The Great Call – Part Three

The Great Call

Part Three

“As the Father hath loved me,
so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
John 15:9

The Great Call of God to each of His Own is to remain in the power of HIS Love. It is a life-long call. It is a call that causes us to forsake anything that weakens His influence and power over our hearts. We, of our own volition, order our steps, make decisions, and choose our friends to facilitate His Kingdom within our lives. Everything is subservient to this one thing. The Book of Jude is a short, but fiery admonition to the growing pollution of a pervading influence of the world within the Church. There was an increasing tolerance of sin resulting in apathy and lethargy. The love of many was becoming cold*. We read his passionate exhortation to contend for THE FAITH; to fight the ethos of moral decay by which His people flagrantly used the concept of the grace of God to continue in sin, rather than understanding grace as the power of God to deliver them from their sin.

“I had necessity to write to you, exhorting [you] to fight for the faith once delivered to the holy ones…”
Jude 1:3

WHY?

“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.”
Jude 1:4

What is the great sin? It is a gospel which “perverts the grace of our God” to tolerate sin, sympathize with sin, thereby denying Him of His lordship in our lives. This perversion brings the grace of God into the realm of the senses. Where human sympathy subverts God’s Word, it twists and perverts His purpose into a demonic understanding as first evident in the Garden of Eden. The serpent beguiled Eve with this reasoning: “you shall not die”. In other words, do not fear God. Surely, He will not judge you for this act. We see this same “human” sympathy at work in Peter when he wanted to prevent Jesus from fulfilling Calvary’s call. Jesus rebuked him:

“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”!
Matthew 16:22-23

One thing is certain. There can be no true fellowship with those who esteem sin lightly. To walk in the Light of Christ is to hate sin and love righteousness. They who walk in this light know the power of true fellowship (1 John 1:6-7). Jude continues:

“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.”
Jude 1:5

The people in Jude’s day knew this truth. The Apostolic ministrations made known the vital truth that we must “continue” in His Love. We must fight the fight of faith to remain under the power of His Grace that we are not “shipwrecked” as Paul spoke of those who started out well but failed to “continue” in the faith.

“Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck
1 Timothy 1:19

And again in Jude:

“Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.”
Jude 1:11-13

People who live without a healthy “fear of the Lord” are those who have fallen to this perverted grace. The fear of the Lord is simply an attitude of heart that knows its utter need and dependence to abide in Him to live godly in this world. There is an understanding that allowing sinful thoughts to invade our hearts will lessen the influence of His Spirit and leave us vulnerable and captive to sin’s destructive ways.

“continue ye in MY love”

Our only hope of remaining true in this hour is to abide in Christ. If I lightly esteem His salvation, I will walk in this deadly world without His keeping power. Inevitably I will succumb to a worldly life while still confessing His Name. I will walk “sensually”, meaning subject to the senses and reasoning of this world, sympathizing with sin, feeling little or no remorse for my sinful inclinations. The deadliest aspect of sin is that it numbs us to its own devastating power. Only in Christ do we value exhortation, rebuke, and admonition. The natural man avoids these things, for the natural man cannot receive spiritual ministrations (1 Corinthians 2:14). The “fruit” of the perverted gospel of grace is people who only want to hear “smooth things” (Isaiah 30:10), pleasant things, with no desire for the two-edged sword of the living word of God (Hebrews 4:12).

Jude ends his fiery ministration with a plea to all who would hear:

“Keep yourselves in the love of God”
Jude 1:20-21

Keep yourselves under the influence of His grace. Keep yourselves in the fervency of His love. Fellowship with those who have not succumbed to the ethos of a gospel that alleviates His people from their responsibility to walk with God and abide in Him. Keep yourselves from living without fruit or purpose. The comfort of this human-centered gospel message is designed to assuage the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

“Having a form of godliness,
but denying the power thereof: from such turn away
2 Timothy 3:5

In the Book of Revelation Jesus says to His Church at Ephesus:

“But I have this against you,
that you have abandoned the love you had at first”
Revelation 2:4

What was God’s remedy?

“Remember therefore from where you have fallen;
repent, and do the works you did at first…”
Revelation 2:5

In God’s eyes, to live outside of this “pre-eminent love” (Greek), is a fallen state which requires repentance and a returning to what they did when they first started. The KJV uses the phrase “first love” in verse 4 and in verse 5 it uses the phrase “first works”. It takes the “first love” in order to DO the “first works”. It is impossible to hold the love of God in our hearts and be without the works of God. Utterly impossible. The branch which abides in the Vine “bears much fruit”.

May the magnificent words of Jesus resound within our hearts:

“As the Father hath loved me,
so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
John 15:9

See: The Great Call
See: The Great Call – Part Two
See: The Great Call – Part Four

* Note: Jesus spoke concerning the “beginning of sorrows” that during this time there would be people with cold hearts because iniquity would be rampant. He is not speaking of the world for they have not been given the love of which Jesus spoke.

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12)

For iniquity to abound requires a gospel in which iniquity, sin, and loose living are tolerated.

Brian Troxel

The Righteous Equation

The Righteous Equation

“Mercy and truth meet* together…”
Psalm 85:10

Mercy and Truth = Righteousness

Mercy must be coupled with truth to equal righteousness. Truth must be in harmony with mercy to be consistent with the character of God. Mercy tempers self-righteousness and truth delivers us from apathy and carelessness. It is in the blending of these two Divine realities of God that righteousness culminates.

“…keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation”
Exodus 34:7

Moses’ response to such a pure and Holy revelation was this:

“And Moses made haste,
and bowed his head toward the earth,
and worshipped”
Exodus 34:8

Pure worship is the result of seeing God in the wonder of His Glory and Holiness. His Glory is His character; His character is the basis of His Judgment. The deceived corrupt His Likeness by “perverting the grace of our God into moral anarchy and lack of self-restraint”. Others corrupt His truth into a callous caricature of a malicious despot. Truth magnifies mercy and brings the work of Christ into holy living, worthy of His sacrifice. Mercy breaks the proud heart of the natural man. In brokenness, we find obedience unto Him by which we are made free and alive in Him.

“But as for me,
I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy:
and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple”
Psalm 5:7

There is no contradiction between the Mercy of the Lord and the Fear of the Lord. Only the pure in heart can understand the fusion of these two great and solemn attributes.

A Gospel which declares a mercy void of truth produces apathy, the womb of unholy living and damnable heresies.

“For certain men entered surreptitiously who were of old predicted with reference to this judgment, men destitute of reverential awe towards God, perverting the grace of our God into moral anarchy and lack of self-restraint, and denying the only absolute Master, even our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jude 1:4

Jude goes on to declare:

“Now I desire to remind you, though you already know this**, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who didn’t believe”
Jude 1:5

How we need to be reminded of the verity of God. It is to this end we encourage and admonish one another to “live godly in Christ Jesus”. Let the unmerited ministrations of His mercy break our stubborn hearts and bring us into obedience that the world may see the truth of Him in us.

“Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God
2 Corinthians 7:1

Those who believe in the “promises of God” pursue purity of heart and are ever in the process of seeking holiness in the fear of the Lord.

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“The diverse aspects of the divine nature, to separate which is the tendency of the unregenerate mind of man and of all paganism, are united in perfect harmony in the Lord Yahweh… But the perfect revelation of the harmony was reserved for the fulness of time when “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” was made known to us in the flesh as both our Saviour and our Judge”
Albert Barnes

* Hebrew – To meet together (face to face), to concur, join

** The early Church knew of these powerful truths and the resounding expression of them brought forth a people who were the light of Christ unto the world. Compare the glory of the early church with the ethos of the present.

See: Grace and Truth

Brian Troxel