The book of Jude has much to teach the body of Christ about false teachers and those who rely on dreams to defile the true church of God, which has certainly been and is one of the greatest threats to the church throughout her existence. From the very beginning of the church age there have been false teachers – those who either unwittingly or overtly teach ungodly doctrines aimed to destroy the church. This has always been a problem, and will be until the day of the Lord’s return when all thing will be made pure and rightly judged unto condemnation.
But that said, the short Epistle of Jude also has much to positively teach the body of Christ from the day it was written until the day of the Lord’s return. The richness of this epistle’s teaching can be seen from the opening verses. For example, Jude’s opening salutation is one of the grandest within all of the New Testament – on par with those written by the great Apostle Paul.
It is this salutation that we will dwell on in this initial sermon of this wonderful letter of Jude. Jude first explains succinctly who he is. Jude doesn’t boast, “Listen up, what you’re about to hear is from the Lord’s brother;” he doesn’t lord over the brethren with his credentials. No, Jude addresses the brethren as a lowly bond-servant – a willing slave to the Lord of all, and an equal with those he’s writing to. After that, Jude tells us who he is witting to; it’s a letter, “to the called ones.” This is not a general letter to all mankind, but to a specific group, those who are “called,” in other words, to the elect in Christ. Jude elaborates on this – this is not only to “the called” but those who are called and “beloved in God our father.” This is the perfect passive participle of the familiar word agapao, (biblical love) which indicates that God placed His love on the believer’s life in the past and continues to love into the present. We learn in Ephesians that Gods’ love for His people was set before time itself began (Eph 1:4-5), continues into the present, and even into the future. God has perfectly loved His called ones forever!
This is further emphasized as the sentence continues on. It says you are “kept by, or, for Jesus Christ“. This is wonderful news to the believer! If you can get a hold of this opening salutation, or greeting, and fully rely on God’s Word it will transform your reality and your walk. No more will your walk depend totally on what you do, but instead what Christ has done! That is good news. But if that wasn’t enough, Jude goes on to bless the brethren as he concludes his salutation of this great letter in vs 1 & 2. The Jews of the day, and even today, greet each other with the word Shalom, which translates peace. Paul’s greetings usually would build on that, Paul would say “Grace and peace.” Jude blesses the brethren with an addition to that, he uses the three strand phrase, “Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
What an opening of this wonderful short letter to God’s children! Yes, it is short, but it is nevertheless a powerhouse of wisdom, doctrine and blessings to the body. We thank the Lord for His Word, which includes this short beautiful epistle from a fellow bond-servant of Christ.
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