top of page

A Weighty Charge [1-14-24]




January 14, 2024

Jude 22-23

“A Weighty Charge”


Picking up from last week, here now, for the last time, are verses twenty-two and twenty-three:

And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Remember, this is the mercy Jude says are for those who have or are in danger of falling prey to the apostates. In a bit, we’re going to delve into the crude way Jude expresses the urgency of this necessary mercy. But not quite yet. I’m just preparing you for some ensuing crudity. {You know, there’s nothing better for a teachable moment than ensuing crudity.}


Here's the most important thing we do as a defense against false teaching:

WE BUILD EACH OTHER UP…WE LEARN MORE, LOVE MORE, AND PRODUCE FRUIT OF GOSPEL TRUTH.

In other words, we maintain a firm foundation. It would be useless to be built up on false principles. Worse than useless, it would be eternally disastrous to be built up on false principles.


There’s a social media site where building inspectors post photos of construction/contractor botched work. They are frightening and hilarious at the same time. Even me, an absolute idiot when it comes to anything like that, when I look at the pictures, I think two things:

  • That’s not going to end well.

  • And I would never have done that.

And yet, people do. Bad foundation. Bad construction principles. Shoddy work. When I look at those pictures, I think of this insult from William Shakespeare, “He has not so much brain as ear-wax.” A bad foundation leads to a bad outcome.


The best place for us to be is rooted in sound Biblical teaching and principles. What are the character qualities Paul says are recognized in the Christian’s life? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When you look at your life, these are marks of holiness. These are signs that you are built on doctrines of grace. The best way to ward off false teaching is to be rooted in sound Biblical teaching and principles.


Here's something you might want to write down:

WE ARE GUARDIANS OF BIBLICAL TEACHING AND TRUTH.


I don’t know if you remember, but last year there was a horrible smell coming from the vestibule/coat closet area of our main entrance. We knew it was a dead animal. Just didn’t know what kind or how many. Nooks and crannies were inspected. Finally, two flattened field mice were found in the internal mechanism of the overhead heat exchanger. I took a couple of pictures, but have since deleted them from my phone. Sorry.


Anyway, after a thorough cleaning, our pest control guy upped his game. Possible points of entry were plugged. Poison was discreetly placed. Proper pest control principles are the first line of defense. We put the best practices in place to protect the people and property of Covenant Church.


In the same way, sound Biblical teaching and practices build up the people of God. And they protect us as we seek to be faithful to God’s Word. As Jude so artfully put it, the best way to keep false teachers from weaseling in is to prevent them from gaining access to the church. We fend off the ills of wicked teaching when we labor together to grow in our walk with Jesus Christ and in our understanding of God’s Word. And that means, obviously, doing the things that God has called Covenant Church to do. We depend on God’s Word…we love each other…we help our community in authentic, tangible ways…and we exalt Jesus Christ in all we do. Those are the building blocks to a healthy church and the primary ways in which we defend against false teaching. These are some of the best defenses against error infestation.


So Jude says we care for each other. That’s the call to mercy of verses twenty-two and twenty-three. The apostates…the wolves in sheep’s clothing…we will have nothing to do with. God will deal with them. But it’s never too late to be used by God to rescue those on the threshold of being lost for eternity.


Here's something else you might want to remember:

JUDE CALLS THE CHURCH TO FORCEFUL AND SWIFT ACTION TO 

RESCUE THOSE WHO HAVE COME UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF 

FALSE TEACHING.


That being addressed, next on Jude’s list are unbelievers. He has a heart for the lost. And so he reminds us to open our hearts to those who are perishing. Never underestimate what God can do in the lives of un-believers. And never underestimate how God chooses to work through us to call unbelievers to believe in Jesus Christ.


To paraphrase a former President, in a nonpartisan way, we are best suited for God’s use in impacting the lives of unbelievers when we do so in a kinder and gentler way. Never sell short the power of winsomeness.


Remember, for this next movement, a foundational principle is that, for most people, probably 99.9% of us, our hearts are made for love. We must give our love to God. If not, it will be directed someplace else. That’s why we see, during the Christmas season, even non-believers take part, in one way or another, in the beauty and joy of the season. Our hearts yearn for meaning. Joy, in whatever measure, is essential to human life. Almost all people want and need something to love.


If that love is not directed to God, something else will gain a foothold in a 

person’s life. Without Christ, people will gravitate to all kinds of gross substitutes. If God’s love is not a thing of sweet grace and mercy to a person, something else will capture their hearts. It could be a person or a lifestyle or a hobby or a political ideology or any number of other things. The bottom line is your heart cannot be kept from loving, its only safety lies in keeping it in the love of God.


And now for a redemption story of a lost soul being snatched out of the fire.


Exactly 82 years, one month, and one week ago to the day, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. After the attack, everyone knew of and hated Mitsuo Fuchida. He was handpicked by Admiral Yamamoto to lead the attack. More than 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack. Fuchida was one of the most 

notorious villains in U.S. history.


Fuchida was trained in the Japanese samurai code. It was his passion. His great love was for country. He greatest hatred was for his enemies. 

Strangely, Fuchida survived the war.


Through a series of events and moments in which believers see the 

sovereign hand of God at work, Mitsuo Fuchida became a devoted follower 

of Jesus Christ. Not so ironically, when you consider the sovereign will of God, Fuchida made his eventual home in the United States. His children became U.S. citizens. And he spent the rest of his life traveling the world, sharing the Word of Christ, salvation, and forgiveness. He told the world of what God had done for him…which was to save him from a life of hatred.


Have mercy on those who doubt. Save others by snatching them out of the fire. Rejoice in the Lord, always. God is good all the time. Let these thoughts move you forward in faith. Keep your heart safe in the love of God. And find true happiness longing for the day you will see Jesus Christ face-to-face.

Until next week:

SOLI DEO GLORIA…

To the Glory of God Alone

15 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page