Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit – Jude 1:20-23

Jude

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit – Jude 1:20-23 – 02/05/2016

Thank you for reading this Bible study on the book of Jude. This bible study is part of a series on the book of Jude, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Jude for other studies in this book.

Jude 1:20 (ESV) But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Lord willing it is my desire to go through the epistle of Jude on a verse by verse basis and we have reached verse twenty so far, please join me in looking at the text beginning in verse twenty…

V20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

First of all, can you believe that we are on article eight of our series in Jude? It is such a small book (or letter) by so dynamic in so many ways. Jude has just finished warning us of these “certain men” that have crept in and essentially are wolves in sheep’s clothing. What Jude does here is a valid warning and to be honest we have to be alert.

However, in the modern church we have a whole bunch of ministries dedicated to “being alert” and whilst they have a good place in the kingdom of God, I do wonder if they would not be better served focusing their cannons on saving the lost and concentrating on solidifying the believers walks with Jesus (starting obviously with themselves.)

Jude agrees with this sentiment with his admonition to “build yourselves up in the most holy faith” and speaking personally I am convicted a lot recently in what I am doing in my home neighborhood is to bring people closer to Jesus and help the ones who have been affected by those “certain men”. Not trying to blow my own trumpet but like we read in Nehemiah, if we all guarded our own wee bit of the wall then the job would be much easier. Really what I am saying is that if you are strong in the Lord then get helping someone, if you need help then seek out one of those strong men because even although we use terms such as “church family” we need to actually live what we say.

We are to keep the focus on God, let us not publicize the ministries of the destructive ones except for a plain admonishment but beyond that let us not make them famous in their infamy. Really we have to remember that we are not the Holy Spirit and that God is just and will deal with them in his own time. We are described as being “beloved” and please do not think that you have done anything to deserve that title as God loves us even when we were ungodly. Paul wrote this in his letter to the Roman church…

Romans 5:6 (ESV) For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

So now we have the basics established that we cannot make ourselves more lovable to God, we are simply told to “nail the basics” and more specifically we are told to “build ourselves in the most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit” means that we are to walk in step with God, that we are to do His will and t build ourselves in a common faith with your creator God.

God love is not a reflection on your goodness as a person but his. God loves you in spite of what you have done when you have sinned against him. As the song states “you are a good good father, it’s who you are” God’s love has certain benefits that cannot be denied and this is one of the reasons that Christianity is hard to swallow for certain critics, the fact that God would be so loving that he would literally allow the death of an innocent to restore and reconcile man to God.

We have to grow spiritually and keep building up. As a father I understand that I expect my child to be more advanced at age six than she was at age five, if she was still in diapers (without obviously a good medical reason) at age six then I would wonder what the issue was? We are responsible for our own spiritual growth and must invest in the things of God, reading his word either alone or as part of a reading plan (if you are reading this then you are reading his word with my interpretation behind it)

We have to be in prayer, asking to have the will of God revealed to you on a daily basis, asking for your callings (if you do not know what they are) to be revealed for (and this is important) HIS glory and not for our own. It is similar to my lawn at home, we had a drought in the summer of 2015 and I did not have sprinklers installed, so because of that and the fact I left it to its own devices, the lawn died due to lack of nourishment. If we leave our spiritual lives to their own devices then they will wither and die also. You hear me talking about a day to day relationship and Christianity truly is, I have to be strengthened on a daily basis because if I was left to my own devices I am not all that good of a man! Don’t allow your spiritual grass to wither.

We have to not just stagnate but “grow” in faith and “praying the most Holy Spirit” we have a helper that assists us in our walk, a counselor and one who aids us in the daily battle that we face. If you say “I am not in a battle” is it because you have become lazy? Have you mastered swimming but still hanging around the wading pool? Romans 8 reads from Paul that we should do the following…

Romans 8:26 (ESV) Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

We should pray not for what we desire (be honest now, we all do) but as the Spirit directs, pray not for things that you think God wants you to pray for but pray based on what the Spirit of God directs you too. We know that Jesus return is closer today than it was yesterday and that has to be the constant hope of the Christian that Jesus will soon in fact return.

V22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Here Jude changes the focus from inwards to those around you, we are called to fit in as a church family, there will be times where we will need help and there will also be times where others need our help, Jude focusses on helping those who are perceived to be “weaker brothers” and this is a piece of scripture I have memorized and held close to my heart from the first moment I read it as a Christian. I realized right away that Jude is accurate in what he states when there is no “one size fits all” approach in helping people; he puts them in two categories…

• And have mercy on those who doubt – We have to use wisdom because there is no greater poison in today’s church than that or “false doctrine” because it looks, smells and feels like the genuine article however in its error it does sow seeds that take root and leave evidence of it in such a manner that when the false teaching is exposed then they believe that their whole faith is in error.

Basically we have to have compassion but be firm with the doctrines, love these people and treat them in such a manner that will win them back to Christ by the love that we show them. Always be a good witness and do not allow yourself to be corrupted but comfort these types of people and make a gentle correction based on sound theological teachings.

Help these people be accountable, perhaps mentor them in a discipleship plan, watch over them as you would a weaker brother who has stumbled into sin. Help them and create an example that they can pass on when they get through this valley and return to faith in Christ Jesus.

• Save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh – There is a second group that you have to be harsher with, we cannot be Pharisaical, proud, puffed up or doing it to swing an axe or show authority.

We are to hate the garment stained by the flesh and not the sinner who has been stained, we are looking to rebuke strongly but the end result we are looking for is to restore that person to a state of fellowship with God and with ourselves. We are to be urgent like the firefighter would be in snatching a victim from a fire, we are looking to save their spiritual lives.

Lord willing, in our next article in Jude we will finalize our look at the book of Jude. I pray that you are able to join us.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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