SERVANT’S HEART

SCRIPTURE STUDY:  1 Peter 5:1-4

After my devotional reading this morning in 1 Peter 5, I wanted to take a specific passage and apply it to a larger theme of SERVANT-HOOD answering the question that many of us deal with:  “How can I help my Church?”

What do you call a chicken crossing the road?

Poultry in motion.

What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t work?

A stick.

Where do you find a dog with no legs?

Right where you left him.

What do call cheese that isn’t yours?

Nacho cheese.

What do you call a Christian who isn’t serving?

A CONTRADICTION~

You and I have been redeemed for a reason…

Another way to say it is, we’ve been SAVED to SERVE… we’ve been mobilized for ministry?  That’s why when we are NOT serving in some way, in and through the church, it’s a contradiction.  Because to be a follower of Christ means you are a servant of Christ Jesus.

As we go through this passage of Scripture, I want to apply the words of Peter to a larger theme of SERVANT-HOOD and answer the questions.

Help Your Church By Serving “willingly” (verse 2 a.)

  • “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing…”

I’m not a Bible teacher or a Christian Blogger because that’s what I chose to do.

I could have chosen to do many other things in furthering the cause of Christ.  But God CHOSE me to teach and write.  Since I know that this is my calling, then I SERVE willingly.

I’m not fighting to surrender; I’m freely and willingly serving.

So many Christians today are useful in their churches to advance the gospel but they are not willing, they refuse.  That has always confused me over the years.  Some may feel unworthy and inadequate; some feel that it will cost them too much.nnSome may feel like it will require too much sacrifice.  On and on the list could go, but the Scripture is clear.  If we have been CALLED to serve, or if we have talents and abilities to serve, then we must not reject His call!

The Scripture says, “but because you are willing, as God wants you to  be” (NIV)

It’s God’s desire to surrender your life to Him – Your talents and your abilities to be used by Him in His service.  You surrender willingly, not because you are forced.

Help Your Church By Serving Eagerly – (vs. 2) “but eager to serve”

DEFINITION:  eager : An adjective. 

synonyms:  enthusiastic, fervent, zealous, passionate, motivated, wholehearted, dedicated.

I love to watch someone who is fairly new to the church, and they’re a fairly new believer, and the first opportunity they can do something in the church for the Lord, you can see the eagerness they have.  They get to the church doors early and they stay late to help clean up.  They are EAGER to serve.  They can’t wait to get after it.

Losing the Eagerness –

How in the world do we get to the place in our Christian lives, where we lose that eagerness to serve?

There’s also a flip side of the person that is eager when that person who does some type of service because no one else will take it!

Usually, the ACT OF SERVICE is done without any heartfelt sense of service to God, because quite frankly. we didn’t feel called to do it –  “I know it needs to be done, but no one else sees the need, so I guess I’ll have to do it again!”

The Scripture says that ALL of us, not 20 percent of the people doing 100 percent of the work, but ALL of us be eager to serve.  Not because I’m obligated to do it, or any other matter for that reason, but because I want to have an impact in the kingdom for eternity – “but be eager to serve.”

Helping Your Church By Serving As An Example For Others –  (verse 3)

“being examples (patterns and models of Christians living) to the flock (the congregation)”  [AMP]

This is what can really hurt the church body of believers.  When we SERVE as an example, not preaching and teaching one thing, then doing another.

If “Mel” is going to be an example, then my walk will match my talk, and my talk will match my walk,

Titus 2:7 (NLT)

If I’m going to be an EXAMPLE for others, then I need to truly be a person of INTEGRITY.

Integrity means that you are the same person when no one else is looking.  In other words, if I claim to be a “good Christian” on Sundays to everyone at church, but when I get home, I view pornography, I drink till I can’t stand up. that’s not a person of integrity, that’s a true genuine hypocrite.

With us as genuine believers, the person we are on Sundays needs to be the same person the rest of the week.  If I’m going to help the church, then I need to SERVE as an example for others.

Helping Your Church Will Ensure A Heavenly Reward – (verse 4)

[4]  And [then] when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will win the conqueror’s crown of glory.  [AMP]

This is why we do what we do, this is why we stay up late getting ready for acts of service, whether it’s a special event, studying for a Sunday school lesson, or going over a song, or praying with someone who is hurting.  This is why we do all those things.  For the approval of Jesus!

Every single one of us, when we meet Jesus one day, will want Him to say, “Well done good and faithful servant, you have done everything I equipped you to do.  You used every talent I give, every ability I allow you to have or learn, every opportunity I set before you to SERVE…you took it.  WELL DONE!!”

The Apostle Paul reminds each one of us in Ephesians 6:8…

A Story of An Old Potato Farmer –

After lightning struck on an old shed, a farmer was relieved because now he didn’t have to tear it down.

The rains came and cleaned off his car, and that saved him from having to wash it.

When asked what he was doing now, he replied, “I’m waiting for an earthquake to shake the potatoes out of the ground.”

If we are going to have a SERVANT’S HEART, we can’t just wait for something to happen.  Jesus said we’re blessed when we do something.

I’ve found in my own life over the years of service FOUR ACTIONS…steps that you might apply to your own life:

  1. SERVE whenever you can.
  2. SERVE wherever you can.
  3. SERVE whoever is in need.
  4. BE WILLING to do whatever it takes.

Let’s live our lives as obedient and humble servants.  Don’t be a contradiction!!

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CREDITS:

Photos/Images:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); New Living Translation (NLT); Ling James Version (KJV).

 

 

 

 

Except the LORD Build the House…

A recent study found that there were 195 million un-churched people in America.  This makes America one of the top 4 largest “un-churched” nations in the world. [Statistics August 22, 2015].

Each year 3,500 churches close their doors forever, while only 1,000 to 1,500 new ones are started in the same timeframe.  In the small town that I reside, with 3 churches on every corner, it’s hard to believe there’s a need for more churches.  BUT THERE IS!

While writing this blog, the church I attend has sent a missionary team to the Philippines to help build a church facility where church planters are sacrificing, serving and doing their part to spread the good news.  What we must understand in our efforts that we nor anyone else can build a church!  God is the One Who builds a church!

We are told in scriptures that “Except the LORD build the house they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1).

Unless the LORD builds it, those who labor are laboring in vain.

There are many people who are good at building things (I’m not one), but a nice building doesn’t qualify as a great church!

We (the people) Are the Body of Christ…Not A Pile of Brick and Mortar!

I know of some churches that are thriving without “nice facilities.”  There are congregations meeting in movie theaters, warehouses, strip malls and old barns doing great work for the Lord in their communities.

On the other hand, there are countless brick buildings with large white steeples, padded pews, and stained glass windows who have plateaued, dead, and dying.  We tend to measure a church’s success by how many cars there are in the parking lot, or how many people are in the pews and how much money has been taken up on Sunday morning offerings.

A church can give all the appearances of being successful and still be a failure according to God’s standard.  On the other hand, a church may meet in someone’s basement with a handful of members who are obedient and faithful and God sees them as a success.

There always seems to be a new program, a flyer or e-mail promoting the latest and greatest “church growth method.”  And oh, how many church growth seminars I’ve attended over the years.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see my church filled to capacity in every service to the point that we have to tear walls out and build on.  With that being said, I have some good news!  God wants our churches to grow.  He wants the church down the street to grow.  God wants new churches to be built and God wants old churches to be revitalized.

We have the privilege to be a part of the process.

BUT, if any church body is going to grow, if a TRUE CHURCH is going to be built, then it will be built by God, NOT MAN!!!

There’s an area of theology that wants to understand all aspects of the church.  It’s known as ecclesiology derived from the Greek word “ekklesia”. That’s a term referring to a gathering or assembly of believers.  This involves more than attending church.  IT’S ABOUT BEING THE CHURCH! –

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV)

[27]  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Fellowship, worship, edification, and ministry are all performed by people, not builders.

As a result of their persecution, the first century Christians often met secretly in people’s homes.  And over time things have enlarged into what we see and have today.

In this week’s Blog-Text…

…we can get a glimpse of God’s building program.  Turning to 1 Peter 2:4-10 we’ll examine together how God builds a church.

VERSE 4 – GOD’S VISION FOR THE CHURCH

Come to Him [then, to that] Living Stone which men tried and threw away, but which is chosen [and] precious in God’s sight.  [AMP]

Since the beginning, God had a plan for His church.  God chose His own Son to be the Cornerstone of the Church.  In 1 Peter 1:20, Peter revealed the fact that God had this plan before the world began.

[20] He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.  [21] Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.  [NIV]

In the Word of God we have several images portraying the Church:

THE CHURCH AS A BODY – Ephesians 4:15-16

THE CHURCH AS A BRIDE – Revelation 21:9

THE CHURCH AS A BUILDING – 2 Corinthians 6:16

The Image Of The Church As A Building – [verse 5]

“[Come]  and, like living stones, be yourselves built [into] a spiritual house, for a holy (dedicated, consecrated) priesthood, to offer up [those] spiritual sacrifices [that are] acceptable and pleasing to God through Jesus Christ.  (AMP)

How amazing is it to think that before the world began we were part of God’s master plan!!!

Any church begins with a VISION.

And this is the right way to start.

Proverbs 20:18 (NIV)

“Plans are established by seeking advice, so if you wage war, obtain guidance.”

We must remember that “Faithful people do not build the church of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ builds His church through faithful people.” [author unknown]

Not only did God have a “Vision” for His church, But He also prepared the proper foundation for His church.  His only Son laid that foundation – 1 Corinthians 3:11

[11] For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

The Foundation Of God’s Church – Verse 6

Here Peter speaks of the “Chief Cornerstone”.

CORNERSTONE is defined as 1) Literally, a stone that forms the base of a corner of a building, joining two walls.  2) Metaphorically, an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based.

Jesus is both!

He is literally and metaphorically the Cornerstone of the Chruch.  The “Cheif cornerstone” is the basic, essential, and most important part of a building and it’s the foundation.

In these verses Peter references Isaiah 28:16 – “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:  ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.”

God has laid the foundation (Christ) and the Jews rejected Him (verses 7-8).

Any church that’s ever going to be successful for God…MUST BE BUILT ON JESUS CHRIST!  Not people, Not traditions, Not man-made measures of success, Nothing other than Jesus!!!

The Motivation For God’s Church – Verse 5

The chief cornerstone is where all measurements begin.  Every other stone was laid in relation to the cornerstone.

Jesus Christ As The CAPSTONE

 

Peter says that WE, the church, are “living stones, built up into a spiritual house.”  That means that Jesus is the CORNERSTONE, and we are the building blocks.

God is building a spiritual house,  He is putting all of His children in the place where they belong.  He’s joining us with one another.  Simply stated, we are the church that God is building.

Peter also mentions that we are “a holy priesthood”. –

A priest was the one who had access to God.   We have that access!

Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

And as a part of the priesthood, we present “offerings of spiritual sacrifices” –  HOW DO WE DO THAT?

WE OFFER OURSELVES – We offer service, we offer prayers, we offer worship, we offer thanksgiving, we offer praise!

We are “priests” in the sense of being servants.

But Jesus is our Great High Priest!!!

This verse tells us as the church body, that “Spiritual sacrifices” are the motivations of God’s church!

This all may come as a surprise to many in the church today but somewhere along the way, people came to the conclusion that the church was all about them.

They leave the church on Sunday and complain because:  Someone didn’t shake their hand – The service was too dry or too long – Some say it was too shallow – Some don’t like the music because it was too old – Others didn’t like it because it was too new!

The Apostle Peter was a man who went hungry and thirsty following Jesus.  A man who left everything he knew behind to be Christ’s disciple.  He was cursed, beaten, imprisoned, persecuted, and eventually crucified for the cause of Christ Jesus.  Can you imagine what his response would be if he heard some of the self-centered garbage coming from our mouths?

Regardless of your motivation, God’s motivation for His church is that His people “as living stones offer Him spiritual sacrifices!!!”

But since the beginning, there have been those who were opposed to God’s Church.

The Opposition to God’s Church – (verses 7-8)

The Cornerstone that we’ve come to lean upon for strength is the same Stone that those who reject Him stumble and fall over.

Since the beginning, Satan has opposed the church.  And he has used many others to come against it as well!  We see this in Scripture with the Pharisees – It was seen in the Roman government – It has been seen through 2,000 years of church history – And we see it each and every day on our T.V. screens:  Islamic terrorist are beheading people just because they are Christians.

Here in America, the atheists have succeeded in taking God out of schools, courthouses, and government.  Even many churches throughout the land that bear the Christian name have rejected the TRUE Gospel – Jesus makes it quite clear in Mathew 12:30, “Whoever is not with me is against me…”  There are numerous people who not only reject Christ, but they are opposed to God’s church.

Though there’s much opposition to face we find in these verses as a mission for those who belong to Him.

Our Mission As The Church – (Verse  9)

Along with God’s VISION for His church comes His Mission for His people.

WE ARE CHOSEN!

God chose us!!!

What a BLESSING and a PRIVILEGE it is to think that the God of all creation chose us not only to be His people but to accomplish a specific task.  God does BUILD the church but He has chosen to use us as His laborers!

HE CALLED US!

We Are Called! (V. 9)

“…from DARKNESS into LIGHT”

Psalm 40:2 (AMP)

“He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime), and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings.”

We were once dead in trespasses and sins.

JESUS called us out of that DARKNESS!

Peter says that He CALLED us into His marvelous light- He SAVED our souls – He CLEANSED our sins – He CHANGED our lives,

WE ARE THE CHURCH!!!

And when He did all this…He had a MISSION in mind for us to accomplish for Him.  And once the LORD calls us unto SALVATION, He then commissions us to work in the Kingdom for Him!!!

We Are Commissioned – (V. 9)

[9] “…that you may declare praises of Him”

Peter states that as a result of our being CALLED OUT of darkness and into the marvelous light, we should show others the way of the goodness of God.

Just before Jesus ascended He left His Apostles with some final words for His church – He didn’t say build the biggest buildings you can! – He didn’t say make sure you have the best youth program in the communities – He didn’t say to fill the seats on Sundays by any means necessary! – He didn’t say to have the most vibrant music ministry in the land! – He didn’t say make sure to preach eloquent sermons!

His final words were about the church’s MISSION:

Acts 1:8 (NIV)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

What Is Our Mission For The Church?

It is for the “living stones” to “make more living stones”.

The people of God are to GO…and “make disciples”.

When people see us they should see something different…that we are special!!

In fact, we find in this very text that we are – LIVING STONES – A CHOSEN GENERATION – A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD – A HOLY NATION – A PARTICULAR PEOPLE.

We Are God’s Church!!

The People of Purpose!!

Great things happen when God builds the House!!

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CREDITS:

Dictionary:  “Cornerstone” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary; Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary Of Old and New Testament Words by W.E. Vine, Merrill Unger and William White Jr.

Photo/Images:  Google Image Search.

Music Video:  Youtube – WE ARE THE CHURCH – Youtube – Rend Collective – Build Your Kingdom Here

Bible Translations:  New Internation Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP).

 

“If the foundation be destroyed…”

Scripture:  Psalm 11:3; Isaiah 58:12

A Christian college professor asked his doctoral students to complete a theological survey of congregations – They learned that many churches, over 56%, don’t know their church’s basic theological positions.  They can neither summarize nor explain their church’s doctrine.  There are many reasons why, and that brings me to this week’s blog.  

Many people have asked me over the last few years, what “denomination” am I member of”.  They are somewhat taken back when I answer, “I’m a fundamentalist!  I don’t ‘belong’ to any “denomination”.

So what is a “fundamentalist”?

GOING BACK TO THE “BASICS” 

The Huffington Post revealed its ignorance in an article that attempted to portray the President’s nominee for Army Secretary as some sort of Christion fundamentalist weirdo:

“Trump’s Army Pick:  Looking at Victoria’s Secret Catalogs Can Turn

Men Into Saddam Hussein,” 

…read a headline that was published.

RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM –

Over the past several years I’ve heard and read about attacks on the fundamentals of the Christian faith:

It was suggested in a recent television program that Mary, Jesus’ earthly mother, that Mary’s conception was the result of being raped by a Roman soldier.  Such attacks aren’t new:

John 6:42 (NIV)

The said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we knew?  How can He now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

Years ago it was reported that a certain Anglican priest expressed his view that Jesus didn’t die on the cross, rather, he merely ‘swooned’ or passed out then regained consciousness a few days later.  After showing Himself to the apostles, he moved to Egypt and lived to a ripe old age.

Mark 15:44-45


Such attacks against the FUNDAMENTALS OF OUR FAITH must not be swept under the carpet.

Galatians 1:6 (NIV)

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in  the grace of Christ and is turning to a different gospel–“

“Those who take pride in their steadfastness shall fall the hardest”  (Quotes & Things, D. Collins ).

1 Corinthians 10:12 (AMP)

“Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he falls [into sin].

Manufacturers Know 3 Secrets of Increasing Sales:  Advertise, advertise, advertise.

A carefully crafted advertisement, frequently repeated during primetime viewing to increase sales.

Someone once laid down two guidelines for selling a LIE:

  • Keep repeating it to yourself until you believe it, then…
  • Tell it again and again to as many people as possible.

WE NEED TO BE SELECTIVE IN REGARDS TO THAT WHICH WE EXPOSE OURSELVES…

Or we’ll end up believing a LIE.

But more than that, we need to ‘repeat to ourselves’ over and over again the fundamental truths of the gospel so that we might remain fully convince and firmly established in the TRUTH.

Read carefully the instruction that God gave to the Israelites:

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV)

[6]  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  [7]  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  [8]  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  [9]  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)

[18]  Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.   [19] Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

NOTE too, what the Apostle Peter wrote to Christians:

[Also read 2 Peter 3:1-2, 17; Proverbs 3:3]

FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL THAT NEED TO BE UNDERSTOOD:

Isaiah 58:12 (AMP)

[12] And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of [buildings that have laid waste for] many generations; you shall be called Repairer of the Breach, Restorer of Streets to Dwell in.

#1.  The Virgin Birth.

The record concerning Jesus’ birth:

What does the record say concerning the Birth of Jesus?

Luke 1:26-55

 

AND, in Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)

The facts presented by Luke and Matthew are clearly to the point.  Mary was a virgin.

In case there might be any doubt, what is meant by the word ‘virgin,’ (some say it just means ‘young woman’), it’s clear from the text that it means ‘one who hasn’t had sexual intercourse’.

Mary says, “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”  (Luke 1:34)

Matthew states that This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about:  His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.  (Matthew 1:18)

To deny the fact of the virgin birth is to deny that Jesus is the eternal Word of God who “was made flesh, and dwelt among us” as the Scriptures affirm.

AND…

AND…

“The first man [was] from out of earth, made of dust (earthly-minded); the second Man [is] the Lord from out of heaven”  (1 Corinthians 15:47 – Amplified version).

DENY that Jesus is God’s one and only Son as the Scriptures affirm:

[Romans 8:3; Galatians 4:4; 1 John 4:9]

The Word of God says of those who DENY the fact of the Virgin Birth and that Jesus came in the flesh is plain:

  • They are not of God (1 John 4:2-3).
  • There are deceivers and an antichrist:  2 John 1:7 (NIV)

[7]  I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world.  Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.

THE DEATH ON THE CROSS

The record of Jesus’ death on the cross:

What does the Bible say concerning Jesus’ CRUCIFIXION?

Acts 2:23 (AMP)

“This Jesus, when delivered up according to the definite and fixed purpose and settled plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and put out of the way [killing Him] by the hands of lawless and wicked men.”

The evidence presented by the evangelists are quite clear:

  • JESUS “gave up His spirit” (Matthew 27:50)
  • When the soldiers came to Jesus, they “saw that He was dead already” (John 19:33)
  • John also notes the fact of the soldier who pierced Jesus’ side with a spear (John 19:34)

To deny that Jesus died on the cross is to deny that Jesus has died for all our sins.

[Also READ: 1 Corinthians 15:3; Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 3:18; Romans 5:6]

To DENY that we have been RECONCILED. JUSTIFIED, then we are still alienated; separated from God’s mercy and grace.

Romans 5:10 (NIV)

“For if,  while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

To DENY that Jesus tasted death for everyone, it means we must pay the price for our sins after all (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 2:9).

To DENY that the Devil has been rendered powerless!  (Hebrews 2:14)

THE RESURRECTION

The record stated of the resurrection:  (Matthew 28:1-10; John 20:1-31)

The RECORD clearly states that Jesus was raised from the dead (Matthew 28:5), and He appeared to His disciples (Matthew 28:8-9; John 20:14, 10).

The disciples saw and touched His wounds  (John 20:20, 26-28)

To DENY the RESURRECTION is to…

Regarding Jesus:

Say that His soul was left in Hades and that death has dominion over Him, and the pains of death haven’t been loosed.

Acts 2:31 (NIV)

“Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that He was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did His body see decay…”

Romans 6:9 (NIV)

“For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him.”

Acts 2:24 (NIV)

“But God raised him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.”

DENY THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD:

Romans 1:4 (AMP)

“And [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated the Son of God in power [in a striking triumphant and miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”

DEMY THAT JESUS ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN and sat down at the right hand of the Father, and ruling from His throne:

Ephesians 1:20-21; Acts 2:30; Philippians 2:5-11

To say that Jesus will not return:

1 Thessalonians 1:10 (AMP)

And [how you] look forward to and await the coming of His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead–Jesus, Who personally rescues and delivers us out of and from the wrath [bringing punishment] which is coming [upon the impenitent] and draws us to Himself [investing us with all the privileges and rewards of the new life in Christ, the Messiah].”

Regarding Us.

Say that everything we believe and hope is in vain and meaningless:  “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”  (1 Corinthians 15:14).

We will not be resurrected:

Romans 8:11 (NIV)

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in  you.”

And, we are not SAVED and still in our sins:

  • 1 Peter 3:21.
  • Romans 10:9.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:17.
  • Romans 4:25.

We have no hope:

  • 1 Peter 1:3.
  • 1 Peter 1:21.

The fundamentals of our faith are under attack from the very beginning to the present day, and they will, without a doubt, continue relentlessly until the end of time.

Philippians 3:1

Three of the fundamental doctrines that constantly come under attack are…

  1. ‘the virgin birth’
  2. ‘the death of Jesus on the cross’
  3. And ‘the resurrection.’

To deny, modify these fundamental truths (the HEART of the Gospel) means denying the whole body of teaching surrounding the heart.

We need to constantly remind (READ) ourselves the FUNDAMENTALS of our Faith…the FOUNDATIONS of our Belief, and defend the faith delivered to the saints with the sword of the Spirit.

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CREDITS:

Christian fundamentalism AMERICAN PROTESTANT MOVEMENT written by J. Gordon Melton, Ernest R. Sandeen – Encyclopedia Britannica.

PHOTO/IMAGES:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP), and other translations used in the photos and images.

“Hey Jude? What is SIN, really?”

THE DOCTRINE OF SIN:

THE PURPOSE of Jude is a call for all Christians to DEFEND the Faith.

Jude is a tough, sobering, book in the Bible to read.  So get ready!

WHO WAS JUDE?

Jude 1

“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James…”

He was the brother of James, who presided at the Jerusalem Council and wrote the epistle of James, and was the half-brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3).

The Perversion within the Church

[Verse 4 ]  For certain men have crept in stealthily [gaining entrance secretly by a side door].  Their doom was predicted long ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  [AMP]

Jude talks about APOSTASY, basically a turning away from the Faith.  We learn that they are sneaky, ungodly and pervert the Grace of Jesus.  They deny that Jesus is Master and Lord.

And they stand condemned!

The media today is influencing the church.

The politically correct police are on high alert!  You can mention God as long as you don’t mention His absolute truth.  You can mention Jesus as long as He was just a good teacher.  Pastors are required to be politically correct rather than biblically correct to be accepted.  The trend in churches today is to be welcoming, but primarily affirming.  Sermons are designed to tickle the ear and not convict the heart.

God help us!

It’s sobering and it makes me sad to think of those I know who could very well fall into this category of being apostate.  Understand the APOSTASY is false teaching, its false living.  It is the Christian form of hypocrisy.  It’s saying you are a Christian but in truth, you are not.  Your action, your attitude, bear the lies that come out of your mouth.

So Jude gives a WARNING to the apostates, the enemy of the TRUE CHURCH.

He begins by giving us some examples of people who are exposed to the truth, to the grace, and totally reject it and face eternal punishment.  It truly squeezed my heart when rereading this passage of scripture because there are many I know today that could very well experience this punishment.

The LORD delivers people from bondage, but sometimes people fall back.

One Example:  God’s chosen nation (vs. 5)

[5] “Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the LORD at one time delivered His people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.” [NIV]

Jude says here that Jesus (more accurately translated LORD) saved a people in the land of Egypt.  That is the Hebrew people, the future nation of Israel.

Later, He destroyed those who rebelled and didn’t believe.

The word DESTROY literally means to abolish; to destroy completely.  [See footnote [i]]

Understand that God didn’t DESTROY the nation, but He did destroy many within the nation all because of their unbelief and disobedience.

It was continued unbelief and disobedience. 

This was an outward circumcision but not an inward circumcision of the heart.

A person can go through all the outward hoops and identifying with Jesus, but the only thing that really matters is your heart.

Does your heart belong to Him?

Are you TRUSTING Him alone to forgive you of your sin?

Are you TRUSTING Him for your SALVATION?

Are you TRUSTING Him in your life?

Are you denying Him, Master and Lord?

If your answer is “NO” to any of these questions, you fall under the same destruction.

BE WARNED!

God’s Chosen Servants–Messengers–Who were they? (vs. 6)

Judgment is coming. Hebrews 9: Jude 1:6. Acts 17: Timothy 4:8. John 12:48. Jude 1:6.

We see here that even ANGELS, heavenly beings, are subject to the great day of JUDGMENT.

Many commentators take this verse and its parallel in 2 Peter 2:4 to be a reference to the primordial fall in the bible of wicked angels under the leadership of Lucifer.  This creates somewhat of a dilemma.  Clearly, not all the dethroned angels are “cast into hell and committed to pits of DARKNESS”, reserved for judgment as Peter writes.  This same Peter says that Satan is still somewhat loose, and prowls around like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8).  

The simplest way to resolve this questioning is to take the “angels” in this passage of Jude is referenced to the Godly line of Seth in the Bible; the “sons of God.”

The Background of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6.

The angels portrayed here forsook what God ordained them to do.  They chose their own thing!  [i.e.  They became their own god.]

Numerous interpretations I have read suggested that the “sons of God” were fallen, angels who married earthly women and produced children…Giants in the land, although how “angels” could intermarry has never been explained.  Jesus clearly states that angels don’t marry (Matthew 22:30), and there’s no evidence that angels have gender or genitalia.   A few have suggested that “demon-possed men.” as an alternative theory, but this is still rather unsatisfactory, and neither of these interpretations offers anything of relevance to the historical evidence of Genesis 6.  [See footnote [ii] ].

The result was eternal punishment. 

They forsook being in God’s presence to follow their own path.

Bringing this all back to Jude, those who are APOSTATE are the ones who choose to be their own God.

I believe that the biggest ACT OF APOSTASY in our day is….you are a Christian, continuing to live like the world, or even worse than the world!  This type of SIN denies Lordship over one’s life.  It cheapens the GRACE that believers are supposed to live under.

If my understanding of the passage of Scripture is right, then that type of living is APOSTASY; to be judged by God just like the Hebrew people in the wilderness, just like the angels who denied their rightful place, just like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The LORD delivers people from bondage today as He did when the Hebrews were delivered out of Egypt from bondage.  But sometimes people fall back into bondage. We’ve all probably done this, but Jude lists some who didn’t and was punished.

  • Angels who left home.
  • People who left morality behind.

Whatever it is, God can deliver us!

BUT…but we must not turn back.

No Turning Back into our old ways will get us into trouble every time.  And for some people, it could mean eternal trouble.

GOD SAVE US!

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CREDITS & FOOTNOTES

Footnote [i]:   The word, DESTROY – Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words

Footnote [ii]:  “Who Were the Angels of Jude 6?” by Biblical Horizons (Copywrite).

Photo Images:  Google Image search.

Bible Translations used:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); or as noted.

Commentary:  Restoration, Sermon by Jeff Strite, Jude 1:1-7, Sermon Central.