A Wise Investment

Investing. Such a broad topic yet so risky at the same time. Today we have many who invest their money and others who invest their time. There are those entrepreneurs who invest both their time and money into some business they believe will make it to the big time. There are others who invest their time into some sport or other hobby that helps them forget about their worries for a bit. There are some who invest themselves into giving back to their community. Regardless of what the investment may be, we all invest something of ourselves or our lives in general to something or someone we love and enjoy. Did you know that the scriptures teach us about wise investments? Christ tells us in Matthew 6:19-21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” There is nothing wrong with trying to make a wise investment with your money or even your time and efforts, but we must not let that get our focus off of the greatest investment of all. It’s time we started investing in what will never go bankrupt. If you ask any investor in wall street why they invest so much money they will tell you that they are trying to find security. They are trying to find that one investment that will allow them the security of a lifetime. Christ gives us that exact investment opportunity right there in the scriptures! A lesson I have had to learn recently is that there is no such thing as “security” in this life. Regardless of our career, our salary, our benefits or even our retirement plan, it can all be taken away in a moment. There are unfortunate individuals waking up and going to work in the morning and coming home unemployed. There are those who have spent their lives saving and working towards that perfect retirement only to have it snatched right out from under them in only a moment. Paul tells us that we are living in “perilous” times. This means that we are living in dangerous times. What you have today can be taken away tomorrow. So though there is nothing wrong with working hard and planning ahead, we have no guarantees in this life. But according to the scriptures we can make an investment that will reap eternal returns. It’s an investment that can guarantee a productive return. What is this investment? It is the investment of ourselves to the will of God. Christ told us to “lay up treasures in Heaven.” He even goes on to ensure us that it can never be stolen or corrupted. How do we make this investment? We do so by finding the Will of God and living in such a manner that pleases the Lord. If you make an investment on wall street, you must be willing to make that investment with your money with the knowledge that you may not get it back. In other words, you have to be willing to give up something very important to you with the hopes that someone else is gonna do something bigger and better with it and provide you with more in the end. The same is true of our eternal investment. We must be willing to invest to God that which is near and dear to our hearts with the faith that God is going to take that little bit that we give Him and turn it into much more than we ever dreamed possible! You can never make a return on an investment without first making the investment! Though we know that our salvation and our eternity is not based on the works of our own hands, we often lack the blessings of God because we don’t have enough faith that He will bless us. We must see it to believe it these days. James tells us in the New Testament that we have not because we ask not. We must be willing to give to the Lord that thing which we love the most. Whether it be our career, our spouse, our family, our money or even our time we must be willing to give it up to the Lord. Christ tells us in Matthew 6 that where our treasure is, there will our heart be also. So the big question is “Where’s your heart?” Christ gave us all He had. The least we can do is give Him our lives to use as He sees fit. Here in this life we must do the best we can with what we’ve got, but never let that take your focus away from giving all you’ve got to the One who gave you everything.

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Killing the Celebration

In the 15th chapter of Luke, we have some interesting stories comprised of some very interesting characters. This is the chapter of things that were lost and then found. In this chapter we can find that there is a sheep that was lost and was retrieved. There was a silver coin that was rediscovered and there was a son that was lost and then reclaimed. All three stories tell us of something or someone that was lost and then found.

This is of great significance to the child of God as it has a powerful spiritual application for us. Not only were things lost in the chapter, but every story has someone who cares enough to search and find and restore that which was missing. We hear all the time about how people “find Jesus” but in reality, it was Christ that found that them. You weren’t looking for God before you got saved. You were busy doing your own thing and being your own person. Admit it, before you got saved you couldn’t care less about the scriptures, the Savior, or the saints of God. You may have been seeking peace and truth, but that’s like trying to find the taste of pizza without trying to find pizza. The scriptures tell us that the purpose of Christ coming to this world and manifesting Himself in the flesh was to “seek and to save that which was lost.” You are saved today because Christ cared enough to seek you out and save your soul.

If you are saved, it is because the Holy Spirit of God came knocking at the very door of your heart and convicted you of your sins and showed you your need of the Saviour. Only then did you find the peace and truth that you were so fervently seeking. In John 6  are told that He will “in no wise cast out.” This means that not only does Christ seek us but He also promised that He would forgive our sins and cleanse our hearts and promised us a home in Heaven!

So it is easy for us to see how that the theme of the chapter is especially beneficial to the born again child of God. Now allow me to zoom in on a certain portion of the scripture and examine it a bit closer. In this chapter we have the widely familiar story of the prodigal son. Every bible teacher, pastor, evangelist, sunday school teacher and bible professor has at one time or another taught or preached on the prodigal son. I have preached from this story all over America. I have heard outlines on the prodigal son from evangelists and pastors in most every denomination. I have heard it preached that the prodigal was backslidden and I have heard others say that he was lost. Personally, I believe that he was backslidden and not right with the father. I have personally preached in many churches and to many congregations about this prodigal while comparing him to the modern day Christian and this is a needful and very accurate comparison. But as I look closer at this familiar story, I see another character that intrigues me and may even have a greater comparison to the modern day church than that of the prodigal.

This character is none other than the older brother. unfortunately, we often neglect to apply the principles and spiritual lessons that we can learn from this older brother. Upon further study, it is excruciatingly evident that there are many more “older brothers” in the church than there are prodigals. We are all so familiar with the happenings and the mistakes of the younger son that we have failed to see the actions of the elder son. If we could take a trip back in time and just simply observe and report the story from a third person point of view, we would see the older son as that responsible and hard working young man that every parent is proud of. He knew what was expected of him and he performed his duties without regards to pay or compensation. He simply did it because he felt that it was the right thing to do. This boy looks like a saint right now compared to his younger brother. While the younger brother is out sowing his wild oats, the older brother is busy at work on the farm. He has not failed to perform that which was expected of him while his younger brother continues to spoil the good name of the family with his dangerous way of living.

We all know that eventually the younger son comes to his senses and decides to go back home and work as a slave instead of as a son. Going back to our third person point of view we can see this worried father stepping out on the porch daily and looking far out on an old dust filled road wanting to see his boy coming down that road but all to no avail. Then one day he completed his daily morning routine and stepped out on the porch to look down that old dusty trail once more. This time he saw the figure of what he knew beyond the shadow of a doubt to be his youngest son. His boy had come back home! Oh how excited he was! He leaped off the porch and ran to meet his boy. The boy cried and repented and told his father how ashamed he was that he had lived such a wicked life and ruined the name of the family and then he told his father that he was not worthy to be called a son but wanted to work as a hired servant of his father. The ecstatic old man would have none of it! He called for the fattest calf to be killed and the best robe to put on him. He put a ring on his finger and new shoes on his feet and they began to rejoice and celebrate that the prodigal had come home!

This is where we begin to see the true colors of the elder son. This older brother didn’t like this rejoicing and this celebration. He considered his younger brother to be unworthy of such an occasion. He even told his father that it wasn’t fair that the younger son got a celebration while he continued to work in the fields. The father explained that he was celebrating the return of his son because he was lost and is now found but the older son would have none of it.

Unfortunately, this is the state of the modern day church. We have become so obsessed with the ministry that we have neglected to honour the God of the ministry. Perhaps we have become so obsessed with the church that we have turned the church into a god instead of serving the God of the church. There seems to presently be a mentality that borders on the belief that anything done for God has to take place inside the local church. Now I am not belittling the importance or the value of the local church. Scripture tells us that Christ gave His life for the church. All I am simply saying is that we have neglected to take the gospel to the streets and have kept it locked up within the confines of the local church. Just as the older son was too obsessed with the work of the field to recognize the value of the celebration of his brother’s return, we have become so obsessed with the happenings of the ministry and the local church that we have neglected to minister to those in the real world. Though we know that the biblical church is not the building but rather the body of believers inside the building, we have forgotten that the church is the last place to we need to be taking the gospel. You can take medicine to a pharmacy and discuss and learn about that medicine all day. As a matter of fact, knowing and learning about the medicine is an integral part of helping people. But nobody will ever receive any help if the medicine is never offered to those who are sick. The same concept is true of the church. Jesus said He came to seek and to save that which was lost. Christ Himself said that they who are not sick do not need a physician. He came to call sinners to repentance. We are faithful as clock work to the church and its services and that is great, but what about the person next to you in the grocery store? What about the coworker you work along side of every single day? What about your neighbor that you watch the game with and have barbeques with? Have you told them the gospel? Have you told them that Jesus loves them, died for them, and wants to save them? We’ve become so obsessed with growing the church that we’ve neglected to meet the spiritual needs of our own local community. There is presently a disconnect between the church and society and it is largely due to the neglect on the part of the church. We must not forget that our purpose here as a born again child of God is not build a big ministry or even compete with other ministries. Believe it or not, the world can see right through that front being put on by many christians. They can tell if you are real or not. The ministry is not a competition but rather a journey.  

Ask yourself daily “what can I do today to impact somebody for the glory of God?” This may be accomplished at work, at starbucks for your morning latte, during your lunch break or maybe as you meet someone in the grocery store. Being a christian is not a career or a part time job. It is a life long journey and way of life. Christ didn’t just halfway pay for our sins on Calvary so we shouldn’t give Him half hearted service by only serving Him during church services. Going to church is like going to the gas station. You receive a spiritual fill up while at church so that you can leave the church and go out into the world and society and make an impact for the cause of Christ.

So every morning as we face another day, may we not have the mindset of the prodigal’s older brother and kill the celebration of someone receiving Christ into their hearts simply because we are too concerned with the ministry to minister.

Keeping God In A Box

I was raised to believe that if you didn’t follow certain standards, then you probably weren’t saved. I was taught that if you had a tv, you were lost. If your wife wears pants then shes a reprobate. If you eat at a restaurant that sells alcohol then you’re a drunk. If you have a secular job that requires working on sunday then you are a God hating reprobate. These and many other ridiculous traditions were what I grew up hearing and believing. But as I grew older, I started seeing something interesting. The older I got, the more I realized that the churches I grew up in and around that preached all these ridiculous standards and traditions were all sitting stagnant. Nobody ever got saved in them anymore. They were never actively trying to engage the community in the things of God, though they were very quick to ridicule the community for wearing the wrong clothes or for watching tv. I noticed that these churches are crying about nobody coming to church, but they are quick to run someone off from the church for not having the correct standards. I’ve noticed that they criticize the southern baptist young people for being worldly, yet they do nothing to reach the young people in the community for Christ.
The more I sit back and watch, the more I see them putting God in their little box then preaching that nobody cares about the things of God anymore. They keep God in their box, yet complain that the church won’t grow. It’s truly sad to think that there are people that could be reached with the gospel, but the church is more interested in whether or not they have any standards. It’s a sad reality that young people are moving away from the church and toward the streets because the church refuses to let them participate in anything unless they live perfect.
Here’s a newsflash: God does not fit in your box! Why would anybody want to be a part of an orginazation or denomination that keeps God in their box and refuses to move forward for God all in the name of living right? The God that I serve can use anybody He wants to! The power of God is not limited to those who have certain standards.
Take for example the dresscode of preachers. Nothing in scripture even comes close to saying that a suit and tie is required in order to preach the gospel. Independent baptists argue that it is a respect thing. Ok. I agree that the preacher should show respect for the office he holds, but just because he isn’t wearing a suit and tie doesn’t mean that he’s not respectful. I usually wear a suit and tie when I preach or teach, but there have been times when I did not. Miraculously, God still chose to use me even in the times I wasn’t wearing a tie. John the Baptist wasn’t wearing the finest clothes of his day, yet God still used Him.
The point is that God is much bigger than your box. As christians we should strive to walk as close to the Lord as we can, but we must realize and understand that nobody is perfect. God can still use a man if he’s not wearing a tie. God can still heal a broken heart regardless of divorce. God can move amongst His people even when we’re not perfect.
Don’t put God in a box. Don’t limit the power of God. It’s not our job to police people, it’s our job to point people. We are not called to fix, but to follow. Those who keep God in a box must only endure their salvation. Salvation can be enjoyed, not endured. God’s power is not limited to a certain genre of music, a certain dress code, or a certain lifestyle. If we could truly believe that God is not limited to man’s standards, then we could really start reaching others for Christ.
There are people who are hurting. They have tatoos. They’ve been divorced. They’ve done drugs. They smoke cigarettes. They bear the marks of sin and have the regrets of living of a life without Christ, but now they just need someone to love them and point them to Christ. They don’t need to be fixed, they need to be saved. I don’t know about you, but I desire to reach those that nobody else cares about. Those that the churches deem to sinful and dirty. Those that don’t meet the church’s standards. Those that can’t afford a suit and tie. Those that have no money to give to the church. That’s the kind of people I want to reach. Trying to make sinners live right is like trying to make a cat bark. It’s just not natural. They just need Jesus and He will take care of the rest. May God help me to be willing to reach someone regardless of their clothes, their past, or their lifestyle!

4 Ways To Restore the Joy of Salvation

Have you ever just felt as if you have lost the joy of salvation that you once had? Remember when you first trusted Christ. Remember the joy and excitement that you felt brewing inside you! It didn’t matter who was around, they heard about how God saved you from Hell! You were willing and able to tell any and everybody that came along. Now church has become a dreaded chore. You’re faithful, but it won’t break your heart if you miss a service here or there. You rarely tell people about Jesus anymore. Bible reading has become a weekly thing instead of daily and bible study is almost nonexistent anymore.

Well don’t feel alone. You’re not the first Christian to ever get discouraged. You’re not the first to lose the joy of salvation. The Psalmist, David, went through the same struggle. If you study the life of David, you’ll find that David loved God. He arose early in the morning and spent precious time with the Lord. He knew how to have a powerful prayer life. Even God called David a man after His own heart. But in Psalms 51, we see a man that no longer has that joy. We see a man that is tired of his convicting conscience. We see a man that deeply longs and desires to once again have that personal fellowship with God. We see a man that desires to restore the joy of salvation.

There are many things in this life that can cause us to venture away from our walk with the Lord and will ultimately lead us to a life of misery and discouragement. We tend to consume ourselves with the affairs of this life more than we should. Though there are certainly many things that can discourage us and cause us to lose our joy, we can rest assured that the joy of salvation can be restored. Here are 4 truths to help us restore our joy.

1: A recognition

If we are to restore the joy of salvation, we must first recognize that the joy has been lost. Many churches today are dead because the pews are full of believers in denial. They have lost the joy of salvation, but their foolish pride keeps them from admitting it, therefore forcing them to live a lie. Here’s a piece advice to remember: When you backslide, you are tyically the last one to realize it. In other words, everybody else around you usually knows that something is up. Especially those who are closest to you. It may hurt your pride to admit that you have been overtaken with the affairs of this life and have lost the joy of salvaiton, but it will hurt even worse to continue living a lie. Even David said in verse 3 that his sin was ever before him. He had to first admit that he needed help before he could begin the next phase of restoring the joy he once had.

2: A Remembrance

If you want to have your joy restored, you must remember some truths. You must first remember your purpose. This is more than likely the whole reason you lost your joy to begin with. After you realize that you have lost your joy, you must realize that the joy was never about you. Your purpose was never to be anything great or to have your name in neon lights or even to preach or teach to large crowds in packed venues. Your purpose was and always will be to bring honor and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ. It was never about you. When we start thinking more highly of ourselves than we out to think, as the Apostle Paul put it, it is then that the joy begins to fade from our hearts because the joy of salvation was and always will be about the mercy, grace, and goodness of Almighty God!

When we remember our purpose we can then remember our position. Engulfing ourselves with the affairs of this life often leads us to forgetting just who we really are. We are a blessed people! As a born again child of God you are saved, sealed, and sanctified! This means that you have been saved from an eternity in eternal Hell, that because of the power of God we are no longer in danger of Hell, and that the Creator of the ends of the earth considers you worthy enough to be used of Him! There is no amount of money on the face of this planet that can give that feeling! We are His and we will soend eternity with Him! If we are willing to remind ourselves of our spiritual position, it will help revive and spark that joy!

3: A Renewing

In Psalms 51 we see David repenting. He longed once again to posess that joy in his heart. He longed to have that fellowship with his God once again. In order for that joy to be restored though, there had to be a renewing of his spirit. He asked God to “renew in him a right spirit.” He needed a heart for God. This meant that he was willing to turn from his wicked ways. This meant that David had to let God come into the most secret areas of his life and clean them up.

We say we want a heart for God, but do we really? Are you really willing to let God go into the deepest, darkest, and most secretive part of your heart and clean it all up? It is certainly no easy task. Even the Apostle Paul said he had to “die daily.” This is not a physical death, but rather one of a spiritual nature. John said in John 3:30, “He must increase, but i must decrease.” We can’t experience the wonderful joy of salvation if we are not willing to let go and let God. It’s hard. It’s not easy to give up, but God already knows the deepest and darkest areas of our hearts. If He already knows, then why should we confess it to Him? The age old saying “confession is good for the soul” plays an integral part in this truth. We confess not because God doesn’t know, but so that we are willing to lay aside that pride and be willing to admit it ourselves.

David said that his sin was “ever before him.” This meant that David needed to have a clean heart and a renewed spirit. The same is true for the modern day christian. 1John 1:9  has been called the biblical hobby horse, but it nonetheless a great truth. If we are willing to confess our sins to God and let Him come in and clean even the dirtiest areas of our lives, He will forgive us and will make us new again. That’s the kind of God we serve! He is gracious and merciful! There is a country song which says, “Daddy’s don’t just love their children every now and then. It’s a love without end, amen!” What a great truth! Though the process is painful, it’s worth every minute to have a true heart for God!

4: Finally, there is the restoration.

We have now recognized, remembered, and renewed vital areas of our heart and lives, now it is time to experience that great joy again! There are two things that took place when David had his joy restored. First, trangessors were taught their way, then sinners were converted unto God. If we lose that joy that salvation brings, then our entire christian lives will come to a complete stand still. We will not be teaching trangressors their ways nor will we be working to get sinners converted. Without that joy, we have motivation to work for the Lord. This is why it is a dread to even go to sunday morning worship.

But there is hope. That joy that you once had can be had again. You don’t have to go through this life as has been. You can have that joy in your heart again! David experienced it, and so can you! We all get discouraged from time to time. We all fall from time to time and we all lose our joy at some point in our christian lives, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can wake up with a smile on you face again. You can go about your day with right spirit and attitude again. You can enjoy life once again. A life without joy is a life lived in misery. Don’t live another day in misery! Just let go and let God. He promised that if we’ll do our part, He will not fail to do His part! Be like David and have your joy restored again! God Bless!

Russell Osborne

Don’t Let It Die In 2015!

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 3: 13-14

Here in this passage Paul is encouraging the church to move forward for the glory of God and the cause of Christ. Paul was addressing the issue back then and we are still seeing it in the church today. There are many churches that are so obsessed with the past that they can’t move forward for the cause of Christ. Though it may not be popular it still remains true that if God has forgiven you, then forgive yourself and move on. Paul had problems with the church in this passage wallowing in their own failures.

With the new year upon us, it behooves us to learn a great deal from what Paul has to say. Today we end this year. This is it. There is no going back and changing what we have done. All we can do is look ahead and learn from mistakes made and successes gained. But of more importance than ending this year is knowing that tomorrow starts a brand new year. We can’t go back and change 2014, but we can learn from 2014 and make a difference in 2015! From this passage we can learn of 3 truths that we must strive to keep alive as we bring in the new year.

As we look ahead to 2015 we must not let up on the preaching of the gospel. It is crucial that we strive even harder to reach the world with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Tomorrow there will be new years resolutions made by most people. Is reaching more people with the gospel part of your plan for the new year? As a child of God we should strive to show forth Christ in our everyday lives. When the world looks at you what do they see? What does the world read when they read you? Do they see an accomplished business professional? A successful career? Or do they see the amazing grace of the God of Heaven? As I look back on this year I can see areas in which I could have been more of a witness. I could have been more of a help. I can’t go back and change those things, but I can strive to make a difference with the new year. Don’t let the gospel die in 2015! Make the effort to reach people everyday!

We must also keep the praises of God alive in 2015. When we think of praise we automatically think of praise and worship at church, but true praise extends far beyond the realms of the church. As Christians we should have a spirit of praise about us everyday we live. We have much to be thankful for and much to praise Him for. We can all look back on 2014 and see regrets, but if we are honest we can look back and see so many more blessings. Life isn’t always easy, but in living for Jesus the blessings sure outweigh the regrets! As we go about our daily lives in the new year we must strive to develop and maintain a spirit of praise. It doesn’t mean that we must spend time on our knees praying when we are being paid to work, but it does mean that in everything we do to give thanks to the Lord. Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing.” This doesn’t mean that we can never get up off of our knees, but it means we must have a thankful heart everyday that we live. As we bring in the new year lets keep the praises of God alive.

We must also realize and understand that this could be the year that we get to see Jesus face to face. We must keep a watch toward that eastern sky because this could be the day that the Lord returns. We still have several hours left of 2014. He may still return before the new year comes, but if not we must still be prepared. It should make our hearts rejoice to know that this could be the year that Christ returns for His people. This could be the year that we finally get to see again those who have gone before us.

As wonderful as all of that is, we must also realize that we are still only one heartbeat away from eternity. If you have never been saved then bring in the new year right! Bring it in with the assurance that if the trumpet does sound in 2015, you are ready to meet the Lord! We are told by the prophet Amos to “Prepare to meet the Lord thy God.” There is no better way to start a brand new year than with a brand new heart!

May we bring in the new year with the resolve to do more for Christ and to make an even bigger impact on the lives of those around us as we strive to be more like Him!

May God continue to richly bless you in all that you do for Him!

Happy New Year!

The True Believer – A verse by verse study of Jude ( Part 5)

Verses 17-25

“But,beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. There be they who seperate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit, But ye, belved, 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. 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 ever. Amen.”

 

In these verses, Jude concludes his letter to the churches. He begins the letter by identifying the traits of the true believer, then he teaches and warns us concerning the false teacher and their apostate teachings and the judgment that they are eternally doomed to. Now Jude is giving an exhortation to the true believers.

In verse 17 and 18 he continues telling us of the prophesies of old concerning the false teachers. He tells us to remember the words that were spoken by the apostles, particularly those words of Peter and Paul concerning the false teachings that would arise. They were of high regard and deserved to be remembered. They are remembered and preserved without error. The apostles predicted and prophesied that these false teachers would be mockers in the last days. They mock the doctrines of the true believer. They have turned the truth of God into a lie and have disregarded the teachings of those who are Godly and are called to preach the gospel of Christ. They live without the fear of God and with no regard to things that are spiritual. Jude reinforces for us the truth that they continue to walk after their own lusts, just as they has been predicted to do so by the apostles.

In verse 19 Jude mentions that they seperate themselves. Not from sinners, but from the true saints of God. These are they who cause division in the church. They are worldly minded because they do not have the Spirit of God. They have not seperated themselves from their apostate teachings or from their vain worhsip, only from the ways of the true minister. They want to stand out as the next big hit. They don’t want to associate themselves with the teachings and preachings of the traditional ways. This is more applicable to modern day ministry than most realize. I understand that we are living in a different age and that things are done a bit differently than they were in years past, but the truth of God and the truth of the His Word has not changed, nor will it ever change. Men today are scared to be branded as “old time” preachers and modern day church members refuse to sit under someone who preaches the “old time religion.” The old truths are still the right truths. Our methods may have changed over the years, but God’s message is still the same. It is the message of the gospel of Christ that Jesus loves you, died for you, rose again on the third day and asceneded into Heaven, and wants to save you and have a personal relationship with you. That is the old message. That is the message which brings conviction upon the sinner. These new teachings today have no conviction because they lack the Spirit of God, which is the member of the Godhead which convicts men of their sin.

In verse 20 Jude begins his exhortation to the true believer. He exhorts the believer to build up his life and gives the means to do so. He teaches that we are to build our lives on our “most holy faith.” He has taught us about the ways of the false teachers and how that they walk after the lusts of their own flesh. Their ways are ungodly and are worldly and carnal, but we are to build our lives up on the ways of God. We are to walk in the way of the Lord in a manner which  is Godly and pleasing to the Father. Our “most holy faith” is referring to an inward holiness in the saints. It encourages them and excites them to an outward holiness. We can recall in Psalms 51 that David desired to get right with God. He wanted to once again have that intimate relationship with God that he once had. The very first thing he had to do was get his heart right. He asked God to create in him a clean heart. He knew that if he didn’t have a clean heart that nothing else would matter. The same is true for us. Repentance starts on the inside. We can clean up the outside and make it look real nice, but it is the matter of the heart that is the heart of the matter. Jude continues this thought into verse 21 teaching us that we are to keep ourselves in the love of God. This means to stay in the favor of God. We are not to be like the false teachers and live ungodly lives lacking the fear of God, but we are to walk in a manner which is pleasing to God.

Verse 22 describes those who have gone astray and have been drawen aside. These are those who are convicted and wounded in their conscience and are repentant of their sin and mistakes. To these people, we are to show compassion. I have witnessed many people who were forced away from the things of God simply because someome did not show compassion when it was needed. In verse 23 though, the situation is a little bit more extreme. Here Jude is once again referring to the false teachers. These are the ones who lead others astray and give themselves unto sin. These are the ones who should be given sharp admonitions and be dealt with harshly. It is with these false teachers that we declare the terror of the Lord and of everlasting damnation. Notice that it is with these false teachers that the terror of the Lord is being declared. With others, we are to have compassion. One trait missing in the church today is compassion. We either declare the terror of God on every person that we come across, or we show compassion when the terror of the Lord is needed. We need that balance.

Concerning the false teachers, Jude tells us that we are to “pull them out of the fire” meaning that their soul destroying doctrines should be exposed and revealed and shown publicly to them. They are to realize that they are in great danger of eternal damnation because of their apostate teachings. Jude even tells us that we are to “hate even the garment spotted by the flesh” meaning the converation and way of life for these ungodly apostates. These garments are referring to the abominable pollution of their false teachings which have spotted and infected too many.

In verses 24-25, Jude concludes his letter by exhorting the true believer to walk in the power of God. He tells us that we are walk in the ways of the One that can present us faultless before God. Only Christ can keep us from falling and present us as blameless with unspeakable joy. This is a true expression of the power of God. In verse 25 Jude ends by giving glory to the One true God of Heaven.

May we heed the warnings given to us by Jude and may we ever be mindful that there are false teachers who have crept in silently into the churches and have affected the church and the people of God with their soul destroying doctrines. May we ever find comfort in knowing that we can live a Godly life that is pleasing to the Father and that there is truth that we can lean on. “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy Word is truth.” Stick with the Word of God, and you will always have the truth!

The True Believer – A verse by verse study of Jude ( Part 4)

                                                              Verses 13-16

“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. 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.”

 

In these verses, Jude concludes his judgment on the apostate teachers and their teachings. In verse 13 he continues giving us the results of the teachings of these apostates. He tells us that they are like raging waves of the sea becaue of their swelling pride and vanity. Their world revolves around them. Beware of men whose ministry is based around them and their accomplishments. He is a false teacher because the true minister recognizes that the ministry is about Christ, not the preacher or his work.

Jude then tells us that they are foaming out their own shame. These are filthy and obscene words spewing from the mouth of these false teachers. Their language directly depicts their ministry. It is one of uncleanness, emptiness, and shame. Also in verse 13 Jude compares them to a wandering star. As we saw earlier, they shine in the beginning, but then wandering about from house to house or from church to church infecting souls with their apostasy. They wander about as a star and then pass into darkness. This is not just any darkness, btu Jude said they are reserved for the “blackness of darkness.” This is the utter darkness. This expresses the nature of their punishment as utter darkness in the scriptures is associated with eternal punishment. This darkness is “reserved” for them. God has reserved this darkness for these false teachers. Hell is meant by the “utter darkness.” Hell is forever. It is eternal damnation and punishment. It is a place where the “worm dieth not” and the “fire is not quenched.”

In verses 14 – 15 Jude mentions Enoch. He tells us that Enoch prophesied of these false teachers and their teachings. This prophesy speaks of judgment against all. This expressed definitive sentence on all and that condemnation and death would be done in the strictest manner. God will judge these men Himself. He speaks of the ungodly which are those who are without God and without the fear of God. These are they who have participated in false worship, particularly false teachers. They will be judged of all their ungodly deeds both against law and gospel. These are the deeds committed in the process of a life without the fear of God. They continually practiced these deeds publicly and in an inappropriate manner. They had seared consciences. They lived in defiance of Heaven. Beware of men whose conscience is seared. It doesn’t bother them to live in the absence of God. They have no fear of God. Their lives are “ungodly” meaning that every aspect of life for them is lived without God or the fear of God. It doesn’t bother them to sin. They can have that drink of beer or a glass wine with dinner and it doesn’t bother them. They can watch the dirty movies and laugh at the obscene jokes. They can lust after the women and not be ashamed. They are, in every aspect of the word, ungodly yet they are in the church. God will execute judgment upon them all and all those who are associated with them.

In verse 16 Jude describes them as murmurers and complainers. They are murmuring against God and against man. They refuse to walk in the way of the Lord, instead they walk in the way of their own lusts. Every thing they do is to further promote their own being, They raise themselves higher on their own pedestal. They are complaining that their salaries are not sufficient and that they are not respected enough among men. They are complaining and are never satisfied. Jude tells us that they speak “great swelling words” against God and men. This expresses their boast of knowledge and their great learning, but it is all vain and empty doctrines. They are all filled with emptiness.

Lastly, Jude tells us that they are having men’s admiration because of their advantage. This means that they are putting down on and ignoring the true ministers, but are giving great place to men of wealth, power, and prestige. This falls back on their own greediness. The apostate teacher is greedy and will spend his life promoting himself instead of preaching the gospel of Christ. As mentioned previously, the false teacher places more emphasis on walking after the lusts of their own flesh rather than the ways of God.

Here Jude has concluded his exposing of the false teacher and the judgment associated with them and their apostate teachings. Jude warns us of these men because, as mentioned in every other part, these false teachers have silently crept into the church. Their teachings and doctrines have infected the church and is having catastrophic consequences. It is imperative that we, as true ministers of Christ, start teaching the true gospel of Christ. We can learn indefinitely from the warnings given in verses 3-16 about the characteristics of these men and the judgment that they are doomed to face. Like a wandering star they shine bright and brilliantly at first, then they are on to the next big thing. The next big meeting. The next high paying pastorate. They have no care or consideration for the physical or spiritual well being of the people of God. Beware that you don’t get caught up in the lies associated with these false teachers. Stay in the word of God and walk close to God so that you can rightly divide the Word of Truth.