“SNATCH THEM OUT OF THE FIRE!” Jude
INTRO – FIRE – Good or bad. Helpful or harmful. Delightful or destructive.
- Sit around campfire or firepit
- Or see your home or business go up in flames – California wildfires
- Warmth that is pleasant. Or heat that is painful.
Pretty obvious here that the writer Jude is not talking about the pleasant experience of sitting around a crackling campfire, but is referring to a terrible fire that no one would want to go through. He’s talking about the fires of hell – a VERY REAL PLACE WHERE LOST PEOPLE GO WHEN THEY DIE! Rev. 20:15 – “…if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” If you need to be saved, call out to the Lord RIGHT NOW before it’s too late!
In this little letter, Jude is issuing a warning to the church to keep their eyes open for the infiltration of false teachers & enemies into the church. In other words, they were apostates, or those who once gave some indication that they knew Christ, but have since abandoned their faith, which means that they never really had any faith in the first place. The definition of “apostasy” is “a falling away from key and true doctrines of the Bible into heretical teachings that proclaim to be “the real” Christian doctrine.” (https://www.gotquestions.org/apostasy.html) John Stott: “The essence of apostasy is changing sides from that of the crucified to that of the crucifier.” There was & is great danger lurking around in our world from all sorts of folks who are perverting the truth of God’s Word. There are actually apostate preachers who do not believe in God or in the basic foundational truths of the Bible, &, yet, they are still serving Christian churches in our nation. We need to be aware of this danger & be ready to stand against it.
God takes apostasy very seriously, so much so that every NT book w/ the exception of Philemon warns about false teachers & teachings. So how do we deal w/ such rampant apostasy & rejection of the Christian faith? Here are some principles for us to follow:
Contend for the faith – v. 3
- Greek word: agonizomai – “agony”
- Struggle for
- Fight for
Jude originally wanted to write a pleasant, encouraging pastor letter to the church – “I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation.” But he wasn’t able to do that due to the “certain people” who had “crept in unnoticed” (v. 4). His letter of comfort to the people of God turned into a call to battle for the people of God. They had to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
What is this “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints”?
When Jude said “THE faith,” he’s talking about the known & received body of truth about Jesus Christ & the salvation that comes only through Him as the Perfect Son of God. He’s talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has been preached & taught from the Day of Pentecost up to this very moment.
- It’s a delivered faith – In other words, it’s not something that we manufactured or came up w/ on our own. It’s been passed on from generation to generation.
- It’s a defined faith – It is unchangeable, definitely & eternally defined by the unchanging center of our faith; & that center is Jesus Christ who came into the world & lived & died & rose again to bring salvation to all men.
- It’s a done faith – It’s complete. It’s finished. Nothing can be added or subtracted from our God, & nothing should be added or subtracted from our faith.
- It’s a defended faith – This is why Jude was writing. The church MUST defend the faith, which leads to next point……
Defend against the enemies – v. 4-16 – Listen to how Jude describes these enemies of the faith:
- Pervert the grace of God
- Deny Jesus
- Sexually immoral (v. 8 – “defile the flesh”)
- Reject authority
- They’re like animals
- Dangerous & deadly
- Selfish & uncaring
- Deceitful liars
- Never satisfied
- Loud-mouthed boasters
- Showing favoritism
- Devoid of the Spirit of God
Does that description sound like the kind of person against whom we need to defend our church, our faith, & ourselves? ABSOLUTELY! So how do we do that?
Depend on the Lord – v. 20-21 – 4 verbs (action words) that Jude gives us to help us defend our faith. And the only way to do that is to live in total dependence upon the Lord as a Christ-follower:
- Building – Making a foundation for a building; strengthening; to make more able – Build your life on the TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL!
- Praying – There it is again! I wonder if I’ve ever preached a message here that didn’t have something to do w/ prayer!
- Keeping – Has to do w/ guarding, & obeying, & heeding – His love motivates us.
- Waiting – to welcome, to wait for, to anticipate a future event – Waiting for the return of Christ.
What an awesome way for us to live for the Lord as we depend on Him every moment of every day of our lives!
Extend mercy & hope to as many as possible – v. 22-23 – And as we depend upon the Lord & live for Him, we must never forget the importance of looking outside of ourselves & reaching outside of ourselves.
- Reach up to the One on Whom you can depend
- Reach out to those who are doubting
- Reach down to those who are dying
Send your praise to God – v. 24-25 – One of most beautiful doxologies in Bible.
WHAT HE IS ABLE TO DO.
“Keep you from falling.” You do not have to fail. It’s only when you try to go it alone.
“Present you faultless.” But I have so many faults. WE ALL DO! I will be presented in His righteousness.
“Before the presence of His glory.” Standing there before the throne of God. In the brightness of His glory that reveals all things, nothing is hid. I will stand pure, faultless. I will be whispering to myself, “Thank you, Jesus.”
“With exceeding joy.” Joy, such as you have never experienced, or could ever experience on this earth.
“And when before the throne I stand in him complete
Jesus died my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat
Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow
He washed it white as snow”