Ready 2020: Sam Bierig – Jude 1-2

Posted January 25, 2020 by Matthew Hines


All right. Hey, would you pray with me again? Lord, we have a, we’ve gathered here to hear from you and we need desperately to hear from you. And so I pray just three things. Would you convert men and women in here tonight? Would you bring them to yourself out of darkness to light? Would you sanctify us? Anyone in here who is a Christian, we are struggling under our sin. Continue to save us. And I pray that you would- that you’d call men and women into ministry, that they would want to lay down their life and give their entire lives to the task of bringing the Gospel to the nations, bringing Gospel to their neighbors and that they want to do that with everything that they have. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Okay. How many of you have ever seen the new Lion King? The remake? Okay. How many of you seen the old one, the ’94? Even more? Great! Great. Great. Okay, so this is big. This is big to me. Lion King’s a really big deal to me. If you believe that the new one is better, go ahead and stand up. Okay. If you think the old one’s better, go ahead and stand up. Alright. Alright. It was close but it takes it. Okay. So here’s the deal. I actually, I actually think that the new one does some new stuff that’s pretty cool. They do pretty well, but they botched big time, my absolute favorite part in the whole movie, the 94 one, the old one, and it’s the part when Rafiki figures out that Simba is still alive. And this is like the hinge of the movie, so you cannot screw this up. But they did. So it’s a hinge of the movie, Rafiki figures it out. He goes to him and he’s kinda that jungle area. He has no idea who- Simba has no idea who this guy is. Right? He doesn’t remember him from childhood, but Rafiki knows who he is, and so he starts messing with him.

He ends up smacking him in the head. Right? And he says, you know, it’s in the past you. It doesn’t matter anymore. And so it’s that part, y’all with me? You clear? Okay, so what is this conversation that goes on? He actually asks him, you know, after he hits him, he goes, who are you? And he says that that’s not the important question, right? The question is who are you? Right? That’s Rafiki. He’s asking these questions, Simba still doesn’t really know who he is. And then Rafiki kinda does the slight of hand with him and he says, you are Mufasa’s boy, right? I know who you are and you don’t know who you are, but I know who you are. And he goes, your father is still alive, and I want you to chase me down and I’m going to show him to you. You come with me and I’m going to show you where he is.

And so they go through this jungle area, and they go over to a pool, and he says, look down in this pool and you’re going to see your father. Right? And he looks, and what does he see? He sees his reflection. He’s busted about it. And he goes, that’s not my dad. All I’ve wanted is to see my dad, right? You can feel it in the movie. And, and he goes, that’s not my dad. That’s just my reflection. And Rafiki he says, look harder, right? He lives in you and they screw that one up in the new movie, right? But right at that moment, you hear Mufasa’s booming voice, right, Simba. And he shows up in this cloud vortex thing and starts talking. And what is the first thing out of his mouth? He says, look, you’re not who you’re supposed to be.

Why is that? You’ve forgotten who you are? And he goes, no, I can never forget who you are. And he goes, yeah, no, you have forgotten who you are. You’ve forgotten me and so forgotten who you are. And so this book that we’re going to look at all this weekend is written to people that- they don’t know who they are. They’re not acting like who they really are. They’re listening to these false teachers and just like Mufasa, he tells Simba, you’re more than you have become. You’re something more than this, but you’re living a life that isn’t properly yours. And these people that Jude is writing to, this is his, you know, solo album, self-titled, very short. He writes to this collection of nameless, ragtag churches just strewn across what is nowadays, get in your mind, just Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Jordan.

He’s writing to these churches that have forgotten who they are. They’re just normal everyday church members, but they are heirs to the kingdom. They’ve been adopted by the King. They are sons and daughters of God and they’ve forgotten who they are just like Simba. So, if you haven’t already, go ahead and turn to Jude. We’re going to be there all weekend long. If you do not have a physical Bible and you do have a smart phone, go to Biblegateway.com, you need to be in the text. We’re going to be there all weekend long. You will be well served to do that. I’m going to read a couple- I’m not going to read the entire book, but I’m going to read portions just so we can get in there. “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James: to those who are called, loved by God the father and kept for Jesus Christ. May mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you. Dear friends,” or beloved, “although I was eager to write [to] you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write, appealing to you, to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all. For some people, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into sensuality and denying Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord.”

Now I want to remind you, right, “Simba, remember.” Now I want to remind you all though you came to know all these things once and for all that Jesus saved a people out of Egypt and later destroyed those who did not believe. Now, pause, what happens from here is a series of biblical stories and metaphors that Jude just fires at them to explain basically this: God is powerful enough to judge those who deserve judgment, and he is powerful enough- he is more powerful than enough to save those who turn from their sins. And he deploys an array of metaphors and stories. Pick up in verse 17, “But you, dear friends,” or loved ones, “remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They told you, ‘In the end time there will be scoffers living according to their own ungodly desires.’ These people create divisions and are worldly, not having the Spirit. But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. Have mercy on those who waver; save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. Now to him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy, to the only God our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.”

So, I’m going to be covering essentially the why, or the occasion- just the first two verses- of why Jude is writing. And he wants to address these people, and as we’ve said, he wants to remind them. He wants them to remember who they really are. So here’s where we’re going, I’ve got four marks, okay, I’ve got four marks of what a real Christian is. That’s what we’re going to do in my section. So, they’re this” real Christians are humble, real Christians are called, real Christians are loved, and real Christians are kept. So we’re going to have some takeaways at the end and I’m going to try to bring it home with one final thought project to kind of fuse everything together. But that’s where we’re going. So here’s the first mark, mark number one: real Christians are humble, real Christians are humble. And we see this in the way that Jude introduces himself. What does he say? He says, “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.” That’s his introduction.

Here’s what’s wild about Jude. Jude is the half brother of Jesus. And he chooses, intentionally, not to even mention that fact. He does it on purpose. The main biographical information we get on Jude, it doesn’t even have his name in it. It’s actually in Mark chapter three. You may remember the scene, I’ll give you a little bit of a story here, but it’s Jesus, he’s back in his home region of Galilee and he’s been a man about town doing what Jesus does: he’s healing people, he’s casting out demons, he’s preaching, he’s declaring forgiveness of sin, he’s calling the 12 disciples, et cetera. And there’s a buzz about Jesus, and rightfully so. In chapter three verse 11, there’s this one part where he casts out a demon, and this demon who- Jesus is not his Lord, right? What does he say? You are the son of God. This demon knows that. And so Jesus gets this reputation, especially among the churchy folk, the Scribes and the Pharisees, and they go, look, he’s a blasphemer.

He should stop this. And so in the middle of all this, he’s being called a blasphemer. People were kind of confused about who he is, but you can’t really argue with that he’s a miracle worker. There’s no chance you can now argue that. His family shows up and they think, you know, this is just a little too much. We’ve got to save face a little bit. I mean, we know you’re a big deal, Jesus, but this whole equal with God thing is just too much. And Jude, we understand that he would probably be there and I mean, he’s struggling with this as well and he’s like, look guy, I was there when your voice changed. Like, I mean, are you really the Messiah, the one we’ve been waiting for? This is how Mark chapter three reads. It’s verse 20, you don’t have to turn there, but, “Jesus entered a house, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat. When his family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, ‘he’s out of his mind.'” Jesus keeps on teaching. But then his family finally shows up. This is verse 31, “His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent word to him and called him.” Same word that Jude actually uses to say what Jesus did with him. “A crowd was sitting around him and told him, ‘Look, your mother, [and] your brothers, and your sisters are outside asking for you.’ [Jesus] replied to them, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ Looking at those sitting in a circle around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.'”

Something happened to Jude between here and there. Jude goes from questioning Jesus’ psychological stability in Mark three all the way to calling himself a humble slave of his half brother who he understands to be the God of the universe in Jude. Here’s what happened. When you see a man get up out of a grave who was once dead, it’s going to change you. It brings you low. It humbles you, even if it is your brother. I mean that’s not, this is not how I would talk about it. Right? Or you. I’d be like “Name’s Jude, may have heard of me. Part of the eternal Royal family and whatnot, sort of. Prince of these here regions.” But that’s not Jude. That’s not what he does. What does he say? Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and a brother of James. So, this first mark of a real Christian as Jude writes is- we’re seeing a real encounter, a saving encounter, when Jesus changes you. It brings you low. Something about his unstoppable kindness, his immeasurable power, his other worldly love, his unconquerable wisdom, it changes you; but, the sin of pride, the nemesis of humility, it locks you up. It blocks you out from seeing who Jesus really is. Maybe even tonight.

So this first mark: humble yourself before the mighty and yet merciful God of the universe. Mark number two: real Christians are called, real Christians are called. We see this in the way that Jude addresses his audience. Again, we’re still in verse one here. “Called,” here the word. It just simply means summoned or invited, commissioned. What’s important to notice about this word and why Jude would use this to characterize these Christians who’ve kind of lost who they are, is that it’s at God’s initiative. They don’t call themselves the ruling and reigning God of the universe calls. He’s the first mover, he calls whom he wills. God exercising a calling means it is his prerogative; we don’t control that. And this is part of their identity. This is who he- this is what he calls them, it’s who he’s writing to, it’s the called. At one point, Jude says to you, he’s wanting to say to you, through the power of the Spirit, you were lost and dead in your trespasses, but then- if you’re a Christian in here tonight- he called you out of that grave and you came running, we just sang about it! And, it becomes your identity. You’re the called: it’s your name, it’s your purpose, it’s your title, and in his kindness he’s called you.

In this book, it’s going to get pretty gnarly at points. I mean, he is going to get down to some serious business. He’s going to have some pretty scalding things to say to the people that he’s addressing, but at the very beginning, he wants to remind his readers of who they really are. He wants to register with them that they are the called, that this was not by accident, that they’re even hearing his letter. It’s not by accident that we’re hearing this letter. The Lord has a purpose in you being here, just the same as 2000 years ago. And so, by the power of the Spirit, by the call of God, and the cross and resurrection work of Jesus, that’s how he saves. He calls people forth, whatever’s happening in your heart.

Mark number three: true Christians are loved, true Christians are loved, and we see this in the way God speaks about his people all throughout the Bible, it’s said here again in verse one, and through Jesus what we’re seeing- what does it mean to be loved by God, right? This is not Disney. Follow your heart stuff. What does it mean to be loved by God? Well, it means that through Jesus Christ, God is reconciling to himself, dingy, defiant, grimy, wicked sinners like you. It’s as if Jesus, he goes out onto the used car, lot of the cosmos somewhere, right, to go by you. You’re a terrible buy.

He stops out- he walks out onto the lot and he finds the jankiest car he can. There’s, there’s, you know, the tires are slashed, there’s no handle to get in, muffler’s dragging, three hubcaps missing, and he looks to the used car salesman and he says, I’ll give you $100,000 for it. And the car salesman is obviously confused. And he goes, “Sir, I… though I want to take your money, I have to tell you this car doesn’t even have an engine.” And he goes, you know what? You’re right. I’ll give you $200,000 for it. It doesn’t make any sense. What does Jude mean when he says loved, that’s what he means. The reformer, Martin Luther, he explained it a little bit differently and he used an analogy and he said, if you could imagine this great King, the greatest King in all the land, and that he decided that he wanted to get married, and in order to find his wife, what he did was he went into the worst places of his realm and he goes out into the slums and he finds a prostitute.

He finds a woman that has no reputation among the people and he immediately, without even a conversation, he puts a ring on her finger and takes her hand and rushes her into the marriage hall, and he walks her down the aisle, no white dress, preacher’s waiting there. They begin to take vows and Martin Luther says, what would be happening in that moment? And he says, well, it’s a great exchange, isn’t it? What’s hers becomes his and what’s his becomes hers. What does she bring to the table? You and me, she brings all of her issues. She brings no money. She brings no stability. She brings no loyalty. She runs out on him constantly and he knows that’s going to be the case. She’s bringing more baggage than Southwest airlines. That’s what she’s bringing, but what does the King bring, and what does she receive? She receives everything.

She receives his kingdom. She receives his ring. She receives his love, his loyalty. All of his reputation is somehow now hers. His whole realm belongs to her. This is crazy what Jude is saying. It’s crazy. You don’t understand this kind of love. So are Christians loved? They are loved indeed. Here’s the fourth mark: real Christians are kept, real Christians are kept. We see this through the way Jesus holds onto his people all the way through the Bible. Jude is just summarizing it here by saying that God’s people were kept. Kept here, means guarded or protected in and by Jesus’ limitless power.

And you might ask, and it’s a good question, kept from what or saved from what? Guarded from what? Primarily Satan, sin, and death. These are unconquerable foes for you and me, and this same cosmic muscle that God the father, by the person of the Spirit, taps into to raise Jesus out of the grave, strapping on him invincibility- that same power, he now deploys on your behalf as a Christian. You! The one who, in Martin Luther’s terms, just walks down the aisle with nothing, loyaless. He, he deploys all of that to keep you in his son, the same power. It’s an infinite power that it takes to keep you. If you were on your own and Jesus was not guarding you, keeping you, you would have thrown yourself right back into the gutters of hell that you want to crawl into constantly. Your salvation, Christian, is all of him.

It’s all him. I mean, all of the keeping, all of the saving. It’s like the mother, right? The mother with a new infant. It’s not the infants clutching of the mother. That’s actually going to do much. Right? It’s the hold of the mother that keeps everything. That’s how he’s keeping you. So true Christians, real Christians are kept. So what do we do with all this stuff? I’m giving you four marks here. Let, let’s try to summarize them and bring a couple of takeaways, and I have three. So here’s the first one: Jesus’ love is unstoppable times unstoppable, Jesus’ love is unstoppable times unstoppable. There was this crusty old theologian named Anselm, if you want to use that to name one of your sons someday. And he famously said this, “God is a being than which no greater can be conceived,” God is a being than which none greater can be conceived. But, what? So, what does that mean? It means this. Jesus’ love is not like your love. It’s not. It is qualitatively and quantitatively other than your love.

He’s not fickle. He doesn’t fade. It doesn’t fade. It’s a never ending love. It’s a bottomless love. So when Jesus says he loves you, when Jude writes to these people and says, “I’m talking to you, the ones who are loved,” he’s speaking a word that’s qualitatively different than anything else you could ever encounter. It’s just different. It’s infinite. It’s never stopping. He knows all of your darkest past. He knows it more in depth than you do. He knows all of the sin that you’re about to commit tomorrow, and yet he still loves. What kind of love is this? He’s lovingly by your side with all the force of every promise he’s laid down in the scriptures. Jesus’ love is unstoppable times unstoppable.

Here’s the second one: the way up is to bow low, the way up is to bow low. And we see this in what Jude- how he characterizes himself. What we understand is humility is the doorway to real life. It’s not pride, to humble yourself is the way to move towards the Lord. Jude was changed by Jesus, his own brother. He had come to a point, by the time he writes Jude, where he could be honest with himself. And here’s my challenge to you tonight, Christian or unbeliever, you’ve got to humble yourself before the Lord and confess your sin. I really am like that. I really do things like that. I really say things like that. I’ve really done that to these people. You confess your sin, you humble yourself before him. And what you will find there is that Jesus will meet you in that place. He promises to meet you in that place. He’s always known what you were really like. And so you humble yourself before him and you’ll find that he becomes sweet to you in your darkest moments when you turn to him that you actually find him to be a comfort, that he’s kind, he’s gracious, he’s merciful. So the way up is to bow low.

Take away three: Christians live observably different lives, Christians live observably different lives. If you’re a real Christian, your life will be markedly different from unbelievers in your family, neighbors, classmates. Being called, loved, and kept by God necessarily changes you. You don’t have an encounter, a saving encounter with the resurrected Lord, and that doesn’t have an effect on you. So, here’s a couple of things that you could think about. If we could access your bank statement, whatever that looks like you sixth grader, right? If we could access your bank statement, your spending habits, your spending habits, not the guy next to you or the gal across the way- your spending habits ought to tell the world that Jesus is Lord of your life. I don’t care how old you are. You want to declare with your money, all throughout your life if you’re a Christian, that Jesus say is Lord. You spend your money differently than your neighbors or your classmates. So, here’s another one. If we could magically access your viewing history on Netflix, what you’ve been on on Tiktok, or YouTube. The entertainment, the entertainment you consume ought to declare that Jesus is Lord. It doesn’t mean that you’re sinless. I recognize, I understand that, but you’re fighting for these things, and there ought to be solid evidence that you’ve been changed.

You’re in the process of being changed. He’s transforming you. What about your time? Christian’s spend their time differently. We actually read the Bible. We do, and we love it. We go to church, we spend time praying. We share the gospel with people. We get in a car and we go to Burger King, or whatever, to meet a friend and you don’t like burgers, but you want to share the Gospel with them. We spend our time differently. We choose, some of you I hope, to spend your entire life giving it to the service of the Lord. You go, man, that’s what I want to do. I want to, I want to steward my life in that way. Christians live observably different lives. So Jude, in this, in this book, Jude is going to get down to some pretty tough family business. In verses three through 22, we’re going to see that. I mean he pretty well is going to punch throat them, or throat punch excuse me. You could do that too. He kinda does that. He throat punches, punch throats. But before he does that, in these first couple of verses, what he wants to do is register this word of affirmation and love at the outset. And he wishes to remind us, here’s who they really are. That’s, that’s what he’s doing before he sets in in verses three through 23.

So like Simba, they had forgotten who they were. And my suspicion is that many of you, if you’re a Christian in here, you’ve walked in tonight, you’ve come on the van, all that, and you, you have to some degree forgotten who you really are. But what Jude wants to say, what the Spirit is saying through the word is that you are magnificently called, kept, loved, that’s who you are. That’s your identity. And if you’re an unbeliever, then I know you’re like Simba. You have no idea who you are. You’re just aimlessly walking through life in mutiny against King Jesus, trying to be your own little King and you’re not who you’re supposed to be. Here’s my question. Are you tired yet? Talking to you, unbeliever. Are you tired yet? Have you come to terms with the fact that you can’t save yourself? You don’t even, maybe you don’t even know you need to be saved.

Are you tired of constantly going back to sin over and over and over again and finding it like drinking sand? There’s just nothing there. It will never satisfy you. The last thing Mufasa says, you know, as he’s disappearing into the vortex, he says this, remember who you are. You are my son and the one true King. Remember who you are. If you’re an unbeliever, here’s what I want you to understand about Christians. Christians are heirs to the kingdom. They are adopted and adored. They are called, kept, and loved. Don’t you want to get in on this? Has your sin, run its course yet?

Turn from your sin right now, even as I’m talking, no one else is in your heart. No one else is in your mind, just you and the Lord. Those are the two beings who are aware of what’s happening in your heart, your mind. Speak to the Lord. Say, I am sinful, I need help, I understand from this bald guy up here that you can take my punishment, that you can be a substitute in my place on the cross. That’s what we’ve been singing about. Just pray that to him. I need help. I need forgiveness. I have no hope without you. Turn from your sins, it’s going to be a dead end. It’s been a dead end. It always will be. Here’s, here’s another question. If your creator and loving God hates the sin that you pursue, unbeliever, why would you ever think that it will fulfill you? He created you. He designed you.

He is a kind and gracious King. Turn now. Oh you don’t, you don’t understand Sam. I’m not really sure if I’m called. Suppose you are. No, I don’t think you understand. I mean I was, I was looking at pornography on the van on the way over here. Sam, you don’t know what I’m like. Are you listening to what Jude is saying? Jesus saves people. That’s what he does. He saves people. It’s his business. It’s his brand. No, you don’t understand. I mean like got a bag of pills in my bag right now. I am in complete bondage, Sam. I’m just here for the last, like I don’t, somebody paid for me. Are you listening to what I’m saying to what Jude saying? Jesus saves people. He walks people out of the grave. He got out of the grave. You think your sin is difficult for him? It’s not. It’s not a challenge for him. He knows who you are. Turn from your sin. He saves people.

Let’s try to wrap this up with just one combining element of the sermon, every, every piece of it. Just one last thought project. Imagine with me that there’s this powerful, benevolent, just King who sets all of his unstoppable love and affection on you. It’s crazy, but imagine. You can’t stop this King’s love for you. It’s unstoppable. It’s infinite. And what’s unusual about this King is that he’s all knowing. He knows everything about you, but not only is he all knowing, he’s all powerful. He’s always present with you. He’s personal, a loving King that knew you before you were born. A King that knows you better than you know yourself. A loving King that always knows what to say at just the appropriate time. Can you imagine? He has the power to change you into who you ought to be, and will be, not just should be. This kind of a King, a loving King that knows the darkest and most evil things you’ve done and loves you still.

This is crazy. Could you imagine this? He’s more loyal and more fiercely committed to you than you could ever hope or imagine, but that’s not enough. You would also have to add to this that this King, imagine with me, he controls just for, just for analogy sake, he controls the entire U.S. Military, and could deploy it solely to protect you, just you, the entire U.S. Military. So, lets think about it. All the pilots and fighter jets, all the battleships patrolling watch, the skill of the Marines, the precision of the Seals, all the nuclear force and capability could and would be dispatched at a second’s notice on your behalf. That kind of a King, just you. That’s how protected you are. That’s what Jude’s telling us. Here’s the deal, you actually are way more protected than that. Even that isn’t enough. This kind of love, this kind of protection. If you break the metaphor for a minute, it goes beyond the grave. It goes beyond death, but we’re still not quite there. We would have to add that this King also literally has- the real meaning of literally- boundless provisions and intends to use them to throw you an eternal party.

He’s going to throw this party where he intends to celebrate his majesty that he’s going to put you to incredible purpose. Don’t think, when I say party, don’t think some lame, just debauchery, sexual immorality, drinking. Think of a scene where there is no hint of sin, no hint. There’s no shame. There’s no threat of war, no threat of punishment, no embarrassment for weaknesses or former of failures. Only a Holy, transcendent God celebrating for eternity upon eternity upon eternity. No inclination to rebel or leave, and there’s no curfew on this party by the way. It is never ending and your capacity at this party for treasuring this King and his never ending party, it’s ever expanding and yet inexhaustible. If you can imagine all that, well then maybe you have an inkling, a small measure, a small measure, of what Jude means when he calls Christians loved, called, and kept.

Pray with me. Father, thank you for your kindness. Would you, as we ask at the front, would you save many tonight? Take them from darkness to light. Would you sanctify Christians in here? Would you turn us into more Holy people? Would you deploy some of us for your kingdom purposes in ministry? In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 


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