Reader: “Build each other up”
Response: “in our most holy faith.”
Scripture: Jude 1:17-25
But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
Reader: “The word of the Lord,”
Response: “coming from the Jesus’ earthly brother who came to believe in Him.”
The author of this book is Jude, the same person named Judas in Mark 6:3, one of Jesus’ earthly brothers, another of the sons of Mary and Joseph. (Can you imagine having Jesus for an older brother??) Jude’s purpose in writing this short book is to warn the people in the early church to resist false teachers. The core of their teaching was that God’s grace covered everything so they could indulge in whatever they wanted. Mix that with the Greek view of the separation of body and spirit and you have a recipe for a disaster. Prior to the passage you just read, Jude reminded his readers of the judgment the Israelites received for their rebellion against God, the doom the rebellious angels face, and the conflagration that enveloped Sodom and Gomorrah. Jude then harkened back to the biblical characters of Cain, Balaam, and Korah, all of whom revealed ungodly behavior and wicked hearts. With those things in mind, Jude builds towards the consequences of such a mind set. People in rebellion against God breed division. In their desire to satisfy themselves and their ideas, they drive division, pitting people against other people. They have replaced God as Lord, and put themselves in that position. In truth, they have become their own god. They make their own truth. Sound familiar? This is Jude writing about 45-50 AD! People haven’t changed much in the last 2,000 years. Jude then writes an encouraging word to the believers and to us. Build each other up; pray in the power of the Holy Spirit; show mercy wisely. He touches on something rather tricky here. Jude urges his readers to show mercy, but in showing mercy to do so with wisdom, not embracing the sin in the person’s life while at the same time embracing the person. So often in our culture, embracing the person is interpreted as embracing and accepting the sin they are involved in. Hence, Jude’s words, “embrace with great caution.” Be wise and have a good day in the mission field.
Music: “O Come, Let Us Adore Him” Voctave
O Thou who art the only origin of all that is good and fair and true, unto Thee I lift up my soul. O God, let Thy Spirit now enter my heart. Now as I pray this prayer let not any room within me be furtively closed to keep Thee out. O God, give me power to follow after that which is good. Now as I pray this prayer, let there be no secret purpose of evil formed in my mind, that waits for an opportunity of fulfilment. O God, bless my enemies who have done me wrong. Now as I pray this prayer, let me not still cherish in my heart the resolve to requite them when occasion offers. O Holy Spirit of God, as I rise from these acts of devotion, let me not return to evil thoughts and worldly ways, but let that mind be in me which was also in Christ Jesus, my Lord. Amen.
―from A Diary of Private Prayer, p.31