We are reading and reflecting on Jude 17-25.
- How should we respond when the false teachers come? We know they’re coming.
- Do we go on the defensive, building moats and walls so that the false teachers can’t get in?
- Do you go on the offensive, attacking at the first sign of false teaching?
There is a time and a place for this, but the first thing Jude says is: keep yourselves in God love. Secure your own spiritual position. Before you can address the false teachers or the false teaching, make sure that you are secure. Jude writes:
20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
I want us to notice a few things here.
First, there’s only one command here: “keep yourselves in God’s love.” Jude describes some steps we can take in order to keep ourselves in the love of God:
- building ourselves up in our most holy faith;
- praying in the Holy Spirit;
- waiting for Christ’s return.
We do these things in order to keep ourselves in God’s love. It’s a good description of some of the things that we need to build into our lives if we’re going to keep ourselves in God’s love. This week, how are you…
- devoting yourself to growth in the faith,
- to prayer,
- and to living in light of Christ’s return.
Second, this is not a command to individuals; it’s a command to a church. He doesn’t say to keep yourself in the love of God; he says to keep yourselves. I need this reminder. We don’t do this alone. We are responsible to do this together. One of our main purposes as a church is to keep ourselves in the love of Christ.
Third, Jude addresses his letter in verse 1 to “To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for [by, in] Jesus Christ.”
- If you are a follower of Jesus, you are someone who is called, and who’s kept for and by and in Jesus Christ.
- You’re being guarded and kept by and for and in Jesus Christ.
But here in verse 21 he says, “keep yourselves in God’s love.”
- Which is it? Are we kept, or do we keep ourselves?
- Yes. God has done everything we need in the Christian life;
- But we need to respond.
- God keeps us; we keep ourselves in what God has done for us in Christ.
It’s a beautiful picture of the Christian life. God has done it all: we need to keep ourselves firmly planted in what God has done.
What Jude is saying, essentially, is to keep yourself anchored to how God has loved you in Jesus Christ.
“Moving ahead in the Christian life often involves looking to the past… The foundation must be secure before the building can go up. We can never grow away from our roots; we can only grow through them” (Douglas Moo).
One of the best things we can do in a world of fakes is to make sure that we have what is real.
The best antidote to false teaching is for us to continually be keeping ourselves in God’s love, to continually be growing into the truth. So don’t be surprised; keep yourselves in God’s love.