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MARANATHA - what the church is about!

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Call To Worship Scripture:

Jude 17–21 ESV
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 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.
Revelation 22:20

Sermon Scripture:

Revelation 22:20 ESV
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

MARANATHA - what the church is about!

It is my desire to end this year with you church having the same heart that is expressed by the Spirit in the Word of God and the same heart that is found at the conclusion of scripture:
Revelation 22:20 ESV
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
Revelation 22:12 ESV
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.
Revelation 22:
This is the healthy heart of the healthy church: As the apostle writes:
1 Corinthians 16:22 HCSB
If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him. Marana tha that is, Lord, come!
1 Corinthians 16:22 HCSB
If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him. Marana tha that is, Lord, come!
Maranatha - Our Lord Come! was a common phrase of the early church. It was a unified desire. For some the Christmas/Holiday season sets their minds especially on that great day and coming when all the family of God will be together again.
aranatha
For many however the season of blessing holds a great risk of binding the soul to fleeting blessings.
The question is how do we cultivate a heart desire-some of and prepared for the Lords coming.
To answer this we have to understand the common battle without and within the church. The battle that the church has been battling since it’s infant stages. The battle that Paul, Peter and Jude all address.
This battle is made clear in the book of Jude. Jude is the brother of James and of Christ and he begins his letter in this way:
Jude 1–2 ESV
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Jude begins by labeling himself a slave of Christ and he after displaying his connection to James, he makes clear those whom he is addressing: It is those who are called beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. In other words those who are of the true church. Those who are kept in the faith, who know the mercy of God and the peace, the profound well-being of the soul that flows from the experience of God’s grace.
In short James in addressing the true church. This is a message for the church.
Jude 1:
Jude 3–4 ESV
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. 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 only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
There are things within the church (other than the doctrine of salvation) which must be addressed and at times even trump the addressing of salvation for the preservation of so great a salvation. Yes our hearts and minds are eager always to discuss the joys and inner-workings of salvation but there are times when churches can stick so closely to that, that they put on blinders to the reality of what is in front of them and they do it to there own peril.
Picture if you would the so called evangelical church that proudly boast that there sermons are every Sunday going to focus on the positive message of salvation rather than shepherding the sanctifying needs of the flock. The doors are proudly proclaimed to be wide open to all, and the greatest concern is to deliver a gospel that comforts rather than offends.
Here is the issue that Jude addresses.
When salvation is addressed within the church it is to be done so in order to gain a deeper understanding of the grace and peace that is in Christ Jesus and as such strengthen the perseverance of the saints.
The contending for the faith is to be primary within the church.
You cannot as a church ignore unfaithful practices of those proclaiming to be faithful.
The grace of God was being trampled in the since that unnoticed there had been those who had come in preaching that the grace of God was meant to cover our ongoing sin so that we could go on sining without worry but rather we could even do so with freedom and enjoyment. The gospel of repentance was replaced with the gospel of licentiousness.
My concern today, isn’t merely that individuals have snuck in to the church preaching this, but that in many cases such an apostasy is being spoken from the pulpit.
Now having read the entirety of the Bible this year, Judes example should make perfect since to us. Lets take his first example:
Jude 5 ESV
Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
Jude 1:
Jude 5–6 ESV
Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—
Those who did not believe....a people delivered had within it a people destroyed for disbelief. The people did not believe that God would give them the land of Canaan; consequently all unbelieving adults died in the desert without entering the promised land. Moses went to the mountain to be with God and when he returned he found the in pagan idolatry. This is the first of three examples that Jude gives of divine judgment.
Jude 6 ESV
And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—
Angels given specific realm and responsibility by God, rebelled against it and are kept bound until judgement. The first example of divine judgment hit on unbelief, the second on rebelling against the explicit command of God.
Jude 7 ESV
just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Jude
The third of the examples which brings about God’s judgment is “gross immorality”, specifically sighting sexual immorality and in Sodom and Gomorrah, that of homosexuality. Such acts brought divine wrath upon a people. We now see Jude move from disbelief, to disobedience, to perversion and not that all three bring upon one divine judgment and they enter the church through an abandonment of the faith. Of such people in verse 11 Jude says “Woe to them” sighting the coming judgment.
Then in verse 12-13 Jude gives six metephorse to describe such people currently within the church:
Hidden reefs in your love feasts
There is a shamelessness.
They feast without fear.
Instead of feeding the sheep for whom they are responsible.
Clouds without water.
Carried along by winds, by popular notions and movements they are like clouds promising moisture for the parched land. So the teachers promise soul-satisfying truth, but in reality have none to offer.
autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted
Though the autumn tree ought to be heavy with fruit, not only are they fruitless but their roots are dead- exposed
Wild waves of the sea
Waves of the see constantly turn up the trash of the ocean and so these teachers routinely church up moral filth, giving it license and even volunteering in it themselves.
Wondering stars
The star shoots across the sky and then vanishes into oblivion. So will these false teachers who though they appear for a moment they will vanish into eternal punishment.
Then in verse 17 comes the reminder to the saints. But let us review:
The issue facing us is three fold as it relates to being those who cry out with sincerety and excitment “marinatha” come Lord Jesus!
disbelief - This is displayed by disobedience and is what gives way to disobedience.
disobedience - The concern of the church moves strictly to grace rather than an understanding of what that grace is for. As such the grace becomes a liscence to sin rather than a freedom from sin.
Gross immorality - Rather than our pleasure and joy being in Christ we pursue the flesh and that which is fleeting and destroying.
These three things are not for us beloved, just as the wrath of God is not for us. We are those of the faith, not of disbelief. We are those who display our love for Christ through obedience to His Word and worship God as a Holy, perfectly pure and moral God.
And so Jude writes:
Jude 17–21 ESV
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 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.
Jude
Build yourself up in the truth of the faith
The Word of God, the true gospel handed down from the apostles rather than that of false teachers.
Praying in the Holy Spirit
Praying as taught by the Lord, the first step leads to the second
Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for Jesus
Continue the pilgrims path because you believe that Jesus is coming and is leading us unto eternal life.
This is why we will continue by God’s grace to read the entirety of His Word, to be devoted to Him in prayer, it is because we are a church that believes that Jesus is coming and what He has said is coming to pass. As such we strive by the grace of Christ (not to sin) but to walk in the love of God, waiting for Jesus. We encourage one another to do this, our doors are open to all who would in godly repentance do the same, but more than that we do this that our doors would be always open to our returning Lord Jesus.
In 2018 let us set ourselves to defend the faith by being built up in the faith, praying in the Spirit and keeping ourselves in the love of God while proclaiming: Maranatha! - come Lord Jesus - come quickly!
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