Strengthening Ourselves In Christ
- When it comes to our Christianity are we simply sitting on the sidelines or are we contending for the faith? Are we going through the motions or are we growing in Christ?
- These are questions that motivated Jude, the brother of Jesus as he wrote his letter combatting some false teaching.
- Some may say that this letter is antiquated and that we could recognize false teaching from a mile away. Is that so? Then why are people like Oprah Winfrey so popular? Tom Cruise? Barack Obama? Joel Osteen?
- So we need to be aware of false teachers giving a cotton-candy theology. How do we do that? Fortunately, Jude gives us four keys to strengthening ourselves as Christians.
Building Ourselves Up
- The first command is to buid ourselves and that increases to each other up.
- Look at the foundation - built up on our most holy faith.
- This is a personal edification that Jude earlier claims as the faith of your salvation.
- It's the faith that is described in Scripture.
- To edify ourselves and others, we do not need to find it in the the latest self-help book, we find it only here in the Bible.
- Intimate knowledge of the Bible is a must, lest we fall prey to these false prophets. And make no mistake, without a strong Biblical foundation, you will be led astray.
- So build yourselves up in Scripture.
Praying in the Spirit
- Our next key is simple - it's prayer.
- But this isn't just the comman prayer you are used to. This is the life changing, earth-shattering, mountain-moving praying that Jesus talked about in his ministry.
- This is the Eph 6.18 praying in the Spirit.
- When we are praying in the Spirit we move beyond our self-centered prayers. Even the good kind of self-centered prayers, and we move to pray in the same vein that Christ is praying.
- Once we learn to pray the Bible, pray the will of God, pray with the Spirit doing the talking we lear to really pray stronger.
Keeping Ourselves in Jesus' Love
- The next key is to "keep ourselves in the love of God"
- This does not say that salvation is dependent upon our works, nor does it say that we are in danger of losing our salvation, but it does talk about our position in regard to God.
- We find the meat for this kay in John 15:9-10
- Where do you find your mind wandering to during the day? Do you constantly think about remaining in Chris't love? As soon as we step out we are in danger of listening to false prophets.
Waiting for the Mercy of Jesus and His Return
- Finally we are wait anxiously for the mercy of Jesus and His return.
- This is something that we as Christians often overlook.
- Why do you think Oprah's and Barack's and Joel's theology is so pleasing to people? It deals with you- and with you being satisfied in the here and now. It is in no way looking to the ultimate fate of mankind. That's too scary for many!
- When you hope and wait for the return and the mercy of Jesus you wait knowing and anticipating his return, you live in a different mindset.
- If you take your eyes off the mercy and the eternal condition of man, you look to yourself, and that's dangerous.