Called, Set Apart, Kept – Jude 1

I.   INTRODUCTION

A. Titles

1.  Every so often, if you have the opportunity to attend some event of high society, you’ll find a program listing the various participants.

2.  And after many of their names you’ll find some curious initials -

a.  Ph.D.

b.  M.D.

c.  M. Div

d.  Th. D.

e.  D.D.

3.  After a few people’s names you’ll even find some combinations of these letters.

4.  They’re degrees people have either earned by attending school, or they’ve had conferred on them because of their experience and contribution in their fields of work and study.

B. CSP

1.  As the People of God and the followers of Jesus Christ, there are some letters we could put after our names.

2.  We find them here in Jude 1.

3.  This isn’t some degree we’ve earned, it’s a position conferred on us by the grace of God.

II.  TEXT

A. V. 1

1Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.

1.  We’ll get in to the background of this book and see just who Jude was in our study this Wednesday evening.

2.  But this morning, I want to focus on how he describes those he’s writing to.

3.  He calls them – Called, Sanctified, & Preserved.

4.  C, S, & P – these are the letters we could put behind every believer’s name.

a.  this is what it means to be a Christian

b.  called, sanctified, and preserved.

c.  __________ __________ CSP, __________ __________ CSP

5.  It may be a great honor among men & women to be a Ph.D. or M.D., but in terms of eternity, it’s a far greater honor to be a CSP.

6.  So, let’s take a closer look at just what it means to be called, sanctified, and preserved.

B. Called

1.  Our salvation begins with the call of God.

a.  no one is saved because they wake up one day and think all by themselves, “I’m a wretched sinner and need Jesus.”

b.  in order to even have that thought, the Holy Spirit has to be at work bringing conviction, searching our hearts and calling us to Christ.

2.  Salvation begins in the heart of God, not man.

a.  apart from Christ, we’re dead in our trespasses and sins

b.  the unregenerate heart of man would never seek God on it’s own initiative.

c.  we come to God because He first draws us.

d.  the call goes out – and we begin to hear the faintest echo that things are not as they should be

e.  then the call gets a bit louder and we realize that the real problem is not just “out there” but “in here” [point to heart]

f.   then we hear the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ and we see that the remedy is to put our trust in Christ, that He died for our sins and rose for our justification and new life.

g.  now the call of God is crystal clear and we realize that we have to make a decision –respond to the call or refuse.

3.  In John 6:44 Jesus said –

No one can [is able to] come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.

a.  conversion, salvation, is not merely the result of cold calculation.

b.  no one sits down and reasons him/herself into heaven by doing a side-by-side comparative study of world religions.

c.  salvation is a gift that God bestows,

1) not on those who are smart enough to figure it out

2) not on those who’ve been good enough to merit it

d.  but on those who simply respond in faith to the call He sends out to all!

4.  The call comes in the form of a conviction of sin and about the sufficiency of what Jesus did to remove it.

5.  Without that call, without that conviction, no one COULD be saved, because no one would see the immensity of their need and where it’s to be met.

6.  In Matthew 22:14 Jesus said

“Many are called, but few are chosen.”

a.  the call of God goes out to all because He loves all and there’s only one way to salvation; through faith in Jesus Christ - but not all respond.

b.  the ones who do respond to the call are chosen by God to be the recipients of the gift of eternal life.

7.  These are then given the title “The Called” because it’s manifestly evident God called them.

8.  Their salvation is the proof of His ordaining call.

9.  [Illustration – ]

a.  picture a group of young boys getting ready to play a ball game on a corner sandlot

b.  up walks a new kid – he’s big and has a new glove and bat

c.  he asks who the captain of the sandlot team is and one swaggering boy steps forward

d.  the new kid challenges him to a game, but says he needs to pick a team from the sandlot crew.

e.  the sandlot captain agrees and tells him to go ahead.

f.   so the new kid simple says, “If you want to be on my team, come over and stand with me.”

g.  at first there’s no response, then a couple of guys step forward, then a couple more, and finally 8 guys are standing with him.

h.  the new kid’s now got his team – and the game begins.

i.   that team can rightly take the name – “The Called.”

j.   their captain gave an open invitation, but it was only they who responded, so they are uniquely and specially the called in a way the payers on the other team cannot claim.

k.  and by the way – in that game – it was The Called who won!

10.     The Call of God has gone out – He’s making up a winning team.  Have you responded?

11.     We’ll come back to this a bit later.

C. Set Apart

1.  Next, Jude says that Christians are sanctified by God the Father.

2.  I realize that in some modern bibles this word “sanctified” is replaced by the word “beloved.”

a.  while it’s true some early manuscripts do have the word “beloved” here,

b.  the most reliable texts contain the word “sanctified” – so that’s what we’ll go with.

3.  The word means to set apart.

a.  in Jude’s day, it was a common word that usually carried a religious and ceremonial flavor.

b.  if something was sanctified, it meant that it was set apart from common use to be devoted to religious service.

c.  in the NT, it means to be set apart from sin, for God.

4.  From Sanctify we get the word “Saint” which means someone set apart to God, and of course the Bible calls all God’s people ‘saints’ not just especially holy ones.

5.  When God calls us, He calls us to something special – He calls us to a sanctified life!

a.  He doesn’t save us from sin just so that we might return to it.

b.  salvation lifts us out of a lifestyle lived under the principle and dominion of sin so we might experience life on a whole new level.

c.  this is what it means to be sanctified – we’re set apart -  from sin, to God. [again]

d.  say it with me – “From sin, TO God.”

6.  It’s crucial we understand that sanctification has both these sides to it.

7.  It seems that most of the emphasis is placed on the negative side of being set apart, the “from sin” side.

a.  many people see the Christian life as a set of rules and regulations about all the stuff you can’t do!

b.  don’t smoke, don’t chew, and don’t go with those who do!

c.  holiness is all too often defined by all the stuff a person stays away from.

8.  But really, NT sanctification isn’t about the stuff were to stay away from – that’s not where the emphasis in scripture is.

9.  The real point of sanctification is the positive side, of what were set apart FOR & TO!

a.  you see, there’s a reason why we’re to set ourselves apart from sin –

b. so that we can enjoy the fullness of our relationship with God.

10.     Think about an Olympic athlete.

a.  there’s a whole lot of stuff he or she doesn’t get involved in because they know if they did, it would hurt their ability to compete.

b.  they stay away from certain foods and even certain attitudes that they know will get in the way of their performance.

c.  but no athlete thinks that avoiding those things MAKES THEM AN ATHLETE!

d.  they do it for the freedom it brings to achieve their potential.

e.  for instance – take an Olympic wrestler –

1) he has to watch his diet so he can make his weight class

2) consequently, he won’t eat one of these (Snickers)

3) avoiding this is only so that he can compete.

4) but no one would say that avoiding this MAKES HIM A WRESTLER!

11.     For far too long, Christians have been identified by what we deny rather than by what we affirm!

a.  in far too many legalistic church circles, holiness is defined by –

1) what fashions you don’t wear

2) what kind of movies you don’t see

3) what kind of music you don’t listen too

4) what kind of people you don’t hang out with

b.  sanctification has been understood only as something negative – what we don’t do.

12.     It ought to be understood as something positive – the “To God” side.

a.  we ought to know who the Christians are, not by what they don’t do so much as by what they do!

b.  we ought to be known for our love – “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, by the love that you have for one another.”   John 13:35

c.  we ought to be known for our holiness in a positive way

1) through the beauty of integrity

2) through the beauty of loyalty

3) through the beauty of charity, tenderness, compassion, humility

4) through the excellence of gentleness, goodness, kindness, self-control

5) through the attractiveness of joy

13.     Far more people will be won to Christ by this positive understanding of sanctification than the negative side they think is the sum of the Faith.

14.     One of the major causes of depression today is a feeling of purposelessness.

a.  people lose motivation because they see no real purpose for their lives.

b.  this can be reinforced by the negative input of a parent or spouse.

c.  it can be encouraged by a lay-off at work.

d.  if a person loses the sense that their life has purpose, they lose the motivation to go on

e.  it’s easy for depression to set in.

15.     One of the reasons why there’s an epidemic of depression today is because of the success of evolutionary education.

a.  people have been told that they are just hairless bipeds with big brains

b.  this life is all they have to look forward to

c.  and when they stop and think about that, they get terribly depressed – and why NOT?

16.     The great message of the Christian faith is that this life is not all there is.

a.  this life is just the briefest of beginnings for a life that’s eternal.

b.  there is a purpose for you that transcends this earth and this life.

c.  God has created us FOR HIMSELF

d.  and eternity is the realm in which we will live out that purpose in ways that beggar our imagination!

D. Kept

1.  We’re called, we’re set apart, and then Jude says we’re preserved in Jesus Christ.

2.  The word “preserved” means to be carefully watched and guarded.

a.  it’s used in vs. 6 & 13 where especially wicked demons and apostate men are said to be “reserved” in a special place, awaiting judgment

b.  then in v. 21, it’s translated as “keep” when we’re told to “keep ourselves in the love of God.”

3.  I take great comfort from the fact that I’m preserved in Jesus Christ, and so should you!

4.  Paul wrote in Philippians 1:6 –

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

5.  Friends, it’s God who first called us!

a.  it’s the Father who’s at work in us right now to set us apart from sin to Himself.

b.  and it’s the Son who preserves us and makes sure we make it safely through heaven’s door.

6.  Wherever there’s an American Embassy, there’s a Marine guard.

a.  Marines are posted by the gate, keeping it secure.

b.  in times of unrest, the gate is closed –

c.  but if an American citizen approaches the gate and shows the proper identification, they are admitted.

d.  every so often it happens that there will be unrest in a foreign city and Americans will fall into danger.

e.  a squad of Marines will then be sent out to secure them and escort them back to the embassy.

7.  As Christians and citizens of the Kingdom Of Heaven, we live in this foreign land called Earth.

a.  and all the while we live here, we have an Eternal Companion who never leaves our side

b.  we walks with us through each day and watches over us at night.

c.  He is the Captain of our salvation and our constant Friend, Guardian and Protector.

d.  while we walk through our days here on Earth in our grand adventure toward, heaven, He preserves and protects us and will make sure we arrive safely at heaven’s gate.

8.  In 1 Peter 1, Peter takes what Jude says here about being called, set apart, and kept and puts it this way –

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are kept by the power of God through faith.

9.  Note that – we are kept by the power of God through faith.

a.  it is God’s power that keeps us, that preserves us

b.  but how does that power flow to us? How does it become operative in us?

c.  by faith!

d.  we have this Bass amp back here

1) it has the potential to kick out a lot of sound and to play a key role in our worship

2) but it can do nothing unless it’s plugged in

3) conversely, Hoover Dam puts out so much electrical energy it’s mind-boggling

4) in fact, Hoover Dam supplies a good part of the power for the entire South Western United States.

5) but that power only becomes available to those who connect to it

e.  God’s power is without limit – but it is only effective when we tap into it, and we tap into it only one way – by faith in Him.

f.   faith is a spiritual power connector.

10.     Look here a Jude 1 again – we are preserved, where?  In Christ.

a.  if you want to preserve cooked food, where do you put it? The refrigerator.

b.  what do bakeries put in their bread to make it last longer – preservatives.

c.  our preservation and security as believers comes from being IN Christ and His being IN us!

d.  and may I say, that is the only security for the believer!

III. CONCLUSION

A. CSP

1.  To be a Christian means to be Called, Set apart, and Kept – CSP

2.  Is that you?

3.  Have you been called?

B. Sweepstakes Winner

1.  A while ago there was an add on TV about a Sweepstakes company that was trying to track down a multi-million dollar winner.

a.  but the person thought they were bill collectors or pesky salespeople.

b.  so when the sweepstakes van pulled up in front of the house, they scrambled out of the driveway and drove off.

c.  the sweepstakes team jumped back into their van and began following them all over town while the potential winner tried desperately to get away.

d.  finally, the sweepstakes team gave up and left, while the potential winner went home, thinking he had eluded trouble.

2.  In truth, he had just lost out on a fortune.

3.  I wonder how many people here this morning are just like that.

a.  God’s call has gone out to you and you’ve heard Him plainly calling to time and again.

b.  but you’ve only seen the negative side of the Christian life and thought that was the sum.

c.  you’ve equated God with a kind of Heavenly Bill Collector and those who share the gospel as annoying salespeople.

d.  and to date, you’ve done a pretty good job of getting away

e.  you’re only running away from your own blessing!

f.   by denying God’s call, you cheating yourself!

4.  Stop running – stop ignoring the call.  Open up and let Him in.