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Be Ye Reconciled [12-17-23]

December 17, 2023

Jude 14-16

“Be Ye Reconciled”

Here’s today’s passage, as we wrap up verses 14-16:

It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

Do you know how hard it is to find Christmas songs about sin and judgment? I really don’t have a problem with that. It is a season of hope and joy. But even during Advent, we need to make room for sin and judgment along with the hope and joy. After all, it’s because of our sin that Christmas had to happen.

As we’re already seen, Jesus was born to go to the cross to take upon his perfect and sinless life the punishment from God for our sin. That’s why we sing: 

Hark! The herald angels singGlory to the newborn KingPeace on earth and mercy mildGod and sinners reconciled

Jesus’ crucifixion was God’s plan for our sin to be forgiven. That’s the reconciliation. Some Christmas songs touch ever so lightly on that truth. Some indirectly mention it. Without the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we would be lost in our sin. As we sing in verse three of a favorite hymn:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,nor thorns infest the ground;He comes to make His blessings flowfar as the curse is found,far as the curse is found,far as, far as the curse is found.

What is the curse? The curse is our sin and God’s judgment against it. Without the birth, life, cross, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we would be eternally judged for our sin. I hope you can feel the weight of that. Knowing that truth enriches our singing of the songs of Christmas.

Here’s verse four of a song packed with Biblical meaning:

O come, O Branch of Jesse's stem,unto your own and rescue them!From depths of hell your people save,and give them victory o'er the grave.

Judgment for sin means eternal separation from God. At Christmas we celebrate the good news of salvation through Christ and Christ alone. It is only through his perfect life that we will not suffer God’s just punishment for our sin. In Christ, we are saved from the depths of hell.

That is why this is a season of joy and hope. It’s fitting those themes would be prominent in the songs we sing.

How can we fully understand our joy and hope in Christ without knowing the dire consequences we’d face without him? Hence Jude 14-16.

What more could we ask for than, one week before Christmas Eve, to learn about Enoch. Are we all on board with that?

Jude identifies Enoch as the seventh from Adam. There was more than one Enoch. There was Enoch, the son of Cain. This Enoch isn’t that Enoch. This Enoch was a righteous man who walked faithfully with God. Jude’s point is to highlight the sins of the heretics and herald the judgment that will come on them for their deeds and words.

And so, as already seen above, Jesus saves us from sin and death. But judgment will come to those lost in their wickedness. And so we sing:

O holy Child of Bethlehem,descend to us, we pray;cast out our sin and enter in;be born in us today.We hear the Christmas angels,the great glad tidings tell;O come to us, abide with us,our Lord Emmanuel!

Jesus was born to cast out sin and judgment. That’s where we are…that’s why we celebrate…that’s what Christmas is all about. 

But as Jude reminds us, those who turn from Christ call judgment upon themselves. They are lost in sin. Listen to the first verse of another beautiful song:

God rest you merry, gentlemen,let nothing you dismay,remember Christ our Saviorwas born on Christmas Dayto save us all from Satan's pow'rwhen we were gone astray.

{God Make You Mighty, Gentlemen. It was “Robin and his Merry Men,” meaning his Mighty Men.}

Without the Savior, where are unbelievers? They are weak. God make you 

strong…mighty…unafraid. They are lost in Satan’s power. They will be lost forever. When we were gone astray, the song says, it means we were, but in Christ, we no longer are. Not so for the wicked.

Did you know that Jesus said more about hell than any other person in the 

Bible? Yet the modern evangelical church doesn’t talk much about it. There was a pastor of a Michigan megachurch who undermined his evangelical message when he published a book about God saving everyone, regardless of what they believed or how they lived their lives. He essentially cancelled the idea of hell. And I get it. I get the idea of wanting to be an attractive, positive, uplifting, inspiring, inviting church. Talking about hell is seen to undermine those things. I understand all that. But Jesus talked about hell. He warned of the reality of hell. He told us why hell exists and who is at risk. So we should, too. Not all the time. Not on Christmas Eve. But perhaps the week before Christmas Eve isn’t such a bad time.

I wonder if you asked the average person in Lenawee County what they thought about hell, what would they tell you? What if you asked them about heaven? A national survey from two years ago found that 73% of adults believed in heaven, while 62% believed in hell. Among evangelical Christians, 96% believed in heaven, while 91% believe in hell. Interestingly, 50% of “Nothing in Particular” and 26% of agnostics believed in heaven. Finally, 85% of Republicans believed in heaven, while 64% of Democrats did. In that same group. 75% of Republicans believed in hell while 52% of Democrats did. Fascinating breakdowns.

People do give heaven and hell some thought. The big question for us is how much is shaped by Biblical truth.

Jude talks about judgment coming upon apostates and unbelievers. As we’ve already seen in several beloved Christmas songs, sin and hell are part of the Christmas story. As Matthew 1:21 tells us, “…and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” That little sentence signals to an alert reader or listener that separation from God and hell and the gift of heaven are all part of the glorious Christmas promise.

That little promise from Matthew 1 says things without saying things. And Jude picks up on it with the promise of judgment on apostates and unbelievers. God will execute His righteous judgment. We don’t have to be bashful about that truth. We don’t have to be afraid of that truth. That truth is part of our joy at Christmas. In Christ, we are saved from Satan’s power. Which means, as we understand the Bible, some are not. Sin and 

Hell have no hold over us.

What does Jude say about those who are facing judgment? I love how he calls them grumblers and malcontents. I love those words. They are so descriptive. 

Grumblers means literally “wicked murmuring.” Some Israelites grumbled against God during the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. It was not a good thing. The Greek word for grumblers used here in Jude is gongustai. It is onomatopoeic…it has a low guttural feel to it. You can hear dissatisfaction in the word. Grumblers are dissatisfied with their lives. And what do dissatisfied people – I like to call them misfits and malcontents – what do they like to do most of all? Try to make everyone else as dissatisfied as they are.

Jude says they are disgusting. They are driven by their own gross desires. They are the opposite of self-controlled. And as promised, their will receive their comeuppance. Or, as I like to say, “their uppance will come.” God will deal with them, in His own way, according to His sovereign will.

Then what of us? Jude is rounding that corner. Next week we’ll lift up the 

180° turn to what it means to be “Those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.” We are the opposite of grumblers and malcontents. Our voices and our attitudes proclaim “Joy to the World.” Knowing we are saved in Christ, we reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control whenever we can, wherever we can. We know we will never be able to do it 100% of the time, but with God’s grace and mercy, we will bring joy to and know joy in our little corner of God’s world.

As we close, here is a beautiful thought by Charles Spurgeon to continue our journey into the joy of Christmas:



And together, the people of God said, “AMEN.”


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