Year 2 Day 332
Read - Jude 1v17-23
Message - Scott Woodburn
Nothing Jude has told us should be a surprise. As his letter comes to a close he reminds his readers that the Apostles had predicted the arrival of the false teachers. Jude quotes Peter directly from 2 Peter 3v3 “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” These are the people who cause divisions in local churches. They live according to the world and are devoid of the Holy Spirit (v19).
Peter and Jude agree that such individuals will be active in the period known as "the last time" (v18). When is this period of time? My brothers and sisters we are living in it. The period between Christ's Ascension and His return is known by many names. We can describe it as the "inter-advental period", the Apostle John describes it as the "millennium" and here it is called "the last time"
Regardless of how we describe this period we can be sure that we are living in the last days. Therefore we must be alert and on guard for in these days there will be scoffers inside the church. The Christian is to understand this and to respond by building ourselves up in the most holy faith (v20). How do we do this? By getting into the Word of God. The Scriptures are our meat and drink. The Word is faithful and true and the answer to the unbelief and scoffing of many in this evil age.
We are to pray in the Holy Spirit - we are God's children and by faith in Christ we have access to the Father. Let us pray to our heavenly Father in the strength of the Spirit and in the name of Christ. We are to keep ourselves in the love of God - this doesn't mean that we can lose our salvation unless we work hard to keep it - perish the thought! Instead we are to ruminate and meditate upon the love that God has for us. The scale of His love is beyond our full comprehension. Christ willingly lowered Himself and came to suffer and die for sinners. To keep this love constantly in our gaze is to rob the false teachers of any argument. What is greater than the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord? Nothing! Therefore keep yourself in the love of God.
Additionally we are to be hopeful people. Jude counsels us to wait for the mercy of Christ that leads to eternal life (v21). We are to wait expectantly and hopefully for the return of Christ. On that great day His monumental mercy to sinners will ring out throughout the universe. What a day it will be for the one who has received Christ's mercy!
As we wait for Christ's return we also have a responsibility to others. In these last days there will be those who know doubt fuelled by the lies of the false teachers. Will Christ return? Did Jesus die for me? Will I stand on the last day? To those wrestling with such questions of doubt we are to show mercy. Others will have bought into the lies of the enemy that we are to snatch them from the fire (v23a). In other words they are in great spiritual danger and we are to do our best to pluck from the flames of hell. Finally we may encounter those who seem far from the grace of God. They have believed the lies and live in direct opposition to the Gospel. We are to be merciful to such individuals whilst at the same time "hating even the garment stained by the flesh" (v23b). What does Jude mean? Show mercy to the sinner but hate sin. Be careful that you too are not enticed by the schemes of the enemy. Show mercy but keep your guard up!
It is clear that Jude doesn't believe the last times to be an era of peace and happiness for the Christian church. I suspect we have been lulled into a false sense of security over the past 100 years or so. Christianity seemed to be in a prominent position in the Western world and we probably believed that it would never be any different. We have been fools. Satan continues to rage against the church for he knows his time is short. Brothers and sisters may we wake from our slumber. These are not days of peace but days of war. Put on the full armour of God and contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
Q87 What is repentance unto life? Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.