Jump Start # 3199
Jude 23 “and others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.”
Jude was the brother of James, and both of them were step brothers to Jesus. Jude is one of five books of the Bible that contains only one chapter. Our verse today is vivid. Picture a fire and someone has fallen into that fire and now you pull them out. A serious situation. It reminds us of the demon possessed boy in the Gospels who fell into fire and also into water. The demon was trying to destroy the child. Here, it’s not a literal fire, but the fires of spiritual death. Sin has someone and they are nearly gone. But you, you have so much compassion and love for this person that you reach out and pull them out of the fire. You have saved a soul. A rescue has taken place.
There are two aspects of sin that we need to understand.
First, the powerful effects sin can have upon us. Sin tends to take over and dominates our lives. Sin becomes a terrible master and we quickly become the slave to sin. Sin takes us places that we do not belong. More trouble usually happens. Sin puts us around people who will hurt us spiritually. These people will not remind you to go to worship. They will not be thankful, helpful nor kind. Sin always has the same outcome, death. Sin kills the good in us. Sin defeats us. Sin kills.
Second, there is a recovery from sin. That’s what we find in our passage today. Someone was in the fire. They were snatched out. They were pulled out. They were rescued from sin. What will keep a person from falling back into the fire again? What are the steps to spiritual freedom and recovery?
· One must focus upon God’s promises and not his failing problems. We often stay in sin because we are not looking in the right direction. We must face the direction that we are going. If we want to go to Heaven, then we must face that direction. Satan loves to remind you how many times you struck out in life. He dangles your failures before your eyes. All of this is to convince you that you can’t do it. You never have and you never will. Failure after failure, you might as well quit. You won’t ever get it right. That’s Satan. That’s what we see when we look the wrong direction. When we look the other way, we see the Lord. His hands are extended out to you, He is welcoming you home. Denying Peter made it. Murderous Paul made it. You can make it. On you own, you can’t. But with God’s grace and God’s help you can.
· One must put more trust in God’s word than his own feelings. Our feelings change. God’s word doesn’t. Our feelings can be fickle. God’s word is constant. Our feelings can defeat us. If we only did what we felt like, some of us would never get out of bed. Do you think Noah felt like building that massive ark? Do you think Daniel felt like going into a den of lions? Do you think Peter wanted to be locked in prison? Or, Paul, beaten so many times? There are days when you will not feel like being around others. There will be times when you may not want to go to worship. If our feelings are behind the steering wheel, then we won’t. But if faith is driving us, then we will do things that we don’t feel like. Most don’t feel like apologizing. It’s hard to forgive and there are times when you may not feel like it. You may not like serving. But we do what faith tells us, not what our feelings say.
· One must not look back when they walk away from sin. Remember Lot’s wife, is what Jesus said in Luke. She looked back. It didn’t turn out well for her. When repenting, it is to be without regret, as Paul told the Corinthians. No looking back. Burn those bridges so one cannot turn around and cross over again. Make the decision and march forward with the Lord. Satan will tug on your strings to get you to step back into sin. Others may try to excuse and justify sin. But it’s onward with the Lord. We are marching to Zion and as we march onward, we are walking away from sin. As we march onward we are putting distance between us and the devil. No turning back…no turning back.
· One must be able to forgive himself. If God can forgive us, then we must forgive ourselves. The defeat of sin does not come from a power within us. It comes from the Lord. As Christ crushed the head of that serpent, so sin can be crushed from our hearts when we cleave to the Lord. Do not punish yourself. Learn from your mistakes and do better. Find better people to be around. Understand that the fire consumes and be thankful for those who have pulled you out of the flames.
All around us in our spiritual family are those who love you and want to see you do well spiritually. They want you to excel spiritually. They want you in Heaven.
Pulling others out of the fire—tough work but very, very powerful to what it can do for us.