ONCE FOR ALL www.openhandspublications.com Glenn W. Harrell 05-07
Have you ever been disappointed in a product because of the way it was advertised?
If so, it was most likely because the stupendous claims outweighed the reality of performance.
I have a car wax that says right on the bottle, “The Once a Year Car Polish”. Well, when water no longer beads up on the surface of my car 4 months later, I pretty much take that as a sign that it needs more polish. (wax) Also, it struck me that those of us who own trucks, boats and motorcycles might disregard the claim because it is only for “cars”. Even if it could do as promised and last for a year, it is still a stark reminder to me that our lives have but one genuine eternal component. That is the eternal Word—the Eternal Christ.
“Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
It was the servant Jude who had his words redirected because of false advertising. This is an episode of FAKE NEWS. He had planned to send a letter of simple encouragement and instructions on living out the saving faith God had placed within each of the followers. Instead, he puts on his father/mother/pastor/shepherd/Sheriff/ cap, and assails the would-be-thieves who packaged a fallacious campaign and outright slander towards God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He comes out swinging. He opens both barrels as he defines the deceivers according to the “once for all truth”. God, in his providence, had Jude pen these words for them and for us today. In fact, every generation since time has needed to hear these words of truth.
This is a good place to read or re-read the book of Jude in its entirety. (It’s one chapter takes only 5 minutes to read)
I. Family and Friends Defend
“My dear friends, I really wanted to write you about God’s saving power at work in our lives. But instead, I must write and ask you to defend the faith that God has once for all given to the saints.” (v3)
My Dear Friends—People we consider friends will know we are their friends by our truthfulness with them, not our avoidance.
Write to You—Whether by pen or the stroke of key—whether USPS, hand delivery or email, we write of our love and concerns. We are prayerful and careful of their timely delivery.
God is at Work—Christians always acknowledge this fact and count on it. His saving power is all around us and within us.
“God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey Him.” Philippians 2:13
My Old Testament Professor JW Lee remarked, “God is always preparing us for what He is preparing for us.”
Defend the faith—Christians play offense with love and defense with the sword of truth. The faith is to be defended by all believers, not just the paid staff or learned preacher. Defending the faith is not the same as attacking people with personal insults, as if we are somehow superior to them. It is making sure that such faith is well rooted in our own life and lifestyle. We use the armor of God for our own defense. We allow the word of truth as offense. And we never forget: “love wipes away many sins.” (I Peter 4:8)
We do not attempt to change anyone’s behavior, only to inform them of who can and will.
Once for All Given—God’s people have “One Lord, one faith and one baptism.” (Ephesians 4:5)
Throughout the centuries, man has attempted to add to Jesus as if the Christ of the bible is somehow inadequate, or to subtract from Jesus as if he was too bold and assertive in his claims. In so doing they have multiplied their curses. They have become as the blind leading the blind. Defending the “once for all given” faith includes this foundational truth:
Jesus + nothing = Once for all, God gave His Son.
Once for all, the same faith exists for all saints today.
II. A Cause for Action
What causes Jude to jump into hyper-evangel mode? Godless people sneaked in and began preaching yet another gospel!
“Some godless people have sneaked in among us and are saying, ‘God treats us much better than we deserve, and so it is alright to be immoral’. They even deny that we must obey Jesus Christ as our only Master and Lord.” (v4)
Why was this such a terrible thing?
–For one, they were sneaky. God’s Truth can never be couched, packaged, altered or sold. Truth needs no advertising campaign or an infomercial to assure its effectiveness. In fact, all those things usually reveal that truth is absent. Truth is light.
“Don’t take part in those worthless things that are done in the dark.” (Ephesians 5:11)
–Next, they were only half right. They said, “God treats us much better than we deserve” (beautiful so far)
Then the error slips in, hopefully unnoticed. “and so it is all right to be immoral.” (v4a)
–Now then, in utter disbelief, Jude further reveals,
“They even deny that we must obey Jesus Christ as our only Master and Lord.” (v4b)
This was error mixed in with truth, and I assure you that there were takers then, just as there are today. If you have never done it, try watching just 10 minutes of “Televangelism” and see how perverted a “Jesus man” will become for money. Tune in to DAYSTAR TV. –One TV Infomercial after another with Jesus “seed-faith” money lining their pretty pockets and “ministry”. The Popoff’s reemerge as the latest scam artists on the scene. If you are not as repulsed and angered as was Jude, something is off-kilter in your faith.
How many of our churches deny such convictions as this and place them into a category of mere preference? This is especially true today when the church seems to be so afraid of standing with the truth. I suppose because we want to be loved by this world and not rejected? Perhaps we are like the healer crooks? We are caught up in greed and deception ourselves? Regardless, we are warned, “these godless people are doomed.” (4b) We can even look backwards to see why we must love truth. We have our history as Tudor. It teaches us what He did and what He will do today about immoral behaviors and sly, human agendas in the church.
III. A History Lesson and an Apostolic Warning “DON’T FORGET” (vv 5-16)
1-Those the Lord rescued from Egypt
2-The angels who didn’t do their work
3-The people of Sodom and Gomorrah
4-Destructive daydreamers and angels
5-Those who follow Cain, Balaam and Korah
IV. A Call to Action (vv 17-25) Christians have work to do. Here are some positive steps.
1-Remember the warnings given by the apostles
2-Keep building on the foundation (Colossians 3:6-7)
3-Keep in step with God’s love
4-Be helpful to the doubting
5-Rescue the lost
6-With fear in your own heart, have mercy on others
8-Offer praise to God
The whole idea of “sin as you please now that you are saved”, or “alright to be immoral”, came from the Libertines.
Who are they? The Libertines: People who believe that sinning more only brings out more of God’s grace. So, sin is good and more sin is better than good. Such a practice is called “antinomianism”. (against the law) Out with the law and its associative moralities.
We also have Liberal Arts College or University–places of academic freedom and true liberty. Such academic pursuit today is right and good, but it can quickly be distorted into antinomianism at its finest. Those who, “professing themselves to be wise became fools”, teach against any moral absolutes so that they may be freed of sin and conscience will produce disciples after their own kind. These graduates then go to work and practice the lawlessness they were taught, attempting to construct their own version of morality. When these students end up in jail, might their professors be required to go and pay their bail, then step behind the bars on behalf of their students for teaching such anarchy against the moral order of God and His universe?
Here are some more thoughts about Libertine-Antinomianism:
–The great theologian Janis Joplin said it this way: “Freedom’s just another word for, nothin’ left to lose.”
–The great Apostle Paul had this to say about antinomianism: (Romans 6:1)
“What should we say? Should we keep on sinning, so that God’s wonderful kindness will show up even better? No, we should not! If we are dead to sin, how can we go on sinning?
–The Apostle Peter says it like this: (2:16)
“You are free, but still you are God’s servants, and you must not use your freedom as an excuse for doing wrong.”
–Jesus Christ speaks to the matter in finality: (Matthew 14:15)
“If you love me, you will do as I command.”
Before knowing Christ, we are obligated to sin and its destructive powers. The Christian, however, understands intrinsically that sin committed by the child of God must be confessed as such. Confession is agreeing with God, not contrived justification. We must confess to God and those we have “trespassed against” to the end of restoration. In so doing, we are not regaining our salvation, rather restoring our broken communion with the Father and often our fellow man. Beyond this confession, we renew our repentance to sin and rely on God to “deliver us from evil.” Along with confession, we do our part by staying in His word, prayer, and obedience to His word. He does His part by growing us up to be more like Jesus, keeping us, and keeping us busy.
“And until that day, Jesus Christ will keep you busy doing good deeds that bring glory and praise to God.” (Philippians 1:11)
When Jesus put an end to the Law, it was in His fulfilment of Law. When He freed us from the Law, it was from sins curse.
We could never hope to attain a perfect status to the Law apart from His sacrifice on the cross.
In the truest sense, the Christian is now free not to have to sin, or to pay sins penalty, because, and only because,
“He offered a sacrifice “ONCE FOR ALL”, When He gave Himself.” Hebrews 7:27
A “Once for all faith given to the saints.”
No wonder we are asked to defend such faith and the church to which it belongs.
V. A Worthy Benediction God has not changed His mind about moral behavior and Jesus is our provision for right behavior.
“Offer praise to God our Savior”—WHY? “Because of our Lord Jesus Christ!”
“Before time began and now and forever more, God is worthy of glory, honor, power and authority.”
Now then, for those of us who think, “I can do all of this on my own!”, get this message,
“Only God can keep you from falling and make you pure and joyful in His glorious presence.” –Jude 24
God’s polish on you and me is not a “Once a Year”, it is eternal. He made a “once for all” application. “Amen.”