Summary: The book of Jude has for us a message about perseverance in the faith
CALL TO PERSEVERE: NATURAL INSTINCTS
The book of Jude is one of those that we skip over most of the time. Now, it is not because we disagree with anything that it says, its just that the book is so short that when you blink as you turn the pages in your Bible you miss it. Jude is a book that has some wonderful advice for us and I would like to look in this book this week and next. The book of Jude has for us a message about perseverance in the faith.
READ JUDE 17-21
I. THE SITUATION: Difficult Situations
I do not have to tell you that life is full of difficult situations. This passage in Jude describes a time when ‘scoffers’ will be at odds with Christians and will treat those who follow Christ with contempt. I do not think that we are in the ‘Last Times” just yet, but we do face difficult situations and difficult people in our lives.
1) We live in a world that is secular and cares nothing for God. This is a difficult situation because we who care about God live in this world too! Our children and grandchildren go to schools devoid of God. We watch Tv and listen to radio that most times have nothing to do with God. The business world thinks little of God. Politics and religion rarely mix well. We live in a world where pop culture and laws and secular thinking are the biggest influencers on people rather than God. This is a tough situation.
2) We sometimes get hurt by people around us. This is a difficult situation, especially if it is a close friend or a family member. What do we do? That person has broken our trust, said horrible words, and broken the relationship that we valued so much. These are tough situations when we are hurt by the people around us. 3) We face personal challenges to our faith. Sometime our life circumstances stretch our faith in ways we never thought and certainly would rather avoid. Physical sickness can change our lives in an instant. Money troubles can keep us awake and worrying. The unexpected tragic event may force us to ask hard questions about our world and our God. Life circumstances give us tough situations to deal with and cope with.
4) We sometimes even face troubles and division here at church. You would think that the church would be a hurt-free, mistake free, and trouble free place. But, the church is full of people who make mistakes and at times cause trouble. Feelings sometimes get hurt. Difficult situations may even arise at church and we have to deal with them while trying to learn all about God and His desires for our lives.
All of these are difficult situations that we might face. You know the tough times and difficulties that have come to your mind as I have talked. These tough situations and difficulties exist. They are here in our lives... now. So what do we do? How do we persevere?
II. THE COMPLICATION: Our Natural Instincts
The complication lies in the fact that many times we follow our natural instincts when it comes to difficult situations and difficult people. This passage in Jude describes people who follow their natural instincts. When faced with these difficult people and situations, how do we react? Let me give you some examples and I will share some possible natural reactions (you may or may not agree with):
* The TV show you are watching comes to the part where they reveal the wonderful rooms they have just renovated. They reveal the first room and the couple curses in their reaction and they are bleeped. They reveal the second room and the couple says, “Oh My God” ten times and is never bleeped. Your young children or young grandchildren are also watching this show with you.
Natural Instinct: Ignore it.
* You are in traffic and a little dog runs out in front of your car. The person behind you runs into the back of your car. You get out. They get out. They are cursing you up one side and down the other. What do you do?
Natural Instinct: Curse them back.
* The church is renovating the sanctuary. The topic of the carpet color comes up and the option of blue or red is given. Half the people say blue and half the people say red. The discussion becomes heated because in addition to new carpet the pews will be replaced and so-and-so donated the money for those 150 years ago. Words begin to fly in your direction because they disagree with you and your feelings are hurt. What is your reaction?
Natural Instinct: Stop listening, argue back, hurt them back, leave the church