Jude 17-23 Devotional 5/21/2020
Start by reading Jude 17-23.
By now you know Jude is a one-chapter book right before Revelation. It is the 5th smallest book in the Bible, yet one of the most potent in exposing doctrinal errors and false teachers. Jude warns against following those who have surreptitiously gained entry into the church and are perverting the one true faith with false teaching.
In verses 17-23 Jude urges Christians to contend for the faith and he commands A Call to Persevere. The letter warns against allowing false teachers to continue to have influence. Often people subscribe to false doctrine in order to accommodate their sin, but Jude cautions us in verses 18-19 “They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” There are several examples of our generation that illustrate this, and we do not have to look far to see people living worldly lives slathered with a bit of religion and calling themselves Christians. That is like calling a caterpillar a butterfly. It shares the same DNA, but the butterfly goes through a process in a cocoon and transforms into a butterfly.
Today, we see that many churches have become entertainment and activity centers that pamper to the lukewarm and even the un-believing caterpillar. They are great at producing behavior modification, but according to 2 Corinthians 5:17 the goal should be soul transformation. Christians are transformed in community where vulnerabilities are laid out and treated with the correct balance of truth and love. Jude calls the church to defend the truth aggressively against this infiltration.
There is a battle waging, and the little g god of this age (money, sensuality, fame, pride) is blinding the minds of unbelievers and condemning them to hell (1 John 2:15-17). We must stand firm on the absolute truth of the word of God and the Good News of the Bible that leads us to a place where there is no confusion, suffering, or death. We must put our faith and trust in the God of light who desires for people all over this world to be saved (1 Timothy 2:1-7).
We are living in very strange times, and it does not take more than ten seconds on the internet to see some bizarre, twisted story in the news. In the midst of all of the chaos we need to put on the glasses of God’s word to focus our attention on what is right and what is true. We need not be allegiant to a political party, a country, or a denomination to the point where we lose sight of what matters most, which is an allegiance to our Heavenly Father, and a focus on our forever home which is Heaven.
Jude 22-23 tells us the church is called to show mercy to everyone, even its opponents. I will be the first one to say this is easier said than done, but my earnest prayer is that we will fear God more than man, love Scripture more than tradition, and be bright lights in a dark age. Right now, we have a great opportunity to glorify God by demonstrating grace, mercy, and love.
In the midst of this battle, there are some key questions we can ask ourselves to assess the condition of our head, heart, and habits:
- Am I thinking clearly? (Do I have an accurate view of myself, not too high and not too low)
- What or who am I influenced by? (Am I inspired by the Word of God and other Christians, or manipulated by the world, and news, social media, non-Christians?)
- Am I bearing fruit consistent with the proclamation of my faith? (Does my walk match my talk?) (Galatians 5:22-23)
- Am I authentically transformed? (Am I a caterpillar, a cocoon, or a butterfly? Not just cosmetic or behavior changes externally, but transformed internally) (1 John 3:9)
I encourage you to be honest with your assessment and make changes where you are convicted. We are in this together church.