As a child who often spoke first and thought later, the taste of soap became a regularity. Had it really done its job, this mouth would have been antiseptically clean. However until that antiseptic, called the Holy Spirit, did His work this mouth continued and will continue to exude that which dishonors and defames because “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” [Matt 15]
God has given us His divine power pertaining to life and godliness, but also with that comes responsibility, a responsibility that without Christ would be burdensome. But, Christ said, my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Christ can carry the yoke by himself but two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. [Ecc 4].
If our salvation is so great why do we not live like it? We say, oh yes, I have this temper you understand, just accept me as I am. Saying that means we do not understand the depth of grief we cause the indwelling Holy Spirit or how deeply we quench His power. Perhaps that is why Paul wrote: let no unwholesome word (sapro = rottenness) proceed from your mouth. In other words, not just wash that mouth with soap but with the holiness that has been imparted to you so that you are edifying not corrupting.
Here’s where we need to end up: Psa 141:3Set a guard, O Lord, overmymouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Often we have packages we want to ship or packages are shipped to us in what we have come to know as “shrink wrapping.” Polymer plastic is wrapped around a fragile object and then heat is applied so that the plastic conforms to the image. The NET Bible translates: 1:1 From Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, wrapped in the love of God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. Immediately the image of shrinking wrapping came to mind! As a manufacturer applies heat the heat shrinking process begins and the plastic film being used then conforms to the image. How like God to “shrink wrap” me so I can be protected from the elements of this world. His shrink wrapping consists not of plastic but His love and the Holy Spirit’s power. How protective is the Father’s Love!
Jude reminds his readers that they are Beloved of the Father, they are kept in His love. This is a reminder that the Holy Spirit is given to me to keep me, protect me. His protection is lost when wI grieve or quench His power. That is why I must be earnestly seeking to be filled each and every day. It is the prayer of Jude that I know that the Father has lavished, note that this ispast tense, His mercy, peace and love upon these believers and this applies to me as well. And all of this happens inside that shrink wrapping! Do you feel special yet Beloved? I feel so wonderfully protected, how about you, do you feel protected?
But Jude also wants those who are the beloved to contend earnestly for the faith that has been entrusted to them. Paul said much the same to Timothy: “Compete well for the faith and lay hold of that eternal life you were called for and made your good confession for in the presence of many witnesses.” [1Tim 6]
From there Jude builds his message to them with several important reminders:
Build yourselves up on your most holy faith
Keep yourselves in God’s love
Have mercy upon the doubters, save others, snatch them from the grasp of the evil one
Remember is only Jesus that can keep you from stumbling. Only He can make you stand holy and unblemished in His presence with great joy.
As you ponder this very short and powerful letter, contend earnestly, warmly, zealously, with great eagerness. Think about being shrink wrapped in the Father’s love and praise Him for His love and care.
Recently in a conversation about church attendance a person noted that she is a “loner” and has been all of her life. She does not require nor does she need to be a part of a group and especially church. Then today in reading for this assignment I came across a blog written by another person who is also a “lone wolf” and finds/believes that he is sharper and more wise alone than with a group. Let’s see if either of these are biblical standards according to our reading in 1Corinthians 12.
First and foremost our standard is the lifestyle of our Savior. He continually said “follow me” and included from the entire spectrum. In doing so each disciple was able to use his gifts to enhance the entire group. For example, Andrew had the gift of finding people. John had the gift of tenderness. Matthew had the gift of accounting and details. The life of a hermit or a ‘lone wolf’ was a foreign concept to our Lord and it was as well to Paul but unfortunately there were some “lone wolves” in the Corinthian camp.
Secondly, what then is the purpose of each member and their gifts? As a believer we are all blessed with the indwelling Holy Spirit who graciously shares with the Body of Believers varieties of gifts, varieties of ministries for one reason: to build up or edify the Body and to glorify God. A question then arises. How can the Body be fully functioning or edifying or glorifying if there is one member missing?
Third point Paul is making is that there is no gift that is better or lesser than another. In fact, just as the gifts are diverse so the ministries are different and the activities are diverse but they all come from one source: The Holy Spirit. David Guzik writes: “The purpose of the manifestation of the Spirit is to benefit the whole church family, not just a particular individual.” All are needed, all are manifest and all bestow great honor upon the Body. In fact, Paul writes: “those members that seem to be weaker are essential, and those members we consider less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our unpresentable members are clothed with dignity.”
Precious Ones, there are no ‘lone wolves’ in the church–only members of the flock! You are endowed with a precious gift to be used. These gifts are God’s treasure box being opened and poured out upon the church. It is God’s way of allowing us the privilege of sharing and expressing and receiving God’s love from one to the other. So now the question remains: are you using your gift(s) for Him?
Remember this rule: If feel less qualified you are listening to the lie out of the mouth of the enemy for that quenches the Spirit. The Holy Spirit has graciously given to you His blessing for one reason: to glorify God. Go forth and share!