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Jude 17-25
I’m no expert or big fan of football, but I do know one of the most devastating moments in a football game is when the score is close and a competent player who is running with the ball lightens his grip on it, and fumbles it allowing the opposing team to secure a victory.
The late John Stott said this: “all around us we see Christians and churches relaxing their grasp of the gospel, fumbling it, in danger of letting it drop from their hands altogether.”
Jude, has written this letter to prevent such a tragedy.
He states the heart behind letter at the beginning.
It’s like a mission statement that every Christian can subscribe to.
He states in Vs 4 “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
In other words, In an age where false teachers are so prevalent and their teaching so pervasive, we must as G.K. Beale put it, “Resist the contamination of the gospel, and adhere to sound doctrine.”
Jude has pointed out this simple, but sad reality: False teaching and bad theology hurts people and it can be brought into the church, sometimes unnoticed.
There is a lot at stake when talking about False teaching.
How should the church respond?
This is where Jude takes us today.
He answers that “Now what?” question.
He reminds the believers of the need to persevere and keep the gospel clear in an age that seeks to distort God’s truth.
Essentially, the call today is to persevere.
Jude seeks to assure the believer with the love of God in the Gospel which will fuel their diligence in pursuing truth.
The point?
God’s people are those who persevere in truth because Christ is the one who preserves them.
This is what I pray we lay hold of today.
Thankfully Jude gives us the way forward...
Main points:
So if the way we respond to a deceitful age is by persevering in the truth, we ought to persevere in the truth by Remembering false teachers, Remaining in God’s love, and Resting in the great Preserver.
1. Remembering- Vs 17-19
What are we suppose to remember?
First, He tells us to remember the apostolic warning to watch out for false teachers.
The idea is not just not forgetting, but being constantly mindful of something.
(Read Vs 17-18)
Remember that an Apostle is like the New Testament version of a prophet in the Old.
They bear the Divine authority of Jesus Christ.
They speak on His behalf.
Like Justin alluded to last week, there is still apostolic authority present today, it’s just all written down for us in God’s word.
They warned so much of false teaching in their other writings.
Jude points out what another Apostle has said in vs 18 which could be a direct quote from 2 Peter 3:3 where Peter is warning the church about false teachers.
But this leads to the second thing we must remember...
We must remember false teaching is rooted in sinful desire and worldliness.
(read Vs 19)
He points us to the root cause of all falsehood.
It stems from an issue of the loves of the heart.
What a person most deeply loves and worships is the soil from which all these destructive teachings flow.
They have a deep passion for worldly gain, a deep passion to be exalted and essentially be esteemed as a god to be depended upon.
It’s an attempt to subvert Christ and His kingdom.
It’s a worship of self even if outwardly they look nice, or have a great smile, or tell others they just wanna help people.
He has to point to the root here because the outward appearance can be dressed up real nice.
What’s more, he points to the deeper reason their love for the world is so pervasive.
It’s because they do not have the Holy Spirit.
The reality is, Jude wants us to actively remember false teachers, not so that we can become overly cautious and fearful people, but to cause us to have discernment in all areas of teaching.
Subtle deviations from the gospel can be an egregious error.
Justin said in the past from the pulpit and it needs to be said again “If you add to the gospel or take away from the gospel to some how improve upon the gospel, you are actually falsifying the gospel making it no longer a gospel that saves, but a gospel that damns.”
Sometimes people don’t understand that if you have 1% of the gospel wrong you are 100% wrong and 100% under God’s wrath.
Do you see why it’s so important that we’re precise in our doctrine?
Doctrine doesn’t divide, clarifying the gospel has always been for the purpose of unity among God’s people.
Examples are helpful- Here are some groups that Christians can unknowingly be deceived by...
We can highlight our Mormon friends where they use similar terms and use the name Christian but don’t be deceived, it’s another gospel.
The same can be said about the Roman Catholic church.
They say a lot of the same things and while there are may be roman catholics that are saved, Romes Gospel does not save.
Many are being led astray because they are using the same bible you hold in your hands.
Remember that almost if not every heresy (teachings that contradict and are at odds with the core doctrines of the faith) came from a misinterpretation of the bible not a rejection of the bible.
The thing we’re seeing creep into the church today in a very subtle way and it’s very germane to our text, is what is called “Progressive Christianity.”
Progressive Christianity is really no Christianity at all.
They would really avoid any clarity in doctrine because you ultimately will look within yourself to define who God is.
There’s no standard for defining God.
They say they are doing things in the name of love and trying to honor people but essentially they deny the authority of the bible and leading people into falsehood.
They try to retain the word “Christian” while affirming and promoting relationships the bible condemns.
The promote transgenderism, Same-sex relationships and more.
There are many in this movement who call themselves pastors and Christians and they deny God’s definition of sin.
That is a gospel issue.
The gospel is at stake here.
One book in this movement is called The Gospel of Inclusion by Brandon Robertson that works hard to deconstruct the inerrancy and authority of the bible so that we can affirm all kinds of relationships that are out of scriptural bounds.
I’ve heard him lecture on his book and his arguments are so clever, so smooth, they sound so intellectual, and that’s one of the dangers of this movement and the false teachers like him who have raised up within it.
Jude says, Remember these false teachers.
Be discerning.
These teachers and many more fit the description Jude is giving.
They divide the body of Christ.
They are devoid of the Spirit.
The purity of the gospel is at stake.
2. Remaining- Vs 20-23
Jude turns the attention back to the Christian once again with those comforting words, “But you, beloved.”
That repetition is powerful (Read Vs 20-21)
He’s calling the church to remain.
First, to remain in God’s love.
We have to catch the main imperative or main verb here in Vs 21.
The key thing Jude is exhorting us in as we contend for the faith, is to keep ourselves in the love of God as we eagerly await the coming of our savior.
(SLIDE) Seeing to it that we keep ourselves in God’s love is the end goal.
Building ourselves up in the faith and praying in the Spirit are the means by which we do that.
I believe Jude is saying that every believer perseveres by constantly relying upon God’s love, standing in amazement at God’s love, going deeper in the knowledge of God’s love.
This what Jesus told His disciples in John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
Abide (or remain) in my love.”
How does one change?
How do we grow in our faith?
How do we remain convinced that we must uphold truth?
It’s not when we seek for more new things to learn in church.
Not when we hear some new earth shattering truth that’s never been said.
No, often, it takes place when we go deeper in that which we already know.
That’s why on Sunday’s you often won’t hear truths that no one has ever heard, but reminders of things you should never forget.
Dane Ortlund in His book Deeper points to Ephesians chapter 3. Paul the apostle when he prays for the church to be empowered by God to be all that God has called them to be, When he talks about being filled with all the fullness of God so that our lives reflect his glory and we grow, you know where he points?
He points to God’s love in Christ.
Something that tragically becomes all to familiar to us.
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God
Doesn’t that sound counter intuitive?
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