PRAYERS OF PAUL

Prayer for Blessings on our Work

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the need of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for is inexpressible gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:10-15

Some translations start this passage “Now the one who provides seed”. In the ESV, which is usually my favorite translation, you can almost miss the first part of this prayer. In this prayer Paul is recognizing that God is the supplier of the seed for the farmer and that the seed becomes the bread for food and that God will also be the one who blesses the seed to multiply it and increase the harvest. Then Paul is recognizing that God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. 

In the same way, God directs our paths to the work of our hands. When we follow God’s path to the work that He has for us we will be blessed in our work and our work will multiply and we will be able to bless others from and through our work. When this happens we are on the receiving end of others thanks and blessings to us. 

I wonder how many of us decide on our work and then ask God to bless it instead of asking God what our work should be and then walking into the blessing that He has for us. (I am raising my hand here.) I know that early on in my life I didn’t ask God what I should do with my life. I just walked headfirst into what I thought I could do. Now don’t get me wrong. I have asked God to direct me to jobs and He has done it and I have been blessed by it. But I do wish when I was a young woman I had asked God what His desire of work for me would have been. I am quite jealous of those people who seem to have fulfilled a calling and not just had a job. I am blessed to have a job I like and I do work with people I love, but I can’t say that I feel that it fulfills a calling in me. I think there are people who are performing a task, doing a job and there are people who are fulfilling a calling. While I think God can and will bless us even when our job is a task and that we can be a blessing to others I think the blessings overflow when our job is a calling. (These are just my thoughts.)

God is the supplier of our work, and He is the one who blesses our work and when we receive the blessing of our work we are meant to bless others and be generous in our giving. And when we bless others, we will be a blessing to them but the blessing will also be returned to us. That is what this prayer is saying. Our ministry of service, our work is not only meant to supply our own needs our work is meant to be a blessing to the saints, we should be giving to our church in order to bless our leaders and we should be giving in order to bless the poor and those in need. When we are obedient in our confessions of the gospel and in our generosity and we share, then those who are blessed by it, will give thanks and we will be on the receiving end of the blessing! 

Paul ends this little prayer with a simple thanks that packs a big punch. 

“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 

Some translations say “indescribable gift”! Either way, Paul is pointing to Jesus our indescribable, or inexpressible gift. Jesus is the gift! Commentary pointed out that Paul could have been talking about salvation and some say He is talking specifically about Jesus. I am no scholar but isn’t it all one and the same? Jesus is our gift and when we have the gift of Jesus on our lives, we have salvation, we have the Holy Spirit who guides us, we have God’s blessings on us. The gifts that Jesus gives us are impossible to describe. The gifts that we receive when we are walking with Him and asking Him to bless the work of our hands and to lead us and to guide and direct us on the paths that He has for us are far more than we can imagine or achieve on our own. We could try and should try to tell others about this gift but our words can never fully explain this gift! He is indescribable! 

PRAYERS OF PAUL 

Prayer for Direction

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

Paul knew that he was being criticized by the Corinthians for saying he was going one direction and ending up going another and this prayer was a way to let the Corinthians know that while he may make plans, he is following Jesus as to where he should go. The imagery he uses with triumphal procession would have brought the image in their mind of a conquering general in a triumphal parade. This would have been a common practice in those days. So Paul was making reference to them that Christ leads him as if he were his general and that he would change his plans based on the leading he felt from Christ. Oh that we would live that way more often. I know I make plans and then if I feel that those plans are changing I tend to cling all the more tightly to the plans I had made. I can look back over my life now to the plans I had changed for me because of circumstance or situations and I realize that many times I could have made the choice to change direction first and saved myself some grief if I had. I can say that as I have grown older I do hold my plans with more of an open hand than I used to and I pray that the Lord leads me in my plans for the future. Maybe it is an age thing, I don’t know but I do know that I have learned that if I make my plans loosely and pray for direction that it all seems to come out better than when I try to make a hard fast plan. 

I also love the imagery here of the triumphal procession of Christ spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. A triumphal parade in those days would have used incense as the parade marched through the streets. There would have been a sweet smell of incense in the air as the parade marched by. In much the same way as Christians we should leave a sweet fragrance of Christ wherever we go. We should be different. Our lives should have a sweet fragrance to whomever we come in contact with.  Am I saying that everyone is going to like us or the fragrance we leave behind. Not hardly! And that is not what Paul says either. 

“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” 2 Corinthians 2:15-16

The point made in commentary was this. 

“The scent of incense burnt in a Roman triumphal parade smelled wonderful to a Roman. The same aroma was a bad smell to a captive prisoner of war in the parade, who would soon be executed or sold into slavery.” David Guzik

In much the same way the message of Christ is life to some and condemnation to those who reject it or are running away from it. When we feel disdain or rejection or persecution from people, because of our faith, you can be sure they are not following Christ. They may be non-believers or believers who are living outside the will of God. Regardless we should live our lives in such a way that the fragrance of Christ is on us. If we are allowing Christ to lead us in our day to day lives and in our plans for the future, we will have a sweet smelling aroma of Christ on us. Some will like it and appreciate it and others will reject it. That part is not left up to us. 

I pray that I always follow Christ’s lead in my day to day as well as in my plans for the future and I pray that I will leave a sweet aroma of Christ as I follow Him! 

PRAYERS OF PAUL 

Prayer for Comfort

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 2:3-7

In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul starts out by praising God for the comfort that comes from Him in our afflictions. One thing I learned from commentary that I never really knew before is that the idea behind the word used for comfort here means strengthening or making strong. Many times we think of receiving comfort for troubles and afflictions just as soothing or sympathy. But the words used here actually mean to make stronger. The comfort that we receive from God during times of trouble and affliction are not just for sympathy sake, but it is comfort meant to strengthen us. Which is why this comfort is better than mere sympathy, this comfort is what holds us up in the tough times! Which is also why we will be able to comfort others with the same comfort in the future.

Now sometimes that is hard to hear when you are in the middle of the season of needing the comfort. I personally remember a particularly hard season that I was in and someone told me this verse. I have to admit to you that at the time, I didn’t want to be used of God in that way. I had just miscarried a baby and when a friend told me that God was going to comfort me so that I would be able to comfort others down the road, my selfish human nature was not very happy about that. At the moment, I just wanted to be pregnant again and for this not to have happened to me. But I can tell you that the day did come when I had another friend who miscarried and God did actually use the very thing that had happened in my life to bring her comfort. 

Sufferings come to us in many ways. We live in a fallen, broken world and the truth of the matter is sometimes life is just plain hard. I have two friends who in the past month have buried husbands unexpectedly. I know a young man who is fighting for his life as the result of an accident and his parents and siblings are praying hard for his recovery. I have friends who have buried children. I have been through grief and sufferings of different kinds and I pray that as God has comforted me in those griefs and sufferings that I too can be there for my friends who are going through so much. My sufferings and griefs may have been different but just as I was comforted by God through others, I pray that I can be used by God to comfort others. Suffering is a part of life, but when we allow the sufferings that we have to be comforted, strengthened by God is when we will be able to, one day, be there for someone else. It’s what gives us that hope that is unshaken in Him. If life is going to be hard, I want it to also be rich by sharing in comfort for others. 

And I praise Him for being there for me when I needed Him, for bringing others who have walked the same path or similar paths to strengthen me. I praise Him and I thank Him for the comfort that I have received and I pray to be a comfort to others. 

PRAYERS OF PAUL

Thanks for Grace

“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge — even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you — so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Paul prays this prayer at the beginning of his first letter to the Corinthians. Paul had established the church in Corinth so he knew this congregation well. He had gotten reports about things going on in the church that he felt should be addressed. However, before Paul gets on with the business of what is wrong in the Corinthian church, he prays for them about what is right in their lives. Oh that we would learn this lesson too. We so many times want to point out what is not right in other people’s lives, sometimes especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, yet when they are covered with the blood of Jesus we should first look at what is right in their life. 

The Corinthians were an enriched people, not just in their wealth, but in their speech and in their knowledge of Jesus. They had learned the right things about Jesus, they preached the right things about Jesus and Paul recognized that they were doing right things for Jesus and they were waiting for Jesus return with anticipation. They had problems as well but whatever problems they had, Paul recognized their good points in this prayer. They were a gifted people. 

Don’t we know people like that too? People who are gifted in spiritual gifts that can only be from God yet they also have points that, well may still need some work. Sure we do. You know why? Because humans are fallible. We will never be perfect until we see Him face to face. But as Paul points out God is faithful. He was still working on the Corinthian church. He is still working on people we know and He is still working on me for sure!  

Something my commentary pointed out that I wish I had picked up on myself first. The first 10 verses of this book Paul refers to Jesus in every verse.  For a total of 11 times. Paul puts the emphasis on Jesus because Paul knows that the sure cure for every problem the Corinthian church had was Jesus. Jesus is the cure for every problem or weakness that our Christian brothers and sisters face. Jesus is the cure for every weakness I have in my life. 

I want to pray this prayer that Paul prayed about my brothers and sisters in Christ too. I want to see the grace on their lives before I see the weakness. I pray that others can see the grace on my life before they see the weaknesses. I have many weaknesses. But praise Jesus, it is by His grace that I can face every day! 

PRAYERS OF PAUL

Paul’s Plea for Prayer

“I appeal to you brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.” Romans 15:30-33

This basically concludes the letter of instruction and prayers to the Romans. There is another chapter in Romans, but it is more personal in nature. It has some final instruction, but mostly it is personal greetings. This final prayer in Romans comes after Paul has reiterated his desire to come to Rome for encouragement both for himself, as well as so he could be an encouragement to the Roman Christians. 

In this prayer, Paul is asking for prayer. Much the same way that Jesus asked his disciples to pray for him in the garden. In fact, the Greek word that translates to “strive together” literally means “agonize together.” And it is the same root word for “agony” that Jesus used in his prayer in the Garden. So Paul is putting emphasis to them by using the same wording. He is serious about asking for their prayers. He has learned that prayer is serious business. 

In much the same way we should be serious about our prayers. In asking for prayers as well as in praying for others, especially our leaders and pastors. We should never leave our pastors or our leaders, christian leaders or not, alone without praying for them. We have all heard of pastors and leaders who have fallen from grace. And we are always astonished by it. Our tendency is to put them on a pedestal, to think they are above being tempted in the ways a common ordinary person is. But that is false thinking. Those who are standing in ministry and attempting to teach and preach the gospel are even more a target for the enemies fiery darts than the common man who may or may not be opening the word daily. We must pray for them, and if we are doing any type of ministry ourselves, we must pray and ask for prayer for ourselves as well. Now don’t get me wrong, that really means all of us, because really we are all called to ministry if we are Christians, but that is for another day. Paul knew this as he was preparing to go to serve in Jerusalem, which is why he was asking for prayers from the Romans for his upcoming service there. 

Also Paul again, is praying to get to go to Rome ~ “I may come to you with joy and refreshed in your company.” Here, we get to know the rest of the story. Paul did in fact get to Rome. However not in the manner that he was expecting or praying for. He went in chains. He went with joy but he was in chains. (Acts 28) One takeaway I got from this and knowing the answer that Paul received was a reminder of all the times I have prayed for something and received an answer just not necessarily the way I was expecting. However, I can testify that I could see God’s hand and could see that there was more going on than I knew. Friends let’s be open that while we may pray for that job, or that diagnosis, or that relationship, or that ______, that we should always ask that God’s will be fulfilled above our own. It was God’s will that Paul be taken to Rome under house arrest. Paul could have argued that he could do so much more if he had had his freedom. But God knew what he wanted to accomplish through Paul in Rome. So while it is ok to pray for the job, or the relationship, or the diagnosis, we should also pray that God’s will be done and ask Him to refresh us and give us joy to walk through whatever He has put before us. 

And then he ends this prayer with this one. 

“May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.” Romans 15:33

PRAYERS OF PAUL 

A Prayer for Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

As Paul had continued past the prayer for unity and harmony he was teaching the christians in Rome that scripture had always pointed to God being the God of the Gentiles as well as the God of the Israelites. The verses immediately preceding this prayer quotes several old testament passages that point to this. 

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles and sing to your name.” Psalm 18:49

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” Deuteronomy 32:43

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” Psalm 117.1

“The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” Isaiah 11:1,10

Paul is pointing out these scriptures to prove that Jesus came for all men, not just for the Israelites. Jesus came to fulfill the law! And with the fulfillment of the law Jesus brought hope to all men. Paul concludes this section of his teaching with this prayer. 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

I love this short little prayer. It packs a lot into just one little statement doesn’t it. First of all this is not talking about the joy we feel when we have had a good day or the peace we feel when everyone in our circle just seems to be getting along. We all like those days don’t we? But this is talking about the filling of joy and peace that can only come from God, from the God of hope. This is the joy and peace that sustains us even when the days aren’t so joyful and the people in our circle don’t seem to be living at peace with each other. If you are getting your joy and your peace from the God of hope then you can be the conduit of joy and peace to the people around you, even when they are not feeling so joyful and peaceful, and then your hope abounds as well. (At least that is where my simple minded brain took me as I studied.) 

And couldn’t we all use a little hope? I love the thought that “by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Some situations and circumstances that come our way it is hard to see the conclusion on, isn’t it? And some situations and circumstances it is hard to feel joy and peace in the midst of them, isn’t it? That is what is so significant about this verse I think. Sometimes the only way to get the joy and the peace is to pray for it, and then believe for it, and then hope for it. Hope for the outcome, hope for the deliverance, but most of all hope to get more God, more filling of the Holy Spirit to endure whatever situation or circumstance is at hand. 

My friends whatever you are going through right now, this is my prayer for you. That even in the midst of hard days and hard times……..

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in HOPE.” Romans 15:13

PRAYERS OF PAUL

Live in Harmony!

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6

This prayer is a short little prayer that Paul prays right after he was instructing the Romans on how they should treat each other. He had just taught them of the example that Jesus gives us in that Jesus did not come to earth to please himself. Jesus came to be a servant. We know that. He did not come to set himself on a pedestal but he walked among common people, people who sometimes didn’t always see things clearly. Well that could be all people couldn’t it? What Paul is saying in the verses preceding the prayer is the we as Christians have an obligation to build each other up. 

“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Romans 15:1

At first glance that almost sounds like we are supposed to recognize and excuse our weaker brothers and sisters, whether they are in Christ or not. But when I read the commentary for a clearer understanding it says that the actual word for bear here is not the idea of “bearing with” but in “bearing up”. If we are a stronger Christian than our brother or sister, we are not to look down on them, so to speak, but we are to support them and to let our talk, our lives, our ways direct them toward Christ. 

“Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” Romans 15:2

Simply put we are to put our neighbor first. Not just to please others but to do what is good for others in order to build them up. Have you ever been around those people who just seem that they have a need to tear someone else down? That is not how we are supposed to be as Christians. Paul is instructing the Romans, and instructing us, by this passage that we are to think of others just as Christ came and thought of others and that we are to support our friends and neighbors, especially those in Christ, in order to build up each other in the faith. Let me put it this way. If you are a Christian and you are constantly tearing down other people, how is that going to make the “weaker” Christian feel about being a Christ follower? 

And this brings us to the prayer. Paul gave the Romans this instruction, but he didn’t just leave it there. By praying this prayer he was also recognizing that a lot of this goes against human nature and it has to be the work of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. When we pray this prayer for ourselves and for our church, we are recognizing that left on our own, we are more likely to tear each other down than to build each other up. Our goal as the Church, the one we attend, as well as the global church, all believers collectively, should be to glorify God. We can’t do that if we are tearing each other down within our church walls or if we are tearing down other churches. That’s where we should live in harmony with each other. Sure we may not agree with someone in our church as to what color the carpet should be or whether there are drums, but we should be able to live in harmony over who Jesus is and what our purpose as a church is, to glorify God. We may not agree with the way the church down the road worships. They may sing praise and worship and we sing hymns and southern gospel, but the purpose of both churches is to glorify God and because of that we can live in harmony. Our human tendency may be to tear down, so let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us to live in harmony so that we can build up instead. 

PRAYERS OF PAUL

That They May Be Saved

“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” Romans 10:1

Paul is talking about the Israelites, the Jewish people here. At the end of chapter 9 he talks about the fact that the Gentiles have found righteousness because of their faith but that Israel can’t ever seem to attain it because they are still trying to work for it by keeping the law. But what is so amazing here is that Paul still has a heart for them that he is praying for their salvation. At that time Israel, the Jewish people were persecuting Christians. Paul knew this all too well because he was one of them. We know that he was Saul who was persecuting Christians and had the conversion experience on the road to Damascus and he became a follower of Christ, Paul. I’m sure the persecution didn’t end just because Paul stopped. Yet here Paul is praying for them that they will be saved.

What about us? We live in a world where Christians are ridiculed for our beliefs. And we, or I know I, have a tendency to be angry because my Christian values are trampled on and ridiculed and I feel “persecuted”. When, really? If that is the most persecution I ever receive that is nothing. There are still places in the world where Christians truly are persecuted and they have to hide to read their bible and have bible studies and church. They may be beaten and some even martyred for their faith. Yet, am I just frustrated and angry at the people who ridicule us or am I praying for them? Is it my heart’s desire that they may be saved? Ouch! I am afraid I fall short of this a lot of the time. As Christians instead of being angry at that person who is a not a believer and may think your values and faith may be silly we should be praying for them. There is such a dividing line between them vs. us this day and time. Christians are supposed to be tolerant but non-believers aren’t. I do believe that we have to stand up for our rights but we also have to be careful to stand up and speak against the issues and not the people. We know that God’s desire is for all to be saved. And we truly have to show them that what we have is something that they are missing out on. It’s hard, I know but if we look into Paul’s heart here in this short little prayer, maybe we can find the mark. 

Paul also goes on in the next couple of verses to talk about how the Israelites have a zeal for God but no real knowledge of Him. 

“For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Romans 10:2-4

The Israelites have a zeal for God, they have a zeal for keeping the law. But their knowledge falls short because they are seeking to establish their own righteousness, instead of submitting to Christ who came to fulfill the law. I have even seen Christians who were so zealous for knowledge of the Bible that they forgot the compassion and the love of Jesus for their fellow man. I hope and pray that we don’t fall into that category. I hope that even when we feel like our Christian rights are being trampled on and ridiculed that we can stand against that in love. That we can look at the people who are delivering the “persecution” as people who God dearly loves. And that our heart’s desire would be for them to be saved. 

PRAYERS OF PAUL

PRAYING FOR OTHER BELIEVERS

Romans 1:8-10 

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.” Romans 1:8-10 

I have always wanted to study the prayers of Paul. So I hope you won’t mind walking this path with me. The first prayer we encounter is in the book of Romans. Paul did not plant the church in Rome, but he recognized the faith that was growing in the church in Rome. And he deeply wanted to go there. 

What I get from this prayer is first the importance of praying for other believers. I love how Paul thanks God for the other believers that have been put in his path and in his mind to pray for. We should recognize what other believers in our midst are doing for God and where their faith lies as well as those that are not directly in our midst. I have always wanted to go on a mission trip. However, that has not been in the cards for me yet. But I can pray for those who are on mission for God. My role is no less important than theirs who are serving at this time. 

Another point that I took from commentary is when Paul says “for God is my witness” he was putting emphasis on the fact that he did in fact pray. Paul wanted the Romans to know that he wasn’t just saying “I’m praying for you” he was actually doing it. I was convicted a long time ago about this very thing. How many times do we say “I’ll pray for you” and then we walk away from a situation or a person and then we never actually do it. I try to be very specific. If I am going to put someone on my prayer list that I say that, or if I am going to “say a prayer” for someone that is what I say. Prayer is a privilege, I love to pray for my friends and family, but it is something I take very seriously. If I am going to say I “mention you always in my prayers” I want you to know it is true. I believe that is what Paul was emphasizing to the Romans. He wanted them to know that they were a consistent topic in his conversations with God! I love that! 

We also know about Paul that he embraced his mission wherever he was. Whether he was in jail, chained up, under house arrest or sojourning from town to town to preach the gospel, Paul seemed to have learned contentment over his life. However that did not stop him from also wanting to do more. He wanted to go to Rome to encourage and to be encouraged by his fellowship with other believers. I think sometimes we see contentment as being fine just right where we are and having no desire to do more. I think contentment is being fine just right where we are at the moment, but looking ahead to the future to grow wherever He leads us. But in His time not ours. I struggle with this. There are things I would like to do that don’t seem to be in my path at this time. And sometimes I wonder why the Lord won’t let me get to that place where I could serve Him more. I need to find the balance where I can look ahead but also be ok where He has me planted today. 

I thank my God for all of you who take the time to read and to study along with me. The last month I took some time for personal time with Jesus and posted repeats but I hope to continue studying and writing my thoughts down studying these prayers of Paul. I am honored and humbled when you read along and study with me. I look forward to what Paul will teach us about prayer! 

A Complete Salvation!

Jude

This small book was written by Jude who was the brother of James, which meant he was also a half brother of Jesus yet look at how he identifies himself. 

“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you.” Jude 1-2

Jude doesn’t speak on the authority of being Jesus half brother. Remember Jesus’ brothers did not truly believe He was who He said He was until after the resurrection. But Jude speaks as a servant of Jesus. He is writing this letter to fellow Christians and he is calling for them to have mercy, peace and love. But not just to have it but that it may be multiplied! 

Jude writes this letter as a warning to Christians of false teachers who were and really who will always be in their midst. 

“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 3-4

Jude wanted to write about “our common salvation”. No matter what we have in common with other believers, no matter if you dress similarly or not, no matter if you like sports or music, no matter if you are an intellectual genius or just a simple minded woman, those of us who have this salvation in Jesus always have something in common. Sure we will always navigate to those who seem more like minded as us in common things. But we always share this in common this salvation with other believers. Jude wanted to write about salvation, however he felt it more necessary to encourage the believers to “contend for the faith”! Yes he says this faith was “once for all delivered”. This is his reference to the fact that Jesus died on the cross once and He won’t ever have to do that again for us. That is done! But it does not mean that we will not have to “contend for this faith”. What that means is that there will always be spiritual battles against our faith. Now I’m not wanting to find a devil behind every rock. But Peter warned about the devil prowling like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) And Jude is warning here that there are people who “crept in unnoticed”. The devil is always going to creep in, or come in from the back door. He uses subtle ways to make us stumble and fall into traps and then; he roars. Just like a lion who is sneaking up on his prey. He sneaks in very quietly at first so as not to be seen coming. The devil takes down marriages by starting with simple flirtations. He entices into addictions by lying to us that we can handle it and it’s not harming anyone, it’s just a way to have fun. He will lure into pornography little by little, until the person who is so deep into it, can’t even get the images out of their head. Lifestyle sin never starts all at once, it always creeps in. Jude is telling Christians of his day and his words are scripture so that we can apply his warning to our own lives that it will creep in unnoticed and it will pervert the grace of God and it will ultimately deny Jesus. 

In verses 5 – 16, Jude gave various examples of scripture that shows how sin crept in to the lives of believers. It’s worth a read to see the history of it and to be warned for yourselves. But we are called to persevere. 

“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘in the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions’. It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” Jude 17-19

Here it is again, the warning of the last days where there will be people looking down on Christianity (scoffers) and people will follow their own “ungodly passions”. Sound familiar? But Jude leaves us with some encouraging words and some instructions. 

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt’ save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” Jude 20-23

We as Christians are responsible for our own spiritual growth. We must be “building ourselves up” which simply put means studying for ourselves, and we pray to stay connected with God! Jesus has done the ultimate work on the cross, but we must do the day to day work to stay connected. I’ve often heard it said if I don’t feel close to God it is I who moved, not God. That  is truth. When life gets too busy for me to find time to sit down with my Father every day, then I notice a difference in my daily walk with Him as well. And we are also called to look out for our fellow Christians. I loved that analogy of “snatching them out of the fire”. Friends if you see your brothers and sisters in Christ starting that flirtation, or falling into any sin, you aren’t supposed to sit passively by. We are to snatch them right out of that fire. Don’t just say to them simple warnings, give them the big picture of what they are falling into. 

Jude leaves us with a prayer of praised! Read this slowly and give your praise to Jesus!  

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” Jude 24-25