Out of the Fire

Friday, March 3, 2017, 6:49 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Heart’s Desire.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Jude 1 (quoting select vv. NASB).

Contend for the Faith (vv. 1-4)

Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,

To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

So, here is the situation we are in today within the church. There are certain people who have presently crept (sneaked) into the gatherings of the church unnoticed. Now, it isn’t that they are physically invisible, but that their lifestyles are secretive, and that they put on a good show outwardly so that the believers in Jesus will think that these people are one with them in the faith. But, they are not (see description of them in next section)! They are ungodly people who turn the grace of God into free license to continue in sin. And, many of them are preachers, elders, and teachers, too. So, they are in positions of leadership and influence within the church gatherings.

What many of them have done is to change the nature of the church gatherings by opening up these assemblies to the world, advertising them and marketing them to the world, as though they are big theatre, which many of them are. Since their customer base is now the world, they engage in worldly means and methods to attract the world to the “church.” They utilize human marketing schemes (plans, tricks, gimmicks) to lure the world into these meetings and then they entertain the world in order to keep them coming back. Their goal is to be non-offensive, so the world will feel at home in the “church,” and thus they also dilute the gospel to make it acceptable.

They teach a half-truth (false grace) gospel which teaches that people can merely say the words “Jesus is Lord” and believe that he died to free us from condemnation, and to promise us heaven when we die. In addition, they teach that nothing is required of them at all – no repentance, no obedience and no submission to Christ and his cross. Not only that, but they tell them that, once they have repeated a prayer after someone, their salvation and heaven are guaranteed them no matter how they live from that point on. In fact, they tell them that God is pleased with them and that he delights in them no matter what they do, even when they are living in gross sin.

So, we are being encouraged here to contend earnestly for the faith. This means that we need to oppose and challenge what is false, and we need to proclaim what is true, and not sit in silence while the church goes down the tubes. We need to tell people the true gospel, which is that we are to turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so we can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ. We need to tell them that faith in Jesus Christ means we die with Christ to sin, and that we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). We need to tell them that Jesus died, not just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die, but that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

We need to tell them, as well, that God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. They need to know that his grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). They need to be told that faith in Jesus Christ means that we no longer conduct our lives according to our sinful flesh, but that we now live our lives according to the Spirit of God. In fact, if we live according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness), then we are liars (Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Jn. 1:6).

The faith that they teach is man-made and of human origin. But, the faith which saves us is God-given, and thus it is divinely persuaded as to God’s perfect will for our lives. If we are persuaded by God as to his will, then we will surrender to him. We will submit to his purposes. And, thus we will be crucified with Christ in death to sin and resurrected with him to newness of life, to be lived to his righteousness. We won’t have this misconstrued idea that we can keep on living however we want and still go to heaven when we die. We will know the truth, and the truth will set us free! Free from sin!

The Ungodly Persons (Summary vv. 5-16)

They:

• Indulge in gross (sickening) immorality
• Go after strange flesh (unnatural relations)
• Reject authority (are contentious and rebellious)
• Revile (insult, abuse) things they do not understand
• Follow after their own instincts, like unreasoning animals
• Have gone the way of Cain and rushed into the error of Balaam
• Are hidden reefs (hazardous obstructions) in your fellowships
• Feast (partake, dine) with you without fear
• Care only for themselves
• Are wild waves of the sea tossed by the wind (double-minded)
• Cast up their own shame (disgrace) like foam (fine bubbles)
• Are wandering (deviating, straying) stars
• Do ungodly deeds in an ungodly way
• Speak harshly against God, his Word and/or his servants
• Grumble and are fault finders
• Follow after their own ungodly lusts
• Speak arrogantly
• Flatter people for the sake of gaining an advantage
• Are mockers
• Cause divisions
• Are worldly-minded
• Are devoid of the Spirit

Build Yourselves Up (vv. 17-25)

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

So, as followers of Christ, we are to build ourselves up in our “most holy” faith. To build up is to develop, encourage and increase ourselves in our faith, but we do this only in the strength, power and counsel of the Holy Spirit who dwells within the Lord’s true followers. And, “most holy” means that we are not to be like the world, but we are to be set apart from being like the world because we are being made to be like Jesus. So, this means that we need to be walking by faith, by the Spirit, and in agreement with the Spirit, and that we should no longer be living to gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh. And, the Lord is able to keep us from stumbling, and to make us to stand strong and steadfast in our faith, too. All glory belongs to God!

So, what responsibility do we have to those who are pretending to be Christians, but who are ungodly, or who believe they are Christians because they have believed a lie? Or, to those out in the world who have made no profession of faith in Christ at all? I believe we have a responsibility to tell them the truth and to expose to them the lies they are believing. And, we must stay strong in our faith and not let them bring us down with them, even if they fiercely attack us. Then, perhaps, we may snatch some of them from the fires of hell and save them from condemnation and from a lifetime of slavery to sin, so they may know Christ and have eternal life with God.

My Heart’s Desire / An Original Work / June 29, 2013

Based off Rm. 10; Lu. 9:23-26; Ep. 4:20-24

Loved Ones, Oh, my heart’s desire
Is that you might come to Jesus.
Many appear zealous for God,
But they do not trust in Him.
They have not submitted to the One
Who saved them from their sins;
Not forsaken their sins,
Nor have they obeyed their King.

The word of the Lord is near you:
The word of faith we’re proclaiming:
That you must confess your faith
In Jesus as your Lord and King:
Believe in Him as your Lord,
And follow Him where’er He leads.
Share the gospel; be a witness,
And meet others’ needs.

Beautiful are the feet of those
Who bring the good news of Jesus:
Anyone who would come to Him
Must deny himself today;
Die to sin and self, and
Let the Spirit transform you in heart;
Put on your new self in Jesus,
Yielding to the cross.

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