Sunday, June 22nd, 2014
Bible Memory Verse for the Week: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
The question to be answered is… What wisdom can we find in Jude’s concluding remarks that will help guide and protect our church today?
Answer:Jude’s concluding remarks remind us to expect scoffers to come and be ready for it. In the midst of that, our focus should be the same; to build one another up in the faith, pray in the Spirit, and show mercy; advancing the kingdom of God.
The Word for the Day is… Advance
What significant things can we glean from Jude’s concluding remarks to advance the church?
- Jude admonishes the church to remember. (v.17)(Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29; 2 Timothy 4:3-4; 2 Peter 2:1; 2 Timothy 3:13; 2 John 1:7-11)
How are Christians to act in the light of this situation? First, they are to remember the Word (see 2 Peter 3). Christ promised that mockers would come, and now they had appeared. The growth of apostasy is more evidence of Satan’s determination to block the truth of the Word of God. Further, Christians are to grow spiritually, building themselves up in the Lord. They do this by praying in the Spirit (as the Spirit leads, see Rom. 8:26-27), obeying the Word and thus abiding in God’s love, and watching for Christ’s return. What a combination for a victorious Christian life: praying, learning and living the Bible, and expecting Christ’s return. (Warren Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament, 786)
The Christians are reminded of the words of the apostles. Years earlier they had warned that ungodly teachers would trouble the church, leading people into sin and causing divisions (17-19). The way to avoid their evil influence is to learn more of the Christian truth, to be more sincere in prayer, to grow in devotion to God, to hate sin in all its forms, and to help those affected by the false teachers to find new life in God (20-23). (Flemming, Donald C. “Commentary on Jude 1:1”. “Brideway Bible Commentary”. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/view.cgi?bk=64&ch=1. 2005.)
- Jude admonishes the church to build itself up, and pray.(v.20) (Proverbs 15:29; Acts 20:35; Romans 8:27; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2; 1 Timothy 2:8 )
Jude’s use of building language is, as we have seen, drawn from the metaphor of the church as the new temple. This means that Jude is urging us to be engaged in a corporate experience. We in the West have a hard time with corporate ideas. Our traditions lionize the “rugged individualist,” and we inevitably tend to think of spiritual experience as a basically private matter. Protestant Christians have further stimulus to such individualist thinking. For against the Roman Catholic tendency to make the church the locus of salvation, Protestants have traditionally seen the individual as central. (Douglas J. Moo, The NIV Application Bible Commentary: 2 Peter, Jude, 296)
For although they were to build themselves up, and to pray in the Holy Ghost, and keep themselves in the love of God, yet this building, praying, and keeping, cannot merit heaven; for, after all their diligence, earnestness, self-denial, watching, obedience, etc., they must look for the Mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring them to Eternal Life. (Clarke, Adam. “Commentary on Jude 1:1”. “The Adam Clarke Commentary”. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/view.cgi?bk=64&ch=1. 1832.)
- Jude admonishes the church to show mercy.(v.22) (Matthew 5:7; Matthew 18:33; Luke 6:36; James 2:13)
The readers of Jude are suffering a terrible infliction and thus need “mercy” multiplied to them. Men are trying to destroy their relation to God in Christ, and thus they need “peace” multiplied, all that will conserve their relation to God. And thus they will need God’s all-comprehending love with all its gifts.(R. C. H. Lenski, I and II Peter, the three Epistles of John, and the Epistle of Jude, 608)
We live by hope. Anticipation is not only the greatest single source of pleasure, but it empowers us for the present. Hope is not whistling in the dark; it is not postponing, saying, “Oh, well, one of these days when the Messiah comes, all these problems will disappear.” On the contrary, hope stirs us to life and to important endeavors, preparing ourselves and our world for the great doxology at the final Advent of God. And that which fills us with hope rather than dread is “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (v. 21).” It is the anticipation of that mercy that spawns mercy in us, and that quality, says Jude, marks all our relations with others. (Fred B. Craddock, First and Second Peter and Jude, 147)
CONCLUSION / APPLICATION: What insights can we glean from this that will build and advance the church today?
- You’ve been warned, so get ready! (v.17)(Proverbs 14:25; Matthew 24:44; Matthew 26:41; Luke 12:35)
Let us recall at this point that the main burden of the Epistle is that we should earnestly contend for the faith. Our being built up on it is undoubtedly a prerequisite for this. Some folk, who love a fight for its own sake, would rush into conflict on behalf of a cause which they understand but imperfectly, if at all. But this is not to be the way of the called ones who are beloved in God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ. The faith must be the basis on which we are built up before it becomes the banner for which we fight. And the more we are really built up on it, the more we shall be morally and spiritually equipped to enter into the conflict. (Hole, Frank Binford. “Commentary on Jude overview”. “F. B. Hole’s Old and New Testament Commentary”. “http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbh/view.cgi?bk=64&ch=0”. 1947.)
They who are forewarned should be forearmed. (W. Jenkyn, M. A., The Biblical Illustrator. “http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/view.cgi?bk=64&ch=1”. 1905-1909. New York.)
- Help each other get ready; build one another up and pray. (v.20)(John 9:31; Romans 1:12; Romans 8:26-27; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:25; Galatians 5:15; Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Philippians 2:4; James 5:16; 1 Peter 4:10)
First, we are to build ourselves up on our most holy faith. Note the wording carefully. It does not say that we are to build up the faith. We have already seen in the Epistle that the faith is committed to us as a perfect and completed thing. It needs no building up: we can add nothing to it. It is we who need the building up. We may have received the faith, and taken our stand upon it in faith. That is the right and true beginning, but we must not stop at that point; we need to be built up on it so that it becomes our very life. We can never be too fully instructed in it or too solidly established on it. Jude speaks of it as “most holy.” We have not got today a most holy place as Israel had of old: we have instead a most holy faith. It is not to be trespassed upon or tampered with. None shall do so with impunity. Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread. (Hole, Frank Binford. “Commentary on Jude overview”. “F. B. Hole’s Old and New Testament Commentary”. “http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbh/view.cgi?bk=64&ch=0”. 1947.)
- In the meantime, show mercy to those with honest doubts. (v.22-23)(Matthew 5:7; Matthew 9:13; Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 16:14; Colossians 3:13)
How are Christians to act toward those who are following these false teachers? “Make a difference” (v. 22) is his admonition. In other words, treat each situation individually. Some persons need to be shown pity; others can be saved and snatched out of the fire. Some may be too far gone to help. Jude warns us that, as we seek to help others, we must take care not to be defiled by them ourselves. The OT priest was not to get his garments defiled, and NT Christians (who are also priests) must keep themselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27). (Warren Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament, 786)
- Be encouraged; because of Jesus, God will keep you as you keep yourself. (v.24-25)(Isaiah 41:10; Romans 5:1; Romans 8:14; Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 8:12; 1 Peter 1:5; Revelation 19:7)
The assurance of the believer is not that God will save him even if he stops believing, but that God will keep him believing–God will sustain you
in faith, he will make your hope firm and stable to the end. He will cause you to persevere. (John Piper, Sermon: Sustained by the Faithfulness of God, 1 Cor. 1:1-9)
“Being kept for Jesus Christ” means that God throughout this life exercises his power on behalf of Christians to preserve them spiritually intact until the coming of Jesus Christ in glory. Believers have much to go through in this life: temptations, trials, and onslaughts from Satan and his minions. But God promises to watch over us at every moment, keeping us safe for Christ’s sake. Not, of course, that God’s preserving power means we can just relax and leave it all to him. Note how Jude beautifully comes back to this same idea at the end of the letter: “But keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (v. 21). God “keeps” us, but we must also “keep” ourselves. (Douglas J. Moo, The NIV Application Bible Commentary: 2 Peter, Jude, 223)
Worship happens when a church builds one another up in the faith and prayerfully helps keep each other in God’s love. As people are built-up in Jesus, worship becomes increasingly God-honoring as a church.
Plug in, jump in the ring, quit being a spectator, and work to build each other up in the faith. As you do you will undoubtedly grow in your own faith.
Quotes To Note:
One plague of our age is the widespread dislike to what men are pleased to call dogmatic theology. In the place of it, the idol of the day is a kind of jellyfish Christianity – a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or sinew, – without any distinct teaching about the atonement or the work of the Spirit, or justification, or the way of peace with God – a vague, foggy, misty Christianity, of which the only watchwords seem to be, “You must be…liberal and kind. You must condemn no man’s doctrinal views. You must consider everybody is right and nobody is wrong.” (J.C. Ryle, The Upper Room, “One Blood”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1970], 99.)
What is this faith Jude mentions? In view of the context, we understand the word faith to mean the body of Christian beliefs. It is the gospel the apostles proclaimed and therefore is equivalent to “the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42). Thus, it is not the trust and confidence that the individual believer has in God, for that is subjective faith. In this passage Jude speaks of Christian doctrine, that is, objective faith. (Simon J. Kistemaker, New testament Commentary: James, Epistles of John, Peter, and Jude, 371)
The Christians are saints because they are separated from the world, set apart for God, cleansed by the blood of Christ, and thus living a holy life. By the faith in their hearts they hold to the faith delivered to them so that their sainthood may be defined also in this way. (R. C. H. Lenski, I and II Peter, the three Epistles of John, and the Epistle of Jude, 611)
Many theologians, indeed, think that pride is the root of all sin. Ever since Adam, people have wanted to “be like God,” and they chafe at any idea of a God whom they must worship and obey. Our society, precisely because of its great accomplishments in science, medicine, literature, and so forth, is proud and makes less and less room for God. Or, if room is made for a god, it is a god of our own creation, tailored to suit us and what we deem our needs to be. Thus we sense the need for spirituality, some vague feeling of worship—and we create the “new age” god because we are “into” nature. (Douglas J. Moo, The NIV Application Bible Commentary: 2 Peter, Jude, 276)
Our prayers are our best thoughts, hopes, and desires, expressed in our own words. How those prayers “sound” when the Holy Spirit mediates them to God is not ours to know nor to imitate. We can only trust that those are the prayers which are in Christ’s name, in God’s will, “in the Holy Spirit.” Otherwise, prayer can be selfish and destructive. Who among us is not grateful that God has not answered some of our prayers as we prayed them? (Fred B. Craddock, First and Second Peter and Jude, 147)
Calvin, who saw that the Devil’s chief device was disunity and division and who preached that there should be friendly fellowship for all ministers of Christ, made a similar point in a letter to a trusted colleague: “Among Christians there ought to be so great a dislike of schism, as that they may always avoid it so fast as lies in their power. That there ought to prevail among them such a reverence for the ministry of the word and the sacraments that wherever they perceive these things to be, there they must consider the church to exist…nor need it be of any hindrance that some points of doctrine are not quite so pure, seeing that there is scarcely any church which has not retained some remnants of former ignorance.” (Charles W. Colson, The Body, 1992, Word Publishing, p. 107-108.)
Our prayers however are to be in the Spirit; that is, we are to pray as those who are controlled by the indwelling Spirit, and who consequently ask for the things that are according to His mind. Prayer, which springs from the Holy Spirit acting in the hearts of the saints, is sure to be both fervent and effectual. (Hole, Frank Binford. “Commentary on Jude overview”. “F. B. Hole’s Old and New Testament Commentary”. “http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbh/view.cgi?bk=64&ch=0”. 1947.)
In the third place we are to keep ourselves in the love of God. In the consciousness and warmth and power of it we are to dwell. We are persuaded of course with Paul that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). His love has a firm hold on us, and He will never let us go. But we are also to have a firm hold upon it in the quiet recesses of our hearts. We are to be bathed in it, just like a bucket or other vessel which has been flung into the ocean. Then it is in the ocean, and the ocean is in it. So if we keep ourselves in the love of God, the love of God will be in us, imparting its beautiful character to our lives. (Hole, Frank Binford. “Commentary on Jude overview”. “F. B. Hole’s Old and New Testament Commentary”. “http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbh/view.cgi?bk=64&ch=0”. 1947.)
We are to contend for the faith, building up ourselves on it, and we are to labour to rescue others from defilement and doom, but we can find no repose in ourselves or our efforts. We may have grace to keep ourselves in the love of God, at least in some degree, yet we can only find rest in the fact that He is able to keep us from falling, and present us faultless before the presence of His glory. (Hole, Frank Binford. “Commentary on Jude overview”. “F. B. Hole’s Old and New Testament Commentary”. “http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbh/view.cgi?bk=64&ch=0”. 1947.)
We should not be troubled at what is foretold; monsters expected are not wondered at; expectation forearmeth the mind against evil (John 16:4). We are the better prepared to entertain evils when we expect them before they come, and the evil to which the mind is accustomed seemeth the less. Again, we have an experience of God’s truth in the prediction. Finally, it assureth us that the Lord hath a hand and a counsel in all our troubles, for He told us of them before. (T. Manton. , The Biblical Illustrator. “http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/view.cgi?bk=64&ch=1”. 1905-1909. New York.)
Among other sins that are found in the latter times, there will be many scoffers, partly because in times of controversy men will lose all awe–when truths are made questionable assent is weakened; partly because in times of liberty men will give vent to their thoughts.(T. Manton. , The Biblical Illustrator. “http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/view.cgi?bk=64&ch=1”. 1905-1909. New York.)
Mockers and scoffers are usually the worst of sinners. Scorning cometh from custom in sinning, and maketh way for freedom in sinning. (T. Manton. , The Biblical Illustrator. “http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/view.cgi?bk=64&ch=1”. 1905-1909. New York.)
Faith is not merely your holding on to God–it is God holding on to you. He will not let you go!
—E. Stanley Jones.