HERVEY BAY GOSPEL CHAPEL

JUDE’S DOXOLOGY – PART 1

We now come to the final verses of Jude which collectively are known as a doxology. The word comes from two root words, doxa, which means glory and logos which means words. So a doxology is an expression either spoken or written about glory. That is what the word means and Jude uses the word glory twice in these final verses.

JUDE.

24. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. 

In this case the doxology is a written expression about the glory of God.

 A doxology is different to a benediction which literally means saying or pronouncing good or blessing to us. In the Bible a doxology is specifically and exclusively about praise to God and is a reflection on His glory.

There are other doxologies in the New Testament and we might look at them before we unpack Jude’s well known doxology.

1 TIMOTHY.
CHAPTER 1.

 17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

There is that word glory.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 16.

25. Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26. But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
27. To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

In it is that word glory again.

Notice the similarities among them. They appear to follow a certain pattern or formula and maybe Jude’s doxology, according to some commentators, might be based on a similar pattern or even an unconscious copy of the doxology found in Romans.

So let us look more closely at Jude’s doxology.

Jude has spoken with sternness and horror about the intruders and their influence on the early church, and their descent into great evils of a spiritual and immoral nature which they have exhibited in both the past and the present. He speaks about God’s terrible judgment which will come upon such behaviour. He warns the true believers, the beloved, to beware of false teaching and deceit and to take personal responsibility for their own spiritual growth through keeping themselves in the love of God, building themselves up, praying in the Spirit and looking for the blessed hope, the return of Jesus to rescue His own. He even warns them to take care of their own spiritual safety as they make an effort to rescue others from spiritual danger.

It seems that he has been collecting together in a few short sentences the whole spectrum of corruption and evils that were threatening the faith of professing Christians.

And then his whole mood changes. He says “Now”. And yes, you probably guessed it. That is the Greek word for “but”. So here is the big “but”

He now resets the scene, changing from a scene of negativity to one of positivity, from the past and present to a new present and a future. He looks beyond the perspective of inward looking men who were seeking their own advancement to a new direction of looking beyond ourselves, seeking to give God the glory and to acknowledge His involvement in our day to day living.

It is wise to look round on the dangers and evils that tempt us; it is wise to look inward to our weaknesses that may yield to the temptations. And it is wise to fulfil our responsibilities as they are laid out by Jude but we must not put too much stress on our own strivings because Jude now presents the complement to our personal strivings. It is the peaceful gaze upon God, and a confident, joyous recognition of what He, that is God, is able to do for us.

Yes, from his severe and solemn warnings and urgings and his concentration on the various ways in which men had stumbled and fallen, Jude now points to a joyous and exulting confidence in Him who alone can keep us safe.

I would imagine that the word “Now” also contains an element of chronology. Jude is indicating that he has been discussing the past. “the then” that has been happening because of evil doers and what the beloved’s response should be but he now turns to another scenario which focusses not on men, not even the beneficial and character building actions of the beloved but to “the now” a revelation of God and His involvement in the life of believers and the praise which is due to Him because of that.

Every look on surrounding dangers, and every look at personal weakness, ought to end in a look upwards to Him who is able to keep the weakest from falling as a result of the assaults of even the strongest foes.

Warnings about dangerous times should make us look up with supreme confidence and trust in a mighty God.

So Jude uses the words “unto Him”. That is where the focus of the epistle is now to be, to the only One who can preserve them from being affected by this environment of evil. He alone can prevent them from stumbling and falling into the lifestyle and evil actions of wicked men around them. So, like the early believers, we, too, are not to look around or even to look inward but to look up to the God of all glory.

As we will later see, Jude’s focus also now turns from judgment to care and protection, from danger to security, from discouragement to encouragement and from fear to confidence, from what appears to be hopelessness to a future joyous destiny. What a contrast it is that Jude now bring before us.

He invites his readers to take their thoughts away from all the rabble, numerous though they are, and direct their focus to one person “Him” and he offers that one person as the only refuge from the temptations and evil enemies that attack his readers and us on every level and at every moment.

So who is the “Him” to whom he refers? He is none other than the Almighty God, the all-powerful, all wise, all knowing, everywhere present God. He is the true God, the only God the ruler of the universe and its Creator. He is described as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is the great “I am”, that One who has life in Himself, Who is in fact life itself. He is the One who was, Who is and always will be. This is the one who is eternal and immortal, the One who has always existed and Who always will.

Yes, He is the unknowable God. What do I mean by that? Our human minds will never by capable, on earth, of knowing Him in the completeness of His being. We have a corrupted nature, sometimes referred to as the old nature which will always be there with us as we continue to exist in these mortal bodies

Yet on certain levels God is known to us, He reveals Himself to us.

The hymn says –

Immortal, invisible, God only wise
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes.

It is true that He is pure light and not able to be accessed by corrupted lives.

The Bible says this

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 33.

 20. I will not let you see my face, because no one can see me and stay alive,

But the account doesn’t stop there. God is indeed more than willing to reveal part of His glory to us but in such a way that the revelation will protect us from any danger or harm. So Exodus goes on to say –

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 33.

 21. but here is a place beside me where you can stand on a rock.
22. When the dazzling light of my presence passes by, I will put you in an opening in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.
23. Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back but not my face.”

And also we know that Jesus came to reveal more of God to us

JOHN.
CHAPTER 1.

14. The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son.

So we see part of God’s glory revealed in the Son.

MATTHEW.
CHAPTER 11.

 27  All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one fully knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone fully know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

MATTHEW.
CHAPTER 11.

25  At that moment Jesus said: My Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I am grateful that you hid all this from wise and educated people and showed it to ordinary people.

JOHN.
CHAPTER 8.

47. The person who belongs to God understands what God says. You don’t understand because you don’t belong to God.” 

So to sum up God does reveal Himself but not to our natural physical eyes, although on some occasions He may even do that.

However we can know Him in other ways. As we follow the history of Israel we see the character and the attributes of God revealed. They were judged and rescued and were blessed in many material ways. As God’s covenant people they had His protection and His providential care and love.

The same applied to individuals like David, Moses, Noah. Put any Biblical character here whether from the Old or New Testament and you will see how God revealed Himself in His numerous dealings and encounters with them. And we can know Him experientially as well as He takes action of our behalf.

As He chooses to reveal Himself, we see two sides of His character. We see His holiness, His righteousness, His justice, His wrath and displeasure, and His abhorrence of mankind’s sin among other things. On the other hand we see His love, His mercy and grace, His forgiveness, and His peace and reconciliation. Any of us could add much more to the list.

We might see the first side of God’s character as negative, but I am going to declare that that side of Him is as positive as the other side because it is through these particular attributes that God gently, and yes, sometimes harshly, directs us into the enjoyments of the second list of God’s character traits and blessings. Only those who refuse to be led, guided, taught and have faith to believe, will suffer negative consequences from that first list.

Jude says “unto Him who is able”. We have just been considering who this “Him” is. Of course He is able! Why wouldn’t He be? If you have doubts about this you haven’t been listening or your heart is so hard that you are in grave danger. Perhaps we all need to hear some more.

Listen, really listen, to these verses.

MATTHEW
CHAPTER 19.

26. But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

LUKE.
CHAPTER 1.

 37. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

JEREMIAH.
CHAPTER 32.

17. LORD God, you stretched out your mighty arm and made the sky and the earth. You can do anything.

The great King Nebuchadnezzar said this after his great fall.

DANIEL.
CHAPTER 4.

 35. He looks on the people of the earth as nothing; angels in heaven and people on earth are under his control. No one can oppose his will or question what he does.

ISAIAH.
CHAPTER 40.

 15. “Look! The nations are like a drop in a bucket, and are reckoned as dust on the scales. Look! He even lifts up the islands like powder!

PSALMS.
PSALM 33.

 9. He spoke, and it came into being. He gave the order, and there it stood.

JOB.
CHAPTER 26.

7, He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

And when it comes to Jesus who is one member of the Triune God we read this.

JOHN.
CHAPTER 6.

39, And it is the will of him who sent me that I should not lose any of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them all to life on the last day.

Is He able? He certainly is.

But is he willing? That is certain as well. He is as willing as He is able to work on behalf of His people.

So what is He able and willing to do? According to Jude one thing that He does is He keep us.

Well, let us look at some examples and it is important for our encouragement with regard to this matter that we do, so I make no apology for using a number of Bible references.

Speaking about Jacob He said –

GENESIS.
CHAPTER 28.

 15. And, behold, I am with you, and will keep you in every place where you go, and will bring you again into this land. For I will not leave you until I have done that which I have spoken of to you. 

DEUTERONOMY.
CHAPTER 32.

9. For Jehovah’s portion is His people. Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.
10  He found him in a desert land, and in the deserted, howling wilderness. He led him about, He cared for him, He kept him as the pupil of His eye.

And speaking to the children of Israel he said –

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 23.

 20. Behold, I send an Angel before you, to keep you in the way, and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. 

The Psalmist David longed for God’s protection.

PSALMS.
PSALM 25.

 20. I come to you for shelter. Protect me, keep me safe, and don’t disappoint me.

And it would seem that God granted that protection, just as He will for us if we cry out to Him in our time of need. This is what the Psalmist said later –

PSALMS.
PSALM 37.

 23  The LORD guides us in the way we should go and protects those who please him.

PSALMS.
PSALM 91.

 12. God will put his angels in charge of you to protect you wherever you go.

And he goes on to say –

 PSALMS.
PSALM 91.

14, God says, “I will save those who love me and will protect those who acknowledge me as LORD.
15.
When they call to me, I will answer them; when they are in trouble, I will be with them. I will rescue them and honor them.
16. I will reward them with long life; I will save them.”

And Israel used this following Psalm in worship.

PSALMS.
PSALM 121.

1. I look to the hills! Where will I find help?
2. It will come from the LORD, who created the heavens and the earth.
3. The LORD is your protector, and he won’t go to sleep or let you stumble.
4. The protector of Israel doesn’t doze or ever get drowsy.
5. The LORD is your protector, there at your right side to shade you from the sun.
6. You won’t be harmed by the sun during the day or by the moon at night.
7. The LORD will protect you and keep you safe from all dangers.
8. The LORD will protect you now and always wherever you go.

We also read this –

ISAIAH,
CHAPTER 26.

3. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You; because he trusts in You.
4. Trust in Jehovah forever; for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.

 But you might well say but that is all about Old Testament times and people. What about now? Well, what about now?

2 THESSALONIANS.
CHAPTER 3.

3. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and keep you safe from the Evil One.

Did we hear that? Do you and I really grasp it?

2 TIMOTHY.
CHAPTER 1.

12. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Now we know that we have a responsibility in all of this.

1 JOHN.
CHAPTER 5.

18. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

Jude has already told us that.

JUDE.

21. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

But you and I both know that that is not enough. In spite of our best efforts we fail. We are weak and frail. The fact that God needs to keep us as Jude suggests presupposes that we actually need keeping. And we do. Why?

Because there are dangers. There are all kinds of error and false teaching and viciousness of life and the practising of an immoral lifestyle. When we consider the number, power, malice, and subtlety of our foes, we may wonder if we will ever have victory. We know that we will have to wrestle. The Bible even terms it a battle. We know that we will be walking in slippery places and in those slippery places we will need a firm patch to stand on. That firm patch is provided by Jesus. We know that we are so weak in mind and spirit. As we walk in the wide wilderness of error which surrounds us it is difficult to discern the narrow pathway of truth

So, what we need is some greater power to preserve us from evil and to keep us safe and be assured we most certainly have it in God and in Jesus.

1 PETER.
CHAPTER 1.

4. We have been born into a new life which has an inheritance that can’t be destroyed or corrupted and can’t fade away. That inheritance is kept in heaven for you,
5. since you are guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed at the end of time.
6. You are extremely happy about these things, even though you have to suffer different kinds of trouble for a little while now.

Do you remember what we have already said about God’s power. Let us remind ourselves again that He is the Almighty, the Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe, the One for whom nothing is impossible and is able to do anything He pleases. That’s the power that keeps us and it never fails, it is never overcome, it is always victorious. Isn’t that wonderful?

And Jude acknowledges that this power keeps us safe.

JUDE.

 1. From Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James. To all who are chosen and loved by God the Father and are kept safe by Jesus Christ.

So what should we do?

We need to acknowledge that God’s great power through the activity of the Holy Spirit is at work within us.

 EPHESIANS.
CHAPTER 3.

20. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

We need to just trust God and let His power work in us, and for us, and through us.

1 PETER.
CHAPTER 4.

19. So then also those who suffer according to the will of God must entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing good.

We will be only benefitted if we turn to God. So many of us turn to other things, maybe to a church, to friends, to family, to some Bible teacher, all of which are no doubt of some benefit but our only source of victorious keeping power is to be found in Christ and God. So, to take stock, when we feel we need protection, to be kept in some way, do we turn to God first or is He the last port of call, the One we turn to when all else fails and we feel desperate in whatever situation we find ourselves?

It is no use in having a stay, a prop, unless we lean on it. And we have an absolutely reliable prop Who can accommodate any amount of leaning on our part.

So can God’s power be effective in the most urgent, desperate situation? I believe that for all of us the most desperate need is for us to be rescued from the consequences of our sin. And what are those consequences? Physical death, discord, dispute and separation but with the ultimate consequence being spiritual death and eternal judgment. Does God’s power work here? Of course it does.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 1.

16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

I know that power. Do you? Does Jesus need to apply this statement to you as He did to His audience when He was here on earth, At the time religious leaders were questioning aspects of the resurrection of those who trust in Him.

MARK.
CHAPTER 12.

 24. And answering Jesus said to them, Do you not err because of this, not knowing Scriptures, nor the power of God

We need that power. Jesus and God are able to give it and as we have learned, are willing to do so.

You can almost recognise pride in the voice of Jesus when He says.

JOHN.
CHAPTER 17.

12. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those that You have given Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

 But think for a moment. To create the whole universe God spoke and it was done. He made the worlds out of nothing. To provide you with the power of God that brings salvation it meant Jesus had to come to earth and suffer. God needed a perfect sacrifice and that was the death of Jesus. How hard was that? But it was done and Jesus cried “Finished.” And the third day the power of God raised Him from the grave. Aren’t these the things we think about each Easter? And aren’t they evidence of the absolute power of God?

But we also need to look at the Greek word Jude uses as well. It really means to guard and I would see this as a proactive word as opposed to the word “keep” which would appear to be more reactive. We are told that this Greek word is a strong military term and I would suggest indicates the process of keeping out, of keeping safe from an intruder or a cause of danger such as a sentry on duty would do, as well as the idea of defending, such as someone who intervenes in a dispute might do, similar to what a bodyguard might do.

In our experience of life and Christian living danger presses in on every side and in every place. Early Christians had the church where they thought there was safety. We could call it the sheepfold but even that had been invaded by evil men. Any source of safety from any earthly origin is not fully secure. Our own sheepfolds, our churches, as we speak, are being corrupted by the preaching of non-Biblical doctrine.

We must remember that God is not just the best but the only reliable security for life and living. There is a solitary, yes, only one, all-sufficient stay for our weaknesses and that is God’s ability and willingness to provide us with His power. He dispenses that power as we who need support reach out in faith and trust, and as He, our Guardian and Protector, sees we need it.

 

 

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