Jude 19 "These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit."
Leading up to this passage from the Letter of Jude which we will be examining today, Jude has been relating prophecies regarding scoffers who reject Christ in the last days. It is these who he is talking about at the beginning of today’s reading. What we immediately notice is that these worldly people are devoid of the Spirit. They are like the Pharisees, not knowing the power of God in their lives (Matt. 22:29). As such, they breed division and follow their own sinful desires. But what is the antidote to being one of these people? Jude offers the way of Christ to guard against such things. “But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith…”
Of course, sin and division are conquered by faith. It is only through such a relationship of trust in Christ that we overcome the world (1 John 5:4). And so we are led to “pray in the Holy Spirit…”
The cure for division, a worldly life, and spiritual emptiness is the love of Christ. When you feel yourself begin to turn towards these things, take the time at that moment return to a place of waiting upon Christ’s mercy. We must daily come to that place where we are crucified and Christ is living in us (Gal. 2:20). Earnestly seek the Lord in prayer until you are waiting for His mercy once more.
Father, thank you that there is a clear line between those who know you, who pretend to know you, and those who think they know you. Thank you that the cure for worldliness is to return to your mercy. Father, keep my spirit strong in you today. Allow me to see truth from error and to discern your leading from others. Lord, you are worthy to be followed and I earnestly desire to follow you with all my heart. Father, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sin—even when I don’t follow you as I should. I pray this in the only name above all names – I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 Peter 2:15 "For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people."
Peter understood what it meant to suffer. As the New Testament book of Acts records, he was almost always in harm's way, be it from imprisonment or angry mobs coming against him. Why did he suffer so much? Because he boldly and clearly proclaimed the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. And for his outspoken behavior, he was most certainly beaten, whipped, and even tortured to the point of death.
After all he had been through, Peter understood that words are one thing, but actions with words are the sealer to one's testimony. In other words, when suffering for Christ, Peter learned that he had to keep serving, even if that meant facing some kind of harm while he verbally spoke biblical truths.
Have hard times come your way? Are you suffering because you are vocal about your faith in Jesus Christ? Then pour your heart out to God. Have faith that He will lift you out of your circumstances in due time. But don't forget to keep investing and spending time with those without Christ. This may require time, money, your tools, car, etc. However, it is only when you add this element to your time of suffering will you be able to see the power and plan of God in your life.
Father, I reminded form your Word that when I suffer according to your will, I am to entrust myself to you and continue to good. I also know that I should not be surprised that when fiery trials come my way, for the godly will suffer and be persecuted. And, I thank you for such times, Father, for these push me closer to you. I have one prayer, Lord, during these hard times—please let me show Christ to all who are around me in thought, word, and deed. When people see me, may they see you. May you be glorified, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 John 5:4 "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith."
Are you trying to overcome sin in your life on your own? Do you believe that self-discipline can take care of your problems? Realize the depth of your sinfulness and turn to Christ.
Have you given up on yourself and the world? Do you see no relief in sight from the evil and sin on every side? Take every care to make sure Christ lives in you (2 Cor. 13:5) and then take heart!
If you have been born of God, you will overcome the world in the end! You will see the power of God begin to become manifest in your life and finally in full at the resurrection.
Father, it is no secret that there is sin even in the lives of Christians. We have been cleansed before God by the blood of Christ, but we still do what do not want to do. Even though we still see the law of sin at work in our bodies here on earth, Father, we don’t want to sin and don’t want to make a practice of sinning if we are in you. Lord, in the end, we will overcome the world because we have been born of your salvation. Lord, refresh my heart today to these facts. Only faith in your will overcome the sin before me. I pray all this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 "Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap."
King Solomon’s writings in Ecclesiastics 11 gives us some advice on how we can live effectively in such a time as this. In verse 4, he writes, ""If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” Solomon is saying that many people, knowing the uncertain conditions of life, are more inclined to put their life on hold until things improve. Many will not make major decisions until they are sure of what is going to happen. Whether it is not buying a house, going go to college, sharing their faith, the excuse usually goes like this: “I don’t know if it would be safe.” There are too many “what ifs” in life, and Solomon makes it clear that there will never be a perfect time to complete such tasks.
Jeremiah is a great example of someone who suffered from the ""what if"" syndrome. God called Jeremiah, the young son of a Jewish priest, to be His spokesperson. Jeremiah protested that he was too young, but God promised His protection and help. Thus began a ministry that would last 40 years, as Jeremiah took his stand for righteousness within a fatally wicked society.
Our world needs Jeremiahs--people who are not afraid to stand for God in a hostile society and take risks for Him. Without these people, the Gospel fails to be preached.
Will you accept that challenge today?
Father, it is certainly true that if I have not died to self I can’t life for you. Lord, help me to remember how accepted I am in Christ—so I will have the freedom and poise necessary to live without fear. Let me cling to Christ more closely, love Him more heartily, live to Him more thoroughly, and confess Him more boldly. Father, the longer I live, the less I care about secondary things and the more I long for the powerful display of Christ's glory only. Please grant these desires today—if you be pleased. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Genesis 25:23 The LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger."
Esau’s decisions were based on his impulsive desire for whatever looked good to him at the time. You see, the birthright gave the eldest son the responsibility of being priest and a doubled inheritance, among other things. Nevertheless, Esau hasty choice meant he would be without the precious gift given to the firstborn.
As Christians, we must be careful about the ""bargains"" we make in life. Paul wrote that we should always watch for compromises in our faith in the spiritual and physical realms (2 Corinthians 6:14-17). Our culture places a high price tag on what is worthless and throws away as worthless what is of eternal value.
Do not make decisions that you will live to regret. What may look appetizing at first usually comes back worse in the end. The Bible should be your first guide you use before making any kind of choice.
Does the path you plan to follow line up with what God inspired in His Word? If not, then satan is throwing an opportunity in your face, hoping you will accept his offer. Be quiet before God when you are facing a new option in your life. You will never go wrong by slowing down and waiting for God's answer.
Father, my past regret that I did not show more of Christ's love and my future hope is that I will show more of Christ's love! Grant me a tender heart, able to experience guilt, regret and remorse, which lead to confession and repentance, and shows your grace has visited me. Allow my greatest joy to be remember it is Christ giving his all and make my greatest regret is me giving less. Father, what a regret it would be to get to the end of my time and realize I'd spent more time protecting my turf than enjoying your kingdom. I pray this all in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Titus 1:13 "This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith. "
Paul started a church in Crete and asked Titus to oversee its operations. Titus had to be, as the old saying goes, ‘a rock in a hard place.’ Paul charged him to expose doctrinal errors, proclaim truth, and by his way of life, set an example of what it means to live for Christ (2:7-8).
Has God called you to represent Him in a workplace, a school, or location where Christ's name is a nasty word and where people have no time or need for God?
Then, like Titus, you must know God's truths in the Bible and reflect that truth in your life. A society such as ours needs Christians who live as rocks in a hard place.
Father, living this life for you in the midst of great error is not easy. How many in the history of the church have fallen prey to false teaching! Oh, Lord, I ask that you keep me safe from falsehood and remind me of your truth today. I pray to you, Lord, to give me perseverance and to design that I be a faithful witness to you to the end of my life for you. Father, glorify your name in your servant today for the advancement of your kingdom and the salvation of souls as I share your Gospel and witness to others. I pray this all in the matchless name of Jesus. Amen.
1 John 4:21 "And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."
In biblical terms, the family is the most important unit. There is the immediate family as well as the Christian body of believers. Yet, in every instance, Christians are warned to love and devote themselves to those that are both easy-going and hard to interact with. This is why John wrote, ""Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him"" (1 John 2:10-11). You can't love God and hate the people around you, be it family, friends, or brothers and sisters in Christ.
The word ""brother"" can mean our loved ones, our neighbors, or other Christians. These verses speak of genuine love, or the emotion and attitude in the New Testament called agape--love without end. That kind of love fails to recognize any boundaries, blemishes, or grudges, and is not held down by the world's restraint.
Part of loving those around you is to walk in the light of our Lord and not in the darkness of the world. This requires frequent check-ups with the Lord and a devotion that will test your every nerve. It also demands you live wholly for the Lord, not as hypocrite aimed at living two lives. Ask the Lord for the grace to walk His path and to invest in those you encounter this day.
Father, thank you that as the world looks at your church today that there is still hope, despite what they may say. Thank you that the greatest evidence, apologetic, and witness for the church today is that you use broken sinners such as me to advance your Gospel of salvation and peace. Father, we don’t have a methodological problem in our churches today – but a “love your brother” problem. Oh, Father, stir among your people that the love you have shown us isn’t just something we talk or debate. It is something we are to live, and showcase for all to see. Father, unify your church, and unify my heart to you and other Christians. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.