Contending for Pentecost
“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and 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 you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Among the faces that look down upon us from the New Testament gallery, there is none more delightful, none more enchanting, none more ambrosial, none more delectable than this man Jude. For he is not one of the more popular New Testament preachers. It’s not known what year that his letter was written, but it’s evident that it was many years after Pentecost. But in just 25 verses he lets us know “how firm the foundation,” he lets us know what we should seek after and what we should avoid. During a time of eroding Christians values you can be sure his message was not a popular one. But he stands out, like a modern day preacher, who dares preach against worldliness that seems to be making enroads into the church.
Strange, and in many ways forbidding, is this brief one chapter book of Jude.
No where else in the bible do we come across such volcanic judgments, such overwhelming condemnation, as confront us in the epistle of Jude. One might liken it to an enraged ocean breaking upon a rocky barrier and then retreating with sullen roar, or to a summer hurricane which sweeps over smiling fields and peaceful hamlets with the force of besom destruction, or to a storm of thunder and lightning at midnight, illuminating the heavens and making the earth shake with the flash of its artillery.
It absolutely, it positively, it definitely, it unquestionable, it undoubtedly, had to be God that put this Bible together, for if it had been man, they would have surely left Jude out. What a book! It is like a boxer in the ring that doesn’t see the punch coming until it already landed, it comes out of the dark, it comes from nowhere, this book of Jude, but it certainly lands and has its effect on the soul.
Here we behold the fall of the angels and contemplate their doom as, without Redeemer, they await, reserved in everlasting chains in darkness, the judgment of the great day. Here burn the flames of Sodom and Gomorrah, whose citizens were consumed for their unnatural and unholy crimes. Here Cain goes guiltily out from the presence of the Lord with a brand upon his brow, and here the Judge of all the earth comes in the clouds with ten thousand of his saints to execute judgment upon all that are ungodly. All that is tragic and terrible in the history of the lives and in the destiny of the universe is set forth in the inauspicious array in this brief but tremendous epistle.
This letter is a blast on the trumpet against the evil and the evil men which were and is threatening the Church and the saints of God. These are enemies of “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” False in their doctrine, they are corrupt and unspeakable in their morals. These evil men, against whom this direct epistle is directed, treat with scorn and contempt the acknowledged teachers and apostles of Jesus Christ.
In this short book, this writer says more in 25 verses than some writers (not bible writers) say in complete books.
But I think that the most outstanding phrase is “contend for the faith.” How long has it been since you battled, struggled, grappled, wrangled, insisted, debated, or argued for Pentecost. I don’t speak of struggling with people, but struggling with spirits for Pentecost.
I. PENTECOST PREACHING:
Luther said, “I was born to fight devils and factions. It is my business to remove obstructions, to cut down thorns, to fill quagmires, and to open and make straight paths. But if I must have some failing, let me rather speak the truth with too great severity, than to once act the hypocrite and conceal the truth.” If Luther had this kind of desire and not the truth, God help me, being armed with the truth to not fail to have even a greater burden.
Screaming is not preaching, shouting is not preaching, jumping around is not preaching, hammering the pulpit is not preaching, flinging the arms is not preaching, pointing the finger is not preaching, fast talking is not preaching. But I know I have preached when the people I am working with lets the word get into the heart and they become changed.
It’s easy to preach people to their feet, but I hope to preach people to their knees. It’s easy to preach a smile on peoples face, but I hope to, every once in a while, preach tears to the eyes. I long to preach so fervently that during preaching people cry out “what must we do to be saved.”
Our churches, throughout Pentecost, desperately need preachers on Sunday that will enter the pulpit with a burden on their souls, with a fire in their hearts and with unction in their voices, that will so shake our churches that they in turn will feel the anointing and like wise let it spread out into our cities, towns and communities.
We need Pentecost preaching. We need God blessed preaching. We need saint changing preaching. We need sinner convicting preaching. We need devil chasing preaching. We need hell quenching preaching. We need alter filling preaching. We need preaching that’s not afraid to “be instant in season and out of season.” We need preaching that’s not afraid to rebuke and exhort with all long-suffering.” We need preaching that will declare the whole counsel of God. We need preaching that don’t preach for money, or numbers, but will stand in the pulpit stanch, resolute, and unafraid of demons and devils. We need preaching that will be a guiding light to people who are praying less and less and indulging in the world more and more.
We need preaching that punches Satan in the eye, not preaching that bends to the favor of the most popular idea. We need preaching that will erase sin, not cover it up until the next Sunday. We need preaching that will pull the cover off our wickedness, not preaching that tickles the ears and glosses over our sins.
One of the greatest compliments that I have ever received was Wednesday night when Bro. Vernon Stewart told me that my messages are practical.( realistic, sensible )
What good is great orator and picturesque speech when men need something for their souls. Do you come to church to hear good sermons, or Pentecost preaching?
Winston Churchill advised, “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever, don’t use a tack hammer. Use a pile driver. Hit it once. Then come back and hit it again.” When I preach, every time I preach, I want to have something important to say and I want to be a pile driver.
We also need a revival of wanting to hear Pentecost preaching. Some of Pentecost worst preachers(if there is such a thing) is better than the most renown Trinitarian who refuses to preach the truth.
II. PENTECOST RESULTS:
Pentecost produce growing saints. O you can be sure that there was some that refused teaching and thereby was no growth in God.
Babyhood is a refreshing and a delightful thing; Perpetual babyhood is deplor- able. I can understanding you looking like a baby, acting like a baby, crying like a baby the first year of infancy. I can understand you at two years. But I have known some Pentecostals who have been in church for years that still fussed, cried, and acted like a baby.
Paul long for those that were born into the kingdom to move on to maturity.
He deplores the state of babyhood, 1 Cor 3:1-3 “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men.”
He longs for the perfecting of the saints, Eph 4:11-13 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”
He groans for them to get liberated from spiritual infancy, Eph 4:14-17 “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,”
Pentecost produces praying sinners.
III. PENTECOST POWER:
A man approached a foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. “That depends.” replied the foreman. “Let’s see you fell this tree.” And in a few minutes he had cut the tree and it fell just where the foreman had suggested. Impress the foreman hired him.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by, and Thursday afternoon
the foreman said, “On your way out today you can pickup your check.” Startled the young man said, “I thought you paid on Fridays.” “We do,” replied the foreman, “but you’ve fallen way behind the rest of the crew.”
“But I’m a hard worker,” the young man objected. “I arrive first, leave last, and even worked through my lunch break!”
The foreman, sensing the boy’s integrity thought for a minute and then asked, “Have you been keeping your ax sharp.”
The power is the sharp ax of Pentecost.
Power, Pentecost power.
Power that does not evaporate under the heat and friction of adversity.
Power that does not collapse in the presence of unyielding pressure.
Power that does not give in to the ridicule and taunts of the evil forces that berate us.
Power that does not wither and weaken at the onslaught of calamity.
Power that does not panic and run in the aftermath of horrors.
Power that does not sour nor spoil under the test of insolvency or poverty.
Power that does not die at the cruel hand of tragedy or misfortune.
Power that does not fluctuate nor falter in the company of misery.
Power that digs deep, climbs high and swings wide to cover all the things in life that will come against the child of God.
Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
Power, Hell shaking power, Hell rending power, Devil chasing power, Over all the enemy power.
Delivering power, overcoming power, freedom power, loosing power. Power that the first church had that the last church so desperately needs. God given power.
What this church, and others, needs is a holy glory cloud to linger over us until we become aware of God’s presence, not just dust kicked up by our own useless activities.
I was reading the label on some medicine that a doctor gave me. It mentioned active ingredients. So I went on a shopping spree throughout the house to see how much active ingredients we have. One gallon of Clorox, your favorite bleach, has 5.25% active ingredients. Sani-flush 9.25%. Do you know what most of (94.75%) that stuff in that gallon of Clorox is? It’s inert. (without power or powerless) the dictionary uses words like “dead, sluggish, stagnant, to describe inert. Most products says “shake well before each use.”
What percentage of active power do you have?