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Building Up Yourselves on Your Most Holy Faith

By Pastor Brian D. Lee
Current River Baptist Church, Doniphan, MO

Text: Jude 20-23

Introduction: God’s Word is filled with blessings and gems that speak volumes with only a
few words.  One of those passages that preaches brilliantly on its own is Jude 20-23.  When I read it it puts in my mind the picture of a body builder or an athlete building up his body and stamina.  These four verses give a formula that is good for both the body-builder and the Christian working to build up His faith in Christ.

Theme:  Step one in building up your faith...

I. Have a balanced diet— “Praying In the Holy Ghost” (v. 20)

        A.So often prayer is reduced to a grocery list for God.

                1. How often in our prayer life is God reduced to a glorified Santa Claus?

                2. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a place for petition in our prayers,
                but all too often our prayers are reduced to simply a list of wants— either for us
                or for others.

                Illus— I remember being a young high school student and my
                relationship with my parents was reduced to a means to fulfilling my needs.
                When I needed clothes I asked Mom and Dad.  When I needed gas for
                my car I asked Mom and Dad.  When I needed lunch money I asked
                Mom and Dad.  As I got older my relationship with my parents changed from
                that of them being a means to an end, to them being a refuge of strength, ears
                to listen when few others would.  We began to converse more as friends and
                all of the sudden my parents were getting smarter and smarter (from my
                perspective of course)and I actually became interested in their lives.
                    Our relationship with God can be like that.  Like a “needy” high
                school student, we present Him with list after list of needs and wants and
                wants for others.  Then as we grow in His grace and we grow closer to
                Him, we realize there really is a person on the other end— the person of
                God.  He truly longs to have a deep relationship with His children.

        B. Praying in the Holy Spirit means that we pray by means of the Holy Spirit; we
        are dependent upon Him.

                1. Here, then is the secret to a closer walk with Jesus.  Praying in the Holy
                Spirit.
                2. He is our interpreter to God.—Romans 8:26-27— Likewise the Spirit
                also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we
                ought:but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings
                which cannot be uttered.  27  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth
                what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the
                saints according to the will of God.
                3. Jesus put it in a nutshell when He said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of
                God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
                4. Again, when He gave the model prayer to the disciples it began, “Our
                Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come;
                thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Then He says, “Give us this day
                our daily bread.”
                5. When we place God first in our lives then God develops with us a more
                meaningful relationship.  Our prayers become effective, and we can see the hand
                of God moving in our lives.

        Part of worship is our personal adoration of Him in our prayers.  Normally we don’t even know how to ask Him for what we want or need any way.  That is why we are to pray in the Spirit— leaning on Him for strength, allowing Him to intercede for us, allowing Him to fill us with His being, giving praise and adoration to our God and conversing with Him— spending quality time with Him so-to-speak.  Just like the body builder needs a balanced diet to help him to continue to improve, our prayer life needs to be balanced.

Theme:  The next step in building up in the faith is...

II. Staying Motivated— “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (v. 21)

        A. God never stops loving us.

                1. Though we often do some unlovable things.
                2. Sometimes we paint a picture in our mind of a God who is frustrated
                with His children— children who continually mess up in one way or another.
                3. Although frustration is easily imagined, God truly is patient and loving
                with His children.

        B. There is a victory in life that cannot be compared to any other when we walk
        with the realization that we are truly cherished of God.

                1. It only takes one person to strain a relationship, although with humans it
                usually involves both.  When our relationship with God is strained, it’s our
                fault.  His love is still there and His grace is still providing.
                2. One author has likened the love of God to the sunshine that floods down
                upon you.  Sometimes you an I put up umbrellas trying to convince ourselves it is
                raining, denying the Love of God in our lives— yet the sunlight of His love is
                still there.  Come out from under the umbrella of self-pity and self-absorbence
                and bask in the love of God.

        C. “Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

                1. The mercy that saved us, continues to be poured out on us, and we
                continue to need it.
                2. It is the willfully ignorant and unpenitent person that says, “I have no use
                for the mercy of Christ.”

                Illus— James S. Hewitt writes, “I used to go out in the morning to get
                the paper when we lived in El Paso.  Our house was a good four miles from
                the main parade ground at Fort Bliss.  On most mornings I could hear the
                whump, whump, whump of the thirteen gun salute which was sounded
                every morning at seven o’clock.  But on some mornings I could hear the
                sound of the drum corps as they rolled their cadences.
                    “However, if the morning was clear and still, as in the winter time
                when the air was crisp and cold, I could also hear the sound of the music of
                the army band, the blast of the trumpets, the wail of the clarinets, and the
                mellow tone of the horns.
                    “But on the mornings I could only hear the cannon, I knew the drum
                and the horns were there, whether I could hear them or not.
                    “Our fathers, in their theology, heard the cannon and the drum, the
                stirring of the wrath of God.  Modern ears have heard the soft music of the
                flute and the horn, but have not listened for the cannon and the drum.
                    “But the music of God’s message demands the whole gamut of
                sound.  He is just, but He is also loving.  He is strong, but He is also
                merciful.  Kindness without justice is mushiness.  Justice without mercy has
                no power to move or change the stubborn heart.  The cross is the only place
                where the picture is in focus.  God’s justice and mercy come together in
                His love for us sinners.

                3. It was Christ’s mercy that saved us.  It is His mercy that Keeps us, and
                it’s His mercy that has Him coming back for us.

        A weight-lifter has to stay motivated in order to keep up with his rigorous training.  As we build ourselves up in the faith, our motivation, our strength we can lean on is the love and mercy of Christ.

Theme:  If you want to build up your faith, you must...

III. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise— “And of some have compassion, making a difference”  (v. 22)

        A. This is the next step— taking the Love and Mercy of Christ and sharing it with
        others.

                1. “Of some”... does that mean that we only need to have compassion upon
                some?  Or is it more of the expectation of those we will reach?
                2. Christ gave us the command to “Go into all the world...” which we do in
                many different ways— personal soul winning, missions, leaving tracts, the
                unspoken gospel of our lifestyles, etc.
                3. But, the reality is that after we hear the Call and are obedient to it we will
                still only reach some on our own.  But, if you reach some, and I reach some,
                and he reaches some, and she reaches some we can evangelize our world.

        B. “Making a difference”— what kind of a mark are you making for Jesus?
                —This verse, though incredibly short, preaches better than many sermons I
                have heard— “And of some have compassion, making a difference”

        Working out to build up your muscles and your stamina is no good if it is only occasional, on-again off-again.  In order to make a difference it has to be regular and continual.  The same is true of our Christian witness— what kind of difference are we making in the world if we only share the love of Christ on occasion?

Theme:  And finally the point of building yourself up...

IV. Be ready to use your spiritual muscles— “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire;” (v. 23)

        A. A body builder, a weightlifter, an athlete builds his muscles up for a reason.  He
        knows he may have to use them in an extraordinary way.

                1. All that exercise, all that motivation, all that healthy diet pays off when
                you have to use the muscles you’ve built.
                2. There are people out there who need to be rescued— who desperately
                need the Love of Christ in their lives.
                3. How effective would an emergency rescuer be at pulling people out of
                fires, or out from under rubble in an earthquake or explosion, if he wasn’t fit
                and physically prepared?  You and I are emergency rescuers on call at a
                moments notice to come to the aid of someone in peril of eternal damnation.

        B. “Pulling them out of the fire”— for some the very flames of hell are licking at
        their feet.

                1. You and I were once in the same position.
                2. For some, it seems impossible that they will ever come to Christ— but
                don’t give up on them.  Don’t give up on them even when they give up on you.
                Some day it may be your hand they catch in desperation, looking for the love of
                Christ before it is too late.

        C. “Hating even the garment spotted by the flesh”
                — J. Vernon McGee writes in his commentary on Jude, “The fact is that
               the child of God should hate ‘even the garment spotted by the flesh.’  God
               cannot use any thing that the flesh produces.  Everything that Vernon McGee does
               in the flesh is repulsive to God; He hates it.  And we should learn to hate it.”

        Are you prepared for emergency evangelism?  Is your heart right with God?  Are you versed in His Word?  Are you motivated to help?  Is your beeper even turned on?  Can He reach you if He needs to?  Do others know that you have the truth and are willing to share it with them?  When it all comes down to it are you “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you”?

Conclusion: A good athlete, body builder, weightlifter has a routine, a regiment that keeps him not only in shape, but hopefully improving regularly.  By eating right, staying motivated, exercising and being available when needed he builds himself up.  He is strengthened, his endurance is greater, he is able to help in ways only he can and do things that perhaps only he can do.

        As Christians we need to build up our faith by:

        1) Having a balanced diet of prayer- not only sharing our petitions, but leaning on the  power of the Holy Spirit and worshipping our God in prayer— a meaningful relationship.

        2) Staying motivated— remembering at every week moment the love of God, remembering the mercy of Christ— keeping them forever in the forefront of our minds.

        3) Exercise, Exercise, Exercise- exercising our faith by using it to share the gospel with others, having compassion on others— making a difference— seeing improvement both in our lives and the lives of others.

        4) Be ready to use the muscles we’ve built— there is a point to all the study, prayer, diligence in the Word— it is to reach out to desperate souls and snatch them out of the fire before it consumes them.

        How is your fitness in Christ?  If God tries to page you for His service will He find your beeper on?
It’s time to start using this altar what it is here for.  Visitation, Volunteering, Missions, etc. This church can grow no larger than what we want it to grow, and we show what we want by either our action or inaction.  Join me at the altar this morning— let’s all get built up in the faith.

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