Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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Hey Jude, are you a bondservant?

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Thank you for reading our 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.

Let’s start in verse one of the first chapter of Jude.

Jude 1:1 (ESV) Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

I have quite the history with the book of Jude, when I first rededicated my life back to Jesus I went into a discipleship program with my then pastor Matt McGoldrick at Calvary Chapel Glasgow and we spent the best part of 7/8 months on the book of Jude learning how to study the bible in an inductive way.

In the Christian church today we either have one of two camps; we either have “lack of knowledge” or “Pharisee like knowledge” with very little balance. It is an issue in the church today that we have such wide chasms of knowledge.

Lack of Knowledge 

We see the lack of knowledge on one hand you have what we read in the book of Hosea…

Hosea 4:6 (ESV) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Being Gentiles we should have learned from the mistakes that the Jewish people have done before us, but regrettably we have not. Many folks who call themselves Christian have not studied the word and do not have a decent foundational knowledge of what they represent and therefore are ineffective at winning souls for the kingdom of God. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy we read… 

2nd Timothy 2:15 (ESV) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Some translations have the phrase “study to show yourself approved” and it is important to be spiritually fed enough in order to grow in your relationship with Jesus. You see, conversion should not be the end of the story, but merely the beginning of a new chapter.

It does sadden me when I hear of some testimonies that culminate in the believer being saved. I once heard a great sermon by Pastor Martin Tatton of Calvary Glasgow City (link in the sidebar) which asked that very question and made me question my own testimony because I used to do the same. It is truly an injustice to the life that has been changed by Jesus Christ as it sounds like life was a party and then it all stopped when I became a Christian.

Truth be told I am not (I still am DNA wise) the man I was before and my life is a lot better than it used to be when I used to drink myself senseless and party and waste copious amounts of money of selfish pursuits. I have a great wife, a lovely daughter and a marriage that I could never have wished for.

If you would have told me 15 years ago that I would be leading a bible study in my home, happily married, a father and being blessed beyond all measure by a God that I had rejected but he never gave up on me it moves me to happy tears. I have this pursuit for knowledge on his word and a thirst to know more of him, but I pray that it is not a “Pharisee like knowledge”.

Pharisee like Knowledge

So it is fair to say that I know the book well, but like everything in the Christian life it is not enough to simply have head knowledge, the Pharisees in Jesus day knew the scriptures so well that they could look at a parchment paper of a Torah and let you know if a stroke was out of place. However they did not let the words pierce their heart.

It is possible to know the theology and have such head knowledge that it becomes cold facts and therefore it is not living, it is cold, dry and dead. It is with great lament that I read of people who teach theology and wax lyrical about great and mighty things of God, know way more than I do and could out debate me and are way smarter than I ever will be but have missed the point of the whole thing. They are atheists!

Jude 1:1 (ESV) Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

Jude describes himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” and in that statement shows his humility, he could have written “a servant of our messiah and my half-brother Jesus” and been accurate, however he chose to address himself as a servant.

This shows great humility on the behalf of Jude. Can any of us honestly state that if they were a blood relation to Jesus they would not speak of it? But to give himself that lower place shows great character of a man and reminds me of what I read in the book of Proverbs…

Proverbs 25:6 (ESV) Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, 7 for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble

And also spoken by Jesus in the book of Luke… (The parable of the wedding feast) 

Luke 14:7 (ESV) Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jude does exactly this; he humbles himself by choice to the role of servant. The word servant is also translated as “bondservant” in this case one who has given up his own will to take up the role of a servant (or slave) for his master. So Jude is a slave to the gospel of Jesus Christ by his own free will and is completely subservient to his master and will follow the will of him as opposed to his own.

An application for that for us would be “how much of a bondservant are we?” I must admit that there are still things in my life that I have not given over fully to God and that is not a boast but an admission of guilt.

Also Jesus did call into question the importance of earthly brethren in Mark 3 and Luke 11, perhaps this was part of the reason why Jude did not feel the need to introduce himself as the brother (or blood relation) of Christ. Jude calls himself instead “the brother of James” James was an important leader in the Jerusalem church and author of an epistle.

Jude is mentioned in the gospels in the books of Matthew and Mark (Matthew 13 & Mark 6) as the brother of Jesus, Jude did not believe in Jesus until after the resurrection. (John 7:5 & Acts 1:14)

Jude addresses this letter “to those who are called” and this letter is still addressed to Christians everywhere. Jude will deal with issues that are not easy to hear and he categorizes them in 3 ways. 

1) Those who are called – Jude addresses it to the called, God has placed a calling on our lives, we have that choice as people to answer that calling, for some it will be into ministry, some it will be evangelism but whatever our calling we have to get to it and do it with all our hearts.

2) Beloved in God the Father – John 3:16 starts with the words “For God so loved the world” and that is a truth of the gospel, God loved us that much that he would give up his son Jesus to die on the cross for us to buy our salvation.

3) Kept for Jesus Christ – some versions say preserved in Jesus, and that we have protection in Christ and we are his children.

We have the same choice as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden, we can choose to go with God’s plan for our life, accept the free gift that is Salvation and live after his will or don’t. One way leads to eternal life, the other leads to the lake of fire, simple huh?

V2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

Jude greets the recipient with three wishes and that the three wishes are multiplied unto them. This shows Jude’s heart to the recipient that even although what he writes would be painful to swallow; he is doing it in love.

1) Mercy – We all have a need for mercy, for we all have fallen short of the glory of God due to our sinful nature.

2) Peace – This life is tough but we do not have to bear it alone we have access to an unlimited supply of the most perfect peace that a man can ask for, often times we do not ask and try to bear Gods burdens instead of our own.

3) Love – We are called to love, this letter is a love letter, doesn’t seem like it but sometimes the most loving thing we can do is be honest with someone.

Jude asks not just for theses blessing but he asks that they be multiplied unto them. What a heart that guy has for his recipients.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

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Avoid the irreverent babble

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Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge”

This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, 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 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse seventeen of the sixth chapter of First Timothy. 

1st Timothy 6:17 (ESV) As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

Paul gives Timothy his final command in this letter; he speaks to the rich in this present age and regardless of how many units of currency you have in your bank account at present, if you are living in the West, you are rich. There are many in the second and third world who would pray for the problems that you have in your worst day, so please bear this in mind before you discount this from your mind.

We get wrapped up a lot in our own wee situations and sometimes we look at things in relation to “poverty levels” and what our neighbor has, when in fact if we were to airlift our salary or what we bring in and we were to apply it to a situation where there is extreme poverty, we would see that we are living a rich life.

We have to be careful that we don’t allow money to occupy an unhealthy grip on our lives, whether we are “paycheck to paycheck” or whether we are at “lottery winner” status the money we have in our wallets can become unhealthy as it may become a god in our lives.

Paul deals with the rich man here, but speaking as a man who has lived on both sides of the curb when you are broke and have literally no money, money can be just as much of an idol when every penny is a prisoner. If this is not you then I would urge you to pray for those who you know who are living paycheck to paycheck as you have no idea the stress they are under and how they survive on a day to day basis with their finances.

Rich in this present age

He uses the phrase “rich in this present age” and it is a timely reminder that riches are temporary and that the blessings we have can be removed in the blink of an eye. There is a certain responsibility that God puts on the rich to be a good steward of his money. They are commanded to use their wealth wisely.

We have to be careful that with wealth comes pride and it is very much human nature to assess our worth based on what is in our bank account or the rich possessions that we have. We are no more or less of a man (or woman) because we have more than another man has.

Temporary wealth or everlasting?

Our riches are temporary but trusting in the LORD is security. Much as riches are temporary (well the ones in this life are) if we have riches in heaven they are everlasting. We have to put our future and our trust in him as opposed to some temporary wealth which can be removed in a heartbeat.

If we must boast then boast in the living God, in his grace, in the love that the father has that he sent his some Jesus Christ to die on the cross at Calvary. If we must boast then boast in the infallible, inerrant word of God, the Bible that gives us hope, instruction and is a timeless document of truth. We must not forget as Paul states that God is our provider.

Be generous and ready to share
 

18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

With that great wealth comes great responsibility; God expects those whom he has provided with in much abundance to be generous with their excess. Paul expects them to be as rich in good works as they are in currency, and speaking from a human perspective I have never not been blessed when I have been giving. Yes I may have given a meal or a few dollars, but I have been given more back in abundance.

It takes faith to give, if you have a lot it takes less faith but God knows us and knows our hearts, he made us this way with a need to be generous and to be a giver. God does not need our money and could provide for every eventuality even if we are not compliant, but God desires to bless us and this is my biggest growth area, letting go of the clenched fish and opening my hand to the LORD.

Would I survive without it?

We have to approach material things with an attitude of “if my house burned down, would I survive without it?” I remember this principle from a movie I watched once called “Leap Year” where the question was posed to the main character “Your house is burning down, what would you grab? Or what was important to you?” We can’t be so comfortable here with our stuff that it chokes out what God has planned for us.

Paul commends Timothy to leave that well alone! To be content in the calling that he has and seek the higher pursuits of ministry. I know that one myself as I have seen Pastors take jobs that were less money to fulfill a calling in order to do what God was calling them to do in their life. (In one case taking a job that was a Pastor) That takes faith and obedience.

Paul’s conclusion

V20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

Paul cites Timothy by name in this closing of this letter. He commends Timothy to “guard the deposit entrusted to you” which basically means that he is to guard the ministry that he has been called to by God. God has entrusted you with this job, he can do it with our without you but isn’t it so cool that he involved his faithful child Timothy.

When we get into ministry, we can often times think, that’s my ministry, or this is my bible study and in truth we are simply custodians, God is allowing us to be part of something that really has very little to do with us. Paul trusts Timothy and would never have sent him to Ephesus had he not trusted him but Paul also knows that Timothy is a young man and what he is warning of (further in the sentence) is dangerous.

V20b Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,

Timothy, hold on to what is from God and avoid the babble of man! Really is what is being said here. When you teach the bible, you will have folks congratulating you in revealing truths to them please reject that Timothy, reject the talk of men who wish to court your good favor.

This is a word to the pastors also! Check the health of your assembly, if you look around your fellowship and you see those who aspire to be in ministry trying to flatter the leadership rather than serving or caring for the least of these. Obviously the Sunday assembly is only a minute part of the week, but if they are not caring for the ones who need it in the fellowship, do you think they will externally?

POP QUIZ TIME

Jesus said “By this you will know you are my disciples…”

A) If you love one another
B) If you are in tight with the Pastor, elders and deacons

Makes you think huh?

Paul is a careful spiritual father and his careful instructions are relevant to us today, because human nature has not changed, men will flatter those in leadership, we all have a desire to be liked, fit in and be accepted. We all want to be listened to if we have a ‘ministry idea”.

The consequences of this

V21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

Are simple, Paul states that the ones who are in babble and are not staying true are strayed concerning the faith. It is a slippery slope when you are leaving the church. I know that when I left the church the first time as an 18 year old I was all mad that the church didn’t notice I had gone, when in truth I had tried so many different churches it would be difficult to assess which one would be regarded as my home church.

If your Christianity is based on being tight with the pastor, having a wee social club and not affecting the world outside then you will have no foundation to go on. Paul states that these people who were the worst offenders are no longer there.

For these folks, they have to be treated as unbelievers and we must do all that we can to win them back to the faith in love, teaching them the truth and sound doctrine. Paul closes with “Grace be with you” we cannot do this mission without the grace of God. This epistle speaks clearly on the need to rely on God.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

 

 

BIAY – Bible in a year – January 12th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for January check out our January page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for January twelfth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Genesis 39-41

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – January 11th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for January check out our January page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for January eleventh.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Genesis 36-38

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – January 10th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for January check out our January page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for January tenth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Genesis 32-35

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – January 9th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for January check out our January page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for January ninth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Genesis 29-31

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – January 8th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for January check out our January page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for January eighth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Genesis 26-28

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – January 7th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for January check out our January page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for January seventh.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Genesis 24-25

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – January 6th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for January check out our January page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for January sixth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Genesis 21-23

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – January 5th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for January check out our January page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for January fifth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Genesis 18-20

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
SDG
TGBTG
TTE