“Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion……….
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”
Jude 11, 20-21
Jude (Psalm 39)
I encourage you to watch the Bible Project Video (click here).
Jude is a brother of Jesus who came to see Him as the Christ after His resurrection. Jude now calls himself a servant of that same Jesus. He is writing, it would seem, to Jewish believers as he refers in detail to Jewish history and writings. Essentially his message is a call for the Church to persevere and remain true to the faith. He warns against godless men and teachers who pervert the truth, calling others into rebellion against God and sexual immorality. He details their end by describing the eternal separation from God and punishment that awaits. To link to our ‘application’ section, (see below), let me briefly focus on Cain, Balaam and Korah. Cain did not worship God in truth, sin crouched at the door to his heart; it mastered him and he murdered his brother (Genesis 4: 1-8). Balaam had a covetous heart (Numbers 22-24) and he led God’s people into sin (Numbers 25: 8, 16). Korah rebelled against Moses’ guidance when the sons of Aaron and the tribe of Levi were made the priests of the nation; he wished to exercise a role he had no right to (Numbers 16: 1-35). The first gave his heart to sin, the second with a covetous heart led others into sin and the third had a heart of pride rejecting the authority God had put in place. All rebelled against God.
Instead God’s people are to humbly submit to God through faith. This keeps them in God’s love and enables them to watch over their brothers and sisters in Christ. Their reward is eternal life.
As the Bible project video states, God’s Grace demands a whole life response. Following Jesus means full obedience. This is how we show our love for God and remain in Him (John 15:10). We may go the way of Cain and not fully worship God in truth, rejecting His Kingship. This means we will worship other things which will eventually master us and potentially destroy us (Jude 10). We may go the way of Balaam and covet what we haven’t got. With a dissatisfied heart we may lead others into sin. Or, like Korah, we may reject the authority God has established in His Church and cause division as our pride demands another route.
Instead let us work to build others and ourselves up in the faith, praying in the Holy Spirit and remaining in God’s love through full obedience. May God be the true King of our hearts.
The Question of Application
What do we hear and see in our world that may draw us away from God? How might we build ourselves or another up in the faith and in God’s love?
In God’s strength, and in His Spirit though Jesus Christ, may we build others and ourselves up in the faith. May we give glory to Him who is able to keep us from stumbling and to present us before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy. To the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and for evermore! Amen Amen
King of Kings sung by St. Aidan’s
The King of my Heart by Bethel Music
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.