Living as Servants & Brothers In the Midst of Perilous Times

Today’s selected reading is found in the New Testament epistle was written by Jude who was the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James. More specifically today’s passage spans the full length of this one chapter epistle. “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied” (Jude 1-2).

 

            “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, in like manner giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they. Know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core” (Jude 3-11).

 

            “These are spots in your feasts of charity when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 12-15).

 

            “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be there who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 16-23).

 

            “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).

 

            When you come to the epistle written by Jude you will find it beginning and opening much like the epistles which were written by the apostle Paul and other New Testament authors. If you begin reading this epistle you will find that first and foremost Jude introduces himself as a servant of Jesus Christ. What’s more is that immediately after referring to himself as a servant of Jesus Christ he refers to himself as the brother of James. A SERVANT AND BROTHER! I am absolutely convinced that before we even delve into the words and language found within this epistle it is absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to this concept surrounding that which Jude speaks and understands concerning himself. In all reality I would dare say that what we find in the opening verse of this chapter is a powerful reminder and invitation to the type and quality of life we as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ have been and are being called into. If you want to truly understand that for which you were and have been called you must needs begin with the reality of being a servant of Jesus Christ. If you have received the Lord Jesus and believed upon His name you have been given power to become the son or daughter of the living God. What’s more is that not only have you been given the privilege and opportunity to be a son or daughter of the living God but you have also been given the opportunity to become a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am absolutely and completely convinced there is no greater honor than to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ in this life.

 

            I fully recognize and realize that there would be those of you who would speak of the words which our Lord Jesus spoke unto His disciples in the upper room before His betrayal and subsequent suffering. It was there in the upper room where the Lord Jesus would declare in plain and simple terms that He no longer called them servants for the servant knows not what the master does. Jesus wonderfully and beautifully declared unto His disciples that He no longer called them servants but friends—and friendship with Christ that is based entirely and altogether on obedience to and the keeping of His commandments. It would be very easy to think about and consider the reality that Jesus no longer calls us servants but rather friends, however, if you continue reading in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find that friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ and considering ourselves to be friends of and friends with Him is entirely and altogether contingent on our hearing His words and keeping His commandments. What’s more is the Lord Jesus would emphatically declare that we demonstrated our love for Him in that we keep His commandments and walk in obedience before and unto Him. This is something the apostle John would also write in his epistles when he spoke of our demonstrating and manifesting our love for the Lord Jesus by and through our keeping His commandments. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality for to do so would be to miss out on the life we have been called to live in this life.

            It is for this reason I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. Here in this particular chapter you will find Jesus together with His disciples in the upper room and delivering some final remarks before He would be betrayed by one of His own into the hands of the religious leaders of Jerusalem and Judaism and ultimately suffer and die. In the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament epistle we are indeed brought face to face with the words the Lord Jesus Christ declared concerning His no longer calling the disciples servants but rather friends—something I am absolutely convinced we have a great need to recognize and understand when reading the opening verse of the epistle written by Jude. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel of John and the fifteenth chapter:

 

            “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you no servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, yet know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the world might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:11-27).

 

            Please pay close attention to this particular reality within the gospel narrative written by the apostle John for within it we find the Lord Jesus Christ declaring unto His disciples how there was no greater love than a man would lay down his life for his friends. Jesus would then go on to declare unto His disciples that they were His friends if they did whatsoever he commanded them. This is something we have a great need of recognizing and understanding for when we think about the reality of being friends with Christ we have to recognize that friendship with Him is entirely and altogether contingent on our keeping His commandments. We cannot dare say that we are friends of the Lord Jesus Christ if we hear His words and choose not to do His commandments. We know that Jesus likened those who heard His words and did not do them as a man who built his house upon the sand. When the storm came and brought wind, rain and the waves began beating upon the house it collapsed with a great fall. This is important for us to pay attention to for not only are we likened unto foolish men who do not build their houses on the right foundation but we also cannot truly say that we are the friends of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            This reality of friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ is something we have a great need of recognizing and paying close attention to for within it we find a powerful invitation to be those who walk in obedience together with Him and to His commandments. What’s more is that when you read the words which are found in the New Testament epistle written by James we find a powerful contrast between friendship with the world and being a friend of God. In the fourth chapter of this epistle we find the author writing and speaking of friendship with the world as being enmity toward the living God and how those who are friends of and with the world make themselves enemies of the living God. Conversely, however, we find when James speaks of faith without works as being dead we see him using the life of Abraham to demonstrate how works and obedience in the sight of the living God enables one to be a friend of the living God. I firmly believe there is a great need within our hearts and lives to recognize and understand the words and language that is found in this epistle for it calls and draws our attention to the stark contrast within our own lives—a contrast that dictates and determines whether or not we are friends of the world or friends of God. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the second and fourth chapters of the New Testament epistle written by James unto the twelve tribes of Israel:

 

            “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou k now, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:14-26).

 

            There is a great need to recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we are brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding Abraham believing God and it was credited unto him as righteousness. What’s more is that Abraham believed and trusted God and demonstrated that faith through his offering Isaac his son upon the altar as a sacrifice in the sight and presence of the living God. It is here in this passage of Scripture James would go on to not only directly connect Abraham’s belief to His being justified in the sight of God and considered righteous but also being a friend of God. What we must needs recognize when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is that obedience to the command(s) and instruction(s) of the living God is indeed one of the most powerful evidences of friendship with the living God. We cannot truly say that we are friends with the living God if we do not keep His commandments any more than we can say that we are friends of the Lord Jesus Christ if we do not His commandments and keep what He has spoken. This is something we must needs acknowledge within our hearts and lives for if we wish and desire to be friends of the living God and friends of the Lord Jesus Christ we must needs be those who keep His commandments and that which we hear Him speak.

 

            Having said and written this concerning friendship of the living God and friendship of the Lord Jesus Christ I am absolutely convinced we must now turn and direct our attention to the words which are found in the fourth chapter of this same New Testament epistle. It is in the fourth chapter of this epistle we find James writing and speaking unto these saints and brethren concerning that which causes fights and quarrels among them. James would go on to speak unto them concerning the lusts which are present within their own hearts and which wage war against their members. Moreover James would also go on to write and declare unto them how friendship with the world is indeed enmity with the living God. Not only would James make this declaration concerning friendship with the world as being enmity with the living God but he would also go on to declare that any one who would make themselves a friend of and with the world makes themselves an enemy of the living God. Thus within this New Testament epistle we see a clear and present picture between friendship with the world and friendship of the living God. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for when we examine our lives we must needs recognize that we have indeed been called to be those who deliberately and intentionally choose to be friends of God through hearing His word and keeping His commandments while conversely choosing to refrain from seeking friendship with the world and being friends of the world. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found in the New Testament epistle written by James as well as the words which are found in the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle John:

 

            “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill and desire to have, and cannot obtain; ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:1-10).

 

            Consider now the words which are found in the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle John concerning loving the world and the things which are in the world:

 

            “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).

 

            The words which we find in the epistle written by James as well as which we find in the first epistle written by the apostle John bring us face to face with the tremendous contrast between friendship with the world and friendship with the living God. It is in the epistle written by James we not only learn and discover that friendship with the world is enmity with God but we also discover that anyone who makes themselves a friend of and a friend with the world simultaneously makes themselves a enemy of the living God. It is perhaps for this reason the apostle John in the first epistle calls and invites his readers and audience to love not the world nor the things which are in the world. Moreover the apostle John would go on to declare that any one who loves the world the love of the Father is not him. Not only this but the apostle John goes on to declare that all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. This would immediately be followed by the apostle John declaring unto his readers and audience that the world passes away and the lusts therein but those who do the will of God abide for ever. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful reality of our being called to be friends of the living God—and not only friends of the living God but friends of the Lord Jesus Christ. We as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ must needs understand that we have indeed been called to be those who are in fact friends of the living God and friends of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            When we read the words written for us in the first verse of the epistle written by Jude we find him first referring to himself as a servant of Jesus Christ and then a brother of James. I would dare say we ought not quickly dismiss and move past this for it presents us with a beautiful picture of that which we have been called to in this life. We would be incredibly remiss to think and even believe for a moment that we have been called to be servants of the Lord Jesus Christ and not also brothers to those who are part of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ. In all reality I would dare say that we as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ must recognize that to truly walk in the measure and manner in which we have been called we must not only live our lives as servants of the Lord Jesus but also as brothers of those members of the body of Christ. If we desire to truly be those who walk in all manner of pleasing in the sight and presence of the living God we must needs be those who are first and foremost servants of the Lord Jesus Christ and then brothers of the members of the body of Christ. Please note and understand that when I speak of being brothers of the members of the body of Christ I am also referring to being sisters of the members of the body of Christ. We as individual members of the body of Christ have indeed been called to be brother and sister to the members of the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is I would dare say that if we are first and foremost servants of the Lord Jesus Christ we can and will automatically be brother(s) and sister(s) to the individual members of the body of Christ. Oh having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the twelfth and thirteenth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints as well as the words which are found in the first epistle written by the apostle John:

 

            “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Corinthians 12:1-7).

 

            “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body: is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body: is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. N ow ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

 

            “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remember mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; Whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vainish away. For we know in part, and we prophecy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:1-13).

 

            With these words clearly before us within the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthians saints I find it incumbent to call and draw your attention to the words which the apostle John wrote in the first epistle written unto the saints which were at Ephesus. It is here within this epistle the apostle John calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth that we as the saints of God have indeed been called to love the brothers—and not only love the brothers but love the brothers as ourselves but also as the Lord Jesus Christ has loved us. I am absolutely convinced it is necessary to turn and direct our attention to the words which are found in the first epistle written by the apostle John for the words found here call and draw our attention to the wonderful reality of the love which we are to have for and toward our brother. When the lawyer came unto Jesus tempting Him asking what he must needs do to inherit eternal life and when he sought to justify himself by asking who his neighbor was Jesus would respond by delivering the parable of the good Samaritan. It is within and through this parable Jesus didn’t instruct this lawyer who his neighbor was but rather how to himself be a neighbor unto others. One of the greatest dangers found within the hearts and minds of many of the saints of God is that they are looking for and expecting others to be neighbors and brothers unto them and yet they themselves are unwilling to be a neighbor and brother to others. Jesus didn’t teach this lawyer who his neighbor was in terms of those who should do right by and unto him but rather how he himself should go and be a neighbor unto others. It is this reality that is in direct alignment with what has commonly been known and referred to as “The Golden Rule” when the Lord Jesus emphatically declared that whatsoever we would that men ought to do unto us so also we ought to do unto them.

 

            That which we find in the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle John unto the saints which were at Ephesus are incredibly important for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the love which we are to have for and toward the brethren who are a part of the body of Christ. We cannot truly call ourselves disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and at the same time despise, hate and abhor our brother. I have previously written that when the disciples accepted the invitation of the Lord Jesus to walk with and follow Him they did not accept this invitation to walk with and follow Him alone themselves but also walking together and fellowshipping with the other disciples who made the same decision within their lives. What’s more is that those who would walk with and follow Jesus—even if they weren’t numbered among the twelve—not only made the decision to walk with and follow Him but they also made the decision to walk with and fellowship with those who were of the same mind and heart. This is what is so incredibly important about the words which were found in the New Testament book of Acts concerning their being of one accord, of one mind and one heart and purpose. Oh it is having said this I now invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle John unto the saints which were at Ephesus:

            “Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the truth light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the. Light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:8-11).

 

            “IN this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brothers’ were righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him” (1 John 3:10-19).

 

            “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-21).

 

            Oh there is a great need for us to pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for that which we find within it brings us face to face with the incredible truth that we have indeed been called to be those who not only love God but those who also love their brother. The apostle John emphatically declared that we cannot say that we love the living God whom we cannot see if we do not love our brother whom we do see. The apostle John beautifully and wonderfully set forth in this epistle the wonderful truth that we as the saints of God show that we are in the love of God and that His love has been shed abroad within our hearts if we love the brethren. We as the saints of God must needs acknowledge and understand that we have in fact been called to be those who declare that we do indeed and do in fact love the brethren and it is this particular truth that is so captivating within the opening verse of the epistle written by Jude. In this first and opening verse—not only did Jude refer to himself as a servant of Jesus Christ but he also referred to himself as the brother of James. Of course we know and understand that this statement of being the brother of James is indeed a reference to being a physical and biological brother, however, I am absolutely convinced there is a spiritual application which must needs be recognize and acknowledged when reading this epistle. We know that we have been called to be servants of Jesus Christ, however, we must needs also acknowledge with our hearts and our lives that we have been called to be brothers and sisters of the brethren in this earth. It is by and through our love for the brethren that we demonstrate that we are in the love of God and that the love of the living God truly does abide and dwell within us. What’s more is that it was the Lord Jesus who declared that men can and will know that we are His disciples by and through the love we have for one another.

 

            Having written concerning the need for us as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ to be servants of the Lord Jesus Christ and brothers to the brethren within the body of Christ I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found as you continue reading in this epistle written by Jude. Immediately after writing and speaking of himself as a servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James we find Jude going on to reveal how he wrote unto those which were sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ and called. Oh please pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of scripture for within it we find two of the most powerful realities present within the hearts and lives of the saints of God and the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Within the opening verse of this epistle—not only do we encounter the reality of being sanctified by God the Father but we also encounter the truth regarding being preserved in Jesus Christ. It is this concept of being preserved in Jesus Christ that is mentioned again within this epistle and something we must needs recognize when reading it. If you want to truly understand the words and language found in this epistle you must needs recognize that Jude wrote unto these saints concerning their being sanctified by God the Father and thus cleansed and purified from the things of this world. What we must needs understand is that in addition to this process of being sanctified there is also a great need within our hearts and lives to be those who are preserved and kept by the power of the Jesus Christ. There is indeed a great need for sanctification to be present within our hearts and lives, however, we must needs recognize the tremendous need of being preserved in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            It was the apostle Paul who wrote unto the Corinthian saints that those who were in Christ were new creations and how old things are passed away and behold all things are becoming new. It was the apostle Paul who also wrote unto the Philippian saints of his confidence in the One who began a good work in them knowing that he would be faithful to complete and carry it out until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is that the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote and spoke of the Lord Jesus as being the author and finisher of our faith, thus indicating that He is both the beginning of our faith as well as the end of faith. To be both the author and finisher or the author and perfecter not only means that He is heavily involved in the whole process but also that He both began and completes the process. The apostle Peter emphatically declared unto the scattered saints which were sojourners, strangers and pilgrims in the earth that we have been given everything pertaining to life and godliness according to the power of God. This is something which we must needs recognize and understand when considering our lives as the saints of the living God for we have indeed been called to be those who are in Christ but also those who are kept and preserved by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctification is indeed a truly wonderful and powerful work which is wrought within our lives, however, we must needs understand that directly linked and connected to sanctification is the process of the keeping and preserving power of the living God. It is one thing to be saved, it is one thing to be justified, it is one thing to be sanctified, however, it is another thing altogether to be kept by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember the words which our Lord spoke concerning His disciples and how he had not lost any of them save the son of perdition? It is here within this epistle we find Jude speaking of being sanctified by God the Father and being preserved in Jesus Christ and called.

 

            If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the final verses of this passage of Scripture you will find Jude going on to write concerning Him who is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. This particular reality takes on an entirely different meaning when you consider it in light of everything Jude wrote within this particular epistle. It is within this epistle Jude writes and speaks of the false brothers, false teachers, false apostles and false prophets which were present in the world. In all reality I would dare say the words we find here int this passage of Scripture must needs be understood in direct relation to the presence of false brethren, false apostles, false teachers and false prophets. Not only this but I would also dare say these words must be understand in direct relation to the false doctrine, the false teaching and the false gospels which were present among the churches during those times. Through these words Jude invited these dear saints to be those who allowed themselves to be kept by the power of Jesus Christ that they might be presented faultless and blameless in the sight of the living God in the midst of His glory surrounded by all His holy angels. Oh it is impossible to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the dangers, the snares and the trouble that is present before and all around us in this world. What’s more is I am convinced we must needs turn and direct our attention to both the fourth chapter of the first epistle written by Paul unto Timothy as well as the third chapter of the second epistle written unto the same individual. Not only this but I would dare say we must needs turn and direct our attention to the words which are found in the second chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Peter. It is what we find within these passages of Scripture we are brought face to face—not only with the dangers and snares of the last day but also with the dangers of false brethren, false gospels, false teachings, false teachers and that which threatens to upend our faith, our hope, our confidence and our walk before and with the living God:

 

            “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).

 

            “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are thy which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-7).

 

            “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; and turning the cites of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of the uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own selves while they feast with you; having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children; which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a temptest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end if worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her walling in the mire” (2 Peter 2:1-22).

 

            It is absolutely necessary we pay attention to the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for although the early Church would experience great growth and multiplication through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit there would come a point in time when there would be dangers from without and dangers from within. Eventually the church would find itself contending with false brethren within—and not only false brethren within but also false prophets, false teachers and false apostles. This would be in addition to heresies, doctrines of demons, false gospels and a presentation of a false Jesus. It was this reality of false gospels, another Jesus and another Spirit the apostle Paul would write about in the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints as well as in the epistle written unto the churches which were in Galatia. As you begin reading with and from the third verse of the epistle written by Jude you will find him writing unto them concerning the common salvation and it being needful for him to write unto them and exhort them to earnestly contend for the faith which was delivered unto the saints. Jude would then go on to describe the reason for this contending for the common salvation and for the faith delivered unto the saints for there were false prophets, false teachers and false apostles who would creep in among them seeking to deceive and carry away men and women through false doctrines, false gospels and heresies. In fact Jude would go on to write and speak of certain men which crept in unawares who were before of old ordained to a certain condemnation being ungodly men turning the grace of God into lasciviousness and denying the only Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to not only speak of this contending for the faith but also of the keeping power of the Lord Jesus Christ. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the epistle written by Jude we must needs recognize the context surrounding that which he wrote—namely those who crept in unawares among them seeking to entangle and ensnare those who believed on the Lord Jesus and those who walked with and followed Him. Jude would urge these saints of God and would put them in remembrance—though they already knew of it—that the Lord having saved the people out of the land of Egypt afterward destroyed them which believed not. What’s more is Jude would go on to write how the angels which kept not their first estate but left their own habitation the Lord hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Not only this but Sodom and Gomorrah and the cites about them in like manner gave themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh and are set forth for an example suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. These are incredibly powerful examples which we must needs understand for although the living God is indeed able to keep those who commit themselves unto Him He is also able to destroy those who transgress, rebel and sin against His laws, His commandments, His statutes and His decrees. It is absolutely impossible to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and not see powerful examples of the Lord destroying the wickedness from the earth. What adds even more weight to this is that Jude didn’t even write or speak of the days of Noah when the living God destroyed the earth with a flood and destroyed every living thing that had breath which moved upon the earth save that which was upon the ark.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in this epistle it’s the tremendous need to earnestly contend for the faith—and not only contend for the faith but also to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We are living in dark and dangerous days in this generation and there is a tremendous need for us to guard our hearts with all diligence. Not only this but we must needs be men and women of wisdom and discernment in the midst of deception which is rampant and widespread before and all around us. We know that the Lord Jesus can indeed keep us according to His power and that He is able to present us faultless before the One who is seated upon the throne in glory, however, we must needs be those who are willing to commit and devote ourselves to Him with all readiness and perseverance in the sight of the living God. There is a great need within our hearts and lives to be those who keep ourselves unspotted from the world and who recognize that we have been called to be those who love not the world not the things of the world. We as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ must needs be those who are ready, willing and able to firmly commit ourselves into the hands and care of the eternal and living God that we might be those who are indeed presented without spot and blameless in the sight and presence of the living God in the midst of His glory and in the presence of all His holy angels.

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