Sermon #1 Jude Sermons
Title: “Jude, The Servant of Jesus Christ
Text: Jude 1:1
Subject: The Character of Christ’s Servants
Date: Tuesday Evening — 2004
Tape # Jude #1
Reading: Larry Brown & David Burge
“What do you think I am? Your servant?” How often have you said that to someone? None of us likes to be treated as the slave of another. Do we? We consider it a great dishonor to be a mere servant. But there are circumstances in which we ought to consider it our highest honor to be the servant of another.
· Our blessed Savior tells us that he came into this world, not to be served but to serve, and counted it his soul’s great joy to do so say, “I am among you as he that serveth” (Matt. 20:28; Luke 22:27).
· The gospel of the grace of God teaches us by love to serve one another (Gal. 5:13).
· Paul considered it his high honor to write to the Corinthians and minister to them as their servant.
· Are you willing to be a servant? Am I?
The Apostle Jude, the brother of James and half-brother to Christ himself, wrote his Epistle to us and uses this high, honorable title both to identify himself and to encourage us to heed his message.
Tonight I am beginning a series of messages on the Book of Jude that I trust the Lord will be pleased to bless to your souls’ present and everlasting good for the glory of Christ. You will find the title of my message in the opening words of verse 1. — “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ.”
Jude wrote this epistle no more than 30-35 years after our Lord’s ascension. It is commonly called a “general epistle” because, it was not written to any particular person or church but to the saints in general, as stated in this opening verse.
(Jude 1:1) "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called."
The Book of Jude
Like Obadiah, Philemon, 2nd John, and 3rd John, the Book of Jude is one of several very short books in the Inspired Volume, containing just one chapter. It is a sad fact that we often tend to despise small things. When we receive a letter from someone, we are impressed if it is lengthy, and often feel slighted if it is just a brief note. Sadly, we tend to read these very small books of the Bible the same way. We are prone to look upon them as being of somewhat less importance than Genesis, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Romans. In fact, the smaller books of prophecy are commonly called “The Minor Prophets” for no other reason than the fact that they are smaller than what we commonly call “The Major Prophets!”
Let us not be so foolish in our reading and study of the Book of God. The Epistle of Jude is not a “minor epistle.” It is a brief, but very deliberately written portion of Holy Scripture that is full of instruction for our souls.
Jude sets before us, in clear, simple, concise words the most profound and blessed truths of Holy Scripture. He tells us about
· the Holy Trinity,
· the mediation and lordship of Christ,
· God’s wondrous works of eternal grace,
· salvation in Christ,
· faith in Christ,
· the fallen angels,
· Michael the Archangel,
· Christ’s authority over Satan,
· the second coming of Christ,
· judgment day,
· and eternal glory.
This short book is filled with warnings that are needed in every age. The Lord Jesus warned us of false prophets who would come in his name (Matt. 24:11-13). Paul warned us about those who would arise in the church and draw away many (Acts 20:29-30). And Peter warned us about the rise of false preachers who would deny Christ (2 Peter 2:1-3). But, like John, Jude lived to see those prophecies being fulfilled in his day and warns us to beware of those false prophets who creep into the church in every age. In fact, most of this epistle (vv. 4-19) talks exclusively about them.
Jude’s epistle is also marked by very gracious and practical admonitions for us to obey. He tells us to ever build ourselves up in the faith, constantly pray, and diligently keep ourselves in the love of Christ, looking to him alone as our complete, all-sufficient Savior, by whom, in whom, and with whom alone we have eternal life (vv. 20-21). In verses 22-23 he urges us to seek the salvation of perishing sinners with tenderness and compassion.
Jude is a book of great, blessed comfort for our souls, too. Here we are assured of God’s preserving, keeping grace, assured that God our Savior will sustain his elect, even in a reprobate age. Regardless of the apostasy and chaos in the world around us, God will keep his elect form falling. The only Lord God, our Savior and Redeemer, who has preserved us from eternity is able to keep us from falling and will present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.
A Servant of Jesus Christ
But Jude begins his epistle by describing himself as the servant of Christ. He writes in verse 1 — “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.” It is obvious from the fact that he mentions this first, that Jude considered it a higher honor to be “the servant of Jesus Christ” than the brother of James. He was honored to be James’ brother; but he was infinitely more highly honored to be — “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ.”
Now, let me so you something that is not quite so obvious, but very important. Remember, Jude was also the half-brother of our Savior himself (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3). But he does not even mention this fact. Why? The reason is just this — Jude understood that no earthly or family connection with any man or any family, not even an earthly or family connection with the Lord Jesus Christ himself has any bearing upon our salvation by the grace of God (John 1:11-12).
(John 1:11-12) "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
Jude counted it an infinitely, indescribably higher honor to be “the servant of Jesus Christ” than to be the physical brother of Jesus Christ! Being the half-brother of Christ meant nothing spiritually. We are told plainly that some of our Lord’s own brethren did not believe him (John 7:5). But to be the servant of Christ was to be a child of God, one distinguished from others by God’s distinguishing grace, conquered by his love, and subdued in his heart by the knowledge of the only Lord God, our Savior.
When Jude said he was “the servant of Jesus Christ,” he confessed, like Peter, that he believed that his half-brother is “the Christ, the Son of the living God!
· The “Christ” of the New Testament is the “Messiah” promised in the Old Testament, the “Anointed One” of God (Daniel 9:24-26). — Jude was saying, “My half-brother is God my Savior!”
(Daniel 9:24-26) "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (25) Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (26) And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."
· He believed that his half-brother is God the Son who came into the world to save his people from their sins.
· He believed that his half-brother had save him from sin, death, and judgment.
· He believed that his half-brother, the Lord Jesus, had given him acceptance with the Father. — That his half-brother was his Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption!
· He believed that his half-brother is the King of Glory and the King of Grace, and gladly bowed his heart and life to his half-brother!
Without question, when Jude uses these words, “the servant of Jesus Christ,” he uses a phrase that sets forth the high honor and distinction of grace given to those men who are gifted and called of God to preach the gospel of Christ in any age (1 Cor. 4:1-2; Eph. 3:8; Col. 1:25-27).
(1 Corinthians 4:1-2) "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. (2) Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
(Ephesians 3:8) "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."
(Colossians 1:25-27) "Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; (26) Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: (27) To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
No calling of greater honor can ever be bestowed upon a man in this world. Every gospel preacher ought to count it his honor, his highest honor to be God’s servant among his people (1 Cor. 1:26-31). And God’s people ought to treat his servants honorably as his servants (1 Thess. 5:12-13; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:7, 17).
Still, these words describe an honor even higher than that of being a gospel preacher. When Jude speaks of himself as “the servant of Jesus Christ,” he is telling us that he is one of those sinners chosen of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and conquered by his grace, one who has been made willing in the day of the King’s manifest power to bow before his throne (Ps. 110:3). You see, to be a believer, to be a sinner saved by grace, to have faith in Christ is to be the willing, voluntary servant of Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 14:26-33).
(Matthew 16:25) "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
(Mark 8:34-35) "And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (35) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."
(Luke 14:26-33) "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (28) For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (29) Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, (30) Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. (31) Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? (32) Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. (33) So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."
Turn back to Exodus 21, and I will show you what this word “servant” means (Ex. 21:1-6). There were different classes of slaves in Biblical times. Jude referred to himself as a slave of the lowest class the class described in Exodus 21. In the Old Testament law, God made provision for debtors to pay off their debts by offering themselves as slaves. (That beats the daylights out of bankruptcy laws!)
Such slaves were to serve their masters for a period of six years. They would be released in the seventh year. However, the freed slave had the option of remaining a slave for life, if he so desired, as an expressed declaration of gratitude and love to his good master. The word “servant,” as Jude uses it to describe himself is taken from this law given in Exodus 21. It means “a voluntary, life-long bond-slave.”
(Exodus 21:1-6) "Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. (2) If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. (3) If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. (4) If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. (5) And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: (6) Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever."
· The servant described here is a voluntary slave.
· He is a life-long slave.
· He is a love slave.
· That is what Christ became to God for us, that he might save us (Isa. 50:5-7).
(Isaiah 50:5-7) "The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. (6) I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (7) For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed."
· And that is what Christ makes his people when he saves them by his grace.
· That’s what I want to be. — The bond-slave of Jesus Christ! — The willing, voluntary, lifelong bond-slave of my Savior!
Let me show you what I mean by that, and I will send you back home and back out into the world to serve our Master.
The word "servant" implies worship (Judges 2:7, 2 Chro. 30:8).
(Judges 2:7) "And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel."
(2 Chronicles 30:8) "Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you."
All who are the servants of Jesus Christ call upon his name in worship, faith, and gratitude as their God and Savior (Rom. 10:9-13).
(Romans 10:9-13) "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (11) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Believers are men and women who are in a unique slave-master relationship. Being made free by him, freed from his law and freed by his law, we are bound to him in faith, gratitude, and love (Rom 6:18, 22; 2 Cor. 5:14), as willing slaves.
A slave is one who is owned, totally possessed, because he wants to be, by his Master. This is what Jude means.
· He was purchased and possessed by Christ (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
· He was conquered by his Master’s grace and love.
The servant of Christ lives and exists only for his Master. We have no other reason for existence. The servant has no rights of his own, no property of his own, no family of his own, no will, no ambition of his own. He belongs to his Master.
The one thing that should be obvious is that servants serve. The servant of Christ lives for the purpose of serving Christ. He exists only for the purpose of doing his Master’s will. He is at his Master’s beck and call. He serves not himself, but his Master…
· His Master’s Cause
· His Master’s Family
· His Master’s Honor
May God give me grace ever to be completely subservient to my Redeemer. I owe everything to him. I owe him a debt I can never pay, but a debt I can never forget.
The title “servant of Jesus Christ,” as I said before, implies the highest, most honored, most royal distinction in the world. Throughout history, those men who stand out as the greatest, most useful, and most honored men have been the servants of God. This is the highest title of honor imaginable. The believer’s slavery to Jesus Christ is not a cringing, cowardly, shameful subjection. It is the position of honor — an honor that bestows upon us the great privileges and responsibilities of serving the King of kings and Lord of lords. Servants are privy to their Master’s secrets. — “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants” (Amos 3:7).
· Moses was the servant of God (Deut. 34:5; Mal. 4:4).
· Joshua was the servant of God (Joshua 24:29; Judges 2:8).
· David was the servant of God (2 Samuel 3:18; Psalm 78:70).
· The prophets were the servants of God (Amos 3:7; Jer. 7:25).
· Paul was the servant of Jesus Christ and God (Rom 1:1; Tit 1:1).
· Timothy was the servant of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:1).
· Peter was the servant of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1).
· James was the servant of God (James 1:1).
· Jude was the servant of Jesus Christ (Jude 1).
Servants of Christ are followers of Christ. — “If any man serve me, let him follow me and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (John 12:26). Christ’s servants are his attendants, his deacons, people who follow him to minister to and for him.
(Romans 12:1) “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
(1 Corinthians 15:58) "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
(Colossians 3:23-24) “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
(Deuteronomy 10:12) “What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul?"
(Hebrews 12:28) “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. ”
(Psalm 2:11) “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”
(Psalm 100:2) “Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”
Whose servant are you? Whose servant am I? — Our Master asks, "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).
Spirit of God, graciously make us the servants of Jesus Christ. — “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”
(SG #34—Tune: Take My Life, and Let It Be)
Chosen in eternal love
By my God, Who reigns above,
All I am and own I bring
Under rule to Christ my King:
I submit to Christ my God."
Chosen and redeemed and called,
Let no fear my heart intrude:
Christ will feed and clothe His own,
And protect me by His throne:
I will trust Him, Christ my God.
Savior, let me live on earth
To proclaim Your matchless worth:
In body and spirit, Lord,
I would glorify my God:
I will live for Christ my God.
Though my sinful flesh rebel,
Force me, Lord, to do Your will:
When my work on earth is done,
Bring me safely to Your throne:
I will see my Christ, my God!