This Sunday we’ll be coming to our last installment of our series Truth or Consequences. We’ll be reading the final section of Jude, v17-25.
The letter from Jude has been filled with harsh warnings and dire forecasts concerning false teachers and the outflow of their practices. It’s been an interesting journey through those caustic words. In fact, his warnings have been so intense one could almost start to get a little edgy – maybe even a little bit fearful about the dangers associated with the church and those who lead it.
I think Jude realizes that danger, so he concludes his letter on a very positive note. He leaves off of the warning phase and concludes with some very pastoral counsel about how we should respond to the hazards he’s described.
In v17-19 he wants us remember that the coming of false teachers and leaders was something predicted from the outset of the church. Why would that be an encouragement to them (or us)? What effect does knowing about a danger in advance have on you?
V20-21 prompts us to be proactive about how we respond. He describes “your most holy faith” as something we should be building our lives on. This is a phrase describing the Apostolic claim that Jesus is the Messiah and our means of salvation and restoration. How can we go about building ourselves up in that truth?
What does “praying in the Holy Spirit” mean to you? In what ways would you say you’ve experienced that? What do you believe the importance of prayer is in holding on to the truth?
“Keep yourselves in the love of God”. How does a focus on the gospel and prayer work to accomplish that command in our lives?
When it comes to how we should respond to those who are influenced or even propagating doctrines or practices that veer away from the truth, Jude takes a startlingly different direction in v22-23. He doesn’t tell us to go on the offensive or attack those heretics. What does he twice tell us to show to them? What does this inform us about how the truth is advanced in this world?
The letter finishes up in v24-25 – and if for no other reason alone, I’m glad Jude is included in the canon because of v24. Jude describes how we will be kept safe to arrive at a good ending? What is that attributed to? With all of the dangers he’s pointed out – where are we encouraged to place our hope when all is said and done? If fear isn’t to be our motive for staying the course – what is, according to v24?
I’ve really been challenged and encouraged by this series – hope you have too. See you Sunday!