Christians are Called, Loved, and Kept
Sermon on Jude Vs 1
Preached in Southbridge on 5-13-07
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:
Jude has a certain group of Christians in mind when he writes this letter. They have specific needs and problems but Jude says something in the opening of his letter that describes all Christians than and now. That’s what we want to look at thins morning. Let’s read the first few verses of Jude together.
What was true of these Christians is true of all Christians. We are all “Called, Loved, and Kept”. But what does that mean?
a. This word carries the idea of an invitation. We get invitations all the time from Pampered chief and birthday parties to wedding invitations. And an invitation can be rejected. I don’t have to answer the invitation but those of us who are Christians have answered the call and have accepted the invitation but what have we been invited or called to?
b. (To the lambs banquet) We read in Revelation 19:7-9
i. "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb."
ii. Jesus said in Matthew 22:1-14
iii. "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,
1. We have been invited to the lamb’s banquet, the kingdom of God. Those who are in Christ have entered into that kingdom and we have tasted the good things of the kingdom banquet but when we reach eternity we will enjoy the banquet in its fullest sense. A banquet is a time of love and joy. Peace and fellowship as well as a time for celebration. We have been invited to the Lamb’s wedding banquet where we are to enjoy the good things of God.
c. (To serve) But that’s not all we have been called to. We have been called to serve.
i. Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. We are to serve our Lord and God but we are also called to serve one another
ii. 1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace, We are called to serve one another. John 13:1-17 Jesus does something amazing, he washes the feet of the disciples and says they are to do the same for each other that is to serve one another. And you know as we serve one another we are serving Christ.
iii. In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus tells us what the final judgment will be like and he says that one thing people will be judged on is their love and service for others and says that those who served others were in fact serving Christ.
iv. "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
v. Now Jesus goes on to say the opposite, that is those who refused to serve others refused to serve him. Saul found this out when he was on the road to Damascus and he saw the risen Christ. Jesus said Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me. You see Saul was persecuting the church his body and so was doing it to Christ.
1. We have been invited or called to service. We serve our Lord and God with our lives as a living sacrifice to God and we are to serve God by serving one another.
d. (To suffer) and we have been called to suffer.
i. 1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
1. We are called to suffer for the name of Christ. When people mock you or persecute you in any way for being a Christian you are blessed. It may be that your family will mock you or talk about you behind your back or your friends will no longer want to be your friends because you are a Christian well in that you are blessed because you are suffering for the name of Christ. If you are having trials in your life and things are going from bad to worse to what feels like the depths of suffering it can’t get any worse, if you endure for Christ you are blessed. You see we have been invited to suffer, pick up your sufferings and follow Christ. People see Jesus when you suffer like Jesus. Rejoice and know you are suffering for the name of Christ.
e. (To invite others) We have been called to invite others. In Matthew 28:19-20 we read
i. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
1. We are called to invite others to the Good news. We are to spread the message of Jesus Christ and hand people the invitation to life. You were invited to the Lamb’s banquet and are now given the task of inviting others. If you had the cure for Cancer, the only cure, there was no other cure, and you kept that cure to yourself how wrong would that be? As millions of people are dying all around you and you say well I don’t speak well, or they might laugh at me or what ever else. It wouldn’t matter would it? No, you would go out of your way to tell people I have the cure, here it is please take it. And if they pasted it by the first time when you saw them later as the Cancer was progressing you would tell them again wouldn’t you? I have the cure here.
2. Well sin is killing far more people that Cancer ever has or ever will and you have the cure, Jesus Christ. More deadly and destructive that any disease, is sin and we have the cure the one and only cure for the sin sick of this world and you have been invite to invite others to life. You will meet people that I will never meet. You may be the only person to offer them the cure to hand them the invitation.
2. (Loved) Jude goes on to describe these Christians as Beloved of God the father. One translation says “Wrapped in God’s love” I like that it brings to my mind a cold winter night where you are sitting in front of a fire with a blanket or two wrapped around you. Warm and safe. I like that imagery. We are wrapped in God’s love. What kind of love it God’s love?
a. (Sacrificial love)
i. 1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (To be the sacrifice for sin).
1. The love of God is a sacrificial love. God has given himself on the cross for you. Jesus said his goal; his mission in life was to give his life for others. Dying the death we were due. God’s love is a selfless love.
b. (Suffering love) God’s love is a suffering love.
1. God’s love is not only sacrificial but it is a suffering love. Love that suffers for others. Jesus is God. In the first chapter of John we are told he took on human flesh, leaving heaven and the glory that came with being God, glory that was rightfully his and became flesh, a human. Just that act was suffering, as he walked this planed as a human, being tempted in every way we are tempted and tempted with things I will never be tempted with. But then to suffer the humiliation of being mocked, stripped naked, beaten and then crucified before his earthly mother. What kind of suffering that was I shall never know, but he did that for you and for me. God’s love is a suffering love.
c. (Eternal love)
1. God’s love is also an eternal love. He will never stop loving you. Isn’t that good news in the times we live in where people say all the time I don’t love her or him anymore. Or I have fallen out of love with them. What garbage but that will never happen with God. In Christ we are give life eternal and love eternal. Paul says that faith, hope and love are eternal but the greatest of these is love. We are told by John that God is love. To be wrapped in the eternal love of God. Praise him for his eternal love.
a. Guarded (Watched over) protection
i. One way in which we are guarded is that No temptation will over taken us. 1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. We are guarded by God in the area of temptations. It’s good to know that even though we will be tempted we will never be overwhelmed by it. God is faithful and Christ is keeping us.
b. (His possession) But if we are kept for Jesus that makes us his possession.
i. Jesus says how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man. He’s talking about Satan. Some are saying that Jesus was casting out demons by the power of demons. But Jesus talks about a house divided and then the idea of a strong man being bound. The point I want you to think about is that Jesus is more powerful that Satan or any other demon or power out there. If Jesus is keeping you you’re safe.
c. No one can take us out of God’s love
i. Jesus said in John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
ii. No power in the universe can separate us from God and Christ
iii. Only our walking away can separate us. If we leave Christ. If we choose to turn our backs on him but nothing in this universe can separate us from Christ.
iv. Paul asks a question in Romans chapter 8. Turn there with me.
1. Rom 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? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 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. (That’s good news.)
Christians you have been called, loved, and kept. Now go and invite others that they too might have what you have in Jesus Christ.
No matter what is going on in our lives whether we are struggling with false teachers as the Christians who Jude writes to are or whether we are enjoying good times with our friends and family Christians are called, loved, and kept.