Skip Heitzig - How to Stand When Others Fall
Good morning. Hey, today's a very special day. It is my daughter in law's birthday. Jenny, I'm going to embarrass you again. You got to come out. Got to come out again. Look, she's working back on the platform. 35 years ago she was born. I shouldn't tell... I shouldn't be telling your age. But I did. I can't I can't take that back. Oh, you look fabulous. Are you kidding? You look great. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Jenay. Happy birthday to you. Thank you for marrying my son. Thank you for those two great grandkids that are awesome. Would you turn in your Bibles please. Thank you for indulging me on that. We turn in to your Bibles to the book of Jude. Jude is a short little book right before the Book of Revelation. Has one chapter.
We've been working our way through that book in this series called fight for the house. Falling down is a part of life. Every human being does it when they're learning how to walk. But falling down can be dangerous. You can get injured. You could become disabled. And believe it or not, a good number of people have died in just falling. According to the World Health Organization falling is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide. According to their estimations, 600 and 84,000 people die every year from falling.
That's mostly in low income and middle income countries. Age is a factor. Unattended children is another factor. Poor working conditions is another one. And lack of regulation, safety regulations in place. Old age is especially, dangerous. One out of four, elderly people fall down every year. And less than half of them, ever tell their doctor that they did. Now, a number of these people become hospitalized. It's estimated that 800,000 people a year are hospitalized from injuries like a hip, fracture or a head injury, due to a fall.
Several years ago I went to go visit my mom. She was in her 80s at the time. I drove up to her house in California. Get out. I'm walking toward the front door and I hear a voice above me calling from above. I knew it's not an angel. I know it was not God because it sounded an awful lot like my mother. But I was astonished that I would hear my mom's voice from above. So I look up and on top of the roof, is my mom. And I said, "Mom first of all, you're a nurse. So you know better. This is not something you should be doing."
She goes, "Oh, I know. But something broke with the air conditioner." and I'm thinking what, and you are suddenly an air conditioning repair person? In your 80s you've become that? I mean, how does that work? So I said you come down. And I made her promise me, you will never do that again. That's dangerous. Now just as certain conditions make falling down easier physically, I think that there are certain conditions that make falling away spiritually easier. And I would even say that the church today is more susceptible than ever before to people falling away. And I'll lay that at the feet of church leadership, pulpits pastors.
I think that there is an enormous amount of biblical ignorance. Not just culturally, but I mean in the church, that there is a biblical illiteracy even. If you were to compare the average sermon today, with the average sermon say 100 years ago, you'd find it a massive difference. If you were to compare a Christian book written today by a Christian author, Christian pastor leader, with a book written hundreds years ago, you would see a huge difference for a lot of reasons. If you were to compare a Christian seminar or conference to one that was done a century ago again, you would see a marked difference. What has happened is Bible teaching has been dumbed down. And it has been made shallow. It has become oversimplified. It has been reduced to slogans.
And why is that? Well, for a number of reasons, and I'm not here to tell you all those reasons. But I think Christian leaders think that people just don't have it in them to understand the depth of doctrine and what the Bible really has to say. So since they have a short attention span, let me just pander to that short attention span. Or maybe my audience doesn't truly believe or they're just not as interested. So I will dumb it down. And then the subject of so many sermons is anemic. It's often about successful living, or self-esteem, or a number of felt needs, or cultural fads.
In fact, let's be honest, sermons have become sermonettes. And last time I checked, sermonettes are for a Christian acts. We need the real deal. We need the Bible truth full strength holding nothing back. But today, discernment isn't really important depth. Really is an important doctrine really is an important. What's important is dazzle. So sometime ago, one of my associate pastors was driving me to the airport. Brian, you were the pastor. Thank you for taking me that day to the airport. So I had to catch a flight to go to Canada to speak. And Brian asked me a question which goes, how many pastors under the age of 40
Or he put it this way "can you name five pastors under the age of 40 who are Bible expositor." And I got to admit I was flummoxed. I just like that word. I was flummoxed. And I did know how to answer. I uttered and I named one and then two. And I said, "That's an interesting question. Why do you ask that" because well, actually, it's a question that was asked by one of our School of ministry students. She said "Can you name five pastors under the age of 40, because I'm a millennial. Can you name five pastors under the age of 40 who are Bible expositor."
And she had written that on her Facebook page. And she wrote this, "we're done with Glam Rock liturgy, and preaching for pizzazz that masks the lack of biblical preaching. We want our souls fed, not our emotions tickled. And I thought bravo, for her. That's such a great sentiment to say. What she is saying is, we don't want the show. We want to know. There's things we want to know about, teach us that. Well, that takes us to the book of Jude and in verse 20, Jude says, "but you, beloved, building yourselves up on the most holy faith.
Praying in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God. Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some, have compassion making a distinction. But others save with fear pulling them out of the fire. Hating even the garment defiled by the flesh." You will note how verse 20 begins. It begins with a shift. He's been talking about them, about these people, those guys, those spots, in your love face. Those water-less clouds. Those false teachers. Those apostates. The whole book. This short little book has been filled with Jude's description of them.
But in verse 20 he pivots and he says "but you beloved." So he turns away from them and he turns to us. They may be falling, you should be standing. And saw what he does in these short verses. And Jude was a master at using the economy of words to give us a bulwark of strong principles. We have some ingredients of how to stand when others are falling. When you see people falling from the faith, falling around you, how do you stand? Well, there are a few ingredients I want to draw your attention to them. First, is keep building your faith.
If people are destroying the faith of others, if people are falling from the faith, then the solution for us is to be building up our own faith. That's what the beginning of verse 20 is all about, "But you beloved, building yourselves up and your most holy faith." Now, remember how Jude begins this letter. He sat down and he wanted to write a sweet little note of encouragement. He said, "I wanted to write to you about our common salvation. But I found it necessary to exhort you to contend earnestly for the faith, once for all delivered to the Saints."
Conten means, put up a good fight for the faith. And he calls it, that faith. And that term is not referring to your personal faith. It's not your believing subjectively. It's that faith. Objectively, it's the bulk of Christian doctrine, Christian belief. It's what's called in Acts 2:42, the Apostles' doctrine. So the faith are all those basic principles that we hold as truth. That's the faith. So with that in mind, he says, "building yourselves up on your most holy faith" The faith has become your personal faith. And that is because, so many people were abandoning the faith.
They were leaving the faith. We told you how Paul wrote to Timothy and said, "The spirit expressly says, that in the latter times, some will depart from the faith. Giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines taught by demons." So if people are leaving the faith, then you should be loving the faith. If people are deserting the faith, and you should be determined in your faith. If people are going to be forsaking the faith in you then I need to be fortifying our faith. In other words, if they're going to tear theirs down, we need to be building ours up. That's the antidote to their falling. I like this. Anything left to itself just goes to ruin. It's like part of life. It's the second law of thermodynamics. Things tend toward disintegration, deterioration.
Take your house for instance, you buy a house, Oh, goody. Yeah. Oh, goody. But you're going to have to patch the roof, eventually. Or put a new one on, eventually. You're going to have to address stuccoed deterioration on the outside, eventually. You're going to have to deal with that heater or air conditioning, eventually. Right? There's a number of things that take regular maintenance. So to with our spiritual life. Our spiritual life requires maintenance. Any life left to itself, will fall apart. So we need to be building it up. There's a parallel passage to this found in the book of Peter, second Peter. In fact, second Peter and Jude some of the wording of both of those letters, is almost identical.
But even where it's not identical, some of the principles are the same. And this idea of building up your faith is part of second Peter. Second Peter chapter one Peter says, "also for this very reason giving all diligence listen add to your faith virtue to virtue knowledge. In to knowledge self-control.
And to self-control perseverance. And to perseverance godliness. brotherly kindness. And the brotherly kindness love." And then he says, "If these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
So that's an interesting way of putting it. Giving all diligence means, exerting yourself. Do you realize that Christian growth is not Automatic? It has to be intentional. If you think you can fall back on that little saying, that just sounds so good, but it happens to be poor advice. Let go. And let God.
It's not going to work. You don't let go. You build up. You add to your faith. Exerting all effort, add to your faith, virtue, et cetera. The Chinese church the church used to have a saying very, very simple but profound saying. And the saying was this, "No Bible. No breakfast."
What, no Bible, no breakfast. What do you mean? How am I going to live? Read your Bible. Then eat breakfast. No Bible no breakfast. I just thought that's interesting.
I think what they're doing is summing up what Job said in his book, where job said, "I've esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food" But I read that, no Bible no breakfast, and I thought, boy, if we followed that in America. How many of us would go hungry or at least lose a lot of weight?
So the question is this, are you growing up? Are you growing strong? Or are you just growing old? Because spiritual growth is not always proportional to physical age. I wish I could say it was. I wish I could say that a person once they're a Christian, give it enough time, they're going to become mature.
But you know you can be an old baby. Charles Spurgeon said, "in the Church of God, there are children who are 70 years old. Yes, little children displaying all the infirmities of declining years. One would not like to say, of a man of 80 that he is scarcely cut his wisdom teeth. And yet there are such.
On the other hand, there are fathers in the church wives, stable, instructed, who are comparatively young men. The Lord can cause his people to grow rapidly and far outstrip their years." So build yourselves up. Don't settle for junk food.
Don't allow yourself to be starved to death spiritually. And I'm just going to recommend this to you but, I'm going to recommend that you start coming to our Wednesday night Bible study. I mean, it's great to come to Sunday morning or Saturday or whatever. But on Wednesday night, we're able to go through every verse, of every chapter, of every book, of the Bible.
Now eventually, it won't happen all at once, obviously. But we do that. We'll go through a chapter or two. And we have a longer time. And we can go deeper. And we can go longer. And give a person what Paul called the whole counsel of God. Not just a snippet of a Bible verse here and there. But the whole counsel of God. So keep that in mind.
But that's the first ingredient. Keep building your faith. The second ingredient is keep praying with fervor. Back to verse 20, "but you beloved, building yourselves up on the most holy faith, your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit."
You probably by now know that the word of God, reading the word building yourselves up in the most holy faith and prayer, go together because it completes the cycle of communication in this relationship we have with God. When you read the Bible, that is God speaking to you.
When you pray, that is you speaking to God. And you need both to balance out your spiritual life. So if all I do is read and not pray, I'll have a lot of light but no heat. If all I do is pray but not read, I'll have a lot of heat but no light. So to get both light and heat, I need to read the word and pray.
Now I'm going to bring up a question because it's not often asked but these are questions I have asked, why pray? I mean if God already knows my needs any way, in advance he knows everything I need. I believe he does. And he's a good Father. Why has he set this relationship with him up where it requires prayer?
It's almost like he's waiting or going, I haven't heard a prayer yet. So what's up with that? Why prayer? Why is it so important? Why make a big deal out of it? I'll give you one word to answer that question, dependence. God likes dependence. God loves dependence. God loves trust.
God loves to be asked. In fact, I'll go a step further, God is attracted to need. I'll even go a step further, God is attracted to weakness. Oh, I feel so week. God's attracted to that. The Bible says, God has chosen the foolish things of this world. He's chosen the weak things of this world.
And then Paul the apostle when he asked God to heal them of something he said, "I prayed three times. And the Lord said, my grace is enough for you." But then he said, my strength is made perfect in your weakness. God is attracted to weakness.
I remember hearing a story from an old play that became a stage play, that became a movie. I think it was called The Barretts of Wimple Street. I don't ever expect you to remember that or even know what that is. But it's about Robert Browning the author, and his wife, and the relationship they had.
And she was growing weaker over time. And she felt so embarrassed by that. And finally, the husband said to the wife, "Sweetheart, don't you realize that my strength needs your weakness just as much as your weakness needs my strength."
And I thought, boy that captures the heart of God when it comes to prayer. God loves our dependence. He loves our need. He loves and is attracted to our weakness. And so he says, ask, pray. By the way, I need to say that God is not attracted to self-sufficiency.
He is not attracted to, no I can do this. God has not attracted the pride. In fact, do you know God resists the proud. But he gives grace to the humble. So build yourselves up on your most holy faith and pray. Read the word. Here from God. And talk to God.
You've heard me talk over the years about Billy Sunday. He was an evangelist in fact, he was a revivalist in the classic sense of the word. He was also before that a professional baseball player in America. He became a believer and one of his early mentors.
A friend said to him, William, that's what he called Billy Sunday, "William there are three simple rules that you should practice. If you do no one will ever be able to write the word backslider after your name." He said, "take 15 minutes a day to let God talk to you. Take 15 minutes for you to talk to him. And spend 15 minutes a day, telling others about the Savior."
Said, "If you do that, you will never be a backslider." Billy Sunday made that the practice of his life. Every day, he's going to hear from God. Every day, he's going to talk to God in prayer. And every day, he would tell somebody about the Savior.
He became an incredible evangelist, with that in mind. So he says, "building yourselves up in the most holy faith. Praying in the Holy Spirit. By the way, what does that mean, praying in the Holy Spirit. Some will say, well, it must mean praying with tongues.
Well, maybe. But I don't think so. I think it's just simpler than that. And that would not be the understood meaning. I'll tell you what I think it means. Go back to verse 19. The verse right before that, speaking about apostates falling away, false teachers.
"These are sensual persons, who caused divisions, not having what? They don't have the Holy Spirit. They're unsaved. They're unregenerate. The Holy Spirit is not in them. But you beloved building yourselves up on your most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit" that the Holy Spirit lives in you.
And it's simply a way of saying, let the Holy Spirit direct you when you talk to him. He'll guide you. He'll direct you. It'll be in accordance with his will. A lot of times people say, well Skip, how can I pray for you?
And I think I probably frustrate them when I say, praise the Lord leads you. And they don't want to hear that. They want to hear some specific thing that I'm dealing with. But I just say you know what the Lord will speak to you. Maybe something I need to be prayed for.
But I don't know what that is so just as the Lord leads do that. Now why am that general? Here's why. The purpose of prayer is not to get my will done in heaven. The purpose of prayer is to get God's will done on Earth. That's why Jesus said, when you pray, say our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom coming. Your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven. So pray. Praying in the Holy Spirit. Let me give you a third ingredient. And that is keep living in favor. Keep living in favor. Go to verse 21. "Keep yourselves in the love of God." This happens to be one of my favorite verses in all of the New Testament.
And probably, my favorite verse in the book of Jude. "Keep yourselves in the love of God." What does that mean. How do I keep myself in the love of God? I'll tell you what it doesn't mean he's not saying that your salvation depends on your effort. He is not saying keep yourself saved, because you cant. You didn't save you.
And you don't keep yourself that way. God gives. Right? It's his sovereign work. That's what a lot of the scripture, re-contradict a lot of the Book of Jude. Verse one says we are preserved by Jesus Christ. Verse 24, "now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and present you faultless".
So he's not saying keep yourself saved. Nor is he saying keep yourself in a place where God can love you. I have people all the time saying, I don't know how God can love me. And I'm thinking, I don't know how he can love you either, because I don't know how he can love me.
But I've gotten past that so long ago. I've discovered that God loves the unlovable. It's not like, well, I got to do something so God can love me. He is not saying keep yourself in a place where God can love you, because he loved us when we were at our worst. Paul said, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
So what does it mean keep yourself in the love of God? Simply this, keep yourself in a place where you are experiencing the love of God. Keep yourself in a place where you are enjoying the love of God. That's what it means.
The living Bible renders this verse, stay always within the boundaries where the love of God can reach and bless you. If you were to go out in the sun, and I was just out in the sun with some of you before the service enjoying the sunshine, it's a beautiful sunny day out.
It's not like yesterday, with the wind and crazy. And it's just it's gorgeous. And if you go outside and the sun is shining, and you are keeping yourself in the sunshine, right? Do you know that you can be in the sun, but not experience or enjoy the sun?
He said come on, once you step outside, you're in the sunlight. How do you keep yourself from enjoying it? Well, I'm glad you asked. You could, if you wanted to carry one of these with you. Right? I don't know why you would on a day like this, but the sun's out. And you could do this.
Come on, you need to get a new one. Oh, there you go. OK. So I'm in the sun but I'm not feeling it. In fact, that breeze feels a little cold. OK. Well, take your umbrella down, stupid. OK. Oh, Yeah. There it is. That's good.
But I don't feel it right now. All right. So I'm in the sun but I'm not keeping myself in the sun. There's an impediment called an umbrella. So it is possible to have God love you but you're not enjoying. You're not experiencing it because something's in the way.
I'll give you an example in the scriptures in the upper room when Jesus had, I'll give you this example. Are twirling my umbrella because it's just so fun to do. This is just fun. I've seen this in the movies. And the upper room, there were a couple of disciples. There were 12 of them. But there were two of them right next to Jesus.
One on either side of him one was named John, one was named Judas. Jesus love John. And Jesus love Judas. John was keeping himself in that love of Jesus. Judas was not. John next to Jesus, leaned in leaned his head on the bosom on the breast of Jesus, to be close to his heart.
He was keeping himself in the love. Judas was in that room next to Jesus with an umbrella. He was not keeping himself. In fact, he was plotting how he was going to leave and lay his hand on Jesus, to betray him to the Roman government.
Jesus loved them both. One was keeping himself in the love of God. One was not keeping himself in the love of God. So simple thought be occupied. Or even preoccupied with the thought that God loves you. Let that thought dominate your life.
Remind yourself of that frequently, God loves me. I'm his beloved. I'm his treasure. He loves me. Keep yourself in the love of God. One way to do that is to respond in obedience to what he said, to obey him. You'll find that when you live to please God.
You are more pleased with yourself, and when you live to please yourself. In that upper room Jesus said a number of things. But one of the things he said was this, "As the Father loved me, I also have loved you. Here it is abide in my love. Continue to stay plugged in to my love.
Biden my love, if you keep my commandments. You will abide in my love just as I have kept my father's commandments. And Biden his love". So an easy way to keep yourself. And the love of God isn't just to remind yourself, God loves me. God loves me. God loves me. But you know what, when God tells me to do something when I find a principle in the scripture, I'm going to do it.
I'm going to obey it. I'm going to make that a quick response. That's one good way to keep yourself in the love of God. Let me give you a fourth ingredient, I keep expecting the future. Keep expecting. Or keep anticipating the future.
Now look in verse 21 again "keep yourself in the love of God." Here, it is "Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." Almost every commentator, every Bible scholar that treats this verse says, without a doubt, Judas referring to the coming of Jesus Christ, for his Saints for his believers.
We are told to look forward to his coming, which by the way, is one of the great themes in the New Testament. So many of the books of the New Testament have that as its theme. The word looking for, means to look earnestly for or to live with expectation for.
And it describes an eager anticipation for the coming of Jesus Christ. We are looking for Jesus to come. Now when you hear that, when somebody says to you Jesus is coming soon, I wonder how you hear that. I wonder what you think about that.
I wonder if you are a little bit fearful. And somebody says Jesus is coming and you think, he is? Why? What do I do wrong? Like when I was a kid, my mom would say, your dad will be home soon. It's like Woo. It's like, I'll straighten up. Right? Because that meant something to me.
It meant I'm going to face judgment for what I did with my mom. If on the other hand you hear Jesus is coming in you go, Oh, Yeah. I can't wait. That's a good indication that you're keeping yourself in the love of God. And part of that is an eager anticipation, an eager expectation for him to come.
Sadly the teaching on Jesus return is also silent in many churches today. It used to be taught a lot more. Second coming rapture, millennial kingdom, a lot of these eschatological themes are frequently taught in churches. But it seems that more and more today, churches are either confused about eschatology.
Or pastors can't even pronounce the word eschatology. Or they just decide to remain silent on this subject that is spoken about so often in scripture. I was invited to speak at a church back East. And one of the assistant pastors ministry leaders said that I should talk about something related to end time events.
I said, I'd love to do that. So much of the Bible is about that. It would be a great word of encouragement. So I was preparing to do that. That day I got a call from the pastor who said don't talk on that. He said my church is not ready to hear that.
I said, wait a minute, you've been doing this 11 years. They're not ready yet after 11 years? I mean Paul the apostle was talking about that three weeks in after he planted the Thessalonians church. And he thought they were ready to hear it. But OK. I mean, this is your gig. This is due before the Lord. I won't talk. There's a number of other subjects I can talk about that are biblical subjects.
But I found that interesting. Don't talk on that. Be silent on that. Do you realize that all the historical church creeds, the Orthodox Church creeds that talk about what the church believes in. All of the creeds include an emphasis on the second coming.
We're waiting for him to come back. We're looking for him to return. And the reason for that is the church fathers understood that is an emphasis that is a biblical emphasis. They understood that roughly 1,845 times, that's a lot of times in the Bible, it talks about, predicts, or alludes to the second coming of Jesus.
So naturally, you would think Jude would say, listen, you want to stay strong? You want to keep from falling? You stay in the world. You stay praying. You keep yourself in a place where you're enjoying God's love. And you are living in anticipation and expectation for him to return.
Listen to the words of Alexander McLaren, one of my favorite Scottish preachers. He said, "The primitive church thought more about the second coming of Jesus Christ and about death or about heaven. They were not looking for a cleft in the ground called a grave. But for a cleavage in the sky called glory.
They were not watching for the Undertaker but for the upper taker." He nailed it. That's right. Now what I want you to notice in verse 21 is how he talks about waiting for the return of Christ. He calls it a mercy. Did you notice that? Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
So waiting for Jesus to return is waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why does he call it that? Well, think about it. The rapture of the church is one of the most merciful things God could do. To say I'm going to snatch believers up before a time of judgment on the Earth, the great tribulation period.
That is like the pinnacle, the apotheosis, the consummating expression of mercy. By the way, just in case you wonder this, because I get unbelievers who say, why do you Christians always look for signs? You're always looking at signs? COVID-19 happens, you go, is this a sign for Jesus coming back?
Or what's happening in Israel in the Middle East? This must be a sign. It's because the Bible conditions us to look at life that way, because he said he's coming. And he said, there's a whole list of signs that are going to happen. So naturally, we're going to start interpreting all the headlines that happen around us as, well, does that fit the biblical narrative?
Is that a sign of his coming? That's part of the eager anticipation. We want to know what time it is and see if that fits in. By the way, something else. To live this way is one of the most purifying ways to live. You see, if you consider the possibility that Jesus Christ could come before I say Amen at the end of this sermon, you're going to live a different way.
You're going to be pure. John said whoever has this hope, the hope of his coming, keeps himself pure just as he is pure. Though it is like my mom saying, your dad will be home soon. OK. I'll smile. I'll be good. I'll do it.
I mean, there's something to be said for living in the fear of the Lord, because Jesus is going to come into very, very purifying motivation. So keep building your faith. Keep praying with fervor. Keep living in favor. Keep expecting the future.
I want to close on a final ingredient, keep reaching the faithless. I'll try to make this quick. Look at the last two verses "And on some have compassion making a difference. But others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh."
You know what he's talking about here? The people he's been talking about the whole book, the apostates. People who have fallen away. The defectors. The detractors. The backsliders. The people who don't want anything to do with it or perhaps are still part of the congregation. But are dug in.
He's talking about them. And he's saying by these two verses, don't completely write them off. It's the easiest thing to do, shake your hands up and wipe the dust off your feet and say, they're goners. Forget them. Let them go. And he's saying not so fast. Don't dismiss them. Those who pose the greatest menace to the church can often become the greatest mission of the church. Let's think about how to rescue them back. Bring them back. Listen to James chapter five "Brethren if anyone among you wanders from the truth and somebody turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from error, the error of his way will save his soul from death. And cover a multitude of sins."
So we don't write them off. We do something with. And what do we do with them? Well, it depends on the condition of their heart. Are they weak, and failing, and doubtful. Or are they just their heels are dug in. And they're obstinate. And they're just rebellious. It depends. And he seems to be talking about both kinds in these two verses. So verse 22 he's referring to the wavering, the doubting. Verse 22 "on some, have compassion making a difference or a distinction." These are people who are saved but not secure. They're converted but they're not confident.
They are what Peter calls in second Peter chapter two, unstable souls. They are filled with doubt. They're filled with confusion. And the reason that they're even waffling, and wavering, and doubting, is because they've been attacked by wolves. And wolves attack sheep just like false teachers attack weak Christians, weak vacillating. Doubtful Christians are easy prey. So what do we do with those people who are unstable? Well, we don't antagonize them. We don't criticize them. We evangelize them. We don't say come on you wimp. Quit being a wimp. Men up. Follow Jesus.
Now you want to have compassion on them because your compassion will make the Jesus you proclaim that much more attractive. And the false teachers will lose that attraction. So in some have compassion making a distinction. And a good example of this Jesus. Jesus on one hand, stood up and denounced the Pharisees. Woe unto you scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites. I mean, he just unloaded on them. Next chapter he's eating dinner with the Pharisee. The next chapter he's eating lunch with another Pharisee. Another time he's having an evening conversation with another Pharisee.
Well, why? Why denounce them as heretical, and wrong, and arrogant, and apostate in Judaism. And yet go hang out with them? For this very reason, and it paid off. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who came to believe in Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea was a Pharisee who came to believe in Jesus, because of the compassion shown to them by Jesus himself. But then, there's verse 23. And this isn't the wavering. This speaks of the wandering one.
This is a person who's left the fellowship and are a part of that apostate group already, says, "but others say with fear pulling them, or yanking them, seizing them out of the fire. Hating even the garment defiled by the flesh." You remember what the angels did in Sodom and Gomorrah with lot, remember said, get out of town. He's lingering. He's going to OK. See you guys. God bless you guys. And so an angel took him by the hand and led him out of town before that fire fell.
And so was some people, you're a compassionate. With other people, you're confronting. To some people you are soft. With others who are more severe. It's like dude your house is burning, you are like, get out. And the rebuke is stronger. So it depends on the heart. But here's the bottom line. It's not falling into water that drowns a person. It's lying in it. It's staying in it. It's not falling into sin but lying in sin that will destroy the soul. So if you have fallen, you can get up.
And the antidote to your falling, weather you just sort of weak and vacillating falling a little bit and doubting, that's OK. Or you've taken several steps away from God. I don't know about this. I don't know if I believe in this. I'll keep coming. But I don't... The solution to falling is following. I challenge you today to turn around, the Bible calls that repentance, and follow the Savior. Bring to him your doubts. Bring to him your fears. Bring to him your rebellion. Confess that to him. Let him deal with it. He can handle it.
He's handled a lot of people like you and I, before. Give him your life. Commit your life to Him today. Or recommits your life to Him today. Father thank you for Jude's candor, his honesty. And how he with just a few words could say, so much. And have such great meaning. What a timely letter this was to the church that read it, 2000 years ago. And what a timely message it is for us today. For we find that conditions for falling away, were never better than they are today.
Lord, I pray that you would raise up faithful men and women, who proclaim, and teach, and instruct, and disciple. But Father, I pray that you would send your Holy Spirit to do that work of convicting, and drawing, and convincing, and showing your compassionate love and plan, for those who have dug their heels in. For others who have just walked away a little bit, because they're doubting, and struggling, and fearful Lord, I pray that they would feel all of them. Would feel compelled by your great love for them. We never want to dismiss anyone out of hand as being beyond reach or beyond salvation. No matter what their condition, only the true depth of the heart no matter what that person is saying to us. Or what that person is posting that we read. We don't know the heart. You do. More than that, you created the heart. More than that, you can work in a heart. More than that, you can save a soul. And we pray that you would save the souls of people whose names are already coming to mind sons, and daughters, and neighbors, and parents, friends, colleagues. Do your work in their lives. Lord, we pray for them now. And we pray for anybody who is in this room, who has taken a step away from you or maybe never has even come to you in honesty, or in legitimacy, and authenticity. They've never made a personal commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Lord, I pray that you would do a work today. Bringing some into your kingdom.
As we are about to close a service, in the last couple of minutes, if you've never given your life to Jesus, notice how I phrased that. I didn't say if you've never come to church before. You may have come to church your whole life. If you've never given your life to Jesus. If you've never personally surrendered your life to the Lord Jesus Christ control. If you are willing to do that today. If you're willing to believe that he died for your sins. That he can empower you to live a life for him. Or if you've fallen away and taken steps, whether in doubt or in rebellion.
But you are willing today, to turn back to him. And to recommit to him. If any of that describes you at all and you are willing to make a decision to follow Jesus now, with our heads bowed, I want you to raise your hand up. Raise it up in the air so I can see your hand. Keep it up for just a moment. God bless you in the back and in the front. A couple of you in the middle. Raise your hand up. Over here to my right, on the side, right in the middle in the ail. Way in the back on my right.
Anybody else? Raise that hand up. Raise it up high. If you're outside, raise your hand up. There's a pastor out there who will give you a shout out. Father, for all these lives, I pray special strength, special fortitude, to do what is right. To live what is right.
I pray, Lord, that you would break through the barrier of whatever emotional baggage they might have. Let them feel, let them know in the depth of their being that you love them. That they are so precious to you. If they have felt separated or felt anxiety, I pray that peace would flood over their heart. In Jesus' name Amen.
I'm going to ask all the stand we're going to sing a final song. And if you raise your hand, no matter where you were sitting, now standing, I'm going to ask as we sing this final song for you. Get up and find the nearest aisle. And come walk that aisle. And stand right up here. I'm going to lead you in a prayer, to make Jesus, your Lord and Savior. This is the best part of the service. We get to see Byrd. We get to celebrate God's work in you. You raise your hand, come on down and just make this public.
Make it public. Make it real. Make it yours. Some of you away in the back, on the sides, come to the doors of the family room. Come down the balcony steps. Just come on all the way up to the front. Follow the courageous steps of this young man. How are you doing? What's your name? Jacob. God bless you. Come on up. Let's get around these folks. Come on. Yeah. Congratulations. So good. We like to party here. And all the angels in heaven party when one person says, yes to Jesus. When a sinner says yes to Jesus.
I realize that's a free flowing translation, don't actually say they party down. But that's how I read it. They rejoice. And that's what we're doing. So, Listen, real quickly. This is going to take long. Anyone else, if you know you need to do this. There's a spot here for you. That's great. That's good. Come on now. OK. Now those of you who have come forward, I'm going to lead you now in a prayer. I'm going to pray out loud. I'm going to ask you to pray out loud, after me. Say these words. But say them from your heart. Mean them as you say them to God. OK. Say:
Lord, I give you my life. I know that I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe in Jesus. I believe he died on a cross. I believe he rose from the dead. And I believe he's coming again. I turn from my sin. I turn to Jesus as my Savior. I want to follow him as my Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.