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Part 2 of a 2-part series
A 6-year-old boy came home dejected from his first day of school and announced, “I’m not going back to school tomorrow!”
“Why not?” asked his mother.
The boy answered, “I can’t read, I can’t write and they won’t let me talk, so what’s the use?”
No one ever learned the “3 R’s” of “reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic” in one day even with the threat of the hickory stick.
In Jude 1: 17-25, the half-brother of Jesus exhorts us as believers to master four essential “R’s” in order to make a difference for Christ in these perilous yet opportunity-filled days.
We must master REMEMBERING (vv. 17-19) that we are living in the last days before Christ returns for his church (the Rapture).
Secondly, we must master REMAINING (vv. 20-21) or continuing in God’s love, Word and will by constantly building ourselves up in his Word (vs. 20a), praying in cooperation with the Holy Spirit (vs. 20b) and expectantly watching for Jesus’ return (vs. 21b). (See the Aug. 27 Pastor’s Pen for more on these).
The third “R” we need to master is RESCUING (vv. 22-23).
Praise God for EMTs, paramedics, firefighters, doctors, nurses and all who are there to rescue us in physical emergencies. God has called, commissioned and commanded all who know and trust Jesus as Savior to be spiritual EMTs and rescue others as we have been rescued.
All mankind is on the spiritual Titanic sunk by the iceberg of sin (Romans 3: 23) and doomed to drowning in eternal separation from God (Romans 6: 23). However, God so loved us that he provided the needed rescue lifeboat through his Son’s death on Calvary’s cross to pay the debt of sin we can never, ever pay (Romans 5:8). Thus to be rescued we must grab hold of Jesus by faith and allow him to pull us into his lifeboat (Romans 10:9-13). No other lifeboat will do as Jesus himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). This is the message we need to share everywhere as spiritual rescuers.
We have all heard horrible stories of people needing somebody, anybody to rescue them out of danger but sadly all passed by. If someone truly had a cure for cancer it would be criminal not to come forward and share it. How much more should we who have the cure for sin and eternal death in hell share that remedy.
Jude informs us of three categories of sinners who need rescuing:
• Doubters (vs. 22 – NASB, ESV, NIV) or the confused, uncommitted, wavering and hesitating
• Deceived (vs. 23a) or those caught in the flames of false doctrine and unbelief, and
• Defiled (vs. 23b) or those thoroughly stained by sin through their lifestyle or false teaching.
What should be our attitude as we seek to rescue others for Jesus? We must have love and compassion for them (2 Corinthians 5: 14), fear and caution (Galatians 6:1), hate for sin (Psalm 97: 10) and alertness to the spiritual battle (Ephesians 6: 14).
Are you actively seeking to rescue lost souls for Jesus? If not, why not?
Jude’s fourth “R” is RESTING (vv. 24-25).
The resting here is not sleeping but rather trusting, relying and depending on the power and promises of God in regards to our salvation. This is no time for insecurity.
When God gives eternal life, it is just that — eternal not temporary. We can never save ourselves or keep ourselves saved, but God can and will if we believe and trust him.
We can rest with assurance because God is able (powerful, capable) to keep (guard, watch, defend) us from stumbling out of his hand to eternal ruin (vs. 24a). Jesus promises us that no one can snatch or seize us out of his hand (John 10: 27-28). David encourages us that when we fall as believers, we fall right into his hand (Psalm 37: 23-24).
We can rest assuredly because in Christ we stand faultless, blameless, justified or declared righteous in his sight (vs. 24b). When we trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, he takes away our sins and puts on our account his righteousness. Now as God sees us positionally he sees us as righteous as his Son (2 Corinthians 5: 21). Amazing!
Of course, it is now our responsibility to practically live out our position (1 Peter 1: 15-16).
We can rest assuredly because we have an awesome all-wise Savior (vs. 25). To him alone belongs all the glory, majesty, dominion and power both now and forever. Amen!
Are you resting confidently in the secure promises of God for the assurance of your salvation? 1 John 5: 13 assures us that we can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are indeed saved.
Jude begins his letter by challenging us as believers to “contend earnestly” or defend the faith of God’s Word in these days of spiritual deception and apostasy. He closes by giving us the “4 R’s” of how to do it.
Can God count on you to make a difference for him today? I trust that he can.
Bob Kulp is the pastor of Grace Brethren Church, 24775 C.R. 20 East (Mishawaka Road), Elkhart, 574-875-5271.
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