Jude 1:23

Verse of the Day: Jude 23

“save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” – Jude 23

The book of Jude is the shortest book in the Bible, but says a lot about what we, as Christians, need to do as well as be careful of. He wanted to write about their ‘common salvation’, which was a very positive idea, but he felt compelled, by God, to encourage his brothers and sisters to stand firm in the faith. “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 1:3. This was important because people were sneaking in to speak against what the Christian faith was all about. “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:4. These are dangerous people who have secretly entered the Church fellowship with the purpose of deceiving believers to believe the same ungodly things they did.

Jude then uses a term that fully explains what he meant. Licentiousness or lewdness is not a sign of weakness but one of willful disobedience. Licentious people do things that are really wild. Some look upon God’s grace and kindness as an excuse to sin, saying, in effect, His kindness does away with law, so we are free to do as we please. Essentially, they suppose that, somehow or other, the more they practice sin, the more grace they will receive. And they also deny Christ. It is not that they say Christ never existed or is not the Savior. It is that everything they say and do, everything they believe, contradicts God’s way. If one denies a statement, he is contradicting the person who says it. Jude is using “deny” in this sense. The false teachers contradict Jesus Christ in all things. They can appear to be doing what they are supposed to, but inside deny the truth of God.

However, Jude knew this was happening. Therefore, instead of writing, at this time, about their ‘common salvation’ he felt it important to help them contend for the faith, to come against what the false teachers were teaching, and remind them of the truth of the Gospel. He was not saying to speak against the false teachers, but their teachings. He gave several examples of similar actions; the angels including Lucifer, the unbelievers in Sodom and Gomorrah, and those who were rescued out of Egypt and denied God, the one who rescued them. Jude then tells them “It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.” Jude 1:14-15.

Then Jude encourages them to keep themselves in a manner that is pleasing to God. “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, ‘In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.’ These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.” Jude 1:17-19. He is telling his readers that these activities described above were prophesied by Jesus’s apostles. It simply means they foretold it before it came to pass. In essence, it was inevitable. Paul was quoted by Luke in the Book of Acts, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves’ men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” Acts 20:29-30. But he told them to keep themselves in God’s love. “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” Jude 1:20-21. Jude has finished what he had to say about the ungodly, and now turns to more positive teaching. For the second time he calls them dear friends, and on each occasion, it is in contrast to the false teachers. He encourages them to build up the faith they have in Christ, pray in the Holy Spirit, and wait anxiously for Christ’s mercy and the eternal life He has promised.

But he also reminds them of their mission here. “And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” Jude 1:22-23. Having exhorted his readers on how to behave in general and encouraging them as to their hope, Jude now turns back to the issue of the false teachers and their followers. How should they treat these people? Are they to be hated, fought, feared, or simply shunned? Jude implicitly rejects all of these approaches toward teaching considered to be false and thus misleading many Christians. But also, as said so clearly in our focus verse, we are to rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives, but loving those trapped in those beliefs and practices. While the doubters may not have been sure who was right and thus may have held back from committing to either set of practices, some were already getting involved with the practices of the teachers Jude is opposing. Jude’s counsel is to “snatch” them ‘from the fire’ and ‘save them.’

This is what we are called to do, help the doubters understand the truth and accept it, and declare the reality of what they are doing to those who are purposefully practicing what is wrong, knowing that it is wrong, so they can stop their sinful practices. Chuck Smith wrote this regarding this idea. “You can’t witness the same way to everybody. People are different, people have different temperaments. Some you’ve got to scare the hell out of them. Others are drawn by love. Some with compassion, making a difference, others, by fear, pulling them out of the fire. I mean, what does that mean? Now, it means that we have got to be led by the Spirit as we deal with people, hating even the garment that has been spotted by the flesh, pull them out of the fire. But hate the garment spotted by the flesh.

Our purpose is to bring people into the faith of God and help them to grow such that they can then do the same. We are not called to simply do the do’s and not do the don’ts. We are called to help people become believers, and believers that spread the truth of the Christian life, helping others to grow in the faith.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Daniel 3:25

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Daniel 3:25 

“He said, Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!” – Daniel 3:25

This verse is a part of the story where Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-Nego were thrown into a furnace of blazing fire.  This was done because they disobeyed the command of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.  These three were a part of the people taken from Israel to Babylon as captives.  They required them the accept the laws and beliefs that were found in Babylon, even if it went against their own. 

In this instance, King Nebuchadnezzar had a large image of Gold made and set up in the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.  He then declared that everyone was to worship this image.  “Then the herald loudly proclaimed: “To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men of every language, that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up.  But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.” Daniel 3:4-5.  And the people obey this command.  “Therefore at that time, when all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.” Daniel 3:7.  Now, what is sad about this is that there were many more Israelites that were carried away then Daniel and the three mentioned above; Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.  (These were the Jewish names of the three, Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-Nego). 

At some time later, the call was made for all the people to fall in worship the golden image.  However, the three Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-Nego did not follow the require,emts (Daniel was off on a mission for the king.)  So, charges were brought against them.  “You, O king, have made a decree that every man who hears the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe and all kinds of music, is to fall down and worship the golden image. But whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:10-12.  Now this angered the king and he ordered them to be brought before him.  When they arrived, he gave them another opportunity to follow his commands. 

However, their response was not what he wanted to hear.  “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18.  This, of course, angered him even more and he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter.  He then has them tied up and thrown into the furnace.  But it did not accomplish what he thought.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, “Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?  They replied to the king, Certainly, O king.:  Daniel 3:24. And then he says in our focus verse, “ He said, Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!” Daniel 3:25.  Then the king opens the door of the furnace and tells them to come out and they noticed that the fire had no affect on their bodies, nor was their any smell of fire on them. 

In the book of Deuteronomy we read the following, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6.  No matter what trials we go through, God is always with us, and will bring us through, no matter how difficult it is, just as He brought the three Hebrews through the fiery flames of the furnace.  The times we find ourselves are difficult, and I believe they may become even more so.  However, no matter what we go through, no matter how difficult the situation and what the plans of the wicked are, we are never alone for the God who can do anything will be right there with us.  Let us secure this truth in our hearts and rely totally on Him no matter what.  And just like the Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, we will come out of it just fine.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Revelation 20:15

Verse of the Day Devotion: Revelation 20:15 

“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”  Revelation 20:15             

Today, my wife, son and I were going through True Devotion Ministries doctrinal statement to make some minor adjustments where needed.  When we finally got to the eschatology section, this verse stood out in a major way to me.  It speaks of those who never accepted the work Jesus did on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection that paid the penalty for their sins. 

Here is the basic order of what will take place as written in Revelation 20.  First, Satan will be thrown into an abyss for a thousand years.  Then those who were killed because of their testimony of Christ and had not received the mark on their hand or forehead will come to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. .  (Revelation 20:1-6).

After the thousand years have been completed, Satan will be released, and he will gather together an army.  With them, Satan will surround the saints and Jerusalem, but will be defeated.  After this, he will be thrown into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet already are. Then the dead are to be judged, every one of them are to be judged, after which  death and Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire.  (Revelation 20:7-14).

Next, we see our focus verse.  “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15.  The final verdict will be decided based on whether our name is found in the book of life or not.  Those whose names are written in the book of life are those who are saved.  Those who are destined for eternal life.  They believe that Jesus is the Christ. As Jesus put it, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14-16. 

Now, there is one important idea I want to bring out.  Those who do not believe, their names are not written in the Lambs book of Life.  We all know many people who are not saved.  Family, friends and acquaintances.  We see many people all over who are not saved.  Do we desire all our family members to have their names in the book?  Do we desire all our friends to have their names in the book?  It is up to us to make sure the names of everyone we know, and meet are found in the book of life.  We as Christians have a responsibility to share the gospel to as many as we have the opportunity to speak with.  Most unsaved have no idea what their future holds for them.  Make it a point to introduce them to the saving knowledge of Jesus.  God loves them and has called us to go out where He takes us and present the gospel.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.  And since no one can be a disciple unless they are saved, we are called to share the gospel.  Let us do what we can to introduce as many people as we can to Jesus, praying to get their names in the most important book in all of history.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.