Like Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, I was very eager to communicate with others about our common salvation. This is in fact the purpose behind Living Waters Messianic Fellowship. And like Jude, I now find it necessary to write appealing to us to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
Because certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. These people rely on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. They blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.
These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
Jude 1:17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Ungodly people, who pervert the grace of God and deny our only Master and Lord, Yeshua Messiah. People who rely on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. They cause divisions, are worldly, and devoid of the Spirit.
The Lord desires mercy, not sacrifices. And many have crept into our congregations unnoticed (at first) who are ungodly, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality of the flesh. And don’t be fooled thinking this is lude sexual things. This speaks of those who like in the Torah observant Gentile movement believe God’s grace was given so they can live in observance to the Torah of Moses. They defile the flesh through circumcision that is NOT required of them. They reject the authority of Yeshua, placing it ‘under’ the law of Moses. And they blaspheme the glorious ones who proclaim the Good News. They cause divisions between Jews and Gentiles by declaring that all Gentiles should be Jewish, denying the natural divisions of the body as created by God, and defining their own dreamed up divisions. They are worldly in that they see the saving grace of God as giving them the ability to live in this world under the law of Moses. Where as Yeshua said we are born from above and our kingdom is from above. Not of this world. They are devoid of the Spirit because they deny His proclamations. They continually point to Matt 5:19 declaring that to be the greatest in the kingdom of God one must teach the Torah of Moses to the world. And of course observance is the issue. Not merely understanding Messiah within Torah, but that in order to be the greatest in the kingdom as opposed to the least they must teach the Torah of Moses to the world.
20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Now I’m sure this pattern fits into many other denominations. But I am most familiar with Messianic Judaism. So I speak from that perspective.
So, let’s contrast this with what Yeshua stated about the ‘greatest’ in His kingdom.
Matt 18:1 At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, “Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?” 2 For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, 3 and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. 4 Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. 5 What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.
Like a child. Not like a Pharisee. We are to be simple and elemental, like children. Not puffed up and full of knowledge that the Spirit gave us by grace so as to lord it over the others who don’t have it. Which happens all to often in One Law Messianic theology.
Matt 18:6 “But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. 7 Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don’t have to make it worse – and it’s doomsday to you if you do. 8 “If your hand or your foot gets in the way of God, chop it off and throw it away. You’re better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owners of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire. 9 And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away. You’re better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty vision from inside the fire of hell. 10 “Watch that you don’t treat a single one of these childlike believers arrogantly. You realize, don’t you, that their personal angels are constantly in touch with my Father in heaven?
Abba’s got our back.
Notice again the actions of those who God hates. They give others a hard time, they bully or take advantage of our simple trust. They make things much worse than it has to be. And they are reserving for themselves judgement, not treasures.
Matt 18:12 “Look at it this way. If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one? 13 And if he finds it, doesn’t he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who stay put? 14 Your Father in heaven feels the same way. He doesn’t want to lose even one of these simple believers.
We are taught to have mercy on the lost, and seek them as a shepherd seeks his lost sheep. Not to treat them as stated above in verses 6-10.
And this is nothing new for God. His shepherds have done this before to us. As Ezekiel 34 explains.
Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not , and with force and harshness you have ruled them.
5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. 6 My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them. 7 “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8 As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 10 Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.
Shepherds feed the sheep.
But they were eating the fat of the festivals, clothing themselves with talliot, but did not feed the sheep. The weak they do not strengthen, the sick they do not heal, and the lost they do not seek out, but with harshness and force they have ruled over them. Saying in order to be the greatest in the kingdom you must observe the Torah of Moses to the best of your ability. Putting a millstone around their neck and saying SWIM!!! like me!!! As they sink to sheol.
Even today they scatter the sheep from the Truth of the Good News causing some to become food for all the wild theologians out there in internet land. They say, be the greatest by observing Torah, or be the least by not. And so they chase the sheep away. Because we know His voice, and that is not His message.
11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. 17 “As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? 19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet? 20 “Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, 22 I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.
Messiah himself will shepherd us. He will seek us out and bring us into his pasture. And he will judge between the fat evil sheep and the lean godly sheep.
How do we defend the sheep?
In mercy, by the power of the Spirit in us, we strengthen the week, heal the sick, bandage the injured, and seek the strays to them bring back.
How do we contend for the faith?
We preach and testify day and night that Yeshua is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
We contend for our faith by defending the truth of the Good News. All by the power of the Spirit living in you. If you sideline the Spirit and contend by your own power and understanding, you have failed to follow the command of God, through the Spirit given by Yeshua Messiah.
"When you awake in the morning, learn something to inspire you and mediate upon it, then plunge forward full of light with which to illuminate the darkness." -Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
Jewish adventures in the diaspora.
Scripture, ethics and spiritual formation