“All glory to him alone who is God.”
Candle Lighter: “All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time...”
Response: “…and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.”
3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. 6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. 7 And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.
Reader: The word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.
A couple of observations to keep in mind, Jude was another son of Mary and Joseph. Second, during Jesus’ in growing up and prior to the resurrection, his own brothers did not believe in him (which we mentioned the other day). After the resurrection, however, they did believe in him and became prominent leaders in the early Church, particularly James and Jude (also called Judas Mk.6:3). Neither James nor Jude refer to themselves as an earthly brother of Jesus, but rather as a slave or servant of Jesus Christ. They point to the spiritual relationship with their half-brother. Central in this short epistle is Jude’s concern over the entrance of false teachers into the church. The lie being perpetrated was “accept God’s grace and live anyway you want, you’re covered.” Jude makes clear that it was and pre-incarnate Jesus who rescued Israel from Egypt. The tragedy was, that though God had rescued his people in miraculous ways, they failed to trust, and, as a result, died in the desert. Jude follows his account with that of rebellious angels and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Whether it was God’s chosen people rejecting His leading, angels being cast from the heavenly realm for rejecting God’s boundaries, or the completely vile pagan culture of Sodom and Gomorrah, false teaching was embraced by each resulting in eternal death and separation from God. In the afterglow of Christmas there are often “feature documentaries” on who is the real Jesus. Most often they are filled with erroneous false teaching and pseudo sources. False teachers abound in our day. The authority of Scripture is under attack. Too often it is treated in the same way the false teachers in Jude’s day addressed the theology. In our day it appears in this way: this is the way I want to live my life; this is what I believe; the way I interpret the Bible, (if I care at all what the Bible says) endorses my life-style and decisions. In Jude’s powerful words, “They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.” (v.19) Jude concludes his letter urging all believers to show mercy and share the truth.
Music: “On Christmas Night All Christians Sing” King’s College Cambridge
Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding great joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for evermore. Amen.
― Jude 24-25
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