"But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh." Jude 20-23
Believers who walk with God will recoil at the growing evils of our day. Jude wanted to write about the common salvation (v. 3), but felt compelled to write about the growing apostasy that even affected the church of his day. Most of his short letter warns of these evils and false teachings, but he does include a few words of encouragement to Christians. One such encouragement comes near the end and he directs it to concerned followers of Christ. He, in essence, shows them how to counter the evils of the day.
1) Build yourselves up in the faith (v. 20).
God’s children need to counter the evil trends of our day by growing in their faith. Jude wants us to take positive steps of growth in order to make an impact on unbelievers around us. More importantly, we cannot help others if we ourselves get swallowed up by false teaching and evil living. Instead, we need to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
How can we do that? We can begin by religiously keeping a set time each day to meet with God and pray and then read His Word. Don’t allow interruptions to interfere with this time, and if you miss a time or two, get right back on track.
Next, make sure to regularly attend worship services. I cannot stress this enough. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17). Most growth comes through an environment of community (Ephesians 4:11-14), and we can also bless others by our service.
2) Pray in the Holy Spirit (v. 20).
When God governs our lives through His Holy Spirit, we will pray for things that people really need, such as spiritual strength (Ephesians 3:16), boldness (Colossians 4:3-4), and for the Word of God to bear fruit (2 Thessalonians 3:1). We connect with God through prayer, and through prayer God strengthens our faith so that we might please Him in all things.
3) Show mercy to others (v. 22-23).
Jude next directs us to show mercy to others who have been taken captive by Satan. He wants us to reach out to them and share the love of Christ, but without getting entrapped by their sin. We need to pray for wisdom as to how to reach out to them in love and show them God’s mercy. We need to exercise care in how we reach out to others, but we do need to communicate to them God’s grace in Christ.
Through the ages, Christians have dealt with evil in different ways. Some ignore it, pretending that it will all go away. Others try to aggressively confront it, unfortunately adopting the same weapons that the world uses. But Jude, in his final words of this timely letter, directs us to wise communications that does not make us vulnerable to spiritual compromise. He also exhorts us to grow in our faith and develop a vital prayer life. Sounds like a recipe for blessing!
Posted on Fri, February 21, 2014
by Sam Petitfils