By Nathan Jones
What advice does Jude give us to keep our love of Jesus fresh?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will continue our study of the little book of Jude from a prophetic perspective.
Jude, Keeping Love Fresh (Verses 21-25)
Vic Batista: I love Jude verse 21: "Keep yourselves in the love of God." What are some ways we can keep ourselves in the love of God?
Nathan Jones: We not only exercise spiritual disciplines, but we keep our love for Jesus fresh. My wife and I have to go on dates now and then. I have to show her kind little acts of love. She loves it when I write her notes. It is very important to keep the home fires burning, so to speak.
Likewise, it is very important to our relationship that we both have a relationship with God. No other religion has a relationship with the Creator, but Christianity does. We have a relationship with God the Father in love. He is our Heavenly Father, so we love Him as our Father and as our Savior. We need to also keep that relationship going by feeding it with attention.
Vic Batista: That reminds me, speak a little bit about Revelation 2 concerning the Church of Ephesus.
Nathan Jones: Of the seven churches listed in Revelation 2-3, Scriptures say that at the church in Ephesus their love had grown cold. It'd become like an old marriage. Vic, you and I are old married people. I am approaching 20 years of marriage now. Can you believe it? Over the years you both can kind of get into a routine. Couples get in a rut in their relationship.
Likewise, when it comes to our relationship with God, we can also get into a rut. Our relationship suffers as we become spiritually weak. It's actually dangerous for us to get in a rut with our relationship with God, because then we fall into temptation. We need to spice it up by keeping our prayer life going, through Bible reading, going on retreats, going to Bible studies, and partaking in Christian fellowship. Keep that relationship alive by going on "dates" with Jesus Christ.
Vic Batista: I love spending time with the Lord, just like in my relationship with my wife. I'm going to be celebrating 20 years of marriage soon as well.
Nathan Jones: Can you believe it? Where did the time go?
Vic Batista: What a miracle that our wives have been willing to stay with us for 20 years!
Nathan Jones: Well, we must be doing something right. It is a true blessing having a help-mate given by God.
Vic, I've seen how you and Maureen record radio programs together and growing up your wonderful family in teaching the Bible together. I have a wonderful help-mate who also serves at Lamb & Lion Ministries. Heather's job is transcribing and encoding our television shows and radio interviews. She has been a tremendous help-mate both at work and at home. I just praise the Lord for her! She is an answer to prayer.
Vic Batista: Just as Jude verse 21 advises, "Keep yourselves in the love of God," we also must keep ourselves in a wonderful relationship with our wives. But, it does require quite a bit of work. It requires action.
Nathan Jones: That's why Jude continues in verse 21, "Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ." We need a lot of mercy because we make a lot of mistakes. We need to learn that when we do accidentally fall for the teachings of these false teachers, or we trip up in our spiritual relationship, or we stumble into sin, that we look for the mercy of God. We can plead for the mercy of God, and He is always merciful. He will grant us mercy when we approach Him in repentance.
Vic Batista: Nathan, how could someone receive that mercy today?
Nathan Jones: Read Jude verse 23. It says, being "saved with fear, pulling them out of the fire." True, we are born in sin. We are born in rebellion against God. We are heading for the fire of God's judgment which ends in the fire of eternal death in Hell. Hell is a real place. The Bible is very clear that there will be judgment for our sins. Once this life ends, that's it, we are going to Hell.
God doesn't want anyone to go to Hell, though. He wants people to be free from their sins and free from the guilt and burdens that come with those rebellious actions. Our Heavenly Father desires us to give our lives over to Jesus Christ. We do that by repenting of our sins and surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ.
How do we accept Jesus as Savior? Pray from your heart something like, "Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Savior." He promises that He will do just that. Jesus will forgive you of your sins. He will remove the guilt. He will give you a brand new life, an eternal life, with Him forever.
Vic Batista: Jude verse 23 says, "but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire." Some people actually need to be scared a little bit in their relationship with God so that they can recognize the dire times in which we are living. We are not playing games here in this life. The Enemy, Satan, is real, and Hell is also real. Sometimes God needs to shake people up a little bit before they'll surrender their lives to Christ, right?
Nathan Jones: We do. I think that churches do a great disservice by ignoring the Bible's teaching on Hell. Many churches do. They talk a lot about what Jesus is doing for you today, or how He can fix your problems. They're not teaching Bible prophecy or about our eternal destiny. We are doing a great disservice to our congregations.
I encourage pastors to preach sermons about our eternal destiny. Teach your people about Hell. Teach people that there is another destiny other than Heaven. If a person hasn't accepted Jesus as Savior, then they remain under God's wrath and will be sent to Hell as judgment. That's why we all need a Savior. Jesus is the Savior. He saves us, He rescues us, from eternal punishment. We don't just need someone who is going to take care of our needs and fix our problems. We need Jesus Christ to fix our ultimate problem — the sin in our lives. Jesus accomplished that by giving up His own life on the cross and taking our punishment on Himself for us.
Vic Batista: People need to remember that God loves you. He has a wonderful plan for your life.
Jude, Providing an Example of Prayer (Verses 24-25)
Nathan Jones: The last few verses of Jude actually give us a prayer that we can pray ourselves. Verses 24-25 read:
"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen."
Often when I pray, I find my prayers are a lot more somber that Jude's prayer, but Jude is getting excited here. We can make his prayer our prayer. I could pray, "Lord, you are able to keep me from stumbling. Okay, please keep me from falling and making mistakes. Lord, help me be faultless. Present me before your glory one day. I'll have such joy over that. Lord, you are my Savior. You are the One who is wise, and so I praise you. I give you all the glory. May you have the dominion and power forevermore in my life. Amen."
That'd be the long way of praying what Jude prayed. Look how he packs that prayer. Jude asks for protection. He asks for guidance. He also worships the Lord through it and gives him the dues that are owed Him. In those two verses there is just so such life packed into that prayer. We, too, can make Jude's prayer part of our prayer life, just like the passage you read in Ephesians, Vic.
Vic Batista: Prayers don't have to be long, somber prayers. Just pray what the Scriptures say, often times praying with authority and power that God sends His angels to work on His behalf.
Nathan Jones: Yes, prayer does not have a time constraint. Jesus actually condemned those who prayed with lots of words so they would be heard. God doesn't want to listen to people going on and on through all sorts of liturgy. He wants your heart. We read in just these scant two verses how Jude is worshiping the Lord and asking for his daily needs and protection. We don't have to sit there for hours on end, or even half hours on end. God's just seeking a prayer from our heart. He wants to make a connection with us. That is far more important than the quantity of words that we pray.
Nathan, thank you for taking us verse-by-verse through this study of the book of Jude. Sadly, we have finally come to the conclusion.
Nathan Jones: I'm rather sad as well, for Jude has been a fantastic book. Thank you so much for getting us reading this book, Vic. I have gone through Jude a few times myself, but I hadn't really milked it for everything that it's worth. Studying the Bible this way has helped me understand it so much better myself.