December 29, 2018

Today you should read: Jude 17-25

Our passage today is a brief conclusion to a brief book of the Bible. Jude merely reminds his audience that, first, the apostles told of the wicked, “scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”

Second, although the wicked bring “division” they are “worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” Their behavior is no excuse for a believer to act as they do. Those who are “beloved” ones of God, who have experienced His grace, should, as Paul says in Ephesians 4, “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” Do not give up, do not give in. The “beloved” must instead practice “building [themselves] up in [their] most holy faith.” How? “Praying in the Holy Spirit.” “Keep yourselves in the Love of God,” pursue your relationship. And, wait patiently for the ultimate promise we have through Jesus.

Third, as we relate to unbelievers and hurting Christians, Jude urges us to “have mercy on those who doubt.” Likewise, verse 23 urges believers to pursue the wicked destined for “fire” by evangelizing and “snatching” them out. Here also I think we see a call for accountability. Believers have been set free from sin (Rom. 6), but we will continue to struggle with sin. It is our responsibility to “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” as Grandma used to say. Jude calls us to “show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”

God’s grace demands a whole life response. Simple right? I think if we truly understood the depth of our sin and the ocean of grace that has been lavished on us, that kind of response is only natural. The problem is that we constantly diminish our need for a Savior. Or, equally as bad, we fail to understand that sin is our number one enemy whose only cure is a relationship with God through Jesus. Instead, we act as if our number one enemy is a lack of money, recognition, and recognitions friend, influence. We make enemies of our spouses, our kids, our families, our job and co-workers, our beater car, our clothes that are just out of fashion, etc. Whatever your number one enemy is, if it is sin and your Savior isn’t Jesus, you’re living in idolatry. You are failing to understand that God’s grace demands a whole life response.

The translation I’m using has “Doxology” as the final section header (24–25). I love that. Doxology means words of praise. When we consider the wicked, when we consider our salvation, and when we consider our responsibility towards others and our call to live righteously despite our surroundings, there is no right response other than to call out to God in words of praise. Only He can “keep you from stumbling” and only He can “present you blameless.” For this reason, we cry out, “to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

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December 28, 2018

Today you should read: Jude 1-16

Today we are beginning the letter of Jude together! We’ll spend two days studying this short letter.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, our passage references a lot of stories from the Old Testament, and some of them may not be as familiar to you! Go ahead and check out this video that helps explain some of what the letter of Jude is all about!

From the very beginning of this letter, I notice that Jude calls himself “a slave of Jesus Christ.” Jude was the earthly brother of Jesus, but he is humble enough to call himself a slave instead of bragging that he was his brother.

Jude’s letter is mainly about defending or contending for “the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people” (Jude 3), and doing so in response to false teachers.

Jude warns his audience that “ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives” (Jude 4).  These false teachers lived “only to satisfy their desires” (v.16). They were prideful, selfish, and sexually immoral.

What do we take from today?

God cares about our conduct. Historically, one temptation of some Christians has been to lean towards legalism, a belief that right behavior is what saves us. This is false! However, we face another temptation. The apostle Paul frames it like this:

“Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” – Romans 6:1

The answer: Absolutely not! While it is clear that we are saved by grace through faith, we are not free to sin just because we have received grace from God. In fact, because of the grace we have been given in Christ, we grow in holiness as a response. “God’s kindness is meant to lead [us] to repentance” (Romans 2:4).

As we grow in Christ, we grow in holiness. This is a command of God (Leviticus 19:2). We are to watch for those around us who may be teaching others a false Gospel. We are to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

But how do we do that? Be sure to read tomorrow to find out!

By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice

October 1, 2011

Today you should read: Jude 1:17-25

Warning! Warning! Warning!

Jude is a book warning the people of God about perversiveness among the believers. Jude is writing to remind believers about how easy it is to fall away and to become enslaved to the things of this world. Yesterday you read the first part of Jude where He was warning them against their perverse sin. To illustrate his point, he reminded them that after God delievered the people of Israel from Egypt they turned back to their sinful desires and became a nation much like that of Sodom and Gamorah (Genesis 19).

This is not the first time we see this kind of admonition in the New Testament… Paul warns Timothy against such sinful desires:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. 2 Timothy 3:1-9

Jude understands something very essential about the human heart…It is wicked! Even as followers of Christ if we are not constantly seeking God and submitting to the Lordship of Christ in our lives then we will be no different than Israel after the Exodus. We will become enslaved to our perverse sin of our hearts. So what are we to do? How can we be sure not to fall prey to this? We do it by humbling our hearts.

In our passage today we see a few clear instructions:

(1) Listen to the warnings of the Apostles. (v. 18-19)

We must humbly come to the scriptures with fear and trembling. As we are convicted and warned about our sin we must submit and repent of our sin. Confessing our sin to the Lord should be something we do daily.

(2) We must pray and rely on the Holy Spirit to help us. (v. 20)

Prayer is essential to our spiritual well being. We have to pray daily and rely on the Holy Spirit to help us. Prayer should be the first thing we do every day because to go through the day without it is prideful. It is saying to God that we can do life without His help. Let me warn you in love….NO YOU CAN’T!

(3) Remember the one who keeps us from stumbling is Jesus Christ. (v. 24-25)

We simply have to make him Lord over every aspect of our lives.

Posted by: Chad Wiles

September 30, 2011

Today you should read: Jude 1:1-16

Jude is one of the smallest books in the Bible, and although it’s often overlooked, it’s RICH in truth.

This small book is written by Jude (Judah) who identifies himself as “the brother of James” implying that he is also the step-brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3). This introduction gives him the authority to deal with some of the difficult and hot burner issues that he addresses.

Although the recipients of the letter are not specifically mentioned, we know they are people who are familiar with the Old Testament and Jewish literature. They are probably the churches that Jude had visited on his journeys.

Jude is short but powerful. It deals with the subjects of false teachers who tried to manipulate the grace of God, spiritual discipline, how to defend your faith, and much more!

Jude jumps right into the action in verse 4… false teachers have wormed their way into your churches – undermining God’s teaching on grace. Do we struggle with this today? You bet! False teaching is so prevalent that many Christians don’t know the false from the true. This is also due to the lack of time many of us spend in God’s Word for ourselves “examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so” (Acts 17:11). False teaching comes to us freely from the pulpit, the ipod, the radio, and the pen. We MUST be careful!

Undermining God’s grace is still a big issue on both sides. Some still teach a salvation by works such as doing the right things, attending church, or baptism. Others take the opposite side and say that God’s grace gives us the freedom to do whatever we want and God will simple turn His head and wink. Neither is correct.

Jude goes on to spell out the condemnation that these false prophets will experience in verses 5-16.

So… how can we know True from False?

1. It begins with knowing God yourself – the Holy Spirit in you will guide you and “bear witness” to truth if you learn to listen to Him and follow Him.

2. You need to know your Bible (and that only comes from spending time in it). Read it, study it, memorize it.

3. Don’t be gullible – don’t simple accept everything your hear or read as truth. Much of it isn’t!

4. Ask questions of those you trust, if you don’t understand something or have doubts about its’ accuracy.

5. Protect your family from false teaching. Kids are where cults strike

Thank you SO much for reading JumpStart faithfully. It’s a privilege to provide it for you. Our prayer is that God is growing you through it!

Posted by: Tim Parsons