Saturday, May 2, 2015

Jude: A Word for Today

Who reads Jude? Not one in a hundred Christians, I’d guess. But maybe we should.

Jude addresses a crisis of immorality that has reached epidemic proportions and is metastasizing like a cancer  into rebellion toward God (v. 8, 10) or anyone else who would speak correction or rebuke.
The danger though is not that these people to whom Jude writes live in an immoral culture. Outside the culture of the Jewish people, the world largely was immoral, celebrating it in their mosaic murals and painted pottery, even incorporating immorality into their religions. No, the danger was that there have been some who have preached that sickness to the church as normal and good (v. 4, 12). Ultimately this sickness leads to death (v. 7).

If we find parallels to our day, it is not by chance. Jude seems to be writing not merely for his day but for ours.  There is a sense that those to whom he writes are living in a time close to the return of the Lord. That describes us more than the church 2000 years ago. And the picture he paints certainly fits. 

There is no question that we live in a particularly immoral time and culture, particularly in America. Sexual promiscuity and selfish greed is embraced as the norm in every novel and film. What fifty years ago was regarded as pornography is now mainstream. And the culture of America is being exported around the world via the media. Places as far away from America as India and China have been infected. Bollywood in India has adopted the morals of Hollywood. It is becoming a world culture.

Then there is the celebration of perversion that is sweeping America and the world. Behaviors that only a few years ago were spoken of in the closet are now front page, proudly paraded in every city, and licensed in almost every state in America.  

Perhaps more alarming than these things is the pervasiveness of the ME culture. If I want it, I can have it. No rules. Mobs looting Baltimore, kids blowing away their school mates, and crowds stoning out on  marijuana in Seattle are examples of the ME culture in the extreme. 

If those things were limited to the world around us, it would be serious enough, but they are not. They have infected the thinking and the actions of the church. We are very much people of this generation, just a little more refined about it. Maybe.

What shall we do? Jude’s prescription is to grow in personal faith. Make our relationship with the Lord more central to our lives. Pray. And rescue those we can. There will be those who are walking the fence not sure on which side to land. Rescue them. 

There are those who have been burned by the immorality of the ME culture. Their lives are a cinder. Pull them from the fire. Show mercy, not hatred. (v. 23) Get into the fray to pull people out, being careful not to get sucked in yourself. 

Sadly, that is rarely what we do. Either we get sucked in because we don’t see the dangers or we push people away because of the vileness of their lifestyle. Jude’s message is rescue those we can. 

And there is one final thing, more the example of Jude than his message: tell the truth of what is happening. Despite the glowing predictions of the blind, our world is going to hell. Tell it like it is.

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