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Signed, Sealed, Delivered [11-5-23]


November 5, 2023

Jude

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered”


Jude begins his letter calling us beloved. That’s where we ended last week. We ended on that staggering affirmation. We are loved by God. As we said:

God loves us with the kind of love with which the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father.


Is there anything that can separate you from the love of God? Since God loves us with the kind of love with which He loves Jesus and with the kind of love with which Jesus loves his Heavenly Father, we can rest assured that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Listen, again, to Romans 8:37-39:

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


This is huge. No matter what we experience or go through in life, the one solid, constant thing is God’s love. People will disappoint us. People will betray us. Sickness strikes. We will lose friends. Money and possessions come and go. One of my favorite poems goes like this – That money talks, I won’t deny…I heard it once, it said “Goodbye.” God’s love is the only thing we can count on with absolute certainty.


Facing the false teaching and decadent lifestyles by toxic people in the early church, Jude is bracing these believers for the coming storm. He is making sure they remain immovable in the truth. They will be unshaken by lies.


We praise God that Covenant Church is duly immoveable and unshakeable. Internally, we hold fast to that which Jude lifts up. But we must never disregard the fact we live in a broken, fallen world. There will always be pressure to get in line with the culture…to capitulate…to compromise. Too many churches and denominations have done that over the years. By the grace of God, may we remain an oasis of truth in the midst of conformity.


So far, Jude has affirmed that we have been called by God…that we are loved by God…and third, we are kept for Jesus Christ. What does he mean by kept?


The first thing we think of when hearing “kept for Jesus Christ” is something Jesus says in John 6:35-40:

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Do you think Jude heard his brother share those words?


We are kept by Jesus Christ. The word kept is from the Greek word, “teremenois,” which means to watch, guard, keep. We are kept by Jesus Christ.


Jesus knows who are his. Think about John 10:27-30:

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”

Once you are called…once you are loved…once you are kept, nothing or nobody can take you out of the sphere of God’s grace and mercy. What a marvelous affirmation. Since we are caught up in that love, how or why could we ever be lost? Or lonely? Or afraid?

We are called…loved…and kept. We are not called, loved, and kept by virtue of our merit. We are called, loved, and kept as an expression of God’s grace and mercy. One moment we do good. The next moment, not so good. We waver. We waffle. At times; not always, or even consistently, but at times we’re not where we ought to be, spiritually. We cannot count on ourselves. But we can count on God. His love is a steady state.


Why do we know this?


First, keep in mind what Jesus says in John 6. God gave you as an act of love to His Son. Because the gift given by the Father is a gift of love, and because Jesus is sovereign, he is not going to lose the gift given to him. Jesus will never lose a gift of love from the Father. And if the Father loves us and the Son loves us the way they love each other, what could ever change or lose that love?


Here's something you might want to write down:

IF GOD HOLDS US, THERE’S NO POWER THAT CAN BREAK THAT HOLD.

1 John 2:1 captures if perfectly:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

In other words, since Jesus is a lawyer for our defense, we will never be abandoned.


Second, listen to what 1 Peter 3:18 says:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.

Do you hear the promise? Jesus didn’t die on the cross to make sure our sins were forgiven temporarily. He suffered to bring us to God. That’s glorification. That’s what Jude means by being kept for Jesus Christ.


In 2 Corinthians 5:5-8, Paul says:

He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at 

home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage.

Paul uses a great word there in verse five. “Arrabon” means earnest money, a large part of the payment, a payment given in advance as a security that the whole will be paid afterwards, a guarantee that the rest will be given. Jesus keeps us by interceding for us. He keeps us by his power. Jesus is never going to walk away from us. He will never leave us to our own devices. He’s got too much invested in us to let that happen. That investment cost him his life. It is a weight of glory almost too much to bear.


Finally, called, loved, kept and blessed. Blessed…that’s what Jude means when he writes, “May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” What a good word for when an abundance of positive stuff is poured into your life. A blessing. The Greek verb translated as “multiplied” is plethyno. It means made full, to maximum capacity. What are we filled to maximum capacity with? This has nothing to do with money or material things. It is solely and singularly about mercy, peace, and love.


Here's 1 Peter 1:1-2:

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

And then 2 Peter 1:1-2:

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

What harmony between Peter and Jude. No matter the threat or hardship or lack of understanding or weakness; regardless of what this sinful, fallen world throws at you; or regardless of the mistakes or miscalculations you make, you’re not only going to survive, but you are going to be blessed over and over and over again.


Here’s something else you might want to write down:

GRACE AND MERCY ARE OUR PRIMARY BLESSINGS.


So, what is the comforting implication behind that affirmation?


We’re all in agreement that we’re sometimes lousy people. We sometimes do lousy things. We sometimes have a lousy attitude. We sometimes have wobbly beliefs. We’re not as good as we think we are or want to be. I’m not trying to drag you down. I’m simply stating truth. When you’re at your worst…however long you stay there…do you think you could lose your salvation? Do you think your relationship with Jesus Christ would be in jeopardy? 


Jude two says God multiplies what? Mercy. And what is mercy? Mercy is not getting what we deserve. And what is a multiplier? What does multiplication mean?


Here’s a little exercise in numbers. November has 30 days. Imagine on November 1, I offer you $250,000 {how sweet that would be}, or one penny, doubled every day, for 30 days. What would you choose? At the end of 30 days, if you double a penny every day, you will have $5,368, 709.12! Even better than that, in Jesus Christ, we have received a plethyno of grace and mercy and love.


Now that’s some basic math I remember. Here’s something else to write down:

GOD IS RICH IN MERCY.

In Romans 9:23, Paul says:

In order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of 

mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory.

What is a vessel? The word Paul uses there specifies a vessel to contain liquid. And what does God pour into that vessel? Mercy. That idea, which punctuates Jude two, means that you are a bowl into which God keeps pouring His mercy.


I saw a picture of a guy who did something absolutely brilliant during a convenience store promotion. The one-day promotion was you could bring in your own vessel to fill it with a fountain drink for one low price. And some genius brought in a five-gallon Sparklets water bottle. The store manager did not look pleased.


Mercy, peace, and love are multiplied to you. In Jesus Christ, you are signed, sealed, and delivered into the presence of God. No matter what happens in your life…sin, trial, tragedy…mercy, peace, and love will continue to flow into your life. Why? Because the source is from God. What God starts, He finishes. So in Jesus Christ, you’re not just going to survive. You are going to thrive.

Let’s close with this promise from Jesus:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world 

may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

  • John 14:27-31

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