Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday, March 20th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 3-4, Psalm 57, Luke 13
Today's scripture focus is Jude 1:3

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

This was not the letter Jude had intended to write.  Jude had intended to write about the great things God has done in our salvation, but the Holy Spirit compelled him to write about apostasy instead. He was compelled, he had no choice.

And you want ironic?  Jude is the same name as Judas.
Who was the greatest apostate of all time? Judas.
And who did God choose to write a book warning about apostates within the church?  Jude!
That's irony for you all right!

David Legge, in his sermon The Unintentional Letter, says this (emphasis mine):

Jude is shouting, 'Beware! Beware!'. There is something that the apostle here wants these people to know! He wants them to know that Satan, Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, the Angel of Light, is alive and well! Now, that is a frightening thing. It is a frightening thing, when we think that this little book is so neglected within the church of Jesus Christ today. Indeed, this little book - perhaps you could use as strong a word to say - is hated by many. What is it? It is a call to arms! As you read the book, and read the language, the language is strong, it is harsh, it is scalding, it is severe - and perhaps that's why it's not popular because, in the politically correct age in which we live, strong language is not palatable. People don't like it, people don't like straight talking - we live in the age of 'spin' and 'spin doctors', moulding and being 'economic' with the truth. Something that is black-and-white, something that is absolute, something that is strong and harsh and scalding and severe is not popular! And in a 'mamby-pamby' church of Jesus Christ today, a cry for militant Christianity that we find within this book is not popular!

Now, of course, I'm not calling upon you all to go onto the streets and to throw stones and to shoot - that's not what militant Christianity is, that's not the call to arms that Jude is giving here. For our weapons of warfare, as the word of God says, are not carnal - we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. And we, as those who wrestle in that realm - and, may I say it, as the only ones in the world today who can wrestle in that realm! - Jude is a cry, a call to arms. Get up! Get doing! Be militant! Get fighting! Now why is Jude using such strong, severe and rousing language? Well, it's simple: the themes that Jude is taking within this book are issues of life and death. As you read the book, and as we study it in the next few weeks, you will see that what Jude is lambasting in this book is, first of all: a dishonouring attitude of Christ. Secondly: it is the deceiving of souls. I vouch to say, that there are no more things, in the eyes of God, in this day that we live more heinous than those two things. A dishonouring attitude, or regard, or view of the Lord Jesus Christ - and men and women, churches and movements around our world that are deceiving souls by the millions and leading them into an eternal hell!

We are to contend for the faith.  Fight for the faith.  Fight for the truth!  Fight for the Old Testament and New Testament revealed.

The Word of God does not change.  There is no new word from the Lord.  Our understanding of the Word can definitely grow and change as we study it and as we grow in our relationship with God.  But the Word itself does not change - nothing added, nothing taken away.

We need to fight for the truth. We have to.

Consider Paul's words in Acts 20:28-31
28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 

For three years, night and day, in tears, Paul pleaded for them to be on guard against the wolves disguised as the flock.  Three years!  Day and night!  Over and over.

This is a big deal.
Are you and I ready and willing to fight for the faith?


Tomorrow's scripture focus: Jude 1:4
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Deuteronomy 5-6, Psalm 58, Luke 14

4 comments:

Miriam said...

Maybe I am too practical and not spiritual enough, but I find it hard to pray the same prayer repeatedly. I feel like God already knows. I told him already and he doesn't forget or get absent-minded.

I know that prayer is important (and that I don't do enough of it), but I still just have a hard time grasping praying over and over for the same thing for so long. Obviously it must have been a very strong emotion or weighed very heavily on Paul's mind in order for him to spend so much time on it.

TammyIsBlessed said...

In this case I believe he was talking about teaching them, not prayer, for 3 years.

Miriam said...

Ah yes, now that I re-read that, you are correct.

Pamela said...

So true. It is a big deal and in a world that is turning from God it becomes more and more important.