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Joyfully Judged [11-26-23]

November 26, 2023

Jude 5-8

“Joyfully Judged”


Jude 5-8, one last time:

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day - just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.


We’re going to start with the bad news. That’s how all those corny jokes 

begin – “I’ve got good news and bad news” – “Give me the bad news first” – so I’m assuming you want the bad news first, too.


We could be a little more delicate and call it a warning. But the awful outcome is clearly spelled out. There will be judgment for unbelievers. In the case of the issues Jude is addressing, there will be judgment for apostates. And then he uses three examples of how hard judgment hits:

  • Those who did not trust God from the exodus out of slavery in Egypt did not live happily ever after.

  • Fallen angels who chose wickedness over glory with God in heaven did not enjoy a positive outcome.

  • And the narcissistic, evil residents of Sodom and Gomorrah were utterly destroyed.


There is no escaping the reality of the fate awaiting those who are rebellious against God. I’m reminded of Jesus’ luminating Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. There is so much Biblical truth packed into this one little story. The key point for us is in Luke 16:22-25:

“The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in 

torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.”

Jesus makes it clear that hell is very real and readily available to those in open rebellion against God.


Make no mistake. There are two things related to judgment the Bible is clear on.


First, the warning ought to be heeded. There is a hell. It is a place of torment for unbelievers or defectors from the one, true faith. To deny its existence is to deny the teaching and Lordship of Jesus Christ.


The second profundity is that Jesus is Judge. But wait, Pastor Richard, we 

hear about gentle Jesus, meek and mild. We know the saying, “Let the one 

who is without sin cast the first stone.” We’ve committed to heart how Jesus taught us to judge not, lest ye be judged. See how familiar it is? We even use the old King James English.


We sometimes forget the seven woes to the Scribes and Pharisees from Matthew’ gospel. Luke also has a section of woes. Jesus is Savior and Judge. As 2 Timothy 4:1-5 says:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

The itching-ears part reminds me of the Spurgeon quote I shared a year or 

so ago:

“A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.”

By God’s grace, that will never be a problem plaguing Covenant Church. For our purpose today, 2 Timothy 4:1 is key. Jesus is judge.


As I’m sitting at my computer, keyboarding these words, an instrumental version of “Come Thou Fount” is playing on my Pandora station. I love this section of the song:

Jesus sought me when a strangerWandering from the fold of GodHe to rescue me from dangerInterposed His precious blood(Precious blood)

Oh, that day when freed from sinningI shall see Thy lovely faceClothed then in blood washed linenHow I'll sing Thy sovereign grace

Jesus the judge is also Jesus the Savior. At his second coming, he will 

judge the living and the dead. The judgement for those in open rebellion 

against God was clearly defined by Jesus in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. But Jude addresses the faithful as the called, loved, and kept for Christ. We know that mercy, peace, and love are multiplied to us. We will forever sing of His sovereign grace.


Jude is a warning to unbelievers and an encouragement to believers. Those who reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior…those who turn their backs on Jesus…those who walk away from Jesus…those who propagate false teaching…the eternal outcome is not good.


But for those who remain in Christ, the outcome is mercy and peace and love multiplied in their lives today and forever. Which is why we persevere in a sometimes wicked world. We might be shaken, but we’re never stirred. We are thankful for God’s overflowing streams of grace and mercy into our lives.


Here's something you might want to write down:

THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE BAD NEWS IS OLD NEWS.

Are you with me on that? That’s the corner we’re turning. For those who are called, loved, and kept for Jesus Christ, sad news is turned into glad news. What could be a better focus on Thanksgiving weekend and the Sunday before the first Sunday of Advent?


As we round the corner on these four verses from Jude, here are three reasons for our joy. This is our focus. These are three God-given sources for our gladness.


First, God is sovereign over all belief and unbelief. God plans them both in ways that magnify His supremacy. Yet He still holds us accountable for the choices we make. To paraphrase Charles Spurgeon, I don’t have to fully understand it for it to be Biblical truth. I love what Jesus says in John 10:16, “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” And again, in 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” Nothing can stand in the way of God saving His own. And as those who are called, that means 

you and me. That is the first reason for our gladness.

The second reason for our gladness is that the central cause of unbelief points to the glory of Jesus Christ. Here’s what that means. At the root of unbelief are things like narcissism, people’s self-centeredness, rebellious ego, and the like. But we know what the Bible teaches and affirms. When we love the glory of God…when we affirm the supremacy of God above all others…we will not only not reject Jesus, but we will believe on him. That is the second reason for our gladness.


The third reason for our gladness is in how mercy, peace, and love are multiplied. The whole point is that these blessings come through the cross of Jesus Christ. We are saved in Christ and Christ alone. The entire almost last half of the Gospel of John is about Jesus’ movement to the cross. To save us. “For God so loved the world…” It is the cross that calls us. It is the cross that keeps us safe in Jesus Christ. That is the third source of our gladness.


People will reject these sources of gladness. People will walk away from 

Jesus. But here’s what we know. As we now move into the Advent season 

we know God’s plan for us:

He was despised and rejected by men,    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs    and carried our sorrows;yet we esteemed him stricken,    smitten by God, and afflicted.But he was pierced for our transgressions;    he was crushed for our iniquities;upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,    and with his wounds we are healed.

  • Isaiah 53:3-5


SOLI DEO GLORIA…

To the Glory of God Alone

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