Faithlife Sermons

Jude 17-23

Jude   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and they started talking about something. And then went off for a long time on something else. I mean they went on for a long time and then said something that brought the conversation back. Where you actually forgot what they had began talking about in the first place?
Morgan and I call it chasing a squirrel.
That is a good way to think about the transition Jude is making in verse 17.
Jude has been on a long squirrel chase to convince the church who these false teachers are and the danger they pose.
Description after description, example after example, warning after warning, has covered the last
Now Jude is a brilliant writer and composer. He has been strategic in the last 16 verses.
Now he is turning the conversation back to the original point from verse 3....

to write, appealing to you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.

We have spent enough time on who not to be Now Judes is saying that this is how you get after it.
This is how you contend for the faith and keep yourself where God is keeping you…Secure in Christ for ever.
We are going to look at 2 sides to this coin in this passage.
How to keep ourselves as a community 17-21
How to keep ourselves as a mission 22-23
Lets dive in Jude 17-23

17 But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They told you, “In the end time there will be scoffers living according to their own ungodly desires.” 19 These people create divisions and are worldly, not having the Spirit.


20 But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. 22 Have mercy on those who waver; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

First we see how to keep as a community
1. How to keep ourselves as a community 17-21

17 But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They told you, “In the end time there will be scoffers living according to their own ungodly desires.” 19 These people create divisions and are worldly, not having the Spirit.


20 But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.

We know he has returned to his original point in verse three here because he changes the subject of the sentence.
No longer is it “these poeple” or “these” referring to the false teachers.
Now its But YOU…verse 17 and 20...
Listen up he is saying im done talking about these guys i want to encourage you how to get after the christian life.
Illustration: There is a psychological tendency we have when we hear what not to do we actually think it.
I am sure you have seen this with the classic..” don’t think about an elephant” and what did you do?
You thought of an elephant. But if we simply tell ourselves to think of a Giraffe. Not only will you think of a Giraffe…you certainly wont think of an Elephant
Jude is doing the same thing here.
He has given incredible commentary on how to lose your faith.
He is desperate for them to focus on how to Keep IT.
In doing what they need to do to live out their faith....They will never run the risk of doing the things that kill their faith and the community they are apart of
Step one..the first imperative he has used is…REMEMBER!!!
Ecclesiastes 1:9 there is nothing new under the sun.
It may look like this is new trouble no one has ever dealt with
But remember this is exactly what you were told would happen. The sky isn’t falling.
Verse 17 he tells them it was those who were with Jesus …THE APOSTLES who had come through and told them this very thing.
Imagine Peter and John preaching here.
I would remember and take to heart everything they said verses some new thing by a flashy sales man self serving pastor who sold cheap grace.
In the words of the Shirelles from 1961...”momma said there’d be days like this”
2000 years before the 4 ladies from New Jersey Jude was telling the church “Remember you were taught this was gonna happen..from the Apsotles themselves”
He goes on in verse 20 to the Big Cresecendo the letter has been Building too.
Despite the number of words between verse 3 and 20 this here is the climax of the letter.
This is the “think of a Giraffe positive action to keep from ever thinking of an elephant from our example earlier.
Contend for the faith in how you life your life.
The whole charge centers on verse 21

21 keep yourselves in the love of God,

Keep yourselves. This is a community project.
Jude is saying in this faith family this is how you get after it.
You keep yourself as a community by first building yourselves up in your faith.

build yourselves up in your most holy faith

In the Old Testament anything that belonged to God was Holy. He is Holy
It is a set apart. Other nature uncontaminated. In line with its character and purpose.
Jude reminds us that we are in Christ and we are no longer our own.
As His we are to be set apart in every way.
Dick Lucas says
‘Jude wants to see the whole of our lives—that is, our intellects, actions, consciences, motives and imaginations—brought increasingly into conformity to God’s Word. This is a life-long activity; he says literally that we are to ‘keep on building’
The lifelong activity of building up is a community endeavor.
This is not a staff people only or leaders only activity this is a church body as a family activity
The word for build Jude uses is the word for construction of a building from raw materials.
The foundation is the Faith Once and For All Delivered.
Paul defines this foundation in Ephesians 2:20
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.
Ruth Anne Reese says here
‘In the context of Jude, where the author has just commanded the Beloved to remember the words of the apostles, building each other up can be done by reminding each other about the teachings of Jesus and the words of the apostles. The Beloved community is built upon the faithful teaching, hearing, and appropriation of Jesus and the apostles.’
This is step one of discipleship faith family.
Mark Dever says that discipleship is “Doing intentional Gospel Good in each others lives”
We start by contending for the faith by remembering and encouraging each other with the truth of the Gospel and how it impacts every area of our lives.
You keep yourself as a community next by “praying in the Holy Spirit”
As we are doing intentional Gospel Good in each others lives we do it Praying as desperate people in complete reliance on God to help us.
Listen to Commentator Richard Bauckham
“The opponents to Judes church misunderstood the Spirit as raising them above the life of obedience to God. Prayer is less open to such a distortion. It makes us aware of our dependance on God. Prayer inspired by the Spirit of Christ expresses our relation to God as our Father, on Whom we are wholly dependent and to whom we owe absolute obedience”
These false teachers has made a ranking system of christians. Some have the spirit and they are the upper class then there are some of yall down there who dont.
They used this to bully and scare the believers.
Jude has turned the tables on their arrogant bullying and has now said that those teachers are Spirit - less doomed to destruction…but if you are God’s you are unchangeably in dwelt with the spirit of God.
No matter who you are. No matter what you have done. No matter how much we all forget. As we saw last week he never forgets His own and he makes you His own with the new life from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit the moment you Believe.
Things are not the way they are supposed to be in this life. Sin has shattered God’s good design.
So we keep the faith as a community by building each other up in THE faith and praying in the spirit.
Listen to this
The Message of 2 Peter and Jude 2. Pray in the Holy Spirit (20b)

Part of the Holy Spirit’s promised work is to make us aware of the gap between the way things should be and the way things are, as understood from the Bible.

When we see this in our life, in our brother or sisters life, or in our churches life we are so prone to act or have a meeting or complain.
Jude is imploring his people to contend for the faith as a church by not acting first when things arise but by realizing our helplessness and praying without ceasing in the Spirit for Help from our father.
It is completely possible to do ministry, think you are just killing it, and be doing it all in our own power.
We can ask God to bless our plan of action without consulting him at all and even pray in our own strength.
Those prayers are unheard.
Jude knows this and wants more for us than empty effort. He wants Gods best for his people
We keep the faith as a community by building each other up in THE faith and praying in the spirit.
You keep yourself as a community next by
waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life…Verse 21
The phrase to wait on the Lord saturates the Old Testament.
The Psalms are full of the pain and longing of the human experience in the face of Gods promises for Good and the hope found in Waiting on the only one who can make things new.
Micah 7:7 But I will look to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.
Salvation from the universal human experience and the guilt we deserve for our sin comes from God alone.
Our God has promised to Come through.
He will do what he has said he will do.
Jesus before His ascension promised he would return.
Until that return we are in a fight and are waiting on the final fulfillment of all of God’s Promises.
We have set our destiny on the life to come not the life in the flesh so we wait expectantly for that day.
We wait as a community. we encourage each other to live for that day. our marriages should be lived for that day. our parenting should be done for that day. the way we spend our time and money should be done for that day.
It is coming. And the beauty is that for us as a faith family we will receive mercy instead of our just reward of punishment for our rebellion.
we wait for mercy to fully lead us home
Ruth Anne Reese has just been an incredible teacher in my study of this book she says
“mercy is that which meets people at their point of need. Here the Beloved are reminded that not only should they expect Jesus to meet them at their point of need, but they should expect that mercy to lead to a place where life is everlasting, going on fully and abundantly.”
what a day this will be. we have to contend to live for that day individually and as a faith family
This church family is how you keep yourselves in the love of God.
Dick Lucas says “God’s basic attitude towards humankind is his love, by which Jude means the strong passion he has to save us from his rightful indignation at our disobedience. He has given us promises of salvation, and the correct response of his covenant people to his covenant love is to echo his love by our obedience”
The only response to the scandalous love of our creator is awe, worship and obedience.
That is the love we are to keep ourselves in.
This is THE POINT of all Jude has written.
This is how we as s church family live out our faith in a way that draws the lost to the hope we have.
To keep ourselves in this amazing love of our loving Father is a community effort.
A solo christian is a christian who will drift into any wind of teaching.
If we see a brother or sister not showing up you should call. If you see a change in demeanor ask.
Be in each others lives Contending for the faith as Jude has shown us.
Be known by others and know others.
Our building community has a mission to accomplish
Our faith is not a fragile egg we have to keep covered and safely hidden away.
We are called to contend for the faith by fearlessly proclaiming that life is only found in the Gospel.
We contend for the faith through mirroring our savior as he went after the lost. We follow his example to never give up on mission to seek and lead the lost to the Love of God
This is the second point we see
2. How to keep ourselves as a mission 22-23

22 Have mercy on those who waver; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

The others Jude has spend so much time detailing as those doomed to destruction are incredibly not treated as if we are the ones who condemn them.
To Jude and these early beleivers this was an open category not fatalistic. As long as the lost had life there was hope they would turn to the Gospel.
This is the most remarkable part of this letter.
Jude is calling us to contend for the faith by living on radical mission to save as many as we can from the pain of eternity separated from God.
Think about that
These people have left the faith. twisted the grace of God and are now leading those Jude loves astray.
And what does Jude do? He calls his people to show them mercy.
This guy is unreal.
I have grown to love Jude so much from this time in the word
What a heart like his big brother Jesus. The heart we are given as Jesus’ brothers and sisters.
Verse 22 says :  Have mercy on those who waver;
Jude is speaking about those who have left the faith family because they have been influenced by the false teaching to one degree or another
The word he uses for waver here is doubt, or to begin to question what the faith handed down really said.
It is the image of inner conflict like they are weighing out the truths and second guessing what the lived out faith looks like.
It is ok to have questions and doubts. Maybe you have never heard that before. it is ok.
In this life things will be hard and we dont understand, Jesus says some tough things we wrestle with, on top of that as Jude is saying others are answering those things the wrong way.
Just as we wait on mercy at our time of need we are called to be that to those asking questions or doubting even if those doubts are coming from fasle teaching.
The church family should be the safest place to know you are secure to ask and wrestle with your faith in community and in obedience to the Word.
we should always remember as Jude has called us to do how far we were when Mercy saved us. how can we not show that to the doubting and questioning?
Love them back into the faith family.
theres another group we are called to contend for the faith in mission too.

23 save others by snatching them from the fire;

This group who has wandered off has gone from doubting.... to the point of living according to the false teaching.
They are in perilous danger of being consumed
Jude knows his Old Testament and is using Zech 3:2 which he refernced earlier in the letter.
in the verse from Zechariah Jesus is defending the High Priest, Joshua as “One snatched from the fire”.
We brothers and sisters are ones snatched from the fire at one point in our lives or another
We contend for the faith so we are firm in our faith and mission in order to save others. Not live safe little christian lives tucked safely away from the lost
Listen to how Reese ties these two sides fo the same coin together
“Their ability to live in righteous ways as a community will enable them to save others and welcome them to their place as God’s Beloved”
When Christ comes back or we die, whichever comes first thats it.
This group Jude is talking about is at the tipping point that if either of those events happened they may be lost for ever.
You and I dont get to contend for the faith in mission when we are dead and gone.
There is no evangelism in eternity.
There are people around you that need to hear the Gospel. Contend for the faith and snatch those close to the edge from the fire.
I am sure you know people who used to sit in these pews and stopped coming to flirt with sin and disaster
that is who Jude is describing. Those who have gone out are living a life that cannot satisfy them and seem to far gone.
What is your response?
Is it to gossip about them? Tell them told you so and so was never saved anyway? Look down of them?
Or is it to call them? Ask them to coffee plead with them to come back to the God who will never leave them or forsake them and is waiting with open arms to have them safe with Him again ?
There is one last group we are called here to keep ourselves as a mission too.

have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

This last group requires mercy but mercy mixed with great caution, fear, and wisdom
This last rescue mission is to those fully immersed in the life of the lost
As with the first group we hold out freely the beautiful mercy we have freely received from Christ.
But our awareness of the fire we were found in makes us aware of how proximity to it can consume you too if you arent careful
What do we fear with this group?
It could be a number of things
Fear of falling into the same sin if we go alone or aren't accountable. Maybe it is something we are weak too as well and may just end up doing with them
Fear that they have persuaded others so well we may begin to question our convictions
Fear of God who is a holy judge can be scary by itself
These are all legitimate fears.
I praise God men and women were willing to step into mission fearing the fire to bring me the Good News of Jesus.
You should thank God for those people in your life
This is like the amount of people on these viral videos who jsut watch as a brawl breaks out at Disney World or a woman is mugged on the street in New York middle of the day and no one does a thing out of fear or inconvenience.
Thank God i was not a fearful inconvenience to those to brought the Gospel to me.
We are to be those same people others.
As we are engaging this last group Judes tell us to
“Hate even the garment defiled by the flesh”
I am very cautious about Christian catch phrases but one is really applicable here
“Hate the sin love the sinner”
Jude isnt calling us to hate the people but he is continuing his use of Zechariah 3

3 Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 So the angel of the LORD spoke to those standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes!” Then he said to him, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you,

The Message of 2 Peter and Jude 3. To Others Show Mercy, Mixed with Fear (23b)

Jude’s reference, then, is above all to the possibility of a full and thorough forgiveness, a complete cleansing and change of clothes that is possible even for the most reprobate. There is no person who is so irredeemably bad that God’s forgiveness cannot remove the stain.

So what is Jude telling us to hate and see is fully removed
I don’t know about you but I have a people pleasing bent to my heart. I hate confrontation.
Because of that i have to fight the desire to lessen the requirement of repentance.
I can ease up on some areas hoping to keep the relationship or friend liking me
Jude calls me out and anyone like me
He is saying that all of a life of sin has to go.
We must in love show God deserves complete surrender. We have to hate every part of our life sin has stronghold of
That means we cannot teach a compromised Gospel making it easier and more palatable.
To sell cheap grace is to sell a lie. partial repentance doesnt save. We can lie people to hell if that is what we offer.
God deserves it all. We must show others all has to be surrenderd for life to come.
Again we see that even our mission is a community project. We should go visit the lost toghether be praying for one another as we engage in mission. we should grieve and share the burden with those who are close to one who has wandered off.
All of us are called to Keep ourselves in the love of God as a community and as a mission.
“Our ability to live in righteous ways as a community will enable them to save others and welcome them to their place as God’s Beloved”
This entire letter has been building to these few verses.
We are called to engage in a life with other believers that build us up as a community, and live on mission.
We are called to show the mercy we have been shown to the lost and broken
The Christian life is a shared life. None of us can keep ourselves in the amazing love of God on our own.
We need each other to build us up, and come get us when we wander too close to the fire
Are you kown by others and do you know them?
Commuting in once a week never connecting during the week to other believers and repeating it each week is not the christian life.
We are called to do this together.
If you arent plugged in reach out to us. We want to get you connected and in community
if you have doubts this is a safe place to struggle reach out to us and we would love to hear your heart and help
Are you listening to this and a name came to mind that you need to pursue in mercy?
Is there an old member you know has wandered off?
Get some church family toghether pray in the Spirit and go with a couple people and love on them.
In keeping ourselves as a community and as a mission we can see some rescued from the fire and have hope in the day of our Saviors return.
Lets Pray
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