Jude 1.20-21 – We Must

Hot off the heels of the kind of criticism and challenge believers are to expect, and the kind of person this will come from, today Jude hits us with another contrast.

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

Straight away we see the contrast, don’t we, but you, beloved. There needs to be a marked difference in your life when compared to the lives of those around you who are not walking with the Lord, who don’t know Jesus, who don’t believe that God raised Him from the dead. This will be our actions, and maybe even more importantly, our reactions. 

Jude tells us to keep yourselves in the love of God, to wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life, and we do this by building ourselves up in your most holy faith and by praying in the Holy Spirit. 

There is such a personal element to this short sentence, isn’t there. David Guzik writes on this, 

“…we are responsible for our own spiritual growth. It means that we cannot wait for spiritual growth to just happen, or expect others to make us grow.”

We must keep ourselves in the love of God, we must wait for the mercy of Jesus, we must build ourselves up in faith, and we must pray in the Holy Spirit.

One of the wonderful things about our faith is that it is lived out in community. The things we must do and the things we are responsible for may seem difficult or even insurmountable some days. This is where a committed, caring, and challenging church family will come into play.

They will be committed to caring for you as you wait for the mercy of Jesus, and they will encourage you and help you to build yourself up in your most holy faith. They will challenge you to do all of those things, and more, all to the ultimate glory of God, and all to the ultimate praise of Him who saved us from darkness to light. 

Point to ponder – Am I an active part of a church family? Am I getting this kind of help? Am I giving this kind of help?

Prayer – Father, help us to be different. Help us to live the love that you showed us when you sent your Son to die for us. Empower us today through your Holy Spirit to build ourselves up in our faith, and to support those around us doing the same. Amen. 

Same same…but different

As part of the wonderful prayer we read in John 17, Jesus prays about this crazy idea that we would all be one with Him, as He is one with the Father… 

John 17.20-23

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

So we are all to be one with Jesus, who is one with God. 

Does that mean when I become a Christian I need to stop being me and start being someone else? 

Does that mean we are to be uniform in our appearance, all look the same?

Does that mean we are all to be uniform in human personality, perhaps try to all have the personality of Jesus? 

Simply, no. We are to hold the same values, be one with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…in spirit, but we certainly don’t need to all be the same people.

We need unity, not uniformity.

Unity is Divine, uniformity is human.

Acts of uniformity are acts of mankind; cutting trees to all look the same, giving a bunch of people the same haircut, etc.

However, unity is from God; trees, bushes, grass, flowers all living together for each other’s benefit, but being different.

Unity is a church of believers who are uniquely gifted, uniquely interested, and with unique haircuts, all gathering to worship God, thanking Him for a common salvation (common in that it is for all, not common because it was cheap, 1 Peter 1.17-19).

Yes, there are common traits we will all display when are saved, born again believers, but the unique part of you that makes you ‘you’ will always be there. We are fearfully and wonderfully made!

So, basically, we are to be unified in our core beliefs, same same, but unique in our gifts, service, personality, but different.

Revelation 11.1-3 – Really a part of it…

1 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told,

“Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, 2 but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. 3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”

Here John is given a measuring rod like a staff…was told,

“Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there...

Why would John be told to measure something that is already a known quantity?

Perhaps this is like when we are doing home improvements and our little people come and say,

“Please can I help you?”,

and you think,

“Oh, no…”,

but you say,

“Sure, you can ‘help’ me little fella/little lady.”.

We don’t really need help, but we want to include them. Perhaps this is like that?

Perhaps not. Does God treat us like incapable toddlers with a hammer? Actually, have you ever seen a toddler with a hammer? Hammer a nail into a wall they cannot, but hammer the exact thing you wish the most they avoid they most certainly can do. A real talent. Anyway, does God treat us like that? No. God wants to partner with us as His fellow workers (1 Corinthians 3.9).

Rather, John is told to measure for a sense of ownership, of protection, to feel included in what is going on. Measuring the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there includes John in this group.

Think about it; you know there are multiple growth groups here at Saar Fellowship, you may even know when/where they meet, you may even know some folks who attend. But, until you go, until you experience it, you aren’t a part of it, are you?

So, John can see the temple and the saved, he probably knew that was his future family, but until he got amongst them (here to measure), he would not have interacted with them, and consequently they would just have been ‘those people down there’.

So, for us, we are part of this big church family here in Bahrain, aren’t we? Maybe you are part of a different church family and are reading this by way of someone sharing it with you, which is cool, but the point still remains so don’t stop here!

We are part of a big church family, a local expression of the capital C, global Church, a house of living stones.

But, do you interact with them?

Do you know them?

Do you feel ownership of the family, part of the family?

Do you know the dimensions of the family?

If not, why not?!

Get amongst the family, size it up, jump in, interact, introduce, integrate…you will not regret it!