A message to us…
September 21, 2019
Paul seems to get top billing in the New Testament. We have numerous letters he wrote to the various mission fields that he engaged with the Gospel.
Not to discredit Paul’s contribution, but there are other Apostles that wrote useful scripture included in the New Testament. One of them is Jude. Let’s take some time and focus on what he has to say to us about conducting ourselves under grace.
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James: To those who are the called, loved by God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Jude 1:1-2 (CSB)
As he explains here Jude was James brother, he starts out this first chapter addressing this writing to us.
“To those who are the called, loved by God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.”
Each and every one of us that have given our lives to Jesus Christ is called; we are called by Jesus to obedience, we are called to disciple others, and we are called to be the witnesses of Jesus; through how we conduct our lives, how we mirror the attributes of Jesus, and how we reflect His Gospel, in both word and deed.
Immediately thereafter, Jude reflects the Words of Christ wishing for us mercy, peace and love to be multiplied to our credit.
Then he explains the purpose of his writing to us…
Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write, appealing to you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all. For some people, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into sensuality and denying Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord.
Jude 1:3-4 (CSB)
He states that he was eager to write to us about the salvation we share mutually with him. After that bit of window dressing, he focuses on the core reason for contacting us; “I found it necessary to write, appealing to you to contend for the faith”.
Then he gets into a disturbing fact that was present at the time of this writing and persists even more so today in our world. Jude explains that some people have filtered their way into the midst of the faithful, who have motives which run in opposition to the Gospel. In many cases, these deceivers even alter the terms of Grace established by Jesus; even so much as to deny Jesus as the perfect Lamb of God sent by the Father and co-creator of the universe with His Father.
These imposters are real. They lead some of the largest congregations in existence today and deceive literally millions with their false gospel and distortions of the Word of God.
Five of the eight most wealthy pastors profess a different message than that given us by Jesus.
I’ve read of Benny Hinn’s followers that are estimated to number in the millions. I see that, and shudder in fear for the souls of those who in so many cases, earnestly desire the milk of the Gospel, but have been deceived by a master flimflam artist.
The shear popularity of these con artists place each of us in a position where we will likely at some point face someone who has bought into these descriptions and are asked to give an account of our faith.
but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
1 Peter 3:15 (CSB)
Let’s go on further here in Jude where he warns of apostates; both past and present day.
Jude presses on and states that these apostate provocateurs, have reached the depths of depravity and disgrace in their action and then finishes the next segment of his letter with …
But these people blaspheme anything they do not understand. And what they do understand by instinct — like irrational animals — by these things they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, have plunged into Balaam’s error for profit, and have perished in Korah’s rebellion.
Jude 1:10-11 (CSB)
Not the kind of folks you want to hang around with, let alone identify yourself with.
These people are dangerous reefs at your love feasts as they eat with you without reverence. They are shepherds who only look after themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by winds; trees in late autumn — fruitless, twice dead and uprooted.
Jude 1:12 (CSB)
Not a picture that anyone would want to be found in.
Then Jude explains to us the necessity of living the Gospel constantly!
But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They told you, “In the end time there will be scoffers living according to their own ungodly desires.” These people create divisions and are worldly, not having the Spirit.
Jude 1:17-19 (CSB)
Turning his focus from the apostate lies back to us, he addresses us as friends and exhorts us to remember that this is nothing that Jesus hasn’t already warned us about.
These preachers of division are not of the same Spirit as we are. We shouldn’t listen to them, nor should we in anyway find ourselves connected to them. For in doing so we lend credibility to their false doctrine.
We must expect to endure the scoffing and ridicule of these apostates and those who stand outside of grace. There is no comprehension whatever of the grace Jesus has poured out on us, for they don’t share in it. To them the Gospel message is foolishness.
For us, we are to be the true reflection of Christ Jesus, for a world being choked by darkness.
Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12 (CSB)
The light that shined in Him is the very same light that shines in us. We have a responsibility to broadcast that light to every corner of this dark world and “contend for the faith that was delivered” to us
Hey, Jude! What you wrote about is right on target for the lives we live today. It is through the grace of Jesus we are ‘contenders’!
In His Grace!