Sermon #4                                                                                                                                  Jude Sermons

 

      Title:                                 “Preserved in Jesus Christ

      Text:                                  Jude 1:1

      Subject:              

      Date:                                Tuesday Evening — November 2, 2004

      Tape #                 Jude #4

      Readings:           Bob Duff and Rex Bartley

      Introduction:

 

You will find my text and my subject in Jude 1:1.

 

(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.”

 

Here God the Holy Spirit tells us that all who are God’s, because we are from eternity “sanctified by God the Father,” are “preserved in Jesus Christ.

 

Preserved

 

The word “preserved” means “watched over,” “guarded,” “kept from loss or injury.” It is a passive verb. So the sweet message of God to our hearts in these words is this. — Because God has set us apart unto himself in Christ in eternal election, we are absolutely kept from any harm coming to us, because we are in Christ made the objects of his unceasing care. The Lord our God keeps his eye upon us all the time. He watches over, guards, and protects us continually. And this preservation is altogether his work. We are not preserved in Christ because we persevere in faith. We persevere in faith because we are preserved in Christ.

 

Let all who trust Christ understand and ever rejoice in this blessed fact. In eternal sanctification, we were set apart by God the Father in election in Christ, chosen in him. We have a place in his heart, who declares, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” We are from everlasting in his heart, in his hands, and in him. We e one with Christ! We are one with him as members of the body are one with the head. We are one with him as our covenant Surety and Representative before God. Being in him and one with him, we are preserved by him — preserved by him before we were called and preserved by him after we have been called. It is written, “They are preserved forever” (Ps. 37:28).

 

All God’s elect are secretly preserved in Christ from eternity, preserved before their calling and unto their calling. We were preserved from condemnation and the second death. We were not preserved from falling with the rest of mankind in the sin and fall of our father Adam. We were not preserved from the depravity and corruption of human nature which all men have by birth from Adam. And we are not preserved from iniquity, transgression, and sin. We are all, by nature, “children of wrath.”

 

Yet, even in those days gone by, though fallen, depraved, hell-bent “children of wrath,” Jude tells us, and all of Scripture teaches us, that we who now believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and all who shall yet believe on him, were so completely and absolutely preserved, watched over, guarded and protected by our God, by virtue of our union with Christ that it was not possible for us to suffer any real loss or injury by all that we experience in time! We were, even in our wrathful state of unbelief, so preserved that the law could not execute the sentence of condemnation on us, sin could not damn us, and Satan could not destroy us.

 

Then, after being called to life and faith in Christ, we are preserved still in Christ. No, we are not preserved from indwelling sin, but in spite of indwelling sin. No, we are not preserved from temptations, but in the midst of temptation. No, we are not preserved from doubts and fears and unbelief, but in the midst of them No, we are not preserved from slips and falls, from acts of sin and attitudes of evil, but in spite of them. Our Savior said, “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:28).

 

Preserved in Jesus Christ!” — In Christ we are preserved in sanctification, justification, redemption and grace, preserved as the sons of God and heirs of heavenly glory, preserved in life and faith, and preserved in absolute, indestructible safety and security.

 

Once in Christ, in Christ forever,

None from Him my soul can sever!

—————————————

By God’s sov’reign grace united

To His Son eternally,

I can never be divided

From my cov’nant Surety.

God’s free love, from everlasting,

Made me one with His dear Son.

Blessed union, strong, unchanging,

I am with my Savior one!

 

Once in Christ, in Christ forever.

Thus His promise ever stands.

Life and death and hell together

Cannot tear me from His hands!

Oft I fall, but God unchanging,

Faithful to His cov’nant stands.

He will never charge with sinning

Those for whom His Son was slain.

 

One with Jesus, one with Jesus,

By eternal union one!

One with Jesus, one with Jesus,

O what wonders grace has done!

One with Christ from everlasting!

One with Him upon the tree!

One with Him on high ascending!

One with Him eternally!

 

 

Preserved in Jesus Christ!” — What blessed words! What unspeakable blessedness! What unknown wonders are here described! Only in eternity will we be able to see them. Yet, there are some things plainly revealed in the Book of God about the meaning of these words. — “Preserved in Jesus Christ!

 

Every form, degree, and method of preservation is implied. Every state, condition and circumstance is included. Every danger, foe, and weapon form against us is taken into consideration. Still, the words are sure. — “Preserved in Jesus Christ!

 

“Who shall calculate or write down in the history of one child of God, much less the whole Church, the wonders of this preserving grace, in the ten thousand times ten thousand instances of it? Preserved in Jesus Christ, before called to Jesus Christ. Preserved in all the after stages of life, when called by grace, until grace is finished in glory. The church in every individual member, may, and indeed ought, daily to ponder the melting subject; but we must enter eternity, and look back over the everlasting hills through all the path the Lord hath brought us on our way; before that we shall have a becoming sense, and apprehension, of the unspeakable blessings, contained in these four words, preserved in Jesus Christ.”

Robert Hawker

 

I have no hope of expounding such a wondrous theme. But its message is easy to declare. Let me show you this one great, glorious, soul-cheering, God honoring, gospel truth, as it is set forth in Holy Scripture.

 

Proposition: All who are the objects of God’s everlasting grace are forever “preserved in Jesus Christ.

 

Eternal Union

 

I.      We are forever preserved in Christ by virtue of our eternal union with him in God’s everlasting purpose of grace.

 

Without question, there is much more about God’s purpose of grace that we do not understand than there is that we do understand. But this much is sure (Eph. 1:3-6).

 

Š      We were chosen in Christ, as one with him before the world began.

Š      Being chosen in him, we were accepted in him.

Š      Being accepted in him, we were blessed in him, with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.

 

Yes, back before time began, before God ever said, “Let there be light and there was light,” in eternity, the Lord Jesus betrothed us unto himself as his holy Bride, receiving us as his gift from the Father; and “he hateth putting away.”

 

Those whom the triune God predestinated, justified, called, sanctified, accepted and glorified in Christ before the world began, he will not lose in time (Rom. 11:29; 2 Tim. 2:19).

 

(Romans 11:29)  “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”

 

(2 Timothy 2:19)  “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

 

Prevenient Grace

 

II.     Being sanctified by God the Father, all God’s elect are preserved through all the ages of time in providence in prevenient grace.

 

“Prevenient grace” is a term seldom heard in our day. But it was common in days gone by. Preachers do not talk about it much anymore because preachers, for the most part, know nothing about the grace of God; but a common theme of meditation and preaching in earlier times was God’s prevenient grace. Prevenient grace is the grace of God that goes before us un saving grace, preparing the way of grace.

 

The word “prevenient” means preceding. Prevenient grace is the secret operation of grace that precedes and prepares the way for God’s saving grace. Prevenient grace is illustrated in many ways in the Word of God. I will call your attention to just three aspects of it. Prevenient grace is...

 

A.          FORMATIVE GRACE (Gal. 1:15; Jer. 1;5; 2 Tim. 3:15).

 

(Jeremiah 1:5)  “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

 

(Galatians 1:15)  “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,”

 

(2 Timothy 3:15)  “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

 

B.          RESTRAINING GRACE (1 Sam. 25:13-26; Gen. 20:6—”Hitherto shalt thou go and no further!”

 

(Genesis 20:6)  “And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.”

 

(1 Samuel 25:13-26)  “And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff. (14) But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them. (15) But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields: (16) They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. (17) Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him. (18) Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses. (19) And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal. (20) And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert on the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them. (21) Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good. (22) So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall. (23) And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, (24) And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid. (25) Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send. (26) Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.”

 

C.          OVERRULING GRACE (Philemon 15).

 

(Philemon 1:15)  “For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;”

 

Illustration: Gomer!—The Prodigal!—Peter!

 

(Hosea 2:8)  “For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.”

 

(Psalms 76:10)  “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”

 

How I rejoice and give thanks to God for his free, covenant grace and for his secret, prevenient grace. It is this prevenient grace that keeps and preserves his elect throughout their days of rebellion unto the day of their calling. That is what Jude describes in our text (Jude 1).

 

(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.”

 

Prevenient grace gives the angels their charge (Heb. 14).

 

(Hebrews 1:14)  “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”

 

As I have already said, our preservation in Christ did not keep us from the sin and fall of our father Adam, because it was never intended so to do. Had that been the case, we would have been kept from all the blessings of redemption and salvation arising from Adam’s transgression. Rather, Adam’s fall was a part of God’s wondrous plan of grace.

 

“Determined to save, he watched o’er my path

When, Satan’s blind slave, I sported with death.”

 

It is God’s prevenient grace of which David sang in Psalm 23:6, saying, “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow (pursue — chase) me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

 

Providence

 

In his wise, adorable, and good providence, our heavenly Father works all things together for good to all his elect in prevenient grace (Rom. 8:28-30; 11:33-36).

 

(Romans 8:28-30)  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

 

(Romans 11:33-36)  “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”

 

Preserved by Blood

 

III.   We are preserved in Christ by his precious blood, the blood that has redeemed us to our God.

 

We see this clearly in the Lord’s deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt, on that dreadful night when the destroying angel was abroad to slay God’s enemies. A bitter cry went up from house to house as the firstborn of all Egypt, from Pharaoh on the throne to the firstborn of the woman behind the mill and the slave in the dungeon, fell dead in a moment.

 

The angel flew silently through every street of Egypt’s many cities. But there were some houses he could not enter. When he came to the house with the blood of the lamb on the door, he sheathed his sword and passed by that house. What was it which preserved the house? The inhabitants were no better than others. The house was not more elegantly built. There was nothing except the bloodstain on the lintel and on the two side posts, that distinguished that house from all the others in Egypt. And the Lord God said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.”

 

There was nothing that gained the passover for Israel but the blood of the lamb. The father of the house had taken a lamb and killed it, had caught the blood in a bowl, and while the lamb was roasted that it might be eaten by the family, he took a bunch of hyssop, stirred the blood in the bowl, went outside with his children and smeared the blood on the door posts and lintel. Then, he went inside, shut the door, and waited. Inside the house, with blood on the door, they were all safe. Destruction could not come upon them. No evil could befall them, though destruction, evil and death were all around them. Hell itself could not burn against that door. Justice put up its sword at the sight of the blood!

 

Yes, we are “preserved in Jesus Christ,” by his precious, sin-atoning blood! The Lord God saw the blood long before we saw it. For that reason he spared our forfeited lives when like barren fig trees, we brought forth no fruit for him. When we saw the blood, not when we saw it, we were “preserved in Jesus Christ!” “When I see the blood,” he said, “I will pass over you.”

 

Sweet thought! Though the time may be that my eye of faith is so dim that I cannot see clearly as I ought the precious blood of Christ, as long as the undimmed eye of my God looks upon the sin-atoning blood of his darling Son, he cannot and will not strike this redeemed sinner! He has neither reason nor desire to do so!

 

“Oh, how precious is this blood-red shield! My soul, cower thou down under it when the darts of hell are flying: this is the chariot, the covering whereof is of purple; let the storm come, and the deluge rise, let even the fiery hail descend beneath that crimson pavilion my soul must rest secure, for what can touch me, when I am covered with his precious blood?”

C. H. Spurgeon

 

Sit down, O my soul, beneath the shadow of the crucified Son of God and rejoice in blessed, sweet assurance of this fact. — “I am safe, preserved in Jesus Christ! Who shall condemn me? It is God himself who justices me! Who shall lay any charge against me? It is Christ that died! Who shall separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus?” When heaven is melts with fervent heat and when earth is on fire, still, we shall be “preserved in Jesus Christ,” preserved by his precious, sin-atoning blood.

 

Sealed

 

I cannot say more. As we are forever preserved in union with Christ, preserved by God’s prevenient grace, and preserved by Christ’s precious blood, so all God’s elect are, in preserved by the very immutability of God our Savior (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8).

 

IV.   And in the blessed experience of grace, having been called by God the Holy Spirit, we are “preserved in Jesus Christ” by the seal of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:12-14).

 

(Ephesians 1:12-14)  “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

 

Here the Savior’s blessed promise and rejoice. — “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish.”

 

Our Lord here makes a blanket, unconditional promise. It takes into consideration all times, all circumstances, all contingencies, all events, and all possibilities. Our Lord says, concerning all his sheep, I give unto them eternal life,” and because they are my sheep and I give eternal life to them, “they shall never perish.”

 

Š      What if they are babes in Christ and their faith is weak? “They shall never perish.”

Š      What is they are young men in Christ and their passions are strong? “They shall never perish.”

Š      What if they are old men and their vision grows dim? “They shall never perish.”

Š      What if they are tempted? “They shall never perish.”

Š      What if they are tried? “They shall never perish.”

Š      What if all hell breaks lose against them? “They shall never perish.”

Š      What if they sin? “They shall never perish.”

Š      What if they sin again? “They shall never perish.”

Š      What if they fall? “They shall never perish.”

Š      What if they fall seven times a day? “They shall never perish.”

Š      What if they fall seventy times in a day? “They shall never perish.”

 

This promise takes in all the flock. “They shall never perish.” Not one of Christ’s sheep shall ever perish; no, not even one! This is not a distinctive privilege reserved for a few. It is a common mercy to all the chosen flock. If you are a believer, if you trust the Lord Jesus Christ, if you have received eternal life, you shall never perish! Christ himself has promised it. No, you cannot even sin away the grace of God bestowed upon you in Christ.

 

Noah — Abraham — David — Lot — Peter — They all tell us one thing: Salvation is of the Lord!” Christ’s sheep shall never perish!

 

This doctrine of the believer’s security in Christ is in every way consistent with all revealed truth. It is most surely believed among us. Deny this promise and with it you deny every promise of God. If one word from God cannot be believed, no word from God can be believed.

 

Seven Reasons

 

Here are seven reasons why the sheep of Christ shall never perish:

 

1.   The promise of God must be fulfilled“They shall never perish” (2 Tim. 2:19; 1 John 3:19).

 

(2 Timothy 2:19)  “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

 

(1 John 3:19)  “And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”

 

2.   The purpose of God cannot be frustrated (John 6:37-40).

 

(John 6:37-40)  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

 

  • God’s covenant cannot be disannulled.
  • God’s purpose in election cannot be overturned.
  • The Suretyship engagements of Christ cannot be defeated (Heb. 2:13).

 

3.   The redemptive work of Christ cannot be nullified (Isa. 53:10-11).

 

We believe in actual, literal, accomplished, substitutionary redemption. Since Christ died for his sheep, in our room and in our place, we cannot and shall not die.

 

  • He paid all our debts — We have no debt to pay.
  • He bore all our punishment — There is no punishment left for us to bear.
  • Christ satisfied the offended justice of God for us —

 

There is nothing left for us to bear, and nothing for us to satisfy. Justice pleads as strongly as mercy for the eternal salvation of those people for whom Christ died at Calvary (Rom. 5:10; 8:31-34).

 

(Romans 5:10)  “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

 

(Romans 8:31-34)  “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

 

  • If even one of those for whom Christ died were to perish, then his purpose in dying for them would be frustrated (Eph. 5:25-27; Gal. 1:4-5; Tit. 2:14).
  • If even one of those for whom Christ died were to perish, then he could never see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.

 

4.   The believer’s justification in Christ is an irreversible act of grace.

 

The trial is over. The court of heaven has pronounced an irreversible verdict upon us — “Justified!”

 

  • God will not impute sin to a believing soul (Rom. 4:8).
  • God has put away our sins forever by the sacrifice of his Son.
  • Our acceptance before God is in Christ.
  • Our justification is free, it is full, it is forever!

 

5.   The work of God’s grace can never be defeated (Phil. 1:6).

 

That which God has begun he will carry on to perfection. Without the least presumption, every true believer may gladly sing -

 

“The work which God’s goodness began,

The arm of His strength will complete;

His promise is yea and amen,

And never was forfeited yet:

Things future, nor things that are now,

Not all things below nor above,

Can make Him His purpose forego,

Or sever my soul from His love.

 

My name from the palms of His hands,

Eternity will not erase:

Impressed on His heart it remains

In marks of indelible grace:

Yes, I to the end shall endure,

As sure as the Earnest is given,

More happy, but not more secure,

The glorified spirits in heaven.”

 

6.   The intercessory work of Christ must prevail (John 17:9-11, 15, 20; 1 John 2:1-2).

 

Our cause can never, never fail,

For Jesus pleads and must prevail.

 

7.   The seal of the Holy Spirit cannot be broken (Eph. 1:13-14).

 

Preserved

 

I told you that this is a subject far beyond our ability. We can only see little outlines of this glorious fact. All who are “sanctified by God the Father,” are “preserved in Jesus Christ.” — “Preserved in Jesus Christ…”

Š      From all evil (Ps. 57:12).

Š      From the evil one (John 17:15).

Š      From death (John 11:24-25).

Š      From hell (Rev. 20:6).

Š      In trial and temptation (1 Cor. 10:13).

Š      For an inheritance in heaven (1 Pet. 1:5-9).

Š      From falling (Jude 24-25).

Š      Preserved in the grave unto resurrection glory (Ps. 16:5-11).

 

(Psalms 16:5-11)  “The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. (6) The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. (7) I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. (8) I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. (9) Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. (10) For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (11) Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

 

One with Christ, my Hope of Glory,

One with Him I am secure.

God will never, never leave me,

For this union must endure!

 

(2 Timothy 1:12)  "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

 

(Jude 1:24-25)  “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (25) To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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