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Five Commands for Christian Growth


St. Paul reminds us, 'Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is ... be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.' ( Ephesians 6:18) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Five Commands for Christian Growth

Five Commands for Christian Growth
  • St. Jude gives five commands for Christian growth
    that will help them maintain a lively Christian
    life in the midst of an immoral and antagonistic
  • Build yourselves up on your most holy faith.
  • Pray in the Holy Spirit.
  • Keep yourselves in the love of God.
  • Look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus
    Christ that leads to eternal life.
  • Rescue the perishing.

Build Yourselves Up in Your Most Holy Faith
  • St. Jude speaks of a "most holy faith" to
    contrast it with the unholy teachings of the
    false teachers.
  • The building material is "your most holy faith.
  • Sometimes we expect God to build us -- and the
    Holy Spirit is certainly at work to "edify" us.
  • But this building requires significant
    cooperation from us.
  • How do you build yourself up in your faith?

Build Yourselves Up in Your Most Holy Faith
  • St. Paul reminds us, "Faith comes from hearing
    the message, and the message is heard through the
    word of Christ" (Romans 1017).
  • Our faith is built up when we listen to, meditate
    on, and put into practice in our lives the
    teachings of Christ.
  • We can do that for ourselves, through reading the
    Bible on a regular basis -- and not just reading,
    but thinking about, dwelling on, absorbing.
  • It builds up, edifies, strengthens us in our most
    holy faith.

Pray in the Holy Spirit
  • What does this mean?
  • "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you
    a slave again to fear, but you received the
    Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba,
    Father.'" (Romans 815)
  • "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his
    Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out,
    'Abba, Father.'" (Galatians 46)
  • "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our
    weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray
    for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us
    with groans that words cannot express. And he who
    searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,
    because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in
    accordance with God's will." (Romans 826-27)

Pray in the Holy Spirit
  • "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all
    kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind,
    be alert and always keep on praying for all the
    saints." (Ephesians 618)
  • The Spirit assists us in all kinds of prayers and
  • We are not to pray just rote prayers, but ask God
    how to pray and rely upon the help and guidance
    of the Holy Spirit to pray effectively.

Keep Yourselves in God's Love
  • Keep preserve unharmed or undisturbed.
  • "God's love" here could be either God's love for
    us or our love for God.
  • This command talks about us keeping up our part
    of a love relationship with God.
  • Consider these verses
  • "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love
    of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to
    the end will be saved." (Matthew 2412-13)

Keep Yourselves in God's Love
  • "Yet I hold this against you You have forsaken
    your first love." (Revelation 24)
  • "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you
    abide in my love. If you keep my commandments,
    you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my
    Father's commandments and abide in his love."
    (John 159-10)
  • Disobeying Jesus' commands means we are not
    abiding in His love.

Keep Yourselves in God's Love
  • No doubt there are Christians whose love has
    "grown cold," who have abandoned the love for
    Jesus they once had.
  • Worship will nurture this love when it is
    conducted with love and full heart toward God
  • Nurture that relationship with Him in your own
    private worship as well as in public worship.
  • You can rekindle the love of God back in your
    heart and He'll help.

Look Forward to Christ's Mercy
  • Although we should live in the present, not in
    the past or future, but we must keep alive the
    flame of hope in the promises of God for the
  • "The mercy ... that leads to eternal life" looks
    back to Jesus' atonement on the cross
  • Then forward to the great judgment (Revelation
    2011-15) where we are set free, based on the
    presence of our names in the Lamb's Book of Life
    (Revelation 35)
  • Beyond the judgment we look to an eternity of
    life in the presence of God.
  • Let us look forward to that mercy and to eternal

Rescue the Perishing
  • We are told to look forward to God's mercy for
    us, but in the next verse St. Jude tells us to be
    merciful to those who are tempted to various
  • We are to have mercy on those who waver, who
    doubt, who don't have stability in their
    Christian walk.
  • These waverers are those who have been influenced
    by the teaching of the false teachers.

Rescue the Perishing
  • Speaking figuratively, their "white garments"
    have been stained by their immorality.
  • The garment referred to is the one worn directly
    over the skin or "flesh" -- which hints a both
  • The physical flesh where sexual sin may have
    taken place
  • And the figurative use of "flesh" to refer to
    one's sinful nature.

Rescue the Perishing
  • St. Jude warns us that in helping those who are
    entangled in sin, we must be aware of our own
    spiritual danger, lest we become accepting sin --
    especially the sexual sin he seems to have in
    mind here.
  • When we help those who are caught in sin, we must
    do so "with fear" lest we stop hating the sin
    that has entrapped the sinner whom God loves.

Rescue the Perishing
  • St. Jude likens the rescue procedure to pulling a
    piece of wood out of a fire that is already begun
    to burn it (Amos 411 Zechariah 32).
  • We have a responsibility, especially towards our
    brother and sister Christians, to watch out for
  • "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who
    are spiritual should restore him gently. But
    watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."
    (Galatians 61)

Rescue the Perishing
  • "My brothers, if one of you should wander from
    the truth and someone should bring him back,
    remember this Whoever turns a sinner from the
    error of his way will save him from death and
    cover over a multitude of sins." (James 519-20)
  • "If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that
    does not lead to death, he should pray and God
    will give him life...." (1 John 516)

God's Commitment Toward Us
  • St. Jude closes his brief letter with an amazing
    description of God's commitment toward us.
  • The wonderful message of the Christian gospel is
    found in three parts
  • He will guard you against falling.
  • He will present you before judgment without
  • He will present you with tremendous joy.

God's Commitment Toward Us
  • First, God will guard you against falling.
  • Are you afraid that the devil will be too strong
    for you? God is stronger.
  • The apostle John writes, "You, dear children, are
    from God and have overcome them, because the one
    who is in you is greater than the one who is in
    the world" (1 John 44).
  • God is guarding you. He is a hedge of protection
    around you (Job 110).

God's Commitment Toward Us
  • He instructs his angel to "encamp" around you and
    deliver you from your enemy (Psalm 347), to
    guard you in all your ways (Psalm 9111).
  • As the invisible horses and chariots of fire
    surrounded Elisha, so God is protecting you (2
    Kings 617).
  • God's guard around you is no small thing. You can
    rely upon Him.

God's Commitment Toward Us
  • Second, he will present you before his glorious
    presence at the judgment without fault.
  • Here it carries the figurative sense "pertaining
    to being without fault and therefore morally
  • The longer I live, the more I realize that I fall
  • I am much more aware of my own imperfection than
    when I was a young man.

God's Commitment Toward Us
  • "For he chose us in him before the creation of
    the world to be holy and blameless in his sight."
    (Ephesians 14)
  • "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for
    her to make her holy, cleansing her by the
    washing with water through the word, and to
    present her to himself as a radiant church,
    without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish,
    but holy and blameless." (Ephesians 525-27)

God's Commitment Toward Us
  • "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so
    that you may become blameless and pure, children
    of God without fault in a crooked and depraved
    generation, in which you shine like stars in the
    universe...." (Philippians 214-15)
  • "But now he has reconciled you by Christ's
    physical body through death to present you holy
    in his sight, without blemish and free from
    accusation...." (Colossians 122)

God's Commitment Toward Us
  • So then, dear friends, since you are looking
    forward to this, make every effort to be found
    spotless, blameless and at peace with him." (2
    Peter 314)
  • Of the 144,000 "...who had been redeemed from the
    earth. These are those who did not defile
    themselves with women, for they kept themselves
    pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They
    were purchased from among men and offered as
    firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found
    in their mouths they are blameless." (Revelation

God's Commitment Toward Us
  • He will bring you before his presence with
    tremendous joy.
  • There's a passage in Zephaniah that expresses
    this well
  • "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to
    save. He will take great delight in you, he will
    quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you
    with singing." (Zephaniah 317)

God's Commitment Toward Us
  • He loves you that much! Can you bring yourself to
    imagine that God himself delights in you -- you
  • This scripture teaches that He delights in you as
    does a mother with her babies, as a grandfather
    constantly showing off pictures of his
  • He loves you with an intense and emotional love.
  • So when you finally appear before his glorious
    presence, he is utterly delighted to see you
    there and will shout with joy.

God Our Savior
  • This is the Gospel we declare that our God
    guards us, forgives us, and delights in us -- and
    with all who will draw close to Him through Jesus
    our Savior.
  • St. Jude now concludes with a doxology, words of
    praise to God.
  • Observe that he calls God "our Savior.
  • Sometimes we reserve this title to Jesus the Son,
    but God the Father is very much our Savior, too.

God Our Savior
  • Next, Jude offers five words that describe God's
    greatness wisdom, glory, majesty, power, and
  • Following this, he offers praise through "Jesus
    Christ our Lord."
  • Finally, he encompasses all time with the words
  • Before all ages,
  • Now, and
  • Forevermore.

  • Our God is great in so very many ways
  • But to us He shows his greatness in His
    restraint, the undeserved mercy he has shown us
    and in His inexplicable delight in us, His love
    which springs with no reason from the heart of
    God and knows no quenching.
  • Yes, to Him be glory, majesty, power and
    authority through Jesus Christ our Lord --
    forever! Amen.