When we read the book of Jude, we can get so taken up with his concern for the church to deal with error that we forget the positive teaching of this letter. Jude has called the church to contend for the Faith once delivered to the saints,contend here is sometimes interpreted as being contentious. This misses the whole point, Jude is concerned that error be replaced by truth and it is obvious from his exhortation to the believers as to how they should live, that Godly lives are marked by love for God,his word and for others. Let us look at what he says’
20 But you, dear friends, by* building yourselves up in your most holy faith, by* praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt, 23 and save others by* snatching them from the fire, and have mercy on others with fear, hating even the tunic stained by the flesh. (Jude 20-22)
First of all Jude wants the believers to build themselves up in their most holy faith, how are we to do this?
Firstly,I would suggest that we should immerse ourselves in the Word of God, allowing it to speak into every area of our lives. We are also built up as we use this knowledge of the word of God in our praying.
Secondly, We need to pay attention to the teaching that we are given in Church through the sermon. We need to test all that is taught us, but our attitude should be one of openness to learning from the Scriptures.
Thirdly, we need to be sharing the word of God together in fellowship both in small groups and in more informal ways. We can strengthen each other as we share from God’s word together.
Our faith is very precious in God’s sight and we need to be building ourselves up in it continuously according to this passage.
(2) Praying in the Holy Spirit: Jude instructs the believers to pray in the Holy Spirit, by this he means that all our praying should be lead by the Spirit. Sometimes in Charismatic circles praying in the Spirit is equated with praying in tongues, this is only one aspect of praying in the Spirit. We need to pray in the Spirit,when we worship, when we need guidance and when we intercede for others. According to the Bible we can as Spirit Filled believers pray in the Spirit at all times.
(3) Jude exhorts us to keep ourselves in the love of God, we can only do this by seeing the greatness of God’s grace towards us. When we see all that our Lord Jesus did for us, we will want to abide in him. Abiding in Christ is a secure place because here we know the extent of God’s love manifested towards us. It also implies that as we love God,we will want to glorify him in our worship and by our obedience to him.
(4) We are to live with expectation, we are to look forward with confidence to the mercy that will be shown us when we meet the Lord whether that it be when we are called home or when the Lord Jesus comes again. it is not presumption to expect God’s mercy because this is guaranteed us by God’s word. Notice also that to the very end we are relying on the mercy of God, we never get beyond the point where we realise that our salvation is all of God’s grace, we glory in the fact that he shows mercy to undeserving sinners. Yes we can be assured that we are God’s children and live in confidence that he has been and will be merciful to us.
I want to just say a few words in closing about Jude’s exhortation to show mercy, he wants to see people delivered from deception but he wants this to come about in a loving manner. Jude knows that being contentious will only alienate people, whereas he wants to see people reconciled with God and one another. If reconciliation is the goal, love must be the means. To stand boldly for truth and being loving are complimentary ideas, if we know the truth we will want to impart that truth to others because we love them. Jude advises us to avoid the deception but to gain those who are being deceived so that they will also live godly lives