Text: Jude 24-25
As Jude contemplates the encroaching work of the enemy, he ends up on this tremendous doxology. It is really more than a doxology…it is really a confession of faith. The Bible has a number of doxologies and doxologies are not prayers, but they are confessions of faith. And against the black background of all that has been said concerning the last days in which we now find ourselves, he comes out with this tremendous doxology, the confession of his faith.
The first word of verse 24 in the English Bible is “now”, but it really ought to be “but”, because Jude is beginning a stark contrast to what he has already.
“But to Him that is able to keep you from falling and to
present you faultless before the presence of His glory
with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior
through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory and majesty,
dominion and power both now and forever. Amen.”
Several years ago, I was suffering from some form of insomnia. I went for weeks and weeks without being able to sleep at night. Finally, I went to my doctor and told him I needed to have something because it was just dragging on for weeks and even into months without being able to sleep. And this particular doctor was not one who liked to prescribe sleeping pills and so he said that he wanted to teach me self-hypnosis so you’ll be able just to put yourself to sleep every night. He said he would teach me absolutely to relax and put myself to sleep. So, I said, “Alright.” And I went several times while he taught me self-hypnosis. Simply a method by which you concentrate and you talk yourself into going to sleep. Some of you don’t need to be talked into going to sleep, it’s just natural, but I needed to be talked into going to sleep.
The main thrust of his particular method, and there are many methods, but his was that I would go and sit in his office, and he would say, “Now, I want you to pick out an object on the wall…a picture, a dark smudge, a nail…anything…just pick out an object on the wall, and I want you to look at that and concentrate on it.” And, so, I would. Then, after a moment or two after concentrating on one object, he would say, “Now, I want you to close your eyes, but when you close your eyes you will still be able to see that object that you last looked at.” And so, as I closed my eyes the image of that object was still there and he said, “Now, with your eyes closed you can continue concentrate on that object…” and of course, the process was that you would fall asleep. Of course, if I picked today’s headlines to concentrate on I would never be able to go to sleep, and I would never be able to rest.
The point that I’m bringing out in this is that you and I see a great many things but it’s those things that we see or feel…those things that remain in our vision even after we no longer see them…those are the things that dominate us. It is the last look that can either bring you rest or restlessness. It is the last look, the image of which remains in you conscious or your subconscious long after the object is passed away…and whatever that image is that you have concentrated and has imbedded itself…that will either give you rest and assurance or will give you restlessness.
Now, there are many things that you and I can look at today that are going to cause us to be restless, discouraged, and depressed. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking seriously of giving up reading newspapers…reading headlines…I haven’t read an encouraging headline in I don’t know how long. And if it’s going to get worse, I’d rather just not read about it…I’ll find out about it soon enough. If a person walks through this world looking only outward, seeing all the problems, seeing all the dishonesty, seeing all the disruption of the established institutions, he’s not going to be able to have any of the assurance or rest and I think one of the greatest missing commodities in present America is assurance and rest and confidence. I’ve been reading in magazines lately of polls that have taken on college campuses and in suburbs…door to door… “Do you have any confidence in our president? Do you have any confidence in our legislative leaders? Do you have any confidence in our school teachers?” And you know, it’s discouraging to see that the majority of the American public have lost nearly all their confidence in any kind of leader…any kind of leader! They have been duped so often and disappointed so many times, that as they look upon the scene on the outside…everywhere they look…there is nothing to inspire them to any confidence. You can look inward and only increase the despair because as you look inward you see your responsibility coupled with your weakness…and that makes a great team…responsibility coupled with weakness. That can cause you to live without any kind of assurance or confidence.
Now, sometimes Christians are accused of being unreal…of living in an ivory tower. We’re accused of not facing reality, but that’s not the truth. The truth of the matter is that that man who knows how to walk with God does face reality. He does look at the world around him. He does see the starving multitudes. He does see all the dishonesty and degradation. He does see all that. But, that’s not his last look. That’s not the image that imbeds itself on his subconscious after that’s passed…that’s never his last look and the problem with most people is that what they see on the outside and what they see on the inside is their last look. No wonder they’re discouraged. No wonder there’s an absence of assurance.
There must always be not only the outward look and not only the inward look, but there must always be as the last look…the upward look. This is what Jude is doing in this little epistle. If you’ve never read it in several different translations because there is so much in there that is not easy to understand. But in this little epistle, the first twenty verses or so gives a depressing picture. I’ll be honest with you, if you closed it off a few verses earlier, I wouldn’t want to read it, because all it is is denunciation…the dangers that are threatening us and threatening our Christian life, that are threatening the fellowship of the church…that are threatening society. But, Jude is a realist and he does paint a real picture of the evils and the wastefulness and the sinfulness that is around about us. He doesn’t hide his head in the clouds and say they don’t exist. He sees all of that…he looks inward to see the innate wickedness and weakness that is in every man, but he doesn’t stop there. As he closes this letter, he brings us in to the place where there can always be absolute assurance and he ends it on a note of victory and he ends it with a doxology.
Now, I want to tell you something. Only a man who really has placed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can walk through this world with all its problems, with all its hypocrisy, with all its dangers and still end up in a doxology, instead of a groan. And I’ll just be honest with you this morning, if you are a professing Christian, and you cannot walk through this world, regardless how godless this world may be, you cannot walk through it in doxology, there’s something wrong.
And so as Jude ends this letter, he gives us the upward look, and he says, “All of these things are true…things are bad…and they’re just going to get worse. Evil men are going to wax worse and worse.” I tell you this morning, the pornography situation is going to get worse not better. The wickedness in our government is going to get worse not better. Jesus predicted it and all the way through, the Bible simply states that evil men shall wax worse and worse and the love of many shall grow cold and the longer this world exists the colder it’s going to be and the more indifferent and the more wicked, but Jude doesn’t stop there. He closes out this tremendous little letter, by saying, “BUT…don’t let that be your last look…But unto Him who is able to keep you from falling….”
Every Christian’s life ought to be a doxology. And regardless of the situation in which you find yourself, regardless of the temptation that confronts you today, I want to tell you something…you ought to be able to meet it all with a doxology, and with this confession of faith.
Now, if as I said a moment ago, you cannot live this life and walk through this world with that doxology on your lips and in you heart, it’s simply because you have an inadequate and inferior conception of God. And Jude, in order to inspire assurance and confidence and rejoicing in the hearts of these people who are living in much worse times than you and I can ever imagine…he points them to God…he gives them a vision of God and he says, “Let this be your last look…concentrate on this and as you walk through this world with this vision imbedded in your minds and hearts, you’ll be able to rejoice!”
So, Jude simply directed his readers to a vision of God and I don’t think there is anything I can do better this morning than to try to direct those of you who listen to see God, to see that God who is able regardless of the circumstances in which you find yourself.
Let’s look at these two verses and let’s take a look, a concentrated at the God who is the Source of all assurance…and He is. The only place you’re going to find any confidence and assurance in this world today is as your heart is anchored to the living God. This is why in Ephesians 2, describing those who are lost, Paul says, “They have no hope and are without God in this world.” Those two things are synonymous. If you’re without God, then you have no hope and the only place you’ll ever find hope and confidence is in the living God.
So…the first look I want us to take with us is to see God as a sovereign God. This is most essential. It is indispensably essential that you and I, if we are to live in confidence and calm and poise and peace…we must see our God as a God of sovereignty. Now that word, sovereignty, is a theological word that a lot of these young boys and girls sitting on the front row may not understand.
Sovereignty simply means “the ability to do anything you want to do and to do it right”. That’s what sovereignty is. The power and the ability to do anything you want to do and to do it right. And the first and foremost thing that Jude reveals to us about our God in this doxology is that He is a sovereign God…a God of absolute sovereignty.
There are two things that point out this sovereignty and I want you to notice these. Look at verse 25…He says, “To the only wise God.” Now underline that word, “only.” His sovereignty is seen in His aloneness. He is the only God. You say, “Now, Pastor…we already know that. Why are you laboring this point about God being the only God? We all know that!” Well, some of you don’t live as though you know it.
As a matter of fact, a great many Christians that I know live as though there were two Gods, or three Gods, or four Gods, and they are in mortal combat and there is some doubt as to who will come victorious. You see, when you think about God, what do you think of? What does the word “God” mean to you? What does that word signify?
Well, lit signifies One who is all powerful, all knowing. It signifies One who is in control of every situation. It signifies One who has the last word in any discussion. It signifies One who is able to keep His word and keep His promise and everything else bows to Him in submission.
Now, a great many of us live as if there were more Gods. We live as though sometimes circumstances have the last word in our situation. We live as though our own weakness sometimes has the last word in every situation. I think one of the things you and I need to be convinced of this morning is that there is only one God…He is the only God…he is the only One who is in absolute control of our lives. He has the last word to say on every subject. It doesn’t matter what circumstances may be enveloping you right now. It doesn’t matter what the enemy does. It doesn’t matter at all what the worldly crowd and what this Godless world does. It doesn’t matter if an atheist gets on television and says that there’s no God…that doesn’t make any difference… there is one God and He is the only God and He is the One who is going to have the final say in everything that happens in this life.
To see that is to see Him sovereign in His aloneness. He shares His power with no one else. As a matter of fact, I even know of some Christians who have almost made the devil God, but he’s not. God is sovereign…He is solitary and in the 45th chapter of Isaiah the one thing God is trying to impress upon the people is that He is God and beside Him there is no one else.
So the first thing is that we ought to see God as sovereign. Secondly, we need to see Him as a saving God. Verse 25 is an unusual expression. You rarely ever find this expression in the New Testament.
“To the only wise God, our Savior…”
Now, it’s very unusual for God to be called our Savior. Usually, Jesus is called our Savior. But here, speaking of God the Father, He is called our Savior. What Jude is trying to do for us today is for us to have a full dimensional vision of our God. And we need to see Him as God who is in the saving business.
Now, what does this word “Savior” mean? Well, you know it means “the Deliverer”, it means “One who preserves, and protects”, but there’s a very interesting thing about this word. Back in the days of the New Testament, this word “Savior” had a very special usage. Let’s suppose, for instance, that you were living in a little colony…let’s take Philippi, because Philippians 3:20, you have this same word refer to Jesus. He says, “Our citizenship is 0ot in heaven, but we look to heaven from which will come our Savior.”
Now, let’s suppose that you are living in a little outpost. Over here is the empire…the Roman Empire…the seat of government…where the king dwells…and you are in a little outpost way out yonder on the frontier…out yonder in the wild and woolly west…you’re just a little town, a little village, a little colony. You’re exposed to any marauding army, vulnerable to anybody that wants to come and attack you.
Now, many times these little outposts separated by many miles from the “mother city” when attacked by alien armies would send word to the emperor and the emperor would immediately mount up an army and would come to do what?…to deliver his little outpost and the title they always gave to the king or the emperor in those situations was “savior.” A king who comes to the aid of his outpost…and Paul says, “Our citizenship is in heaven…” That’s our home, but we are an outpost and we’re living in the midst of enemy territory and there are times when the enemy is exerting tremendous pressure on us to dissuade and destroy us, fill us with defeat and despair, but he says, “we need to recognize that our God is our Savior, He is One who always comes to the aid of those who belong to Him.”
Now, there’s something you need to see that is not for some reason in the King James. I don’t know why the King James translators left this out. King James says, “To the only wise God, our Savior, be glory, majesty, dominion and power both now and forever…” There is a tremendously important phrase just left out. That phrase is “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Here’s the way it reads, “To the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord…” Now, what’s he saying? He’s saying that God is our Savior only through Jesus Christ. The only way that God will save you, deliver you, preserve you is when you are rightly related with Jesus Christ as Lord.
God has no other means nor inclination to save anybody apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. And, of course, you see people every day who say they believe in God and worship God but they remove Jesus Christ from the agenda of their religious life. You may as well forget it. God’s salvation comes from only through Jesus Christ our Lord. He’s the only Way. And if you think that God is going to save you and deliver you and preserve you without your coming and submission to Jesus Christ, then you’re sadly mistaken.
It says that He saves us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Somebody came up to me and said, “This emphasis that you make on the Lordship of Christ…why don’t you make the emphasis on the Savior-hood of Christ…why do you always preach on His Lordship?” Well, I answered, “I make that emphasis because the New Testament makes that emphasis. Jesus is called Savior twenty or thirty times in the New Testament, but He is called is called Lord over four hundred times. As a matter of fact, the only way Jesus can save anybody is as He is Lord. It is His Lordship that enables Him to be Savior. And if a person comes to Jesus and says, “I want Him to be my Savior, but I’m not interested at all in bowing my knee to Him as Lord and as my Master…” then, you might as well forget it, because He cannot save you apart from His Lordship.
If men and women come to understand His Lordship and bow in submission to His Lordship, they will be saved. So, we see God as Savior…now one last thing…we need to see Him as Sufficient.
I’m afraid that a great many of us who say we believe in Him have some doubt as to His sufficiency. You could talk for a year on this one phrase and never exhaust it… “Now unto Him who is ABLE…” He is ABLE…He is ABLE. That simply means, folks, that He is adequate, He is sufficient, for every situation that you encounter.
Let me just mention two. First of all, He is sufficient for the present. That’s where I live. I’m not too interested in the past. I have only a curious interest in the future. I live in the present. That’s where I really need some sufficiency, and too much preaching on the Christian life deals all with the past and all with the future and leaves the present without any support or sufficiency. But He is sufficient for the present and this is the thing the writer is bearing down on. He says, “I know you are living in hard times…I know you’re surrounded by everything that is contradictory to how you’re trying to live, but I want you to know that He is able to keep you from falling…He’s sufficient for the present.” This word “keep” means “to watch over and guard”. He is able to watch over you and to keep you from literally stumbling. The King James says falling, but the word is literally stumbling. You know, that’s better, because you have to stumble before you can fall.
It’s much better to be kept from stumbling than to be kept from falling. An interesting thing about this word…it means “sure-footed in slippery places.” If you’ve ever done much horseback riding, you know that if you’re riding in mountainous territory, if you’re going down a steep mountainside, rocky, slippery…the wise thing for you to do if you don’t want to end up under the horse instead of on him is to get off that horse and get hold of that bridle, close to his head, pat him gently, put your hand there and you gently and slowly lead him over those slippery places in order to keep him from stumbling.
That is the picture behind the word. Now, you know there are times when God just lets me fly. I’m making great speed…just moving through…and all of a sudden, everything just slows down. I’ve often wondered, “Why, Lord? Why has that fever pitch of emotion…why aren’t You just letting me loose and letting me just run as fast as I can?” Well, God knows I’m passing over some slippery places and so He takes me very gently and very slowly to keep me from stumbling.
Now that ought to give us great encouragement because we all go over slippery ground. But I want to tell you something, you put your faith in this kind of God and I don’t care how slippery it is, I don’t care how treacherous it is…I don’t care how uncertain the future is…how uncertain your present is…if you will just commit yourself to this God, He will keep you from losing your balance.
He is sufficient for the present. But He is also sufficient for the future. Not only is He able to keep us from falling…but He is also able to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. This means we will stand firm and erect in His presence.
You know, I was reading over this again this morning, and I thought to myself, “It might not be too much of a trick for me to stand blameless before you folks here.” I could stand firm and erect before you, because you’re not omniscient. I can hide a lot of things from you. You don’t know me…and I don’t know you…that’s why we have so much respect for each other.
It’s really not much of a trick to be able to stand erect without blame before people…but notice, he says, “You will stand erect without blame BEFORE GOD!” Think of that, just imagine it…being able to stand in the presence of God’s glory…all of His glory…the God to whom all things are open…the God who searches the deep things of a man’s heart…the God who knows me through and through and who is holy and righteous and will tolerate nothing of un-holiness…to be able to stand in the presence of His glory and be glad about it… “with exceeding joy…” Now, if Jesus Christ were to come today (and all of us someday will stand before God) but will we be able to stand there with joy? But He says that He is able to do such a work in your life through the Lord Jesus Christ that one day you will be able to stand before that piercing, scrutinizing gaze of the glory of God and stand erect, faultless, without a spot, without blemish, without anything in you that would make you unacceptable, and you’ll do it with great joy!! He is sufficient for the present. He is sufficient for the future.
Now you have here a very simple little secret of how to live in doxology no matter what. And the pattern is right here in this little letter of Jude. I don’t care what you go through, listen…if you will end every circumstance of life with this confession of faith you’ll be able to live in assurance.
You may say, “I’m going through a hard time…financially, materially, but unto Him who is able to keep me from falling and to present me faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…unto Him be glory and power and majesty and dominion forever.” You see, you ought to climax every evaluation of your present circumstance with that confession of faith.
I promise you this morning that that Christian who walks through this life…I don’t care what he sees…how evil it is…I do not care how desperate the situation will be…if he will end up his daily report of the situation with this confession of faith…I want to tell you something…you’ll be able to live your life in doxology, instead of groaning and moaning and being depressed. That’s the secret and the source of true assurance.
But of course, you have to know Him first. Some of you do and some of you do not. Are you saved? Are you sure? Are you out of fellowship with God? Are you in deep need? Maybe God wants to do a work in your heart…to meet that need…`
© Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries, 2005