What on Earth Are We to Do about Unbelief? (Part 9a of 10)

13 Jul

FirefoxScreenSnapz689Do you ever feel like giving up?  No?  (You probably lie about other things as well).  I look at the world around me, and I get a bit discouraged.  Unbelief is rampant.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is ignored or critiqued.  What’s a believer in Jesus to do?

Jude, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus, wrote a one-chapter letter precisely answering that question!  We’ve seen so far in our study that in the face of the world’s unbelief, we are to keep ourselves strong in the faith (vv. 1-4).  But the Christian faith is being attacked — and we need to be aware of those attacks (vv. 3-4).  The Christian is to be ready to do battle for Christian truths (vv. 3-4), acknowledging the fact that the God who delivers is also a God who destroys (vv. 5-7)!  There are many dangers in false teaching that we must realize (vv. 8-10), for those teachers are simply repeating the errors of history (v. 11).  We’ve also seen (seventhly), that we should understand that false teachers have nothing to offer (vv. 12-13).  Eighthly, we saw that false teachers inevitably lead to ungodly living (vv. 14-16).

Let’s look at a ninth part of our response to unbelief in our world and it is this —
Step #9a-  We must Take Responsibility for Our Own Spiritual Lives! (vv. 17-23).

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

What are we to do about unbelief on earth?  We’ve seen a number of steps that we can take.FirefoxScreenSnapz719  But what about ourselves?  What about our own spiritual growth?  Again Jude reminds us of the false teachers in verses 17-19.  He uses the expression “scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”  They are divisive people who follow mere natural instincts and don’t have the Spirit.  So, obviously, to properly pursue our own spiritual lives means not making the same mistakes as these false teachers.  We must not scoff at the things of God, nor follow our own ungodly desires.  We must not follow our natural instincts.  And we must “have the Spirit” in our lives.

But Jude goes on to positive admonitions about our own spiritual lives.  We are to “build ourselves up in our most holy faith,” for example (v. 20).   Spiritual growth does not happen automatically.  We FirefoxScreenSnapz721don’t become spiritually mature by osmosis (simply sitting “under the sound of the Word,” as some of the older generation used to say).  We are to build ourselves up.  It is not enough just to fight false teaching.  We must invest energy in growing ourselves up!

Jude also uses the enigmatic expression “and praying in the Holy Spirit” (v. 20).  What does he mean by that command?  There is no real context to dogmatically determine what he means, but it seems unlikely that he is referring to the supernatural gift of speaking in languages one has not learned.  Perhaps his point is praying in such as way that we maximize our cooperation with the ministries of the Holy Spirit to us (illumination, conviction of sin, leading, etc.).  (to be continued)
“The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us. ”
― A.W. Tozer



1.  What is one factor that keeps you from growing in the Lord as you should?

2.  Name one practical step you can take to combat that hindrance in your life ________________________



1 Comment

Posted by on July 13, 2014 in unbelief


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One response to “What on Earth Are We to Do about Unbelief? (Part 9a of 10)

  1. john

    July 13, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Your opening paragraph:
    “I look at the world around me, and I get a bit discouraged. Unbelief is rampant. ”
    The chance that all what is said in the Bible is true is in the order of one in a googol.
    So here you have it: You still have a chance, but there is good reason to be discouraged.


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