Keep, Look, Have Compassion, Save
Jude 21 -23 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
We are now on the last few verses of this short Epistle. By now we have learned a lot about the Apostates and on these ending verses, we are being taught by the Holy Spirit on how to build up ourselves and to be able to combat apostasy. The following are another exhortation:
I. Keep yourselves in the love of God.
A. What does this verse mean?
1. It does not mean that “Keep God loving you”, because God does love us! And even when we didn’t love Him, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
2. It means that we are to be obedient in obeying His written Word where God’s love is poured out to His children.
3. This is in contrast to the disobedient children who for their attitude receives Chastisement (1 Cor. 11:27-31, Heb. 12:5-11).
4. To love God is to love what He loves and hate what He hates! We please Him by doing those things that He commands.
5. It has something to do with our Christian walk of keeping the commandments of God (1 Cor. 7:19) which is everything.
6. Jesus taught that keeping the commandments is the key to abiding in God’s love
7. It is how we will be loved by our Father – Jn. 14:21,23
8. It is how we will loved by the Son – Jn. 15:9-10
Illustration: Legalism or Love?
Do we obey because we fear God’s wrath and judgment? Do we feel He will break our leg or burn down our house if we disobey? Do we feel that Christianity is just a set of rules to be obeyed and our satisfaction comes from doing a good job of keeping rules?
“We should obey God because we love Him. We obey because He has done so much for us and we have done so little for Him. We obey because love is never content to accept but must always give. Jesus said, ‘If you love Me, keep my commandments (John 14:15). We then come to realize that our disobedience not only breaks the laws of God, it also breaks the heart of God. How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert! (Ps 78:40).
“Such obedience is far fuller, richer, and freer than can ever come from a legal motivation. Imagine a woman who is a nurse and a mother. She may work at a hospital all day caring for the sick. When she has worked eight hours, she goes home. Upon arriving home, she finds her child is seriously ill. She will then give her child the same care she gives the hospital patients. However, when she has cared for her child for eight hours, she will not quit. She gives care no one can buy. The difference is the motivation.
“What is your major motivation? Seek to know God better, and you will find yourself obeying out of love. It will become ‘richer, fuller, deeper’ and will become ‘sweeter as the years go by.’ ”
II. Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
A. The word translated “looking” (Jude 21) means “earnestly expecting.”
B. It describes an attitude of life that is motivated by the promise of our Lord’s return. The apostates can only look for judgment, but God’s people are looking for mercy.
C. Not only is our salvation from sin the gift of God’s mercy, but so also is the deliverance of His church from this evil world.
D. In His mercy, He will come for us and take us to Himself when He comes back.
E. Looking for the coming of the Lord is a great encouragement to Christian living. It makes us want to keep pure (1 Jn. 3:3) and to avoid the things of the flesh and the world (Ph. 3:17-21).
Biblical prophecy provides some of the greatest encouragement and hope available to us today. Just as the Old Testament is saturated with prophecies concerning Christ’s first advent, so both testaments are filled with references to the second coming of Christ. One scholar has estimated that there are 1,845 references to Christ’s second coming in the Old Testament, where 17 books give it prominence. In the 260 chapters of the New Testament, there are 318 references to the second advent of Christ—an amazing 1 out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ’s first advent, there are 8 which look forward to His second! (Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 27).
III. Have compassion
A. Mercy, kindness; tender-heartedness; loving care. “A suffering with another; painful sympathy; a sensation of sorrow excited by the distress or misfortunes of another; pity.
B. Compassion is a mixed passion, compounded of love and sorrow; at least some portion of love generally attends the pain or regret, or is excited by it” (Webster).
C. The two Greek words translated “compassion” are sumpatheo and sumpathees, from which the English word “sympathy” is derived.
D. In commenting on the meaning of sumpatheo, W.E. Vine says: “`to suffer with another, to be affected similarly’ (Eng. `sympathy’), to have `compassion upon, Heb 10:34,
E. Compassion is needed to move us to action – Mt. 9:36-10:1
F. Compassion is needed to properly handle those in danger – Ga 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:24-25 com
G. What Jude is telling here is we should have compassion to those who are unsaved, to those who are deceived by the false teachers, and those who are confused and have not yet made a firm decision about Christ.
A terrible fire was raging, and many attempts were being made to save a child who stood frantic at the top window. One man, braver than the rest in making a bold venture, was about to fail, when someone in the crowd cried, “Cheer him, cheer him!” The people obeyed the command, and cheered loudly, and, inspired by the shouts of encouragement raised on all sides, the man redoubled his efforts and rescued that which he sought to save from the flames. Do you know any Christian worker who is trying by all means in his power to snatch “brands from the burning,” and to save immortal souls? Cheer him, and then see how your kindly sympathy helps him to work on with fresh courage and renewed energy.
IV. Save with fear pulling them out of the fire
A. Those who were more deeply immersed in the errors of the false teachers, and more corrupted with their vices, were to be saved, or reformed by fear; especially if they were also stubborn and intractable.
B. The Christians were to set before them the terrors of the Lord: to denounce against them the judgments of God, which were over their heads, just ready to fall upon them if they did not repent, and that speedily. They were to make this difference between them and the meek and tractable.
C. Pulling, or snatching them out of the fire, is a proverbial expression made use of, Am. 4:11. Zech. 3:2. and alluded to 1 Cor. 3:15. Just as one would hastily take a brand out of the burning, or snatch one’s most valuable treasure or dearest friend out of a house on fire; in like manner must notorious sinners be treated to prevent their perishing. (Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible).
We obey God because we love Him and we want to please Him. We look forward for His second coming and as we do so, we must have compassion for the lost soul? Do you win souls for Christ? Maybe it’s time for you to do it now.