Journey Through The Bible
Old Testament Reading: 2 Chronicles 16-18
New Testament Reading: Jude
But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life (Jude 20-21).
Speaking to the House of Commons on June 4, 1940, Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill stood his ground with a stirring speech: “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We will never surrender.”
Churchill’s words flow with the fixed resolve of a man contending earnestly for the preservation of his country. With similar determination, Jude, a half-brother of Jesus, exhorts us to contend for the faith (v3). The enemy here is apostasy. What hangs in the balance is the preservation of truth and morality. Jude makes his appeal to the soldiers of the faith who are amid a raging battle against the onslaught of apostasy.
The apostle Peter anticipated the coming of false teachers within the church and warned Christians in his second letter that they were coming (2 Pet. 2:1, 2; 3:3). Jude lets Christians know they have come and deals with their arrival (v 4, 11, 12, 17, 18).
Through the centuries, critics outside the church have caused unthinkable suffering and pain for Christians. However, nothing is more destructive and divisive than false teachers who claim to be Christians but distort the gospel message. Jesus warned, Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves (Matt. 7:15).
The believer’s resource, of course, is to stay close to the Lord and live in unbroken fellowship with Him. Jude provides four principles for believers to follow.
The first is to build yourselves up in your most holy faith v20a, that is, the Christian faith. We build up ourselves on it by studying and obeying the Bible. Constant familiarity with the Word guides us positively in the way of righteousness and warns us against the dangers along the way.
The second step is praying in the Holy Spirit (v20b). This means to pray as guided by the Spirit, following the will of God as revealed in the Bible or as privately revealed by the Spirit personally for the Believer. It is in contrast to prayers which are recited mechanically or for selfish purposes.
Next Believers are to keep yourselves in the love of God (v21a). The love of God is always beaming down upon us. But if sin comes between us and the Lord, then we are no longer enjoying His love in practice. We can keep ourselves in His love first of all by lives of holiness and godliness. And if sin should come between, then we should confess and forsake that sin immediately. The secret is to let nothing come between us and God.
Finally, we should be waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life (v21b). The mercy of our Lord here refers to His imminent return to take His people home to heaven. In days of darkness and apostasy, we are to keep the light of the blessed hope burning in our hearts.
In Churchill like fashion, with an emotionally inspired benediction, Jude fans the embers within their hearts to look steadfastly upon their Lord and Savior as they stand against the enemy within the church. Now to him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen (Jude 24-25).