December 25, 2007
II John, III John, Jude
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The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.
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The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:
Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.
I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.
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Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.
Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.
But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
And of some have compassion, making a difference:
And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
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Thought for the day:
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The theme of the book of Jude is the responsibility of the believer to stand firm against the onslaughts of ungodly doctrine and practice. This type of preaching has been abandoned by many in supposedly fundamental circles today, mainly because the people sitting in the pews don’t want to hear it. They tire of hearing about sin and compromise. They would prefer to hear “uplifting” messages about the love of God or informational messages about how to manage their finances rather than to hear messages about holiness and separation. When faced with the prospect losing attendance because of their “negative” messages, the pastors stop preaching these kinds of sermons, and the inevitable results occur.
Jude wanted to write to his readers and talk to them about a pleasant subject: the common salvation. I assume that he was going to talk to these saints about subjects like the love of God, the cross of Christ, eternal security, and the benefits of being a part of God’s family. However, his book took a different direction because he realized that it was more needful for his readers to hear a message about fighting for the faith of the Word of God.
There are several facets to this that we need to examine. First of all, the people needed to be exhorted to do this. It is never easy to take a stand for truth. It isn’t pleasant to go in a different direction than the crowd. Yet it must be done. If the Christian life were easy we wouldn’t require exhortation. If everybody was already standing firm on their own then Jude could have written on a more palatable subject. However, most Christians will drift away from the proper position if they are not encouraged to remain anchored. Thus, those of us in teaching ministries must continually exhort our people, and individual church members must put themselves in a position where they can be busy exhorting one another (Heb. 10:25).
Second, believers must “contend”. This word implies a struggle. Satan and his minions are actively fighting against the Lord, His Word, His people, and His church. Thus, if the cause of Christ is going to proceed, the people of God must fight back. The battle is hard, and may be costly. Both funds and energy will be expended. Friends may be lost. Heartaches will be frequent and many tears will be shed. However, the cause of Christ, the salvation of souls, and the advancement of the Lord’s kingdom certainly are worth every difficulty.
Third, we must realize what we are contending for. Jude calls it,
“the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
This “faith” is not simply saving faith, but also includes the totality of Biblical doctrine and practice. Some would like to teach that all we need to contend for is the doctrine of salvation by grace. That is not what Jude means. Far more than information about salvation was delivered to the believers. Christians are not only saved by faith (Eph. 2:8), but they are to live by faith as well (Rom. 1:17). As a side note, Jude refers to the faith as being “once delivered”. This speaks to the fact that we have the full revelation of God. There is nothing more that we need to receive. There are no lost books of the Bible, nor do we need any new revelation.
Jude then takes several verses to reveal the condition of those who opposed Biblical teaching. Perhaps the most fearful charge is that these false teachers have “crept in unawares”, which means that they were already in the churches masquerading as Biblicists. It is one thing to take a stand against those outside the church, but it is far more difficult to stand against those who make a claim of being your brothers in Christ. Interestingly, these false teachers are “turning the grace of God into lasciviousness”, which means that they are teaching that the grace of God allows people to live however they please, which, sadly, is being taught in many evangelical churches today.
Jude concludes the letter by encouraging the believers not only to contend, but to build themselves up in the Lord, focus on the love and mercy of God, and continue to have compassion on those who are outside the faith (20-23). We must fight because we love: we love God and want to glorify Him; we love our brethren and want to keep them pure, and we love the lost and want to rescue them from false teaching.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery