Jude – it’s that small book in the bible just before Revelation – very easy to miss. It might be small but it certainly packs a punch and it’s probably not the subject of a sermon that we hear much in church these days. It’s key messages are as relevant for today’s church as they were when Jude wrote them.
Jude warns us to:
Watch out for people who are just pretending to be holy but abuse the grace of God & sacrifice of Jesus and keep right on sinning, then repent & sin again – especially sexual sin. There is no intention of true repentance. Don’t follow their example or be led astray by their behaviour.
Watch out for people who despise authority -they are not submissive but proud and will not listen. They cause division and stir up trouble.
Watch out for those who speak disdainfully & disrespectfully about things they do not understand – especially things of the spirit realm.
Such people are selfish & motivated by greed and a desire for recognition. They are takers not givers.
These are people who will change their opinions and allegiances – they are easily swayed. They will agree with whatever view is popular. They have no firm faith.
These people are grumblers & faultfinders – always moaning and complaining. Nothing is ever good enough. They are dissatisfied & disappointed.
They are boastful and living for their own pleasures – people who will flatter & manipulate for their own benefit.
These people follow the flesh and not the Spirit.
We need to be aware of any such behaviour so that we do not agree with it, align ourselves with it or fall victim to it. Jude’s advice is:
Build our faith up in Jesus, keep praying in the Holy Spirit and rest in God’s love & mercy;
Discern those who are doubting or weak in faith – help to disciple such people and build their faith;
Show mercy and reach out to help those that are weak – treat them with compassion. We can all stumble and fall and need a helping hand from each other. There is a difference between those who are wilfully being disobedient to God and doing ungodly things and treating the sacrifice and blood of Jesus as an excuse to sin.
Warn about the consequences of such ungodly behaviour (in a Godly & truthful way).
The Fountain Gate – Nehemiah repaired the Fountain Gate. This gate reminds me of Jesus – who is the fountain of living water- and also the daily power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. There is a living well of spiritual water for us to draw from daily. It is an inexhaustible supply that will never run dry. Jesus said we never need to thirst again when we come to Him because He is the living water. He can satisfy our thirst in all areas and bring refreshing to us. When we are tired, weary or discouraged then we can come to the Fountain Gate and be refreshed. We can drink deeply of Jesus and be restored. If we forsake the living water then we will be dry and empty with nothing to give. Our source of spiritual life is Jesus.
The Water Gate – This gate speaks to me of the power of the word of God which is at work in our lives. The bible teaches us that we are washed by the word of God. The word of God is powerful and true – a test of our thoughts and intentions. When we read, meditate and act on the Word of God then we see the fruit if its out-working in our lives and it keeps us on the right path.
The Water Gate was the only gate which didn’t need repair. The word of God endures for ever. God’s word doesn’t need to be improved, added to or altered – it is complete just as it is. It is the best manual for a successful and fulfilling life.
There have been many words recently about deception and being guarded against deception. Jesus himself warns us against being deceived particularly in the time before He returns. We can easily get carried away as “charismatic” believers particularly when we belong to a Spirit filled church and it is so important that the Spirit and the Word are in harmony with the right emphasis on both. The Word of God is our plumb line and any tongue and interpretation, prophecy or teaching that does not line up with the word of God is false.
The apostle Paul teaches us that the enemy has strategies against us and one of his key ones is deception. He loves to lead us astray and cause confusion. Any moves of the Spirit need to be discerned to make sure it is the Holy Spirit and not the wrong spirit at work. It is so important in these times to be rooted in God’s Word and filled with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. God’s Word as the belt of truth and our sword is such an essential part of our armour for defence and attack. Every other piece would not fit together or be effective without the belt or sword but how we can rush or just neglect that part of our preparation. It takes discipline to study the bible but I encourage you to do it and to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in all truth particularly at this time.
I had a picture once of the plumb line. It only takes a tiny bit of deception to lead you away from truth but the more you follow that wrong idea or false teaching the further and further you eventually end up away from the truth. If you draw a line on a piece of paper you will see what I mean. Draw the plumb-line and then draw another line from the bottom at a slight initial angle away from the line and see how far it is away from the plumb line at the end.
The thing with deception is how subtle it is. Be on your guard against it. Deception is so close to the truth that we can readily accept it as the truth because it sounds right but when you hold it up to the Word of God you will see the error. Satan knows the Word of God too. He quoted it to Jesus but Jesus knew that he had twisted it’s true purpose and quoted it correctly back.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us to help us and He as the Spirit of Truth will lead and guide us into all truth. That is why the Word and the Spirit are so essential to the believer and our walk of faith. Be filled and baptised with the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of discernment. When you operate in the gift of discernment you get that sense in your spirit that something is just not right. People refer to gut feelings and it can be like that. I have heard false tongues and just knew in my spirit that it was false and not the Holy Spirit. You hear an interpretation and again it just doesn’t sit right. That is the Holy Spirit helping you to discern the truth. When you talk to other believers they will often have discerned the same. Read and study the bible so that you will have the tools to recognise false teaching or false words.
The early church prospered and walked in the fear of the Lord. In Acts 9:31 it says “and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit they were multiplied”. We long to see new people coming to know Christ and finding salvation. The Lord spoke to us earlier this year about the need for the fear of the Lord to be restored within the body of Christ at this time. I have never heard a word preached on the fear of the Lord and didn’t understand truly what it meant. I knew that fear in this context is not about being afraid of the Lord but didn’t understand that it is an attitude of complete reverence in response to the revelation of God and then responding by living in submissiveness towards Him. Being obedient to Him. Being holy for he is Holy. Job 28:28 says that “Behold the fear of the Lord that is wisdom”. We are constantly asking God for wisdom and this is one of the keys to discovering Godly wisdom.
The Bible has much to say about the fear of the Lord when you look in to scripture. Psalm 25:12 “Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses”. v 14 “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him: and He will show them His covenant”. Proverbs 10:27 “The fear of the Lord prolongs days, but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.” Proverbs 14:26 “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence.” Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life; And He who has it will abide in satisfaction, He will not be visited with evil” Malachi 3:16 “fear of the Lord and who meditate on His name”.
Proverbs tells us how to discover the fear of the Lord Proverbs 2 1-5 “My son if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding, yes, if you cry out for discernment and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God”.
Jesus understood the fear of the Lord. In Isaiah 11 2-3 it said about Jesus “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, Spirit of wisdom and understanding, Spirit of Counsel and Power, the Spirit of Knowledge and the fear of the Lord – and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.” If Jesus walked in the fear of the Lord and we are called to be like him then we too should walk in the fear of the Lord.
We prayed a simple prayer that we discovered had been written when researching this topic and I encourage you to pray this prayer. “Oh God my Father, I come to you through Jesus Christ my saviour. You have put in my heart a desire for the fear of the Lord. I am asking you from now on to lead me, to teach me and to impart to me this wonderful treasure of yours – the fear of the Lord. In Jesus name. Amen”.
In February this year as I was praying I felt God say the following to me. There is power in my Word. Whatever I declare from heaven concerning a matter or nation will be performed. My angels act on my commands. My Word is powerful. My Word is creative but also destructive. It can build up or it can tear down and root out. Whenever I speak My Word will perform whatever it is sent forth to achieve. I have declared a new time and season. A new day for the church in this nation. Too long she has been weak, ineffective and struggling like a new-born babe. Now she will rise up with renewed energy & vigour. She will have learned how to use the tools with which I have equipped her so that My kingdom can advance. It is time to take the kingdom of God and push forward. To take the light into the darkness. I do not need a vast army to achieve my purposes – only those who are willing to fight against evil (in prayer, in truth & doing good) willing to persevere, willing not to count the cost, those who are bold, those who have courage and who take their strength from me. Those will be part of my army. Those who are skilled in the Word, those who know their position, those who listen and obey – they will receive the words to speak and declare in My name. They will see My wonder-working power at work. They will be my vessels to bring Christ’s healing, holiness and salvation to nations. I am on the move and my body the church needs to discern where I am leading in this season. It is not time for the faint hearted, the men pleasers, the timid – this is the season for those who fear the Lord and show that reverence and fear. Who love righteousness and hate wickedness, injustice and wrong and will stand up and be counted. To be the carriers of my presence into all situations where I have placed them – whether in the home, work, family, government, schools, everywhere they find themselves. They can have an impact for good. – I sense that this is like the day of Gideon’s army. In the last few months, God has been calling us out to pray on the streets and at strategic locations and has given us scriptures to pray each time. It has been amazing the things God has shown us and inspired us to pray about in each location. He truly opens our eyes to see. I believe in faith that prayer changes things. Trust in the Lord and do Good – Psalm 37:4