“Who Loves You and Keeps You Safe”

1 This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. 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.[a] – Jude 1 NLT

                         Jude 1-4 NLT

Jude opens his letter with great humility. He identifies himself as a slave of Jesus Christ, which is how we should all feel. His heart is to deliver a message of salvation to the unknown community of people that he is addressing. But, because some false teachers had started teaching that God’s grace allows us to go on sinning as much and as often as we want to, he feels it is much more important to rebuke these teachers and correct their teaching. These teachers had not had a real experience of salvation that changed them from their sinful ways, they were not “new creatures” in Christ Jesus. While forgiveness and grace are certainly there for those of us who fall, it is not meant to allow us to live a sinful lifestyle. This would be in direct conflict with 

1​ Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.–Romans 6:1-4​ ​(NLT)

Those who do these sinful things and teach this false doctrine are making a mockery of God’s grace that He has shown to us. As we are told in Galatians 6:

7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.– Gal. 6:7-8 (NLT)

So we must stand firm in what we know to be the truth. When we accept Jesus, we are no longer slaves to the flesh, we are “New creations” and now we are slaves to Christ Jesus and we walk in the Spirit. Do not be deceived by every “new” philosophy that comes along. Stand on the Rock and teach the Truth, even though it is no longer popular to do the right thing.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Prove That They Are God’s Children”

11 Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God – 3 John 11 NLT

3 John 1:9-12 NLT

The devil hates anything good. When he sees us showing love and compassion for others, his anger knows no bounds. That is why it is so important for us to show our love for others. We not only please God, but, at the same time, we frustrate satan. Showing our love by doing good is how we imitate Jesus.

38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.—Acts 10:38 (NLT)

We are now the voice, the hands and the feet of the gospel. It is up to us to continue the work that Jesus started. He doesn’t need people with ability, He needs people that are available for Him to use. He could do it all without us, but He has chosen to use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, so He uses those that make themselves available to Him. Show love and do good so that others can speak highly about you and you will lay up your rewards in heaven.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Come, Follow Me”

59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”– Luke 9:59 NLT

Luke 9:57-62 NLT

We all know the old hymn, “Where He Leads Me, I Will Follow”.  We sing it quite often in worship services across the nation regardless of the denomination.  It is a great invitational song for getting people to commit to the mission fields. But I wonder if we really hear the words that we are singing or if we are just making noise. I think we need to change the song for a while and sing “Where He leads me, will I follow?”.  Will I go on a mission trip? Oh no, I can’t spare the time for that.  Will I visit those in prisons? Nope, not my calling.  Will I visit the sick in the hospitals and pray for their healing? Again, I just don’t feel the call.  Will I feed the hungry? Well, you know I give to charities to do that. Will I walk across the street to witness to my neighbor? You know, they might be offended, but they really need to be careful there.  Will I ask a lost family member if we could pray together? Well. they are not going to listen, they know I’m not perfect.  Don’t I need a calling to do those things?  Well, here is our calling;

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matt. 28:18-20

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“The True Light Is Already Shining…”

8 Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining. ​- 1 John 2:8 NLT​

1 John 2:8-11 NLT

When we accept Jesus, each of us receives Life and Light at that very moment. From that moment on, we have access to all of the Light. However, we need more knowledge and understanding of God’s Word to be able to access more Light. None of us mature in God’s Word at the same rate because we have different levels of learning abilities. Also, some of us spend a lot more time in God’s Word than others so, there are different levels of knowledge and faith. Those that receive more Light have a greater responsibility to encourage and teach others. No gift from God is to be used to belittle or ridicule another person’s level of understanding. God gives the gifts to be used for His glory and the edification of the Church. How each of us interprets the Scriptures depends, to a certain extent, on our upbringing and our own personal life experiences. But, all of us receive enough Light to fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of our denominations or doctrines. We should never use our share of the Light to illuminate faults in others. This only causes confusion in the Church and allows outsiders to find fault with our Lord and Savior. Our obligation is to use the amount of Light we have to dispel darkness where God has planted us. Use your Light as a beacon to bring others to Jesus.

Matt. 5:14-16 NLT

The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“But Whoever Keeps His Word…”

 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. – 1 John 2:5 NKJV

1 John 2:3-8 NLT

The religious leader asked Jesus: ” What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus answered with two commandments instead of one. Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. He went on to say that all the law hinged on these two commandments. God has put His light in us to light the world and dispel darkness. The way we let our light shine is to obey these two commandments. We must spend time with Jesus to get to know Him better so we can love Him better, Then, by loving our neighbors, we demonstrate the love of God in our lives. When we accepted Jesus, we became aliens to this world and citizens of heaven. As ambassadors of heaven, we represent Jesus. It is our duty to reconcile others to Christ by giving them the Good News. We want to wait for some big thing to do, but we shouldn’t wait for grand opportunities. Start by doing a good deed today and you will give life and light to someone.

As the old song says:  

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do, Do not wait to shed your light afar, To the many duties ever near you now be true, Brighten the corner where you are. – Ina D. Ogdon, 1913

The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“For God Called You to Do Good…”

21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. ​– 1 Peter 2:21 NLT​

1 Peter 2:18-21 NLT

In today’s society and in most countries, we no longer have slavery. But in our workplaces, we do have taskmasters that often treat us unfairly. So, Peter’s admonition to endure with patience is directed to us. Just as Jesus is our example of enduring unjust pain and persecution, so are we to do the same. God is our Jehovah-jireh, our provider. He has provided us with jobs so that we can provide for our families. Instead of complaining and gossiping about our bosses, we should be thankful for the provision. No matter who signs the paycheck, God is our provider. We are to set an example for those around us by having a grateful attitude and not joining in when others are criticizing the employer(s). Jesus promised us that we would be treated unjustly and offended by the world, so we should not be surprised by the unjust treatment we receive. We have not yet been required to be faithful when we are facing death for Christ’s sake. We should have the same attitude that the apostles had in the First Century.

Acts 5:40-41 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Respect Everyone…”

17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.– 1 Peter 2:17 NLT

1 Peter 2:13 -17 NLT

As Christians, we are to follow all the laws of our land as long as they are not immoral or cause us to deny our faith. When we are speeding down the expressway and we see a cop, we get a little nervous, and we should. The law enforcement officers are agents of the government to punish us when we do wrong. But that same action should cause us, as Christians, to be ashamed because we have dishonored our Father. We should live the kind of lifestyle that pleases our Father and then we won’t need to be fearful or ashamed. Outsiders will not be able to speak evil of our Lord because of what we have done. The world watches us closely to see if our walk is up to our talk. If it isn’t, we cause others to shy away from Christianity instead of wanting to be a part of God’s family. We should never use our liberty and freedom in Christ to hurt others. We must respect and love others. If we fear God, we will respect all those He has raised up in authority over us. For us, as Christians, it is completely possible to value all human beings without embracing their values.

The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“We Will Live And Do This or That…”

15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:15 NLT

James 4:3- 17 NLT

Although none of us are promised tomorrow, it is still a good idea to have a plan. God has set that example for us. He had a plan for all His children collectively, before He laid the foundations of the earth.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.–Matt. 25:34 (NLT)

He also has plans for each of His children individually.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope–Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT).

So, it is not wrong to have plans. They are only a problem and a boast when we plan without asking God about it. Or if we think that we can accomplish anything good without God. We are only here on this earth for a very small portion of time and then we are gone. So, we need to spend our lives “redeeming the time”, in other words, making good use of it to further the work of the Kingdom of God. This was His plan when He created the world and us.

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.–Eph. 2:10 (NLT)

So, we see that God planned us, formed us, and then created us anew to do His good works for His glory. If we plan anything less, it does not honor our Creator and if we plan anything greater, it is presumptuous and sinful. When we know to do good and refuse to do it, it is a sin against God and our fellowman.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Come Close To God,…”

8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.– James 4:8-10 NLT

James 4:7-10 NLT

We need to make up our minds — are we for the Lord or are we for the world? How long will we waver between two opinions? This was the recurring problem that the children of Israel had.

21 Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow h​​im!” But the people were completely silent.–1 Kings 18:21 (NLT)

Since we know that God is God, we need to allow Him to be Lord of every part of our life. He will accept nothing less. We need to repent of our sins and God will restore us. God does not wink at sin and He doesn’t have a list that ranges from “little” sin to the “biggest” sin. He puts liars in the same category with thieves and murderers. We need to allow Him to “create in us a clean heart and renew a right Spirit within us”. Unconfessed sin in our lives breaks our relationship with God. We are still saved but until we repent, God is unable to bless us the way He longs to. We need to humble ourselves before Him and allow Him to cleanse us and revive us again.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.–1 Peter 5:6 (NLT)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Stand Up to the Devil…”

7 So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you. – James 4:7 TPT

James 4:4-7 TPT

The Greek word (moi-kho’s) that is translated as adulterers has more than just a sexual connotation. It is anyone committing an act of infidelity or unfaithfulness to God. These actions are what depict us as “friends” of the world. If we live a lifestyle that is filled with these kinds of actions, then we show by our actions that we are “enemies” of God. Our flesh is constantly warring against the Spirit that God has placed inside us. We need to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit not by our fleshly desires.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil​l​ the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.–Gal. 5:16-17 (KJV)

We cannot win the war by ourselves, the flesh is too strong. But God gives us grace and mercy. He is made strong in our weaknesses. If we are faithful to walk “in the Spirit”, God will fight and win every battle for us.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous