Friday 5 January 2024

  JUDE v 1-4

This Letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more mercy, peace and love.

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.  For certain people have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our Beloved only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ

This Letter was written by Jude, the brother of James and half-brother of Jesus.  

In verse 1; Jude begins his Letter by describing himself as a slave of Jesus Christ, this showed he was both a wise man and a humble one, for he was in fact a half-brother of Jesus, yet did not want to claim any favours because of this, and recognised Jesus as his Master, who he was ready to serve faithfully.

Jude tells those who had been called, those who had been touched and loved by God, and were kept by Jesus Christ. God takes the initiative of calling us to him,  those who have accepted the gospel by faith; to be loved by God is a relationship between God and the person, and also shows that God set his special love on them for salvation. Jude is telling that they will be kept and preserved from falling away.

Jude shows his concern for the ‘saints’, which in biblical terms mean all true Christians.  He was intending to discuss their common salvation, but was informed of certain men who had crept into the Church, and were teaching a false doctrine which was misleading. This was a matter of grave concern which could lead people astray.

The grace of God is a precious gift, which God freely gives to those who follow his teaching, and to those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The false teachers were giving perverted grace; they were using it to excuse sexual offences, stating that people could follow their own passions and desires, and God would readily forgive as that was his purpose. Sadly, this certainly being preached in some Churches today, and even encouraged by decisions of Church leaders.

At that time the Bible had not been compiled, but Jesus had before his ascension taught his Apostles, and told them to go into all the world, telling people of all nations to obey all he had commanded.  The message had been widely received, and was passed down by generation to generation, and any adding, subtraction or amendment was considered not to be necessary, and was specially prohibited. It was stated to have been given once, which was to be for all time.

 Jude says we who are loved by God, are wanted to be encouraged, not to be misled by false teachers. Jude considered the presence false teachers was considered to be so important, that he gave that matter his concern rather than writing about other issues.

I want to turn with you to the most important verse 3 of the Letter, and so important to us as Christians.  I urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.  This was of course referring to the words of Jesus to his Apostles, and the gospel spread around the ancient world. This was accomplished without any press, or all our modern technology.

This calls for all Christians wherever you live, to contend for the faith. To contend means you fight, and challenge all opposition. Our commitment to the gospel must be as vigorous as our opponents are to theirs.  Jesus never held back against those against him, and neither must we. Today our world is a battlefield for Christians, not  a playing field , and we must face up to those who wander from the faith, Apostate Christians, Government which wants to force the Church to do their bidding. Judiciary who cast biblical teaching aside.

 So what are we to contend for? Well, we are to contend for the faith. That is the gospel, the body of truths that make up the exclusive Christian gospel ;  It is that God sent his own Son to teach us his Word, and ultimately give his life on the Cross, by the most cruel and horrific way, so that we can be forgiven for all our sins. This means we are made righteous in God’s sight, and by his grace we receive free salvation, when we accept that Jesus made that sacrifice for each one of us, and is our Lord and Saviour. We teach that Jesus Christ is the one and only way to be accepted by God.

And that faith, says Jude, has been entrusted to the saints once for all. Now notice that little word once. It’s easy to miss, but it is extremely important. And here the passing of the gospel to the saints is, the gospel truth, a once for all act. It is a finished work. The defending isn’t finished, and the entrusting is passed on to us. In other words, there is nothing more to be added the Bible. It is not like an iphone, no updates needed.

That gospel truth which was passed on by the apostles, is set. We cannot change it or take anything away or add anything. Anyone who tries to alter that gospel truth, is a false teacher, and the Bible states will  not receive eternal life. Jude indicates that God will not ignore false teaching, and later in the Letter points out the judgement God passes on such people.  We prioritize the truth, and proclaim the truth Jesus Christ delivered through the Apostles.

The saints is used in the biblical understanding, that a saint is a person who embraces the teaching of Jesus Christ.  This is how we should accept, rather than that of the Roman Catholic practice in calling people ‘Saints’ because of service to the Church. This verse tells us our faith is not which someone has made up, but rather comes from God.  

Let us now consider the implications for us.  It must be our duty and responsibility, to guard that gospel in a very hostile world.

I cannot think of any words more necessary to deliver to Christians,  than this calling from Jude. The enemies we face are well armed, having the backing of powerful companies from Silicon Valley, California; the immensely popular social media, which poisons many intolerant minds; and a press which restricts mentioning the Church, except when a member of the clergy does something foolish. Sadly this occurs too often, and brings shame and disgrace upon the whole Church.

Many people have lost employments and college places because, someone found a statement they made sometime previously, which didn’t fit in with modern woke culture, and was relayed to their current employer who did not have the courage to ignore.

There is a worldwide attack on the Christian Church, which needs to be urgently confronted.  Authorities and Governments are imposing restrictions in almost every nation, and we have the added burden in that thousands of people, who have given up  attending Churches because of the deadly virus circulating the world, and have not returned. Now, there is the added burden in that people are refusing to attend Churches which have voted to ignore the Bible.

The church of Jesus Christ is under severe attack in a manner not previously seen, due to modern technology. Forces are striking from the outside, seeking to undermine our existence, but more insidious as we in recent times have found, the peril is within, as we have shamefully watched, men/women holding high Office in the Church betraying God’s Word.  How prophetic it was of Jude.     The world sees the Church standing for values it should have condemned.

 These are dark days for the Church. We live in a society which largely rejects God, and regards Church and Christianity as totally irrelevant to their lives.  The message of the world is that morality, which was once based on Christian principles, is now what you make it as long as you are sincere.  All the boundaries have been swept away, and the spiritual moorings have been eroded.  Every so often someone pops up calling for a back to basics campaign, but no one knows what the basics are. 

I wonder how many Christians appreciate how much the Christian Church and faith, are in fact under sustained attack from so many sources. Apart from activists in humanistic and sexual causes, we have governments activating and encouraging activities which exceed moral boundaries, and oppose all Christian teaching.

, In the United States under the present President is not so much the land of the free, as it is called.  Who could imagine a newly elected President, making his first Executive Order, would be stating boys or men who self-declare themselves to be feminine, can be allowed in female facilities and take part in female sports. Who in a televised broadcast, told parents not to be upset if their children wanted to gender  change; adding ‘your President is with you’. It is beyond most people’s intelligence to comprehend .

But across the world, in countries from China, Russia North Korea, Malaysia, Egypt and Muslim lands, Christians are put  in peril. In Victoria, Australia they are trying to prevent any biblical ethical teaching on sex, or gender change.  Europe has long given up on Christianity, especially since the European Union was created.

.The Church of England produced a promotional video  called Living in Love and Faith, which is highly controversial, giving guidance for the Church to move forward on sexual matters and marriage (I thought the Bible had done that). 

There was a call for mutual understanding, with the intention to learn and listen on LGBT issues..  This  was uploaded  on to ‘you tube’ where a representative from Christian Concern, did in fact defend the Bible’s teaching on sexual ethics.  The programme was a lost cause, when a transgender Minister from the United Reform Church, in response complained of hate speech, and reported the Christian speaker to the Police  for a hate crime.  Not much mutual understanding there .

Why the Church of England should have produced such a video is beyond understanding.  We are supposed to defend the Scriptures, nothing else. How people live is a matter for them to decide, and they will answer one day, as we all will, but this indicates how the Church is failing to defend and promote the Bible , which all we clergy promise and vow to do when ordained. We vow to banish ALL false doctrine

Billy Graham in so many meetings used as his theme, ‘sin’. That is now a word to be frowned upon, even the Church does not fully believe in sin. People think sin relates exclusively to sexual acts, but it also relates to malice, greed, envy, jealousy, lies, and crime. A reading of the newspapers show how much evil there is in the world. In the UK teenagers are shooting each other and stabbing, and one boy of only fourteen years was killed in major city of Birmingham.

It is more than coincidence that things have got so bad since religion has been pushed into the background, when schools do not have assemblies, as is required but not pursued, under law unless it is a private school. However, as in a previous sermon, I told of a headmaster in a private school with an alleged Christian ethos, reported the Chaplain to the Police Terrorist Unit because the Chaplin had stated people can express a different opinion on homosexuality, provided it was stated respectfully. The Police had more common sense than the school, for they stated no offence was disclosed.

He was fired by the school, and his bishop suspended him from the Church because he told a safeguarding worker, he wouldn’t change his firm Christian beliefs. He, an ordained Minister of the Church, was in fact stating the established  view stated by the Church..( which were commanded by our Lord)

In consideration of the facts stated above, none of which have been exaggerated, you may, and will, if truly a committed Christian, see the need to heed the words of Jude and contend for the faith, The Church has been sloth (also a sin) in not speaking out aggressively and forcefully, as some of the ethnic Churches have, notably the black Evangelical Churches.

My wife was disabled for a long time, and had Carers to help her, most of which have been black ladies, and each of those ladies has been in possession of a Bible, and not carried as an accessory. I asked one lady, who has been a great inspiration to me personally, why she thought this was so different to white ladies. She told me that black people did not always get appreciated by people, but always have been by God. What a regrettable, but factual, condemnation

Every person and organisation has the right of free speech, and that includes the Church. Any one group have no right to claim  exception to another opinion, as some activists protest strongly when people do not only support, but expect approval.

Remember the words of Paul, don’t be ashamed of your faith, do not have a spirit of timidity, and remember the words of Jesus, ‘I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME’.  And the words of Peter. ‘There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we may be saved.’   

Jesus stated he would build his Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. 

A few days ago those misguided minds of the woke world, and unfortunately within the Church, suggested we should be gender free, and call God our parent. 

In Matthew 6 the Apostles asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus replied, when you pray do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do for they think they will be heard for their many words. Pray like this our FATHER. For more than  two thousand years Christians in every country have used those words. Such are the words and teaching of Him who has authority over earth and heaven

Men fought and some even gave their lives to create the Church in this country and to provide bibles for people to know how God wants us to live. Now the Church of England is losing its reputation around the world, where Anglicans in the East and South are disassociating us from the Anglican Communion because the bishops of the Church have acted against the Word of God by allowing for blessings to be made for same sex couples who have gone through a form of marriage elsewhere. In addition, it is being celebrated and an apology has been made to LGBTQ by the Archbishops because the Church has not (yet) granted permission for actual weddings. Why we should apologise for not breaking God’s word  further, only comes back to what Jude stated,  too many false preachers. Supporters will only cry out homophobia, which shows ignorance. No restrictions or no words are used against people acting how they wish, The bishops have created an awful mess of things by failing to speak the truth, and explaining that every ordained person has vowed when ordained to preach only in accordance with God’s Word, and to banish all false doctrine. There is no animosity, and we wish all people well in arranging  their lives as they wish, but it is unthinkable and dishonourable for a member of the clergy to break their vows to God.

It has even been heard said, that God had got it wrong; to say the God all creation getting anything wrong is pure insanity.

Remember the words of St. Paul; do not be ashamed of the gospel. Let us boldly proclaim this and may God be with you and bless you.

(you are invited to make a comment)


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