Beloved, love others (Jude 22-23)

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MOTIVATE

There are negative contentions but there are also those who contend in a positive manner.

  • Hebrews 10:24 “hold fast to our confession”
  • 1Thess 514 “admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak”
  • 2Thess 2:15 “stand firm”
  • 1Tim 6:12 “fight the good fight of the faith”
  • 1Tim 6:20 “guard the deposit entrusted to you”
  • 2Tim 4:2 “reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but have itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
  • Titus 1:13 “rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith”
  • Jude 1:3 “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”

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It is ironic that in God’s providence the Holy Spirit chose a man with the same first name as Judas Iscariot, the most infamous apostate of all time (Acts 1:16-20, 25), to write the New Testament epistle on apostasy. —John MacArthur New Testament Commentary on Jude.

 

EXAMINE   Jude 1:22-23                          TITLE:  Beloved, Love Others             2 ways to love others

We love others by defending our delivered faith.

Jude is writing to an audience of believers who needed reminding of their eternal salvation and their need to engage their culture with the truth of the gospel. In fact, Jude desired to write more about growth in their common salvation but instead found it necessary to write in guarding the truth of their salvation. Sometimes you have to grow in order to guard and other times you have to guard what you have in order to grow.

The word “contend” (ἐπαγωνίζομαιepagōnizomai) means to struggle, compete, fight, or labor; we get the English word “agonize”. The word was often used in athletic and military contexts.

Jude is calling believers to defend the faith with strong sincerity. Today, Christians must do the same with urgency but not ugliness. Truth can be taught in love but undoubtedly there is intensity to the conversation.

  • Illus: Confronting a family member about addiction is hard but necessary action. Christians must hold each other accountable spiritually with the same necessary fervor.

Jude calls believers to 2 actions in defending the faith

  1. Believe the faith that was once and for all delivered.
  2. Beware of those who deceive.

 

1) Believe the faith that was once and for all delivered.

Jude notes that the gospel faith was delivered to the saints. It was not myths made up. The church did not create the canon, or much more the Christ. There are not two different stories: the Christ of history and the Christ of faith. Instead, the faith is itself historical.
Jude 1:17 “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Christian faith was once and for all delivered. Jude means that the events were completed and has been transmitted through a visible witness, a verbal transmission, and also a faithful written account. Before 300 A.D., a church historian named Eusebius had observed lists of books/letters that were being used by the early church as authoritative, while other books the church deemed spurious, rejected as untruthful. Based on the diversity of content in various writings the church found it necessary to compile a canon (rule, standard) of recognized Scripture, resulting in our Holy Bible that we have today.[1]

 

“The truth is like a lion. Whoever heard of defending a lion? Just turn it loose and it will defend itself.” – Charles Spurgeon

 

2) Beware of those who deceive the Church.

Jude warns of those who have “crept in unnoticed” (παρεισδύω). The word implies stealth, sneaky entrance and sliding in through the side.

False teachers and cults are hardly up front about all their beliefs and opinions. Instead they lure their hearers along until they are hooked to far. While they appear friendly they are indeed deceptively foe (cf. Rev 13:11-14).

2a) Deceivers are sensual (Jude 1:4, 7-8, 18).
These are people who pervert God’s grace into sensual acts (absence of restraint) and indulge in sexual immorality, or pursue unnatural desire (strange flesh, or homosexuality) just as Sodom and Gomorrah (cf. Gen 19:1-11; Lev 18:22, 20:13; Rom 1:26-27; 1Cor 6:9; 1Tim 1:9-10).

All immorality is included in Jude’s thought: pornography, pre-marital sex, adultery, homosexuality.

2b) Deceivers are scoffers (1:4, 8-19)

These are people who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. These are people who reject authority (Jude 1:8). They blaspheme God and scoff at God, like Cain and Balaam (Jude 1:11). They are hidden reefs (perilous), waterless clouds (pointless), fruitless trees (purposeless), wild waves (prideful), and wandering stars (departing) (Jude 1:12-13). They commit ungodly deeds and speak ungodly words (Jude 1:15). They cause division and are devoid of the Spirit of God (Jude 1:19).

Scoffers are depraved. Jude notes that the Christian faith is both creeds and deeds, beliefs and behaviors. Too often people give lip service to God without a life of integrity. Christianity is a religion of convenience that we pull out when we want to emphasize loving others or receiving blessings but we hide in matters of holiness.
Matthew 23:27 “For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.”

Titus 1:16 “they profess to know God, but they deny him by their works.”

Scoffers divide. They can demolish in a day what takes a decade to build. Christians must stand on the truth and must stand together. Even more so in the 21st Century, Christians are called to a tenacious faith that is not timid or retreating.

– Jesus warns us in Matthew 7:15-23; 24:11, 14. Paul warns us in Acts 20:29-30; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-9. Peter warns us in 2Peter 2:1-3; 12-22. John warns us in 1 John 2:18-23; 4:1-3. Jude warns us thru his whole letter.

 

We love others by rescuing the perishing.

Towards the end of Jude’s letter he exhorts believers to 3 actions (1:22-23)

  1. Rescue those who doubt.
  2. Rescue those in danger.
  3. Rescue those who are defiled.

 

  1. Jude commands Christians to have mercy on those who doubt.

Mercy = (ἐλεέω) compassion

Doubt = (διακρίνω) doubt or judging through/discerning

Deceptive teaching and depraved living can easily confuse individuals of the truth of Christianity. The world watches Christians to see if there is integrity or compromise; too often there is the latter. It is true that all fall short and there is only one standard – Jesus. However, Christians are ambassadors and reflective of Jesus’ message.

Further, the church needs to be a safe place to struggle and search. If we are honest, we all have doubted God before. We need to allow others to have the space to explore faith and find God’s faithfulness on their own.

à SPBC Bible Groups emphasize discussion to help doubters and to build each other up in faith (cf Jude 1:20-21; Eph 4:14-16).

à SPBC evangelism: Invest-Invite-Incarnate-Intercede – – – requires both patience and perseverance. Don’t give up on the doubters.

 

  1. Jude commands Christians to save others by snatching them out of the fire.

Snatch = (ἁρπάζω) strong pulling, compelling persuasion

These individuals have gone beyond doubting God to dismissing God. They are dangerously playing with fire – literally (cf Jude 1:7 “punishment of eternal fire”). Hell is a hot and forever fire that must be avoided but can only be done so through faith in Christ alone. Do not ignore this imagery. Many Christians have lost their evangelistic fervor because they have lost a view of hell’s fire; they believe in a universalist God who will accept everyone and overlook sin regardless of their view of His only Son, Jesus. This is not true (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). We must love those in danger of hell with tears of love and truth about our Lord Jesus.

Frances “Fanny” Crosby:
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

 

  1. Jude commands Christians to show mercy with fear, hating the garment stained by the flesh.
    These individuals have been deceived in belief and defiled in behavior. Jude exhorts continued mercy with fear – for the individual’s destiny – to save them from their defilement.

à Christians do not have to live like the lost to reach and lead the lost to salvation. We must be careful that our influence is greater on them than their influence on us.

Illus: William Booth, Salvation Army founder, said (adapted) “if I had my way I would not train Christians through 4 years of college or 3 years of seminary… instead I would let them spend 5 minutes in hell and that would be the best evangelistic and theological training they would ever receive”

Time is ticking. Life is limited. Heaven and hell are eternal destines.

à Are you loving and leading others to heaven or hell?

 

 

APPLY/THINK

  • Those who doubt, in danger or defiled… today another opportunity to course correct and recalculate the direction of your life. Trust in the faith – the gospel of Jesus. Join the beloved. 
  • Christians love others by defending the faith and rescuing the perishing.
  • SOHL – Pregnancy Clinic baby bottles
  • SPBC LOVING GOD & LOVING OTHERS
    • High 5 list: Have 1-5 people with whom you are extending your hand to share Jesus.
    • Q-Place study on Sun eve…

 

[1] More background based on recent controversy can be found here: https://growinggodlygenerations.com/2015/01/02/can-we-trust-newsweek-with-the-bible/

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