All right. Good afternoon. Good afternoon. As I’m sure you have noticed, I am not Jared Wilson so I am going to finish up Jude, look at verses 24 and 25, Jared is is having some health issues and so he’s okay but he’s not feeling well and so we’ll pray for him in a second. But I know some of you are disappointed, you came to listen to Jared. He’s one of my favorite preachers as well, but we’ll just kind of use this as bait to get you to come back next year to listen to him preach. So let me pray for us. I want to pray for our time together, I want to pray for Jared and pray for us as we look at this text that describes the God that we serve. God, we thank you this afternoon for the opportunity again to study your word together, to look at the last two verses. We do pray that you would be with Jared. I know that he was excited to preach this text. We were excited to hear him; but, God you’re not caught off guard by this. We recognize that you are sovereign, you are in control. And so I just ask that you would be with Jared, be with his health. I pray that he recovers quickly, pray that you’d be with our time together as we look at your word, I pray that your spirit would work: convict, change, challenge, conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. We love you. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
So I want to read verses 24 and 25 if you have your place there, if you would just hold up your Bible, your smartphone, Jude 24-25, you guys got it? All right, let’s dive in here, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory, with great joy, 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.”
So the last two verses of Jude are often called the doxology. Dox is a word for glory. And so Jude just breaks out into praise, the last two verses, Jude can’t control himself. He can’t contain himself. He breaks out and begins to worship and praise the God who created him. And he talks about who God is. He talks about what God does. He talks about what God possesses. He is overcome with awe in this God that has called him, this God that loves him, and this God that is keeping him. And he comes at his description of God. Its like he is stepping back and looking at God from every angle. Who is God? What does God do? What does God possess? He is in enamored with God. Several years ago I was speaking in Saint Joe at a men’s conference and I stayed, instead of staying at a hotel, I stayed with a husband and his wife. And the husband was into sports cars and he took me to his garage and he was showing me this sports car that he spent seven years building. Okay, so I have no idea what kind of sports car it was. I’m not a car guy. It looked fast, I’m sure it was, but he knew every single detail about that car. He had one of those lifts where he could lift up the car and put it up and he walked me underneath the car and he showed me this piece of equipment and this part of the motor and I had no idea what he was talking about.
I’m like, yeah, tires look nice. So had no idea what he was showing me, but he showed me all, all around this car- underneath the car, opened up the door, showed me inside. I didn’t understand a lot of the conversation, but I did understand this part. He told me that this, this muscle car took a special kind of gas that costs $8 a gallon. If you don’t drive or pump your own gas, that’s a lot of money. So $8 a gallon. Here’s the kicker. Guess how many miles per gallon it got? Five. And so I thought my truck got bad gas mileage. I felt better about my own vehicle after that. But he knew everything. He could tell me everything about this car. And when he was done showing me and pointing out things and describing this car, I left with a greater appreciation of sports cars and his passion for his vehicle and what I want to happen this afternoon as we look at this text and we look at God, I want us to leave with a greater sense of awe and appreciation at who God is and what God has done in our lives. And Jude ends his letter, and he doesn’t talk about the false teachers, he doesn’t give them instructions to encourage them not to stumble. What he does is he takes their eyes away from the false teachers. He takes their eyes away from themselves, and he lifts up their heads and points them to God. He wants to redirect their gaze so that they’re not looking at the danger of false teaching or the struggles in their own life, but they would see this God who loves them, this God who’s called them, this God who’s captivated their lives and they would worship him. Because he knows, listen students, Jude knows that the only person who can carry the believer, and I know that the only person that can carry you, through life and death is God.
He’s the only one who is able to carry us. And so Jude ends his letter with a doxology redirecting our gaze to the one who is our only hope. And so I want to do the same thing. First of all, Jude tells us that God is able, that God is able. Verse number 24 he says, “now to him who is able,” I love that phrase. He doesn’t say, “to him who was able,” like God was able to work in the past but can’t work right now. He doesn’t say, “to him who will be able,” God will be able to work and to change lives in the future but right now he’s held up. No, he says to him, who is able. So we serve a powerful God who is able to save sinners and he’s able to change lives, he’s able to break chains, he’s able to give freedom, he’s able to grant righteousness.
We serve a God who is able, a God who was able, a God who is able and a God who always will be able. And the rest of the new Testament reinforces this. Hebrews seven, 25 says that God is able to save sinners. The author of Hebrew says, consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost, those who draw near to God through him since he always lives to make intercession for them; God is able to save sinners. God is able to give grace. Second Corinthians nine eight, “and God is able to make all grace abound to you so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” God is able to save sinners, he’s able to give grace, he’s able to grant victory. Hebrews two 18 says, “for because he himself has suffered when tempted,” listen to the students, he is able to help those who are being tempted. So we serve a God who is able to save sin, to give grace, to help us overcome temptation. He’s able to guard us, which Jude tells us he’s keeping us. He’s able to keep us from stumbling. Second Timothy one 12 Paul says, “I am not ashamed for I know who I [have] believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” So we serve a God who’s able- a strong, a powerful, a mighty God. And so, Jude wants his readers to understand, and I want you to understand, that the God we serve is not a God who worked in the past or a God who works in the future. But he’s the God who’s working right now. He’s a God who’s able to save, to change, to strengthen to work now.
And so he says, “to him who’s able,” and he says he’s able to do two things. He said he’s able to keep you from stumbling. And of course the word keep is sprinkled all throughout Jude’s letter; he says in verse number one that were kept for Jesus; he says in verse number six that the angels are kept for judgment; he says false teachers are being reserved, the Greek word there is the same word used or translated “kept” other places, kept forever and darkness for a judgment. In verse 21, Jude commands believers to keep themselves, and then here he that God is able to keep you from stumbling. This is interesting, Jude sees no problem with the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. He says in 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, but he knows that ultimately, yes, we’re responsible, but God is sovereign and God is keeping us for Jesus and he’s keeping us from stumbling.
And so that’s why he turns their gaze to God. He’s able to keep us from stumbling; the word stumble there, the only place that it’s used in the new Testament is right here. Scholars call it a hapax legomenon, I call it a Happy Lego, right? So I’m not the smartest dude around so Happy Lego works for me, but it’s the only place that it’s used in the Bible. Outside the Bible, there’s this guy named Phylo, and he uses this word to talk about running in a spiritual sense. And so I think Jude is using this word when he says to keep us from stumbling. He’s not saying that we’ll never sin, he’s not saying that we’re sinless, but he’s saying if we’re chasing after Christ and we’re living a life of obedience, that ultimately we’re not going to stumble and fall and fail, that God is keeping us.
And so it’s a running image. And I have a confession to make here. Just a side note, I hate running, right? I am not a runner. I agree with those who say that running is evil, right? I mean, Proverbs 28 one says, “the wicked flee when no one pursues.” Amen? Sound exegesis right there. Nailed it. You learned it here at Midwestern. I’m kidding. That’s a joke. That’s not that text means at all. But I don’t like to run. Okay. I’m not a runner and yet here he says, listen in the Christian race following Jesus, God is able to keep you from stumbling. And so I take comfort and I take encouragement in this, that God is able to keep us from stumbling. He will give us the grace necessary to complete the Christian course.
How comforting must that have been to these believers whose church has been infiltrated by false teachers? They are hearing men encourage them to engage in sexual sin. They’re hearing them teach false doctrine. They’re perverting the grace of God. Their souls are in danger. God has promised judgment and Jude finishes by saying, Hey, listen, “Yes, the threat is real. Yes sin is serious. Yes, God, judges sin. Hey, but God is able to keep you from stumbling.” Students, God loves you and God is able to keep you from stumbling, which means that ultimately our confidence, your confidence doesn’t rest in you, doesn’t rest in your ability, it rests in the God who is able. And so we can join with the hymn writer and say, “through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come, tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” God is able to keep us from stumbling. He’s able to sanctify us. He says, “God is able to keep us from stumbling.” It’s the first thing. The second thing is he says, he’s able to “present us blameless,” to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy. Now sometimes we read the Bible and we run through phrases and we run through verses and we don’t stop, we don’t slow down, we don’t sit for a second and just think about it. I want you to think about that phrase that God is able to present you blameless, in the presence of God with great joy. Blameless, presence of God, joy. Man, there’s so much glorious truth in this phrase. See in the Old Testament, you read through your Old Testament, and what you’ll notice is that anything that was presented to God, anything that entered the presence of God had to be blameless, without blemish, no spot, no mark, everything.
Lambs, bulls, goats, even people. Psalm 15 one and two the Psalmists puts it this way. “Oh Lord, who shall Sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your Holy Hill? This is the one he who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart. Now just step to the side and say, say this, that that poses a little bit of a problem, doesn’t it? Everything that’s presented to God, not just animal sacrifices, but people, anything that is presented to God or enters, the presence of God has to be blameless. Now, here’s the problem. Nobody in here is blameless. Every one of you, are sinners, right? The Bible repeatedly, over and over and over again, talks about the sinfulness of man. I mean, at this point, I could just run through a list of verses, right? Just run through a list of verses that talk about the sinfulness of man. And so nobody’s blameless. And if we’re trusting in our own or righteousness or blamelessness or goodness to stand before the presence of God, no one in here will ever stand before God. Because we’re all guilty and condemned sinners who deserve death. But here’s the good news. Jesus changes everything. The gospel changes everything. See, John tells us, in John chapter one verse 29, that John sees Jesus and he says, “behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
We’re sinners. Everybody in here from Genesis three onward, except for Jesus, is a sinner. But Jesus, the sinless lamb of God, John sees him and says there’s the blameless one. There’s the one who will take away the sins of the world. There is the one who will save the world. Peter tells us that he was a lamb without blemish and without spot in 1 Peter 1:19. He goes on to say that on the cross, in first Peter two 24, that Christ, he himself bore our sins on his own body, on the tree. And so every person in here is a sinner. No one is blameless, but Jesus, who is the blameless one takes our sin, dies in our place, raises to life, and the Bible says that God declares righteous those he justifies, declares righteous, takes Christ’s blamelessness and credits it to those who believe in Jesus. That’s the heart of the gospel; substitution, that that Jesus took our sin and through faith we receive his righteousness and his blamelessness. And so God is able to present us blameless in the presence of God because of what Christ has done. And if you read your old Testament, you also notice this, that nobody stands in the presence of God. Nobody can see God’s Glory or God’s presence in an unmediated fashion without dying.
And yet, because of Christ, there will be a day when every believer will stand blameless in his presence. And here’s the last word, “with great joy,” with great joy. There is joy and happiness and goodness in knowing and loving and following Jesus. And I just want you to hear that this weekend, that there’s joy in Christ, that there’s true, real, deep, lasting, eternal joy, and we’re so busy chasing things that don’t provide joy; sex, friendships, fun party, drugs. We’re looking for joy and meaning and purpose and all of these other places. And we’re running away from the God who is able to keep us from stumbling and to present us in the presence of God with great joy.
And so students, when are you going to stop chasing joy in things that will never bring joy? God is able to present us blameless in God’s presence with great joy. And then he says, God is able to keep us from stumbling, to present us in God’s presence with joy. Then he says in verse number 25 he says, I’m addressing in this doxology the one who is able to keep you from stumbling, present you blameless, verse 25 “to the only our savior through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And so I’ve already said this, but he says, God is able to save, that our God is able to save. I’m addressing this to God, our savior through Jesus Christ, our Lord. And so Jude does two things here and I’ll move quickly. The first thing he does is he reminds us that there’s only one God. There’s only one God. God alone is God our only God. The Old Testament affirms this, “hear O Israel, the Lord our God. The Lord is one.” The New Testament affirms this in first Timothy two five “there is one God, there’s one mediator between man and God, the man Christ Jesus.” There’s only one God who’s eternally existed in three persons, and this Triune God is our savior.
Again, make no mistake about it. Every person in here is a sinner. Adam in the garden, Cain kills Abel, God says to the men in Noah’s day, “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Isaiah says, “all we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way. The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Solomon, in Ecclesiastes says, “there’s not a just man on the earth. Who does right and does not sin.” Jesus doesn’t give himself to men because he knows what’s in the heart of men. Paul, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Like there’s just a Bible beat down a verses that tell us a punch throat, if you will, wherever you’re at Sam. Just a beat down of Bible verses that remind us that we’re sinful. And on top of that, there’s nothing we can do to earn God’s forgiveness, right? We’ll never be able to work hard enough to attain God’s forgiveness. Paul says in Galatians, “by the works of law, no flesh shall be justified in his sight.” Nobody’s gonna be able to keep the law or produce enough good works to earn God’s righteousness. We’re all sinners. We all deserve death. The wages of sin is death, right?
Just a horrible payout. You know how much do you make an hour? Death, right? That’s not a great wage in case you didn’t know that. So everybody’s a sinner. Everyone deserves death, and Jesus took our death, took our place, and so here’s what I’m trying to say to you. You are not the solution. You are the problem. I know that’s straight, but I’m going to tell you like it is. You are not the solution. You are the problem. Jonathan Edwards says, you contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary. Boom, you contribute nothing but the sin that made your salvation necessary. If you don’t like that quote, here’s another one from another one of my favorite theologians: wreck it Ralph. Who, when Vanellope von Schweetz asked him to rebuild the car, he says, I don’t make things, I break things. That’s us, we don’t make things, we break things, right? We’re sinners, we’ve rebelled. Our life is broken. But again, the good news of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ redeems, picks up, and puts back together, broken things.
And so this God, this only God is our savior and he has saved us through Jesus Christ. That Jesus lived the perfect life of obedience that you and I could never live. He died the death that we deserve. He rose from the grave and victory, and he grants eternal life to those who believe in him and him alone. God is our savior and not us. This is great news. This is the gospel. And so Jude directs their attention to the God who is able, and then finally he directs their attention to the God who is glorious. He says, this God “to this God belongs glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Now, these are not things that we give God as if God is lacking these things and needs us to give them to him. These are things that God eternally possesses and we recognize rightfully belong to him. Glory belongs to God. These things should motivate us to worship him. Glory belongs to God.
The word glory is often used as a synonym for God’s presence, but here I think Jude is talking about the essential glory of God’s being, that this is who God is. God is glorious. He’s talking about the greatness of God, the radiance of his being. God is glorious and possesses all glory, and we exist to glorify Him. He designed us to live for him to recognize his glory and to seek to reflect that in our lives, that God the we serve, the God that we worship, the God that Jude directs their gaze to is a God who is glorious. He’s a God who is majestic. He’s preeminent. He’s a God who is overwhelming in grandeur. There’s no one and nothing like Him. He is holy other than us, and I love this because Jude uses four words here, but Jude is trying to describe the Godness of God and runs out of words. He doesn’t have the vocabulary. I don’t have the vocabulary to paint for you a picture of the glorious God that keeps us from stumbling
Our God is glorious. He’s majestic. He’s powerful, he possesses dominion, right? It’s like the kid’s song. My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do. That’s the God that I serve. There’s truth in that song that the God that we serve is a God who has dominion, a God who’s powerful and you and I have been called by that God, saved by that God, we are kept by that God. How can that not energize and excite us to walk out of these doors and to be and do what God has called us to do? God is glorious. He’s majestic. He possesses dominion, and then he talks about the authority of God. Not only does God have the power to accomplish his purposes, but he has the authority, he has the right to accomplish his purposes. He has the right to rule. He has a right to govern his creation. And what Jude is doing here is he’s describing a beautiful, glorious, majestic and powerful God, who’s worthy of our lives. And at this point, we should be able to look to the God that Jude is describing and then you look at the false teachers that he’s already described. Do I want to follow the false teachers, those who are committing sexual sin, those who are rejecting Christ’s Lordship? Do I want to follow them or do I want to follow the God who’s able to keep me from stumbling? The God who’s able to present me in the presence of God with great joy, the God who is my savior, the God who’s glorious and majestic, who possesses dominion and authority? Which road do I want to walk? Which path do I want to pursue? Who do I want to become?
The one who joins in the destruction of the wicked or the one who stands in the presence of God through Christ. And to me the answer is simple. The answer is Christ. I want to be the one who stands blameless in his presence. And so as we think about this, and as I close here, when we think about God, it should motivate us to live, for him, to live for his glory, to live for his dominion, to live for his power, to live for the fame of his name, going to the ends of the earth. And I need to hear this and you need to hear this because if we don’t hear this, the temptation for you and for me is to live my life and to pursue things that are me centered.
I’ve got four kids, I’ve got a six year old daughter, I’ve got a five year old son, a four year old son and a two and a half year old son. Okay. So my house is a zoo. My kids smell almost as bad as some of you, not quite, but almost as bad as some of you. And I remember several years ago I was driving down the road and I only had my daughter with me. She was in the back seat. I looked in the rear view mirror and she looked so cute, and I looked at her and I said, McCartney, I love you. And she made eye contact with me and she looked at me and she said, daddy, I love myself.
That was not what I wanted to hear. Okay. I laughed because it was funny. But the more I’ve thought about that, the more I’ve realized that all of us are that way at heart. We love ourselves. We live for ourselves. We make decisions for ourselves. And Jude closes his letter by saying, listen, don’t look at yourself. Don’t love yourself. Don’t live for yourself. Fix your eyes on this glorious God who has redeemed you through Jesus Christ. Fix your eyes on him. Live for him, love him. God, we thank you, this afternoon, again for your word. We thank you for who you are. We thank you for what you’ve done, for the students in here who have experienced the radical and transforming grace of God. I pray that this afternoon they’re reminded of how glorious you are, how gracious you are, how good you’ve been to them. And I pray that your goodness and your glory would motivate them to live lives of faithfulness and obedience.
And for the ones in here who are not believers, I pray that they would hear the words of this text, that you are a God who is able. You are able to save them. You’re able to forgive their sins. You’re able to put their life back together. You are the God who is able, and I pray that they would believe that, they would trust in you and you alone. Again, we love you. We thank you for Jesus. We thank you for the Gospel. We are grateful people. We love you and ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.