5th August 2019

God’s True Message

“You must do everything that you can to keep God’s true message safe. God has given this message to his special people, and his message will never change. Do not let anyone teach you a different message.”
Jude 1:3b (Easy English)

Jude is the shortest ‘book’ in the Bible. No-one can say for certain exactly when Jude was written, but we’re looking at between 50-60 years from Christ’s ascension, a time when the Christian faith was growing internally through first and second generations as well as attracting new converts – bringing about change to the existing social dynamic.

Unusually for an epistle, this letter is not written to anyone specifically, and is considered a ‘circular’, or a generic letter to be read to all the churches in the area. Perhaps it’s akin to a regular church newsletter, or even our weekly announcements and information!

The verse recited above is perhaps the one most often remembered from this book whilst being equally misunderstood and quoted out of context. Nevertheless, it is possibly the crux of Jude’s communication, which is that we shouldn’t let anyone teach us a different message. Jude tells us in his very next sentence (verse 4) that people were trying to change God’s true message. So, what point is Jude trying to get across in the context of God’s true message?
Verse 1b “I am writing to you people that God, the Father, loves.
Verse 2b “I want you to know more and more how much God loves you.”
Verse 12 “But they [false teachers] … will stop you showing your love for one another.
Verse 21 “Continue to live in a way that shows God’s love.”

Notice Jude first reminds us God loves us. He then reinforces this point to his listener/reader before going on to warn that these teachers will try to stop us from loving others, before finishing this thought that we should continue to live a life of love, specifically God’s love.

This message echoes what Jesus Christ said before he ascended, “Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. In this way, everyone will know that you are my disciples. They will know it, if you really love each other”’ (John 13:34-35).

Jude knew this wasn’t a natural human thing to do, but his advice “Pray to God with the help of the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20b), whilst his contemporary writer John wrote “You have won against those people with a false message. You have been able to do that because God’s Holy Spirit is in you …“ (1 John 4:4) and “It is God who makes us able to love other people” (verse 4:7b).

The true message ‘first delivered’ … is to love God and all people, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Prayer
God the Holy Spirit, as you continuously join with our spirit, please maintain within us a continual love of God and our fellow human beings, just as God loves us.
Amen

Study by Irene Tibbenham
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About the Author:
Irene Tibbenham is a Deaconess and serves on the Pastoral Council in the Norwich Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Norwich
New Hope Christian Centre
Martineau Lane
NORWICH
NR1 2HX

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Tony Goudie
Phone: 01508 498165
Mobile: 07931 580409
Email: tony_goudie@wcg.org.uk

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