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- SKU: 01/30/2019
- Article code: LT03304
- EAN: 210000003304
“But You, Beloved!”
Last time we closed with Jude addressing the return of Christ “with ten thousands of His saints” to judge the world. What an awesome, solemn event that will be!
Following his impassioned exposure of apostates in the church, Jude now turns his attention to God’s true people—those that genuinely love Jesus and seek to grow in Him.
Picking it up in verse 18, he begins with an exhortation consisting of 4 verbs—building, praying, keeping, and looking. First, building:
1:20a “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith,”
Jude says, “In light of all of the apostasy swirling about you, the godlessness of the fallen culture, the wickedness of fallen men, and the viciousness of a fallen devil, set your focus on “building yourselves up on your most holy faith!’”
The word “build” here is used of building a structure on a foundation that is already laid. Paul the Apostle talks about this very thing in 1 Cor. 3:9-11,
“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
So here Paul talks about the spiritual foundation that is laid in your soul at the moment of salvation. He says “You are God’s building” and the building begins with a foundation.
Paul says the only true foundation is Christ—salvation by grace through faith, the finished work of Christ on the Cross, and redemption through His shed blood.
If we build our lives upon any other foundation, it is a foundation of sand as Jesus describes in the Sermon on the Mount.
Paul goes on to warn, “Let each one take heed how he builds on it” (3:10). The NLT says, “whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.”
Once the foundation is laid, you’re going to build something on top of it. You’re going to order your life around a set of principles, truths, beliefs, ideals, and so forth.
The danger is you can start right and end wrong. You can begin strong and end weak. This is what happened to the Galatians. Paul writes to them in exasperation:
Gal.1:6; 3:1,3 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel...You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”
In other words, the foundation of Christ had been laid in their soul, so why now were they building on top of it the false teaching of mixing law with grace?
Paul goes on to tell them, “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (5:7) You began well but are in danger of ending badly!
This is why Jude says we must be very careful to “Build yourselves up on your most holy faith.”
Having begun in Christ, we must go on in Christ. This is the constant refrain of Scripture. Hebrews says, “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection (maturity),” (6:1).
2 Pet 3:17-18 “...you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Eph. 4:14-15 “...we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.”
Jesus is the root and ground of your most holy faith, so go on in Him, grow up in Him; grow in His word, His grace, His love, His truth, His holiness!
So BUILDING is the first word. Then Jude says PRAYING:
1:20b “praying in the Holy Spirit,”
This phrase means that we pray in His strength and wisdom; He moves our hearts and directs our petitions. The Spirit places on our hearts what to pray for.
Remember, the Holy Spirit that lives inside every believer is a praying Spirit. The Bible says, “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”—Ro. 8:26
Since He is a praying Spirit, some of the best praying we can do is to allow the Holy Spirit to impress our hearts and lead us to enter into prayer with Him!
The more we allow Him to guide us in our praying, the more we will pray, and the more effective our prayers will be. Prayer is not twisting God’s arm to do what we want Him to, but is praying according to His will, entering into His burden, joining with Him to lift up to the throne room what He impresses us with.
This is a key way we build ourselves up in our most holy faith! PRAYING in the Holy Spirit, carried along by His prompting and guidance.
And this is one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal when “contending for the faith once delivered to the saints” (vs.3). This kind of praying releases the power of the Holy Spirit against Satan’s strongholds and achieves things that will never be accomplished by argument, debate, organization, or politics!
So Jude’s first word is BUILDING, then PRAYING, and the third word is KEEPING:
1:21a “keep yourselves in the love of God,”
The word for “keep” is “to watch over,” or “to keep an eye on.” The danger Jude is addressing here is that of becoming angry, bitter, or filled with hostility against those who are attacking the faith. Jude says, “keep an eye on” the condition of your own heart. Keep yourself in God’s love for them.
This is not always easy. When they sully your Lord, mock your faith, take their attacks personal by calling you hurtful names...when they insult your intelligence, crush what you hold dear, vex your soul by outrageous sins, and offend your heart by their ill treatment of you, Jude says, “Keep yourselves in the love of God.”
The Proverbs advise, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (4:23). Watch over it. Keep an eye on it. Keep it in the love of God!
So we’re to BUILD ourselves up in the faith, PRAY in the Spirit, KEEP ourselves in the love of God, and finally, he says LOOKING:
1:21b “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
The word “looking” has to do with our FOCUS. The word itself means “to wait for.” The idea is that we Christians are ever and always to be waiting for and expecting His return.
Jesus taught us to be “like men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding” (Lk. 12:36).
FACT: Your focus in life is everything. Some people focus only on their problems and are consumed with worry.
Others focus on things that cause them to stumble, and lose the battle with temptation.
Still others focus on the negatives in their life—their cup is always half empty—and they drown in complaining.
But the Bible says the Christian’s focus is to be on Jesus! Hebrews says, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (12:1-2).
The truth is that terrible times lie ahead in these days of galloping apostasy. As God’s Word and Jesus the Savior are removed from our society, they will embrace and even celebrate the resulting breakdown of moral standards.
I think of Lot who Peter describes as “a righteous man who was tormented (vexed) in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day” (2 Pet. 2:8).
I can tell you I understand that statement. My own soul—and the souls of millions of committed Christians around the nation—are increasingly vexed by the wicked deeds of the ungodly in America.
Take the inconceivably wicked law signed by Governor Cuomo on January 22 in New York allowing babies to be aborted all the way up to their time of birth, and if they survive the abortion, to be allowed to die.
We reel in horror at such an abominable thing...yet it passed, and the New York Assembly stood and cheered at its signing. How twisted and sick can that be? It’s like watching a Stephen King horror movie, but it’s real. And it deeply vexes those who know Christ.
As God is removed from society, His values, His truth, His ethics, and His moral laws go with Him.
Inevitably, anarchy ensues which in turn brings totalitarian rule. Freedom is always lost when God is exiled from a culture. Look at the officially atheistic nations of China, Russia, and others. They are controlled by totalitarian governments.
As America has turned from God, we see the resulting vacuum filling with people and politicians seriously pushing socialism, which is nothing more than communism light. Socialism precedes communism like clouds precede a storm.
Forty years ago their ideas would not have gotten down the street. But now they are taken seriously by entire political parties.
All of this will set the stage for antichrist, who will rise to power in a godless world that has rejected the Savior. Paul wrote,
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day (the Lord’s return) will not come unless the falling away (apostasy) comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped...9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thes. 2:3; 9-12).
Thank God, the church will be caught away before Antichrist appears. We will escape the coming judgments—the rise of the Antichrist, the Great Tribulation, the outpouring of the wrath of God, and the Battle of Armageddon.
While the world is tasting the bitter fruits of apostasy, we will be tasting the heavenly fruits of eternal life in our resurrection bodies!
So Jude says “BUILD yourselves up, PRAY in the Spirit, KEEP yourselves in God’s love, and LOOK for His appearing!
And finally, Jude makes a very interesting statement in vs 22-23:
1:22-23 “And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”
We are called to have compassion on some people, making a distinction between them and someone else. What does that mean?
The apostates themselves are doomed. The Bible is clear on this. But their victims can yet be delivered and saved. That’s the distinction. Their victims need compassionate Christians to help them untangle the lies and come to the truth. Sometimes love finds a way where logic can’t!
But then there are others we must treat with great caution—“others save with fear.” Jesus taught we’re to be “wise as a serpent, but gentle as a dove.” Which comes first? Wise as a serpent.
I have personally seen well meaning Christians fall into the same sin they were seeking to bring others out of. The person they were trying to reach corrupted them, either morally or into some false teaching.
Jude is saying, In dealing with some people you must use wise caution. Approach them with another believer at your side. Realize that their sin can ensnare you if you’re not careful!
Jude ends on a triumphant note of faith:
1:24 “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present youfaultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy!”
Yes, times are dark. But we serve a Savior fully able to preserve us from sin, and to present us to Himself with joy!
Let’s stand to read his powerful closing words:
1:25 “To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”
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