It is always a solemn and beautiful moment when an entire nation, kingdoms, people return to the covenant of God. In doing so, it’s provisions of peace and wellbeing kick back in as the people acknowledge their transgressions and turn back to God. In His wrath, He remembers mercy and out of His goodness He extends grace. May God remember us and the nations and be gracious towards us as we come to His ways of truth and peace and give Him His glory.
~ Jude 1:20-23 ~
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh”.
In conclusion of this exposition on the call to contend for the faith, Jude adds additional pointers, exhorting believers to stand their ground, build muscle, rescue those heading towards hell and destruction, but hating their defiled garments.
Build Yourself up, in your most Holy Faith. Just as physical muscle is developed by weight exercises, so the Lord expects a building up of holy faith, by doing some lifting, digging deeper and applying discipline. An athlete preparing for the Olympic games, trains hard to get into shape. They watch what gets inside their body and they operate under strict discipline. Why? Because they have their eyes on the crown. Jude gave the exhortation to build yourself up in your most holy faith, keeping your eyes on the crown of glory. Stay disciplined, don’t get distracted because you are in a competition for the price of the upward call, with many witnesses and many counting on you. Don’t drop the baton, stay in shape so you can endure to the end of the race, with no muscle crumps and no surprises on that day. The apostle Paul brings this out very well: “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Jude then exhorts to pray in the Holy Spirit. To let God give articulation to the deepest groanings that words cannot even utter, tuning into His Spirit and connecting with Him for a deeper conversation. In doing this, you begin to operate at the right frequency, cutting out the background noise, getting right into the throne room and in deep communion with the Holy One. With that you can keep Yourself in the Love of God, and not get out of lane, as Jude exhorts, but keep your focus and remain in the love of God. In this way John 8:32 becomes meaningful, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. Thus, continuing in Hs word uncovers the truth, and bring you the true freedom, thereby proving to be His disciples. From that point, look for mercy unto Eternal Life. When you are building up the most holy faith in Jesus Christ, praying in the Holy Spirit and keeping yourself in the love of God, you are essentially placing yourself in the place where God delights. The place where His forgiveness is made available for those that love Him, not remembering their sins against them, but showing mercy. A place where the pleasure of the Lord abounds for restoration, because a heart is set after Him. In that place, His enduring mercy can be found unto eternal life. Once conditioned and positioned, show compassion, making a distinction. Compassion leads to action, identifying with the situation and taking action to bring change. In this direction, Jude admonishes to make a distinction, meaning don’t get entangled in the situation you find others in but become a solution provider heeding the call to act.
The call rings loud; save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hate the garments defiled by the flesh. In other words, heed the call, going to every extent to ensure the truth is well communicated and that people are getting onto the pathway of life. Just as there are people clothed in righteousness, others stand defiled in every way and headed for destruction. For those, there is a call to save with fear, hating even the garments defiled by the flesh. To pull out of the fire is no time to be “politically correct” as fire fighters in an emergency situations will attest to, but be uncompromising and tell the uncompromising truth to pull out of the fire, because the destiny of many depend on it. To stand unconcerned is to snuff out freedom’s holy light and allow for the destruction of those heading towards the fire of hell, which is only reserved for the devil and the fallen angels, as the scriptures indicate.
Therefore, stand and show the way to life, point people in the direction of righteousness, and not be afraid to call out the wrong doings with love, calling a spade a spade in order to bring them to the place of God’s mercy. Jesus already made provision, on the cross, for their deliverance from the curse of the law so they can be grafted into the covenant of Abraham and be part of a people called by His name. In doing this, it is important to keep a sustained focus on the King of Kings, the Sovereign One, the Lord Almighty, examining yourself daily to be sure you are still in the faith and living in a daily expectation of His return. I pray that many will heed the call and many sons and daughters of righteousness will be born throguhout this period of lent.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.
March 8, 2019
~ Exodus 32:14 ~
“So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people”.
The scripture above is a very beautiful scripture which gave the people a sigh of relief, that the sovereign Lord, the Lord Almighty, the Lord of Host relented from executing His full wrath upon them. I would be most grateful. This happened because Moses stood in the gap for the people and for that, God changed His mind. But why would God be so angry as to want to wipe out an entire people? Because they had exchanged His glory for that of a carved image, an idol;
“And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” So, when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (Exodus 32:4-6, NKJV).
All of this, after seeing all the wonderful works of power for their deliverance, all the provision, the presence with them by day and by night and to turn away and attribute all that grace and deliverance to a golden calf as their god, that was apostasy, meriting the full wrath of God Almighty, but for Moses. The trend continued and eventually, God took a firm decision after the people had rejected Him ten times according to the scriptures;
“Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord— because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it” (Numbers 14: 20-23).
This denial of entry, into the land of promise for an entire group of people was mainly because God could no longer tolerate them nor pardon them, due to their hardened hearts and rejection of Him even though they had seen His works, experienced His power, been under His banner, they turned to their own way, denying Him the glory. They made mockery of Him, denying Him the glory.
In Jude 1: 5-19, he exhorted the believers in his day and in our day to remember what happened to the people who were delivered out of Egypt, but who turned away and did not believe in the God of their deliverance, rather turning to idols instead and grumbled against God. Those were destroyed and prevented from seeing the promised land. Jude 1:14-15, gave a reminder of what happened then and what is yet to come saying;
“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 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” (Jude 1:14-15).
He further outlines the behavior characteristics of the people he talks about which is consistent with the behavior pattern of the people that God prevented from entering into the promised land as recorded in book of Numbers.
“These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit” (Jude 1:16-19).
It is my prayer that in the light of what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross of Calvary, that there will be a change in direction for those heading towards destruction. For soon, there shall be the trumpet sound and the sound of the arch angel, and then it will be too late, just like the people that did not make it to the promised land because they turned away from God.
It was in 1974, that the late Rev. Billy Graham, at the launch of the Lausanne Movement, in Switzerland sounded the call “that the Earth may hear His voice”, the voice of the Lord Almighty. The Rev. Isaac Ababio of Ghana echoed the same call his entire adult life. Both have been gathered to the fathers, in the same year having completed their work. These were two mighty men of faith on two different continents passing on the torch. The echo continues in all urgency to the ends of the earth, that “the earth may hear His voice” as a witness, before the day of the Lord. The signs are telling. Have you heard that voice?
As we enter into the period of lent, I pray that you will clearly hear His voice, embrace Him and give Him the due glory, before the trumpet call so the Lord Almighty will relent and let you in.
March 6, 2019
~ Jude 1:4 ~
“For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ”.
In the verse, Jude admonish the brethren to watch out for certain characters in their midst. These characters he points out crept in without notice and had become abusive of the grace of God, turning it into all kinds of vulgar and ungodly behavior that denied the Lordship of Christ, God Almighty. How did they come in unnoticed? Is it because they crept in quietly, looked the same, blended in, sang the same songs, had the same language and community behavior, dressed the same way? Their hearts were far from God as Jude points out although they might have professed to know God. They were vicious at heart to the extent of turning God’s grace into vulgarity with their very hearts and actions denying the lordship of Christ. How could the people not notice? Probably because they crept in quietly as we are told, or is it because they were busy with the organization of activities, or busy with church services, or busy with the “important” things while the “cancer” quietly attempted to wreak havoc in their midst? How did Jude notice from afar, but the very people at the center did not? Was Jude more sensitive to their environment than the very people right there? Had they lost their sensitivity, or did they just not care? Were they completely out of touch with the reality on the ground? In any case, the Lord had everything marked out, He had His eyes set on the people and expected vigilance as He does now.
For that reason, Jude in verse three called for a contention for the faith, standing the ground and defending the faith, being vigilant and not allowing these characters to destroy the fabric of faith. These characters go to every extent to dishonor the name of the Lord. How would you identify these characters? By being grounded in the knowledge of God and being obedient to the leading of Holy Spirit, testing every spirit as john encourages, “Beloved do not believe every spirit but test every spirit to see whether they of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1), and into the midst of the brethren. God is saying, “watch out!”, and in watching out and testing every spirit, it is imperative to develop the attitude of the Bereans as indicated in the days of the Apostle Paul, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
In searching the scriptures, they were positioning themselves to operate within the framework of God’s word, which has been proven to be perfect as Psalm 119:18 indicates “open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from your law (word). This is a perfect way to avoid the deception and expose these characters that Jude warns about.
I pray that the eyes of your understanding be enlightened; that you may know what the hope of His calling is, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.
March 4, 2019