“Contending for the Faith” Study 5

Still no revival!

As we have mentioned several times in these studies, false apostles, prophets and teachers are infesting the Church and programmes for Church growth, that have not produced revival in the western democracies. We have Alpha, Purpose Driven, Word of Faith, the immerging Church, the Seeker friendly approach to evangelism, the Third Wave and Kingdom Dominion advocates and the so called revivals such as Pensacola, the laughing thing called the Toronto Blessing and Lakeland Florida and who knows what other false revivals and fads will be coming down the spiritually muddy drain pipe? No man-made system or programme for church growth can produce revival!

The day is fast approaching when the only thing left will be a thorough and truly Biblical revival such as we see in the book of Acts where we read there was “added daily to the Church those who were being saved!” Many churches today emphasise the Word of God and this is commendable but do not accept or embrace the gifts of the Spirit practiced Biblically so that the Word then becomes a dead letter to its hearers because there is no breath in the words of those preaching it. On the other hand there are those who are into the signs, miracles and wonders camp while neglecting the regular exposition of the Word of God and going in for the latest gimmick or fad to get bums on seats and going in big time for the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit while ignoring scriptural sanity and order.

Anything goes?

In some churches anything goes! We have seen Christians rolling and writhing and slithering around on the floor like snakes, laughing in uncontrollable hysterics while other crawl around on the floor barking like dogs and making all kinds of animal noises such as we saw in the Airport Vineyard Church in Toronto and in Holy Trinity Brompton in England, the home of Alpha. Then we have seen two well-known TV preachers clowning around speaking to each other in tongues while their ‘audience’ laughs hysterically at the shenanigans they are watching, and all this on public Television! No wonder the unsaved laugh up their sleeve at such antics and who can blame them. These so called apostles, prophets and teachers fleecing the flock have made the term “born again” a household joke!

Saved into a Zoo or a Lunatic Asylum?

Sinners that are being saved are one thing but what are they being saved into, a Zoo or a Lunatic asylum? Sinners getting saved are a bi-product of revival! A revival is not sinners being saved, but rather saints being sanctified holy and so filled with the love and power of God through the ministry and the work of the blessed Holy Spirit that God can use them to win the lost to Christ. Once saved, converts need to become disciples because spiritual deception is rampant today. Many false apostles, prophets and teachers are an infestation in the Body of the Messiah and these Jude has warned us about would be conspicuous in the last days. Satan’s time is now short and he is pulling out all the stops to promote his evil agenda through wicked and unprincipled men and women claiming to hear from the Holy Spirit while raking in the money from gullible and naive Christians who should know better.

Satan’s servants abound

Satan is not worried about the unsaved in the world because they are his already but he is worried about we who are saved because he well knows that if we are genuinely filled with the Holy Spirit he is in serious trouble! Many of his servants are household names on television and the Internet today. Tragically, many pastors know that these teachers and so called prophets are wolves in sheep clothing but do nothing to protect the sheep! This was the situation in the time of Jude and it has been the case down through the history of the Church and continues with us today and more so as we see the Day of the LORD rapidly approaching. Jude’s letter is a timely warning to the Body of the Messiah as much of what he has described is happening today.

The Blessed Trinity!

In the light of these things how does Jude encourage us? As we have seen we are to build ourselves up in our most Holy faith and keep ourselves in the love of God by praying in the Holy Spirit and waiting expectantly for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to usher us into His Kingdom. How we need the ministry of the blessed Holy Spirit not only at work in our lives moment by moment but in the Body of the Messiah corporately! If it were not for the enabling grace of the blessed Trinity at work moment by moment in our lives we would all be in spiritual deception and vulnerable to Satanic control. But in the Lord Jesus Christ we have one who not only can save us but also keep us as we seek to walk in the Spirit and not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. And so Jude concludes his letter…

(Vs.24-25) “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Exposition

(Vs.24-25) “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Firstly Jude tells us that our Lord Jesus Christ is “able to keep us from stumbling” to make us aware of the “hidden reefs” and “blemishes” that have integrated themselves by stealth into the Body of the Messiah, the local Assembly. The Holy Spirit is our spiritual sonar system to keep us from hitting those “hidden reefs.” The idea of stumbling contains the idea of a sure-footed horse, who does not stumble; and a man who does not fall into error as we see in Psalm 121:3 where we read; “He will not let your foot slip.” There are many temptations and traps the devil lays for us as believers and we must be aware of the wiles of the devil in these matters. Physical persecution is his last resort and it becomes clear who really belongs to the Lord Jesus and doesn’t belong to Him. That is one thing of course.

However, his favourite method is to deceive by stealth and subterfuge and compromise and by secretly introducing destructive heresies where he lays truth and error side by side to deceive the undiscerning and he has been at it for thousands of years since his rebellion. The encouraging thing is that the Lord Jesus has given us His Spirit to lead us into all truth so that we can discern truth from error. As the Apostle John wrote; “You, however, have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.” (1 John 2:20) Furthermore, the Lord Jesus also said; “My teaching is not My own,” Jesus replied. “It comes from Him who sent Me. If anyone desires to do His will, he will know whether My teaching is from God or whether I speak on My own. He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is a man of truth; in Him there is no falsehood.” (John 7:16-18)

Now it is possible for those who have been walking with the Lord Jesus for many years to be deceived at times although this is more the exception than the rule although it can and has happened to many in the history of the Church. Having said this even if a true believer is somehow spiritually “hoodwinked” by Satan if that believer has a heart for God then the blessed Holy Spirit will show him or her, the truth so that they can reject what is false. One sure way to discern those speaking the Word of God is to look intently at whether they are really honouring and uplifting the Lord Jesus or themselves.

So then the Lord Jesus not only saves us by faith in Him but will keep us as we continuously trust Him to do just that. To walk with the LORD is to walk in spiritual safety even when walking on the most difficult and slippery path. In mountaineering the walkers are roped together so that even if the inexperienced climber should slip, the skilled mountaineer can take his weight and save him. As we bind ourselves to the Lord Jesus He keeps and steers us in the right direction through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Remember the Lord Jesus also said; “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” In Bible times farmers used to yoke the young ox with the old experienced ox to train them. The old ox would take the major load and the young one would be walking along and learning from him. We are yoked to the Lord Jesus by faith and He is the one “who daily bears our burdens” as we walk by faith in Him.

Secondly; the Lord Jesus not only keeps us but is able “to make us stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.” This joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). It is not a superficial joy but one that springs out of the deep seated rest of faith produced in us by the blessed Holy Spirit. It is one that is not dependent on our outward circumstances. The Bible tells us that God wants us to come into His presence boldly or with confidence especially at times when we are hard pressed by the relentless spiritual attacks from the enemy of our souls which can be long and persistent and wear us down spiritually.

The writer to the Hebrews said; “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16) There are times when we do not feel spiritual at all and have a sense of unworthiness and at such times Satan, the accuser of the brethren, will be whispering in our ear that it is useless and futile to go to the Lord Jesus especially when we are conscious of the tendency of our sinful nature to be at war with the desires from the Spirit. One of the indicators that we are saved is that at times we will experience fierce and deadly combat within us with the powers of darkness that assault the soul, especially the mind! Sometimes it is like hand to hand combat with bayonets over barbed wire! Satan will do anything he can to stop us coming into God’s glorious presence, blameless and with great joy. If we do sin, and we all do at times, we need to run to the Lord Jesus and to that fountain opened for uncleanliness and sin, the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:9). If we seek to walk moment by moment by praying in the Holy Spirit He will keep us from sinning and the blood of Jesus will keep on cleansing us continuously as we walk by faith and not by sight in the power of God (1 John 1:7).

Jude concludes his letter by reminding us that God is also our Saviour. In the New Testament God is often called Saviour (Luke 1:47) (1 Timothy 1:1; 2:3; 4:10) (Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4).Having said this in Titus 2:13 the Lord Jesus is called “our Great God and Saviour” clearly identifying him as God. God’s right arm of Salvation in both Testaments is the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have access to God the Father at all times. His glory, majesty and authority was before all time itself as the Lord Jesus has always inhabited eternity being eternal in nature as God is eternal in nature. They, along with the Holy Spirit, are all One God and equal in divinity. It has always been that way from all eternity; it is that way now and will always be that way. Jude adds to his letter Amen! So be it! It is a declaration of faith and unswerving confidence in God and His Word in the face of false apostles, prophets and teachers peddling spiritual deception!

Epilogue

Jude opened his letter by writing that all true believers are kept by or for or in Christ Jesus and ends his letter with that same thought that the Lord Jesus is able to save and to keep us from falling into doctrinal error and spiritual deception and to present us before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy! False teachers will always be around and in these last days will multiply like flies in the Body of the Messiah but through the ministry of the blessed Holy Spirit we will be able to discern truth from error and recognize those among us who have secretly crept in by stealth to undermine our faith and confidence in the LORD. Those who love the LORD and seek to obey His Word must earnestly content for the faith once delivered to the saints as in perseverance we stand on that Word and pray continuously in the Holy Spirit that we might be built up in our faith and in our spiritual strength to stand against the wiles and spiritual seduction of the devil in this crucial hour for the Body of the Messiah. As Paul wrote; “The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:8-9) In this way we will not fail in our duty to God and to man “to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints!”

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