More of Carol’s study and speaking notes, see my previous post for explanation…
Keep Yourselves in the Love of God
I think most of us would agree we want to be loved and to love in return, Loving relationships with friends and family give meaning to our lives. It can be our greatest joy to love and be loved by children, spouses, family members, friends, and our church family. On the flip side many of us have experienced heartbreak, loss, and betrayal by the ones we love, Rejection, misunderstanding, betrayal, separation, and death can occur. But, as believers we look to the one ultimate love relationship of our life – Jesus! He will never leave us, or forsake us. He never betrays us, or does harm to us. He will never die and we can never be separated from Him. Our love relationship with Jesus is the key! Our love for Him and His love for us will bring us through any trial, any hardship, any suffering. A healthy love relationship with Jesus will keep us close, our hearts soft and open, our ears listening, our obedience growing. Love for Jesus enables us to lay down our lives and surrender our plans to Jesus.
We all want to finish our walk well with Christ. Love is the key. Our verse today is Jude 20-21;”But you beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy s Spirit, keep your selves in the love of God – looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” So, how do we do this all important thing? Let’s define a couple of terms and look at the steps mentioned in Gods word.
First of all, don’t miss in our opening sentence the word “beloved”! That is addressed to you and to me. Before anything else we need to remember that we are greatly loved. We are dear to the heart of God. How wonderful that is. It is a fact. There is nothing we can do, or not do to change this fact.
Next we are to “…build(ing) (y)ourselves up in (y)our most holy faith.” This word “build” is to construct, to frame, and to raise (like a building). In scripture it means to increase and strengthen, to cement and knit together, to establish and preserve. You will note that this implies effort on our part! We have a part to play in this. Many verses speak of this building, or edification of our most holy faith (and of those around us). 1Thessalonians 5:11; “Therefore, comfort each other and edify one another, just as you are doing.” Colossians 2:6-7 “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Romans 15:2; “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.” (building up) 1Corinthians 14:26; “How is it then brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” Again – for building up.
Each of us has a vital part to play. Whether by a prayer, a word spoken, a teaching given, a song sung, etc. These things you will notice are a result of believers coming together in Bible studies, in Church, in women’s prayer, in women’s coffee. It does not happen in isolation at home alone. So we are “building”, and Acts 20:32 gives us 1 important key to the building process.; “So now brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace which is able to build you up …” God’s Word. Time spent in study, devotion, prayer and listening to God speak to us in His Word.
Now, tie study in Gods Word with James 1:22 which says we need to be; “…doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving ourselves.” Do we apply what we learn in Bible study, from church, from women’s study, from our own reading of the Word? Application of God’s Word (or obedience) must be part of the building process.
Now back to Jude 20 where our verse says; “…praying in the Holy Spirit…” Prayer is another key. Notice the little word here that you could skip right over. “in”! When used with people it means “in the presence of, before, surrounded by, or in which one is enveloped.” We are to turn aside and ask the Holy Spirit to lead us in prayer. We ask Him to show us how to pray, who to pray for, to soften our heart to pray, and to give us the desire to pray. Trust God’s promise in Romans 8:26-27; “Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” What an encouragement! As we give 1st place to this prayer in the spirit we can also trust the promise of Romans 5:5; “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Next in our verse we note the work “keep”. “…keep yourselves in the love of God…” This word means to retain in ones power or possession, not to part with. To tend, take care of. So we don’t give up – we persevere. We keep walking, keep obeying, keep trusting, and we keep praising God. We are to cultivate and keep our love relationship with Jesus first. And the Lord will enable us. 1st Thessalonians 3:12 says; “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you.” Philippians 1:9 reminds us; “And this I pray that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.”
How do we keep ourselves in the love of God?
1) Study and spend time in Gods’ Word.
2) Apply, or obey what God shows us in His Word.
3) Pray – asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit
4) Have faith in God’s promises that show us that He is able to grow us in love as we yield to Him and live in obedience to Him.
One last thought – be quick and on the alert to bless others and spread God’s love around. Get outside of yourself, your thoughts, your comfort zone, and our tendency to pay attention only to self. For an interesting example let’s look at 2 Kings 4:8-13. This notable woman of Shunem was on the look out to bless others. She did not wait for an announcement, or an e mail, or for someone to knock on her door. She was looking to see who she could serve. And in so doing – she was blessed by God and experienced His love. So it will be for us! So, keep yourselves in the love of God.