Sermon #33 Jude Sermons
Title: What Are You Looking For?
Text: Jude 1:21
Subject: Mercy and Eternal Life
Date: Tuesday Evening — June 21, 2005
Tape # Jude #33
Readings: Lindsay Campbell and Larry Criss
In his Pilgrim’s Progress John Bunyan describes the believer as a pilgrim passing through this world to eternity. At the outset of his journey, Pilgrim made his way to the house of a Gospel preacher he calls Evangelist. After describing his woeful condition as a sinner without hope, fearing to meet God, Evangelist “gave him a parchment roll; and there was written within, ‘Flee from the wrath to come!’”
After reading those words, Pilgrim “very carefully, said, ‘Whither must I fly?’” Then said Evangelist, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, ‘Do you see yonder shining light?’” Pilgrim answered, “I think I do.” Then said Evangelist, “Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto; so shalt thou see the gate; at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shall do.”
Pilgrim began to run to the light. But “he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, ‘Life! life! Eternal life!” So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the light.
You are, like Bunyan’s Pilgrim, pilgrims passing through this world to eternity. You have come tonight to the house of another Evangelist, whose task it is to point you to “yonder Light.” Let me ask you, “What are you looking for?” That question is the title of my message tonight. — What are you looking for?
Turn with me, if you will, to Jude 21, and I will tell you what I am looking for. I hope you are looking for the same thing. I want to urge you, as Jude here urges us, to set our hearts upon eternity, “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” I am “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
I have been rolling those words over in my mind for two weeks. What grand words they are. — “Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” The words “looking for” mean keeping your arms open and outstretched, waiting and ready, confidently anticipating. In a Word, Jude urges us to constantly and confidently expect “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
The mercy of God is the only hope we have. But what a blessed hope God’s mercy is, — “For he delighteth in mercy!” — “Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is mercy and plenteous redemption” (Ps. 130:7). Without mercy there were no hope for us. Therefore the Psalmist cried, “I have trusted in thy mercy, therefore my soul shall rejoice in thy salvation” (Ps. 13:6). Let others trust in what they will, we will trust in God’s mercy. Mercy is the thing that causes us to lift our heads with our hearts in joyful, confident hope, “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
O poor, empty, miserable sinner! Would you find mercy when you die? Would you find mercy at the great day of judgment? You will find no mercy from God, except you find it in Christ. The holy, Lord God will never shew mercy at the expense of his justice. And it is only in Christ that mercy and justice meet together and embrace each other. Having all things, he has all the mercy, faithfulness and truth of God. It is written, “My mercy and my faithfulness shall be with him” (Psalm 89:24).
Throughout the Scriptures mercy and truth and mercy and faithfulness are joined together. And they are joined together only in Christ. In him alone mercy and truth meet together. In him alone righteousness and peace kiss each other. All the threats and curses, all the wrath and fury of God’s holy law exhausted themselves on Christ. — “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). And, “in him are all the promises, Yea and Amen to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 1:20). He is the way and the truth; truth itself, the God of truth, and the truth of God.
Mercy of Christ
All the mercy of God is in Christ. Having all things, the Lord Jesus Christ has all the fulness of God in himself as the one Mediator between God and men. — “It pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell” (Col. 1:19). — “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).
· Not only all the attributes of God, but all the fulness of all the divine attributes.
· Not only the wisdom of God, but all the fulness of divine wisdom.
· Not only the power of God, but all the fulness of divine power.
· Not only the holiness of God, but all the fulness of divine holiness.
· Not only the justice and righteousness of God, but all the fulness of divine justice and righteousness.
· Not only the truth and faithfulness of God, but all the fulness of divine truth and faithfulness.
· Not only the authority of God, but all the fulness of divine authority.
· Not only the mercy of God, but all the fulness of divine mercy.
· Not only is God in him, but all the fulness of the Godhead.
Oh, poor empty sinner! Here are unsearchable riches of mercy, love and grace, a bottomless well of everlasting salvation.
All the mercy of God is so completely and fully in Christ that Jude here speaks of the mercy of God as “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In fact, as Robert Hawker put it…
“Mercy, properly speaking, (is) the name of Jesus. For David, speaking of grace, and pleading for it before the Lord, saith, as an argument and plea for receiving it, ‘There is mercy (that is, there is Jesus) with thee’ (Ps. 130:4.) And when Zecharias prophesied, under the influence of God the Holy Ghost, at the coming of Christ, he said it was to perform the mercy promised (Luke 1:72.) Jesus is the mercy promised.”
Spurgeon said, “Mercy is God’s Benjamin; the last born and best beloved of his attributes.”
When we begin to think about “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ,” we have to begin with the past. What great mercy was in our Lord Jesus Christ in ancient eternity! In his covenant transactions with the Father as our Surety, he engaged our cause, espoused us to himself, and assumed all responsibility for us, pledged himself to redeem us, save us by his free, omnipotent grace, and bring us safely home to Glory.
Then, “in due time, when the fulness of time was come,” our Lord Jesus Christ came to perform those covenant engagements for us. He came here in human flesh, to “save his people from their sins.”
· He assumed our nature. — “God was manifest in the flesh!”
(Isaiah 7:14) “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
(Isaiah 9:6) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
(John 1:14) “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
(1 Timothy 3:16) “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
· He lived in perfect righteousness as our Representative. — His name and ours is Jehovah-tsidkenu — “The Lord our Righteousness” (Jer. 23:6; 33:16).
What mercy this is! It is not enough for the sinner to be pardoned. We are required to keep the law. — “Cursed is he that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal. 3:10). This, too, Christ has done! By his faithful obedience to the law of God as our Representative, he has brought in everlasting righteousness for us (Rom. 3:19-22; 5:19). We have no righteousness of our own, but Christ is “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” His righteousness has been so thoroughly and perfectly imputed to us that we are “the righteousness of God in him.” With his spotless garments on, we are as holy as God’s dear Son! But we could not be made the righteousness of God in him, until our sins were atoned, pardoned, and put away.
· So, “in due time Christ,” he “who knew no sin,” was “made sin for us” and died the painful, shameful, ignominious death of the cross for us, as our sin-atoning Substitute, “that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Here is mercy’s highest, greatest, noblest, most wondrous, most mysterious deed! — “He, his own self, bare our sins in his own body on the tree!” — “He hath made him sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him!”
What a profound truth, what stupendous grace, what wondrous mystery those words contain! “He,” God the Father, “hath,” in holy justice and infinite mercy, “made him,” the Lord Jesus Christ, his infinite, well-beloved, only begotten, immaculate Son, “sin,” an awful mass of iniquity, “for us,” helpless, condemned, sinful rebels!
Spurgeon said, “The heart of the gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 reveals the vital truth of the gospel. Substitution is the foundation truth of Christianity, the rock upon which our hopes are built. This is the only hope of the sinner, and the joy of every true believer. — “He hath made him sin for us!”
This is the greatest transaction that ever took place upon the earth, the most marvelous sight that men ever saw, and the most stupendous wonder that heaven ever executed. Jesus Christ was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Jesus Christ, the spotless Son of God, was made sin!
This transaction that took place at Calvary two thousand years ago — The great substitutionary work of Christ, the mighty transfer of sin from the sinner to the sinner’s Surety — The punishment of the Surety in the sinner’s place — The pouring out of the vials of Divine wrath, which were due to us upon the head of our Substitute — is the only ground upon which the holy Lord God can be, as he describes himself, both “a just God and a Savior.”
· This is not a point of doctrine to be debated, but a revelation of God to be believed.
· This is not a subject to be bantered about like a piece of philosophy, but a subject to inspire awe and adoration.
· Substitution is not a theme for idle speculation, but a theme for admiration and worship.
The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was made sin for us. No man living upon this earth will ever really understand this truth. Yet, I hope that we will be gripped by the glorious reality of it. Oh, may God cause it to get hold of our hearts! The substitutionary sacrifice of Christ and the accomplishments of it are the great wonders of Holy Scripture. These things must be plainly and incessantly declared. My first message to you, twenty-five years ago, was on substitution. It was taken from this great text — “He hath made him sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him!” I have not deviated from it one hair’s breadth. God helping me, I never intend to be moved from it. Substitution will be the one, constant, glorious theme of this pulpit for as long as I have strength to occupy it. The gospel of Christ will not be pushed aside as an old piece of furniture in this house of worship. Where we began we will remain. The glorious gospel of substitutionary redemption is the strength, the glory, and the life of this church. This is “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life!” But “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ” did not end at Calvary.
· At the appointed “time of love” we were born again by “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ” and called by the irresistible grace and power of his Holy Spirit.
(Psalms 65:4) “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.”
(Psalms 110:3) “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.”
(Titus 3:3-7) “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. (4) But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, (5) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (6) Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; (7) That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Still, there is more. “The mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ” is present mercy. Do you see him yonder, on his glorious high throne? There he is interceding for us, sympathizing with us in all our afflictions, succoring us in all our temptations, and forgiving us of all our sins!
(1 John 2:1-2) “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Our great and good Shepherd has not given up the care of his sheep; and he never will. Even in Glory Land…
(Revelation 7:16-17) “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. (17) For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
His mercy is infinite. — It pardons offences committed against an infinitely holy God, and bestows an infinite good on all who believe. It is immutable. — Nothing can change it. It is invariably the same (Mal. 3:6; Luke 1:50).
(Malachi 3:6) “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”
(Luke 1:50) “And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.”
And his mercy is free. “He delighteth in mercy!” Getting mercy from our Lord Jesus Christ is not like trying to get money from a miser. We get mercy from him like a man gets water from a gushing fountain. Every time we draw a breath, we suck in his mercy!
“The mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ” shall be celebrated forever in heaven (Ps. 89:2; 103:17).
(Psalms 89:2) “For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.”
(Psalms 103:17) “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.”
· His mercy is providential, prevenient mercy (Ps. 59:10). It goes before us everywhere.
(Psalms 59:10) “The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.”
(Exodus 15:13) “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.”
· His mercy is forbearing mercy (Rom. 2:4).
· His mercy is comforting mercy (2 Cor. 1:4).
· His mercy is pardoning mercy (Isa. 55:6).
(Isaiah 55:6-7) “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
· “The mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ” is preserving mercy (Ps. 94:18; 138:8). — “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed” (Lam. 3:22).
(Psalms 94:18) “When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.”
(Psalms 138:8) “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.”
“A debtor to mercy alone—
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with thy righteousness on,
My person and off'ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour's obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.
The work which his 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 palm of his hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on his heart it remains,
In marks of indellible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is giv'n—
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified sprits in heav'n.”
Let others talk, if they dare, about their righteousness, their works, and their goodness, — “But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple” (Psalms 5:7). — “I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation” (Psalms 13:5). I am a great sinner who has committed many great sins, but my Savior is the great God of great mercies, and through his great mercies I stand before him and in him as a holy saint, altogether without sin. — “He was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin!”
(Psalms 25:7) “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.”
(Psalms 31:7) “I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities.”
(Psalms 33:22) “Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.”
(Psalms 36:5) “Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.”
(Psalms 57:10) “For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.”
(Psalms 59:16) “But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.”
(Psalms 85:7) “Show us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.”
(Psalms 90:14) “O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”
(Psalms 94:18) “When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.”
(Psalms 109:21) “But do thou for me, O GOD the Lord, for thy name’s sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me.”
(Psalms 109:26) “Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy.”
(Psalms 119:64) “The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.”
(Psalms 119:124) “Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.”
“When all Thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view, I’m lost
In wonder, love and praise.”
Our text specifically speaks of our Savior’s future mercy, mercy that will be given to us at death and in the resurrection on the day of judgment. Jude urges us to be constantly “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” What can that mean, except that you and I who trust him, sinners though we are in ourselves, should expect and anticipate with joy the coming of our blessed Redeemer because in that great day, when we stand before him in judgment at the great white throne, we shall obtain all the fulness of his infinite mercy? In that day, the Lord Jesus Christ will pronounce upon us the mercy of eternal life and give it to us!
Now, let’s look at the last two words of our text — “Eternal Life!” The Lord willing, I will come back to this again. But I cannot let you go without giving you a few sweet morsels from these two words — “Eternal Life.” The end and fulness of “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ” is “eternal life.” As Augustine put it, “God leads us to eternal life not by our merits but according to his mercy.” Eternal life is in Christ and is given to sinners by Christ as an act of indescribable mercy.
Let us spend our days on the tiptoe of faith “looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ,” and for “eternal life” in and by him, eternal life through the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. In that day, I will say to my Savior, what Lot said to him when he was delivered from Sodom, “Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast showed to me in saving my life” (Gen. 19:9).
When I think about these things, my mind is greatly relieved and comforted. Soon, very soon, when Christ comes for me (whether by death or by the resurrection) all that troubles me here will be over. All “the former things” of this vale of tears shall pass away forever!
· All Strife!
· All Sin!
· All Sorrow!
(Revelation 21:4) “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
(Revelation 22:3-4) “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (4) And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”
I cannot tell you how anxiously I am “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” What a delightful, cheerful, glorious day that day shall be!
Illustration: Rowland Hill’s Dream
(Psalms 115:1) “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.”
(Psalms 86:13) “For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.”
That is what I am looking for. What are you looking for?