Today’s passage comes from Jude which has only 1 chapter. In his letter, Jude is preparing end-time saints for the coming of the end. Its overall theme is the protection of our faith from the deceptions and ungodliness that Satan is bringing upon our lives & paths through false prophets, false teachers & deceptions.
The verses 1-16, covered important events in the bible: the Exodus, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Enoch and the revelation he received from God about the flood judgment. These events foreshadow the final salvation, redemption of God, and the final destruction by fire. And in order to overcome and receive eternal life, we need to have faith and life, like Enoch.
A sign of the end will be the rise of false prophets (Matthew 24:11-12). But those who persevere to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13). To prevent from stumbling & being misled, we need to build ourselves up not only on faith or holy faith but on the MOST holy faith.
1. Why build on the most holy faith?
“Built up” (epoikodomeo in Greek) is made up of epi (upon) & oikodomeo (to build up a house). It means building up for a purpose, for God to come and dwell.
We build upon most holy faith by keeping ourselves in the love of God (Jude 1:21). Holy faith is the faith that is set apart, and most holy faith is the faith that belongs to the Holy of Holies (Most Holy Place). Therefore, it is the faith that is qualified to enter into the Holy of Holies of the new Jerusalem. Why do we need to build upon our most holy faith?
(i) So that we may not become mockers (Jude 1:18)
“Mockers” (empaiktes in Greek) means one who mocks or embarrasses. They are the ones who do not believe in the coming of the Lord, so they mock the word of God & do not take it seriously (2 Peter 3:3-5).
Enoch lived with the coming of the Lord in his sight. And even though the Lord did not come in his lifetime, but he lived as though the Lord would come in his time. Likewise, we too have to live with this consciousness of the coming of the Lord. It does not mean our day-to-day life is not important. But the question is whether the will of God, the coming of the Lord, is within the parameter of our consciousness? And do we even care?
(ii) So that we are set apart from those who follow after their ungodly lusts
“Lust” (epithumia in Greek) means desire, lust, greed. It refers to our fleshly desires & not the will of God (1 Peter 4:2), which are polar opposites (1 John 2:17). Jude 1:16 reveals those who are focused on their own lusts are complainers & grumblers; always finding fault; & who like to flatter to gain an advantage.
(iii) To avoid having faith without the Holy Spirit
Having faith without the Holy Spirit is when we don’t have faith but act as we do. Jude 1:19 tells us that these are the people who cause divisions.
Take the example of the Tower of Babel when the world became divided. It became divided because of those who did not have the Word, the Spirit of God. Instead, they sought only for their own recognition. This happens when we do things without the spirit of God. We can even worship God or pray without His Spirit. The spirit comes from the Word of God, so how can we claim faith or that we glorify God when we do not read or study the Word of God? Without the Spirit, the Word, whether worship or doing God’s work, the purpose will just be for making a name for ourselves.
Psalm 49:20 warns of those without God’s Word, His Spirit are like beasts. That is why God commands us to build ourselves up on our holy faith, much like how God commanded Noah to build an ark. And the ark needs to be finished before the judgment comes. Likewise, God is telling us to start building. How much have we built up thus far? Are we building our ark day by day, or has it stopped? When Noah finished building up the ark, he became the centre of salvation and judgment. May Zion Church and our faith be built up so that we will become the centre of salvation and judgment in the end times!
2. How do we build ourselves? (Jude 1:20-21)
(i) By praying in the Holy Spirit
It is praying upon the Word we have received. Praying in the Holy Spirit is praying according to God’s Word, and for His purpose. Then our prayers will be beautiful aromas & scents being lifted up to God.
(ii) By keeping yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life
This will not be easy to do. That is why we are encouraged to persevere & endure, to hold fast to our faith. Remember Job? He held onto his faith & kept himself in the love of God (Job 2:9). Apostle Paul also exhorts us to hold on, to be steadfast in faith, staying in the love of Jesus because He is coming soon (1 Corinthians 15:58). Likewise, in order for us to build ourselves upon the most holy faith, we need to pray in the Holy Spirit, keeping ourselves in the love of God & hold onto this hope of the mercy of Christ (Jude 1:20-21). Let us not be like those who do not keep their places and faith (Jude 1:6). Lucifer did not keep his place & fell. Adam did not keep his place in faith, fell and sin & death came upon all mankind.
Proverbs 19:16 says we can keep our souls when we keep & obey the commandments of our God (Psalm 119:11). It is also having mercy & saving others by sharing the gospel thus saving them out of hell’s fire (Jude 1:22-23). It is all about evangelism.
In the end, all this building upon the holy faith is so that we can enter into the Most Holy Place.
let us not become unfinished towers like the Tower of Babel. Jesus in Luke 14:28-30 spoke of an unfinished tower.
Why was the tower not completed?
(i) Because of the lack of dedication
It began with the foundation but people got tired & stopped.
(ii) There was no planning
Likewise, is our faith a random, day-by-day faith? And is that even real faith? To build, we need to make plans and calculate the cost: the time it will take & what needs to be done for its completion. If we want our faith to grow, and for us to come closer to Jesus, we have to really think about what we need to do. We cannot just live the same life and expect the tower, our faith to build itself. We need to invest our money, time and efforts.
There is also the time limit that God has set for the end, as well as the time limit of each of our finite lives. We build up while on earth. Enoch saw the end, not only of the judgment day end, but also the end of his life, and planned his life. He realized there was not enough time, & that he had to walk it daily with God. We too need to have a clear plan.
Jude warns us today that time is drawing near & there is much work left to do. Let us get up and get something done. Jude 1:24-25 assures us it is GOD who will build us up on most holy faith. He is the one who will keep us from falling and will make us stand in the presence of His glory. It is He who will make us blameless. That is why it is possible to be built up in the most holy faith. All we need to do is come to Jesus Christ who will build us up. But in Him, we also pray in the spirit, continue steadfast with faith and hope, and evangelise. Let us look forward to that day when we will be blameless and can stand before His glory.