JUDE 1-3 (ESV)
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: (2) May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. (3) Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
TRUTH IN FOCUS
Christians rejoice, knowing salvation is absolutely secure in Christ. God, who has called us in love, keeps us faithfully in, by, and through the merits of the finished work of Christ Jesus. Through Christ’s obedience unto death, God’s people have complete confidence, joy unspeakable and full of glory, all because of Christ, who has put away sin and fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law for His elect people.
Today we begin a sermon series covering the Epistle of Jude. Jude calls God’s people to “earnestly contend for the faith.” False teachers will come against the church. But thoroughly equipped with the true and saving Gospel of Christ, believers have everything needed to withstand every single twisted inclination leveled against our faith.
As we stand fast in the bold defense of the Gospel, Jude also reminds us that Christ will keep us through every storm! In fact, in the opening verses of the Epistle, Jude describes those who are saved as “called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ!”
Praise God for this clear testimony of the saving Gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace! Jude believed in a God who calls, a God who loves, and a God who keeps: a Salvation that is beginning-to-end, the work of God! It is just as Jonah faithfully declared, “Salvation is of the Lord!” We are called, loved, and kept by God in Christ!
Let us consider our Scripture lesson in greater detail as we seek to mine the great truths our God has stored up for us in His Word.
v. 1,2 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: (2) May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
A. Believers are “called” – A beautiful reference to God’s choice of Grace in the preaching of the Gospel.
The Christian life is not an elective to be taken up like basket weaving or swimming. One does not simply “make a choice” to repent of dead works and turn toward Christ in faith. Christians are called by God!
It is God who takes the initiative in the salvation of sinners. For had it not been for his electing grace in Christ, none of us would be saved!
The Psalmist declared it so beautifully!
Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!
Paul and Barnabas, following powerful Gospel preaching in Antioch, saw the electing grace of God at work first-hand! Luke records the following:
Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
Praise the Lord for God’s effectual calling!
B. Believers are “beloved” – What is it that motivates God to take such an initiative in the first place? According to Scripture, the motivating factor in salvation is God’s great love for His people. Those He loves He gloriously saves in Christ Jesus, for God manifests His love in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (4) even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love (5) he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, (6) to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
In love he predestined us! Praise the Living God for His mercy and goodness in Christ!
God’s love is manifested in Christ!
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God has chosen a people from every kindred, nation, tribe, and tongue. He loves His people in Christ and they will be saved! Christ teaches us exactly who will believe in Him just a few chapters later:
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
God’s love for His people in Christ was powerful enough to make a way where there was no way. Believer: You are loved by God with an inexhaustible, unquenchable, unfathomable, undeserved love that will not let you go!
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (36) As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” (37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (38) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, (39) nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Hallelujah in the highest! Amen!
C. Believers are “kept” – Our calling and election is made sure. God loves us in Christ, down to the last elect man, women, boy, and girl! Will God keep us once He saves us? The simple answer to the question is YES! A million times YES!
Was it not God who first loved us and called us to repentance of dead works and belief of the truth? O how my soul burns within me as I share with you the beauty of the All-of-God, all-of-grace Gospel message!
In the verses leading up to the beautiful description of God’s unfailing love for His church, the Apostle Paul writes this concerning the invincible keeping power of Christ’s finished work on behalf of His people:
Romans 8:28-34 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (29) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (30) And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (32) He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (33) Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. (34) Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Beloved, we are powerfully kept by God in Christ!
1 Peter 1:5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
We are called, loved, and kept by God in Christ!
(3) Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
A. In light of what Jude already wrote concerning the all-encompassing power of God in salvation, doesn’t being called “beloved” carry with it a powerful significance?
B. “contend for the faith” – Christians are called to teach, preach, publish, and defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ! There is only one Gospel, one name given among men whereby we must be saved.
The faith for which we are to contend (the Gospel accomplished by Christ’s death and the salvation which it alone affords God’s elect people in, by, and through the precious blood Christ) is precisely the same faith Jude writes about.
This faith is the faith which proclaims a God who has chosen His people in love before the foundation of the world, who sent His Son in the fulness of time to fulfill all righteousness on their behalf by His sinless sacrifice, putting away the sins of the elect for all time and imputing His righteousness unto them.
Any deviation or alteration of Jude’s Gospel is a deviation from THE Gospel. If anyone preaches another, let them be accursed.
C. “once for all delivered to the saints” – The “once for all time” nature of Christ’s death is proclaimed in the “once for all time” unchanging message of the Gospel.
Acts 20:26-27 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all,(27) for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.
(John Gill) By which is meant, not the purposes and decrees of God, latent in his own breast, these the apostle could not declare; but his revealed will in the Gospel, concerning the salvation of men by Jesus Christ, even the whole of the Gospel, every truth and doctrine of it, necessary to salvation, and to the peace, joy, and comfort of the saints; together with all the ordinances of it, and everything that had any tendency to promote the glory of God, and the good of souls; none of these things did the apostle withhold from the knowledge of the church at Ephesus, but freely imparted and communicated them to them
God’s people are called before the foundation of the world, loved by God in electing grace and mercy, and powerfully kept by Christ for all eternity having their sin debt put away in His substitutionary death.
In light of this wondrous display of God’s pure mercy and grace toward His elect people, we ought not shrink back in our defense of the only true and saving Gospel, careful to proclaim the whole counsel of God, the faith once delivered to the saints.
Beloved, we are called, loved, and kept by God in Christ. For these blessed truths, let us praise and thank our Father in Heaven! – Amen.
Jason K. Boothe is Pastor of Horizons Baptist Church, Piketon, Ohio. For more information concerning the ministries of the church, please visit www.horizonsbaptist.org.