To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 1:25
When it comes to this life God is the only expert. We may not understand why He has dictated certain things. We may not even like some of the dictates, but we have to acknowledge that the biblical laws come from an expert who understands how the cosmos works. We have to acknowledge that no culture that defies his pathway long survives. We have to acknowledge that His way and only His way works!
Because He alone is the expert He is the one who deserves to be revered as the authority. He is the one who will walk in power throughout all time!
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. Jude 1:27
In these last verses of Jude the subject is turned away from “the secret-slipper-inner” and is put back on to the Savior who keeps our feet from slipping. I sometimes forget how secure I am in Christ. I forget that my salvation does not rely on me but on Him who called me. From first to last I am saved by His work. No one and nothing in this world can stop His hand which has begun to work in me.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Phil. 1:6 NLT
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:38,39
My responsibility is to keep my life soaked in prayer and Bible. His job is to flow through that soaking. His job is to save and keep me from all sin and shame.
I stand amazed as God works in my life. I have His forgiveness. I am justified from all past wrongs. I have His constant perfecting conviction at work in my life; That is, I am sanctified and I am being sanctified. Finally I have His assurance that some day I shall be called into His presence. In the twinkling of an eye all my heartaches will be turned to glorious joy. I will stand glorified in His presence. All of my remaining weakness will be burned away by the fire of His loving gaze!
The most amazing thing about this is that I did nothing to earn it. If the truth be told, my works have earned me the polar opposite. Yet all these rewards are mine because of what Jesus did on the cross and through His resurrection. All I did was believe in His love. All I did was to allow that belief to propel me to ask for these mercies. He answered. He undertook. He saved!
As my friend Angela would say! What an amazing God!
How about you? Have you believed? Have you asked for His mercies? Don’t waste another moment ask Him today!
“And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Jude 1:23
I made the comment yesterday that Jesus calls us to more than a passive compassion. HE calls us to step into lives and save them; But how do you rescue someone who is out to destroy themselves, you and everything you hold dear? The long story short is you can’t. Even when a person is not out for a pound of flesh (as secret-slipper-inners always are) you cannot save them. Only Jesus saves….And yet he calls us into the fray many times to offer the saving grace of the cross. He uses us…flows through us to manifest His grace to others.
A number of years ago I had the opportunity to minister to a secret-slipper-inner. In his sin he had risen up to cause me harm and honestly my first reaction was to cause harm right back. I remember agonizing over the issue one morning at the altar and the voice of the Lord said, “If you know a brother has aught against you leave your gift at the altar and go and be restored.”
My first thought was “Go to him? I am the one offended here! I am the one attacked.”
The Lord said “You aren’t completely innocent go and as far as possible be reconciled.”
I went. I apologized. I sought reconciliation. It didn’t work. A short time later the man left the church…but I learned a valuable lesson. I was left unscathed by the event because I had done everything in my power to display the saving love of Jesus in the situation. I was vindicated because I obeyed and took a step to try to save the relationship and breathe restoration into the situation according to the Word of the Lord. This is what I believe Jude meant when he said “save others… pulling them out of the fire.”
God doesn’t want peace at any price. The church is called to hold a line of righteousness and purity. But as far as is possible he wants us to make peace with all. He desires unity in his body. He will call us to sacrifice pride, time, energy and resources to establish and maintain that peace. He will call us to confront sin where it manifests and then go the extra mile not just to cut the sin out but to restore the ones who have fallen.
“And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. “Jude 1: 22 NLT
kai eleeō hos diakrinō
Which could also mean “Help the wretched ones who have separated themselves through hostility.”
When someone rises up in anger in the church and threatens the peace of the body of Christ how do you see them? Do you see a trouble maker? Do you see a demon deserving decimation? Or do you see a wretched soul that has lost so much faith that he or she can only react in pain?
The secret-slipper-inner is operating out of a place of brokeness that is being monopolized by the Devil. It is not them we are fighting against according to Ephesians chapter 6 verse 12
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
So when next that divisive one rises up in a church near you pray and ask what gift of mercy could flow from you to heal them.
In our next discussion on Jude we will get into the really hard stuff.
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost” Jude 1:20 KJV
In our discussion about “secret-slipper-inners” we have already discussed the need to respond in Christian love to their actions and attacks. Jude gives us another attitude modifier as we prepare for our work with those who would destroy the church. We are to keep ourselves in an attitude of faith.
In these last days men will come into the church urging us to abandon the orthodox faith grounded in a literal interpretation of the Scriptures. Our faith which leads to our ability to pray in the Holy Ghost must be tied to an intimate knowledge of and respect for the Scripture every word of which was inspired by God. Should we abandon the “faith once entrusted to the saints” we will lose our ability both to walk in love and pray with power. Without our love and prayer power we Christians are without recourse in the spiritual battle the church now faces. This is why there is and has always been such an attack on the Scripture. It is also the reason God has never allowed His Word to be destroyed. HIs Word brings life and power and not one period or comma will fail…. ever. As we hold to our faith the church will triumph in the battle against those who slip in to cause our corporate destruction!
I have read the end of the book, Christian. We win!
“These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. ” Jude 1: 20-23 KJV
Today we begin our conversation about how we should respond to “the secret-slipper inner.” If you have missed our previous conversations on the Book of Jude and would like to find out what a “secret-slipper-inner” is, go to my categories section and click on “Hey Jude”
Jude begins this part of his discussion with a warning to “Keep yourselves in the love of God”
The first thing we need to do is guard our hearts with love. Whatever our reaction is, it must be grounded and founded in love. Our first motive should be to love the church and the “secret-slipper-inner.” Love must proceed the urge to confront, or to defend.
It is interesting that in telling us how to deal with those who bring controversy to the church Jude first tells us to deal with our own hearts. In the midst of conflict this is almost never our first motivation. We want to deal with the problem. We want to exorcise the “demon”. Meanwhile God tells us to look within and judge ourselves to make sure our motives are pure. Further he tells us to do what we need to be “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Before we deal with someone who is causing contention or sin to rise in the church we need to remember from whence we have come. We need to remember who we were, who we have become and the fact that it is only God’s grace that remade us. We can take no credit for our salvation. It is God’s grace from first to last and that alone. Seeing that helps us to understand that any confrontation we are going to have with a “secret-slipper-inner” is not about “throwing the garbage to the curb”. It’s about offering an opportunity to a brother or sister to receive the grace that we are daily in need of. Only when we can love them as we love ourselves are we in any sort of shape to begin to deal with those who have slipped into the church to cause destruction.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences in this vein.
“But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” Jude 1:17-19
Many years ago my grandmother was very upset with the pastor of her Baptist church. The contention in her soul had gotten to the place where she was ready to flee her house of worship and begin attending another. That was when my great-grandmother Bern got involved in the situation.
Bernice Lillie was an outspoken woman for her day. No one to be trifled with by my grandmother’s accounts. While I never met her I can imagine her manner as she sat my grandmother down and gave her philosophy of church attendance.
“Thelma, you never leave a church because of a disagreement with a pastor. Pastor’s come and go but the church is a family. We stay together.”
Sage advice. While I do believe that there are points of doctrine which might cause us to leave a church (such as a new pastor coming into a church and preaching Jesus is not God for instance) , my years of pastoring have left me wondering at parishioners who pigeon from one steeple to another because they feel the preacher is too long-winded or they don’t like the taste of the communion bread.
Our world is short on people who know how to get along. So the church should be a place where we learn to practice mending relationships not breaking them up. I know God moves people sometimes but leaving a church should be a call of God not a fight with a deacon.
I know this is an argument with lots of nuance so tell me what you think.
“These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.” Jude 1:16
So we have been speaking about a group of people I call “the secret-slipper-inners”. We have spoken ad nauseam about all the traits of this group and now we come to Jude 1:16. I intended just to skip it because we have really covered these traits until even I am bored with them; But the Holy Spirit won’t let me go beyond this one because here’s where it gets dicey. It’s so easy to say let’s pray for those poor souls who don’t realize… but this verse… this verse 16… it’s me.
You see I am a grumbler. When things don’t go my way I become an Israelite fresh out of Egypt. When things go bad I’m the guy who likes to shift the blame. I’m the guy so hung up on approval I’ll stroke the ego of anybody I think can give me a leg up or a hand out. That’s the real me without Jesus. That’s all of us without Jesus. Sometimes that’s even us with Jesus isn’t it?
My point is any of us can be a “secret-slipper-inner.” Most of us probably have been at some point. That’s why Paul wrote to the Galatian church “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” Gal. 6:1 NLT
As a friend recently reminded me, we are all in process and we need an everyday grace. Christ was once crucified for our sins but I need his blood to wash me and sanctify me everyday!
Have you been to throne of God recently to receive grace afresh for your journey?
They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude 1:13-15
We have done enough talking about the qualities of “the secret-slipper-inner”. If you have missed the conversation and wish to catch up just go the categories section of “Reinventing the We’ll” and click on “Hey Jude”.
What I want to talk about today is the fate of the “secret-slipper-inner”. The fact is these are people in the church. They aren’t the atheists out on the street. We know them and we know their families but according to the Scripture if we cannot win them over they will not be with us in eternity. They are blind in the presence of the Light of the World and empty and dry while the Bread of Life, the Living Water stands ready to be received by them.
Our verses in Jude remind me of some verses at the end of Revelation: And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes [were] as a flame of fire, and on his head [were] many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” Rev. 19: 11-15
Oh how desperately the “secret- slipper- inner” needs our prayers. May we be the witnesses and encouragement these lost souls need to bow themselves before the cross of Christ in submission at last!
These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. Jude 1:12
If you have missed any of our verse by verse discussions on the book of Jude look here:
I have gardened through seasons in which I have hardly had to break out the hose. August is known to be dry in New England but usually the July clouds bring enough rain that watering the tomatoes is not a huge concern. Not so this year. The clouds came as usual but it was pretty plain to see they weren’t rain clouds. I didn’t have to look at them very long to realize I was going to need to turn on the sprinkler. These clouds couldn’t give my tomatoes what was needed. They were pretty to look at but they had no power.
Jude tells us that in the last days there will be people in the church we have to be aware of. They are like clouds without rain. They look good. They talk a good line but a closer look will reveal they don’t deliver the goods; They can’t because they don’t have the only real answer to life’s problems. They don’t have Jesus, the Living Water, so they cannot produce “rain”. They don’t drink from the River of Life so they cannot produce fruit. Further, living in the church as they do…resisting the Spirit the way they do they eventually end up twice dead not just fruitless in their work but plucked up by the roots, their lives amounting to nothing but a trail of divisiveness God has worked around.
Perhaps you have known a “secret-slipper-inner”. I have. In the end I have wept for them knowing that of all men they are most to be pitied, because they are blind and lost even in the presence of God’s light.
Let’s pray: Dear Lord these are the days when your Word counsels us to be on our guard against men who are “clouds without rain”. Lord open our eyes to see those who would try to solve the world’s woes without Jesus. Let us be faithful to cling to the only hope even Jesus Christ. Lord rescue those who are lost even so close to the Light. In Jesus name Amen