But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. (Jude 20-23)
Jude’s Five Point Plan
The epistle of Jude is a small letter with just over six hundred words. There are a lot of similarities between Jude and the writings of Peter as the early church dealt with false teachers. In the final exhortation of his letter the brother of James writes a five point plan for the called of God to follow to keep themselves preserved in Jesus Christ. These admonitions are vital for the life of the Christian in our world of religious confusion.
One: Establishing faith will give a firm foundation to refute false doctrine. The word edification comes from the idea of an edifice or building. While we are to exhort one another we should never fail to build our own faith. The word of God is the ground of truth. Our faith (like a building) must be built up (edification) and rooted in the word! When we do not spend time in the Word we will lack in our faith. In Hebrews 4:2 the writer explained how the people of God heard the word but it did them no good because they did not mix what they heard with faith. A vital component is building our lives upon a daily walk with God’s word. False teaching comes from hearts that have not been spending time in the Book. Paul declared firmly faith will only from hearing and that hearing must come from the word of God.
Two: A life without prayer is a life without spirit. Like the body is dead when there is no spirit so the spiritual body is dead without prayer. Praying in the Holy Spirit is not a charismatic miraculous event (false teaching). Developing a relationship with the Holy Spirt to pray to the Father will establish a wall of defense against the wiles of the devil. It is not possible to pray in this manner without establishing the faith in the word of God. Prayer and meditation on the study of God’s word are necessary together. Lacking one will defeat the other. The more time spent in the study of God’s will the more time will be spent on humble knees of prayer. Praying in the Holy Spirit is the power of God working in our lives to protect us from false teaching. Christians today need to be spiritual people.
Three: The life of a child of God is aware of the Father’s love. One of the purest characteristics of a child is humility and dependence. They are not filled with pride. Their hearts are not boasting of their own worth. Children love the protective arms of a benevolent father. When the storms come they run to the father for protection. Darkness is not feared because they hold the hand of the father. They have little worry because they know their father will take care of them providing all of their needs. The blessing of our heavenly Father is the constant vision of the child of God. Humbling ourselves to the gracious love of God we do not worry about our daily bread, fret over the clouds of doom, fear the darkness of doubt or live with anxious hearts about death. Our Father is in Heaven and all is well. We keep ourselves encircled in the arms of the love of God and we are secure.
Four: There is a great day coming and what a wonderful day that will be. Jesus is coming back to take us home with Him. This will be a day of rejoicing because we are saved from sin. False teachers abound teaching messages of salvation deceiving the hearts of the multitudes. Being rooted in the word of God, praying in the Spirit and being enveloped in the love of the Father we know we are saved from sin because of the mercy of Jesus Christ. He came and died so that I could live. He left the Father to bring me to Him. His suffering gave me the promise of living in eternal joy. We need to take our eyes off of this world and look to the heavens above anxiously waiting and longing for Jesus to come back. It will change your life.
Five: Salvation is not just for me but for others. Spending time in the word and prayer, loving the Father and the Son cannot be contained in just one life. Life cannot be full until I share the salvation of God with others. Sin is destructive. It is not possible to allow others to be lost when sin can be overcome through a study of God’s word, the power of prayer, love of the Father and mercy of the Son. This leads me to be compassionate with those who need love and also to be firm in a defense of the gospel. Tough love must be shown with some pulling them from the fires of destruction. The goodness and severity of God must be impressed upon the hearts of our friends and neighbors so they can share in the joyful hope of eternal life. The greatest gift we can take to Heaven is someone else.
Jude had a five point plan. Put it to work. Make it your guide each day. Five steps will lead to glory.
The word which God has written on the brow of every man is hope. (Victor Hugo; 1802-1885; Treasure Bits from ed. Rose)