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Author:Rev. Ted Gray
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Congregation:First United Reformed Church
 Oak Lawn, Illinois
 www.oaklawnurc.org/
 
Title:To Him Who Is Able
Text:Jude 24-25 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:God's Amazing Grace
 
Preached:08/07/2016
Added:2016-08-11
Updated:2016-08-12
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


 

Pastor Ted Gray
08/07/16 – a.m.
To Him Who Is Able”
Jude: 24-25
 
Last week (in verses 20-21) we read of how we as believers are to build ourselves up in the faith, how we are to be people of prayer, and how we are to keep ourselves in God’s love as we wait for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
But we could not do any of those things if it were left up us. If it were up to you and me to persevere in our faith, to live the Christian life, to witness to others, even snatching others from the flames as we are told to do in verse 23, if it were left up to us to do these things we would most certainly fail.
 
But as Jude closes out this short letter he writes one of the most beautiful doxologies in all of Scripture. He points out that although we live in an immoral world, where even the visible church is often corrupt, God is able and willing to, first of all, keep us from falling. The doxology begins, in verse 24, by saying, To him who is able to keep you from falling.
 
Can you relate to the danger of false teaching, not only within many churches, but within our culture? Can that teaching begin to erode your faith? Can you stand in the onslaught of all the false teaching of our culture which has now come into a vast portion of the visible church? By ourselves you and I could never stand. But this doxology reminds us that him who is able – God himself – will keep us from falling.
 
This doxology points us to the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. In fact, often this doxology is outlined with three words: preservation, presence and praise. God preserves those whom he redeems, he then presents us spotless and without blame before his throne, and because of that, we give to him our eternal praise.
 
However, when Jude says that God is able to keep us from falling, he doesn't mean that we will never stumble into sin. Even a brief glance at the lives of God’s people as recorded in Scripture reveals that we all stumble, we all fall into sin. We can relate to Peter with his denial of Christ. We can relate to David and his wandering eyes. We understand how easy it is to fall into temptation, into sin, and to be led astray by doctrinal error.
 
But even though we are prone to stumble, we are kept in such a way that we will never fall away from the Lord and lose our salvation. As Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the well known pastor from a previous generation said, “We may fall may times on the ship deck of life, but we will never be swept overboard.”
 
The reason why is that those whom Christ has redeemed by his precious blood are held in the hand of the Father, and in the hand of the Son, in such a way that nothing and no one can snatch us away (John 10:28-29).
 
It is a blessing greater than our ability to conceive that the Lord is able and willing to keep us from falling away. It is a blessing greater than our ability to imagine that we are held in the hands of our Lord, and enabled by his Holy Spirit to persevere to the end. But this doxology goes on to tell us, in the second part of verse 24, that not only is God able to keep us from falling away, but also that he will present us without fault and with great joy before his glorious presence.
 
Someone recently showed me his picture on social media. I don’t remember whether it was Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or one of the other social media outlets. It was a nice picture, but there was something a little different about it. And another person who was also looking at it with me asked, “Did you Photoshop that picture?”  And the person admitted that he had. He said, “It makes me look thinner than I really am, so I photo shopped it. It makes me look better than I am.”
 
When those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are presented before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy, it won’t be because they are photoshopped. It won’t just be an outward appearance, rather, the righteousness of Jesus Christ will be perfected within us. We who believe in him are already now clothed in his righteousness. But we still have within us all the effects of indwelling sin. But on the last day, and throughout all eternity, we will be presented to the Lord without any fault in us whatsoever. The fulfillment of our redemption will be evident as our sanctification will be complete.
 
The promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17 that the old has gone and the new has come, and that we are new creations in Jesus Christ will be perfectly realized in that glorious moment, and then throughout all eternity! And because of that wonderful reality, verse 24 tells us that we will be presented with great joy.
 
That is almost an understatement by Jude. It’s not as though the blemishes of our sin, dark and horrible as they are, will be covered with some cosmetic makeup, but rather our cleansing will be complete from the inside out. We will have spiritual bodies, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, and yet our bodies will be truly physical.  With Job we can confidently say, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" (Job 19:25-27)
 
When we are presented before God’s glorious presence without fault and with great joy, we will be presented body and soul. If we die before the Lord Jesus returns our soul goes to be with the Lord in glory. When he returns our bodies will be raised to bear a likeness to his gloriously resurrected body, and we will be joined body and soul to be with the Lord for ever. We will see him with our own eyes, in the words of Job.
 
In eternity we will live in these same bodies, but they will be perfect in every way. Since our flesh will be raised, how then can our bodies be referred to, in 1 Corinthians 15:44, as “spiritual bodies”?  1 Corinthians 15:44 says, It (the body) is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. How can the apostle say that? What does he mean by a spiritual body?
 
What that verse teaches us is that our resurrected bodies – every fiber of our resurrected being – will be in perfect harmony with the Holy Spirit of God. The struggle with sin will be over and done. Temptation will never come back to delude us. The devil will have his due in the fire of hell forever. All the false teaching and the hostility of the world will be gone forever.
 
We cannot even begin to comprehend how joyful that will be for us! But it will also bring great joy to the Lord our God who has redeemed us. In Hebrews 12:2 the author of Hebrews describes the cross of Calvary. He describes it as a place of shame, and we understand that the Lord Jesus, as he bore the curse of our sin on the cross, bore our shame as well. The cross conjures up in our mind not only shame, but excruciating pain, taunts and ridicule, and above all, that separation from the Father’s love which was more painful than any other aspect of the crucifixion for Jesus.
 
Yet what other word does the author of Hebrews use, in Hebrews 12:2?  It is the word joy! He writes, Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
 
When we are presented before the Father’s throne without fault, totally cleansed of our sin, there will be great joy, not only for us but for our triune God. In that presentation of the redeemed, faultless and without blame, the Father’s plan of salvation will be complete. In that presentation, the redeeming work of the Son will be revealed in all its fullness. When we are presented faultless and without blame before the presence of Almighty God, the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification will be seen in all of its completion and perfection.
 
No wonder Jude stresses that the joy will be great! There will be great and eternal joy for the redeemed, and also for the gracious God who redeems sinners from their sin.
 
* * *
 
By way of further application, we see in this doxology that there is only one true God. Verse 25 begins by saying, to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority. In our multicultural world where diversity and plurality are prized, it is commonly taught that there are many gods. It is also commonly taught that the gods of the major religions are the same as the God revealed in Scripture. Recently, a professor at Wheaton College was dismissed because she taught that Allah, whom the Muslims worship, is the same God whom Christians worship.
 
Although the media made it look as though Wheaton College was narrow minded and discriminatory, there was no other option for that Christian college. Scripture is crystal clear that there is only one true God who reveals himself in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
The teaching that there is only one God has been needed in every era of time. Israel needed that reminder, as she surveyed all the false gods both in Egypt and also in the nations of Canaan. Thus Moses gave that famous command in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
 
­The teaching that there is only one true God was also needed in the first century when Jude wrote this brief letter. The Romans were known for their multitude of gods, gods who were patterned after human examples of might, power and beauty. Thirty-five of the Roman gods were also fashioned after Greek gods and goddesses. But there were a vast array of Roman gods in addition to those that sprang out of the influence of Greek culture.
 
Jude points out to his readers, not only of the first century but the twenty-first as well, that there is only one true God. And these great and wonderful promises come only through the one true God revealed in Scripture who declares, “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God…” (Isaiah 45:5).
 
Verse 25 goes on to remind us that the blessings described are only given through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through faith in the Son. There is no other name under heaven given to all humanity by which people can be saved. (John 14:6; Acts 4:12)
 
Despite those clear truths of Scripture the most common teaching on getting to heaven is the theory that all roads lead to heaven. We understand that getting to an earthly destination usually involves options. If you are going to a distant part of the city or the suburbs, you can take the toll road or the side streets. You might check your phone to see whether there are red lines indicating a traffic backup. If so, you take an alternate route. Or you might tune into the local news in the morning to see if there are alternate routes to take to work or school if construction or accidents have slowed down the main arteries.
 
And that concept is applied to the destination of heaven. It is commonly taught in our culture that heaven can be reached by many different routes. In fact, the view that we take from Scripture, that the blessings of eternal glory in heaven are only found through faith in Jesus Christ, is decried in our society as being narrow minded, judgmental and even hateful of other religions and viewpoints.
 
Despite the criticism that Christianity now receives, even in our own country, we understand from Scripture, in this doxology and in so many other passages, that there is only one true God. And salvation only comes through faith in Jesus Christ. There simply is no other way.
 
A third point of this doxology is that God alone is worthy of our praise, now and eternally. Four separate reason for giving praise to God are listed: His glory, majesty, power (dominion, ESV) and authority.
 
The word “glory” points us to the splendor and radiance of our God, that in the words of 1 Timothy 6:16, he dwells in light unapproachable. The word for “majesty” points us to the kingship of  the Lord. He majestically rules and therefore is worthy of all praise.
 
Tied in with his majesty is his dominion and power. His dominion and power reminds us that in this world of so much confusion and uncertainty our God yet rules and reigns. He has full control over all the events of this world, whether it is the election of a president, whether it is the circumstances of your life and mine, whether it is the sparrow that falls to the ground, our God has dominion and power over all things.
 
The fourth word listed as a reason for praise is the word authority – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority. Because he has authority he is able to do all his holy will. As the Lord himself said, in Jeremiah 32:27, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Or, as Jesus said in Luke 18:27, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
 
These words that Jude uses are not exhaustive. God is worthy of our praise simply for who he is. His divine attributes and character extend beyond his glory, majesty, dominion and authority. Another way to understand this doxology is to understand that we praise God simply for who he is.
 
Our praise for him is not limited to this life, but rather throughout all eternity our Lord will be the object of our praise. No wonder Jude ends with an exclamation mark, (NIV) – just before adding the “Amen.” Amen means truly, most assuredly, so let it be.
 
May that praise for our Lord, who is able and willing to keep us from falling away, and to present us before his glorious throne with great joy, always be a part of your life and mine! Amen.
 
- bulletin outline -
 
To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be
glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. - Jude: 24-25
 
“To Him Who Is Able”
Jude: 24-25
 
I. In an immoral world, where even the visible church is often corrupt, Jude teaches that God is able and willing to:
     1) Keep us from falling away (24a)
 
 
 
 
 
 
     2) Present us faultless and joyful before Him (24b)
 
 
 
 
 
 
II. Applications:
     1) There is only one true God (25a)
 
 
 
 
 
 
     2) The blessings described are only given through Jesus Christ (25c)
 
 
 
 
 
 
     3) God alone is worthy of our praise, now and eternally (25b, d)
 
 
 
 
 



* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 08/0, Rev. Ted Gray

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