Jude 1.1-2 – Faith and Family

The letter of Jude is, like other short books in the Bible, sadly often overlooked. The best evidence for authorship leads us to the Jude of Matthew 13.55 and Mark 6.3, and puts this as being written by the half-brother of Jesus. He starts today with a wonderful introduction.

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,

To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

Jude is a shortened form of the name Judas, which for obvious reasons was not commonly used after the events of Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion. Most English translations of the Bible will use Jude, however the Greek New Testament still uses Judas (Ιούδας).

So Jude grew up in the same house as Jesus, in the same family as Jesus, had the same earthly parents as Jesus, but introduces himself as Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James. He could claim to be Jude, brother of Jesus, but instead thinks of himself as a servant of Jesus.

We know that Jude didn’t believe in who Jesus was until after His resurrection (John 7.5, Acts 1.14), and we see the integrity of Jude to not claim to be more than a servant of Jesus Christ. Why would he do this? Well, 

To Jude, the blood of the cross that saved him was more important than the family blood in his veins that related him to Jesus. – David Guzik

Jude is more concerned with his faith relationship to Jesus as Saviour than he is concerned with his familial relationship to the Jesus he grew up with but never acknowledged. What a great point that is for us – 

What is more important is our faith relationship to Jesus now than any previous ways we may or may not have related to Him.

Maybe you grew up in church knowing who Jesus was, but there was no relationship based on faith.

Maybe you grew up and never heard the name of Jesus, and consequently there was no relationship based on faith.

Maybe you grew up in an environment that actively did not believe in Jesus, so you didn’t want a relationship based on faith. 

No matter which is true, all that matters is now. No matter how our past relationship with Jesus can be described, as with Jude, all that matters is how we relate to the resurrected Saviour now. 

Jude chose a faith relationship with Jesus over a familial relationship with Jesus. Today, now, which will we choose?


Point to ponder – How am I relating to Jesus today?


Prayer – Father, we thank you that no matter how we may have viewed our relationship with you in the past, no matter how we may have thought of Jesus before, that if we come to you know through faith in Him, there is forgiveness, there is acceptance, and there is salvation. Help us today to receive the mercy, the peace, and the love that Jude speaks of, and help us to multiply this to others. Amen. 

Amos 2.6-16 – The responsibility of privilege

Have you ever noticed that when a group of children is being a group of children, yours is the only one you can see or hear? There might be a big bunch of them running around and being loud, but yours appears to the loudest and the most involved. Maybe they actually are, maybe they actually aren’t, but we look at our own children with a stricter lens, so to speak, than others. Yesterday we said it’s easy to look at those who are not believers and judge what they are doing, but it’s even easier to look at our own and hold them to a higher standard.

We feel that they should know better, we feel that we have told them enough times not to do that/to do that, we feel that we have given them examples in our own behaviour and character that when they do not follow our example, this upsets us all the more than other kids tearing around wrecking the place…if ours says/does/thinks/even tries to do anything we feel like “How could you do this to me!”. Dramatic, maybe, but true to a degree, absolutely.

Here in Amos 2 we see God’s judgement on Israel, and it is around three times longer and more detailed than previous judgements. It actually carries on in to chapter three, but for now we see a couple of really important things that show us that the privilege we have as God’s people brings us a responsibility to live accordingly.  

In Exodus 22 we read

26 If ever you take your neighbor’s cloak in pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down, 27 for that is his only covering, and it is his cloak for his body; in what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.”

Here in Amos we see that the people lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge…a clear cut example of the fact that Israel should have known better.

Verses 10 and 11 are key, too,

10 Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.

11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?” declares the LORD.”

God brought them out of Egypt, they have this reminder of His wonderful power and how it worked in their favour. God took them from slavery (brought you up out of the land of Egypt), cared for them in the interim (led you forty years in the wilderness), gave them land in which to dwell (to possess the land of the Amorite), and provided for their spiritual needs too (I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirites).


Their rejection of God’s ways and their lifestyle of habitual sin is all the worse, then, because they had first-hand eye-witness testimony of God miraculously working among them. Their privilege became a responsibility they could not carry.


We too have a huge responsibility as we bear the name of Jesus (Christian means, literally, little Christ), and we are called to display this clearly and for all to see (Matthew 5.14-16).

This is our privilege, and this is our responsibility.

Finding God’s Will; 5. Others

In the last twelve to eighteen months, my family and I have been through some major changes. We had a second baby, added two four-legged friends into our lives, and we’ve moved house a couple of times. The biggest change for me was going from working part-time at the church alongside a full-time job in a local high school to working full-time at the church, taking over as the senior/solo/lead pastor (however you like to use those terms) in the summer of 2018.

Throughout the transition process, there were multiple people who would consistently and constantly tell me, “You’re going to do a great job as pastor, whether here or somewhere else.”, and “I am sure God’s plan for your life is to pastor a church.”. Hearing things like that at a time of huge change was reassuring, energising, edifying, but most importantly it was confirming. It was confirming of the consistent message I had been taking from God’s Word. It was consistent of what I had been hearing from the Lord in prayer. It was consistent with the circumstances and how God was moving in our midst.

Other believers within the church, and the church itself, can be vehicles through which God’s will for us is made known.

God’s global Church, capital C, the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, and all its local expressions, are God’s chosen vehicle to bless His people and to witness His Word, will, and ways to the nations in our time.

Considering this, it is only logical to think that God would speak through the church, through His church, to communicate His will.

When what God is saying to us through His Word, through prayer, through our circumstances, and through the Godly counsel of His church all line up, we can proceed with confidence that we are living within His will (Henry Blackaby).

Being members of a church family is so important, there is no independence when we consider our relation to other believers, only interdependence. All members of the body belong to each other, and all need each other.

Today, pray for your local church, the church family you are a part of. Pray for wise, Godly counsel to flow through it, pray the church is following God’s will, and pray for God to continue to speak through it.

When all four things we have talked about line up, it is hard to ignore the fact that God is speaking to you, He is revealing His will to you. When this happens, there is only one response…go for it! If you are not sure, reach out to someone who you trust for counsel. Counsel doesn’t have to be a scary word; lots and lots of great counsel is done coffee-cup counsel style, some is done face to face, some over the phone. But, if there is something you are not sure about, do reach out to someone to talk about it.

So, God reveals His will to us through;

His Word to us,

Prayer,

Circumstances, and,

Others.

Seek it, find it, and live in it!