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Skip Heitzig - A Call to Battle

Skip Heitzig - A Call to Battle
Skip Heitzig - A Call to Battle
TOPICS: Fight for the House

Good morning. So glad you are with us. Hey, would you turn in your Bibles to the Book of Jude, also known as "Hey, Jude?" That was a joke. Yeah, the Book of Jude. I'm really glad to be back in a New Testament book, a verse by verse study. Albeit a short book, I'm really glad that we can be going through this incredible section of Scripture. Just kind of a forewarning. This message today is a call to arms. It is a summons to fight. And I know you're thinking, well, I didn't come to church to learn how to fight. Skip. I came to church to be encouraged. I understand that.

When I was a kid, I never liked getting into a fight. That's not to say I didn't get into a fight, because I did from occasion to occasion, time to time. But I didn't like it. I tried to avoid it, even though I had friends, or at least acquaintances, in school who didn't mind, even looked for getting into a fight. I think we all know kids like that in school who are like that. But I wasn't that kid. And as a Christian, I don't necessarily like to fight. Most Christians would agree that fighting is not what we are called to, primarily. We follow a Savior who said, I am gentle and lowly in heart.

The problem is we may think He was always like that. We might think that Jesus never raised His voice, that Jesus would never embarrass anyone, that He would never call anybody out, that He just sort of stood there with a smile on His face, His hand on the head of little kids, maybe healing birds from time to time, and just speaking in a gentle, soft, loving voice. I've even noticed that great artists in history have depicted Jesus sort of that way. They, for the most part, picture and paint a Jesus who is wistful, weak, even effeminate.

However, there was a side of Jesus that was contentious, the Jesus that took tables in the temple and overturned them and took out a whip and drove people out of the temple. Yeah, that Jesus. The one who said, brood of vipers, translated you bunch of slimy snakes. That Jesus. The one who said to his detractors, whitewashed tombs filled with dead men's bones and all corruption. The one who said, you are of your father, the devil, and his deeds you do. The same Jesus who said to the religious leaders, when you win a convert, you make him twice as much child of hell as yourselves. It is that Jesus that the Book of Jude brings in to the forefront. It is Jesus with a backbone.

Now, Jude is a small book. There's only 25 verses in it, only 613 words. But though it's a small book, it's a small book that packs a big punch. I look at the Book of Jude sort of as a fighter's manual for the believer. It was not Jude's intention, originally, to write this letter. As you will discover, Jude sat down to write a sweet, little note of encouragement, but he ended up writing about false teachers that had come in the church. And what this book reminds us of, at just first blush, just looking over the book, is that Christians are not on a playground, but we are on a battleground, a battlefield. We are called to that.

In fact, the whole atmosphere of the Book of Jude has sort of a military tone to it, even a militant tone, from the language that is used, the grammar, the brevity of the commands, the sort of bullet point directives that Jude gives throughout this book. In fact, in verse 3, he uses the term "exhorting." This is what I am doing, he said, I'm exhorting you. And that's a word that describes a general giving orders to an army. So let's read the first four verses of Jude. This is our summons to war, our call to arms. "Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ. Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you, exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith, which was once, for all, delivered to the saints, for certain men have crept in unnoticed, who, long ago, were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."

Did you know that Jude is one of the most neglected books in the New Testament? Most preachers don't touch it. They don't preach sermon series from it. It's filled with all these kind of Old Testament analogies and references, and there's a lot of judgment and condemnation and warning in this book. I've even noticed that it's hard to find a good commentary on the book of Jude. I've collected a few of them, but most commentators, those who write books on the books of the Bible, don't have a lot of stuff on the book of Jude. Most Christians know it's there, but they don't really know what it's about, and certainly they don't quote much from it. I dare you to find somebody who will say, my life verse is found in the book of Jude.

About all that we really know about it is probably the favorite verse of Christians, which is verse 24. It's the benediction at the end of the book, where he says, "Now unto Him, who is able to keep you from stumbling and present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." It's a great benediction. But that's about it. But the book of Jude was written about apostacy. Ever heard that term, apostacy? To apostatize or an apostate, it's a word that means those who defect from truth. They defect from the true faith, or they never really had the true faith but they pretended to be a part of it. You could call them nominal Christians, Christians in name only, who slip in, as you will see, unnoticed.

Now you might ask, well, what's the big deal about that? I mean, why write a whole book, or a little letter even, about that? Well, that is the question we're going to answer in the next few weeks. And today, I want to show you four components to this call to battle. We're going to look at the army, the hostility, the artillery, and the enemy. Let's consider those four components. First of all, the army. And we find that in verse 1 and 2. "Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ. Mercy peace and love be multiplied to you." That's the army. It includes Jude, the author; Jesus Christ, the commander; and us, the troops.

So let's just begin with Jude. I'm going to call Jude the ADC, the aide-de-camp in military parlance. He is the assistant to the commander. He is the one who is going to give the command of the commander to the troops. He is the one writing the letter. He is bringing the summons, calling us to war. Now, he is called Jude in our English translations, but here's what you may not know. English translations have altered the original name of Jude, for obvious reasons, as you will see momentarily, and given him the nickname, not really the name that is written in Greek. In the Greek translation, it doesn't say Jude. It says, in Greek, Judas, which is the name Judas. Judas. There's lots of different people in the New Testament by the name Judas, but there's only one we remember, and that's Judas the traitor, Judas Iscariot. It is not that Judas that wrote this book, however.

But that's a name that, for obvious reasons, instead of saying, hey, here's the book of Judas, because people are going to go, whoa, I don't want to read that book. I don't want to find out about how to be a traitor. So they've softened the name Jude. People don't name their kids Judas. Have you noticed that? Have you ever met a Judas before? We'll name our kids Paul, Peter, other biblical names, but not that one. You won't name your dog Judas. But the Jude, or Judas, that wrote this book is a different one than Judas Iscariot.

By the way, let's just throw that out. Isn't it ironic that the only book in the New Testament that speaks about falling away from the faith, defecting apostates, is called the Book of Judas? It's just an interesting thing to note. But the Jude that wrote, notice who he is. He's a bondservant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James. So that narrows it down.

Of all the people named Jude or Judas in the New Testament, there's only one that we know about whose brother was named James, and that is Jude, the half brother of Jesus, literally related to Jesus Christ. Both James and Jude, Judas, in this case were related physically to Jesus. That is, Joseph and Mary were his parents, Jude's parents, and James, whereas Jesus had Mary as his mother but was conceived in the womb by the Holy Spirit. A half brother of Jesus.

We meet them in Matthew chapter 13. The text says, "Coming to his hometown", that's Nazareth, "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. Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary? And aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?"

That's who we believe wrote the book of Jude, Jude the half brother of Jesus. So verse 1 then speaks of a transformation that happened in Jude's life, for he says, Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ. He wasn't always a bondservant of Jesus Christ. In fact, did you know that Jude and James, and the other brothers, half brothers, did not believe in Jesus while Jesus went through his ministry, 3 and 1/2 year ministry, on the earth? They thought Jesus was nuts. They thought he was delusional. They thought the lights were on but nobody's home. They thought he was one taco short of a combo plate, whatever delusional metaphor you want to use. They thought that about Jesus.

We're told as much in Mark chapter 3. "As the crowds gathered in Capernaum and Jesus," it says, "was unable to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, He is out of his mind." They thought he was bonkers. They didn't believe in Him. Now, I'm bringing this up, and I'm underscoring it, because I want those of you with unbelieving family members to be encouraged by this. Even Jesus Christ had family members who were unbelievers. So the question is, well, what happened to Jude to make him a believer? And isn't it interesting? He doesn't say Jude, the half brother of Jesus. He says, Jude, a bondslave of Jesus. What happened? What transformed him from an unbeliever to a bondslave of Jesus? A very profound event known as the Resurrection.

See, when your half brother dies and then gets up from the dead, that'll do it. That's enough. And when that happened, he became a believer. So we find him in the book of Acts chapter 1. It says "They all met together, that is, in the upper room, continually for prayer, along with Mary, the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus." Jude was in that upper room. The Resurrection is what brought him to faith. So remember this, never give up on those you love. Never quit praying for your family members. Never stop having hope for that unbelieving family member. You never know when the grace of God is going to break through and grab that heart, have something happen, and there'll be a transformation.

So that's Jude. Jude is the ADC, aid-de-camp in this army. The commander is Jesus. Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ. Now, I call him a commander because that is how he is depicted in Revelation chapter 19. That's His second coming. He is depicted as a commander. He comes on a white horse. John, who wrote the book, said He comes with the armies of heaven. He pictures Him with a sword to strike the nations. So He's battle-ready. John further says He judges and makes war. He even has the blood stains of His enemies on His uniform.

So this is not gentle Jesus, meek and mild. This is giant Jesus, mighty and riled. This is the warrior Christ. This is the second coming. So He is the commander of this army. And the troops were the recipients of this letter, and by proxy, us today, for he says in verse 1, "to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father", sanctified means set apart, and I like this, "preserved in Jesus Christ." So God called us to Himself. He set us apart for Himself. And He will protect us by Himself. You are preserved. Just latch on to that word for a moment. Preserved in Jesus Christ. It means to carefully guard or protect.

I'll tell you what, it's nice to know before you're going into battle that you're going to be preserved. It's like, OK, you're calling me to fight here, but then the commander says, yeah, but I want you to know the odds are so in our favor. We are so going to win this battle. Hands down, the ultimate victory is already ours. You're going to be preserved.

Now, there's going to be skirmishes along the way, hence the book of Jude, but you will be kept. You will be preserved. And notice in God's army, there are some great military benefits, mercy, peace, and love multiplied. So you're in the army now. The question is not, will I be a soldier? The question is, will you be a good soldier? Will you be a faithful soldier? Will you be a loyal soldier? You and I are part of this army. So that's the army. Let's look at the second component to this battle, the hostility. That really takes us to verse 3. That's the heart of this whole introduction.

"Beloved," I like that it begins that way, "loved ones, people that I love." Because he's going to talk about some really heavy, hard-hitting things, so he wants them to know they are deeply loved by him. "Beloved or beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you, exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith, which was once, for all, delivered to the saints."

There's something I think you need to know. The first few verses of this letter are the nicest part of this letter. So just remember that, because it's going to sort of go downhill from here, as far as niceness is concerned. It's going to go uphill, in terms of revelation, but the first few verses are the nicest part. "Beloved." And then the very end of the book is going to get nice again. There's that benediction. But you just kind of hold on to that.

So what he's saying is this, verse 3. I originally sat down to write you a letter of encouragement about our common salvation, following Jesus, celebrating being saved. But it didn't come out that way. I'm giving you, rather, a call to arms, to get into a fight. Warren Wiersbe wrote, "the Holy Spirit led him to put down his harp and to sound the trumpet." Now, I can relate to Jude. Jude is saying, I'd much rather tell you about something else. I'd rather write to you something really sweet and encouraging. I didn't, but I'd rather. I mean, I relate to that. I'd much rather preach encouraging sermons. I would much rather talk about heaven. I'd much rather do a series on family relationships and love within that relationship. I would much rather do another series on give peace a chance and talk about the peace of God. I love all those subjects.

Nobody likes to talk about fighting. I'd much rather do a series on the acts of the apostles than on the acts of the apostates. But he said I found it necessary. Notice that, I found it necessary to write to you, exhorting. The word necessary literally means pressured. It means to compress or to squeeze. The idea is to have pressure come upon you. So the idea that I get is he sat down to write something really sweet, but the Holy Spirit kept applying the pressure until he wrote this. And what is this? What is he calling us to exactly? Well, he tells us in verse 3, to contend earnestly, or vigorously, for the faith. What does that mean? You know what contend means. It means to fight. He's saying put up a good fight for the faith.

The New Living Translation puts it this way, defend the truth. The JB Phillips translation translates it, put up a real fight for the faith. The New English Bible says, join the struggle in the defense of the faith. The Message translation, by Eugene Peterson, puts it, fight with everything you have in you. So you get the picture. You get the idea. He's calling us to fight. I'll give you one more translation, the NSV. Ever heard of the NSV, the New Skip Version? I'll put it this way. Put on your boxing gloves. Get in the ring. Don't be afraid of your opponent. Let's take it to task. Let's do this. Let's get involved in the fight.

Now, the word contend happens to be an athletic term. An athletic term. Now, I'm going to say the Greek word and you're going to try to listen really carefully and see what that sounds like. So the Greek term is agonizomai. Let me do it again, agonizomai Agony. Agonize. We get the English term agonize from that. So picture an athlete, since it's an athletic term, running the Olympic whatever he's running or she's running in, and just straining with the muscle, to the point of agony, to win. That's the idea of contend vigorously or earnestly. You'll never fight God's battles from a sofa. You'll never contend for what really matters, to the point of victory, by just cruising in your La-Z-Boy all day. You're going to have to decide to get up as part of the house and join the fight.

You say, wait, wait, wait. What are we fighting for? What's this all about? Well, he tells you that. Put up a good fight for, or contend earnestly for, the faith. What is that? The faith is a term, a construction, a term in the New Testament that refers to the body of Christian truth, as given in the New Testament. The body of Christian truth. It's not some nebulous believe whatever you want to believe thing. Faith, have faith. It's the faith. And the faith has a synonym, the Apostles' Doctrine. They gave themselves, Acts 2:42, to the Apostles' Doctrine. That is, the truth the apostles passed on. They gave themselves to the Apostles' Doctrine, breaking of bread, fellowship, and prayer.

The term "the faith" is often used throughout the New Testament. Here's a sampling, 2 Corinthians 12. "Examine yourselves whether you are in the faith." The faith. Paul said to Timothy, "the Spirit expressly says", this is 1 Timothy chapter 4, "the Spirit expressly says that in the latter time, some will depart from the faith." That's what we're seeing in Jude, apostasy. Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines taught by demons. At the end of Paul's life, he wrote to Timothy again, 2 Timothy, and he said, I've run the race. I've fought the fight. I've kept the faith.

So that's the faith. The faith is the complete New Testament teaching concerning Jesus Christ, who God is, who Jesus is, how a person gets saved. Fight for that. Fight for the faith. Something else, go back to verse 3. Because he says contend earnestly for the faith, which was once for what? Help the preacher out here. What does it say? All. Once for all, or better, once for all time. The truth, the faith that we're talking about, was once, for all time, deposited, or delivered to, the saints. Now, that's a very important truth, because what that means to me is, I can't tell you exactly when the book of Jude was written, but it tells me this. Let's say AD 100, because that's like the Book of Revelation.

By AD 100, all that God ever wanted to say, in terms of Scripture, was done. There is no more revelation. He said once, for all time, delivered to the saints. So it's not like God later on said, you know what? I left out a few things. Here's the Koran. Oh, I forgot some other stuff. Here's the Book of Mormon. No, no. It's once, for all times, delivered to the saints. Revelation from God is over. Another caveat. Let me give a little nuance to this. It says we are to contend. It does not give us permission to be a contentious person. So you can fight with a smile. You can contend and put up a good fight for, but you can be nice. You don't have to be mean. You don't have to get really raunchy. You can just fight the good fight of faith.

In fact, in 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 15, he said, "be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear," or "gentleness and respect" the NIV puts it. Gentleness and respect. Fight the fight, but do it with gentleness and do it with respect. So you and I are called to build the truth. We are called to fight for the truth, the faith. Here's an illustration that might help. In the Book of Nehemiah, remember they came back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city? The city had been broken down, the walls and the gates burned with fire.

Nehemiah comes back. He assembles a group. They start building the walls. The enemies on the outside try to sneak on the inside. They try to subvert the whole building process. They lob accusations at them. You know the story probably. In chapter 4, here's the illustration. They were on the wall building. In one hand, they had a trowel. In the other hand, they had a sword. So they're building, putting cement in the cracks of the stones, but they got a sword in the other hand because you never know when that enemy is going to try to jump over this wall and sneak in. So it was the sword and the trowel.

So on one front, we build up the church. On the other front, we defend the faith against those who are trying to destroy it. And that is a calling for every believer, every volunteer, every staff member, every worship leader, every pastor, to fight the fight. Martin Luther said this, "a preacher must be both a soldier and a shepherd. He must nourish and teach and defend. He must have teeth in his mouth and be able to bite." Jude is not afraid to bite. Jesus was not afraid to bite. In fact, I think that's what made him such a good shepherd. Remember what David said, Psalm 23? You know this. Your rod and your staff, they?

Comfort me. Why would a rod and staff comfort a sheep? Well, a staff is to guide sheep, but you know what a rod is? It's a club. Think of it as a bat. So a shepherd would carry a rod to direct his sheep on pasturelands, but a club, or a rod, to beat off the enemy. The wolves coming. I'm going to just smack them down. And if I'm a sheep, I'm going, I'm comforted by that. I don't have a shepherd who just wants to guide me. He's going to fight for me. He's going to battle. That's the hostility. So we have the army, the hostility. Let's look at a third component in this battle, the artillery. I'm just going to touch on this, the artillery.

So back to verse 3, exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith, which was once for all, now, get this, delivered, or deposited or handed over or put under our care to steward, that's the idea, delivered to the saints. Do you know that God has given us the most powerful weapon in the world? It's called truth. Truth. It's called the Word of God. We have truth. We have His word. So not only do we fight for the faith, we fight with the faith. We don't just fight for the truth. We fight with the truth. We combat error with truth.

We don't have to yell. We don't have to slander. We don't have to malign. We don't have to send really nasty tweets. We don't have to lob ad hominem attacks on people. All we have to do is hold up truth. Confront them with the truth. Preach the truth. Declare the truth. It's exactly what Jesus did when Satan came against Him in the wilderness to tempt Him. I love how Jesus handled it. Satan comes. Jesus doesn't say, you idiot devil. You know what he says? He says, it is written. It is written. It was the Word of God. It was the Scripture. He confronted error with truth.

And He did that to the religious leaders who also contended with Him. He didn't tussle with them. He just said, you're in error, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. And that's why we spend most of every service we have here in the Word. That's why when we have a worship service, we spend 45 minutes in the Bible. On Wednesday night, a full hour, sometimes an hour and five or 10, in the Word. It's simply me giving you ammunition. It's you reloading. And the expectation is you'll go out into enemy territory and inflict damage by declaring truth. That's the artillery.

Let me take you to the fourth and final component here. That's the enemy. What are we fighting against? Who are we fighting against? Who are these people? Well, there is a description in verse 4 that is sort of the introduction to the bulk of the Epistle going forward. Let's look at verse 4, and notice some of the characteristics of these apostates. He says "for certain men have crept in unnoticed, who, long ago, were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turned the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." So we notice a few things about them.

Number 1, they're deceitful. He says they crept in unnoticed. That is, they slip in secretly. They don't announce themselves. They're sort of undercover. They're nothing more than Satan's undercover agents. They pretend to be Christians. They sit next to Christians. They'll even sing some of the songs up on the screen. But they're not. They slip in unnoticed. Now, Jesus warned that they were coming. Paul warned that they were coming. Peter warned that they were coming. Jude says they've arrived. They're here. They're in our midst. They have crept in unnoticed. So they're deceitful.

Here's the second characteristic. They're ungodly. That's in verse 4. "Certain men have crept in unnoticed, who, long ago, were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men." Now, let me just say that, for some reason, Jude really liked this word, because he used it a lot. He liked this description. You'll see what I mean. Go down to verse 14. "but Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men, also saying, behold, the Lord comes with 10,000 of the saints to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds, which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

Wow. I get it. They're ungodly, right? Verse 18, "how they told you that there would be mockers in the last days or the last time, who would walk according to their own ungodly lust." Now, I counted six times in 25 verses Jude uses the word ungodly. What is ungodly? It means unGod-like. UnGod-like. It's a person who claims to belong to God, but they are not like God in their thinking. They are not like God in their living. That's ungodly. They are, to use Paul's description, 2 Timothy chapter 3, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. From such turn away. They are Christians in name only, nominal Christians. Oh, yeah. I've always been a Christian. My parents, grandparents, the church.

Now, you say, well, so what? I mean, why are they so dangerous? Why do they merit a whole letter? Well, there's a principle that Paul said in the New Testament. He said a little leaven will leaven the whole lump. You get enough people slipping in who are ungodly people and do not hold to godly beliefs, and they're not only going to taint, but they're going to influence a lot of other people. There's another part to this description. Not only are they deceitful, not only are they ungodly, they are manipulators of grace. Verse 4, "who turn the grace of our God into lewdness." You know what lewdness is? You know what a lewd person is? You know what a lewd person is. It's an immoral person. Lewd means immoral.

It's somebody who lives for, and really only thinks about, satisfying his or her own passions, desires, lust. That's a lewd person. Their mantra is you're saved by grace, so live any way you want to. You can do whatever you want, because God is so good and so loving and so tolerant. He'll just let you do anything you want. Just say you're a Christian. They turned the grace of God into lewdness. They'll even use the Scripture to promote that belief system. They want everybody to agree with their immorality. They want everybody to agree with their definition of morality.

They want the church to say it's OK to practice homosexuality. They want the church to say it's OK to abort babies. They want the church to say it's OK to identify as a female even though you're a biological male. They want the church to say you can select any pronoun you want in the world to identify yourself. And if you don't, we want to shut that church down. If you don't agree with us, we will bring the full force of even government, if need be, to say that you are hate-mongering and it's hate speech, because you don't agree with our definition of morality.

I could give you thousands of examples of that. I'm just going to give you one, but we could give you so many. And I'm giving you this one because it's so recent. It just happened really a month ago, six weeks ago. There is an organization that goes under the name Bethany Christian Services. You may have read articles about this in the news. Bethany Christian Services has been one of the nation's largest, most successful evangelical Christian adoption and foster placement agencies. I think it is headquartered in Michigan.

But Bethany Christian services once held a very high biblical standard that marriage was between one man and one woman. It was a biblical definition of marriage. And they sought to place children in homes that were Christian homes. But all of that changed March 1st. It changed because Bethany Christian Services finally caved in to the LGBTQ community so that now they, too, can adopt children into their homes, because that community cannot procreate. So now Bethany Christian Services provides children to be placed in those homes.

Now listen to the change. In 2007, Bethany Christian Services said, this is from their own words, God's design for the family is a covenant and a lifelong marriage of one man and one woman. That's as biblical as you can get. That was 2007. Now the applause should die, because March 1st they abandoned that, and they are now redefining what a woman is, redefining what a man is, redefining what marriage is, redefining what the family is. What you have is this. They have turned the grace of God into lewdness.

Now, Jude is saying this 2,000 years ago, and here we are today, this far down the road. So it shouldn't surprise us because we find it in the Scripture. Every generation faces it. Charles Spurgeon had his issues during his day over 100 years ago, but I want to throw up what he said. He once said this, "the new views are not the old truth in better dress, but deadly errors with which we can have no fellowship." In other words, you know what? At some point you draw a line, and you say, love means telling truth to people. That's what love means. I love you enough to tell you the truth.

And I'll accept the consequences. But here here's the final description. Not only are they deceitful or ungodly, not only do they manipulate grace, but they deny Christ. For he says in verse 4, "they turn the grace of God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ." Now, I know in reading that, it sounds like Jude is referring to two different persons, God the Father and then Jesus Christ. The Greek construction makes it refer to one person, the same person. A better translation is this, "they denied our only God and Lord, Jesus Christ."

But that's the point. They want to name the name of Christ, Oh, yeah, I'm a Christian. I go to a church. I'm a believer. They just don't want to live under the authority of Christ. They want to name His name, but they don't want to do what He says. And I kind of remember Jesus talking about that, in Matthew chapter 7. "Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father in heaven." I remember Jesus saying in Luke chapter 6, "why do you call me Lord, Lord, but you don't do what I say?"

So fight the fight. You ready to step into the ring? I am. I kind of look at it this way. You know, we've had quite a year, and I've watched what's happening. And I listen. I have my ear to the ground. I listen to what the world is saying and I listen to what politicians are saying. And it doesn't look favorable for us, in terms of how the world is going to treat us in the coming few years. And I kind of look at it this way. I've had a good life. I've had a good run. I've had a good ministry. Maybe the Lord wants me to have a jail ministry.

And it could come to that, that if you speak the truth and you stand up against this crazy immorality, they'll put you in jail. So send me notes if I end up there. You'll be there with me? Good. We'll be cellmates. Hey, I just want to close by saying I hope you know my heart in this. It's a heart of love. I mean, I'd rather talk about peace and encouragement and Jesus coming back. I'd love to do all that, and we do. But we think, I think, I believe that this is a series for such a time as this. Let's pray.

Father, thank You that you love us. Thank You that Jesus came and took our sin upon Himself, that we have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory, and Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. Sin had left its crimson stain. He washed me white as snow. Thank You for that act that makes us Your children. Thank You that you love us. Thank You that that love and peace is multiplied to us. Thank You that You preserve us so that, ultimately, You'll see us through. You have our back. You're calling us to this battle. The ultimate outcome has already won. Give us a backbone. Give us courage, during the time in which we live, to love well, which means to speak the truth in love. In Jesus' name, amen.

Are you Human?:*