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Archive for October, 2018

called
The book of Jeremiah opens introducing us to its author, the man Jeremiah.  We find that Jeremiah was both a priest and a prophet, and that God’s Word simply “came to him.”  In other words, when Jeremiah was called to speak on God’s behalf to his rebellious and idolatrous people, no human was involved in his instruction.  There was no religious authority giving Jeremiah directions.  Jeremiah was given the words and warnings for God’s people by God’s Spirit alone.  He was God’s chosen authority and his very voice to the people.  God’s Word for the people simply “came to him.”  That is the essence of the prophetic gift.

Prophets are called to warn, rebuke, encourage, and correct God’s people – including erring religious leaders such as priests, pastors, elders, and all professors of religion – both then and now.  Their words come not from human origins, but divine.  The term is “Propheta nascitur – non fit – from Latin means that a man is not educated to become a prophet, but originally formed for the office.  Jeremiah was literally formed in the womb  – not the temple – by God to carry out this call.

Though many today deny the validity and necessity of the prophetic gift today within the modern church, we ought to remind ourselves that there are indeed five offices listed in the New Testament Church in Ephesians chapter 4.  Those offices are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.

Initially, Jeremiah objected to his call to speak to the people on behalf of God.  His refusal sounded much like Moses’ saying, “I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” (Jeremiah 1:6)

Apparently, Jeremiah was young when he was called.  How many young people do you know raising their hand to go correct, warn, and rebuke older men in positions of authority?  When you were “a youth,” how interested would you have been in calling everyone around you including kings, armies, friends, and religious leaders to repent because God’s judgement was coming?  There are religious men who spend their entire lives avoiding ever having to say any words of rebuke.  The fear of man is great, but the fear of God must be greater for all who profess to know him.

God corrects and encourages Jeremiah for the very difficult and painful task his life is about to embark upon.  God basically tells Jeremiah that this is what he was made for.  He’s says, “Hey Jer.  You were born for this.  I created you for this very thing.  So quit your complaining and listen.”  God’s basic response to Jeremiah’s objection was, first of all, no objections allowed.  Then God said, go where I send you, say what I tell you, don’t be afraid, and I’ll be with you.

I think I’m going to carry a card in my pocket from now on with those instructions.  What if we all lived that way in regards to God’s leading?

  1. No objections.
  2. Go wherever I send you.
  3. Say whatever I tell you.
  4.  Do not be afraid.
  5.  I am with you to deliver you.Wow!  How would following that prescription for your walk with the Lord change your life?  When God’s Word(s) are in our mouths, we ought not fear any earthly reprisals.  Suffering is what we signed up for when we decided to follow the Lord.  Let us not forget that when we are cursed by men on account of God, we are blessed by God.

    Next, God asks Jeremiah what he sees.  There is no physical scene in front of him.  God is speaking to Jeremiah and showing him a vision in his mind’s eye.  Again, visions and dreams are given by God to his prophets in order to convey information, direction, wisdom, and insight as to how they are to go about speaking and warning.

    I often ask myself why God can’t just send us mail or something, but I believe a large part of the prophetic gift is the time one gets to spend discerning the mind of God in prayer.  The time we spend with God is where the power and courage to act and speak on his behalf comes from.  Void of that, we become cowards unwilling to oppose those who oppose God’s Word.  If there is one epidemic in the American Church today, it is cowardice.

    The first thing Jeremiah sees is an almond branch.  It was indicative of haste and God’s urgency and seriousness about the message he was about to deliver to the people via Jeremiah.  The next thing he saw was a message of disaster and judgment.

    Can you even imagine what Jeremiah was thinking?  Awe, God.  Come on.  Why do I have to say that?  Are they even going to listen?  Who will hear me?  They’ll hate me.

    Most of us know how it goes for the one known as the “weeping prophet.”  Jeremiah’s initial fear to acquiesce to his call was justifiable and very valid on a human level.  He had a hard row to hoe.  But God’s glory and obedience to his clear call trumps all objections and trials.

    The reason Jeremiah was called to speak hard words to God’s people was two-fold.  God had given a young king, Josiah, to rule at the time Jeremiah was called.  Josiah was just 8 years old when he came to power as king of Judah.  Josiah wanted to do right by God and turn the people away from sin.  God gave the king Jeremiah to aide his reformation and counsel him on how to lead.

    Secondly, and more importantly, the main reason for God’s prophetic message of impending doom was because of the gross apostasy and idolatry of his people.  The Jews had forsaken God by worshiping other Gods and idols.  Sound familiar? God tells Jeremiah he is going to make him “a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land.”

    God is clearly making Jeremiah into an immovable, tenacious witness against the sin of his people.  Notice who Jeremiah is being sent to warn and correct.  The text says Jeremiah is going out against, “the whole land,” “the kings,” “the officials,” “the priests,” and “the people.” So. Um.  Basically everyone!  Jeremiah’s words of warning and rebuke were going out to everyone. Wonder how Jeremiah felt when all the other priests were condemning him for not being in community with them? Or submitting to the religious authorities he was called to rebuke? Or when everyone he knew began to hate him for telling the truth of God?

    God doesn’t bait and switch on Jeremiah, though.  He tells him up front that all these that he is called to go to will fight against him.  God assures him that they will not win, though, that He is with him, and will deliver him.

    So, just for the record, God calls a guy to correct everyone around him with true words, gives him a vision only he can see, tells him to oppose every person he knows from the least to the greatest, promises he will be fought against, and tell him he isn’t allowed to object, has to say everything he’s told, go everywhere God says, and not to worry.  Oh, and remember, this is what you were created in the womb to do.

    Are you seeing how difficult a prophetic call is to accept and to carry out? I am.  I feel like starting a movement. Hashtag love your prophets. Hashtag prophets still exist.  Hashtag save the religious.

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gosnell

“And this is the verdict: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.” ~John 3:19

Most people would not call a movie about an imprisoned serial killer “light,” but I’m not most people.  The new release, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,  exposes the evils of an abortion-ridden culture, and it does so in some unexpected ways.  This movie shines a light on the last choice any woman ever wants to have to make, and it takes great pains to maintain the dignity of women who find themselves in a situation where they don’t feel they have any other options.

The Gosnell movie did not show us a lot of day to day business at the clinic.  We didn’t really see a lot of blood and gore or agonizing women in premature labor.  We saw only snippets of patients and procedures. The entire movie ran from the perspective of the police and the District Attorney.  I went in expecting a medical menagerie and got served a crime scene investigation/court trial.

What I saw in that particular type of portrayal of this horrific story was that, in a sea of thousands of people who saw and knew the evils being done to women and children in this case over the course of three decades, there were two or three who cared; who dug deep; who pursued justice at all personal and political costs.  In a world full of irresponsible authorities who avert their eyes when difficulty comes at a call of personal sacrifice, that, friends, is one of the most honorable, noble, and rare traits ever found.

The film provokes it’s watchers to consider whether unwanted people are still people; whether mistreatment, murders, and even full-scale massacres are acceptable because someone else requested and paid for them; whether women are really better off when they choose to eliminate their children; whether abortion is truly a liberating “choice” or whether it is a life sentence to an end of guilt, shame, or even, in some cases, death.

At one point, the film highlights what “normal” abortion clinics do for babies born alive, and, in that moment, we all are awakened not to how different it is from Gosnell’s procedures, but how tragically similar.  Though not on trial in a court of law, yet, all are indicted along with him in that moment.

The movie shows how biased the media is on this subject by depicting images of the courtroom void of news reporters and any media presence at all at the trial.  It teaches us how true it is that the problem with humans is not that we do not have enough light, but that we love darkness.  Even when darkness is clearly exposed, most simply pretend not to see.

“Gosnell” was not a story about abortion as much as it was a story about justice – justice for impoverished women; justice for living, moving newborn babies; justice for serial killers; justice for hundreds of millions of lives snuffed out under the guise of modern medicine.  As we saw Dr. Gosnell’s endangered pet turtles throughout the movie,  we are reminded that justice is both endangered and, all too often, quite slow in coming in our world today.  It will not be so in the after world.

In conclusion, Dr. Kermit Gosnell is sentenced to life in prison.  Did you catch that?  A man who sentenced so many to an untimely and unholy death was punished by being afforded life.  Life in prison is still life.  If there was one line that echoed loudly in my mind from this film, it was the concluding words scrolling at the end informing us that an administer of thousands of deaths was himself sentenced to life.  Life.  He was given life.  Guilty as the day is long, even the long arm of the law and worldly justice honors life in such a degree that they know better than to take it away from another.

 

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tears

It’s the eve of my 365th day of my 38th year.  In one day and few sleeping hours I will be 39 years old.

Thirty-nine.  When I turned 34 I wrote a little ditty called “34 Reasons to Smile.”  You can read it here: https://lorirodeheaver.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/thirty-four-reasons-to-smile/

I was trying to focus on all that God had given me despite my nagging inner pain.  Somehow, I thought, if I could just grasp how very many beautiful things surrounded me, I would have no choice but to bask in daily joy.

Since then, I have tried.  Sometimes I succeed.  My failure is certainly not from lack of good things.  Still, I have tried and failed so many times.  I have tried to bury the pain of desperate loss; of crushing discouragement; of inner loneliness; of unwarranted rejection; of utter failure.

Somehow, five more years went by.  Time never did stop.  Blessings and trials keep coming down in crashing waves upon me like an unending storm of beauty and destruction.  Life is even more beautiful than it was then in so many ways.  So very many ways.  But at 39 I realize that it is far too late to make new old friends.  I realize that things really won’t ever go back to the way they were; to the way I thought they should be; the way I planned.  Every time I think of so many of those I hoped to grow up and grow old with, I see only a cemetery.  Alive, but dead and gone from my life never planning to return.  I think of them and I examine myself.  I think of them and I wonder just what makes me anathema; pariah; untouchable.  I wonder if it’s something I really could change even if I knew.  I wonder if it isn’t just who God himself made me that repels.  I don’t know.  But I think, always.  I think of them and I write.  I write because they are no longer here.  They didn’t stay.  I can’t send them a text.  They don’t want a call from me.  I am 39 and they aren’t coming back.  No matter how much I miss them, they won’t be returning.  But who really wants to talk about that?  I know.  It’s so last year.  I should be over it by now.  I know.  But I’m not.  And I’m not really sure I ever will be.

My paper, it listens. I write because I have to.  My paper has always listened.  It has never abandoned me.  So to it I talk.  My paper hears me when all others stop their ears.

I am not alone.  I have a mechanic in shining armor who loves me more than I ever thought I could be.  I have four beautiful daughters who like me a little even though they won’t admit it.  I have a good mom who’s always rooting for me and standing behind me.  I have a Savior who saves me from myself daily.  But so often, I feel alone.  Vacant.  I feel like a failure.  A fool.  A friendless follower of the only One worth being a friendless follower fool for.

And somehow it is OK.  It hurts like living hell at least once a day but it is good.  It must certainly be a better plan than all the ones I buried in my sea of bitter sorrow and sullen-faced surrender.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

I know, Daddy, but it isn’t the world.  It is the church.  I don’t understand why they hate me.  I don’t know why you made a girl who was born to be hated.  A lot of days I hate me, too.  Because being hated hurts.  But you know.  You were hated first.  You were hated more.  You were murdered by my own sin.  I know you know.

I don’t know how much longer I have here on the earth.  I know I’ll be 39 years old in 1 day and a few sleeping hours.  I know it is the eve of my 365th day of my 38th year.  I know I don’t have any more time.  I have no more time to grieve them, Lord.  I have no more tears.  I want to be done.  Please set me free from this grief.  Have mercy, Lord.  Lord, have mercy.  Kyrie, eleison.

“NO.  No.  No, daughter.  Love.  Love and expect to be hated.  Love, and be willing to be hated.  Love, and be broken when you’re hated lest your heart become hard.  Love, and stay loving enough to grieve over them until there is peace.  Peace, I promise.  One day, peace.  I promise.  Be patient.” 

Why, Lord?

“Because I did that for you.  Move forward, Christian.  Walk on.  Sling your Bible and leave them behind if they simply refuse to come.  You cannot wait.  You have more work.  Bring your tears and face forward.  One day all will be made right.”  

It’s my party and I have only one request.  It’s my party and I’ll cry if you want me to.  It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.  If these tears can’t be taken away, I just want to be allowed to cry and know these tears are not in vain. Because life is hard, it is good, and some things really are worth grieving over.  I think I’m old enough to know.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” ~Revelation 21:4

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jeremiah

Jeremiah, also known as “the weeping prophet,” and whose name literally means, “Jehovah throws” or “Jehovah establishes, appoints, or sends,” was a man of great sorrow.  Jeremiah personally felt the sorrow of the Lord as he obeyed his God-given call to warn and reprove his brothers and sisters who were blatantly rebelling against God’s directives.  He was truly a prophet like no other, and the scriptures reveal more about Jeremiah’s personal suffering than any other Old Testament prophet.

Jeremiah prophesied during the reigns of the last few kings of Judah from 627 – 586 B.C.  Beginning with Josiah, who sought to partner with Jeremiah and reform the gross idolatry and sin going on in his kingdom, and ending with Zedekiah, Jeremiah’s ministry lasted a long and traumatic 40 years until his warnings materialized and the Jewish nation was taken into Babylonian captivity under King Nebuchadnezzar.

The chief sins of the Jews during Jeremiah’s ministry were gross idolatry, child sacrifice, religious insincerity, dishonesty, adultery, injustice, tyranny, and slander.  Sound familiar?

Jeremiah was both a priest and a prophet.  He was often lonely, having been called to a celibate life as evidence of impending judgement, and having been rejected by all his peers, hearers, and countrymen for his truth-telling.  Jeremiah’s speech was more plain and rough, often lacking the cordial tones of some of the other prophets which doubtless also contributed to his alone-ness.  Matthew Henry notes, “Those that are sent to discover sin ought to lay aside the enticing words of man’s wisdom.  Plain-dealing is best when we are dealing with sinners to bring them to repentance.”  So, while Jeremiah was doing right by God and was the ideal example of a prophet called to rebuke sin, he lived a life of felt and full-out rejection for it.

Jeremiah reproved and Jeremiah suffered.  That was the story of his life.  Nevertheless, Jeremiah was a man of great victory in the eyes of the Lord.  He was amazingly obedient to the most difficult call God ever gave to a man, save Jesus.  Likewise, any who are called to preach and prophesy the words of God to a rebellious people for the duration of their lifetime and do not renege are, too, greatly victorious.  Little wonder why amid God’s first words to Jeremiah were comfort: “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”  

Jeremiah escaped the judgement initially when Babylon invaded – even being called out by name by the commander of the opposing army and given respite while all his fellow Jews were captured.  Later, though, as legend has it, Jeremiah still died a martyr at the hands of his own people.  His life was a parallel to Christ’s.  Besides Christ, there is truly no one I personally admire more in scripture than Jeremiah the prophet.

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pray

“I’ve been here a week and my son hasn’t even called.”

“I lost my wife last year.”

“My granddaughter is on drugs.”

“My sister hasn’t spoken to me in three years.”

When I began making rounds at my local hospital three years ago, I never expected those who are, often severely, physically ill to answer this way when asked, “How can I pray for you?”

I would have expected more physically-related requests, but, no.  The vast majority of the temporarily or permanently infirm that I have offered prayer have answered not with a physical, but with an emotional or spiritual need.

Conversely, when making my prayer rounds outside of the hospital – which, of course, entails a highly scientific method wherein I reach out to people I encounter who either seem to be or have shared that they are going through something emotionally heavy, or whom the Lord has prompted me to reach out to at the time.  In other words, when it is pretty clear that a person is struggling with feelings and fears as opposed to physical illness, their answer to my unsolicited offering of prayer usually goes something like this:

“No, thanks.  I’ll be ok.”

“I pray everyday.”

“Pray for world peace.”

How is it that those physically sick not only recognize their deeper needs, but those physically well tend to hide or deny them?

There is a measure of humility physical needs bring to a person.  There is a certain amount of willingness when one is suffering physically that is not present when we are well, but truly, emotional needs and inner healing are hard to acknowledge in any condition, and even harder to pray through.  They hurt…a lot.  Many people all around you and I every day have been suffering emotionally and spiritually for so long that they often do not even believe a prayer of faith could make any difference.  Ironically, long-term emotional and spiritual stress often leads to physical illness.  Stress kills people – quite literally.  Our world is in desperate need of inner healing.

I had a dream the other night that a large wooden cross was thrust upon my shoulder.  It was very heavy and awkward.  In front of me was a door I needed to open and all around me stood many people watching.  I needed help to open the door, but I was attempting to open it myself because it was as if no one saw me despite the fact that my need was obvious and I had clearly asked for help.

Sometimes our need is so obvious, we have asked so many times, and there are so many people standing around watching us struggle, we can cease to believe that God is even listening.  We can stop believing he even sees us, that prayer is the answer, and that help is even possible at all.  So, we pray for Grandma’s cat and world peace when asked for our own personal needs.

Physical illness tends to remind us of the truth, though, and humble us just enough to recognize the true condition of our hearts.

Why wait until then?  The Lord is willing and able to deliver us from evil today and every day.  Ask him.  His is the kingdom.  His is the power.  His is the glory – forever and ever!  Amen.

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil. 

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watch

Jude is a one-chapter book that deals with a church full of apostasy.  Jude, the half-brother of Jesus who did not even believe until after the resurrection, focuses on what exactly the enemies to a healthy body of Christ look and act like, who true believers are, and what true believers ought to do when faced with false teachers and enemies of the faith.  John MacArthur informs us that, “Jude lived at a time when Christianity was under severe political attack from Rome and aggressive spiritual infiltration from Gnostic-like false teachers who sowed abundant seed for a gigantic harvest of doctrinal error…Christianity was thought to be extremely vulnerable.  Thus, Judge called the church to fight, in the midst of intense spiritual warfare, for the truth.”

Fight, indeed, brothers and sisters.  That is our biblical charge from Jude in our modern day which so mirrors theirs.  Read and reread MacArthur’s words.  We are they.  They were us.  Make no mistake, we live in an era where the church is chock-full and overflowing with false teaching, false teachers, error, and vulnerability.  Apostasy is the “abandonment of true, biblical faith.”  If ever there was a time where this were ubiquitous, it is now.

Whose job is it to combat such things?  If teachers are false, who will be true?  Like Jude, we – you and me, not somebody in charge somewhere – must commit ourselves to fighting the good fight through the condemnation of apostates and urging our brothers and sisters to contend for the faith, faithfully.

Jude spends a great deal of time in his very concise book describing what apostates look like.  He does this for a very specific reason.  He’s not just talking about the bad guys of his day and hoping someone feels bad for him.  Jude is giving us intricate details about who and what to look for in our churches and communities so that we might rise up and fight whenever we see these kinds of people and things taking hold and harming or potentially harming our brothers and sisters.

Jude writes his book to, “those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Christ Jesus.”  Jude is clearly writing this charge along with his detailed descriptions and instructions to believers.  His first order of business is a charge to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”  Once for all – no one else can come along and deliver new details in addition to the gospel.  No one can change the details of how to obtain salvation, who it’s for, or another gospel of any kind.  The Word of God is fixed and unchanging.  It does not “progress” or evolve nor does it need to.

Contend.  Jude commands believers to contend.  Contend against what?  Against who?  Here’s what they look like:

These people creep in, he says.  They sneak into our fellowship under the radar.  He describes them as, “designated for condemnation.”  They have actually been marked out for ultimate destruction, Jude remarks.

He describes them as ungodly perverters of grace who deny Christ.  In other words, they neither live in a way that honors God in their personal lives, nor do they apply and extend grace appropriately.  They either deny grace to those God has given it or they cheapen grace by changing it into a sensual lust and licence for themselves and those around them to act immorally on a false presumption that God will have mercy apart from repentance.

Jude takes some time to remind us, before he goes on about these ones, that though Christ (Christ!) saved his people out of Egypt, he did not spare the majority of even those whom he had just delivered when they disobeyed and displayed their unbelief in the desert that followed their deliverance.   He goes on to talk about the angels who lived in heaven long ago and rebelled against God.  Even they were not spared, rather, punished severely for all eternity due to their disobedience.  He talks about Sodom and Gomorrah and how their sexual deviance and gross immorality brought God’s swift judgement and sent them to eternal fire.  Why does Jude go to all of these examples?

Jude is warning those who are sneaking around the church living in these ways that these are the kinds of judgments God will bring if they do not repent.  If his own people and his own angels were not spared, how much less then, will we be spared if we presume upon his grace, live in sin, and lead others astray?!

In verse 8 Jude says, “Yet in like manner these people also…”  In like manner; likewise; in the same way —– you who are doing these things in today’s world.  Jude is calling them out, identifying the people in his day with these who were judged and punished in the history of God’s world.  He describes them further as relying on their dreams, defiling the flesh, rejecting authority, and blaspheming the glorious ones.  He shows them up by giving an example of how Michael – the very highest angel – did not even dare to speak arrogantly to Satan, but left all judgement to the Lord.

So these are people who are often sexually immoral and/or homosexual, rejecting the authority of Christ and the Scriptures, and presumptuous about having their own authority in the spiritual realm.  They use a false narrative about their own dreams to manipulate and persuade others to believe and follow their heresies and accept their misconduct.

Jude calls them blasphemers twice.  They blaspheme, or speak sacrilegiously and disrespectfully about the true things of God and God himself.  These people speak foolishly of all they do not understand.  He says they are destroyed by what they do understand.  The reason is because they have no excuse to disobey what their own instincts tell them is right and wrong.  When they do, they destroy themselves and any chance of salvation.  They rebel against the very knowledge inside themselves that is meant to draw them to Christ.

Jude breaks for a moment to cry out, “Woe to them!”  Woe, indeed.  He brings up Cain, Balaam, and Korah.  These are more Old Testament personalities that both the Jews and the Christians would have known well.

Cain, the jealous, insecure murderer.  People like Cain will step on and stamp out anyone who acts more faithfully or does God’s work in a more holy way than they do.  We all know church leaders like this, don’t we?

Balaam, the greedy seeker of ill-gotten gain who leads others into sin and has to be rebuked by a donkey.  These are those who use the gospel for money and teach others to do the same.  A deceiver who cares only for personal gain.  We all know church leaders like this, don’t we?

Korah, the leader of rebellion who rebelled against the God-appointed men of his time, Moses and Aaron.  False teachers rebel against the authority of the truth and anyone who would hold them accountable to it.  We all know church leaders like this, don’t we?

Jude goes on to call these men hidden reefs, shepherds feeding themselves, water-less clouds, fruitless trees, twice dead, uprooted, wild waves, and wandering stars for whom darkness awaits.  Here we have another warning.  If you act in these ways within God’s church and among God’s people, let’s be clear, darkness awaits you.  What do all these allusions mean?

Hidden reefs is meant to convey the sneaky, hiding men who lie in wait to cause destruction.  Hidden reefs are underwater rocks dangerous to ships traveling through.  When hit unawares by the boat, they harm and destroy from a covert place.  They feed themselves through self-interest and greed.  They produce no water or fruit where they promise and pose to do so.  They are not only dead in sin, they are dead to the promise  salvation by their own corruption of it.  They are wild, rogue, and wandering.  They have no solid foundation from which to lead anyone including themselves.  In short, these false teachers are complete hypocrites.  They spring up and burn out in their useless ambitions.

Jude brings up Enoch and again warns of the judgement to come on evildoers such as these.  He mentions their being “ungodly” four times in a row.  He puts great emphasis on the severity of these men’s sin.

Jude is still not done!  He indicts the apostates as grumblers, malcontents, sinful, loud boasters who are guilty of partiality, favoritism, and gross self-interest.  They are ungodly scoffers who cause division and are void of the Spirit.  These guys complain, brag, exclude, and self-love on the daily.  They mock, laugh, and taunt true believers, incite disagreements, and they have no communion with the Spirit of God.

Jude does not mince words.  He tells us exactly what to look for.  Can you even imagine a church leader today going down this list and calling out apostates?  They’d be locked up for hate speech!  Sadly, it is more needed today than it even was then I imagine.  Nevertheless, this is who they are.  This is what to look for.  These are the kind of men you warn, and warn again.  These are those we must not submit to or ignore in any way.  Remember, they are leaders and false teachers within the church.  These are not some guys somewhere teaching a cult-group in a cave.  These are men and women in the church who must be fought against and rebuked publicly!!!  That’s Jude’s charge to all believers in the face of apostasy.

Finally, that is who they are.  But Jude has something else for us.  He tells us who we are.  Three times in the text he calls us, “beloved.”  True believers are loved immensely by Christ.  We are God’s beloved people and, though we must fight evil, we able to trust in Him.

Jude commands believers to build themselves up in faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, stay in God’s love, wait for the mercy of Christ, and trust Him.  He tells us one other thing we must do in the midst of apostasy.  We must have mercy for those who doubt.  We must work tirelessly to save others and snatch them out of the fires of sin and judgement.  In addition to contending against false teachers, we must pick up the pieces of those who would follow them and truly be our brother’s keeper.

Jude’s entire thrust is that we would be the vigilant sailors on the ship continually proclaiming, “Not on my watch.”  Not on my watch will apostates and false teachers succeed and thrive within God’s church.  Not on my watch will sinners be damned by following them.  Not on my watch will the apostates go un-warned or un-rebuked.  Not on my watch!  I have been commanded to contend for the gospel and fight with all my being.  Go and do likewise.

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