite ‘hobby horses.’ Thank You for the Old Testament references in what follows in Jude. It is the whole of Scriptures that are the basis of our Faith – not just the New Testament. Later, in verse 20, we are told to ‘build ourselves up in the faith’ – here the Greek implies strengthening the foundations. Help us to defend the Faith in such a way so that when imposters try to begin building some new, soulish doctrine into the church – it is soon recognised as false.
‘Most holy faith’ is linked with verse 3 and contending for ‘the faith…once for all delivered to the saints.’ The doctrines presented by the ungodly imposters are like quicksand sucking others into an immoral, Christ-denying lifestyle.
Lord, we are rooted into Christ – both as a church and individuals in it – and this gives us godly stability and firmness of faith. We declare that Christ is our only and true foundation in life (Ephesians 2:20), praise His great name. Amen
June 13 – Father, in 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul revealed that it was actually Your Son who led, and dwelt with, Israel during the Exodus – ‘and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that travelled with them, and that rock was Christ.’
The Hebrew people were physically delivered from Egyptian bondage; however, many of them were still rooted in the life of Egypt, their hearts were still held in that pagan land. They still do not believe nor obey Your commands which would have led to a renewal of their hearts and a saving faith. They failed to obey the command to go up and inherit the land of promise, and afterward were destroyed in the desert.
Your Son twice manifested His power in this journey, the first in ‘mercy’ by the physical deliverance – the second by ‘judgement,’ the death of the sinning rebels. In Scripture, Egyptian bondage is a type pointing to the state of being in bondage to sin before Redemption in Christ. Paul used the example of Israel in 1 Corinthians 10 to teach Redemptive Truth. Empower and Equip us to defend the Redemptive Truth that is in Christ.
Many argue for a Pluralist view of Religion which seeks to treat all religious claims as of equal worth and value. Yet, the Law of Non-Contradiction states that two contradictory statements cannot be true in the same sense at the same time. Thus another religion that claims to present another way to their god, but which contradicts the claims of Christ to be the only way to You – Yahweh, the Creator God, cannot be true.
As we reach out online, and in person, to people who are not yet Christians, perhaps in other faiths, or those who follow the world of the senses, soulish people – grant us the Revival Anointing that will see tens, hundreds, and thousands of people coming to a true faith in Christ. To be a church that helps people develop into mature disciples who are disciple-makers – Kingdom builders who know their God and our strong in His truth, love and service. In Jesus’ name & for His glory. Amen
June 14 – Father, thank You for the depth and insightfulness of Jude’s defence of the Faith. Thank You that he also used Polemics, exposing the anti-Christ, soulish and carnal nature of these people’s actions: their unbelief, rebellion against Your will including through sexual sin, indulging in unnatural lusts defiling their bodies and minds, and by rejecting Your divine authority.
Our defence of the Faith must recognise that we are commanded to remain in fellowship with You through Christ, and with our brothers and sisters in Christ through our oneness in Your Spirit. This fellowship is to be in the Holy Spirit living by Your Law of Love – a people whose foundations are strong and deeply rooted in Christ, supported by prayer in the Holy Spirit.
The key is to let nothing come between us and You, including the seductive teaching of imposters, unbelief, improper attitudes or sexual sins. We pray that anything that prevents us remaining fully connected to the true Vine, Christ – that hinders our spiritual walk – will be overcome.
Oh Lord, through each person in our church, whether joining online or already part of it in person, may Your love and Gospel truth be proclaimed and lived out as we walk in Your Son’s light (cf. 1 John 1:5-8). We proclaim that He is able to destroy and overcome anything in us that creates a barrier and prevents us living in the freedom He offers. To the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and power, before all time, now, and to all the ages. Amen