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Five Commands for Christian Growth. Introduction. St. Jude gives five commands for Christian growth that will help them maintain a lively Christian life in the midst of an immoral and antagonistic society: Build yourselves up on your most holy faith. Pray in the Holy Spirit.

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  • St. Jude gives five commands for Christian growth that will help them maintain a lively Christian life in the midst of an immoral and antagonistic society:
    • Build yourselves up on your most holy faith.
    • Pray in the Holy Spirit.
    • Keep yourselves in the love of God.
    • Look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
    • Rescue the perishing.
build yourselves up in your most holy faith
Build Yourselves Up in Your Most Holy Faith
  • St. Jude speaks of a "most holy faith" to contrast it with the unholy teachings of the false teachers.
  • The building material is "your most holy faith.“
  • Sometimes we expect God to build us -- and the Holy Spirit is certainly at work to "edify" us.
  • But this building requires significant cooperation from us.
  • How do you build yourself up in your faith?
build yourselves up in your most holy faith1
Build Yourselves Up in Your Most Holy Faith
  • St. Paul reminds us, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17).
  • Our faith is built up when we listen to, meditate on, and put into practice in our lives the teachings of Christ.
  • We can do that for ourselves, through reading the Bible on a regular basis -- and not just reading, but thinking about, dwelling on, absorbing.
  • It builds up, edifies, strengthens us in our most holy faith.
pray in the holy spirit
Pray in the Holy Spirit

What does this mean?

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:15)

"Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.'" (Galatians 4:6)

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." (Romans 8:26-27)

pray in the holy spirit1
Pray in the Holy Spirit
  • "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:18)
  • The Spirit assists us in all kinds of prayers and requests.
  • We are not to pray just rote prayers, but ask God how to pray and rely upon the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit to pray effectively.
keep yourselves in god s love
Keep Yourselves in God's Love
  • Keep: preserve unharmed or undisturbed.
  • "God's love" here could be either God's love for us or our love for God.
  • This command talks about us keeping up our part of a love relationship with God.
  • Consider these verses:
  • "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matthew 24:12-13)
keep yourselves in god s love1
Keep Yourselves in God's Love
  • "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love." (Revelation 2:4)
  • "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love." (John 15:9-10)
  • Disobeying Jesus' commands means we are not abiding in His love.
keep yourselves in god s love2
Keep Yourselves in God's Love
  • No doubt there are Christians whose love has "grown cold," who have abandoned the love for Jesus they once had.
  • Worship will nurture this love when it is conducted with love and full heart toward God
  • Nurture that relationship with Him in your own private worship as well as in public worship.
  • You can rekindle the love of God back in your heart and He'll help.
look forward to christ s mercy
Look Forward to Christ's Mercy
  • Although we should live in the present, not in the past or future, but we must keep alive the flame of hope in the promises of God for the future.
  • "The mercy ... that leads to eternal life" looks back to Jesus' atonement on the cross
  • Then forward to the great judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) where we are set free, based on the presence of our names in the Lamb's Book of Life (Revelation 3:5)
  • Beyond the judgment we look to an eternity of life in the presence of God.
  • Let us look forward to that mercy and to eternal life.
rescue the perishing
Rescue the Perishing
  • We are told to look forward to God's mercy for us, but in the next verse St. Jude tells us to be merciful to those who are tempted to various degrees.
  • We are to have mercy on those who waver, who doubt, who don't have stability in their Christian walk.
  • These waverers are those who have been influenced by the teaching of the false teachers.
rescue the perishing1
Rescue the Perishing
  • Speaking figuratively, their "white garments" have been stained by their immorality.
  • The garment referred to is the one worn directly over the skin or "flesh" -- which hints a both to:
    • The physical flesh where sexual sin may have taken place
    • And the figurative use of "flesh" to refer to one's sinful nature.
rescue the perishing2
Rescue the Perishing

St. Jude warns us that in helping those who are entangled in sin, we must be aware of our own spiritual danger, lest we become accepting sin -- especially the sexual sin he seems to have in mind here.

When we help those who are caught in sin, we must do so "with fear" lest we stop hating the sin that has entrapped the sinner whom God loves.

rescue the perishing3
Rescue the Perishing
  • St. Jude likens the rescue procedure to pulling a piece of wood out of a fire that is already begun to burn it (Amos 4:11; Zechariah 3:2).
  • We have a responsibility, especially towards our brother and sister Christians, to watch out for them.
  • "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted." (Galatians 6:1)
rescue the perishing4
Rescue the Perishing
  • "My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." (James 5:19-20)
  • "If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life...." (1 John 5:16)
god s commitment toward us
God's Commitment Toward Us
  • St. Jude closes his brief letter with an amazing description of God's commitment toward us.
  • The wonderful message of the Christian gospel is found in three parts:
    • He will guard you against falling.
    • He will present you before judgment without fault.
    • He will present you with tremendous joy.
god s commitment toward us1
God's Commitment Toward Us
  • First, God will guard you against falling.
  • Are you afraid that the devil will be too strong for you? God is stronger.
  • The apostle John writes, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
  • God is guarding you. He is a hedge of protection around you (Job 1:10).
god s commitment toward us2
God's Commitment Toward Us

He instructs his angel to "encamp" around you and deliver you from your enemy (Psalm 34:7), to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:11).

As the invisible horses and chariots of fire surrounded Elisha, so God is protecting you (2 Kings 6:17).

God's guard around you is no small thing. You can rely upon Him.

god s commitment toward us3
God's Commitment Toward Us
  • Second, he will present you before his glorious presence at the judgment without fault.
  • Here it carries the figurative sense: "pertaining to being without fault and therefore morally blameless."
  • The longer I live, the more I realize that I fall short.
  • I am much more aware of my own imperfection than when I was a young man.
god s commitment toward us4
God's Commitment Toward Us
  • "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." (Ephesians 1:4)
  • "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." (Ephesians 5:25-27)
god s commitment toward us5
God's Commitment Toward Us
  • "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe...." (Philippians 2:14-15)
  • "But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation...." (Colossians 1:22)
god s commitment toward us6
God's Commitment Toward Us

“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." (2 Peter 3:14)

Of the 144,000 "...who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless." (Revelation 14:3-5)

god s commitment toward us7
God's Commitment Toward Us
  • He will bring you before his presence with tremendous joy.
  • There's a passage in Zephaniah that expresses this well:
    • "The Lord your God is with you,he is mighty to save.He will take great delight in you,he will quiet you with his love,he will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)
god s commitment toward us8
God's Commitment Toward Us
  • He loves you that much! Can you bring yourself to imagine that God himself delights in you -- you personally?
  • This scripture teaches that He delights in you as does a mother with her babies, as a grandfather constantly showing off pictures of his grandchildren.
  • He loves you with an intense and emotional love.
  • So when you finally appear before his glorious presence, he is utterly delighted to see you there and will shout with joy.
god our savior
God Our Savior
  • This is the Gospel we declare: that our God guards us, forgives us, and delights in us -- and with all who will draw close to Him through Jesus our Savior.
  • St. Jude now concludes with a doxology, words of praise to God.
  • Observe that he calls God "our Savior.“
  • Sometimes we reserve this title to Jesus the Son, but God the Father is very much our Savior, too.
god our savior1
God Our Savior
  • Next, Jude offers five words that describe God's greatness – wisdom, glory, majesty, power, and authority.
  • Following this, he offers praise through "Jesus Christ our Lord."
  • Finally, he encompasses all time with the words:
    • Before all ages,
    • Now, and
    • Forevermore.
  • Our God is great in so very many ways
  • But to us He shows his greatness in His restraint, the undeserved mercy he has shown us and in His inexplicable delight in us, His love which springs with no reason from the heart of God and knows no quenching.
  • Yes, to Him be glory, majesty, power and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord -- forever! Amen.