Summary: A study through the book of Jude Part 4 of 4: The best defense is a good offense... A call to build up our faith
Open your bibles to the book of JUDE…if you don’t have a bible with you, the ushers will gladly hand you one.
[Ushers hand out bibles to any who need them]
We’re going to be looking at verses 17-25 today… We’re wrapping up this short series through the book of Jude and, refreshingly, Jude ends this rather intense letter on an UP NOTE!
In know that the last couple of weeks have been kind of heavy…but Jude comes down as a heavy on those who are damaging, even destroying, the church from the inside out….
He has no use for those who are a part of the church only for what they can get from it.
He has no use for those who only do what feels good.
He has no use for those who abuse and pervert the grace of Jesus
And his letter to the church is a very strong letter addressing those issues…
But he doesn’t leave it there…it wraps up by telling believers what it is that THEY have been called to…what it is that they can do stay alert and prevent such destruction from happening in the church and in their own lives…
Basically, he tells them that the best defense is a good offense.
The best way to avoid going down the wrong path, is to focus on going down the right path.
Sometimes we get so busy worrying about what’s wrong that we forget to take the time and do what’s right! We focus on the defense rather than on the offense.
Too often, in life, we employ the Prevent Defense
The prevent defense is a football philosophy where the coach who is ahead simply backs off and focuses on not losing rather than on winning…it’s reactive rather than proactive…but that doesn’t work in life…
• You don’t work to avoid getting sick…you work to become healthy
(people who focus on not getting sick –get sick because that’s what they’re thinking about)
• You don’t work at protecting yourself against bad drivers…you focus on becoming a good driver, yourself.
(people who focus on avoiding bad drivers usually end up tangling with one because that’s where their focus is)
• You don’t cook a meal hoping that “it’s not bad.” You cook a meal attempting to make it good…
The best way to avoid what’s “bad” is to focus on what’s “good.”
That’s the POINT…the one thing I want you to walk out of here with today…when it comes to our faith, when it comes to our church, when it comes to avoiding sin, when it comes to our relationship with Jesus… the best defense is a good offense.
Jude closes this letter by giving the church some very practical steps they can take that will enable them to focus on what is right. They will be able to provide a strong “offense” which will serve as the greatest defense against those who would damage and wreck their faith…
17But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." 19These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
20But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
22Be merciful to those who doubt; 23snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
24To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Jude 17-25 (NIV)
Jude starts be reminding those who love and follow Jesus that the apostles had warned about such problems. They knew that there would be those who became a part of the church who didn’t truly follow Jesus. They knew that there would be those who laughed at the call to sacrifice, the call to unmerited love…they would simply be a part of the church because of what they could gain from it…and that their very presence would divide the unity of the church.
These are the people who do what their instincts tell them and not what the Holy Spirit tells them…and let me assure you that our instincts run counter to the Spirit.
• Our instincts say preserve your self interests…Jesus says surrender your self interests
• Our instincts say retaliate…Jesus says turn the other cheek