Baptists and the Latter Days – Jude 17-25 – DTS019

LRBush3_PodArt_small150Jude doesn’t teach us what God will be doing in the latter days before Christ’s return, but Jude does teach us what we should be doing in these latter days before Christ’s return: We should contend for the faith that was once delivered to all the saints.

Jude warns of false teachers and those who scoff at the gospel of Jesus Christ.  These people are obviously here now.  People throughout our culture, and around the world, continually spread lies for their own selfish gain.  They work to deceive others because they are lovers of themselves and lovers of money.  The generous fellowship of communities has in many places been replaced with selfish materialism.  We even see it in many religious leaders who promise blessings in return for donations.  This causes scoffing at the gospel.  But the gospel of Jesus Christ is just the opposite from the way these false teachers present it.  The gospel is selfless; a quality that is denied by the world’s materialism.

The Apostle Peter wrote about people in his day that scoffed at the idea that Jesus would ever return, just as people do today.  They try to promote the idea that things are today as they have always been and give no room for creation or for God’s judgement.

But we are to be different.  Jude tells that among all of this we are to build ourselves up in the faith.  How do we do that?  Just by getting up and reminding ourselves to be faithful each morning?

First, we can study the bible.  The bible is the test bed for all opinions and all doctrines.  As we read, we expand our knowledge of God’s word and are continually given new insights on how it applies to our life today.

Second, we should be listening to the testimonies of other Christians.  Learn how God is active in the lives of others and remember these things.  Christian fellowship is also a place of accountability to the faith, letting us better resist temptation.

Third, we should pray.  Seek divine companionship.  Don’t just seek spiritual people to have around you, but seek the Holy Spirit who is around you and within you.

Fourth, we need to keep ourselves in God’s love as we wait.  We need to abide in Him and be patient.  The time will come when we transition from this life to the next.  For most of us, that means death.  If you aren’t thinking about death, then you aren’t thinking correctly about your life.  Death is coming, so it matters what you do now.  One generation may be taken without death when Christ returns, but the majority of the church will be transformed through death.  We must focus on the grace and mercy that is required for us to pass into heaven after our death.

Lastly, while we are waiting, we should show mercy ourselves.  We should reach out to others so that they can also know God and know how to avoid the fire that Jude mentions in warning.  We are to be evangelists.  Not everyone can be approached in the same way, but everyone can be approached in some way.

Remember that there is a place for praise in the Christian life.  For a person who understands the gospel, there will be a doxology, not just at the end of life, but throughout life that looks toward Christ as the only one worthy of glory.

This is the first of two messages given at Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, VA on July 27, 1997.  This message from Jude was given at the morning worship service, and the second, a scripture meditation from John 12, was given in the evening of the same day.