Summary: Exposition of Jude 22-23
Text: Jude 22-23, Title: Winning the Heretics, Date/Place: 10/14/06, LSCC, AM
A. Opening illustration: May 26, 2002, Memorial Day weekend, a barge pilot passed out and hit a bridge span of I-40 over the Arkansas River. This accident dropped a 600 foot span of the bridge 62 feet into the swift flowing river below. Eleven people (and a trailer full of show horses) died as their cars and 18-wheelers dove over the edge of the missing span, one piling on top of another. There were several fishermen on the river in a bass competition, which saw the bridge collapse. Realizing that the cars & trucks were still coming, one of the fishermen below the bridge reached into his boats’ emergency kit for the emergency flare. Whipping the flare up into firing position, the fisherman let the missile fly: up, up, and over the edge of the last standing bridge span. That one flare providentially hit the windshield of the next 18-wheeler speeding down I-40 at 70 miles an hour. The shocked drive hit his brakes, and his front tires slid over the drop-off; putting his truck into reverse, he pulled his wheels back up onto the bridge, warning the other drivers. Another boat of fishermen saw a man under the damaged barge, who was holding on for dear life, and got a floatation device to him and pulled him into their boat, affecting the rescue. One man’s (the river pilot) error resulted in the death of many (eleven people died); one man’s quick thinking and action (the fisherman) saved the lives of many. The continued action of other fishermen saved the life of one who was savable, but sinking. You have an emergency flare (the Gospel) in your emergency kit; will you pull it out to save the lives of others? Seeing people sinking down, about to go under will you throw them a life saver (Jesus)? Or are you afraid someone will think you silly or stupid for firing a flare or throwing a life savior?
B. Background to passage: Jude has previously communicated that he wants these believers to contend for the faith against these lawless heretics. He has labored to identify these men for the church, and given a few instructions to the believers about how to prepare themselves for defense against their error. He goes along those lines today again pushing these believers not only to resist these false teachers, but to attempt to win them to Christ. The troublers of the church are one of its number one mission fields.
C. Main thought: In our text this morning we will see three exhortations about our attempts to win others.
A. Be Compassionate (v. 22)
1. Jude begins his exhortation on evangelizing these heretics by reminding the church to show mercy. The word means to show kindness and concern to someone in serious need. It is a distinguishing feature of Christianity to do good to those who persecute you and love you enemies. And Jude calls on these believers not to crucify their troublers, but to love them and evangelize them.
2. Matt 5:43-47, 9:36, Heb 5:2
3. Illustration: In only six cases out of forty did the sufferers find the way to Jesus without assistance, A missionary physician in one of China’s hospitals cured a man of cataracts. A few weeks later 48 blind men came to the doctor from one of China’s wilds, all holding on to a rope guided by the man who had been cured. He had led them in this way, walking in chain 250 miles to the hospital, If they who reject Christ are in danger, is it not strange that we, who are so sympathetic when the difficulties are physical or temporal, should apparently be so devoid of interest as to allow our friends and neighbors and kindred to come into our lives and pass out again without a word of invitation to accept Christ, to say nothing of sounding a note of warning because of their peril?
4. We must realize that lost people are not stupid. When you get lost, you get there by accident. We also need to realize that their doubts and questions sometimes are valid inquiries. And we should respond with grace and compassion, helping them to see the light. We also must remember that in part, these people can’t help acting the way they do. Lost people will act like lost people. Don’t try to morally improve people before they know Christ, although moral failure can be a starting point for the gospel. Let your heart be broken for their condition. They are separated from God, under His condemnation, without hope for heaven, hurting, and in need of someone to point them toward the Savior. Remember their lostness may not manifest itself in complete despair. Sometimes lost people are content to be lost. But we still should feel a compassionate brokenness over their contentment to be lost. Ask God to open your eyes to their condition and need, to give you a brokenness over them, to soften your hardness of heart over their rebellion. Then be prepared for God to do something with you.