We pray that you and yours are blessed with wonderful family, food, fun, and time set aside to give thanks to our Lord for His many blessings. It has been a great month of thanksgiving, celebration, and service at Reunion Church. Our women were blessed to retreat and plant God's Word deeply in their hearts. Our Fifth Sunday Potluck on the Plaza was so much fun, including the Pinewood Derby, fellowship, and delicious food. Everyman Men's Ministry blessed us by hosting Thanksgiving in the Park, complete with Thanksgiving Dinner. How fortunate we are to gather as a community, encourage and strengthen one another, and share the joys of relationships built on firm foundations of faith.
We are thankful for each member of the Reunion Community - for your love for Christ, your commitment to growing in faith, and your heart for serving others as He leads you.
As we head into December, we turn our thoughts towards Advent - preparation for the coming of the Messiah. We are beyond blessed to prepare our hearts for our Savior's return with each of you. Please mark your calendars for the many opportunities to grow in faith, fellowship, and worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
THE PASTOR'S CORNER
Jude's Text Must Transform Our Lives It is obvious that Jude is one of the more concise epistles in the New Testament, and yet it does contain as we will find, personal invitations from the author to be challenged by very deep and intense theological perspectives. For example: In verses 20–21 Jude invites, “Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit … Await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ … Keep yourselves safe in God’s love.” Each of those invitations in and of themselves are theologically deep and spiritually intense even in our room here today.Jude's invitation in these two verses is threefold: Pray in Power - Await Mercy - Keep Safe In God’s Love What biblical or theological context do you hear from Jude in those same two short verses? Like his invitation, Jude's biblical or theological context on these verses is also threefold - Trinitarian: The Power of the Holy Spirit - The Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ – The Safety and Security in God's Love What is evident from contextual statements such as these is that Jude expresses the need for disciples of Christ to have an understanding and awareness of the significant presence and role of each Divine Person of the Trinity. False teachers had begun to deconstruct the Trinity among believers causing deception and division. Jude counters by inviting his audience to know and experience God the Father - God the Son - and God the Spirit, as they purposefully manifest (come to life) themselves in the lives of those navigating the threat of deception within the Church, and the obstacles of being a faithful follower within the Christian community. Jude refers to The Holy Spirit only in verse 19, and although the Spirit is least mentioned it is not an indication of value or priority to the life of the believing disciple. Jude will say to his hearers and to us that those among us who are false teachers and heretics, in fact, do not have the Holy Spirit. And that Bible-believing Christians should value and prioritize the working and presence of the Spirit when we pray and worship (Spirit and in Truth). False teachers will lay sole or preferred claim to trending (what is the latest and greatest) spiritually and prophetically. This most often includes proclaiming to have experienced or possessed a unique revelation or download from God (only known to themselves) to back and validate each of their theories, doctrines, and beliefs. However, Jude makes it clear that the presence of the Spirit is the line of distinction between what is merely a skill set of man and an actual move and manifestation of God. Jude will also conclude that it is the truly faithful to God, and not simply the contrived, controlling, and charismatic leaders, that are the inspired and those led by Him.
This leads us to another deep and intense Biblical context that Jude brings to his audience.
God is Central to the Work of Christ, and the Power of the Holy Spirit
The love of God opens the epistle (verse 1) and God as “Savior” closes the epistle (verse 25). God is our Father (verse 1), His “grace” defines salvation in contrast to the perversion of it by the false teachers (verse 4), and the love of God preserves us (verse 21). As God the Savior, He not only “keeps” us here and now (moment to moment) in the present, but in the future, He promises that He will “bring” or deliver us into the hope of His eternal “presence.” Jude will tell his audience, that God's essential and central presence in our temporal lives assures us (hope) not only of the security and comfort of His love and sustaining grace - but also that the central presence of God the Son (Jesus), grants us welcome and access to the eternal life that God and God alone gives us through the sacrifice and redemption of Yeshua, Christ Jesus, by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, God is deserving of our praise, honor, and glory (verses. 24–25).
Dr. Stephen Isaac Senior Pastor Reunion Church