It didn’t take long. Less than 70 years into church history and there were those who wanted to water down the Word of God and the call to personal holiness. And others who wanted to add things to the requirements for salvation and Christian living.
In 25 verses Jude’s epistle called believers to contend for the truth. It still does today.
Sadly, many still prefer to teach only the easy to swallow parts … those things that don’t make anyone uncomfortable or the Christian life seem too hard? And others claim that something else is necessary.
How about you? Are you contending for the truth?
Hosea 11 & 12
Are You Contending for the Truth?
False Teachers & Our Own Hearts
The introduction to Jude in Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says:
“This epistle is addressed to all believers in the gospel. Its design appears to be to guard believers against the false teachers who had begun to creep into the Christian church, and to scatter dangerous tenets, by attempting to lower all Christianity into a merely nominal belief and outward profession of the gospel. Having thus denied the obligations of personal holiness, they taught their disciples to live in sinful courses, at the same time flattering them with the hope of eternal life. The vile character of these seducers is shown, and their sentence is denounced, and the epistle concludes with warnings, admonitions, and counsels to believers.”
Jeremiah said our own hearts are deceitful (Jer. 17.9). They will lull us to sleep where nominal Christianity and sin are concerned. If that’s not dangerous enough, there are false teachers and others who preach a watered down version of the truth that allows us to be comfortable in our sin, if not trust in outright error.
God is a God of grace and mercy and patience. But that doesn’t mean that we should get comfortable with our own sin. A heart that has truly been reborn by the Spirit of God is a heart with new desires. We need to grow those righteous desires by careful study of God’s Word. That should include the personal study of the Bible along with attending a church where the Word of God is being preached from cover to cover, not just the comfortable parts. We need to know and understand the whole counsel of God.
We also need to cultivate friendships with people who will encourage us to grow and change, not make it easier for us to remain spiritual babies. Proverbs 27.5-6:
5 Open rebuke is better
Than love carefully concealed.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
But in the end, it’s His enabling that causes us to keep growing (Phil. 1.6) and His grace that will cause us to one day stand before Him perfect. Verse 24:
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.
Note: Changing churches is something we should do prayerfully and wisely. We shouldn’t change churches over preference issues, but we should make sure we are in a biblical New Testament Church. And ladies, remember, our husbands are to lead the home. So, discuss this issue together if you have concerns, but don’t go against the wishes of your husband in this or any area unless you’re being asked to sin.
Today’s Other Readings:
Hosea 11 & 12:
God’s Purifying Love
God’s love is not a pampering love, but a purifying love. The nation of Israel was ungrateful and disobedient and He would allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions, but He will eventually restore them because of His love and mercy.
Search Me, O God
Because our hearts are so deceitful and we can be blinded to our own sin, we need to pray like the Psalmist in verses 23-24:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives (Jer. 17.9-10a NLT).
We need God’s Word and His Spirit to help us see our pride and selfishness and areas where we have justified sin. Only His Word can renew our minds and consciences.
But merely reading or knowing what it says on an intellectual level is not enough. We must allow His Holy Spirit to convict us of the sin and unrighteousness in our hearts. And then we must become doers of the Word or we will continue in our deception while believing we’re right with God. James 1.22-25:
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
Defending Our Right to Sin
“An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.”
Anger spills over on to everything it touches. When we give vent to anger, we “give place to the devil” (Eph. 4.26-27).
That’s pretty easy to see … in someone else’s life!
But too often our deceitful hearts can allow us to justify and defend our right to be angry, instead of repenting and allowing God to do His work in our hearts.
Do you invite God to examine your life on a regular basis? Is there some area of your life where you know God’s truth, but have failed to apply it to your life? Have you justified some sin?
Do you read and study your Bible daily?
Do you attend a church that is teaching God’s Word in its entirety, the full counsel of God, or just the easy to swallow parts … those that don’t make you uncomfortable?
Do you have godly friends who challenge you and help you grow in your walk with God? If not, will you pray that God will bring at least one mature Christian friend into your life?
In the next few days, we’ll talk about judgment, the Rapture, the Tribulation, grace, the responsibility involved in being a true friend and discuss the question, “Are you losing that loving feeling?”
Be sure to sign up here so you won’t miss any of these upcoming daily posts. Sign up now for a chance to win a bible and journal. See the details below.
Getting ready for 2018 with a Chance to Win a Bible & Journal
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading and prayer an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible and to sign up for my daily encouragement. This year I’ll be adding Scripture-based prayers to each day’s post. If you sign up before December 15 you’ll have a chance to win a MacArthur Daily Bible and a journal to record your thoughts and those Scripture-based prayers. Email subscribers will also be automatically entered into a drawing for monthly giveaways throughout 2018.
I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
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So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them right now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.
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