that Jude’s main
theme is his concern for the false teachers that were beginning to crop up in
the church. We read in verse 3
(Jud 3 NKJV) Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our
common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith
which was once for all delivered to the saints.
Today we will
look at how Jude encourages his readers to have a healthy faith in the light of
these false teachers that can creep into the church.
Sometimes we can get so worried about the “false teachers” that we can
neglect our own walk with the Lord.
I’ve seen this among friends who become so focused on becoming the world’s
greatest heresy hunters that their own lives can fall apart.
:20-21 Healthy Faith
Jude gives us four phrases that define a healthy faith.
:20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on
your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
:21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking
for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
:20 beloved – agapetos
– beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, worthy of love
:20 building yourselves up on your
most holy faith
most holy – hagios
Adjective is in the “superlative”
form, “most holy”
faith – pistis
– conviction of the truth of anything, belief
building yourselves up – epoikodomeo
(“upon” + “to build a house”) – to build upon, build up
To finish the structure of which
the foundation has already been laid, to give constant increase in Christian
knowledge and in a life conformed thereto.
Present active participle
(1 Co 3:10–15 NKJV) —10According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a
wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But
let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is
laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if
anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones,
wood, hay, straw, 13each
one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be
revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
14If anyone’s work which he has built on it
endures, he will receive a reward. 15If
anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet
so as through fire.
(Eph 2:19–22 NKJV) —19Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners,
but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and
prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows
into a holy temple in the Lord, 22in whom
you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
(Col 2:6–7 NKJV) —6As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so
walk in Him, 7rooted and built up
in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it
Build your faith
The word “faith” can describe what you believe or your trust in God.
What you believe
I am responsible to know what I believe.
Jude was talking
about the content of our belief when he talked about,
(Jud 3 NKJV) …the
faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
We are called to get God’s Word into our lives. Paul told the Ephesian
(Ac 20:32 NKJV) “So now,
brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give
you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Paul wrote to Timothy:
(2 Ti 3:16–17 NKJV) —16All
Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the man of God
may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I am of the opinion that we as Christians ought to spend a little time each
day reading and thinking about God’s Word.
(Ps 1:1–3 NKJV) —1Blessedis
the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of
sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2But his delight is in the law of
the Lord, And in His law he
meditates day and night. 3He shall be like a
tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth
its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does
Would you like this to describe your life?Then take time each day to read and think
about God’s Word.One chapter a day will
take you through the entire New Testament in a year.
Three chapters a day will take you through the entire
Bible in a year.
Nurture your faith.Grow in knowing
what you believe.
How you trust
Build your trusting muscles
This too can be
tied to God’s Word.
(Ro 10:17 NKJV) So then
faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The more we learn
and understand God’s Word, the easier it is to trust Him.
If you really want your trust in God to grow, then stop
running away when you encounter difficult times.
Peter wrote that difficult times work to refine our faith.
(1 Pe 1:6–7NKJV)
you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been
grieved by various trials, 7that the
genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that
perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory
at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
is refined by heating it up until it is molten and all the impurities begin to
rise to the surface. The goldsmith will continue to scoop the impurities off of
the surface until the gold is pure. He knows it’s pure when he can see his reflection in the surface
of the gold.
Difficult times cause the
impurities come to the surface.
You can choose to just stir the impurities back into your
life, or you can work with God to remove them from your life.
James wrote that our trials grow us up.
(Jas 1:2–4 NKJV) —2My
brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3knowing that the
testing of your faith produces patience. 4But let patience have its perfect
work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
The word “patience” speaks of endurance, of remaining under the
difficulty. When I learn to “remain under” the trial, I see the “perfect” work.
The word “perfect”
speaks of maturity.
Don’t run from your trials. Learn to grow through them.
:20 praying in the Holy Spirit
praying – proseuchomai– to
offer prayers, to pray
Present deponent participle
Being “in the
Holy Spirit” has to do with living your life in a way that is influenced by and
surrounded by the Spirit of God.
(Ga 5:25 NKJV) If we live in the
Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
(Ac 19:21 NKJV) —21When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the
Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem,
saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”
(Ro 8:9 NKJV) —9But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed
the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of
Christ, he is not His.
(1 Co 14:2 NKJV) —2For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to
God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks
The concept of praying in the Holy
(Wuest) constantly praying in the sphere of and by
means of the Holy Spirit
It’s about learning to pray in a way that is influenced by and surrounded
by the Spirit of God.
This is one of the ways that we can
build up our faith.
Praying in tongues
Paul connects praying in tongues with the Spirit.
(1 Co 14:14–15 NKJV) —14For if I
pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15What isthe
conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the
understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the
The gift of tongues is a spiritual gift that the Holy Spirit can give to a
person where they are enabled to speak or pray in a language that they have
never learned before.
It first showed up on the Day of Pentecost:
(Ac 2:4 NKJV) And they
were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as
the Spirit gave them utterance.
The point of the gift is that I am allowing the Holy
Spirit to pray what needs to be prayed, even though I don’t know what’s being
Some people teach that the gift of tongues doesn’t exist
Paul taught that the gift would cease when Jesus came
One of the
benefits of the gift of tongues is that it builds up the person who uses it.
(1 Co 14:4 NKJV) He who
speaks in a tongue edifies
himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
If you have the gift of tongues, I would encourage you to
use the gift in your personal prayer times. I do. It will build you up.
Prompted by the Spirit
But not necessarily praying in tongues. Paul wrote,
(Ro 8:26–27 NLT) —26And the
Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants
us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings
that cannot be expressed in words. 27And the Father who knows all hearts knows
what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony
with God’s own will.
I think Paul goes beyond tongues here.
The point is that the Holy Spirit knows what we ought to
be asking God, and whether it’s through tongues, groanings,
or thoughts in our own language, we want to learn to allow the Holy Spirit to
lead our prayers.
Paul wrote that prayer ought to be part of our spiritual warfare against
(Eph 6:18 NKJV) praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being
watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
Have you ever
had the experience where you started thinking about someone, grew concerned,
and started praying
for them, and then you found out that they were in trouble at that time?
Does God Still Speak To Men?
A young man had been to Wednesday
night Bible Study. The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the
Lord’s voice. The young man couldn’t help but wonder, “Does God still speak to
After service he went out with some
friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different
ones talked about how God had led them in different ways. It was about ten
o’clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just
began to pray, “God.. If you still speak to people speak to me. I will listen.
I will do my best to obey.” As he drove down the main street of his town, he
had the strangest thought, stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and
said out loud, “God is that you?” He didn’t get a reply and started on toward
home. But again, the thought, buy a gallon of milk. The young man thought about
Samuel and how he didn’t recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran
to Eli. “Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.”
It didn’t seem like too hard a test
of obedience. He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the gallon
of milk and started off toward home. As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt
the urge, “Turn down that street.” This is crazy he thought and drove on pass
the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down seventh street.
At the next intersection, he turned
back and headed down Seventh. Half jokingly, he said out loud, “Okay, God, I
will.” He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He
pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semicommercial area of
town. It wasn’t the best but it wasn’t the worst of neighborhoods either. The
businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were
already in bed. Again, he sensed something, “Go and give the milk to the people
in the house across the street.”
The young man looked at the house.
It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already
asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat. “Lord,
this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going
to be mad and I will look stupid.”
Again, he felt like he should go
and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door, “Okay God, if this is you, I
will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like
a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for
something but if they don’t answer right away, I am out of here.”
He walked across the street and
rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man’s voice yelled out, “Who
is it? What do you want?” Then the door opened before the young man could get
away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he
just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn’t seem too
happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep. “What is it?”
The young man thrust out the gallon
of milk, “Here, I brought this to you.” The man took the milk and rushed down a
hall way speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman
carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby.
The baby was crying.
The man had tears streaming down
his face. The man began speaking and half crying, “We were just praying. We had
some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn’t have any milk for
our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.”
His wife in the kitchen yelled out, “I ask him to send an Angel with some. Are
you an Angel?” The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the
money he had on him and put in the man’s hand. He turned and walked back toward
his car and the tears were streaming down his face. He knew that God still
answers prayers and that God still speaks to His people.
- Author Unknown
Is that a real story?I don’t really know.But I’ve seen things happen like this a
Just this past week I’ve had two separate people come up to me and talk
about how a certain missionary family had been on their heart, and they were
going to give some money to them.I
happen to know this family, and I happen to know that this was a HUGE answer to
prayer.Yes, God still works like this
The bigger question for you is, will you learn to
listen to the Holy Spirit?You may make
mistakes.You may be called a fool, but
learn to listen to the Holy Spirit.
:21 keep yourselves in the love of
the love – agape – brotherly
love, affection, good will, love, benevolence
– tereo– to attend to carefully; to guard; to
keep one in the state in which he is
Aorist active imperative
A word about Grammar – There are four verbs in our
sentence. Three of
them end with “-ing”, meaning that they are
participles. The word “keep”
in contrast is a command, and imperative.
That makes this the main focus of the passage, to “keep ourselves in the
love of God”. The other
three verbs give us some ideas about how we do that, by “building”, “praying”,
You can see some of this in the NIV
(Jud 20–21 NIV) —20But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your
most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of
our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
(Jud 20–21 NASB95) —20But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy
faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep
yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord
Jesus Christ to eternal life.
Back in verse 1, we are told that
we are “preserved” or “kept” in Jesus Christ.
(Jud 1 NKJV) …To those who are
called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:
In verse 5, the angels did not
“keep” their proper doman.
(Jud 6 NKJV) And the angels who did not keep their proper
domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under
darkness for the judgment of the great day;
James tells us that pure and
undefiled religion includes:
(Jas 1:27 NKJV) …to keep oneself unspotted
from the world.
We’ll come back to this thought in a minute…
:21 looking for the mercy of our
Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
looking for – prosdechomai
(“toward” + “to receive”) – to receive to one’s self; to expect: the fulfillment
(NAS) waiting anxiously
Present deponent participle
(Lk 2:25 NKJV) —25And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was
Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the
Holy Spirit was upon him.
(Lk 12:35–36 NKJV) —35“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return
from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him
(Lk 23:51 NKJV) —51He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was
from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom
:21 the mercy … unto eternal
the mercy – eleos
– mercy: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted,
joined with a desire to help them; the mercy of Christ, whereby at his return
to judgment he will bless true Christians with eternal life
The “mercy” Jude is talking about is the mercy we find at the second
coming, our “blessed hope”.
Our hope is that we will indeed find mercy when Jesus returns.
Our hope is what helps us to hang on to the end.
Several years ago, an experiment on endurance was conducted at the
University of California at Berkeley. The experiment involved placing Norwegian field rats in a
tub of water, where they were forced to swim until they grew exhausted and
finally drowned. During the first experiment, the researchers discovered that
on the average, these rats were capable of swimming for over seven hours before
A second experiment was conducted, exactly like the first but with one
exception. This time, when a rat was getting too
exhausted to swim any longer, the researchers would remove the rat from the tub
of water for a few seconds, then put the rat back into the water to continue
swimming. These rats were able to swim for almost 20 hours before
The researchers concluded that the rats in the second group were able to
swim so much longer than the first group because of one factor: they had HOPE. They had
experienced a rescue---and what kept them going was the HOPE that they would be
Edited from More Hot Illustrations for Youth
Talks by Wayne Rice.Copyright 1995 by
Youth Specialties, Inc.
Do you ever wonder how much more can you take?
Illustration (quote from Peter Kreeft)
took you on some mind bending trip into your future and you saw with
indubitable certainty that despite everything—your sin, your smallness, your
stupidity—you could have free for the asking your whole crazy heart's deepest
eternal joy. Would you not return fearless and singing? What can earth do to
you, if you are guaranteed heaven? To fear the worst earthly loss would be like
a millionaire fearing the loss of a penny—less, a scratch on a penny.
Quoted in TullianTchividjian, Glorious
Ruin, page 175, quoting Peter Kreeft
(Tt 2:11–13 NKJV) —11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to
all men, 12teaching us that,
denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and
godly in the present age, 13looking
for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus
He also wrote,
(2 Co 4:16–18 NKJV) —16Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is
perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17For our light
affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory, 18while we do not
look at the things which are seen, but at the things
which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the
things which are not seen are eternal.
our hope of the eternal that keeps us going.
:21 keep yourselves in the love of
As I mentioned earlier, the grammar makes this the important focus.This is the thing we are commanded to do, and
we do it by “building our most holy faith”, by “praying in the Spirit”, and by
“looking for the Second Coming”.
Safe in God’s love
You don’t have
to earn God’s love, you already have it.
(Jn 3:16 NKJV) For God so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
If anything is keeping you from God’s love, it’s that you
don’t believe in His Son.
Once you believe in Jesus, there is nothing that can separate you from
(Ro 8:35–39 NKJV) —35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall
tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or
sword? 36As it is written: “For
Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted
as sheep for the slaughter.” 37Yet in all these things we are more than
conquerors through Him who loved us. 38For I am persuaded that neither death nor
life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things
to come, 39nor height nor
depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love
of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our part is to simply recognize God’s love, and stay put. Jesus said,
(Jn 15:9–11 NKJV) —9“As the
Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My
love. 10If you keepMy commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have
kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11“These things I have spoken to you, that
My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may
Hemingway wrote a story about a father and his teenage son. In the story, the
relationship had become somewhat strained, and the teenage son ran away from home. His father
began a journey in search of that rebellious son.
Finally, in Madrid, Spain, in a last desperate attempt to find the boy, the
father put an ad in the local newspaper. The ad read: “Dear Paco,
Meet me in front of the newspaper office at . All is forgiven. I love you. Your
father.” The next day, in front of the newspaper office, eight hundred Pacos
showed up. They were all seeking forgiveness. They were all seeking the love of
You already have God’s love.
The Amazon River
is the largest river in the world.The
mouth is 100 miles across.There is
enough water to exceed the combined flow of the Yangtze, Mississippi and Nile
Rivers.So much water comes from the Amazon (this picture
is taken from about 300 miles up) that they can detect its currents 200 miles
out in the Atlantic Ocean.One irony of
ancient navigation is that sailors
in ancient times died for lack of fresh water... caught in windless waters of
the South Atlantic.They were adrift,
helpless, dying of thirst. Sometimes other ships from South America who knew
the area would come alongside and call out, “What is your problem?”And they would exclaim, “Can you spare us
some water?Our sailors are dying of
from the other ship
would come the cry, “Just lower your buckets.You are in the mouth of the mighty Amazon River.”
are already in the love of God.Just lower your buckets and drink.