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Pastor's Blog 5/21/2024

Last Sunday, we began our 4-part sermon series in the book of Jude, "Contending for the Faith in Faithless Times," as we considered, "A Faith Worth Defending."

In my preaching, I often like to utilize historical people and events and illustrations, having always had a fascination with history from my school days. Presently, I am reading a book on the life and political career of John Adams. His life intertwined with the founders of our nation reveal a profound truth. While our founding fathers desired freedom, their willingness to defend that freedom was challenged. They prevailed, freedom prevailed, but at great personal expense for all of them. Whether it be homes that were ransacked and burned, being burned at the stake, or having to flee for their lives, they found that independence was worth the battle, and today we owe them our sincere gratitude.

The same was true of the early church. For those who were eyewitnesses of Jesus's resurrection, they knew what they had seen and heard. They were willing to live a life of proclamation for their Lord, but also they were willing to die, as many did, for their Lord and His gospel.

Jude writes to the early church in response to some circumstances that had arisen. Namely, he deals with the subject of apostasy and apostates, those who have "slipped in" the back doors and were tearing the church down from within. Therefore, Jude's words of urgency have rippled through the ages to "contend for the faith." The word "contend" connotates an continual, unceasing struggle for a specific task or cause, as if someone is engaged in a boxing match with no sign of ceasing.

Jude, in the first four verses, shows us several things, as we examined Sunday:

First, Jude shows us the adequacy of our faith. In essence, the word of God is totally sufficient. It is complete, in that it is a closed canon. It does not stand in need of any additions, corrections, or new revelations. It "stands approved as read." It also is a correct faith, in that it was, as Jude writes, "once for all delivered unto the saints." (Jude 1:3). It is totally accurate, inerrant, and inspired. The canon was closed, and every other claim to truth is now measured by the standard of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. It is also a committed faith, in that it has been entrusted to the "saints" of God, and we stand in desperate need of a willingness to defending the faith.

Second, Jude shows us the assurance of our faith. Jude wants to ensure that, while he may be writing of apostates "falling away" from the faith, he is not referring to the losing of one's salvation. Therefore, in his opening address, he ensures the believers whom are recipients of his letter that they are "called, beloved, and kept." Called means to be officially summoned. Salvation, thankfully, did not begin with us. Rather, it began with God. If it began with us, we might lose it. However, because it began with God, it can never be lost from the clutch of the Master's hand. We could ruminate on this specific point more, but Sunday's sermon is available for a full explanation. Second, the "beloved." Now this word beloved is what we call a perfect participle. What does that mean? Well, it means there’s a finished action in the past that has a result on the present. It is something that cannot be changed; it is fixed, and it is settled. Because it is settled in the past, it affects us right now. We are God’s beloved. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more. I’m going to tell you something else: There is nothing you can do that will make Him love you less. Third, we are "kept," meaning that we are secure in the Father's hands. Those who are true believers in the Lord will be secured by the Lord and persevere to the end.

Third, Jude shows us the attacks on our faith. He gives us a vivid description in verse 4 of these apostates, stating that they are "ungodly men... turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness... and denying the Lord God and our only Lord Jesus Christ." Really, these three statements propose three defining characteristics. First, their character. They have no reverence. No fear of God. They have a form of godliness, but deny its power (2 Tim. 3:5). Ungodly means "without reverential awe." What a description of our culture today! Second, we see their conduct, which is that they have no restraint. This lasciviousness is "unbridled lust." Third, their creed, which is that they have no rule. They deny and rebel against any authority. They do not wish for the Lord to be over their life. They refuse to bow to God. And, yet, they remain in the churches. It reminds me of the story of the Great Wall of China, which is a gigantic structure costing an immense amount of money and labor. When it was finished, it appeared impregnable. But the enemy breached it. Not by breaking it down or going around it. They did it by bribing the gatekeepers. And such is the case with the church. What the devil could not do by opposing the Church from the outside, he has begun to do by infiltrating the Church on the inside. If he can’t take it down from without, he’ll do it within. Be careful! He might also use you to do it.

Fourth, Jude shows us the apology of our faith. Now Apology here doesn’t mean to apologize to someone for something being done in error or to attempt to cover up malicious attacks. It means, rather, a defense of the faith. An “apology” is a reasoned argument or writing in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine. It is the abbreviated form of the word, “apologetics.” Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, lit. 'speaking in defense') is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Jude urges us to "contend for the faith," and we do that in several ways. First, we submit to it. We ought to be redeemed individuals in the faith if we are going to defend the faith. Second, we ought to study it. You cannot defend something if you don't know what it is! Third, show the faith. It ought to be evident in your daily life. We ought to live by the teachings of Jesus and carefully examine our lives by the Word of God. Fourth, stand for the faith. Don't do it belligerently, but rather do it boldly with compassion, yet firmness. Fifth, support the faith. You do this each week by being plugged in to a Bible-believing church. Unite in membership and be faithful. Sixth, share your faith. We often use the expression, "keep the faith." When, instead, we ought to be encouraging folks to "give it away."


Church Events

  • Be reminded that I will be in Guatemala May 23-30, Washington D.C. on June 4-5, and at the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis June 8-14. Should you need pastoral care during my time away, Bro. A.G. Stepp, a retired pastor in our church, is available to assist you. His contact information is listed in our church directory. For other needs, contact one of our deacons or staff members, as listed in the bulletin.

  • We had 27 at our Men's Bible Study last Tuesday night. Very grateful.

  • This Wednesday at 6:30 pm, I'll bring a brief devotional, pausing our Minor Prophets study until late June.

  • I attended the graduation of Jake Haynes and Hannah Hall yesterday evening at J.P. Cain Stadium, where they received their diplomas. Be sure to congratulate them this week.

  • Be reminded that we are having no evening worship services for the month of May. We'll resume on June 2nd with Vacation Bible School.

  • Next Sunday at 10 am, my good friend Bro. Dusty McLemore will be filling in during my absence. I always miss not being in the pulpit, but I know you will certainly enjoy Bro. Dusty's message on Sunday. Make sure you are making plans now to be there on Sunday... don't miss just because I'm not there!

  • Gavin Lee will be leading Wednesday night studies in my absence on May 29th & June 12th. He will also be preaching on Sunday evening, June 9th.

  • We can still use volunteers for Vacation Bible School. A sign-up sheet is located in the lobby, or you can call the church office at (256) 773-8997 and they can put your name down.


Prayer Needs

  • Kay Bowers is still in Decatur Morgan Hospital but has been moved to a regular room.

  • Continue to pray for Deb Ornburn and her continued treatments. Her latest side effect is she has no feeling in her hands and feet. Pray for her.

  • Continue to pray for Erlene Clark and her recovery.

  • Pray for Bobby and Karen Tapscott's daughter, Amy Harvel and her Mastocytosis. This is a serious illness, so sincerely pray for Amy and her family.

  • Continue to pray for Laura Jean Tapscott as she is still in her boot.


Church Information

Contact: (256) 773-8997 /

Address: 250 Mt. Zion Road, Hartselle, AL 35640

Office Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:30-4:30


Senior Pastor - Rev. Spencer Bell

Minister of Music - Randall Key

Minister of Students - Gavin Lee

Pianist - Allison Keenum


Myron Tapscott

Tim Sivley

Charles Lott

Kenneth Clark


Gary Mote

Frank Thompson

Gerry Holmes

Jim Boyer

Tyde Tapscott

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