Monday, January 27, 2014
Scratching the Surface of Jude
Scratching the Surface of Jude
Following Jude's lead, let's be honest about churches.
Historically, church membership rolls have been polluted by people who really don't get it/Him and often don't really want to get it/Him but just wanna be listed as posingly getting it/Him for mostly social reasons or something equally hypocritical; noting the Greek word for hypocrite that Jesus used referred to people who wear masks to conceal who they really are.
Again, historically, we know lots of clergy who have been employed by churches without being called by God who don't get it/Him and often don't really want to get it/Him but just wanna pose for a catalogue of reasons suggesting pejorative pathologies rather than confessional intentions.
Biblically, we know Jesus knows who they are; or as He said, "They come in sheep's clothing..."
They slither into churches like terrorist sleeper cells to ravage and rape the sheep at "an opportune time": "...unGodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."
Yes, they may mouth faith and go through the motions of faith; but their true character is exposed by their antics to distract, detour, divide, destroy, and damn: "...ungodliness...These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires...loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage...scoffers, following their own unGodly passions...cause divisions...worldly people...devoid of the Spirit..."
While Jude wanted to be warm and fuzzy and extol everybody and everything, his discipleship demanded honesty to God and the Godly: "Although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation..."
So it's nothing new.
Bad apples find their way into barrels of fresh ones and threaten to make 'em as rotten as they are.
Truly authentic Christian leaders - there's a need for redundancy to press home the importance of The Good Shepherd's call to undershepherds to encourage, equip, and protect the sheep - know they must, in obedience to clear commands in Matthew 18 and Romans 16, identify the irregular, irascible, and irreconcilable; isolating them from the immature and maturing and praying and laboring for their redemption via confession and repentance and removing them if they continue their dark behaviors.
Jude's concerns then remain contemporary as churches are inhibited and sidetracked from becoming part of the Church by unconverted clergy, unconvinced laity, and Pharisaical reincarnations.
Succinctly, unconverted clergy are women and men without faith in church leadership who lied about their infidelities to "get" ordained, never really believed but faked it to "get" ordained, or abandoned Biblical Christology somewhere somehow along the way but lack the integrity to admit it. Unconvinced laity are the children of unconverted clergy. Pharisaical reincarnations substitute organizational order and human traditions for the commandments of God as enfleshed in Jesus and explained in Holy Scripture.
They were a problem exposed by Jude while continuing to expose themselves today; particularly in their faithless inability to talk about Jesus by name; "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
While we've gotta love 'em enough to call 'em back to Jesus and leave the ultimate judgment to Him, Jude makes it equally clear and conclusive that they will be judged for their distracting, detouring, dividing, destroying, and damning: "Woe to them!"
Jude concludes with a glorious doxology preceded by practical preparations echoing the truths of John 3:16-21, 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, Ephesians 6:10-20, 1 John 4:15-18, and parallel texts certifying our empowerment over darkness by remaining in the Light: "Build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God...have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire...Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen."
Jude acknowledges the challenges.
He exposes the contrast between churches corrupted by the world and the Church remaining faithful to Jesus by the book.
He never doubts the outcome.
Jesus wins in the end; and people who really believe in Him and behave, more than less, like they believe in Him share the victory.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!