HE IS ABLE
The statement I want to share with you comes from a letter that was written by Jude. It is reasonable to believe that Jude was the half-brother of Jesus -- Jude or Judas -- and, like his brother James, he did not believe in the divinity of Jesus until after the resurrection. This book was probably written between 70 and 80 A.D.
Some 2000 years ago, Jude speaks of our times. This is what he writes in the 17th verse: "Now do remember, dear friends, the words that the messengers of Jesus Christ gave us beforehand when they said there wilt come in the last days mockers who live according to their own godless desires. These are the men who split communities, for they are led by human emotions and never by the spirit of God." (Phillips)
This is a description of those who would be living in our time. I think we are certainly at an advantage to know this. It may appear that they have spiritual interest, but they do not draw their inspiration or direction from the Spirit of God.
And then Jude continues, "But you, dear friends of mine, build yourselves up on the foundation of your most holy faith, and by praying through the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves within the love of God." Now that's a very interesting expression that, although it is really God's power that keeps us, it is by our choice to seek that power that we are kept. So we do have a part. We glorify God by the willful opening of ourselves to the leading of the Lord in our lives. He is glorified by that choice. It is by His power, His direction, His Spirit, but it is to the glory of the Father that we choose Him above those who move about with human emotions and never by the spirit of God.
A key factor for us is that we are to build ourselves up "on the foundation of your most holy faith." This faith, of course, is in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ who rose from the dead and ever lives to make intercession for us. By prayer, through the Holy Spirit, we are told we will receive, sent by Jesus, the Holy Spirit (who is characterized as the helper and teacher) to teach us how to pray. "By praying through the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves within the love of God." Obviously, if we have an admonition to be kept within the love of God, it is possible for us to get outside of that circumstance. Otherwise, this statement has little relevance, does it?
"Waiting patiently for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, which will bring you to life eternal." Life eternal really begins here on earth when we have had our sins forgiven, when we have repented and turned from them and believed in our hearts that Jesus' death on the cross was for us, and that His shed blood was received by the Father as payment for the sins we have committed. Trusting that is the "holy faith" that is so important. We wait patiently for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ which will bring us to life eternal. I am so pleased that it is He who brings us to that. We aren't groping without guidance. No, He leads and He brings us to that.
Jude continues and says: "There are some whom you must pity because of their doubts." If you are a Christian, I am sure there are those who come to your mind and heart. I felt that particularly yesterday -- there is someone I really pity. That's an appropriate word.. He says "pity those because of their doubts."
"Some you must save by snatching them out of the fire." There are people who are so lost that the Christians are to reach out for them and try to snatch them, as it were, out of the fire because they are on their way to eternal punishment. Hell is characterized by Jesus as a place of fire. But "there are others," writes Jude, "whom you must pity with the utmost caution, hating the very clothes which their deeds have soiled." One has to be careful about associations. There is a time for great caution, and here Jude is saying that.
And then to end this very powerful warning to us, he has this lovely benediction: "Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glory without fault and with unspeakable joy to the only God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Before time was, now, and in all ages to come." Aren't you glad that's added? That's this time! "Ages to come. Amen."
And what is He able to do? He is able to keep you from falling This sentence suggests that it is possible to fall, but He is able to keep us from falling. And why does He do it? "To present you before His glory without fault and with unspeakable joy. To the only God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Before time was, now, and in all ages to come. Amen."
Let us put our confidence, then, in this One Who is able to keep. Let us be mindful of what He says, to be careful of association. Let us have that faith, as we commit ourselves, that we can build our lives upon that holy faith, and by praying through the Holy Spirit, we will be kept within the love of God.
Early morning homily, KPOF, 8/31/94--Dr Robert Dallenbach)
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