Good morning friends and family. Please turn to John 13:34 and 35. Praise the Lord Leanna and I can share another message this week with you. Through this week, I have had so many prayer requests come in from those who have been under attack from Satan. Now I say that, though I know that many things that some are going through come from choices people are making. We cannot be living in this world and doing what the world is doing and expect to be protected. Amen? That may sound harsh to someone, but when we read His Word, and we read scriptures like this one, our hearts should change.
John 13:34-35 KJV A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
I hear from many and I have had to go through the same issues. We slam our neighbors or say words that are not kind, and in the next breath we ask God to help us in circumstances that we are going through. Amen?
There are those who think we can hit the bars on the weekends and come to church and say, “Sorry God, I shouldn’t have done that” then do it again the next week. There are those who have admitted that they have a problem with porn. I can remember a young man living in England who responded to a video that I made about 5 years ago. That video hit him so hard, and he spilled his guts out. The last I knew, about 3 years ago, after he laid these issues at the feet of Jesus, he was still porn free. Praise God!!
What are some things that you are dealing with? Is there a person that just gets under your skin? Every time he or she is near, you just have to hide or start throwing insults at them? Maybe that person just brings out the worst in you. Maybe there is an addiction you are going through. Maybe you have problems using alcohol or drugs, swearing, lying, cheating or something else that might be a downfall that you have.
Maybe you have an issue like one that I have to keep in check all the time; having patience with people, situations or things. These are all heart issues that we need to keep under control.
What about your faith? Most would say, “I have plenty of faith. There is nothing wrong with my faith. Is there?” Every attack the enemy throws at you, you immediately rebuke it in the name of Jesus. Do you praise God during an attack and then remember to praise Him during the awesome times in your life?
We have talked about faith many times. We have talked about our tongue. I have delivered messages about God hearing our prayers. Friends, all these things have to do with our walk with God. We will be held accountable for every….I said every idle word we speak. We cannot be drugging, tipping up the bottle, cursing, staying mad at our neighbor and so on and so on and expect God to be working in our lives. Whatever preacher told you that it is okay is so blindsided to the word of God. Saints, this is one of the reasons you have so many denominations and so many branches off of each denomination.
Our God is an awesome God. He knows what’s best for your life and mine. He didn’t give us the Ten Commandments to make our lives miserable.
Anyone want to share what they are? 1) Thou shalt not have any god’s before me. 2) Thou shalt not make any graven images. 3) Though shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. 4) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 5) Honor thy mother and father 6) Thy shalt not kill 7) Thou shalt not commit adultery. 8) Thou shalt not steal. 9) Though shalt not bear false. 10) Thou shalt not covet.
Friends, I have had this discussion man times with many different people. We say we want all God has in our lives. Do we? Do you really want God to do a work in you? To break you completely? Anyone asked God for that? My hand is raised. We say, “Lord, I will do whatever You ask of me. Jesus, I surrender my life to You”. Anyone? Has anyone asked that from God? That means a total life change. It means things we used to do need to stop. We cannot ask God to be Lord of our lives, then we go out and do and say the things and hang with those who have no clue what living for Jesus is all about. I’m not speaking of being with them to be a witness, but to enjoy doing the things of the world with them.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus wants you and me to develop compassion toward others. I can list many times where we are commanded to love our brothers and sisters. Love our spouses. Love our neighbors. Love our enemies. Turn the other cheek. Do unto others as you would like done unto yourself.
Please turn to the book of Jude. While everyone is turning to this very short book I want to ask a question. How many of you have heard that truth is whatever you make of it? So why hold on to God's truth when everyone else is throwing it away? In the last couple weeks we have looked at how some extra ideas started creeping into the church. Sound familiar within many churches today? How can we cling to God’s Word in a world that's denying truth everywhere you turn? I hope from today’s message from the book of Jude, we can find out. Amen?
Reading the book of Jude last Friday I thought, how many people realize that Jude is the full brother to James and half brother to Jesus? Yet, look at the first verse of Jude.
Jude 1:1 KJV Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
He identifies himself as the brother of James, but not the brother of Jesus. He calls himself a bondservant of Jesus Christ. That one verse amazes me. A chance that most people would have tried to get into the spotlight, yet Jude is humble.
Jude 1:3-6 KJV Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (4) For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (5) I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. (6) And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Jude discusses our common salvation, but there was a need in the church for a confrontation with those who had kind of sneaked into the church. I have witnessed many times this happening. In fact, one gentleman I have seen come for a while to different congregations has tried to steer people to go to a false religion. I have seen him do this with three different churches.
These people Jude is talking about have some of their own experience, they have some of their own understanding, they've read this person and that person and they haven't spent sufficient time in God's Word to know what the truth is, but they're spreading their own brand of understanding. And Jude says, "You've got to watch those people because they are like clouds without rain." In other words, they make a big splash but there is no substance to what they do.
If were to read on through this Book of Jude, We would see what happens when sexual sin runs rampant like we see happening now. He describes what has happened to certain people in the church who have followed the way of Cain, or the error of Balaam, or have gone the way of the rebellion of Korah.
Please go to verse 17. I persistently urge all who hear my voice every Sunday, here on line, or for those who faithfully have been reading online to be in the Word daily and be in prayer. Amen? I have said that we grow our faith when we are in our Bibles. We find God's heart and we learn decrement. This is what Jude is doing.
Jude 1:17-19 KJV But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; (18) How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. (19) These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
Jude says, "But you brethren, you beloved. You're not like these who have drifted away from the truth. Remember the words, which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. How they told you that there would be mockers in the last time that would walk according to their own ungodly lusts."
He is saying, “I want you to remember the words that were spoken by the apostles”. Jude is also saying to them and to us, “Read and check out what God has to say”.
He shares that the Apostles told them and us that there would be mockers in the last days, people who mock the Lord, people who mock His Word, people who see no reason for you to spend any time reading God's Word. In fact, the last couple of weeks we have seen where Apostle Paul was one of the people who warned that there would be mockers. Amen?
Church, there are so many false prophets out there. Some have been easy to pick out, like the ones that tell you a certain date and time that the world will end. Same as there are false preachers teaching a twisted word. Friends, God’s word is incorruptible seed and there are those who have twisted and perverted it. Example, there are those who say that those who don’t speak in tongues are going to hell. Wrong. Unscriptural. I heard this for the first time about 6 or 7 years ago and then in the past 3 or 4 weeks I have heard it again. Live. Standing within 15 feet from me. I have heard the opposite. Those who do speak in tongues are going to hell. I tell you, it’s man’s dumb religion that comes up with that stuff. Where is the scripture that proves either way? Friends, I have become very critical about this. I will not, purposely teach you wrong. I study very hard putting these messages together so that you and I know the truth. There may be a time that I misinterpret scripture. I may say it in a way that you might not get what I am trying to get across, and if either happen, please, please let me know.
Verse 19, in addition to remembering what the apostles taught us, we have to identify the habits of those who slip in subtly, who have very little knowledge of the Bible and certainly have not had a Calvary experience so we know who we have to minister to. Friends, that also means in the church leadership.
Here are the habits. These are sensual persons, they cause divisions in the church and it's evident that they are not taught by the Holy Spirit.
Now notice that they are, first of all, sensual persons. The word that is used here for sensual is only used twice in the Bible. It is the Greek word psuchikos. The only other time it's used is in James 3:15. What James describes is that wisdom that does not come from above is earthly. It is sensual. It is demonic, even. And what he means by that is that kind of wisdom appeals to the senses. Man, is that a big thing in so many churches today!
Jude is warning us to be careful of these sensual people. They get their kicks out of things that appeal to the flesh. Also, he says, “These are people who cause divisions in the church”.
Sometimes causing divisions in the church is not a bad thing. I know some churches that need some division.
I think also what Jude is saying is that these people who come in and have no scriptural knowledge, possibly unsaved, and those not led by the Holy Spirit, the church gets split wide open. And you see people go in all directions. Leanna and I have experienced that in two churches, and I believe that there is another close by ready to also go down the same path. It seems like the leadership that came in are not being led by the Holy Spirit, but by their own fleshly lusts. We must be true to the truth. We can't sacrifice truth for the sake of avoiding conflict. That's compromise.
Here's what I think we ought to do. First of all, we commit everything to God in prayer. We ask Him to help correct what needs to be corrected without creating conflict. And then we ask the Holy Spirit of God to guide our words, and actions so they both please God and benefit people in the church. We pray for those who have drifted from the truth. And after we have done all of those things, to ensure success, we compassionately confront them about what they are saying or doing that is contrary to God's Word, something that is causing division in the church. We do all the right things first before we try to confront.
Jude is a man given to talking about those who have fallen from the truth, but he's writing to those who have not. He's writing to you and me as well. And when you get to the end of this tiny little epistle, he tells you what to do so you don't fall from the truth like the others he's had to write about.
Notice in verses 20‑22, again a contrast. But you, beloved. See they operate this way, "But you beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction.
Well, there it is. What do you do to keep from falling from the truth? What is one way that I mention every week to help keep you in check? You read the Bible, one book at a time. You read God's Word every day. You spend some significant time in God's Word, just you and the Lord, and let the Spirit of God teach you because, I have to tell you, the best teacher I have is the Holy Spirit of God. Amen? I should hear Amen’s sounding like a choir. Come on, Saints. Amen?
Verse 20, he says, "Build yourself up." He says, "Pray in the Holy Spirit." Hmmm, yet being filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues, some say will send you to hell. Really?
Verse 21, he says, "Keep yourselves in the love of God." In other words, keep yourself lovable to God.
Now, the good thing is God loves you. But He may not always like you. Sound familiar? My wife will say, at times, “I love you, but right now I don’t really like you”. God loves me, but when I am not close to Him, I'm not sure how much He likes me. What I need to do is keep myself to be in a position to be loved by God. Always. And friends, that is not always easy for me. What about you? You know, when the flesh gets in the way. When events happen and you are chomping at the bit to lash out. Or a bill comes in and you did not order that. I can think of all kinds of examples, but do you catch what I am saying?
And then finally he says, "Look for the mercy of Christ returned." Be kind to some people because you will make a difference in the lives of those people. There are some back sliders that simply need you to show them a little compassion. There are some unsaved that said, “No one ever told me about Jesus”. Some have heard about Christ, yet didn’t know how to be saved. Church, some of these people have sat in a congregation. It boggles my mind what is being taught in some churches. It frustrates me that people are too darn lazy to search on their own what the Bible says.
You know, not everybody that backslides is a heretic. In fact, most people are not heretics, they're just untaught. They're like the vast majority of people in churches today. They just don't know God's Word well enough. We are plagued with Bible illiteracy in the Church of Jesus Christ. Sad? Yes, indeed it is sad and that is where you and I have to be, to steer them in the right direction to God’s saving grace. Praise God!!!
Jude says, "Some of those who turned from the truth, they're out there dabbling in some of this strange business, and some of the occult and the readings of people that are probably not very helpful for them. You have compassion on them and you make a distinction in them and you drag them right back in here again and you help them." Amen? Jude is talking to us. God is talking to you and me right this moment. You know people like this. I know people like this. Friends, I know I have said this before, When God puts someone on your heart, you’d better deal with it. You may be the last chance they have.
Then he says, verse 23, "But others, you can't help but notice the contrast here, some of them you simply show a little kindness, and by showing a little kindness, you separate them. You make a distinction, you separate them from the rest of the group, and you draw them back into the fellowship. Others however, save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh”. You may be thinking, “Brother Jim, what on earth does that mean?”.
Here is what I think. Jude is suggesting that we make a distinction here. The distinction is, some have drifted a little ways away from the truth and they can be saved through your compassion. Amen?
You can go out and get a brother-in-law who is reading some wacko today and getting a little bit away from the truth. You can go out and you can love that brother-in-law back to the center of the truth, or a coworker. Whoever.
Now, you may have a son or a daughter in college who has renounced the faith because of a godless university professor. You may have a son or a daughter who is living a lifestyle that is absolutely contrary to God's Word. You have shown compassion to them and nothing has changed. What do you do then? It maybe a Pastor, assistant pastor, worship leader.
Jude 1:22-25 KJV And of some have compassion, making a difference: (23) And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. (24) 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, (25) To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Here he says there are those who have the compassion of Christ and wanting to see souls saved and living by the truth that the Bible says, yet they do it in love. I hope you see that in me. That is how I see my teaching. I may say some convicting things that really touch your heart on things you may, or may not be doing. That is God. That is the Holy Spirit tugging at your heart. I always try to teach in a loving way.
He says, verse 23, Others snatch them with fear, pulling them out of the fire. Some, you have to hand over to God. As I say often, God knows their hearts. He knows what needs to be done. It might not be pretty, but sometimes it means they need to hit rock bottom before they see the light. For those that I have sent the yellow book Praying Effectively For The Lost, there are many examples used. There are some that we need to let go and let God deal with them. God wishes that no man perish. There are some who are so brainwashed. There are those who are so stubborn. There are those that the enemy has his slimy paws hooked so deep into, that think that God will never forgive them, so what’s the use. God loves them all, just like He loved you and saved you and me. Christ died for all men and women, but we have to make that choice to give our hearts to Him and follow Him. We can accept Him, or deny Him. Simple choice, but both have an ending place. Heaven or hell.
This is a short epistle, but wow, how powerful. Amen? Friends, in closing I want you to catch some important things at the end of what Jude has to say.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God [who just happens to be] our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
Church, again I have to urge you all to stay in your Bibles. God is the same today, yesterday and forever. He is not a respecter of persons. God does not lie. He cannot lie. At the end of all these tough issues, Jude ends by focusing on Christ. He ends by focusing on the blessing of Christ. The same Jesus can keep us from stumbling today if we pay attention to what He's taught us and what He's shown us through His Word. It's the Bible that keeps us from falling away from the truth, but it's the focus on Jesus that brings us joy from reading our Bible.
Friends, there are many teachers out there teaching their brand of spirituality at us, but who's telling the truth and who's telling a lie? That's what discernment is all about and that's why you stay in God’s Word. Another thing that I mention often when witnessing to someone, pray. Ask God to give you the words. Lean on His strength.
With some people when you are witnessing, if we show them a little compassion we bring them closer to the truth. Some, however, require a little more drastic action, and the only way for us to deal with that is to tell them exactly what's wrong. And that can be a difficult situation and for me, I need to lean on the Holy Spirit, because I tend to be more of the gentle type when witnessing. You know that they are blinded by the sensual . They don't operate in the Spirit of God. They have heard some of the Bible, but are blinded by feelings. They hear the truth, but they are unstable in their walk. Sometimes, you might have to just tell them you are concerned about them. Some of them you just have to snatch out of the fire and save. Others you just want to edge them away from the crowd that they may be hanging with and just love on them.