This Week’s Theme
Contend for the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints
Jude’s short epistle begins with the change of plans he had on the occasion of writing his letter. “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (v. 3). Although he intended to unpack the depths of “our common salvation,” he changed course to exhort them to do all they could to fight for the faith that had been entrusted to them, that which had been given once and for all for them to guard and protect. Why the urgency of this changed purpose?
Jude testifies that certain people had begun to infiltrate the ranks of the believers (i.e., “have crept in unnoticed” v. 4), who long ago had been designated for this particular adulteration and denial of the Gospel. Jude described them as “ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (v. 4b). Even in this infant season of the Church, deniers and scoundrels had begun to enter among the churches, whose lies and denial of the truth of the Gospel sought to “pervert the grace of our God.” Their intent by their teaching was to take God’s truth of grace and the Gospel and twist it into a license to indulge the flesh and deny the Lord Jesus.
This tendency to alter God’s message of grace and transform it into a license for fleshly pursuits is an old yet effective lie in the body of Christ. Jude says such teaching constitutes a perversion of the Gospel and a denial of the Lord. Beware of any teaching of the Gospel which does not simultaneously affirm salvation by grace through faith and the pursuit of holiness which glorifies the Lord. One without the other is dangerous and unbiblical.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God, our Father, thank you for the life of salvation that we share as believers in common. Help us always to be ready to fight for the faith of the Gospel entrusted to us from you. Enable us to know your Word, that we might defend the Gospel’s claim of righteousness by faith alone, and its call for us to live soberly and righteously in this world. Teach us by your Spirit that we may defend your Word. In Christ’s name, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Friday: Acts 8.1b-9.43
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Lord Jesus, thank you for the truth that has once for all been delivered to your people – the truth of the Gospel. Show us how to fight with everything we have in us for the truth of the Gospel. You laid down your life that no perversion of the Gospel would occur; now, through your Spirit, make us ready apologists for the Gospel, right where we are. In your name we pray, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Fight the good fight of faith, taking hold of eternal life, to which you were called, about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Tim. 6.12).
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Let us contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, defending the Gospel against all who would pervert it.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Contend for the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints