August 08, 2022 Pastor Steve Behlke

Keep Yourself in God's Love

Keep Yourself in God's Love

Jude 1 To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:

Jude reminds us this is who we are to God, so who we really are.

Through faith in Jesus, You are "the called," you belong to God; you are "beloved in God," loved deeply in His heart. You are "kept," preserved by God's grace, destined for Jesus Christ.

And here's what God wants you to experience as a result of trusting this:

Jude 2 May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.

In order to experience these we must know who we are and walk by faith in God's love given to us in Christ.

Jude 3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. 4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The world’s thinking has shifted recently, but it always reflects the mindset of those who reject God, who don’t know His love, who resist the good news. Everything they teach and believe comes from that belief, that empty place, no matter how reasonable it sounds. 

Under the guise of wisdom and love, they give believers justification to sin, they set them against God without realizing it.

But they will be judged as "ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (v 4)"

Jude 17 But you, beloved, remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, "In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts." 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. 

So this is nothing new. Jesus dealt with this wherever He went. Paul, Peter, James, and John warned every church they wrote.

Today, some mock everything about God. They’re easy to see, easy to resist.

Be most careful of those who mock only certain truths about God, specific doctrines, or the few Bible passages that they do not like.

These are those who can subtly cause you to doubt and to act against God’s clear, loving, words of life.

“You believe that?"

"That was poetry, it’s not meant to take literally."

"That was written for back then, before people know what we know."

"This word doesn’t mean what it says; it’s been misinterpreted by all of the great theologians and linguistics for 2000 years until now."

They reinterpret the Bible—and therefore God—to say what they want Him to say.

Jude and the apostles warn us over and over again for a good reason: Do not trust those who mock God in any way, deny any clear, biblical teaching, or reject biblically defined, godly, morality. To do so is to stray from God's love. God's protection. God's Wisdom. God's expressed will for His beloved.

Jude 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously [hoping] for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 

There is only one command in this passage—"Keep yourselves in God’s love."

That’s the sole command. The other verbs are participles. They help us to keep ourselves in the love of God.

How? By building yourselves up on your most holy faith, being in the Word, knowing what God says, knowing God, knowing truth, participating in Christian community, growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, keep yourselves in the love of God.

And knowing that you don’t just need just a little help doing this, you need spiritual wisdom and wonder working power, we do this by praying in the Holy Spirit, keep me open to the clear teaching of your word, and to desire your expressed will over my own, keep yourselves in the love of God.

False teachers do not try to get us to turn from God entirely, only on select issues. In rebellion, wanting what they want, they change God's Word to support their worldview.

Of course, they don't outright say God is wrong. They may or may not say scripture is wrong. They may, however, argue that the church for 2000 years is wrong. The apostle Paul was wrong. Those who've interpreted Paul the same way for two millennia are wrong.

Others go the opposite way, not license but law:

"Try harder."

"Get up earlier."

"Be more committed."

"Stop sinning."

"Preach the gospel to every person you meet in the first 30 sec.”

This too makes it hard to stay grounded in God’s love. I mean, when we're constantly told to shape up or else. It sounds like, "Shape up, give God a reason to love you."

But hear Jesus,

Martha. Martha. Put down the dishes. Let go of your bootstraps. And receive, rest in God’s healing, stress-relieving, life-changing, and fruit-bearing, love.

Others of us are tired and stressed or bored and we’ve strayed, and it’s hard to come back to God. It's hard for some of us to keep ourselves in God's love. We may not trust He still loves us. We’ve not picked up our Bible or prayed for like two years. We’ve been living on Netflix and Ice Cream, sleeping in tuning out. Which for two years now, doesn’t necessarily keep us in the love of God. 

But again, hear Jesus describe the Father’s love.

Lift your head! Look, here He is, running to meet you, to hug and restore you. The fattened calf is already on the grill! He’s throwing a party for you to drink the best wine and eat fatty meat and to revel in our Father's wonderful love.”

Other things too can keep us from trusting in the Father’s love.

When we sin we can doubt His acceptance. When we sin is like the best time to keep yourself in His love. Look to Jesus on the cross, for anyone who sees God suffer in their place sees God’s love and gains hope in suffering. 

Other times we may slip from trusting God’s love is when life hurts, or God doesn’t do what we asked, or He lets happen what we feared may happen. We get upset, blame God; we may doubt His love—and not stay in His love. 

Happy are those who trust God's love in everything they face, who see every command, every warning, and everything God allows in light of His love. Who do not get sucked into the world's narratives and proud, false teacher's lies.

And be there for each other. Help each other to remain in God's love.

Jude 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

In verse 22, some in our church are susceptible to false teaching and the lifestyle it promotes. They’re doubting. If you know this, contend for their faith! Have mercy on them. Don’t give them a hard time; give them what they need: a community of grace, reminders of God’s faithful love.

Other believers, verse 23a, have already succumbed a bit, compromised. He says, Save them from further damage, discipline, loss of reward. Snatch them from the fire. Not hell, but God’s discipline, refiner’s fire, or the bema.

Verse 23b, some Christians trust new interpretations and teaching them. They are pretty influential. Be particularly careful of them. Don’t just be compassionate to persuade them back into God's love, but hate what’s happened to them, lest they snag you too.

In the world we live in, with the messages we hear, doubting, wandering, or wondering Christians require a fearless community of grace that loves the Lord and cares for each other’s spiritual care.