"But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh."
Jude writes to the church that has been impacted by the false teachers who were sensual libertines. These teachers were involved in jealousy, selfish greed, and a lust for power (v.11).
In responding to this crisis, Jude advocates:
1. To REMEMBER the apostolic warning: There will always be “scoffers who follow their own ungodly desires”. (vv.17-19)
2. To be ARMED WITH SPIRITUAL POWER as the church prays in the Holy Spirit, keeps themselves in God’s love (remembering and rejoicing in the gospel of “done”), and waits for the second coming of Jesus. (vv. 20-21)
3. To RESPOND to the doubters, the confused, and the scoffers with MERCY. (vv. 22-23)
Question: How do we serve our present generation?
Answer: With kindness and mercy, as we speak with diligence the truth of scripture.
"...but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame." 1 Peter 3:15-16
ASPECTS OF KINDNESS/MERCY
1. People display mercy when there is a growing understanding that the unmerited grace of God has been lavished upon them because of the cross of Christ. (Ephesians 1:8-9, Titus 3:3-6, Luke 7:47)
2. Mercy is extended when believers understand that the Father opens eyes to see the goodness/beauty of Christ. ( 2 Tim 2:24-25a, 2 Corinthians 4:4)
"Of all people involved in controversy, we who understand the unmerited grace of God, are most expressly bound by our own principles to the exercise of gentleness and moderation. If indeed, they who differ from us have the power of changing themselves, if they can open their own eyes, and soften their own hearts, then we might with less inconsistency be offended at their obstinacy: but if we believe the very contrary to this, our part is, not to strive, but in meekness to instruct those who oppose." John Newton (1725-1807), Letter to a friend who was admonishing others for doctrinal errors
3. Mercy marks the character of the person who recognizes the rich provision of the Father. (James 1:16-17)
4. Jesus described himself as being “gentle and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:28-30). We live out the reality of our union with Christ by displaying the character trait of MERCY.
5. Disciples of Jesus are commanded to instruct the doubters and scoffers. (vv.22-23)
1. Do you believe that “gentleness/mercy is perhaps the most neglected virtue among Christians today”? Why or why not?
2. Why is it important to understand that mercy/gentleness is not a particular gift of the Holy Spirit given to some, but a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) freely given to all who trust in Jesus?
3. How do we progressively understand the lavish mercy of the cross and the glory of the forgiveness of sins?
4. Consider John Newton’s letter; Why do believers walk with a spirit of mercy and patience with those who are unbelievers (2 Timothy 24-25a)?
5. How do we speak to others with a spirit of mercy?
ECBC CORE VALUES:
In order to live out the gospel in all that we do…
...We submit to the Bible.
...We are a family.
...We serve others.
We have been both secured by Jesus’ service to us and equipped with spiritual gifts, that we might freely serve both the church and the world. Our members are called to pour themselves out in a variety of ways, as well as to consider their entire lives to be spiritual acts of service. Scripture: Mark 10:45, Acts 20:24, Acts 20:35, Phil. 2:17.
...We make disciples.