Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday, April 3rd

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 31-32, Psalm 67, Luke 23
Today's scripture focus is Jude 1:20-21

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

John MacArthur's accompanying sermon: Survival Strategy for Apostate Times Part 2
David Legge's accompanying sermon: The Great Escape

Until now Jude has been talking about the apostates - those who have crept into the church and are spiritual terrorists.  But now he turns his focus to believers and how to combat these spiritual terrorists, and how not to fall away.

Legge makes the point that this is not tips on how not to fall away from the faith because God alone is able to keep us right through to the end, and He will, if we are true and sincere believers.  But rather this is talking about how to avoid becoming a backslidden Christian, and ineffectual Christian.  Obviously espousing the once saved you can never lose your salvation viewpoint.

First, it is clear that it is our responsibility to build up our faith (through the power of the Holy Spirit, of course).  We are to test what is taught and compare those teachings to the Word of God.  We are not supposed to only open our Bible Sunday mornings as the pastor teaches and just blindly accept what he says.  And that is our responsibility.  Nobody else can study the Word for us, only we can do that.  Only we can build up our faith.  We need to read the Bible, we need to meditate on the words and truths of the Bible, we need to memorize the Bible, and we need to study the Bible.

Secondly, we need to pray in the Holy Spirit. Legge points out three ways to pray in the Spirit.
Legge: As you look throughout the whole of the word of God and the Scriptures you find that to pray in the Spirit, first of all, is to pray in the will of God upon the word of God. Taking the promises of God and claiming them, knowing that you are praying in His will, according to His sovereign plan. Secondly, it is to pray in surrender to the Spirit of God. When your life is totally given over to the Holy Spirit you can know that you are praying in the Holy Ghost. And thirdly, when you are walking in the Spirit.

Thirdly, we need to keep ourselves in the love of God.  This doesn't mean that we need to make sure God keeps on loving us, and it doesn't even mean that we need to keep loving God.  Legge says it's talking about fellowship with God - purposefully walking every moment in the enjoyment of the love of God. And we keep in fellowship by walking in the light.

Fourthly, we need to wait for the mercy of the Lord that leads to eternal life.  In other words, we need to eagerly anticipate His second coming.  Because when we walk with the end in mind, when we walk knowing that Jesus could return at any moment, we walk differently, don't we?

The onus is on us.  No one can do it for us.  Jude's given us the way to escape, to survive, to combat apostasy.  The question is, will we do it?

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Jude 1:22-23
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Deuteronomy 33-34, Psalm 68, Luke 24

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