Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday, March 25 - by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 13-14, Luke 16, Psalm 60
Today's scripture focus is Jude 1:6-7

Jude 1:6-7

New Living Translation (NLT)
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. 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.

Jude continues to warn about the consequences of disobedience and turning away from God. Jude reminds us that we have a choice, we can choose to follow God or we can move beyond the limits God sets on us and go our own way. We do have a choice. However, our decision to abandon what God desires has serious consequences: destruction.

Why do people choose to turn away? MacArthur says:
"Ignorance is one reason why people defect from the gospel. There's never really any penetrating of the truth, that's the hard ground. It just sort of bounces off them. They don't comprehend it. Persecution is another reason...people who are exposed to the gospel but do not want to pay the price of naming the name of Christ and bearing the reproach of Christ. The worries of this life, Jesus said, are another reason why the seed has a very short life and produces no fruit. And Jesus also said the deceitfulness of riches, people love wealth and materialism and prosperity in this life more than heavenly promises.
It is also true that there is another reason why people defect and that is because the teaching of Jesus is hard. John 6:60, "Many therefore of His disciples when they heard this said, 'This is a hard statement, who can listen to it?'" A few verses later as a result of this, "Many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore." The demands of Jesus were hard, that's really what I was driving at in the book Hard to Believe, which reflects the teaching we did, particularly on Luke 9, "If any man come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me." The message is hard, hard teaching. It was too hard for the rich young ruler. It was too hard for Judas Iscariot."  



Deceitfulness of riches.

It is hard.

All reasons to abandon what God has promised. All reasons to decline Jesus' invitation for salvation. All reasons to stay on the road to destruction. It's easy to stay ignorant. It's much easier to conform and avoid persecution. It's easy to be swayed by the pursuit of stuff. It's easy to follow the way of the world and ignore the way of God.

Matthew 7:13 says:
New Living Translation (©2007)
"You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.

Easy is popular. Hard is not.

MacArthur says:

There's just so much potential for apostasy, that's what I'm trying to tell you. Is it any wonder that many get on the broad road and few find the narrow way? Is it any wonder that many, many say, "Lord, Lord," but really don't know the truth and few really find the door? There are just so many potential ways to apostatize and it's so normal and so natural to the human heart. I would go so far as to say that it is not a surprise to me that the majority of people exposed to the gospel turn away from it. Is that not obvious? The majority of people exposed to the gospel turn away from it. And it seems to me that clearly there are far more people in the visible church than in the invisible church, many, many more. But some of these people that defect and some of these people that turn away remain in the church as the instruments of Satan to teach their demon doctrines and to build the visible church with its corrupt theology. Now all of this takes us back to Jude, we can go back there now. And people who have been drawn into this apostasy, this departing from the faith, apostasia, defection, revolt. Used in the New Testament always of religious apostasy. A variation of the word means divorce. And here in Jude, Jude is concerned with those who remain in the church to corrupt it with their false teaching and try to do so unrecognized, try to do so in clerical garb calling themselves preachers and pastors and reverends and fathers and priests and whatever else.

So not only are people choosing to turn from God, they are pulling people along with them for the ride. They are creeping in and corrupting and Jude is warning about the destruction that will surely follow this. He reminds them about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah:

There...In don't think there's an incident in the history of the Old Testament that made a stronger impression on the Jewish people than that of Sodom and Gomorrah because as you study the Old Testament, it is brought up again and again and again in Deuteronomy, in Amos, in Isaiah, in Jeremiah, in Zephaniah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, it's brought up again in Matthew and in Luke and in Romans and in Peter and in Revelation...of course in Jude. Two angelic visitors come to visit Lot. The men surround the house. They want to rape these men. And you know what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, what happened? God incinerated them. The other cities in that same area, according to Genesis 19, were also consumed. Some archeologists have said there is evidence of a great rupture in the earth's strata in that place. Terrific explosion in some subterranean pool of oil near the south shore of the Dead Sea where these cities were located. The gas becomes ignited and the resulting blast lifted a whole section of the valley floor into the air and dropped it down burying them all so that these cities were literally buried immediately in burning oil and sulphur. In one hour they were all gone.
And back in Jude, we know where they were going. They were undergoing the punishment of eternal fire...the punishment of eternal fire. This is hell. This is God's final, everlasting judgment on sinners, and in particular those who defect from the truth. Revelation 19 and verse 20 describes it as a Lake of Fire which burns with brimstone, very much like that which fell on them that day. Revelation 20 verse 10 it says, "The devil who deceived them was thrown into the Lake of Fire and brimstone where the Beast and the false prophet are also and they'll be tormented night and day forever." And Revelation 21:8 says, "The cowardly, the unbelieving, the abominable murderers, immoral persons, sorcerers, idolaters, all liars, their part will be in the Lake that burns with fire and brimstone." That's where it all ends.
So God has given us in this little epistle of Jude three dramatic, unforgetable, historical illustrations of apostasy and how it ends. It is a warning. It is a warning to any who are on the edge of turning away from the gospel. But it is a reminder to us of how important it is to fight for the faith, to contend for the truth because God will punish with everlasting fire those who defect from His truth and stay in His church to corrupt it. He destroyed the very people He took out of Egypt. He destroyed the very angels who once were around His throne. He destroyed the people in Sodom and Gomorrah who were exposed to Him and perverted themselves.

Yesterday, in our Adult Sunday School class, we concluded the video portion of the series "Not a Fan" and the analogy from today's lesson really hit home for me. The pastor talked about going on vacation for a month and leaving people a notebook about all the important things to know about the house: which day was garbage day, when to water and feed the pets, the details about how to work the appliances and so on. Now imagine coming home to find your house in shambles and full of garbage and dead pets and plants because none of the directions were followed. The house sitters, super glad and excited to see you home from your trip, greet you with a smile and gush about how valuable the notebook they read it every night, how they highlighted their favourite parts, and how they even had friends over to study the notebook together. As the home owner, how impressed would you be to see the mess left behind and that your instructions you left behind were not followed at all.

We have our notebook about God's expectations about how we are to live our lives while he is away. It is our job to know them, do them, and to know what is expected so we can choose wisely when confronted by false instructions not in the book. It won't be easy, it won't be popular, and it will cost us. How do we want to greet Jesus when he comes back?

Tomorrow's scripture focusJude 1:8
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Deuteronomy 15-16, Psalm 61, Luke 17

1 comment:

TammyIsBlessed said...

Great post Pam. That illustration in SS hit me too.

I don't remember reading v6 before, and that it pertains to the incident in Genesis 6:1-3 when demons possessed men who then slept with women and that, as indicated in this verse, God banished them in eternal chains.

Obvious descriptions of the judgment that awaits all who reject Christ. What a warning to unbelievers, and what a reminder for us to fight for the truth and to live it out.