Friday, July 19, 2013

Avoiding Apostasy

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Jude 1:20-25

Jude's overall message centers around a stern warning to remain faithful to GOD even in the midst of gross immorality and deception.  Does it sound like today?  It should as it is a warning primarily for the last days of the church age.  During this time men with wicked ulterior motives will turn the grace of the LORD into "lasciviousness" while also denying the work and person of Jesus Christ.  His admonition warns that false teachers will creep into pulpits around the world and spread damnable heresies.  As a result of their demonically inspired teaching many will turn from the truth.  What a bleak picture!  What is even more is that this is a consistent caution throughout the New Testament.  Remember Jesus' warning in Matthew 24:12-13, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."

The last verses of Jude, however, burst forth with glorious promises and directions while giving insight as to how to avoid becoming lukewarm in a cold, hard world.    As always, the instructions begin with maintaining a fervent heart of prayer.  Doing so builds faith.  It lets us see the truth that Jesus is wonderfully concerned with even the smallest details of our relationship with Him.  In prayer we grasp the promises of God in Christ seeing that in Him they are "yes and amen".  

Prayer always leads us to the next step--an upward look.  Look at verse 20, "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."  Walking closely with the LORD while relying solely on His Word through prayer always causes one keep their eyes focused on the things and purposes of GOD.  Similar to Jesus' direction on the greatest commandment, we put the Lord, consciously, in first place at all times in our life.  The point is to maintain that constant "vertical" relationship with the LORD our GOD.

From here comes the next logical step.  Remember, Jesus said there were two great commandments, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Matthew 22:37-39)."  Jude confirms this as his inspired letter immediately focuses on ministry to others.  Whenever the scripture discusses "upreach" then somewhere close by will be a statement of "outreach". The "horizontal" focus always follows the vertical view.  Why, because the compassionate heart of God works through our relationship to draw whosoever will to come and taste of the greatness of the grace of GOD.    God's word always seems to point to a cross-life--Jesus first and others second.

Of course, that means you put yourself at the end of the line.  The benediction (verses 24-25) shows us the focus should always be on the LORD and not on self.  He is the one who makes you faultless and not you, yourself.  He is the one who through a loving relationship is able to keep you from falling.  He is the one able to make your prayer life fervent.  Focus on Jesus wholly and there will never be concern about apostasy in your life.  How is your focus seeing that Jesus Christ is Soon2Come?

Pray for me!  I have had a hard time focusing on writing lately!!  May the LORD bless you!!!

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