KEEPING FREE FROM APOSTASY
Jude 1:20-21 : "But you, Beloved (contrasts the Saints with the false teachers), building up yourselves (to build toward the finish of the structure for which the foundation has already been laid) on your most Holy Faith (Jesus Christ and Him Crucified), praying in the Holy Spirit (our praying must be exercised in the sphere of the Holy Spirit, motivated and empowered by Him).
"Keep yourselves in the Love of God (we are to see to it that we stay within the circle of His Love, which can only be done by Faith constantly making the Cross its Object), looking for the Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto Eternal Life (looking for the Rapture of the Church, with all of this made possible by what Jesus did on the Cross)."
The Apostate Church
The Bible plainly declares that in the last days of the Church Age, many who have truly accepted Christ will fall away from the truth. That is what apostasy means, to fall away from the basic tenets of the Christian Faith. We would have to be most ignorant to think that the Church today lies not in the deadly grip of apostasy. Its lack of separation from the world, a rejection of the pursuit of Holiness, the lack of desire for true Biblical Evangelism, are just a few ominous signals. We truly do live in the Laodicean Age where many in the Church feel that we are "rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. We can't see that we are, in fact, "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." In order to guard against apostasy in his day, Jude gave four simple but profound guidelines by which the Believer could stem the tide of apostasy in the individual heart. If we will willingly pursue Jude' advice, we too can assure ourselves of safety in a time of apostasy.
Building Up Yourselves On Your Most Holy Faith
In order to build upon the foundation of Salvation, the Christian must have the proper building tools and the proper building material. The Believer must approach his or her relationship with God by Faith and expect the Promise of Grace. The Believer's Faith must rest upon Christ and what He accomplished for us at the Cross. The Person of Christ and His Redemptive Work are inseparable. As we learn of Who He is, what He can do, and what His Work at Calvary truly accomplished, our Faith becomes anchored securely in God's Redemption Plan. With all hope of the flesh gone, we trust exclusively, continually, and fully upon Christ. As God sees us resting in the Person and Work of His Son He releases the Power and Favor of His Grace. Grace represents the Power Source by which we are changed and strengthened. One aspect of the Grace of God involves the effectual Working of the Holy Spirit within the framework of the human soul and heart. As we believe properly, the "Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" is released to build us into the person God wants us to become. If we pay close attention to this process, apply it daily to our lives, never changing the Object of our Faith from Christ and the Cross to other things, we are continually built up in our most Holy Faith.
Praying In The Holy Ghost
Two arenas need to be addressed here. First, as a Believer you must develop a habitual prayer life. That is, every day spending time in prayer with the Lord is a necessity. In that time of prayer the Believer should be led by the Spirit as to the needs of the day. Worship should be a major part of our prayer life. It is during these times of worship that the Spirit has the freedom to lead us into prayer. Coming to God with a predetermined list and fully controlling your prayer time locks the Holy Spirit out of the procedure. You should come with praise, come with petitions, but don't fail to be sensitive to the Moving of the Spirit. This is one aspect of "praying in the Spirit."
Secondly, for a Spirit-filled Believer who has been baptized with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking with other Tongues a most wondrous option exists. That is, to pray in Tongues. While much of Tongues is worship we must not negate the truth that the Holy Spirit, who gives the utterance to the Spirit-filled Believer, knows the exact situation, knows the need, and He knows how to pray in the Perfect Will of God. Our minds don't get in the way as we pray the appropriate answer, therefore, it is a prayer of Perfect Faith. As we yield our tongue to the Holy Spirit He Prays Perfectly and as we have no doubt about His Accuracy and the content of praying in Tongues, we pray a perfect prayer of Faith. According to Scriptures, if we ask anything according to His Will we know that we have the things that we have asked! What a precious Promise! We should pray in Tongues far more than we do.
"Keep Yourselves In The Love Of God"
In order to receive the supernatural quality of the true selfless love of God, one must rely upon God to bring it to us. It does not lie within the framework of the human heart. To love like God Loves: selflessly, putting others first, thinking no evil of another, etc., we must first be receiving the God Kind of Love through the process of Faith and Grace. A failure to love others is evidence that we are failing to receive the Love of God from the Source Itself. We are not capable of manufacturing this kind of Love on our own. We cannot work it up, we cannot summon it up, and we cannot offer to others what we do not have to give. Paul says this in I Thessalonians 3:12, "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you. If we see our need to love as an impossibility on our own, we will be asking daily for the Love of God to be poured out upon us and placed within us by the Power of the Spirit. He can only do this based on our simple Faith in the Cross. Then being the recipient of God's Love we have true unfeigned Love to share with others.
Looking For The Mercy Of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Most scholarship points to this as the Believer keeping in view the Lord's soon Return. His Return is our "blessed hope." John says the belief of His Imminent and Marvelous Return helps keep the Believer in the purification process. \Knowing that Christ may return today causes me to think twice before rejecting His Will, His Word, or His Way! Even so, come Lord Jesus.
In order to avoid apostasy, keep these four participles in mind. The Believer is to be consistently building, praying, keeping, and looking. If we attach these truths to the subjects above, we should be able to avoid apostasy and keep ourselves in the Love and Purpose of Almighty God.