Sunday, August 26, 2012

“Not even a hint…” "皆目(かいもく)見当がつかないで."

Not even a hint…” 

As we walk along the road of Faith, and as we encounter the challenges of Life, we need to know the direction we are going.  There are many ideas that assault us and sometimes, it is hard to distinguish which should be avoided.  Sometimes it is rather hard to know if good is better than best.  If gray is really darkness.  If our own insights have been effected by the World System of selfishness and pride.
In such a world, Jude finds himself.  And not only Jude but for us today as well.  Society has moved fairly far from Center.  We had spoken about the Moral Compass and how, without that being centered on Biblical thinking, we would be lost in the sea of worldliness.
So far in Jude, we have seen his interest of his readers to come of age—to come full circle into a deeper knowledge and understanding of what it really means to follow Christ.  Last week with the Way of Cain and the profit of Balaam, and the rebellion of Korah.  We spoke about the need for each believer to run the race set out before us with a desire and determination to finish well with our flame still burning brightly for Jesus.  Don’t give up was his cry to us and for us to encourage each other with that same desire.  Be careful!  Let the Gospel run deep in our hearts and live it out before our families and in the society.
Now we are at the end of the teaching in Jude.  Even when it has less than 30 verses, there is still more to gleam from this letter, we will come to a close today with this talk.  September is next week and with it a new series on WHAT WE BELIEVE.  We will look at the Apostle’s Creed and from many places in the Bible to flesh out our foundation of Faith.
Today, we will look once again at a group of people, Jude called with the pronouns of THEM, THEY and THEIR.  We can identify these people as ones who are self-centered and self-promoting.  They feed themselves自分自身を養う - and let others go hungry.  Selfishness is their center.  They care only for the development of ME.  They feed themselves at other’s expense.  They look like they could be helpful but are really rainless clouds—“clouds without rain”. 雨なしの雲 …  When it comes to being helpful, they are REALLY EMPTY.
I have never been a farmer.  I had visited a few farms in my life. One was dirty beyond belief and the other was ever so clean.  One of the things BOTH farms needed was a regular supply of water.  They both needed regular rainfall.  When they looked at the dry land and saw rain clouds during the dry hot season, they felt relieved. Relief was on its way. Sometimes, the rain clouds did not produce rain.  Very disappointing.  No relief.  No water.  No help.  That is the kind of person Jude was talking about.  Looks like help could be there but all that is there are dry words, no relief, no water, and no help. 
They were also likened to autumn trees. 秋の木 - I like to see the trees turn colors. One Fall, I went up toward Nikko.  Wow, that was impressive.  Having lived in Karuizawa for two years, I saw many beautiful trees in splendid colors.  But these trees Jude is talking about are dead trees---both without fruit or life.  They were also uprooted.  Weak and without hope of future growth.  Remember a number of years ago, in England, when a hurricane smashed into the UK with very high winds, HUGE English oak trees were uprooted.  Some were hundreds of year old!  Now, the wood was just left for chair and table makers.  They ‘looked’ strong, but they had no root system.  With nothing to hold them up, they fell over.  Are your spiritual leaders—those who you get your spiritual food from like that?  Are they rootless?  Fruitless? Be careful!
Or are they like wild waves荒波 - all motion but no substance.  Just waves that have only foam in them.  One thing about waves…over time, it wears down what it hits.  Be careful!
These people are like wandering stars さすらいの星 -.  Stars do not wander.  They are set in the Heavens, but these stars wander.  Not set. Not firmly in place.  Moving off their course and if followed, will provide a miss direction for those who put their trust in them.  Darkness.  With out meaning.  Wandering. This is the fate of those who follow their teachings.  So be careful!
Resulting in blackest darkness.  I entered a cave in the Dakotas a while ago.  We were told to turn off our lights and not to take a flash photo because the bright light would hurt our eyes.  I remember the darkness truly FELL on us.  It was the darkest place I have ever been.  If a person were left in that kind of darkness for a long period of time, their eyes would burst as they strained to see light resulting in total blindness.  Not a good place to be for very long.  We function better in the light!
And here comes Enoch adding his words to the mix それらについてのエノクの言葉He speaks to those false teachers as well.  He tells us that the Lord is coming to judge THEM 裁きに with a host of angels.  Thousands upon thousands of angels!  And The Lord’s judgment is to fall on everyone.
Just before the death of W.C. Fields, a friend visited him in the hospital room and found Fields thumbing through the Bible.  He asked the noted comedian why. Fields replied, “I’m looking for loopholes.”  Not there!
Judgment is for all men and women. それらのすべてを有罪にするには  Everyone is to stand before the Judge and be counted.  Some will be sent to their eternal reward as they had placed their soul-trust in Jesus as Lord of their lives while others will be sent to their eternal death in the Lake of Fire.  Sounds unfair? No, there are no loopholes in this plan.  You are either WITH Him or you are AGAINST Him.  No sitting on the fence.  Total commitment.  Unlike the man who contacted the pastor of his church asking if he could audit the class on Total Commitment.
And what will this judgment do?  It will convict all of THEM of all of their sins それらを有罪にするには.  We all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God but thanks be to God, for His un-describable gift of Eternal Life in His Only Son, Jesus, the Christ.  Do you know Him that way—as your Lord?
“Lord” is not a word or term we use much today.  Please get use to that Name!  This Lord Jesus died for you.  He is very worth knowing!
Not only are the sins dealt with but also all the defiant words people say and use spoken against The Lord.  Those words of hate toward Him.  Those words of unbelief.  Those words of disdain toward the things of God.  All these will be convicted and condemned. 
Again, we need a definition.  Who are THEM?
They are the ones who grumble不平不満を持つ者.  Do you grumble? Are words of grumbling part of your every day speech?  A heavy wagon was being dragged along a country lane by a team of oxen. The axles groaned and creaked terribly, when the oxen turning around and addressed the wheels, "Hey there, why do you make so much noise? We bear all the labor, and we -- not you -- ought to cry out!" Those who complain first in our churches do the least. The Quotable Spurgeon. Charles Spurgeon,   Grumbling is not a spiritual gift. They tend to do nothing but complain. “A man who does nothing never has time to do anything” ~Charles Spurgeon
Another THEM are the ones who are faultfinders.     あらさがしをする者 . These are not team players.  Always finding something to complain about.  Negative people: they are no fun to be around.  Can’t please them.  It is always raining.  Always dark.  Finding fault with all that is going on around them.  They wear people out.  They speak words of hurt and of condemnation.  They do not build people up but cut them down.  You are this and you are that!  Why didn’t you…?  You ALWAYS do wrong!  These people are the ones who hurt the Body the most.  They shoot at the wounded.  They complain about everything.  And they do not pray.  These faultfinders are like the autumn trees and the rainless clouds. Worthless …until God’s Spirit changes them.  And He will.
Those faultfinders follow their own selfish desires 自己の邪悪な欲望に従ってください.  Always trying to please self.  If you help them, you might get hurt along the way.  Paul suggests that we leave them alone—those who cut down members of the Body.  In fact, I have heard that if you give a pig and a boy everything they want, you’ll get a good pig and a very bad boy.
They also tend to boast about themselves 自分自身について自慢.  They brag about who they are, what they have bought, the deal they were able to get.  All centered on themselves.  Little room for any interest in you.
They tend to flatter others for their own advantage自分のために他人に媚び.  Again, always them being at the center of the conversation or attention.  Be careful you don’t become one of these THEMs!
BUT… しかし!
Jude wants to encourage the reader with the Salvation that we share.  He calls us his friends.  He encourages us to be kept in God’s love 神の愛で自分を保つ -.  This is not something automatic.  Here, action is required.  This kind of keeping is proactive.  Not by works but by an active Faith.  One learns this while they are praying in the Spirit 聖霊に祈る.  Dealing with life connected to the Father through talking with Him.  In doing so, we are building yourself up—not in a self-centered manner—but by building self up in God’s Love 神の愛のうちに自己を構築する.  All this is being done NOT in a vacuum but as you wait for the mercy of God to bring you eternal life
Not really yours yet—but by faith it is yours.  Run in such a way that your flame does not burn out or be blown out.  Make it to the end with a heart that is on fire with your love for Him.  Waiting for this to happen is the Name of the Game 待つこと、それがゲームの名前です. Psalm 90:12Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.   詩編  90:12  生涯の日を正しく数えるように教えてください。知恵ある心を得ることができますように。It is in His timing 神のイミング -.  It is also in His will 神の意思.  Never mind what we want: His way is bestA bishop of a century ago pronounced from his pulpit and in a periodical he edited that heavier-than-air flight was both impossible and contrary to the will of God. Oh, the irony that Bishop Wright had two sons, Orville and Wilbur! Wright was wrong. He was sure of himself, but he was wrong. 
His Timing, His Will and in His Way 神の道.  Face it: when God bolts the door, don’t try to get in through the window.  The Will of God never will lead you where the Grace of God cannot keep you.
At this point, as in the beginning, Jude is giving some sound advice.  It comes as more instructions: Be merciful to doubters…don’t cut them off or send them away.  And be active in snatching the lost from the fire of Hell.  Again, Spurgeon’s words:   “If sinners are damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees. Let no one go there unwarned or unprayed for!”   
This is done to show God’s deep Mercy.  And the last instruction…sounds like Paul’s instruction found in Ephesians 5:3  But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. エフェソ信徒へ手紙 / 5:3 あなたがた間では聖なる者にふさわしくみだらなことやいろいろ汚れたことあるいは貪欲なことを口にしてはなりません Not even a hint.  Don’t even touch even the clothing that was stained by sin’s corruption "皆目見当がつかないで".  Time to clean up our act.  Open the doors of the heart that has been closed from His eyes.  Open the heart chambers that have been governed by hate and mistrust and don’t even let there be even a hint of corruption.  Stay pure.  Stay close to Him!  Be careful!
Ps. 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart o God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” 詩編 / 51:10  喜び祝声を聞かせてください/あなたによって砕かれたこ骨が喜び躍るよ
Doxology  24 To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.