Pastor Bruce Simpkins
Renewal Community Church
Preached: July 4, 2010
I asked you last week to read all of Jude every day, especially paying attention to verses 20-23.
Jude 3-4 I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Jude 20-23 But you, dear friends (beloved), build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
We spent considerable time describing what Jude means in the first part of verse 20 where he says build yourselves up in your most holy faith. We must be a learning church. We must grow and mature and move on from feeding on the basic “milk” of God word to feasting on the meat of God’s word. That’s what we talked about last week . . .
The second part of what Jude says we are to do is pray in the Holy Spirit. For seven weeks before we started this little book of Jude, we went into great detail about the importance of praying and the various roles it plays in our lives, and so this is not a new concept to us. It is interesting to note that in verse 20 and 21 he focuses on what we are to be doing for ourselves, and then in verses 22 and 23 he tells us to move from a self focus to an outward focus.
In order to give communion time our full attention today, I will just be addressing verses 20-21.
First we contend for our faith by knowing what our faith is in. If we do not know what we believe, how can we recognize false teaching when it tries to sneak in? How do we build ourselves up according to Jude? By doing it in our most Holy Faith . . . the most Holy thing we believe. We can only know that by spending time looking for truth in God’s word the Bible. The foundation of what we find and believe is the gospel of salvation and the truth of God’s sanctification on our lives through the Holy Spirit.
The apostle Paul says the same thing when he was speaking to the Ephesians in Acts 20:32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
Jude also said in verse 20: “. . . we must pray in the Holy Spirit. . . .” This refers to praying for that which is consistent with the Holy Spirit’s will. And how do we know what the Holy Spirit’s will is?
As we discussed in depth for seven weeks, can be boiled down to . . . welcome back to God’s Word. It is imperative for believers to know what God’s Word says. It is by studying the Word that we discern what the will of the Holy Spirit is when we pray.
There was a single woman I knew many years ago who confided in me that the Holy Spirit had led her into an affair with a married man because he needed her to meet the needs his wife was not meeting in his life. My friends, the Holy Spirit will never—and I repeat, never—lead in a way that is contrary to the revealed Word of God.
Frankly, sometimes people don’t want to do what God’s Word says, and so they say that the Holy Spirit is leading them in that path. That is simply not true. That is disobedience to God and his Word.
Notice that verse 21 says to Keep yourselves in God’s love.
This is very important. How do we keep ourselves in God’s love. By trusting Him and having enough faith in Him to obey His Word. There are dozens of scriptures about God’s faithfulness to us in the face of affluence and in affliction.
Rom 8:28 we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
We keep ourselves in God’s love by believing in His love for us and by loving one another as He loves us. That is how people are to know that we are Christians . . . by the love we have for each other.
And the last internal focus is in the second half of verse 21. It is the Hope of eternal life we have in Christ.
Believers are people who have hope. Hope, not in the sense that we use it when we say that we hope it does not rain, meaning that we wish it would not rain. But biblical hope has to do with a sure and certain outcome that we have not yet received.
This is the hope that sustains believers. That is why there are so many black spiritual songs that talk about their home in heaven.
I’ve got a home in glory land that outshines the sun . . .
Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home . . .
One glad morning when this life is o’er, I’ll fly away. To a home on God’s celestial shore . . .
Oh Lord, I know, I have no friend like you, this world is not my home I’m just passing thru . . .
Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand! I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the storm, through the night lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.
Eternal life is the great hope for every true believer and physical death is not the worst thing that can happen to us.
So once we are secure in our internal relationship with the Lord, we are to extend our gaze to those outside ourselves and reach out to them in various ways as defined in verses 22 and 23.
Jude is my idea of a really great pastor. First, he was concerned about believers and wanted to be sure that they knew the great danger that false teaching posed to the church. He wanted them to be able to avoid false teaching by growing spiritually in God’s Word, and prayer, and love, and hope.
But, Jude was also concerned about the people who were actually teaching falsely and the people who believed their false teaching. Jude must have remembered how his half-brother Jesus treated false teachers when He was on the earth. Jesus did denounced the Pharisees as false teachers with strong words, and yet he had meals with them and taught them the truth of God. For example:
Luke 7:36-37 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, . . .
Luke 11:37-38 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised.
Luke 14:1-4 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.
Next week we will finish the book of Jude by looking at the three kinds of people that he identified needed to be reached with God’s truth.
Today we will be celebrating our countries independence. But at the Lord’s table we celebrate our DEPENDENCE as often as we eat and drink of it in remembrance of Him. This is called the Lord’s Supper because Christ Himself instituted it in the upper room on the night He was betrayed.
From the beginning, it has always been a most sacred sign of loyalty to the church and a means of distinguishing between those who have professed Jesus Christ as their Lord from those of the world who have not. We do not approach this table lightly but with most solemn and Holy intentions.
It is, however, for all believers. You do not have to be a member of Northview Community Church, you just have to be a member of the body of Christ.
This is a time of remembering that Jesus became the last and final sacrifice on the cross for the sins of man.
Let us always remember that:
Bread: 1 Cor 11:23-26 The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” < Pass Bread >
Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:28 that A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you.
Cup: In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes < Pass Cup >
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Drink in remembrance that Christ’s blood was shed for you.
Rom 8:1-4 There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Let’s Pray
Jude 24-25 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.