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).
This was a word which I had in 2018 when praying but I feel led to share it again in this season: I sensed the Spirit was saying this to me:
“In the beginning was The Word and the Word was God. There is power in My Word. Whatever, I declare from heaven concerning a matter or a 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. 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 armed her so that My Kingdom can advance. It is time to take the Kingdom (God’s) 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 persevere, willing to count the cost, those who are bold, those who have courage, who take their strength from Me. Those will be part of my army. Those who are skilled in My Word, those who know their position, those who listen and obey. They will receive the words to speak and declare in My name. The will see My wonder working power at work. They will be my vessels to bring healing, holiness and salvation to nations.
I am on the move. 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, and the timid. This is the season for those who fear the Lord and show reverence and fear. Who love righteousness and hate wickedness, injustice and wrong – to be willing to stand up and be counted. To be the carriers of My presence into all situations. Everyday situations where I have placed them – whether home, work, family, government, schools – everywhere they find themselves. They can have an impact.
Now rise up and go to war on the enemy -Satan. Pull down his strongholds and declare that his time has come to an end in this region. There is a new King in town (Jesus). A new Kingdom (Jesus’) being established and the enemy (Satan) is to be trodden underfoot and trampled. Satan’s troops, his spirits will have to flee in the presence of My army. Gideon’s army is on the march. It is time to advance. Take the gates and push back the darkness. “
This gate speaks of battles and as Christians we are in a spiritual battle. We have an enemy, Satan, who doesn’t want us to mature spiritually and discover the fullness of who we are in Christ. The enemy will try and discourage you, hinder you and stop you. He will do what he can to put thoughts into your mind and build strongholds there to frustrate your Christian walk. He will try and deceive you, tempt you, cause you to be fearful, to give up because you are weary, frustrated, anxious and being a Christian just seems too difficult.
Let us not give up but let us fight the good fight. Ephesians 6 says “Finally, my bretheren be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities against powers against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
Stand therefore having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
God has equipped us through the power of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the word and Christ with the ability to stand against and overcome our enemy. The bible says that when we submit to God, resist the enemy then the promise of God is that “he will flee”. Jesus said that he overcame the world and so we can too.
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.
A visiting speaker encouraged us recently to be a bit of kindling and allow the Lord to set fire to us. A little fire can be all it takes – it can spread like wildfire as nature has shown us with the wildfires which took hold last year in various places. At this time we are to press in and not be discouraged. Don’t settle where you are but press on in faith. The breakthrough or miracle you have been waiting for or seeing in faith could be just around the corner.
We may face opposition just before we see the promise and answer come to pass. When Jesus was on the way to heal the sick daughter of the leader, Jairus, people came to tell him not to bother because the girl was already dead. Jesus refused to accept that and told them that she was not dead only sleeping. The people ridiculed him but Jesus silenced them, pressed ahead and the girl was raised up. People may ridicule you or try to stop you pressing in to what God has for you and the vision He has shown you.
When we step out in faith we are His vessels. It is the oil of His Presence and the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through us to do His good works which He prepared beforehand for us to do. The people who know their God will be strong and do mighty things. You may have people telling you opposite things to the promises of God and what God has revealed to you by His Holy Spirit. Do not listen to them and refuse to believe them. Stand on the Word of God. You may have to be bold and silence them. Fix your eyes on Christ. Lift up your head and see the King of Glory
In scripture John the Baptist said that Jesus was the one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire. Tongues of fire appeared on the heads of those who first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I have been baptised in the Holy Spirit but I want to be on fire for Jesus. I believe this fire is purifying and empowering to enable the Holy Spirit to flow through us in power in signs and wonders to give a powerful witness to the gospel message of Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and glorifies Jesus Christ. People are saved and those who are suffering to healed and restored. Hold on to your promise and vision today and believe in faith. It will happen in His appointed time.
As I was praying last week and in worship at Church I had a picture of a bride. I first saw a picture of a lion and knew that this was Jesus – the lion of Judah. The Lion was looking at something and when I followed his gaze, I saw that He was looking at a bride.
The picture shocked me. Although the bride was dressed in a beautiful white dress and veil -the dress was truly beautiful – spotless and pure bright white, the bride herself looked grey and gaunt, withered and frail. Her beauty had faded and she had no vitality or joy. Her skin was stretched tautly over her bones and was grey and papery. She looked weary as if she had no strength in her from lack of food. She reminded me of a living corpse. It was a terrible sight. The bride was not old which accounted for her appearance. She was young.
I thought is this a picture of the church at the moment- the body of Christ as a whole in the world? Is this what Jesus sees when He looks at us? That the body has lost its vitality, its beauty and is famished and without strength. I was encouraged that the bride’s dress was pure and white. Jesus’ blood truly cleanses us from all sin and purifies us. It reminded me that Jesus is coming back for a spotless bride, but I believe He also wants to come back for a radiant, beautiful and strong bride who is full of His life, joy, power and strength and who radiates His glory and goodness in the world.
I pray that if this picture is correct that the Holy Spirit will reveal it and show us our true condition. That our hearts will be convicted of our lack of His life working in and through us. That we will acknowledge and repent over our condition and turn again to the living hope which is in Christ Jesus by the power of His Holy Spirit to be restored and refreshed. We will realise our desperation and need of Jesus and that without Him there is no power for living. He alone is the bread of life and the living water. John 7 v37 “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink, he who believes in me as the scriptures say out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”. John 6: 48 Jesus said “I am the bread of life”. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh and His words are life to us. The bible is food for our soul.
Jesus is in the business of restoration. The Lord reminded me of the picture of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 later in the same day and God’s question to Ezekiel – can these dry bones live? In my picture – Can the bride’s strength, joy, life, beauty and power be restored? In faith I believe that the answer is Yes and I say Yes to God. As Ezekiel prophesied to the dry bones – we say to the Church – hear the word of the Lord. “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live” V5 “I will put My Spirit in you and you shall live” v13.
Isaiah 40 v 29 says “He gives power to the weak and to those who have no might, He increases strength”. V31 “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”. I believe God wants to restore our strength for these days ahead so that we will not grow weary in doing good but will have the strength to continue in the face of adversity and persecution and persevere. We are called to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. May our vitality be restored. May we be filled with the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God.
Isaiah 30: 21 says “Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying “This is the way walk in it”. Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left”.
If you are looking for direction in your life and seeking the path that God wants you to take or a new door is opening up to you then take encouragement from the promise in these verses. God will direct your way.
This is a season for stepping into the new things of God. It may be paths that you or no-one else has travelled before, areas which you have never ventured into, things you or nobody else has ever done but take comfort that God will make it clear that you are on the right path. God will direct you to move forward into new things. Don’t look back at the old or try to do things in the same way but with boldness step into the new. This is a season for God to show you how to do things in a different way. Don’t worry or be anxious that you don’t know what’s up ahead – trust God. If you are walking where God wants you to walk then you are going in the right direction.
You may face discouragement – people may think you are crazy even to attempt something new but God will give you the vision and you will hear His still small voice saying “This is the way walk in it”. You will know it is God speaking to you. I encourage you to be bold in faith today as you hear Him speak to you. Take hold of the opportunity which God is bringing your way.
I sense this may be a season for some that God will completely turn things on their head. God will flip things upside down but you will emerge unscathed. Allow God to be in the driving seat.
I pray God will increase your vision in these days. To stir in you a new vision, a bigger vision and to break new ground for Him. To see new things and create new opportunities for the gospel to be preached and people to be reached with the good news of Jesus Christ.