Wednesday, June 19, 2013

 

Some Things to Remember, Jude 11-19

About three weeks ago, I had the privilege of preaching at Gospel Community Church (my home church).  The sermon I preached that day dealt with Jude 11-15 and was entitled "Some Things to Remember."  It was the third lesson in a series of sermons on Jude.  If you'd like an audio copy of the sermon, please click this link and look for May 26:  http://www.gospelcc.org/media/.  The notes for the sermon can be found below.



Introduction:

1st Week—Pastor Andrew preached on Jude 1-4.  He noted that there are Two characteristics of False Teachers in this passage—They Pervert grace (behavior) and they deny Jesus (theology).  Remember,    When Doctrine Goes Bad, Hearts Can Go Bad.  We must be diligent to Contend for the Truth.

2nd Week—Robb preached on Jude 5-10 on the topic of Reminding and Fighting.  He reminded us that Satan fights dirty, so we must be on our guard. In these verses, Jude describes the character and sins of the apostates/false teachers.

This week—My text is Jude 11-19.  I want us to see that Jude gives us Three Things to Remember:  1. Remember the character of the False Teachers, 2. Remember that Judgment will come, 3. Remember what God has said.

1.  Remember the character of the False Teachers;  A Person’s Life Reveals a Person’s Heart.

Three OT Individuals mentioned here—before Jude describe the sinful lives of the false teachers,  he portrays them as people who lead others astray.  His examples are:  Cain, Balaam, Korah.

Cain’s heart/reputation—(for Cain's story, check out Gen. 4)—Jealous of Abel, A Murderer, Lacked in love 

Green: “Cain stands for the cynical, materialistic character who defies God and despises man.”   He is devoid of faith and love, and even Josephus described him as a man who instructed others in wickedness.

Balaam’s heart/reputation—greedy for gain, his actions encouraged God’s people to sin by worshiping a false god.  

His advice led the children of Israel to commit fornication and leave the worship of God.  Perhaps he told the Jews that their position was so certain with God that they could sin without repercussions (licentiousness). The false teachers apparently taught something similar—if you belong to Jesus you can live however you want; holiness is not necessary.

Korah’s heart/reputation—(for his story see Numbers 16)—arrogant, rebellious, disrespectful of authority

The false teachers embody all of these issues—like Cain, they are devoid of love; like Balaam they are greedy and teach others to pursue false gods and unholy lives for money; like Korah, they disrespect authority

Jude describes the false teachers with several metaphors

 “hidden reefs” (“love feasts”; greed, disorder, immorality had invaded these celebrations)—they are arrogant hidden dangers that are not always obvious.
They are “selfish” caring only for themselves (like Ez. 34—they pose as shepherds but fail to care for the sheep, cf. Peter in John 21).
They are “clouds without water”—they promise rain but in the end offer nothing good (they pretend to be “enlightened” and “mature” but offer no real nourishment to others).
They are “dead fruitless trees”—they look good but produce no good fruit of the Spirit (cf. Gal 5:19-22); they are “doubly dead” which may refer to being dead in sin and being dead in the future judgment (the “second death” in Rev).
They are “wild waves” carrying their filth wherever they go, and they are “wandering stars” (from 1 Enoch?) always looking for a superior position, promising light but bringing darkness, ending in doom, destined darkness.

These false teachers are also described asarrogant self-serving (self is all that matters, self-esteem is better than humility), grumblers (remember the wilderness wanderings?—grumbling and complaining may be a good sign of a person out of touch with God), complainers, flatterers (they seek to increase their influence by flattery, they are full of themselves and want others to be as well), focused on worldly things (their concern is on their “best life now” rather than looking at the long haul living for Jesus, they despise suffering for a life of safety, they want the “easy” button for holiness), following their own lusts (self-focused and pursuing immoral lifestyles), create divisions, devoid of the Spirit (claiming to be the “spiritually elite” they are actually controlled by the natural world and not by God; they are focused on things contrary to the Spirit—flesh in Galatians 5) 

Simply put—they do not follow Jesus or his example in Philippians 2:5-8

These false teachers are teaching a type of “cheap grace” that does not require any cross or any holiness—they teach it and they live it—they are immoral and teach false doctrine.  God’s grace produces trust and humility and holiness; and the lives of these false teachers showed not these things but unbelief, pride, and immorality.  These teachers are not from God.   

Today—The fastest growing group in America are those who see themselves as spiritual, who believe in God, but are affiliated with no particular religious group.  They want to pick and choose their spirituality.  It’s “salad bar style Christianity.”  Create your own.  They want spirituality without commitment. 

2.  Remember that Judgment will come (v. 11, 14-15) Woe to them!  The prophecy of Enoch; The false teachers will be judged for their deeds (note how often Jude uses the term for “ungodly” or “godless” in these verses—4 times).  They will also be judged for their words.

The church will also be judged (Peter reminds us—1 Peter 4:17-18)—how then should we live in light of these things?  We ought to be careful how we live (remember the old VBS song—be careful little hands) because we will all give an account to God who is holy.  God warns us about mockers (cf. 1 Tim 4:1, or 2 Tim 3:1, or 2 Tim 4:3, or 2 Peter 3:3).

3.  Remember what God has said—God does not leave us defenseless. He has spoken his word to us as a warning and a promise, and he has given us his Word to equip us to live Truth faithfully.

The “apostles” here could refer to either the original 12 or to the people who established the church to whom Jude writes. In all likelihood there were on-going prophecies about false teachers and mockers that were passed on to the church (Paul mentions them in Acts, Peter mentions them in 2 Peter).  This could also be reference to the Word written by apostles as well (2 Peter 3). The idea here is that God has given a Word for his people to heed, and here we have Jude’s first imperative (command)—“Remember!”  That is, these were words that were spoken and still being spoken, and the “last times” probably refers to the end of days;.


So, what do we do with this information?
Remember—your actions reveal your heart—whose side are you on? 
What do your actions tell others about your heart? 
Could they convict you of being a Christian by your lifestyle?  


Remember what God said—We are called to remember what God has said and in doing so, be equipped to discern truth from error.  Reality: Often it is easier to recognize error in others – while denying it in ourselves. 
We need to spend time in his Word to know his Truth (v.17)—this week spend extra time reading through 1 John and Jude—ask yourself—what is required of me as a Christ-follower in these passages?  How should I respond?  

Ask yourself where you are like Cain, Balaam or Korah? Where do you grumble, complain, cause divisions, or get all religious?  

 Remember to set your heart on Jesus—Instead of being self-led, we need to be Spirit-led.  If you are Spirit-led, your life should reveal it. If Jesus is your Master, what can you do this week to show it? 

Thanks for reading!  
 

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Monday, June 10, 2013

 

When Jesus Comes to Church: Mark 3:1-6

About one week ago, I had the privilege of preaching at Rocky Mount Baptist Church.  The sermon I preached that day is the one I wanted to share on my blog today.  If you'd like an audio copy of the sermon, please click this link:  When Jesus Comes to Church .  The notes for the sermon are can be for this sermon are below.
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When Jesus Comes to Church—Mark 3:1-6

Growing up at First Baptist Church
“Don’t run in God’s House”
Prompted me to look for God; I always wondered why God never seemed to be at home

As I got older, I realized that I was a bit naïve 
God wasn’t physically there
Have you ever wondered, though, what would happen if Jesus actually came to church?

Mark 3:1-6—Jesus goes to Synagogue (kind of like going to church)—four things happen when Jesus comes to church 
Jesus saw a problem/need; Jesus issues a call; Jesus offers a command; Jesus expects a response

 Jesus saw a need—First Problem:  A Withered Hand—3:1-2:  When Jesus comes to church, he looks for a need to address

The withered hand (Luke 6 tells us it was the right hand that was withered
The man would be hindered from doing business
He would be considered a sinner; obstacles (social and religious) would be placed before this man

Put yourself in the man’s place  
You can’t hold a regular job, have normal relationships, etc.
Religious leaders think of you primarily as a sermon example of how God judges sinners or they attack you for your “deformity”
You can’t even greet people normally without opening yourself to rebuke or attack

How are we like this man? 
What are our withered hands? 
What obstacles (real or perceived) keep us from doing what is right?)
A withered hand wasn’t the only problem/need Jesus faced at this meeting

Jesus saw a problem—Second Problem:  Hard Hearts—3:5: When Jesus comes to church, he addresses problems

The Pharisees were watching to see if Jesus would break the law 
They were more concerned for their religious tradition than for the needs of others
More interested in “outing” Jesus or catching him in a mistake than in doing the right thing

They had hard hearts, but they were just as hindered as the man with the withered hand 
Hard hearts kept them from seeing the needs of others
Hard hearts kept them focused on doctrinal correctness instead of obedience
Hard hearts kept them from doing what was right
Hard hearts grieved Jesus

How are we like the Pharisees here?  
Do we focus on doctrine alone or do we put into practice what we know? 
Do we consider the needs of others as more important than our own standing or reputation? 
Do we look for opportunities to accuse instead of circumstances to serve?

When Jesus comes to church, he looks for needs to address—What need/problem stands in your way of working with Jesus?

Jesus issued a Call—3:3-4:  When Jesus comes to church, he issues a call to act

The man’s perspective  
“Oh, great!  I get to be a sermon illustration!” 
“Here it comes, another lesson on how sinful I must be with my hand as exhibit A.” 
“Why is he picking on me?” 
“Oh well, I might as well go forward”
What has God called us to do?   
Why are we hesitating?   
Are we afraid he might make an “example” out of us?

Jesus’ purpose  
The call was given to illicit a response:  faith responds to God’s Word
The call was given to do the right thing
Jesus intended to do good, not harm
He wanted to show the benefit of the Sabbath, not the legality of it

The Pharisees’ response  
They were silent
Not all silence is golden—silence can sometimes kill (or at least wound)
How does our silence wound others?

When Jesus comes to church, he issues a call to act 
Will we be silent? Or will we take a stand?

Jesus offers a Command—3:5: Mark 3:5a:  When Jesus comes to church, he gives a command

Jesus’ anger and grief  
Jesus was angry at their silence
He was grieved at their lack of concern for doing God’s works

The command: “Stretch out your hand”
 Do what seems impossible 

The man’s perspective  
Why is everyone picking on me? 
Why does he ask such impossible things? 
How am I supposed to do what I’ve never done?

Comparison time  
How are we like this man again? 
What “impossible” task has God given you?  
 What has he called you to do that you are sure you simply cannot do? 
What should your response be?

Jesus’ expectation  
He intended to do good, to save a life
He expected something positive to happen
He expected God to act in response to the man’s act of faith

When Jesus comes to church, he gives a command to do the impossible

Jesus expects a Response—3:5-6: When Jesus comes to church, he expects people to respond to his commands

The man attempts the impossible  
Against all odds, the man attempted to stretch out his crippled and unusable hand
Against all odds, he did the impossible
By acting in faith on Jesus’ words, the man was able to accomplish the command he was given
Faith responds to God’s Word by acting on it
Faith says, “If God wants it done, he will give me what I need to do it!” 
Faith acts and God moves

The Pharisees conspire  
When things don’t turn out their way, they decide to attack Jesus
They missed a great miracle! 
They acted in disappointment or anger instead of faith

When Jesus comes to church, he expects a response 
Will we attempt the impossible? 
Will we obey his command? 
Or will we conspire against God?

Conclusion—What would you do if Jesus actually came to Rocky Mount Baptist and stood here?
How would you respond to his “impossible” command?
If we expect to be known as followers of Christ, as his disciples, then we must be ready to ignore our obstacles (real or perceived) to act in faith on his command
We must be ready to act on his commands and do the “impossible”
Only by acting in faith can we see withered hands or hard hearts changed

Some suggestions for this week:
Set aside time to get alone with God:  Ask Jesus to give you guidance by the Spirit of Truth into the commands God has given you, the call that God has offered you.  Look in God’s Word for direction.

Spend some time (10-15 minutes a day) asking God to show you any areas where a withered hand or a hard heart has kept you from obeying his command:  Then, repent and do it.

Set aside some time to act on what you know God has called you to do:  serve someone, share your faith, offer a word of encouragement, go the extra mile, or simply love as Jesus has loved you.

Stretch out your withered hand—attempt the impossible at God’s command and see what happens.

When Jesus comes, be prepared to respond with faithful obedience.
Only radical and abandoned faith will result in true transformation.

Thanks for reading!  

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