Five Commands for Christian Growth

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					         gives five commands for Christian
 St. Jude
 growth that will help them maintain a lively
 Christian life in the midst of an immoral and
 antagonistic society:
  • Build yourselves up on your most holy faith.
  • Pray in the Holy Spirit.
  • Keep yourselves in the love of God.
  • Look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ
    that leads to eternal life.
  • Rescue the perishing.
 St. Jude speaks of a "most holy faith" to
  contrast it with the unholy teachings of the
  false teachers.
 The building material is "your most holy
 Sometimes we expect God to build us -- and
  the Holy Spirit is certainly at work to "edify"
 But this building requires significant
  cooperation from us.
 How do you build yourself up in your faith?
 St. Paul reminds us, "Faith comes from hearing
  the message, and the message is heard through
  the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17).
 Our faith is built up when we listen to, meditate
  on, and put into practice in our lives the
  teachings of Christ.
 We can do that for ourselves, through reading the
  Bible on a regular basis -- and not just reading,
  but thinking about, dwelling on, absorbing.
 It builds up, edifies, strengthens us in our most
  holy faith.
   What does this mean?
   "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave
    again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And
    by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:15)
   "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into
    our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.'"
    (Galatians 4:6)
   "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We
    do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit
    himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot
    express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind
    of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in
    accordance with God's will." (Romans 8:26-27)
 "And   pray in the Spirit on all occasions
  with all kinds of prayers and requests. With
  this in mind, be alert and always keep on
  praying for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:18)
 The Spirit assists us in all kinds of prayers
  and requests.
 We are not to pray just rote prayers, but ask
  God how to pray and rely upon the help and
  guidance of the Holy Spirit to pray
 Keep: preserve   unharmed or undisturbed.
 "God's love" here could be either God's love
  for us or our love for God.
 This command talks about us keeping up
  our part of a love relationship with God.
 Consider these verses:
 "Because of the increase of wickedness, the
  love of most will grow cold, but he who
  stands firm to the end will be saved."
  (Matthew 24:12-13)
 "Yet I hold this against you: You have
  forsaken your first love." (Revelation 2:4)
 "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved
  you; abide in my love. If you keep my
  commandments, you will abide in my
  love, just as I have kept my Father's
  commandments and abide in his love."
  (John 15:9-10)
 Disobeying Jesus' commands means we are
  not abiding in His love.
 No doubt there are Christians whose love
  has "grown cold," who have abandoned the
  love for Jesus they once had.
 Worship will nurture this love when it is
  conducted with love and full heart toward
 Nurture that relationship with Him in your
  own private worship as well as in public
 You can rekindle the love of God back in
  your heart and He'll help.
 Although we should live in the present, not in the
  past or future, but we must keep alive the flame
  of hope in the promises of God for the future.
 "The mercy ... that leads to eternal life" looks
  back to Jesus' atonement on the cross
 Then forward to the great judgment (Revelation
  20:11-15) where we are set free, based on the
  presence of our names in the Lamb's Book of Life
  (Revelation 3:5)
 Beyond the judgment we look to an eternity of
  life in the presence of God.
 Let us look forward to that mercy and to eternal
 We  are told to look forward to God's mercy
  for us, but in the next verse St. Jude tells us
  to be merciful to those who are tempted to
  various degrees.
 We are to have mercy on those who waver,
  who doubt, who don't have stability in their
  Christian walk.
 These waverers are those who have been
  influenced by the teaching of the false
 Speaking   figuratively, their "white
  garments" have been stained by their
 The garment referred to is the one worn
  directly over the skin or "flesh" -- which
  hints a both to:
  • The physical flesh where sexual sin may have
    taken place
  • And the figurative use of "flesh" to refer to one's
    sinful nature.
 St. Judewarns us that in helping those
  who are entangled in sin, we must be
  aware of our own spiritual danger, lest we
  become accepting sin -- especially the
  sexual sin he seems to have in mind here.
 When we help those who are caught in
  sin, we must do so "with fear" lest we stop
  hating the sin that has entrapped the
  sinner whom God loves.
 St. Jude likens the rescue procedure to
  pulling a piece of wood out of a fire that is
  already begun to burn it (Amos 4:11;
  Zechariah 3:2).
 We have a responsibility, especially towards
  our brother and sister Christians, to watch
  out for them.
 "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you
  who are spiritual should restore him gently.
  But watch yourself, or you also may be
  tempted." (Galatians 6:1)
 "My   brothers, if one of you should wander
  from the truth and someone should bring
  him back, remember this: Whoever turns a
  sinner from the error of his way will save
  him from death and cover over a multitude
  of sins." (James 5:19-20)
 "If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that
  does not lead to death, he should pray and
  God will give him life...." (1 John 5:16)
 St. Judecloses his brief letter with an
  amazing description of God's
  commitment toward us.
 The wonderful message of the Christian
  gospel is found in three parts:
  • He will guard you against falling.
  • He will present you before judgment without
  • He will present you with tremendous joy.
 First, God will guard you against falling.
 Are you afraid that the devil will be too
  strong for you? God is stronger.
 The apostle John writes, "You, dear
  children, are from God and have
  overcome them, because the one who is
  in you is greater than the one who is in
  the world" (1 John 4:4).
 God is guarding you. He is a hedge of
  protection around you (Job 1:10).
 He  instructs his angel to "encamp"
  around you and deliver you from your
  enemy (Psalm 34:7), to guard you in all
  your ways (Psalm 91:11).
 As the invisible horses and chariots of
  fire surrounded Elisha, so God is
  protecting you (2 Kings 6:17).
 God's guard around you is no small thing.
  You can rely upon Him.
 Second, he  will present you before his
  glorious presence at the judgment without
 Here it carries the figurative sense:
  "pertaining to being without fault and
  therefore morally blameless."
 The longer I live, the more I realize that I fall
 I am much more aware of my own
  imperfection than when I was a young man.
 "For he chose us in him before the
  creation of the world to be holy and
  blameless in his sight." (Ephesians 1:4)
 "Christ loved the church and gave
  himself up for her to make her holy,
  cleansing her by the washing with water
  through the word, and to present her to
  himself as a radiant church, without stain
  or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy
  and blameless." (Ephesians 5:25-27)
 "Do everything without complaining or
  arguing, so that you may become
  blameless and pure, children of God
  without fault in a crooked and depraved
  generation, in which you shine like stars in
  the universe...." (Philippians 2:14-15)
 "But now he has reconciled you by Christ's
  physical body through death to present you
  holy in his sight, without blemish and free
  from accusation...." (Colossians 1:22)
 “So then, dear friends, since you are looking
  forward to this, make every effort to be found
  spotless, blameless and at peace with him." (2
  Peter 3:14)
 Of the 144,000 "...who had been redeemed
  from the earth. These are those who did not
  defile themselves with women, for they kept
  themselves pure. They follow the Lamb
  wherever he goes. They were purchased from
  among men and offered as firstfruits to God
  and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths;
  they are blameless." (Revelation 14:3-5)
 He will bring you before his presence
  with tremendous joy.
 There's a passage in Zephaniah that
  expresses this well:
  • "The Lord your God is with you,
   he is mighty to save.
   He will take great delight in you,
   he will quiet you with his love,
   he will rejoice over you with singing."
   (Zephaniah 3:17)
 He  loves you that much! Can you bring
  yourself to imagine that God himself
  delights in you -- you personally?
 This scripture teaches that He delights in
  you as does a mother with her babies, as a
  grandfather constantly showing off pictures
  of his grandchildren.
 He loves you with an intense and emotional
 So when you finally appear before his
  glorious presence, he is utterly delighted to
  see you there and will shout with joy.
 This  is the Gospel we declare: that our God
  guards us, forgives us, and delights in us --
  and with all who will draw close to Him
  through Jesus our Savior.
 St. Jude now concludes with a doxology,
  words of praise to God.
 Observe that he calls God "our Savior.“
 Sometimes we reserve this title to Jesus the
  Son, but God the Father is very much our
  Savior, too.
 Next, Jude  offers five words that describe
  God's greatness – wisdom, glory, majesty,
  power, and authority.
 Following this, he offers praise through
  "Jesus Christ our Lord."
 Finally, he encompasses all time with the
  • Before all ages,
  • Now, and
  • Forevermore.
 Our  God is great in so very many ways
 But to us He shows his greatness in His
  restraint, the undeserved mercy he has
  shown us and in His inexplicable delight
  in us, His love which springs with no
  reason from the heart of God and knows
  no quenching.
 Yes, to Him be glory, majesty, power and
  authority through Jesus Christ our Lord --
  forever! Amen.

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