csibiblestudy


To Believe or Not To Believe!
July 17, 2017, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book

The short epistle from Jude is a letter written by a man who was overwhelmed by the grace of his half-brother Jesus that he had experienced. As a young man, he ridiculed the claim of Jesus to be the Messiah but an encounter after the resurrection changed him forever. Just like his brother James, he didn’t want to focus on the fact that he was a half-brother of Jesus, which could lead to a problem with pride but instead introduced himself as a slave of Jesus. Led by the Holy Spirit, he wrote to saved people who he described as chosen, loved, and kept safe in Jesus Christ. To his faith family, he greeted with three blessings, mercy, peace, and love in abundance.
Jude shared that his original intention was to share his insights about the salvation we share as followers of Jesus Christ. But the Holy Spirit impressed upon him that a much bigger need had to be confronted by one who was committed to Jesus Christ. The Great News of Jesus was under attack and an army of true believers were needed to rise up to earnestly contend with a defense of the authentic Gospel message which God entrusted once and for all to all believers.
So, who was attacking the Gospel? Jude, like Peter in 2 Peter, tells that the church had been infiltrated by enemies of the Gospel posing as “believers”. Predicted by the prophets, these pretenders are against God, making them antichrists. In addition, they had taken grace and misused it to rationalize their sexual sins. Worst of all they refused to accept Jesus Christ as the Master and Lord of their lives.
God will judge these false teachers is the message Jude reminds his family who are reading his letter. He bases this on the character and behavior of God as seen in the Old Testament. God redeemed His people from Egypt and called them to go into the Promised Land. He told them He would give them the land. But they listened to the 10 spies who said it was impossible (the false teachers) instead of the 2 who wanted to take the land. (The true teachers.) Those who followed the false teachers and didn’t believe, although they still claimed to be the people of God, were destroyed in the wilderness. The two who believed entered the promised land!
Jude reminds them that even angels had to act in faith. Those who followed the false teacher (Lucifer) were cast out of heaven, with some bound in chains, awaiting judgment. The Holy Spirit leads Jude to remind the people of the cities of and surrounding Sodom and Gomorrah. They rejected God’s standards concerning sex and pursued sexual relationships and sins that God doesn’t allow. As a result of unbelief, they suffered judgment from God.
False teachers face the same judgment at the hands of God. Let’s stop for a moment and learn lessons from each of these examples. Wasn’t the first group’s problem that while they had seen remarkable things done by God, they believed in circumstances more than they believed in God? Think about all that they had seen. God revealed Himself to them by sending a leader, Moses, who confronted Pharaoh, the absolute ruler of Egypt face to face, yet wasn’t harmed. This leader challenged the power of the Egyptians’ false gods with a series of tests which proved that Jehovah was more powerful than any of their fake gods. Finally, the people of God were given the right to go from Egypt to a land God had given them. But on their way out, Pharaoh decided to recapture them, perhaps even kill them before they crossed the Red Sea. So with the Egyptian army behind them, boundaries on either side, and the Red Sea before them, they were trapped by the circumstances. So what did God do? He rescued them, delivered them, saved them from certain death. But in just a few days, they reveal that they don’t really believe God because they refuse to follow Him.
The second group is more baffling. Why would angels, who were each day in the presence of God, follow anyone else? Perhaps what we learn by these who rejected God is that so like to follow those who are like them rather than One who is Superior to them. Maybe they are convinced by the talk of Lucifer that he had a better plan that would enable them to have something better than they have? These angels may be examples of those who are never content with where God has placed them in His plan. Maybe they reject God because they reject their role?
The third group turn from God because they want to live life without rules. To them, God gives restrictions and they want to experience life without anything being off limits. They have chosen to decide what their lifestyle and life choices are without considering God. He is just a way to get to heaven but not the Lord and Master of their lives.
So here is the start of the study. Where do you stand? What group are you most like?

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