Who is Jude and Who are You?
1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for[a] Jesus Christ:
2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
We begin this single “chapter” book of Jude late in the NT. This is a letter written to Christians in the first century who are struggling with what I would say are common first century issues. They have people in their church sphere who are teaching bad things. They have people in their church sphere who are behaving badly. (And it is no wonder because bad theology and bad behavior go together).
In many ways this letter reads very similarly to the epistles in the Book of Revelation. Similar issues are being dealt with. And it is no wonder. The gospel is reaching new cultures and as people interact with the gospel, they struggle to set the teachings and example of Christ above their current worldview. And in the instances of these letters, they have people coming to their churches teaching them that they don’t have to set Jesus’ teachings and example first. The reality is that in our lives, we don’t have to do this either, but if we don’t follow Christ, then we give up the life that Christ has for us. We don’t get to do just whatever we feel like and walk in the life that Christ has for us. In the opening address of the letter Jude mentions blessings from God that are resident in those who follow Christ, providing a contrast that describes what will be lost if folks don’t appropriately reject the bad teaching and actions of many in their church.
Jude begins by introducing himself. How would you describe yourself to someone else?
- Who is Jude?
- A servant of Jesus Christ
Resolving ultimate allegiances! Jude has decided that his primary identity in life is as a servant of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is our Lord and has priority in our lives!
Matthew 4: 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Matthew 6: 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[c] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[d] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Because Jesus is our Lord, we live as His servants! (Bond servant is a servant by choice.)
Romans 12: 1Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Present yourself to God, serving Him as an act of worship. We express God’s worth to us by serving Him obediently!
II Cor 8: And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.
Because we serve Jesus, we serve others!
- A brother of James
James is, the leader of the church at Jerusalem.
James is the brother of Jesus
- A brother of Jesus
Jude is the brother of Jesus (So is James)
Matthew 13: 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
John 7: After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want[a] to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.
- Who is the Audience?
- Those called to be the people of God
(This makes them the audience!)
- Called from the present world view
- Called to define ourselves as God’s people
- Called to follow Jesus Christ
- God has acted in their lives to bring them to the place where they are. And that place is described in the rest of the passage. They are loved by God. They are kept for Jesus. (Think about this as a bride is kept for her husband to be. And there are others seeking to lure her away.)
- Those who are loved in God the Father
In what ways has God shown His love for them? And how has God shown His love for you? What is the risk of turning their backs on that love from God?
- Those who are kept for Jesus Christ
You are kept for Jesus Christ. You are a bride, pure and spotless!
Look at Revelation 21: 1Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
A new home. In a new place. With a new family. It’s a different identity. This is where we are headed. If we do not keep ourselves for Christ during our betrothal, then what are we?
Jude closes his salutation with the following blessing:
2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
III. Abundant Mercy, Peace and Love
Paul: Grace and peace to you…
Jude calls on these people to be abundantly blessed by God’s mercy, peace and love.
- Abundant mercy
Define abundant. Abundant is not just enough. We hear the word abundant and we should think of riches of mercy. Fullness of mercy. Enough for us and for us to share!
Look at John 10:10 Life more abundant
Look at Lamentations 3:
16 He has also made my teeth grind with gravel; He has made me cower in the dust.
17 My soul has been excluded from peace; I have forgotten happiness.
18 So I say, “My strength has failed, And so has my hope from the Lord.”
19 Remember my misery and my homelessness, the wormwood and bitterness.
20 My soul certainly remembers, And is bent over within me.
21 I recall this to my mind, Therefore I wait.
22 The Lord’s acts of mercy indeed do not end, For His compassions do not fail.
23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I wait for Him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who await Him, To the person who seeks Him.
26 It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the Lord.
Mercy is God not giving us what our actions deserve. It is a withholding of condemnation and judgement. It is God holding back the full consequences of our sin.
- Abundant peace
The Jewish word is shalom. It incorporates much more than just a lack of conflict. It means we live a life that fits in God’s world, with the purposes for which we are created manifested in our lives.
We are blessed by God.
He has provided for us what we need for our peace.
We are protected by God, He has provided what we need for our present needs to be met and our future secured.
We have the purposes of God as the purposes for our lives. Our lives are about much more than ourselves. Our lives mean more because they are attached to our created purpose. We have the privilege to live a life that brings honor and praise to the God of the universe, who has provided for us abundantly!
- Abundant love
God’s love is demonstrated in sending Christ so we might believe in Him and have everlasting life! John 3:16 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so Christ has been lifted up on the cross in order that all who look to Him might have life!
God’s love is demonstrated in adopting us as His children!
Many children are born by accident. They are a lovely result of the love and commitment between a bride and groom. There are no accidental adoptions. And adopted children are given full rights as natural children. God has demonstrated His love for you by adopting you!
God’s love is demonstrated in choosing you as a bride for His Son. In a culture of arranged marriages, the bride is chosen by the parents. To be honored in such as way by God the Father is a massive compliment and demonstration of His love!!!