Jude (Part 1)

Jude (Part 1)

Let me start here: if you have not read Jude (an introduction), stop now and go read it . . . it will make more sense that way. However, as a reminder to those who did read it let me refresh your memory. Jude is one of four brothers of Jesus and at some point led the Church in Jerusalem. He came to faith after Jesus’ resurrection. This same Jude then pens this letter and it is powerful! As a call to repentance, as a reminder of judgment, and as a warning to stay alert as we contend for the faith.

He doesn’t waste time with small talk, antidotes, or gibber, he is very matter-of-fact. In the verses, we will look at this week, we will see his heart, and his understanding as the brother of Jesus and leader of the Church. Let’s look at verse 5, “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” Here is an interesting point, there are a couple manuscripts out there as well as a few versions of the Bible that use “Jesus” in place of “the Lord”. Could these early manuscripts be more accurate to Jude’s point? i think so. Jude had come to an understanding of who Jesus was and was not ashamed of it.

We love grace, i love grace. We preach grace, i preach grace, and it is glorious! However, we mustn’t lose sight of Jesus. Jesus, actively a part of the Old Testament, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, saves us by His cross. He leads us free from the chains of sin, out of bondage and into freedom. As the Israelites out of Egypt and still, subsequently (lit. the second time) He destroys those who did not believe. Folks, there is judgment. There is a hell and it has been preached since the formation of the Church. Do not be led astray. We must continue to contend for the faith in a world that would pervert the grace of God, even some in the Church.

Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that [e]the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, [f]subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after [g]strange flesh, are exhibited as an [h]example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (NASB)

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved[c] a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,[d] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (ESV)

Pray with me for insight, for understanding, for fresh revelation into God’s Word. Let the Spirit of God speak to our hearts through these words written by Jude inspired by the Spirit. May we grow in wisdom and faith, as we seek to walk humbly with Jesus, contending for the faith. Until next week . . .

you are loved,

cj

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117, it is just two verses. Yet these two verses are immensely profound in their simplicity. You want to boil things down to the minimum and just look at the core of human existence? Then here you go:

“Praise the Lord, all you nations! Worship Him, all you peoples! Because God’s faithful love towards us is strong, the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever! Praise the Lord!”

It doesn’t get much simpler than this, Praise the Lord. Worship Him. Because, He is faithful. His love is strong towards us and He is forever faithful. Thus, we should, Praise the Lord! No matter what you are facing, no matter what difficulties or trials befall you, Praise the Lord! In the good and in the bad, Praise the Lord! In the sun and in the rain, Praise the Lord! In life and in death, Praise the Lord! In sickness and in health, Praise the Lord! In the hardest of times and in the best of times, Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord,

you are loved,

cj

In our offering, and in our service, Thy Kingdom Come

In our offering, and in our service, Thy Kingdom Come

With the passing of the Reverend Billy Graham today i think it fitting that we have reached this point in our “Thy Kingdom Come” series. No doubt he (Rev. Graham) heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when he walked into glory. His humility throughout his life is something to be emulated, not to mention his desire to offer of himself and serve. There are two quotes i want to share here from the Rev. Billy Graham that i have read today in various places. The first, “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.” WOW, i find myself both in agreement and challenged at these words. And that’s only the first quote! Here is the second, “Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” Here i am comforted and inspired.

When the church uses the word “offering” folks immediately jump to tithes or money. Although that is definitely a part, it is not the whole. You see offering is giving and one can and should give from the heart. Whether that is tithe or special gifts or time, effort, and resources of a non-monetary form. When we make an offering of time to the church, the body of Christ, we are essentially giving in multiple areas. One might ask, “Isn’t that service?” Yes, and no, is the answer. Yes in that we are serving the church when we offer our time and talents. However, service is much deeper. By this, i mean that we are to serve everyone, not just the members of the body of Christ.

i want us to look at Matthew 25:31-40 here we will see exactly what i am talking about straight from Jesus’ mouth (from the Message).

31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him, and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry, and you fed me,
I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless, and you gave me a room,
I was shivering, and you gave me clothes,
I was sick, and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison, and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'”

i really like how the Message spells this out, “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was meyou did it to me.” WOW! When we make self-sacrificing service, through sincere faith, we do so unto the Lord. This has challenged me over the years to evaluate why i do, why i give, why i serve, why i live essentially. What is my motive, what is my expectation, what is my heart? The answer, reveals whether or not i am serving others or myself…whether my actions are selfless or selfish. This passage continues…41-46

41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry, and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless, and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering, and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

Each of us holds a piece of the puzzle. Putting the puzzle together can be challenging. We will make mistakes. We will find our intentions were selfish, our motives, wrong. But do not lose heart, do not grow weary in doing good as it says in Galatians 6:9. We have unique and specific giftings, talents, and resources, each of us must examine ourselves and make an offering of our lives in service; financially and physically.  Let me remind us of Rev. Graham’s words, “Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.”  We may not always get it right, but we must still be ready, willing and able. As we learn to live in our Lords Kingdom here and now.

In our offering, and in our service, THY KINGDOM COME!

You are loved,

cj