In this sermon, Pastor Joe Babij finishes examining Jude 22-23 and how believers must be rescuers of those caught up in false teaching. Pastor Babij explains the last of the the three ways that you as a believer must rescue the doubting, the duped, and the wandering:
A. To those that are doubting: mercy (v. 22)
B. To those who are already in the fire: snatch and save them (v. 23a)
C. To those who have polluted garments: show mercy with fear (v. 23b)
This morning we are going to turn our bibles to Jude. I am continuing at the end of the book, not quite yet finished, but we are at the end. We are looking at verses 22-23. Just to bring you up to where I was and where I am going today, this Lord’s Day, we are still being given further encouragement on how to strong in the faith amid aberrant apostacy, the wind of teaching all over the place, coming at us from all directions. We’re given four points of instruction for discernment and survival amid this confusion. We’ve examined three of the four points of instruction to remain strong in the faith. The first one was to recall the words of apostolic teaching in Jude 1:17-19,
But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,
That must always be first and then we must always go back to scripture, run everything through the grid of scripture while accurately handling the Word of God. Why do we do that? I’ve been saying so that we ourselves don’t drift away from the truth. Second thing, in verse 20-21, we are to remain in the love of God. It says,
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
That means to stay in the love of God. You’re already there if you’re a believer. You need to stay there, and if you stay there then you won’t drift. Of course, the very term of endearment, but you beloved, in verse 20 really does underscore the difference between those who are false teachers and those who are real believers; those who are opposed to truth and those who endanger the community with their aberrant truth; then of course, those who seek God and want to obey Him and those who say they seek God but don’t obey Him. There’s a huge difference between those two groups and that difference carries with it a significant responsibility for us who are believers. That three-fold responsibility was found in verse 20 and 21, that we are to continue to build ourselves in our most holy faith. Secondly, we are to pray, that’s communion with the Lord, praying in the Holy Spirit. Then we are to continue to wait, which is the looking forward to receiving our Lord’s mercy at His return—that’s what we’re waiting anxiously for.
Why do we do all those things? To keep ourselves from drifting. Those are the things that are put in place for us, for our sanctification and perseverance. While we are building ourselves up with the Word of God, praying in the Holy Spirit, and waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to return, we are all called to do something. We are called to do the primary tasks of the Church and the primary task of the church is evangelism—taking the Gospel to those who have not yet believed, the world. We are waiting for Christ to bring the full harvest of souls, and God is using the Church to bring in that harvest. If we keep ourselves in the love of God then we will develop a sense of responsibility, urgency, and passion for lost souls. In New Jersey you can talk to twenty people in twenty different groups, and no one heard the Gospel yet—that’s amazing to me. This is evangelistic territory, right here in our state. There’s not much cultural Christianity, if none, in New Jersey, but that gives us opportunity to share the Gospel with somebody that never heard the Gospel.
How are we to respond to false teachers and those who follow them? Are we to fight with them, as I said already, are we to condemn them? Are we to hate them? Are we to ignore them? Well, the Bible tells us that we are to take the posture of being a rescuer. We are not their judge, we are not their creator, we don’t have our own authority, we don’t even have our own message. God has given us the message. We are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are sojourners, salt and light in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are in darkness. We are rescuers. Like I mentioned last week, we are like the Quick Reactionary Force in the military that are comprised of highly skilled soldiers who are called in when soldiers or a unit of soldiers or personnel are in trouble that they need to be extracted quickly. They come to rescue them. In a very similar way, that’s what we are to do. We are to rescue those who have come under the influence of false teaching because that is a serious matter. They may not know they’re in danger, but we know they’re in danger. Therefore, we need to go rescue them. When we bump into them, we need to be able to identify them, and then be able to give them what they need.
As rescuers, we are to discern those who we are charged to rescue because each of the three groups that are mentioned in our passage this morning are in different states of intensity or danger, so caution must be taken by those who are going to rescue and give the gospel, lest we find ourselves in danger also. We are to recall the words of apostolic teaching, remain in the love of God, and then we came to the three-fold responsibility we have towards others. This third one is that of rescuing the doubting and the duped and the wandering. That’s where I was last week and in considering that, the first group was those who are doubting. Look at what it says in verse 22,
And have mercy on some, who are doubting;
This group of people are most likely believers, but they have sincere doubts. I mentioned that last time, and those doubts are really an argument going on inside their mind, they have inner conflict, unsure about what is true and what is not true. They aren’t sure about some things the Bible says. When it comes to different points of theology, it’s difficult sometimes. The Bible is a big book, it takes study to figure it out, and there’s many difficult parts to it, but the Bible is written so we can get a clarity on what God really wants for us. Especially, how to have a relationship with God, and for sure people are going to struggle with different points. They are going to struggle with difficult points of theology, and often the struggle comes because they were introduced by false teaching, and they have false thinking that caused that, and so we who are growing and maturing the Lord are to come alongside of them and help them out. How are we, Christians, to respond to those who have inner conflict and not sure what is right? We are to have, here it says, mercy. To show mercy by moving toward their need and coming alongside them with the scriptures to convince them what the Bible says about the struggle that they are having with the hope that the Word of God will make clear to them their situation and give them understanding, so the persons doubts are dispelled and they are brought in line with the truth and set free—because the truth will set you free. This first group of sincere doubters are rescued from fence straddling by compassionate persons who are remaining in the love of God, who are continuing to build upon the Word of God, who are continuing to commune with God in prayer, and who are continuing to expect the mercy of Jesus Christ in providing full redemption. Using the Word of the Lord to dispel doubts, that’s the first responsibility.
The second responsibility is to the second group. They are an endangered naïve professor. They need to be rescued from the wandering of the truth because they were being led by false teachers and their doctrine. This second responsibility is found in verse 23, it says,
Save others, snatching them out of the fire;
I’ve covered this already, so I am just going to go through it quickly, until I get to the one I’m looking at today. This group has already gotten involved with the lifestyle and practices of false teachers, and so they have been introduced to the pride, godlessness, and their lustful imagination and their reliance on dreams and not the Word of God and other sources. Here in our text, judgment, referring to final judgment, by snatching them out of the fire you are snatching people that are tottering at the edge of hell. The final judgment will catch them unprepared, so the approach to the rescue is to help them not to go astray. This second group, this endangered, naïve professor needs to be rescued from the error of the way by compassionate, spiritually minded, biblically knowledgeable person who knows how to handle scripture and use scripture correctly to rescue them from wandering from the truth, and or a profession short of saving faith. They may believe their saved, but they don’t know their saved. Their tottering on the edge of hell because that’s a dangerous place to be to not know you’re saved. You don’t want to be caught unprepared for final judgment, because already Jude has put it before us, God will judge. He will judge godlessness, He will judge unholy lives, He will judge unsaved people, He will do that.
Today, the third and final group in our passage is the confirmed practicing sinner. This group needed to be carefully rescued from their enslaving sin, because the way Jude writes about them in our passage here in verse 23 says,
Save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
That is giving a picture of an unsaved person, whose been caught under teaching which most likely they think they are alright. They just go on with that thought. In this third activity of responsibility is for the church to go to those who have polluted garments showing Gospel mercy but mixed with fear. This is fear in the rescuer. Why the rescuer? Because this is a dangerous situation. Now, there’s still hope for these individuals as long as they are alive and have red blood running through their veins. The rescuer is to show mercy while maintaining a sober understanding of the reality of God’s judgment and the power of sin. This group is already caught up in the sins of the false teachers like sensuality, immorality, greed, self-centeredness, and idolatry. They think they are doing fine because they are getting everything the flesh wants, because the false teacher teaches them that God wants them to be happy. To be happy by doing anything you desire to do, and that’s not true.
What is the rescuer to do? In scripture, it lays out for us the approach to this group. It says,
and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
Let me just back that up a little bit and unpack that because the rescuer is to have mercy, but see the question is, what is mercy? We have to understand what that is so we can approach them properly. Now the merciful rescuer sees the danger clearly and then moves with mercy towards the person who’s caught in sin. Why is that? Because he himself is wretched and he shows mercy because Christ has shown mercy to him. In other words, that was me heading for hell! Further, the mercy the scripture is communicating has the ability to get right inside the other person’s skin until the one showing mercy sees, thinks, and feels what that miserable and helpless person is experiencing, even though they may not know their miserable and helpless. The only one that can show that kind of mercy is those who have themselves understood what it means to be miserable without Christ and helpless to save yourself. They understand, have a good theology and doctrine, but mercy has to do with something else. It goes along with that, but it has to do with your heart, how you view people, and how you view people who are steeped in sin. The merciful rescuer views people differently and the Christian no longer sees people the way they used to see them. Now, with the Spirit of God in them, and the Word of God transforming them, you see them now with Christian eyes.
How do you see them? You see them as people to be pitied, you see them as people being governed by the god of this world, you see them as slaves of sin and Satan, you see them as blind without spiritual understanding, and you see them as dead in trespasses and sin. You see them through the lens of scripture—that’s the only way we can possibly have mercy on people because we understand those things ourselves. That was us. Only those who have received salvation, i.e. mercy, can be truly merciful. Jesus says in the beatitudes, we are to be merciful and compassionate especially to those who are in misery and to those who cannot help themselves, especially spiritually. The Christian views the sinner not with animosity, not with hatred, but with helpful compassion doing what we can to relieve and restore that person from the consequences of sin that has enslaved them. That’s our condition and the condition of humanity. If we don’t get that then we really cannot evangelize properly.
I want you to take your bibles and let’s look at a good example in scripture. Luke 10. Here’s the example of how a merciful person views people. It’s found in the gospel of Luke 10:30-37. This is the parable of the Good Samaritan. If you’ve been around then you’ve heard this and read this in the bible, but I want to look at it with a magnifying glass on it to see what’s going on here. Jesus is teaching a very strong and powerful lesson here in Luke 10:30, it says,
Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
Now, of course, a priest is connected to the religious system of the day, who was supposed to be the person who helped.
Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan,
Now, let me explain something about a Samaritan in scripture. A Samaritan knew what it meant to be hated and abused because of how they were viewed by the Jews as half breeds. They were intermarried with the gentiles, so they were not full Jews, so they were considered by the Jews who were children of Abraham to be unclean. So gentiles and Samaritans were actually hated because they were taught to be the enemies of God. The Samaritan, in verse 33, it says,
But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beats, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.’.”
Here’s the parable. In the parable we see that this Samaritan, this outcast, had something going on in his heart. He saw them exactly where they were, and he had compassion. You know what biblical compassion does? It moves your will to do something. That’s exactly what he did. He gave what he had. He’s on a journey so whatever he had, he had with him. He was able to do what he could. Notice verse 36,
Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”
That was the question Jesus had. In verse 37,
And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.’ Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
That’s what compassion is. Compassion is somebody who sees just what’s going on and all these three saw him but only the Samaritan, who really is the illustration of the meaning of mercy, saw properly, estimated the situation, and immediately responded. The Jews of that day elevated animosity of the wicked to the rank of virtue. They were in the wrong. When we encounter proud religionist, vile blasphemers, selfish pleasure seekers, misguided youths, and other lost individuals because the list can go on, remember that Jesus was a friend of sinners. We are to react with them with hands of mercy.
But there’s a warning. Back to Jude, here’s the warning, this group of people that we’re talking about, be cautious. Be cautious because they are deep in sin. They do not see what you see, so be very careful. Let’s go back to Jude 1:23 and notice now we see the rescuer’s mercy mixed with fear,
and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
Why do we have fear? Because of the depth in which they are involved with their sin. What are we to fear? The rescuer is to fear the power of sin which is really under the judgment of God. The picture Jude gives us is to visualize their clothing as stained by the corrupted flesh. In other words, soiled dirty clothing equals sin. The Christian rescuer is to fear the polluting nature of sin because sin is powerful. It is like working close to fire. If one gets too close, the possibility of being singed or burned is a reality and could lead to causing bodily harm and even death if you get too close.
I was thinking one of the most difficult schools I went to when I was in the military was firefighting school. The difficulty was not in the information learned, the difficulty was lied in the fear factor, getting up close to an aircraft burning with jet fuel. Even with all the firefighting equipment that you had on, you were still able to feel the intensity of the heat and the roaring of the flames against your body, and it was frightening. I could not wait to get done with that school. In other words, you have a healthy respect for fire. Fire can be used for good, it can be used for bad things. So if anyone should fear sin, it should be the biblical Christian, because the Christian knows that sin has a deceitful power and seductive nature to it and it could pull you in when you don’t even realize. Those trying to help others out of their sin could get themselves caught by the sharp fishhook hidden below the surface and they can get hooked by the very sin they are trying to rescue someone else from.
We know, what does the scripture say about sin, it says the deeds of the flesh are evident. We all know it because of what it says in Galatians 5:19-21,
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
That is the fearful thing for both the rescuer and the one being rescued, that if you practice these things, you will not enter the kingdom of God. I’m afraid for their soul because of their lostness. See, the fear of where sin will exclude you from, if not taken care of by Jesus Christ, will exclude you from the kingdom of God. So, we must be careful when being around people with bad morals as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:33,
Do not be deceived, “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
You can’t forget scripture at the point of temptation. At the point where you feel the pull of temptation. You’re thinking in your mind of going and you start thinking about this sin and it starts to pull you, and everything else is jettisoned from your mind. You’re a believer, you know the Word of God, and yet it’s still got a pull on us, right? What do we do then? See, that’s the warning here. We cannot forget when we are around people with bad morals the scriptures, where it says in Galatians 5:24,
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
That’s what temptation is. It inflames your passions to do the opposite of what the Spirit of God wants you to do. When it does that, it brings you to the place, which is very dangerous. If you sense you are being affected and if you see that the other person who is in their sin is starting to rub off on you, their mannerisms, their habits, their language, their desires, then leave their presence—get out of their and get somebody else to take on the task. You do not want to get pulled into it. What does it say in scripture? In Galatians 6:8,
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
The flesh is still here, but usually the voice of the flesh, once you grow in Christ, is not so loud as it used to be. The Spirit of God’s voice is louder than that voice, but you still have that rebel there. You still have somebody inside of you saying I don’t want to do that! I don’t want to obey God!
I had a conversation with a police officer several years ago who told me of a fellow officer who was assigned to the sexual perversion unit. He went under cover for a significant amount of time and ended up getting pulled into the perverted lifestyle. He ended up leaving the police force and becoming a transvestite. You say, well that sounds awful weird, but I tell you what, when you’re embedded in the midst of sin all around you and you’re not strong enough to handle that in the middle of a perverse and wicked generation, it’s going to get you.
That just tells us, too, that we need to fear sin. As a believer, we should have a higher fear of sin than we ever had before because it will pull us in. Don’t be deceived by the power of sin. Christians should always be on guard and maintain a healthy fear of sin just like we have a healthy fear of fire. We have a certain amount of respect for fire. We know how close to get, we know how to deal with it, we know the things that can cause very bad damage.
The second thing we fear, from our text here, is the judgment of God which Jude has already been talking about. Often those who are endeavoring the rescue either think that they are safe or use scripture in a twisted way to justify their lifestyle. It’s like people who say: I’ve prayed about it. Really what they mean is that their justifying their selfish motives with prayer. I know we can pray about things, but James warns us that we must be very careful when we are praying that we’re not praying based on our own lustful desire, but God’s will. We are to pray with wisdom, considering others, asking for things that are honoring to the Lord and not just justify our behavior or our thinking because we said we prayed about it.
The biblical Christian should be very much aware that not all people view God through the lens of scripture. Most haven’t a clue. It is disastrous to think that when a person is talking about God, that they all mean the same thing, or they all are speaking of the same God. When sinners speak of God, they usually refer to one who has committed himself to honoring the sovereign will of man at any cost to himself, that’s of course idolatry. Idolatry is the sinner has formulated a god in their own thinking. When the bible speaks about God, it means the one who is sovereign in creation, in providence, and in the redemption of lost sinners, the one who has unflinching holiness. Where it says in Exodus: who will by no means clear the guilty. That’s who God is. Sinners frequently think of God as flexible.
They think that He will by no means punish good and wonderful people. However, not realizing that the God of creation is their Creator, and He is a holy, righteous judge. God is morally perfect, pure, and set apart from all other things. As it says in Habakkuk: Your eyes are too pure to approve evil and You cannot look on wickedness with favor. See, God is holy, and He hates all sin. God hates sin with an absolute hatred and therefore He must punish all sin. Every sin constitutes an open rebellion against God’s authority and is, therefore, an abomination to Him, and must be judged by God.
God is angry against all unrighteousness. He says, I hate all who do iniquity. He says in the Psalms: You destroy those who speak falsehood, the Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit. God is against those, and He will hold them responsible.
Love is a characteristic of God most people are familiar with and because of this, there is an absence of a proper view of God. Some think that God is so full of love that He will overlook all sin. Some conclude that because there is little evidence of divine judgment on sin and evildoers, they presume it does not exist. They come up with things about God according to their own way of thinking and they don’t check the revelation that God gave concerning Himself found in the infallible, inerrant Word of God. When part of a truth is taken as a whole truth it becomes a lie. This is the greatest deception of Satan.
Wrath is not a characteristic of God most people are familiar with. In other words, the rescuer must make them aware of it. Show them in the Word of God that God is a God who will hold people responsible for their sin. We must tell them that God is angry with sin and the sword of His wrath already hangs over their guilty heads unless they repent of their sins and trust Jesus Christ alone to save them from His wrath. If not, they will forever experience the wrath in eternal torment. That is a frightening thought and that is what the rescuer fears.
I don’t know about you, if you’ve ever had these moments where you think about hell and the implications of that, and I’ve never had any more frightening thoughts than that. To know that a loved one or someone you were close to, they could’ve been religious, nice people, but they did not have Christ. We don’t want to conclude where they’re at, but scripture does conclude for us, because we are not brave enough to do it and we wouldn’t come to this conclusion anyway. That if somebody is without Christ, the only thing that they’re heading for is eternal torment.
That brings me to a third thing the rescuer is to do. Notice back in Jude 1:23, it says,
hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
We tend to look on things we hate with carefulness and here it’s speaking of their personal righteousness. That means that all that they really have to offer God is nothing but filthy and soiled garments. Hating the garment polluted by the flesh. Remember, this is a picture of sin. This is a picture of being under the judgment of sin. This is a picture that if God doesn’t rescue them, they cannot rescue themselves.
Did you know that every time you and I put on clothes it should remind us of our sin before a holy God, because sin and clothing are closely linked? Remember, Adam and Eve in the garden were naked before sin and then after sin they had to clothe themselves. Why? Because they rebelled against God. Every time we put on clothes, we should think of that. Our sin has made us unrighteous and unfit for the presence of God. It has been estimated that if a person lives to 70 years old, they will have spent five years dressing. So that means we have an ample number of lessons concerning your own sin. In contrast to that, we spend about a year and a half in church.
That’s why I had the passage read this morning in Zechariah 3, because in that passage of scripture some very interesting things are going on. I’d like you turn there very quickly. Zechariah 3:1 and onward, I just want to highlight some things going on here. This is a good picture of our present standing before a holy God. The prophet Zechariah is giving us a picture of Joshua the high priest who was going into the most Holy Place before the ark of the covenant. In other words, he was coming into the presence of the Lord and the priest was to go into the presence of God in holiness. But here, Joshua stands with filthy clothing. Notice verse Zechariah 3:3,
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel.
We know that the angel of the Lord here, according to theologians, would be a pre-incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ and there’s only one thing to save Joshua now. That means he needs new clothes. But the best Joshua could provide for himself were filthy garments. He stood before God helpless, condemned before the angel of the Lord and he needs someone else to step up to provide for him clean clothing. Just to think of filthy clothes, as here, represents sin. Not only the sin of Joshua but the sin of the people of Israel. The Hebrew term means to be befouled or excrement. Just as Isaiah the prophet has explained to us already in the passage we use very often in evangelism. It says: for all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are as filthy garments. This is all any of us have ever offered God, or ever could offer God. Filthy clothing soiled with our sin. The priest and the people had soiled garments beyond compare.
Here is a picture in this text of the great grace of God. A person standing with filthy garments before God, he could not dress himself with clean clothes, Satan is there accusing him of his unrighteousness and guilt before God. If you look at Zechariah 3:1, it says,
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.
Satan is there accusing the brethren, this person deserves to die, no one can deliver him. But then in verse 2, the Lord comes to Joshua’s defense,
The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
God’s rescuing. He is rescuing this one from the fire. Then He says, the Lord has chosen Jerusalem. This is a message for God’s people. We see in verse 2 that the Lord delivers from condemnation and saves His children by saying this is a brand plucked from the fire. In other words, God saves us as burning sticks snatched from the fire before the fire ultimately consumes the person. God is able to give unmerited favor to someone, that the sinner receives by the grace of God clean clothes as a gift. Zechariah 3:4,
He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again, he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.”
God’s grace is greater than all our guilt. The Lord gives them clean clothes. The angel takes away Joshua’s filthy clothes, stripping away Joshua’s own unrighteousness, and then giving him the rich garments of spiritual purity. The garments are taken away and replaced with pure, clean ones. Nothing like putting on clean clothes, especially when you were in the mud, or sweating and sticky all day. You go take a shower, and you put on clean clothes; there’s nothing like that feeling, and that’s what’s going on here. From filthy garments to rich robes. That’s what God does for us.
God is able to cover him in the perfect high priestly righteousness of Jesus Christ. That’s what it says in Zechariah 3:5,
Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by.
In other words, you should remember what it said on the front of the high priest turban: holy to the Lord. Here is a picture of God’s justifying grace to the sinner. They said what does that have to do with Jude? Well, it has to do with understanding that if somebody is left with dirty garments on then they’re left in their sin and under God’s judgment.
In other words, what do these people need? The false apostate teachers tell people that Jesus want to provide them with happiness and to solve all their problems. Instead, they must be given the message of sin and righteousness and judgment with the command to repent and flee from the wrath to come. The Gospel is a promise of righteousness. It is not a promise of happiness. Even though the Christian life will bring you joy. The Gospel is not just for people with ruined lives. The Gospel is for people whose lives are going quite well, but without Christ.
In this third group in Jude, who are caught in the grip of false teaching and the practice of the sin and false teachers, these people need the Gospel! The rescuer needs not forget apostolic doctrine and the power of the Gospel and the cross of Christ! They need to be saved through faith in Christ. As I said a few weeks ago, they need to make an appeal to God for clean clothes. They need to come to grips with their own personal sin.
In Sunday School, we have been looking at the Romans Road. The Romans Road is a great way to witness to people. Romans 3:23 says,
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Then to take into account God’s one remedy for sin; Jesus Christ. Romans 6:23,
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God demonstrated His own love for us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That is the message and then to wholeheartedly submit to those terms through repentance and faith. Repentance towards God the Father and faith in Jesus Christ. Then encourage them to go on to live a life of repentance and holiness and godliness and fruit bearing. It is true that the church must maintain purity of doctrine and building up Christians to know truth from error, however, the church can never forget where they have been rescued from.
If we forget where we have been rescued from, we will be their judges and not a merciful rescuer. We will become judges who desire to throw people out of the church and keep people from the church. While purity issues are not to be ignored, the main point is not kicking these folks out and keeping yourselves pure, but rescue as many as you can, but take care for they have a contagious disease, that if you’re not careful it’s going to pull you in too.
If the church wants to thrive, in whatever day the church exists, in the midst of apostacy because it’s not going away, the wind of doctrine is not going away, we must have a heart of Jesus for the lost! That is what Jude is getting at. The heart of Jesus for the lost. If we do, then we will carry out the three-fold responsibility towards others.
The first group, the sincere doubter, we will rescue them from their fence-straddling by using the Word of God to dispel their doubts. The second group, the endangered naïve professor, we will rescue them from their wandering away from the truth for their mere profession of faith, short of saving faith, by using the Word of God to pull them back from the edge of hell, so that they will be prepared for the final judgment, and they’ll be looking for the mercy of God like other believers and not the wrath of God. The third group, this confirmed practicing sinner, is rescued very carefully from their self-righteousness and their enslaving sin by using the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bring eternal life to those who have not yet received it.
In the process of fighting for God’s truth, we are to show compassion on those who deserve it, and if necessary, to pull others out of the fires of apostacy with great fear of personal defilement. That is the responsibility that we have at the end of Jude.
If we’re to keep ourselves in the love of God, we will develop a sense of responsibility of urgency, and of passion for lost souls. Do we have that? If we don’t have it, then we need to pray that we have it and get it. Be really concerned about the people around us and be prepared on how to give the Gospel. Where are those verses in my Bible that I can point people to? Where are those verses in my heart that I can bring up to them when I don’t have my Bible around? But it’s got to be the attitude of mercy. It can’t be with the attitude of a judge or somebody who’s going to bring condemnation. God’s Word will bring the condemnation, not you.
You’re just the messenger, and if you’re faithful to the messenger then God will take care of the rest. He saved you, didn’t He? He saved me! So don’t ever think that there’s someone around you that you think in your mind that God will never save that person—because I thought that, and God saved the person. He does it all the time!
We must realize how unlimited God is in whom He draws to Himself. He draws wicked, evil, people to Himself with all their filthy, dirty garments and He cleanses them as they receive the Gospel, and He establishes them, and he shows mercy to them. That’s what we’re expecting when we get to heaven, we’re not going to receive God’s wrath in the end, we’re going to receive God’s mercy and His compassion toward us. He’s done it for us, so the Gospel is not what I do, but the Gospel is what God has done for me.
Let’s pray. Lord thank You this morning. Lord, if You discern someone, Holy Spirit, that does not know You, has not come and confessed you as Lord and Savior yet, please Lord today do that. Convict them of sin, of righteousness, and judgment. Lord, please bring them to Yourself. Lord, as far as we are concerned, let us be responsible Christians that take this responsibility serious. Give us that passion for souls that every day are slipping off into lost eternity. Lord let us be the mouthpieces and the feet for You. Let us move toward them and not walk around them. Lord let us be somebody who sees with compassion in our heart but does something about it. Make us those kind of people for the sake of Your great name and bring in Your harvest of souls. I pray this in Christ’s name, Amen.