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Part 1 – Saved By Grace

4 November, 2018

We continue our walk through the books of the Bible and today arrive very near the end of the Bible at the book of Jude. Like the letters immediately before it, Jude is a very short letter – one chapter long – and very much to the point.

We can easily divide the letter into two sections, which is what I will be doing this morning. There is a middle section – which I will look at first – bracketed by a beginning and end, which sort of form their own section.

Jude begins the middle section in verse 4, when he addresses/rebukes false teaching that has come into the church.

Certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Jude 4


People – supposed believers – were coming into the church and saying that because you have already been saved by grace and your whole life is covered by God’s grace, then whatever sins you commit have already been atoned for. Therefore, their logic concluded, feel free to live a life of sin because it’s already been paid for.

Paul addressed this nonsense when he wrote this to the church in Rome:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? …For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died [in Christ] has been set free from sin.
Romans 6:1-2, 6-7

ローマ人への手紙 6:1-2,6,7

James also indirectly addressed this nonsense when he wrote in his letter that:

faith without deeds is useless.
James 2:20

ヤコブの手紙 2:20

Those who confess faith in Christ yet continue to deliberately live in sin, show that their faith is dead. This is worth clarifying. It’s not to say that if we sin as Christians, then we’re out. Not at all! That’s the beauty of the riches of the grace of God. We can fall in sin – and we often do – and the confession of a repentant heart that has been given to Christ will be forgiven and set free every time. We have that assurance.

But for those with an unrepentant heart who believe that they can live any way they want and get away with it because of grace, James says that that person’s faith is no faith at all.

To Paul’s facetious question, “Shall I keep on sinning?” (Romans 6:1), Jude answers in very strong terms: those who do keep on sinning are “like unreasoning animals – these are the very things that destroy them.” v10

Now, some of you might not be sure. You might wonder if your repentance is genuine, if it is acceptable to God. How can you know? You might wonder: Does the persistent sin in your life render your faith dead?

In response to that, and in preparation for communion now, I offer two things. Firstly, repent. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to make our lives right before God. We’re here to receive forgiveness for our sins. We are here to receive the assurance of our salvation. And that begins with a truly repentant heart. So repent now! Through the prophet Ezekiel, God begs you: “Turn! Turn! Why will you die?”(Ezekiel 33:11) Repent with a sincere and grateful heart.

Secondly, be sure to live your life from this day on in such a faithful manner that you will never again have to question the validity of your faith.

Jude assures us that those who repent and turn to Christ in faith are saved by the grace of God through Jesus our Lord. Let’s proclaim that as we prepare to take the elements of communion.

Part 2 – Your Faith is Worth Fighting For あなたの信仰は戦う価値のあるもの

That section in the middle of Jude on the grace of God and living righteously – “producing fruit in keeping with repentance” (Mat 3:8), as John the Baptist says – is bracketed by some very encouraging teaching on the nature of our faith.

I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.
Jude 3b

ユダの手紙 3b

The Christian faith is worth contending for, just as your personal faith is worth fighting for. Where there is error or licence from within the church that would damage our faith, and the name of Jesus, we must be prepared to stand against it. And where there is opposition to our faith from outside the church – and my goodness there is sure a lot of it in the world today – never be ashamed of the gospel. Never be ashamed of Jesus.

Jesus said, “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
Luke 9:26

ルカの福音書 9:26

Never be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus.

In this world, you will be called names if you live your faith. People will say you are wrong. They will say you are deluded. They will say you are narrow-minded. They will call you bigoted. They will call you crazy. They will stop inviting you out. They will mutter behind your back. They will humiliate you in front of others.

Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:11,12

わたしの弟子だというので、悪口を言われたり、迫害されたり、ありもしないことを言いふらされたりしたら、それはすばらしいことなのです。 喜びなさい。躍り上がって喜びなさい。天の国では、大きな報いが待っているからです。昔の預言者たちも、そのようにして迫害されたことを思い出しなさい。
マタイの福音書 5:11,12

So when you are teased or mocked or rejected for your faith, don’t give up, don’t dim your light, don’t be discouraged. You’re in good company. Quietly, respectfully, gently, knowledgeably, lovingly, contend for the faith that has been entrusted to you.

Stop and think about that. God has entrusted the Christian faith, His gospel, to you. Paul describes this as a treasure that has been placed in clay pots. We are like ordinary clay pots – nothing special or fancy about us – yet we have this great treasure, the treasure of the gospel of Jesus in our hearts. God has entrusted His Word to us. Handle with care!

And that’s why Jude writes at the end of his letter, in the closing bracket of teaching, that you are to “build yourselves up in your most holy faith” (Jude 20). You are not to think of your faith as meagre or small or of little worth. Jude says that what you have been given is not just ‘some’ faith, it’s not even a holy faith. Your faith is a “most holy faith” . I want you to understand how exceptional that is. That’s how God cherishes your faith. Remember that, be affected by it and build it up appropriately.

One way that we build our faith, Jude says in the very same verse, is by “praying in the Spirit”. Prayer is so important in building up our faith. Real, personal, passionate prayer. Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God.

If you have the gift of tongues, then pray in tongues to build up your faith. If you don’t have this gift, then pray in communion with (or in the realm of ) the Holy Spirit, or pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. These things are available to all believers. Build up your most holy faith through prayer.

In verse 22, Jude reminds us to be compassionate to those who doubt. We’re told to warn and then stay away from those who deliberately live a wayward or divisive life. Have nothing to do with them. But to those who doubt, to those who struggle, to those who are weak in the faith…have mercy, be compassionate and lead them into a saving faith.

Jude finishes his letter with what is probably the most beautiful doxology in the whole Bible, and I will use this to conclude today’s teaching:

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Jude 24,25

ユダの手紙 24,25