Friday, September 16, 2011

Exposing And Expelling Heretics (Part 9)

Today we pick up from where we left off on our expository journey through the Epistle of Jude. Jude represents the first expository assignment I have been tasked with in our church plant in Denmark - Kristuskirken. Though short in length, Jude is a letter jam packed with information on why we should hunt down false teachers that conceal themselves in the church, how we should identify them, and that we as Christians should go to war against them secure in the knowledge of being kept in the safety of God's preserving grace. Much of the credit for this series must go to John MacArthur whose teaching on this Epistle has been my major source.

1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day- 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 1-7)

In verses 5 to 7 we see three lessons from history. Ray Comfort once said that "the only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history!" And when I grew up I had zero interest in history. I didn’t care one bit – and my father was a history teacher! But years after God saved me I really discovered and embraced the doctrine of God’s Sovereignty. And that is when I began to see that history is His story. God has been at work all through history working all things together for His glory and when we start to see God’s Sovereign hand at work history becomes exciting. And a failure to learn history becomes deadly.

The book of Judges is one of the saddest darkest books in the Bible. I can remember the first time I read Judges and it was very distressing for me because some of the stories are so evil it is shocking. I also read Judges the way I approach any story (actually I wasn’t a reader so I should say movie) and I always understood stories as something that has a good guy and a bad guy – and here I was reading Judges as a new Christian trying to figure out who exactly are the good guys in this book? But the key to understanding the book of Judges is that there aren’t really any good guys. The phrase that appears over and over again in Judges is the same as the verse that closes the whole book:

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25)

But what does the book of Judges have to do with not learning history? Go back to chapter 2 verse 7 and we will see exactly where things went wrong:

And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. (Judges 2:7-10)

The people of Israel did not know what happened in their past. They knew nothing of God’s mighty works in saving Israel out of Egypt. They did not teach history, they did not learn His Story. We need to be a people and a church that knows our history and we are going to take a ride through some important parts of history as we examine verses five through seven from Jude's Epistle. Satan hates the church and has been fighting a war against us since Genesis 3. We need to be aware of it and live our lives with both eyes open.

To be continued next Friday . . .

Go On To Part 10
Go Back To Part 8
Go Back To Part 1

1 comment:

Cameron Buettel said...

I actually heard Paul Washer teaching young men and advising them that studying church history was the second most important thing to study after Scripture.