Preserved in Jesus Christ
The Epistle of Jude is one of the so called General Epistle in the New Testament. It was written by one of the four half-brothers of Christ (Mat. 13:55, Mk.6:3). The name Jude is “Judah” in Hebrew, and “Judas” in Greek. Just like his brother James the author of the Epistle of James, at the start, they rejected Christ, (Jn. 7:3-8), they became a believer later after the resurrection (Acts 1:14). Jude never identify himself as an apostle. He never boasted being a half-brother of Jesus. A clear mark of humility.
This epistle was written when Christianity was under severe political from Rome and false teachers are sowing false doctrines to believers within the church. This epistle is sometimes called “Acts of the Apostates” because it deals primarily with the Apostates. For the next Sundays if the Lord wills we will be talking about this short epistle.
I. Definition of Apostasy :
A. The word English word “apostasy” is not in the Bible, but it is derived from the Greek word apostasia, which means a falling away, abandonment.
B. This Greek word is translated “falling away” (2 Th. 2:3), “forsake” (Acts 21:21), and “divorcement” (Mt. 19:7).
C. In simple terms it means departure from true biblical faith.
II. Background and Setting
A. Antichrists were already present, and false prophets were in the world – 1 Jn. 2:18; 4:1; 2 Jn. 7
B. Jude was forced to change his original purpose to deal with the crisis – Jude 3-4
C. The danger of apostasy was already present in the First Century A.D
D. We should not be surprised that the dangers exists today in our generation.
A. Jesus warned that false prophets would arise, the love of many would grow cold, and only those who endure to the end would be saved – Mt 24:11-13
B. Paul foretold of many disciples being drawn away – Acts 20:29-30
C. Peter warned about the rise of false teachers, and how many would follow their destructive ways – 2 Pet. 2:1-3
IV. Recipients of the Letter
A. No specific church or individual was named.
B. He simply wrote “to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
C. For this reason this epistle was called General Epistle. The Epistle of James, 1, 2, and 3 John, as well as 1 and 2 Peter are also classified on this category.
D. Despite of the apostasy going on, Jude used the term “preserved in Jesus Christ” which for me means that real believers in Christ will never fall away from the faith and will never lose their salvation.
E. Jude used also the words “Called” and “Sanctified”. We will see what this means also.
A. We have been called with “a holy calling” – 2 Tim. 1:9
B. We became God’s chosen and called through by means of the gospel – 2 Th. 2:13-14.
C. If you are a visitor today in this church, God is calling you to come to Christ and be saved. You did not come here by accident.
D. You have a responsibility to respond to this call.
E. Your response to this call will determine your final destination, Heaven or hell.
F. If you repent from your sins and receive Christ as your personal Saviour, you will become son of God (Jn. 1:12) and surely go to heaven when you die.
G. If you reject Christ, hell will surely be your place when your life here ends.
H. We are not called to be pastors only. Some of you are called to be mothers, engineers, lawyers, nurses, doctors, farmers, politicians, soldiers, etc. Our duty is to be obedient to our calling. Be the best of what you are now.
In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery.
“Your Majesty,” said Prior Richard, “do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king.”
“I understand,” said Henry. “The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you.”
“Then I will tell you what to do,” said Prior Richard. “Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you.”
When King Henry died, a statement was written: “The King learned to rule by being obedient.”
When we tire of our roles and responsibilities, it helps to remember God has planted us in a certain place and told us to be a good accountant or teacher or mother or father. Christ expects us to be faithful where he puts us, and when he returns, we’ll rule together with him.
VI. Sanctified by God the Father
A. The word sanctify and sanctification are translated from the Greek word “hagiazo”
B. It means to make holy, to set apart for a special purpose.
C. God has set apart those who have been called – Jude 1
D. God has set us apart for the purpose of sanctification not impurity (1 Thess. 4:7) and being such we are called to do good works (Eph. 2:10).
E. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire. True sanctification is impossible apart from the atoning work of Christ on the cross because only after our sins are forgiven can we begin to lead a holy life.
The process of developing holiness. God said to Israel, “Be holy, because I am holy” (Lev. 11:44-45). Because God wants us to become like him, it is necessary that his people be a special kind of people, holy men and women. The basic idea in sanctification is “being set apart for God”; those thus set apart live in a way that is pleasing to God. They have no power of their own to do that, but God enables them. Sanctification is not an option. God requires it of all his people (1 Thess. 4:3).
VII. Preserved in Jesus Christ
A. The word “Preserve” comes from the Greek word “tereo” which means “to guard (from loss or injury , properly, by keeping the eye upon)”
B. We are being carefully “guarded” in Christ
C. 1 Pet. 1:5 says …kept by the power of God. The word kept here expresses the idea that we are closely guarded, kept secured as if we are inside a military garrison.
D. If we are carefully guarded in Christ, can we be harmed? Absolutely not.
E. Jesus reassured his disciples that no one could “snatch” them out of His hand.
F. Christ promised that His sheep shall never perish (Jn. 10:27-28).
G. Those who believed on Him shall never die (Jn. 11:26).
H. This is a clear teaching that “Once saved you are saved forever”, preserved in Jesus Christ.
Harry Ironside stated that salvation was like Noah inviting a pagan in his day to place his trust in God’s Word and come in to the ark. Some view salvation like Noah offering to put a peg on the outside of the ark. “If you just hang on through the storm, you’ll be saved.” Salvation is not dependent on our holding on to God, but on our being securely held by and in Christ. (So Great Salvation, Charles Ryrie, Victor Books, 1989, pp. 137ff.)
We are living in a world where people are departing from the faith. False teachers are everywhere yet the Lord has “called” us, “sanctified” us and “preserved us in Jesus Christ. Are you one of the called, sanctified, and preserved? If you are not sure, repent from your sins and receive Christ as your personal Saviour.