SATURDAY: HOPE by Pastor Steven Grosvenor
SCRIPTURE: Jude 1-4, 17-25
A headline in USA Today, October 4, 2017 read, “Disasters, nuclear threats, shootings; How much horror can we handle?” The first paragraph reflected prominent thinking in our nation today: “When the month began, a confluence of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires and a brewing international nuclear confrontation had some Americans thinking about the End Times.” Add issues of crime on our streets, health care provisions, economy and family crises, and HOPE can get lost.
In the midst of these crises we enter the Advent Season that leads up to the celebration of God coming into the midst of our world in Christ Jesus. In this season we look forward with HOPE to the Second Coming of Jesus and the inauguration of the New Day of the Lord.
G.K. Chesterton wrote in Signs of the Times, April 1893: “Hope means hoping when things are
hopeless, or it is no virtue at all... As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.”
Jude calls us to HOPE in a brief letter just before the last book of the Bible. He reminds us of our hope in Christ, warns of scoffers who ridicule our hope and gives us instructions about how to live in these days. He says these scoffers follow their own ungodly desires, divide the church, follow mere natural instincts but do not have the Spirit (vv. 17-19). Worse, they slip in among us and disturb our faith in God.
They pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ as our only Sovereign and Lord (v. 4). They pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on the values of heaven (8). They slander whatever they do not understand (10). They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind. (12). They are grumblers and faultfinders who follow their own evil desires (16). They boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage (16b).
Jude proceeds to write instructions for believers who wait in HOPE for the next Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ: Remember who you are—you have been called by God, are loved by God the Father and are being kept for Jesus Christ (1). Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit (20-21). Be merciful to those who doubt (22). Save fellow believers who go the wrong way (23a). Show mercy, mixed with fear—hating behaviors and attitudes stained by corrupted flesh (23b).
Jude closes with a declaration of encouragement and HOPE: “God is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (24).
Then he sings: To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen (25).
Eternal God, this joyful day is radiant with the brilliance of Your one true light.
May that light illuminate our hearts and shine in our words and deeds.
May the hope, the peace, the joy, and the love represented by the birth in Bethlehem fill our lives
and become part of all that we say and do.
May we share the divine life of Your son Jesus Christ, even as He humbled himself to share our humanity.