Keeping a Balance

Jude 1:14-23

14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,

15 "to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.

17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:

18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.

19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction;

23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.(NKJ)

 

It is easy to go to extremes. As matter of fact most of us are people of extremes. Jude is cautioning us against extremes. He realizes the seriousness of the false teachers who have crept in among them, but he did not want everything to be turned into a witch hunt. There are people who think I am a liberal. If I am a liberal, who are the people I think are liberals. I do believe that there is a danger in going too far in either direction so Jude concludes his letter by calling them to balance. Let us consider what he has for us in this passage.

 

  1. Building Ourselves Up; building yourselves up on your most holy faith
    1. This could be said as the opposite of tearing someone down.
      1. As matter of fact all this is the opposite of what the apostates do.
        1. Instead of being ungodly, causing divisions and without the Spirt, God's people have a most holy faith, are building up and praying in the Spirit.
        2. We must never loose sight of the difference not simply between those who do not claim to be a part of Christianity but notice the difference between those who are Christians and those who only profess to be.
        3. Jesus said you would know them by their fruits.
        4. In this little book of Jude, Jude give at least 35 descriptions of the apostates.
        5. There is a difference and it is very great.
      2. Notice just a few of the disparities.
        1. clouds without water v-12
        2. autumn trees without fruit v-12
        3. Dead trees, plucked up by the roots v-12
        4. wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever v-13
        5. And on and on
    2. There must always be a balance. If we are contending for the faith without building up we are just as wrong as those who are building up and not contending for the faith.
      1. We must not fall overboard on either side.
      2. God has called us to both vigilance and mercy.
    3. 2 Peter is quite parallel with this and notice how Peter describes the building up.
      1. 2 Pet 1:5-8 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence,
        1. add to your faith virtue,
        2. to virtue knowledge,
        3. to knowledge self-control,
        4. to self-control perseverance,
        5. to perseverance godliness,
        6. to godliness brotherly kindness, and
        7. to brotherly kindness love.
        8. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NKJ)
      2. Faith is the foundation and love is the capstone of the Christian experience.
      3. We have the responsibility of self-development.
    4. How do we do this? Acts 20:32 "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (NKJ)
      1. Notice that it is the Word of His grace.
      2. God's Word is the means that He has intended to grow His people.
      3. Jesus said, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." John 17:17 (NKJ)
      4. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Rom. 10:17
      5. It is the Word that God uses to cleanse His people, Eph 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, (NKJ)
      6. We have said it countless times from this pulpit. You will only grow as you spend time in God's Word.
  2. Praying as a sign of our times; praying in the Holy Spirit
    1. The more we see the difficulty of our days we turn to Him the more in prayer.
      1. As we see the time becoming more serious, it should drive us to the only one who can help in the time of trouble.
      2. We need to look to the one who can weigh the mountains in His scales.
      3. We need to look to the one who measured the seas in the hallow of His hand.
      4. He alone can sustain us and bring light from darkness and hope from hopelessness.
    2. Eph 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints- (NKJ)
      1. Prayer is the vital life-breath of the Christian.
      2. It is the our unending communion with God.
    3. Praying in the Spirit is sincere praying that issues from a hear indwelt, illuminated, and controlled by the Spirit of God.
      1. It is the very work of the Spirit for us to pray in the Spirit.
      2. Rom 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (NKJ)
  3. Making God's love supreme; keep yourselves in the love of God
    1. Although God will judge, let us continue the emphasize God's love
      1. It was His love that moved heaven to find a way to redeem us.
      2. It was His love that sent His Son to this earth to die in our place.
      3. It was His love for us that sent such sufferings upon the only Begotten Son, the Beloved Son.
      4. It was His love for us that kept the wrath of God upon Jesus as He suffered for us there.
      5. We can never speak too highly of His love.
    2. At the same time we must not forget His holiness.
      1. It was His holiness that would accept nothing less than the death of the sinless Son of God as payment for our sins.
      2. It was His holiness that could not let the sin go unpunished.
      3. It was His holiness that required the life and death of Jesus.
      4. It will also be His holiness that everyone will face who has not accepted His love.
    3. We are to emulate both the love and the holiness of God.
      1. Lev 20:7 'Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. (NKJ)
      2. Matt 5:48 "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (NKJ)
  4. Relying on the mercy of God; looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life
    1. Although we are not apostates we must never forget we are not beyond the need for God's mercy.
      1. Isa 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (NKJ)
      2. Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (NKJ)
      3. Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. (NKJ)
      4. Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (NKJ)
      5. Eph 2:1-2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, (NKJ)
      6. Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (NKJ)
    2. It is only by His mercy and grace that we have any acceptance before Him at all and therefore also eternal life.
      1. Eternal life is a gift of God's grace.
      2. Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJ)
    3. If we stand before Him solely on mercy, then we cannot help but be merciful to others.
  5. Being compassionate on those who are false; on some have compassion, making a distinction
    1. Jesus' life was exemplified by compassion.
      1. He had compassion of the not so perfect people.
      2. The cripple, the sick, the possessed.
      3. He had compassion on the multitudes who were as sheep without a shepherd.
      4. He had compassion of widow of Nain and raised her son.
      5. He told the story of the two debtors and condemned the one who did not have compassion when compassion have been freely given to him.
      6. He told the greatest story of compassion in the Bible, the story of the prodical son who while he was a great way off the father had compassion on him and ran to him and clung to his neck and kissed him who had treated him so badly.
    2. God wants us to be careful to have compassion on some.
      1. Many who are godless and immoral need our compassion not our judgement.
      2. Jesus told the woman taken in adultery, neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.
      3. Although Jesus knew the woman at the well had had five husbands and was living with someone who was not even a husband, yet he must needs go through Samaria.
      4. When we do have compassion on those who are so far from the grace of God it does not display agreement with them but a realization that even they are not beyond the reach of God's converting grace.
  6. Never forget the difference; others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh
    1. Our love and compassion and our understanding of mercy does not cloud our knowledge that there are those who are the children of wrath, of their father the Devil, etc.
      1. A rescuer must always be careful not to loose his own life as he seeks to rescue others.
      2. Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (NKJ)
      3. We must always be aware of the one who would devour us.
      4. 1 Pet 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, (NKJ)
    2. Some we help but realize that there is danger.
      1. Others save with fear.
      2. Paul said in Eph 6:12-13 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, (NKJ)
    3. Pulling someone out of the fire can be dangerous.
      1. But like the firemen we must not shirk from our duty because of the danger.
      2. We must be willing to minister even to those who society considers incorrigible.
      3. God love the challenge of the hopeless and He calls us to minister there also.
      4. But we never loose sight of the danger.
    4. Those we can bring to the light we do considering the filthiness of the life where they are.
      1. Jesus was a company with sinners but never sinned.
      2. He reached down to the lowest of the low but never allowed the stain of sin to touch Him.
      3. God has called on us to minister as physicians, who with all they do, must themselves never become infected with the diseases they have been called to treat.
      4. God has called us to minister not only to the sheep in the fold but to those out on the mountains who have wondered away from the fold and away from the shepherd.

Where are you today?

Are you among those who God has called to minister?

Or are you one who has wondered away?

God calls us to work to bring people into the fold, not shoot those who wonder away.

Are you a part of the problem or a part of the cure?

Who are you working with, praying for right now?

That is the whole idea of Jesus Video Project.

Not just to put a tape into peoples hands but to do so along with our prayers and with a word of encouragement toward them to help them either into the fold for the first time or to remind them of where it is that God wants them to be.

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com