I hope you all enjoyed hearing from the youth tonight
Introduce them - Grace, Madi, Abbie, Riley, Elijah, Pat, Angel
And I know they’ve enjoyed the pizza and wings and getting to worship with you
You know, if we all look far enough down the line, they will be where you are one day, God-willing....so it’s always exciting to me as their youth pastor to see them serving now as young people
And so you all, you are playing a part in their spiritual lives tonight…and I want to encourage you to continue
Which brings us to our passage tonight in Jude
Jude opens this passage with a reminder to us that in the last times there are going to be people who scoff; who mock or ridicule Jesus Christ
People who are openly against Christianity
People who are devoid of the Spirit
Well, I think we can agree that we are definitely living in a time like that today aren’t we?
I know our youth would agree…they are having to find their faith in a very difficult time…in a time where even moral values, let alone Christianity, are being attacked and re-written daily.
But we shouldn’t be shocked by this…Jude talks about it, Jesus talked about it, Peter talked about it…and so on
But we can’t just talk about it, we must be wary of it…because those types of people, as Jude tells us, long to create doubt and divisions, create these rifts amongst even believers in order to tear down our faith, to tear down our belief system, to cause us to implode
And it’s so true isn’t? I see it happening all around us daily, in the news....in fact the church I was part of in Richmond, VA, our pastor got slammed for a week because of holding to a Christian belief
Jude doesn’t leave us helpless though, he gives us so advice in how we should live in times like these
There are 4 things Jude puts forward here, and I promise these will be quick, we’ll be out of here in an hour
1. Build yourselves up in the faith
The first thing Jude lays out for us is this command to build ourselves up in the faith. Well, what does he mean by that.
You know, in , Jesus talks about the person who hears the words of God and puts them into practice, how they will be like a person who built their house upon the rock
And I read that and I see what Jude is saying, and come to the conclusion that the way we build ourselves up in the faith is by time spent in the word of God
To survive these turbulent times, we have to Know this, Love this, and Live this
We’ve got to read this book
we’ve got to study it…go deep in it
and we’ve got to meditate on it as tells us
So I want to encourage all of us, youth included....to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to this book
Jude gives us another essential that we need to have in our lives and that is the practice of prayer
James, in chapter 5 of his book, tells us that “the prayer of a righteous person has great power and is working”
He then goes on to talk about Elijah, who prayed for no rain and for 3 years and 6 months it did not rain
And if you remember that story in 1 Kings, that period of drought culminates with Elijah defeating the prophets of Baal....who were scoffers of God and people who mocked God
See, Elijah’s prayer was very specific in regards to rain, but prayer is powerful!
Do you believe it? I mean do we all really believe in the power or prayer
Prayer is the essential piece to our Christian lives
These two principles allow us to “keep ourselves in the love of God” as Jude tells us in verse 21
They keep us focused on Him
They keep us faithful to Him
They keep us forever with Him
However, Jude doesn’t stop it there, with the focus remaining on ourselves, so neither will we!
Verse 22 and 23 - READ
Derek Redmond illustration
1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain
Derek Redmond was a 27 year old, at the peak of his athletic ability
And he was lined up on the blocks, ready to run the 400 Meter sprint, as a gold medal favorite, who actually held the british record in this race.
Now, Derek had worked incredibly hard to get to this point.
Think about the coaches that had influenced his life all the way through
The personal trainers
Everything had been worked towards with incredible perseverance to get to this point
And the gun fires and the race begins and Redmond gets into his stride, and he’s positioned well
And you guys may remember this story, and then boom, all of the sudden, his hamstring pops
He had torn it, his race was over
But Redmond, not one to quit, gets up and starts hobbling the rest of the way around the track, in immense pain
And then all of the sudden, this guy shows up beside him, puts his arm around him, and helps him finish the race
It’s Derek’s dad, Jim
And he tells his son, “You don’t have to do this, you don’t have to finish”
And Derek replies, “Yes I do”
And so his dad says to him, “Then we’ll finish this race together”
And they did, they crossed the line together
So, why this story? Because I think it will help us as we finish up with verse 22 and 23
Jude tells us that as believers in these times of mockery, we, alongside our time in God’s Word and time in prayer, we have a duty to others, and that duty is this:
1. Verse 22 - Have mercy on those who doubt
2. Verse 23 - Save others by snatching them out of the fire
1. Have mercy on those who doubt - Jude is leaning towards the idea of convincing some who doubt
When I think about verse 22, I think about the role you all can play in the lives of the younger generations here at Cornerstone
Jude is referring here to believers who are maybe wavering, believers who may be giving in to the mockers and the scoffers, believes who aren’t really sure anymore of their faith…because of the times we are living in
And you yourselves may have been there at some point, and you can think back to someone who came alongside you and convinced you of the truth of God’s Word.
Jude is reminding us that we need to come alongside our brothers and sisters who are wavering, and love them towards Jesus Christ
And I want to encourage you all to do the same, to be there for those of us who need to see God’s faithfulness played out in your lives as we wonder if he’ll be faithful in ours
I think of Derek Redmond and the coach he had, the trainers
They were with Derek through the years of practice, through the doubts of whether he could even make the olympic team.
They were there to encourage, to train, to help, and so on
That’s what our younger believers need as well
2. Save others by snatching them out of the fire
Well Jude gives us one other command, to save some out of the fire
And Jude is referring here to those who are currently losing, because they don’t know Christ at all
Jude’s referring to unbelievers, people who aren’t running the race
And he gives us the second command to go and find them, and save them by sharing with them the gospel of Jesus Christ
And I think of Derek’s dad, who was in the stands watching his son race
And he left the stands, and went to his son, and walked with him
And I think it’s a great picture of what we are called to do.
To leave our comfort, leave our place in the stands, and go to those who are suffering
Jude tells us we have a calling to snatch some out of the fire by sharing with them the gospel of Jesus Christ
We all know people, I’m sure, who aren’t believers, and as we build ourselves up in the faith, and as we pray....we are compelled to help the weaker brothers and sisters and go to those who need to hear
Well, i hope you’ve been encouraged and challenged tonight.
I look out here and I see people who’s lives are evidences of devotion to God’s Word and prayer
And it’s encouraging to me…especially as the pastor of the younger generation, that they can look up to you
But I also hope youv’e been challenged, to look for those believers who need encouraging, and to find people in your life who need to hear about Jesus