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Kept and Glorified [1-28-24]

January 28, 2024

Jude 24-25

“Kept and Glorified”


I’m feeling a bit melancholy. We are approaching the end of our series on Jude. I have been blessed by God to be able to teach through these marvelous verses. Every series from books of the Bible reveal riches for you and I beyond measure. Our next series is on 2 Peter, and we’ll learn together why Jude and 2 Peter are considered companion letters.


Here are verses twenty-four and twenty-five of Jude:

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.


Here’s why this series has been such a joy. It’s also why we’ve gotten so much out of a short, twenty-five verse letter. We’re going to take a little detour…a foundation building detour…to look at Matthew 10:28. It is why Jude can write his closing doxology with such great confidence:

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”


Here’s where Jude was at. The church was under attack from the outside, by a wicked culture. The worst attack was internally, by apostates, or false teachers. That was corrosive. Knowing all this, having forcefully addressed it, Jude closed with a positively affirming doxology. It is lifting.


Here is where that was rooted. No doubt Jude was aware of Jesus’ teaching recorded in Matthew 10:28. That’s our foundation for facing whatever disruption or difficulty we come up against.


As Matthew 10:28 indicates, Jesus sent his disciples out to the unsaved world to share the gospel. Then, as well as now, they were sheep living among wolves. It was an arduous task. So they needed a “do not fear” 

reminder.


Here’s part of the point. We know we grow stronger in the broken places. I know it sounds like a cliché, but that doesn’t change the truth of the thing. That which doesn’t kill us only serves to make us stronger…and even if it does kill us, we will worship Jesus in heaven. Are you with me on those two positive outcomes?


Whatever the threat, it is tempting to fear those {or that} which can kill the body. No one in their right mind invites hardship or persecution or difficulty or disease into his or her life. Sometimes people even go so far as to make moral or spiritual compromises in order to not stand out or bring criticism upon themselves. That happens when living in a wicked culture.


However, what does devotion to Jesus Christ demand of us? Sometimes we have to swim against the tide of public opinion. We go against the flow. As Paul said in Romans 12:2:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the 

will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Those are great marching orders. That, along with Matthew 10:28, will carry us over and through many kinds of troubled waters. Amen?


What Jesus is saying in Matthew 10 is we reserve our fear for God. He is the One, and the Only One, in charge of life and death. Therefore, we ought to be encouraged because, no matter what we experience or go through in life, all is well, because we are, in life and in death, in God’s gracious and merciful care.


That is the firm foundation upon which Jude’s doxology is placed.


So, here it is again:

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

This doxology, like all the letters in the New Testament, was meant to be 

read aloud. Whenever believers gathered, these were meant to be read aloud. Everybody needed to hear what God pressed upon Jude to share.


In this case, Jude was trying to extract the church from the jaws of heretics. This rescue mission was twofold:

  • Rescuing those who had been seduced by the heretics.

  • Keeping others from falling into the same trap.

As he fearlessly stated God’s case, Jude then ended with the highest level of affirmation. “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.”


What do you hear in the promise of verse twenty-four? What was Jude saying is the most encouraging, satisfying, attractive, comforting truth here?


Keep in mind what Jesus said in Matthew ten. We are to fear no one or nothing in this life. What powerful affirmation does Jude present that lends itself to no fear…no anxiety…no worry…or no doubt? It is a huge doctrinal 

affirmation.


Verse twenty-four is about eternal security. This is one of the greatest, most reassuring doctrines in the pantheon of Christian beliefs.


Remember again how Jude began: To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.”


Along with verse twenty-four, these are bookends of our blessed assurance.


Here’s something you might want to write down:

THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.

It is nothing less than the doctrine of our eternal security.


I love how The Westminster Confession of Faith defined perseverance:

“They whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein 

to the end, and be eternally saved.”

  • Chapter 17, Section 1


How lovely is that? Our perseverance is rooted in this affirmation from Revelation 14:12-13:

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. 

 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”


Taken together, these Biblical truths point to that great and glorious affirmation:

ONCE SAVED…ALWAYS SAVED.

Once you’re saved, you’re saved forever. Remember what Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” {John 6:38}


There are three turns-of-a-phrase used by Jude in verse twenty-four that 

keep our faith solid:

  1. “Keep you from stumbling” = to guard or to protect. Who does the guarding? Certainly not us.

  2. “Present you blameless” = not being swept away in judgment. Notice it doesn’t say we present ourselves blameless. Who presents us blameless?

  3. “With great joy” =unbridled jubilation. Who is the source of our joy?


Add those three up and they center us in Christ. We persevere because God has called us. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot hold on to ourselves. It is God and God alone. Our salvation is God’s work.


Here’s the last thing you might want to write down:

IF I COULD LOSE MY SALVATION, I WOULD.

How easy is that to understand? Unless I’m some kind of narcissistic sociopath, I know the depth of my sin. I know the sin in me that could rear its ugly head at any moment. So if my salvation depended on my ability to keep the beast at bay, I would be doomed. On my own, I cannot hold my ground against sin. Which means that, because I sin, on my own I cannot keep myself in the embrace of God’s grace and mercy. That is only possible because of the perseverance of the saints. How else, in a fallen and wicked world, could we stay in a right relationship with God? Jude 24 tells us how.


We’ll close with this beautiful piece of Biblical reasoning. As Paul says in Romans 7:15-25:

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

I love this passage because its great and glorious truth drives us to the foot of the cross. It reminds us that God saves us and keeps us saved.


Here’s the thing we hear in Paul. As you mature in faith, your life will begin to reflect more and more the Fruit of the Spirit…joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And as this happens in your life, you will compare and contrast your life to what you were like before Christ. And you’ll grow in hatred for your sin. And when you do sin…we all do…you will hate it even more and feel its pain even deeper.


{I love what Thomas Watson, 17th century Puritan pastor, said: “If we bring forth any good fruit, it is noy of our own growth, it comes from him, the true vine.”}

And so, in contrasting the Fruit of the Spirit in your life with the grief you feel when you sin, the more aware you will become of Jesus Christ working in you, holding you and keeping you. You will see how beautiful life in Christ is. The more you live outside of your false self, the greater your joy in Christ. And the greater your joy, the more you will hate sin. And the more you hate sin, the more it drives you back to the foot of the cross.


It is at the foot of the cross where you get more of Jesus. More grace and mercy, so you will continue to produce fruit in your life. This is a God-given, God-created, God-ordained loop of perseverance.


Next week, we’ll wrap things up with the powerful affirmation of verse twenty-five. Until then, we’ll let Charles Spurgeon have the last word:

“NO MAN CAN KEEP HIMSELF. HE’LL SURELY FAIL. IF LEFT TO OURSELVES, WE’LL GO TO HELL. ONLY JESUS CAN SAVE US FROM OUR SINS.”

And that is what perseverance is all about.

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