Anti-virus Protection Part 1 - A Quick Study in Jude
June 17, 2020, 10:00 AM

Anti Virus Protection

On my desk I have a bottle of green anti-bacterial lotion from Bath and Body Works. It supposedly kills germs. I have become accustomed to washing my hands quite regularly, especially during this season with Coronavirus, and when I can’t I use my green lotion. Because I know that it only takes one of those little germs from a handshake, a handrail, doorknob or the money in my pocket to make me sick. Those little germs come in and try to dictate a new direction for my body, one that steers away from my personal health toward its own personal gain.

The church has viruses too. Jesus calls them False Prophets or Teachers.

Matthew 7:15 (NIV)
15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11 (NIV)
11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

Mark 13:22-23 (NIV)
22 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect--if that were possible.
23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

The letter written by Jude had no known audience, but obviously was addressing some viruses that had infiltrated the church. There was a disregard toward God’s Word. Some viral ideas had infiltrated the Church and were choking out the truth. Jude, who was Jesus half-brother addresses the importance of scripture and its foundational purpose in keeping our lives on track. Today we are going to begin looking at Jude, because I believe that his admonition about the supremacy of scripture in our lives is so important to us especially in this wishy-washy mixed up world in which we live.

Jude 1:1-25 (NLT)
1 This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. I am writing to all who are called to live in the love of God the Father and the care of Jesus Christ.
2 May you receive more and more of God's mercy, peace, and love.
3 Dearly loved friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the truth of the Good News. God gave this unchanging truth once for all time to his holy people.
4 I say this because some godless people have wormed their way in among you, saying that God's forgiveness allows us to live immoral lives. The fate of such people was determined long ago, for they have turned against our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 I must remind you—and you know it well—that even though the Lord rescued the whole nation of Israel from Egypt, he later destroyed every one of those who did not remain faithful.
6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the day of judgment.
7 And don't forget the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with sexual immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and are a warning of the eternal fire that will punish all who are evil.

Grace is an incredible thing

Bono the Lead singer of U2 said about Grace…

“It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between grace and karma.

“(Karma says) what you put out comes back to you: an eye for and eye, a tooth for a tooth…It’s clear to me that karma is at the heart of the universe…And yet, along comes this idea called grace to upend all that ‘as you sow, so you shall reap’ stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts…the consequences of your actions…”

“It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the cross, because I know who I am and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.”

The truth is that sometimes we abuse the concept of Grace. Jude talks about this idea that people have that grace gives them a free license to sin.

 

I remember as a kid thinking that God will forgive me anyway so why not just do what I want. As a young Youth Pastor I preached against this idea, challenging teenagers to live for God now, that they didn’t have to sow wild oats while they are young. The truth is that this is a message that adults (all of us) need to hear as well.

 

Just because God forgives, no divorce isn’t the answer. Unfaithfulness to your spouse, even just once, is not ok. Lying on your taxes is not alright. Skimming hours or finances away from your job is flat out wrong.

 

The issue is not whether you get caught. The issue is that it hurts your relationship with God. He saved you, now live like you have been saved.

 

Lifeguard – If a lifeguard risked his life to brave the waves for you when you were drowning, he dragged you out of the water and you weren’t breathing so he performed CPR and you by the grace of God and the skill of your rescuer were brought back to consciousness as the air once again filled your lungs, then that Lifeguard pointed out the warning signs all along that beach which said that it was unsafe to swim in the deep part of that shore. Would you get up from that incident and rush back out into the waves. No of course not, and even if that lifeguard saved you every time, don’t you think it might hurt the relationship between you and him. He might be inclined to knock you out and tie you up to keep you from endangering yourself anymore.

 

Grace is not a free ticket to sin it is a ticket purchased with a great price for you to live righteously and the freedom to change.

 

Today we will look at how to avoid these tendencies as a church and as individuals.

 

We will look at how we can keep God’s word as the foundation for all that we do.

 

There are at least three things we need to do concerning scripture that I want us to look at and begin practicing. They are found in the examples that Jude gave of Israel, The Fallen Angels and finally Sodom and Gommorah

 

Today we will discuss…

 

Three ACTions we need to take toward the Word of God (The Bible):

 

Allow Him time to speak to you daily.

 

Israel forgot God’s word.

 

Sometimes we too, forget what God is calling us to. We forget the standard that he has placed on us. We get so busy doing church and life that we forget about the author of life’s plan for us in scripture. We neglect taking the time necessary to allow God to speak to us daily.

 

We begin to make a separation or distinction between our spiritual life and our everyday life. We go to church on Sunday and hear a wonderfully entertaining and sometimes convicting message and then we immediately forget it and tuck the notes away in our Bibles, which are set aside on a shelf somewhere until next Sunday.

 

We experienced the power of God at one point in our lives, but now we have gotten back into the humdrum of living and that change, that dramatic life altering experience has somehow faded, like Hurricane Katrina, at one time a big story, but now with time has faded from the everyday media.

 

God had rescued Israel from the chains of slavery in Egypt. He brought plagues to their captors and when they were released, He miraculously opened the Red Sea for them to pass through and later brought the walls of the sea back down upon the pursuant slave drivers. God fed them. He sheltered them. He kept their clothes from wearing out and yet as amazing as those events must have been to witness, they faded from their minds and left them questioning the trustworthiness of God and His word.

 

This is because they did not keep an ongoing dialog with God. They did not reflect on His wonder everyday.

 

This is a trap that many of us face. We do not take time out to hear from God to remember His goodness to us, to remember that He has a plan for us. We forget to focus on Him so that he can focus our lives. We take good care to make sure that all of our hygiene needs are cared for daily but neglect the moments with God that power our soul and give us direction for our lives.

 

It says in the Proverbs

 

Proverbs 8:34 (MSG)
34 Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day's work.

How true is that! We should not dare to start the day without hearing from the author of our day.

Movie Director - When they make a movie sometimes the actors do not really know what they will be shooting from day to day. The full story may not be fully developed, and they may be filming shots out of order. Its not until the premiere of the movie that the actors see the full vision of what they were working on. But when they are on the set, they have a director who sees the fuller picture. That director guides the actors in the story, she helps them to understand the mood and the emotions involved. If the actors are not careful to take time and listen carefully to the director, they may miss the shot altogether.

Spending time prayerfully in God’s Word provides the backdrop and understanding that we need to face the day ahead even though we do not fully understand how this all fits with the bigger picture. The Israelites could have benefited from more time with the director and so can we.

 

Consider carefully what God is saying to you.

 

Once we have heard from God it is now time to digest his Word to us. The nutrients need to be broken down and put into use in our lives.

 

We need to be careful in our study that we do not add to what God is saying or blind ourselves from something important.

 

Jude describes the…

Fallen Angels - They added to God’s word.

 

These heavenly creatures were created to experience daily the presence of God. His word and His power were all around them and yet they decided that they needed more. It was not enough to be with the most powerful they wanted to be most powerful.

 

Sometimes we add to or subtract from the scriptures. We think that maybe we have an idea that God has not thought of. We try and create a new way of reading His word. We come up with new tenets to add to our faith, which somehow support the desires of our hearts.

 

A third of the angels along with Lucifer did this. They no longer wanted to accept the truth of Gods word that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. They thought that maybe they deserved more or that they could somehow lead better. They decided to try and overthrow what could not be overthrown. They wanted to change the unchangeable. God sent them packing to a hopeless existence without him and consequently without purpose.

 

Sometimes we try and push our own agendas in the same way by trying to think about or view scripture in a new or different way.

 

An example is the whole “name-it, claim-it” prosperity gospel movement, which places God as the grand sugar daddy in the sky. He is there to make me happy rather than I am here to glorify Him.

 

We need to stop focusing on what we want from God and start focusing on what God is saying to us. If we do not listen carefully to the Word of God and meditate on its truth we can be misled by our own whims and ideas. There are a plethora of ideas out there from the New Age movement to the idea of a God as some distant grandfather, which have no basis in scripture. We are all easily deceived if we are not thoughtful on God’s Word

 

Jesus told the Sadducees this when they were trying to trick him with theological questions. He said…

 

Mark 12:24 (AMP)
24 Jesus said to them, Is not this where you wander out of the way and go wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?

Rick Warren in his book “Bible Study Methods” gives four great steps in Devotional Bible Study:

  1. Pray for insight on how to apply the passage.

In this stage you ask God to show you what he wants to say to you through the passage that you are reading. “God what do you want to say to me?”

  1. Meditate on the verse(s) you have chosen.

Digest the words of the passage. I am a fast eater. Sarah often reminds me to chew slowly each bite. In meditation we chew slowly each word and ask good questions about what we are reading.

Is there something I need to… say/ do/ repent of/ change/ celebrate/ avoid/ pray about/ believe in/ etc.

Allow God to speak to you through this whole process.

  1. Write out an application.
    1. This should be personal, practical, possible and provable.
      1. I need to… - Personal
      2. I need to lose some weight – Practical
      3. I need to lose 10 pounds – Possible
      4. I need to lose 10 pounds before the end of the month – Provable
  2. Memorize a key verse form your study.

The psalmist said…

Psalms 119:11 (NIV)
11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

When we properly meditate on the Words of God and allow the Bible to leave its imprint on us we avoid the temptation of adding our own new doctrinal spin or avoiding convicting words that compel us to change. We give God the opportunity to make us better, to make us His and not our own.

Try living what He has shown you.

 

In Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back – Yoda says to Luke Skywalker when attempting an impossible feat, “There is no try, Do or Do not.”

 

Well I happen to disagree with the little green sage. Because of God’s grace we can try, fail and try again. When it comes to living out God’s Word I thank God for that fact. Don’t be discouraged today if you have tried and failed at something God has been showing you through scripture. Shrug off the past and try again.

 

Sodom and Gomorrah – Didn’t try at all. They rejected God’s word. They rejected His grace to change.

 

It may be hard to believe but sometimes Sodom and Gommorah can be found in the heart of the church.

 

Sodom and Gomorrah had become depraved beyond repair. They had the opportunity to repent and change but chose to ignore God’s truth.

 

Sometimes we in the church pick and choose what parts of scripture we are going to follow versus what we call irrelevant for me. Like when the Bible says that… “God hates divorce” and we decide that He would much rather I be happy than for me to work on my marriage that is failing.

 

Or for instance the inclusion of many Christian Denominations of Gay and Homosexual clergy to meet the needs of our “tolerant” society by providing “spiritual leadership” by consensus rather than by truth. This is not to say that the church ought to be closed off from people with alternative lifestyles. We ought to love them and be inclusive of them, without compromising the truth in God’s word.

 

It could be said of some in the church as Jesus said of some of the Religious leaders of His day…

 

Matthew 15:14 (AMP)
14 … they are blind guides and teachers. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a ditch.

Let us pray that the Blind guides eyes are opened. Let us pray that our eyes remain opened.

We need to put into practice how God is showing us to live in His Word, today or we stand in jeopardy of losing our spiritual sight. We need to give God’s direction our very best try and watch Him bless our lives in it.

 

James 1:22-25 (NLT)
22 And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don't obey, you are only fooling yourself.
23 For if you just listen and don't obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance.
24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.
25 But if you keep looking steadily into God's perfect law—the law that sets you free—and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

The most amazing possession we can have in our lives is often the most neglected. It’s not our health, its not our jobs, its not our education, its not even our families. As important as all of those things are The Bible is the single most important thing that we have because it is our direct link of communication to the God of the universe. It is where 99.9% of God’s communication comes from. You want to know what God thinks about a subject, it is in His word. You want to know how to make a good decision, He’ll show you through His word. You have questions about life and existence, His Word will enlighten you.

 

We need to raise the Bible up as the authority over our direction and our choices in this life and as a church. I challenge you do not lose sight of the great importance of scripture to lead and guide you in this life and to enable you to continue to have a direct link with God.

 

When I lose my signal for my cell phone and get disconnected, I must make some moves to get in a place where that signal becomes strong again so that I can reconnect.

 

We need to begin to reconnect with God again through His Word. We need to Allow God to speak to us through it. We need to Consider carefully what God is saying to us through it. And finally we need to Try living what He has shown us in it.

By Carl Friedel




Comments

06-17-2020 at 11:25 AM
Jo Ann
Sweet and nourishing words of wisdom and encouragement...the heart of God’s voice and nudges are in here ❤️
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