Build Yourself Up

I. Jude teaches that we are to build up ourselves in the most holy faith.

 A. This is a process involving several facets.

1. It is founded upon the Apostles and Prophets (Ephesians 2:19-22).

2. It is channeled through the Scriptures (Acts 20:32).

3. It is continued by obedience to Christ (Colossians 2:7).

4. It is manifested by our righteous works (1 Corinthians 3:10-14).

B. This is amplified by several illustrations.

1. It is contrasted by the Lord’s parable (Matthew 7:24-26; Luke 6:48-49).

2. It is central to proper Christian growth (Galatians 2:18).

3. It is directed to produce a suitable vessel for God (1 Peter 2:5-7).

4. It is implemented through gifted members (Ephesians 4:11-29).

a. The goal is to “perfect” the body of Christ (vs. 12).
b. The effect is unity (vs. 16).
c. The purpose is to “minister grace” (vs. 29).

II. Jude teaches that we are to be praying in the Holy Spirit.

A. This phrase can be easily misunderstood.

1. The translation implies a special kind of prayer “in” the third person of the Godhead.

2. The precise phrase is not used elsewhere in the Scriptures.

a. A similar structure is used in 1 Corinthians 14:15.
1) That insists on understanding prayer.
2) That deals with the spirit (intellect) of the person praying.
b. A possible parallel is contained in Romans 8:26.
1) That promises “special” help from the Holy Spirit.
2) That is not an intellectually comprehensible prayer.
c. A possible parallel is also contained in Ephesians 6:18.
1) That is describing an intelligent activity.
2) That is suggesting an “ordinary” prayer life.

3. The application of Jude’s thought is more specific.

a. The phrase is en pneumati hagioi proseuchomenoi.
b. The literal translation would be:  “in a (the) spirit which is holy be praying.”
1) The definite article “the” is missing in the Greek phrase.
2) The same misunderstanding is developed in 1 Thessalonians 1:5.
3) “The Holy Ghost” should be “a dedicated attitude.”
4) The same idea is clearly seen in 1 Peter 3:4.
5) The 2nd chapter of 1 Thessalonians bears this out (compare 2 Corinthians 6).

4. The Scriptures supply much parallel information to that thought.

a. We are not to pray to get man’s attention (Matthew 6:5-9).
b. We are to pray with “supplication” and “watching” and “perseverance” (Ephesians 6:18).
c. We are to pray with “thanksgiving” (Philippians 4:6; Colossians. 4:2).

B. This phrase can be correctly understood as it is translated by the King James Version.

1. It is permissible to supply the English word “the” when the grammar and context warrant.

2. It is correct to teach that we pray in a living relationship with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:15)

3. It is correct to understand that our prayers are to be offered under the influence, in the power and wisdom of, and with the direction of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:26)

III. Jude teaches that we are to keep ourselves in the love of God.

A. This is defined by John as obedience to God’s commandments (1 John 5:2).

B. This is further amplified by John’s writing.

1. Love is demonstrated by our obedience (John 14:15-24).

a. If there is no obedience, there is no love (1 John 2:3-5).
b. If there is continued obedience, there is constant love (1 John 3:22-24).

2. Obedience was demonstrated by Christ’s love (John 15:10).

3. Philadelphia was commended for keeping the word (Revelation 3:10).

4. Blessing is promised to those who obey (Revelation 22:7).

IV. Jude teaches that we are to be looking for Christ’s mercy.

 A. The basic teaching is eschatological.

1. Simeon and Anna demonstrate the attitude (Luke 2:25-38).

2. Christ illustrates the activity (Luke 12:31-40).

3. Paul applies the principle to the nations (Romans 15:8-12).

4. Paul amplifies the teaching (Ephesians 2:4-7).

a. Timothy is told of the purpose (2 Timothy 1:18).
b. Titus is told to instruct his charge (Titus 2:11-13).

B. The practical outgrowth is both evangelistic and purifying.

1. We are to follow a conscious formula toward others.

a. The KJV and other translations show a two-fold formula.
1) Compassion on some; “making a difference.”
2) Pulling others out of the fire, hating their spotty garments.
b. The New American Standard Version and other translations show a three-fold formula.
1) Compassion on some “who are doubting”.
2) Pulling others out of the fire.
3) Mercy with fear on others, hating their spotty garments.
c. The manuscript evidence is not conclusive on these two verses.
1) Charles Bigg argues for a confused text: “We may thus believe that there were originally but two clauses, but the order of those two is doubtful…We translate then finally:  ‘Some save, plucking them from fire; some, who dispute, pity in fear.’”
2) Isidor Mombert is rather free with his translation: “And some indeed, when they contend with you convict them, hold up to them their wrong and perverseness; but others save in fear, plucking them out of the fire.”
3) The New English Bible parallels the two-fold formula: “There are some doubting souls who need your pity; snatch them from the flames and save them.  There are others for whom your pity must be mixed with fear; hate the very clothing that is contaminated with sensuality.”
d. The majority of translators seem to favor a three-fold formula.
1) Henry Alford:  “And some indeed convict when contending with you; but others save snatching them from the fire; and others compassionate in fear.”
2) R.C.H. Lenski: “and some rebuke, such as dispute; some save by snatching them out of fire; some pity in fear, hating even the tunic that has become spotted from the flesh.”
3) William Barclay: “Some of them you must argue out of their error, while they are still wavering.  Others you must rescue by snatching them out of the fire.  Others you must pity and fear at the same time, hating the garment stained by the flesh.”
4) A. T. Robertson: “And on some have mercy, who are in doubt; and some save, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear.”
5) Richard Wolff: “It seems that in view of manuscript evidence…the translation of the A.S.V. is to be accepted:  ‘And on some have mercy, who are in doubt.’  The second class is described by the following words:  ‘And some save, snatching them out of the fire,’ and the third class:  ‘and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.’”

2. We are to have mercy on those who are doubting.

a. Most manuscripts use eleate (mercy) coupled with the accusative participle diakpin omenoi
1) Some manuscripts use elegchete (convict, rebuke).
2) Alford, Lenski and Barclay (see above) favor that language.
b. Most translators favor a dual meaning for diakrinomenois.
1) Some passages seem to imply the sense of “dispute” or “judge.” (Jude 9; Acts 11:2; 1 Corinthians 4:7)
2) Some passages seem to imply the sense of “doubt.” (Matthew 21:21; Romans 14:23; James 1:6)
c. The weight of language and context favors the “doubt” application.
1) We would translate: “Some people are in doubt, have mercy on them.”
2) We could have several applications.
3) There are the unsaved who are “agnostic.”
4) There are the unsaved who are “confused.”
5) There are the saved who are “affected” by prior training.
6) There are the saved who are “led away into error.”

3. We are to save some by snatching them out of the fire.

a. The saving action does not imply our ability to regenerate.
1) Salvation is of the Lord (Psalm 3:8; Isaiah 12:2-3; Acts 4:12; etc.)
2) Our “rescue” action is descriptive of evangelistic work. We are ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). We are rescue workers (James 5:20).
b. The rescue is performed violently.
1) We are to “pull” (arpadzontes=seize with force).
2) We are to seize these forcibly out of fire (cf. Amos 4:11; Zechariah 3:2).
3) Believers can come under the need to be “rescued” from the fire (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 John 8).
4) Unbelievers (perhaps the very men Jude is describing—vs. 7) need to be “snatched” from the fire that is just about to burn them.

4. We are to have pity with fear on some others.

a. This seems to imply a very dangerous evangelistic work.
b. This warns us to “hate” the garment defiled by the flesh.
c. We are warned against fellowship (1 Corinthians 10:20-21).
d. We are warned against co-labor (2 Corinthians 6:14-17).
e. We are warned against friendship (James 4:4).
f. We are to be pure and spotless (Ephesians 5:27; Colossians 1:22-23).
g. We are given examples (Acts 9:31; 1 Corinthians 2:3).
h. We are given commandments.
1) Perfect holiness in fear (2 Corinthians 7:1).
2) Submit to each other in fear (Ephesians 5:21).
3) Obey your employers in fear (Ephesians 6:5; 1 Peter 2:18).
4) Work out our salvation with fear (Philippians 2:12).
5) Defend the faith with fear (1 Peter 3:15).
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