2021 – The Others
Congratulations, we have finished another of the books in the New Testament which I had not preached before… we finished 3 John. We have one more no-chapter book to cover. Remember, a no chapter book only has verses and is not divided into chapters. The last one is… Jude. The name Jude, Judas and Judah are the same in Greek. I’m not sure why translators use different English names. This Judas is the Other Judas, not the one who betrayed Jesus.
Let’s jump into the first verse…
Jude 1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
Jude identifies himself in the first verse as… a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James. He is being a bit humble. Jude is also a half-brother to Jesus. Matthew tells us Jesus had four brothers… half-brothers.
Matthew 13:53-56 And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?"
We know of James, the author of the New Testament book by his name. This Judas is another brother who wrote a letter which is in the New Testament… Jude It is interesting that these brothers did not believe in Jesus during his family-time on earth… but after, the resurrection they became leaders in the church and writers in the Bible.
In this first verse, we also, find who Jude is writing to. Jude is addressed to those who are called, loved and kept. We don’t know who exactly this is. But from the content of the book and who Jude was, we believe this letter is written to a Messianic-Jewish community in the early 60s AD. This is a group of mostly Jews who believed Jesus was in fact their Messiah.
The recipients of the letter of Jude are… called, loved, and kept. This is a wonderful way to begin a letter. It is a wonderful way to think of Christians. It is a wonderful way to view yourself… called, loved, kept. What is interesting is the actual Greek word order is… in God the Father loved, and Jesus Christ kept; called.
Wow… We live in the container of our father’s love. We are preserved for Jesus. We are invited to be… a pickle. It’s a pickle metaphor. We are cucumbers who have been given an invitation to live in the juice of God’s love being preserved for Jesus. I doubt Jude had pickles in mind… but it is the thought… We are being kept in the Father’s love for the day when Jesus opens the jar to enjoy us throughout the next age.
I’m liking Jude so far! The metaphor continues in verse 2... sort of.
Jude 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied.
We are not just ordinary pickles. We are sweet pickles. There is extra spicy mercy and sweet peace and double doses of love in our jar. God’s compassion gives us peace in the jar. We can relax because His love is multiplied making sure we being kept for Christ!
Jude offers a wonderful blessing on those to whom he is writing… mercy… peace… love be multiplied.
So far still fun. Verse 3 begins to get to the reason Jude is writing to his sweet pickles.
Jude 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write…
Jude wanted to write to his sweet pickles about all the fun stuff they had in common.
--Their rich heritage as the fulfilment of God’s promises to Abraham… In Christ they were the covenant fulfillment of God’s righteousness!
--Maybe, Jude had wanted to explore how all the prophets foretold of Jesus.
--Perhaps, Jude wanted to write about the abundant life in their Messiah.
--Jude wanted to write an extensive letter about them being the sweet pickles for Jesus.
We don’t know what all Jude has eager to write about. Instead, Jude felt it necessary to, write this short letter with a different invitation; a different urgency…
NIV Jude 3 I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
The metaphor changes… from sweet pickles to slap-fighting a tree. Notice several other translations for contend…
YLT Jude 3 I had necessity to write to you, exhorting to agonize for the faith…
NJB Jude 3 encouraging you to fight hard for the faith…
NLT Jude 3 urging you to defend the truth of the Good News.
NTW Jude 3 to urge you to struggle hard for the faith…
They were being kept for Christ as sweet pickles, but something was threating their faith. Something was fighting against the faith that was once for all handed to the saints. Jude urges them to not give up easily…
BMCT Jude 3 don’t let them take you alive
The core-doctrines of their faith were being challenged. These core-doctrines that were graciously handed to them by our Lord and his apostles were being tested. These core-doctrines were worth fighting for. Jude is urging his people to rise up and fight for the essence of their Christianity!
Theology is important. The core-doctrines of the grace, the mercy, the peace, the love of God, were being perverted into something ugly. So, instead of Jude writing a fun letter to his sweet pickles, he was having to write about contenting for the faith. Their core, as Christians, was being challenged. They must rise up and fight! Jude is not a letter about sweet pickles. It is a slap fight a tree kind of letter.
Let’s do one more verse this morning. Jude explains the problem.
YLT Jude 4 For there did come in unobserved certain men, long ago having been written beforehand to this judgment, impious, the grace of our God perverting to lasciviousness, and our only Master, God, and Lord -- Jesus Christ – denying.
There, may be, few things worse than perverting God’s grace. Using the grace of God as a reason to do whatever you want is terrible. Last week, we talked about every letter in the New Testament had a background. All 27 books of the New Testament are dealing with a situation; a problem. Here is what was going on in Jude.
--Sometime, a few years ago, some men became part of their congregation.
--These men were false. They had a hidden agenda to seduce the women of the congregation. They did not reveal this agenda.
--These men played it well. They kept a low profile. They earned the congregation’s trust.
--Then, they began to teach the grace of God. “God loves us. God wants us to love each other.”
--Then, they taught, “God’s love is so great he forgives all sin. There is nothing you can to do that God can’t forgive. Jesus’s death on the cross covers all sin.” So, far they are right… Jesus died because he loves all his creation. He died to make all things right.
--But the teaching began to twist this Good News, “In fact God wants us to do wrong so he can demonstrate his grace all the more. The more we sin the more God shows his love. Let’s go on sinning that grace may abound!”
--These certain men kept pressing it, “There really is no such thing as sin, really. God wants us to experience all the joys of this life. Jesus said, ‘We are to live abundantly.’ Get out and do all that you want to… because God wants you to. The grace of God demands you enjoy everything your heart desires. So, let’s get it on.”
--Then, I suspect, they began to deny our LORD, Jesus… “Jesus set the example by having all those women around him… Jesus loved the prostitutes. We do to.”
--They even slandered our LORD!
Jude’s sweet pickles were being contaminated by these creeps who were perverting the grace of God into lasciviousness!
To Jude, his sweet pickles were worth fighting for! So, the letter Jude writes is among some of the roughest words written in the New Testament. Jude is protecting the weak; preserving the truth, defending our LORD! The 25 verses of the letter of Jude are all urging this people to fight for the truth!
Over the next several weeks we will explore a variety of convicting stories from the Old Testament. I will tell you a story from the book of Enoch. We will make some assumptions about the Assumption of Moses. Don’t try looking those two in your Bibles. They are in the pseudepigrapha. Jude tells stories about what happens when the grace of God is perverted into a reason for sexual immorality.
The point is Jude does not take any prisoners in defending his people from those who would pervert his LORD’s grace.
I do want to wrap up this sermon by jumping to a couple of scriptures that answer the creeps’ theology.
1 John 1:4-2:2 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
--Sin destroys joy. Sin is sin because it hurts… someone.
--But God is light. In His light we are made pure… stay pure!
--Our fellowship with each other is dependent upon our purity with each other. Sexual immorality within the body of Christ destroys it!
--We do have forgiveness to be able to keep from sinning to be made new!
--God’s grace when understood that it is for the whole world moves us to be pure!
Paul makes the same arguments…
Romans 6:1-7 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. 6:22-23 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
--When we step out of the baptistry we have a brand-new life. Like a new car we keep it clean!
--The old self is dead don’t bring him back to life!
--We are set free… from the slavery of sin to be a slave of God!
--Christians who pervert the grace end up in death… that is result
--We instead allow the grace of God to live a life of the new age… now and forever!
God wants us to live as sweet pickles in the joy of the abundant sin-free life! We cannot allow the grace of God to be perverted into some kind of excuse to live in sin!
The message of Jude is… good theology is worth fighting for! Theology matters. Good theology leads to life! Bad theology results in bad behavior which leads to death.
Accept the Call. Live in the Love. Be Kept for Christ!
July 18, 2021
Los Alamos Church of Christ
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