Summary: Jude's benediction is a wonderful description of what God is able to do
God is able
1. Look at the order of our worship in the bulletin. Regular worshipers have come to expect several public prayers in a worship service.
Opening Prayer/Invocation- The first prayer of a worship service has one purpose: to invite and acknowledge God’s presence among the worshipers who have assembled. It helps the congregation focus on the need for God and his presence, so the worship service can be what it’s intended to be.
Pastoral prayer/Morning prayer: when the leader prays for the people. (Eph. 3:14ff) This prayer is offered by a worship leader or pastor and grows out of timely concerns or joys that have arisen in the world, our city, sickness or death in the church membership, or other concerns and celebrations.
Offering prayer: may come before the offering or afterwards, but the purpose of this prayer is to thank God for the privilege of giving and to ask God’s blessing on the tithes and offerings.
Benediction: a prayer for God’s blessing on His people as they leave the place of worship. The word Benediction comes from two words in Latin: "Bene" which means “good” and “diction" which means “word,” so literally it means a "good word." The Benediction sends us forth with the blessing of God's power over our lives. Perhaps the most familiar benediction is found in Numbers 6:24-26.
2. Today, in our second and last message from Jude, I want to focus on a familiar benediction found at the end of this letter. Turn to your bulletin insert (printed book of Jude) and find the very last paragraph titled Benediction. Read together.
3. These verses provide a wonderful blessing at the end of any worship service. Several months ago, someone here told me how appropriate this prayer was after I had used it one Sunday because he had almost lost his balance when he stood up for the benediction and I had prayed to God “who is able to keep you from falling.” However, when Jude wrote these words, he had a different kind of falling mind. So, let’s take a closer look at the message in this prayer of blessing.
4. Remember that Jude was written to enlist believers in the effort to contend for the faith that God had entrusted to the church (See v.3). The church has always depended on God’s Word and clear teaching so that people know how to live in obedience to God.
5. Unfortunately, when Jude was writing, the beliefs and direction of the church were being undermined by false teachers who were traveling around, worming their way into the congregations where they taught things that God never intended. In particular, they were saying that God’s grace was a license to immoral living, that since God readily forgives anyone anytime, the moral standards God has provided can be taken lightly. They may have said things like:
• Yes, God says we shouldn’t steal, but if you need something that someone else has and you take it, God will forgive you, so it doesn’t matter.
• Yes, God says we shouldn’t lie, but if a lie can keep you out of trouble or make you look good, go ahead and lie because God will forgive you.
• Yes, God has set up boundaries and guidelines for relationships between males and females, but if it feels good to violate those boundaries, go ahead and do it because God will forgive you.
6. That is the kind of reasoning these false teachers were using. And if you look at the underlined names in your insert like Sodom & Gomorrah, Cain, Balaam, & Korah, you see the examples Jude gives from the Old Testament of people who were punished because they disregarded God’s standards. Jude didn’t want that to happen to them. So, he ordered them to be vigilant and to mount a vigorous defense against these false teachers.
7. Maybe we can use an example from computer usage. Computers are wonderful tools, but if you are not careful with the web sites you visit and the files you exchange with people, pretty soon a malicious virus will find its way into your computer that can damage or destroy not only your files, but those of your friends. If left unchecked, these viruses can do so much damage that your computer will become unusable. What you need to do, using the words of President Obama regarding the government’s response to the earthquake in Haiti, is to mount a swift, coordinated, and aggressive effort if you are going to maintain a virus-free computer.
8. In the same way, in our spiritual lives and in the church, unless we are vigilant we will become so contaminated, so filled with worms and viruses that we will become completely useless in the kingdom of God.