A Look at the Tiny Book of Jude
What is truth? What are truths in your faith that you stand on?
Jude is the shortest book in the Bible — only 25 verses. I read it this morning in three versions. Then we studied it in church.
What a powerful little book it is.
Jude was one of Jesus’ brothers along with three others. Stepbrothers actually, as Jesus was not born from Joseph. James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Jude). [Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55–56] They were not following Jesus before His death.
But all the brothers became leaders in the first Jewish Christian communities.
Jude was a travelling missionary evangelist. And this book is written to a church in crisis. In his writing, he assumes that this church has a massive knowledge of Jewish scriptures as well as the Apocrypha. The Book of Enoch is found in that body of work.
Churches in crisis
Every church faces some sort of crisis. We have been in 4 churches and each one has had some type of crisis. Usually, the crises are based on financial matters, leadership or people vying for power.
Jude knew he had to speak to this church or group of churches with the power of Christ.
The first 4 verses and last verse are appeals to the church. The middle is filled with warnings.
“I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:1, NIV)
So we know we have been called. You didn’t find Jesus. He found you. You might have been searching as I had been. But in the end, Jesus came to me and revealed Who He is.
We have been saved, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and He loves us.
Kept for Jesus
I love this. We are kept as a gift for Jesus. God gave us to Him. He is the Bridegroom and the Church is His bride.
“And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating -.” (Jude 24, The Message)
Jesus keeps me from stumbling, He keeps me on my feet.
What was God doing through Jude for His church?
Fighting for the faith
What truths are there worth dying for? There are many doctrines and ideas in the Church. But which ones are important to you? I think I agree with our pastor that these are the things most important to my faith.
- The Virgin Birth
- Jesus led a sinless life.
- Jesus died on the cross.
- Jesus rose — The resurrection
- Jesus is coming back.
If we don’t stick to the essential doctrines of our faith, it will become watered down and useless.
Find out what is essential to your belief.
First, there were books, and now the Internet are full of “truths’’. What people believe to be true.
“There is a boldness behind the keyboard. But what is the proof of what they say?” ~ Pastor Rick Thiemke
But when our faith is at stake, then our salvation is also at stake.
Watch out for books, even ones that have scripture in them. Be aware of whether they are biblical or not. Or are they pulling scripture to match their own thoughts? Are they adding worldly thoughts and ideas, such as astronomy?
Are they politically charged?
Are they teaching the prosperity gospel? “Do this and God will bless you.”
Are they teaching self-help with a semi-Christian message?
The real truth
What is the real truth?
“We need to fly under a different banner as Christians.” ~Pastor Rick Thiemke
It’s all about Jesus. We need to fly the banner of Jesus.
When we gather under Jesus, all our differences disperse. Jesus pulls diverse people together.
When we teach the Gospel, we need to be culturally relevant or people won’t understand. But we must never water down the Gospel. It is what it is.
How can we know the truth?
First of all, we know that the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:13, NIV)
“But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is.” (John 16:13, The Message)
Our faith has always been threatened from within the Church.
“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.” (Acts 10:29, NIV)
And from some of the things I have seen in churches, savage wolves isn’t too far off.
How can we contend for the faith?
“But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!” (Jude 20–21, The Message)
In order to be prepared, we need to know our faith.
We need to build ourselves up. Praying. Reading God’s Word. Loving God. Let Him love you.
Learn how to feed yourselves on a daily basis.
Don’t count on a weekly sermon to feed you fully and satisfy you. You need to work out your faith in fear and trembling.
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12, NIV)
Work it out means to do something about it
We need to build spiritual muscle. If we don’t know the scriptures we can easily be led astray.
Even if you don’t think you will understand the Scripture, read it anyway because the Holy Spirit will help you understand.
That’s what happened to me. As I journaled and questioned God, and prayed and studied, the LIGHT started to come on. And it continues to change and grow me.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)
“Faith by its very action must be tested and tried.” ~ Oswald Chambers
Let’s trust the Holy Spirit
Listening to God through the Holy Spirit will not lead you astray. We don’t want to rest on human wisdom but on God’s power.
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Corinthians 2:4–5, NIV)
Stuck on Jesus
Saturday I wrote about being stuck on Jesus. I talked about God’s Word being like a kaleidoscope. So many colours. So many ideas. Such power.
May I pray for you and me?
Help us, Lord Jesus, to contend for the faith. To learn more by being in Your Word and praying. Help us to help others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
One of the songs we sang this morning is “This I Believe”
(the Creed) by Hillsong.
*Most of this is based on a sermon Sunday, November 3rd by Rick Thiemke at Via Church, Mesa, AZ.