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God Has Chosen You for a Time Such as This [10-8-23]

Updated: Nov 5, 2023


October 8, 2023

Jude

“God Has Chosen You for a Time Such as This”


We’ve grown up around this modern, evangelical, Billy Graham Crusade worldview where we believe we are saved because we accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In other words, salvation only happened when and because I came to the realization that Jesus was my Savior. When I made up my mind to believe that he died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins, that’s when I was saved. My salvation was based solely on the conclusion I arrived at, both intellectually and emotionally.


That worldview has some of the right pieces, but it’s not wholly accurate.


As we saw last week, Jude addressed his letter to those who are called. Let’s look at the first two verses once more:

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,

To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.


As we’ll see in the weeks ahead, Jude had an initial topic in mind for this letter, but then, conditions on the ground caused him to change course. You know the saying, improvise, adapt, overcome. False teaching was the imminent threat.


So, right out of the gate, Jude needed to establish a firm, unwavering understanding of who they were in Jesus Christ. And how they got to that place.


They did not choose God. God chose them, from the beginning, from before the foundation of the world. And since God never changes, that goes the same for us. Your name was written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before the beginning of time. That truth, right there in verse one, keeps us centered on the source of our hope. There is no other source for our position in Christ than God’s love, and His sovereign choice to save us.

That ought to bring overwhelming joy to your life.


Jude knew the recipients of his letter were facing challenges, difficulties, and hardships. So from the beginning, they needed to stand on solid ground. They needed to know that, no matter what happened, their salvation was secure. And why was it secure? Because it was God who had called them. To paraphrase Charles Spurgeon:

“Election in Christians should make them very FEARLESS and BOLD. No one will be so bold as the one who believes that he or she is the elect of God.”

Again, Romans 8:30:

And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

That’s the fullness of our hope. And right there, at the end of that verse, we are glorified. That’s the point it leads to. God has claimed you as one of His own, so you could be with Him in heaven. And because it is a God thing, it cannot be changed, altered, or lost.


Additionally, 1 Corinthians 1:9 becomes part of that foundation:

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


And on it goes. Again, in its fullness this time, from Ephesians 1:3-10:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Interesting how both Paul and Jude, before jumping in to the heart of the matter, establish our security in Christ. To put a more precise turn on

it, they establish that our eternal security has nothing to do with our choices but everything to do with God’s choosing to save us and bring us to faith in Jesus Christ. Can you think of a foundation more lock-tight?


Spurgeon nailed it when he said:

“I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love.”


Can you think of a more gracious and merciful way for God to save the people whom He loves? That is an almost impenetrable thought.


Here’s how Isaiah 44:1-5 lays out the promise:

“But now hear, O Jacob my servant,

Israel whom I have chosen! Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. This one will say, ‘I am the Lord's,’ another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord's,’ and name himself by the name of Israel.”

No matter what happens to you…no matter what you experience or go through in life…whatever false teaching or teacher tries to lead you astray…whatever attack or hardship or setback you fall under…all is well because God, in Jesus Christ, has chosen to save you and secure you in His

everlasting care. Nothing can shake that because it comes from God’s

initiative. It is God’s doing. You have eternal safety and security. Amen?


Here’s something you might want to write down:

BECAUSE GOD CHOSE US, WE ARE FEARLESS IN A SOMETIMES HOSTILE WORLD.

You know who are not sheeple? People who are fearless. Fearful sheeple, fearless people. Never forget, God chose you for a time such as this. So be strong.


Here’s why it was important for Jude to lock down this truth at the start. As he stated in verse 4:

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The first generation of believers were already under attack by false teachers. Forget for a moment the threats from cultural religion. False teachers were people who claimed to be doing the Lord’s work. They presented themselves as brothers and sisters in Christ. Brazen. Jude and James, brothers of Jesus, were still alive when the opposition started. They knew their brother. They heard his voice. They sat under his teachings. They were called by him…saved by Jesus...the blood of their flesh-and-blood saved them…and they were already facing threats and murmurs against the One True Faith.


I don’t know why, two-thousand years later, we would expect any different. We need to be steadfast in the conviction that God has chosen us for a time such as this. Our culture is running amok. Institutions are corrupted by wicked ideologies. Aging, decrepit leaders are propped up by their loyalists. National televised media outlets look like reality shows broadcasting live from mental institutions. Churches…it’s bad enough when culture does it…but whole denominations embrace abortion with a fervor that would make Molech {the pagan god of child sacrifice} proud. The love of money ensnares people who know what the Bible says about the love of money. People fear death. They will go to all kinds of extreme lengths to escape it. And somehow, though it has been dramatically changing for billions of years, this time, the climate is going to kill us all. Doomsday cults

are as popular as they’ve ever been.


I could go on, but I need to switch back to encouraging mode. During those times when we dare to stare into the abyss, like a clarion call to battle, we hear Jesus’ words from John 6:33:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

How beautiful is that? The Great Overcomer has chosen us to trust in him and believe in him. Because he has called us, nothing can damage, erode, or take that confidence away. Why? Because it doesn’t come from us; it is not realized through our own power or determination. It rests solely in the power of God to save us.


Jude begins his letter under the settled truth of God’s calling. There is no fear of failure because the results of this great journey of faith have been left to God. That wouldn’t be a bad thing to write down.


Are you of good cheer?

Tim Keller was a leading light in the Presbyterian Church in America, a

denomination slightly more conservative than ours. He died last May, at the age of 72, following a bout with pancreatic cancer. His funeral service was rooted in thanksgiving, selflessness, joyful confidence, and celebration. Keller made it clear what the focus of his service would be.


Here is what Keller’s son said about the service:

“What are we here for this afternoon? After the death of a Christian, we unite to do two things always. First, we thank God for his life, for God’s goodness in lending him to us for the years that we had with him. Secondly, we seek God for our life, for His comfort and presence…We need to get what we need from His Lord, so that we can continue to live our lives in this world with confidence and joy.”


Keller wanted to exclude as much talking about himself as possible. He picked the songs. Here’s one of them:

IMMORTAL, INVISIBLE, GOD ONLY WISE

1. Immortal, invisible, God only wise, in light inaccessible hid from our eyes, most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

2. Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might; thy justice like mountains high soaring above thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

3. To all life thou givest, to both great and small; in all life thou livest, the true life of all; we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree, and wither and perish but naught changeth thee.

4. Great Father of glory, pure Father of light, thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight; all praise we would render, O help us to see 'tis only the splendor of light hideth thee.


The service also included 1 Corinthians 15:55-58:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.


Why could Paul embrace that outlook? Why would Tim Keller include it when planning his own funeral service? Because, as Jude reminds us, “To those who are called.”


Remember, God has chosen you for a time such as this. Let’s close by joining our voices in five simple words of affirmation:

WHAT GOD STARTS, HE FINISHES.

AMEN.



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