"A Charge to Keep" Part 2 Jude 1:17-25 Pastor Allan Wooters, D.MIn.
“A Charge to Keep” Part 2. Jude 1:17 - 25 (08.30.20)
If you were with us last week, you know I preached the first of two messages entitled “A Charge to Keep.” I’m staying with that theme delving today into the book of Jude. Again, God’s word proves sufficient to help me share my thoughts about my ministry, LWC, and the future. Spoiler alert: it’s all good! [Read text].
Jude is dealing with the need to confront false teaching and the errant teachers who spread their deceptive message. It’s a hard-nosed book but at v.17 the tone changes to one of encouragement and exhortation.
Remember Who You Are, v.17
You are loved by God! That’s what “beloved” means. That’s what you are in Christ. It is the foundation for your self-confidence, self-worth, and assurance of being heard when you pray. Remember this when others put you down. Remember this when you are tempted to measure your worth by the ideals of our world. When you feel unworthy, unappreciated, unloved – these are lies! God loves you! You are His beloved!
When you know you are loved by God, it leaks out. And here at LWC it’s very leaky! I have been on the receiving end of that love so many times. I have been blessed beyond measure in getting to serve with so many amazing people. Most of all my wife Sue. She has been such an incredible support and power for good in my life and ministry. But it’s not just to me, but her love for this church has led her to give and give of herself over and over again. In addition to Sue I must thank Tina, Brian, Kayla and Courtney for their love and willingness to serve in many capacities. And this love extends to those who through the years have blessed me and this church through their love. Thank you so much!
Right now, let’s do this: Let us not weep because it is over, but smile because it happened. It all proves who you are as God’s beloved. Never forget you are loved by God. I would love to keep talking about this love, but the text raises a challenge we must bear in mind as we move forward. It is that challenging times will come.
Know that Challenging Times Will Come, vs.18 – 19
As I noted earlier, Jude’s book is focused on false teachers. The sad fact is that such deceivers will always be with us. In addition, our culture is growing more hostile to the historic biblical faith that founded our nation. The temptation will be to compromise or totally sell out to cultural pressure to conform to the current moral status quo. You cannot do that! It is Christ you serve not culture.
Always stand on the word! Depart from it and it doesn’t really matter which track you take it will always lead you away from God. But to stand on God’s truth. To know this is the true way to life, a worthwhile, accomplished life, is thrilling. It will be a life without lack! How could you not want this? With that, here’s another challenge I see in the text: Do spiritual strength-training.
Do Spiritual Strength-Training, vs.20 – 21
“Building yourselves up.” This is what you must be doing now. It will keep you prepared for the future God has for you. Most know Sue and I love to walk, workout, and for me, to run. But those who get into fitness quickly discover they need a rounded routine. All walking or running and no strength work deforms you and even hinders your walking or running. Balance is needed in exercise. It is the same in our life with Christ. You need varied workouts if you will; different spiritual workouts to help you.
And notice carefully, Jude says, “building yourselves up.” This means you can’t expect the church to do it for you. I noted last week that when it comes to discipleship, we are first and foremost a disciple of Jesus. That means we must learn from Him by determining that we will be His disciple.
To this end, Jude gives us some directives to help us build ourselves up.
First, keep growing in your knowledge of biblical truth. We are to build ourselves up on “your most holy faith.” That is a reference to the content of what we believe. Keep learning Scripture. Keep growing in doctrinal precision. Only good things can come from this.
Second, pray. “Praying in the Holy Spirit.” This doesn’t mean speaking in tongues! It is praying with God in mind not just our wants. It is to pray depending on the Holy Spirit to guide our praying. It is not prayer as performance, as a matter of mere habit, mouthing mere words with little thought given to them but to get it done. This is prayer that looks to God, depends on God, desires to glorify God and functions mainly as an act of love towards God.
Third, keep loving God. “Keep yourselves in the love of God.” I see this as a summary statement which is fulfilled by use of other spiritual disciplines. Disciplines such as worship, meditation on God’s word, God’s world, God’s attributes, God’s works, God’s promises, and more! Times of silence, study, and service which Jude notes in his call to minister to those who are in spiritual peril (vs.22 – 23).
If all this sounds like too much, then could it be that your faith exists as William James called it “a dull habit.” But Christianity as a dull habit was not what Jesus died for.
We are in this Covid-19 crisis. The temptation to drift from God is real. Livestream makes it easy to say, “Oh, I will watch the service later.” Then you forget and forget again and soon you have disconnected, and it is hard to get back. In an article I read last week from the Southern Baptist Convention it predicted that churches face at least a twenty-percent decline in attendance after this crisis is over. In other words, twenty percent of folks will simply fall away never to return to the church. Will that be you? Now, it may be a good thing! The real Christians will be known by their faithfulness and so the church can come back even stronger than before.
But to do this you must be open for new approaches to ministry. For LWC you must allow the new pastor to try some different approaches to ministry. Remember, you can always stop doing something! As long as a proposed ministry is in line with biblical values give it a chance.
It will be challenging bringing on a new pastor during this time. This will call for extra grace on your part towards the committee folks and their work and the pastor when he arrives. But by God’s grace it can and will be done! But there’s one more word. That word is that we do all things for God’s glory.
Do All for God’s Glory, vs.24 – 25
News flash! Church isn’t about you! Yes, it should meet primarily your spiritual needs to a degree. Remember, you are to build yourself up! You do this with help from the church of course. But what I mean is that Christ’s honor, will, and values must remain front and center in our lives personally and as a church body. It is the blessing for us all to live personally and maintain the church so that we all make much of Jesus!
Doing this secures us. God is “able to keep you from falling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (v.24).
This is what I have always sought to do. This is what must continue. As you do, you can go ever upwards in the call of Christ. You can keep building, by God’s grace, a stronger, better, loving and grace-filled body of believers. My prayers are with you as you do this! Keep the charge! Look always to Jesus and God be with you!