I just finished reading the little Epistle of Jude again. What a dynamite book! As a one chapter treasure nestled up against the mighty Revelation… it stands as book number 65 out of the 66. Within its verses the body of Christ is encouraged to contend for the faith, to hold the line, while living faithfully in the end times. Though the “last days” began when Jesus ascended into Heaven, the book of Jude is filled with godly counsel for believers living today. The author Jude (Judah in Hebrew) was brother to James (Yaakov in Hebrew) who wrote the Epistle of James. They were half brothers to Our Lord. Following His resurrection they believed on Him and became leaders in the early church. It is overwhelming to realize that, if in those very first days, apostasy was creeping in, seeking to discourage, deceive and destroy the young flock.... how much more should we be alert today!Two excellent verses which encourage the faithful are Jude 20 and 21:But you beloved building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. “These verses begin with “but you”… telling us that we are different then the ungodly. We are set apart from the darkness within and without. While days grow spiritually “dim” around us we are called to cling to the true Jesus in righteousness.Jude also addresses us as “beloved”. The ones His blood bought. We are those “far off ones” for whom Jesus prayed in the upper room… His friends! Yet, while rejoicing in our status as “beloved” we must stay busy in the labor of the Kingdom.We are told to "build ourselves up on our most holy faith"… in other words…continue growing in godliness. Like bricks mortared together we brothers and sisters in the Lord make a holy habitation for Him. As a sanctified team we build one another up in our precious holy faith.. as we encourage and exhort one another to demonstrate love and good works… to walk above mediocrity and stay true. Learning God’s Word and applying it to our lives helps keep us all on the “straight and narrow” way.We are also reminded to "pray in the Holy Spirit". Prayer is to be not a chore, or an exercise of last resort but a privilege of communing with the Father. Romans 8:26 tells us "the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” It is He who is "our Advocate" as we press on in prayer. No need worrying about having the “right” formula or words. In prayer we seek the will of God to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. It is not vain repetition but petition and praise from the heart.We are also instructed to "keep ourselves in the love of God". Though the Scripture tells us that nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" we must be vigilant to keep ourselves “close” to Him… maintaining a repentant spirit. We are the watchmen on the wall of our own hearts and lives first. In other words, we must “sweep in front of our own door”. No need to take a twig out of our brother’s eye while having a two-by-four stuck in ours!The last encouragement Jude shares is to keep “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”… so simple yet profound. In essence it tells us that someday the “war” will be over and our “number” will be up. Jude admonishes us to be mindful of that day and wait expectantly for it. Since Jesus has mercifully paid the price for our salvation… glory is guaranteed!In these two verses Jude tells us that as "mishpochah" (family) we stand called out, beloved of the Father in Messiah, led by the Holy Spirit, nourished by His Word… watchful… waiting expectantly for Him.Praise the Lord, He is able to keep each of us until that final day. Until then may we continue to keep praying, keep loving, and keep looking… as together... we Hold the Line!
LAURIE BARNETT is the founder of Shadows of the Messiah, a Bible teaching ministry that shares the richness of the Hebraic foundations of Scripture with women in the Body of Christ. Laurie began examining the Jewish background of the teachings of Jesus and of the New Testament more than 25 years ago.