Bria Connolly speaking on starting the new year fresh; starting the year having confidence in Jesus, knowing that we are called and kept by Him.
We get a chance at a fresh start, not just because its a new year, but because God is offering us new mercies.
In Lamentations 3:22-23 he tells us that His mercies are new every morning. Not every year, or when we make new goals, but God meets us with new mercies in every moment. He is calling us to start now. There is nothing to wait for.
In a season of depression, his invitation is new every morning. In sickness, his invitation is new every morning. In confusion, his invitation is new every morning.
We had a long break to realize where we are at. Even if we are coming here tonight and this is the first you have even given him a thought, his invitation stands for you. Start new, remember where you started. And start anew.
Start again. Remembering who it is who calls you to greater things. We need his newness to push us into a New Year, to remind us that He is up to something.
That brings me to where we are going this term. We are going to spend the whole term in the book of Jude.
If this last year has you at a place where you feel tired, or you aren’t sure about your purpose, or you’ve stopped pursuing God through spiritual disciplines all together…This book is a call for us to wake up. To stand together and fight for our faith in Jesus, because we know He is worth it. To not let anyone steal the truth from us, and to know that God meets us in the fight.
We don’t know a ton about Jude, but what we do know is that he is the brother of Jesus become follower of Jesus. (Matt. 13:55) That the brother of Jesus, like James and Jude did not follow him until after the resurrection. They spent their whole lives watching him, but never actually thinking he was who he claimed to be, until his death and resurrection left them with no choice. And because they understood who he was they shared it.
The book of Jude points us toward, that those who follow Jesus live lives of surrender.
This letter is a call, a call to be the people of God, and run from what can destroy a faith in Jesus. This call is for them, and it is also for us.
Let’s look at v. 1-2.
“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and the brother of James. To those who were called, beloved in God the father and kept in Jesus Christ. May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.”
Jude: a servant of Christ. A stance of humility, a stance that is easy to take when faced with the glory of God. He laid down every title, except for servant of Christ.
To those who were called: What does it mean to be called? Those who believe on the name of Jesus are those who God has drawn to himself. Those who have been called are those who God has drawn in (John 6:44).
John 6:44 talks about those who are called, it’s Jesus calling us out. We were wrapped up in our sin, our lives, our worries, and God called us out by name, He called us back to him.
So when Jude addresses those who have been called, it is those who God called back to himself. Those who listened and ran to him. Those who are children of God.
And those who he has called, he calls beloved.
To be God’s beloved is to have the ability to be in relationship with him. He did not just stop at calling us, but he loves us adores us and wants to be with us.
We are KEPT.
What does it mean to be kept? To be kept means to be in the safety of God. To be kept means that we are becoming like God. To be kept means that we have confidence in the truth of the gospel.
Now, why do you think Jude starts his letter here? He doesn’t start with a command or with a list of to-dos, he starts with confidence.
Because we cannot follow his commands without this confidence. The confidence that we are called, that we are beloved, and that we are kept by Him.
By living in this confidence we get to see life transformed by his commands, by his way of life. This is why Jude starts here, because without this confidence, the rest is impossible.
Where he goes next tells us just what this confidence brings. He gives us three words that give a ton of insight.
1. This confidence means a life marked by mercy. May mercy be multiplied to. Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. That is mercy. We have confidence in the work of Jesus, that although we deserve death, he is offering us life. And this mercy is to be multiplied.
2. May peace be multiplied to you. John 14:27 “I give my peace to you, not as the world gives.” With this confidence comes peace. With a confidence in the gospel we see a peace that transcends understanding, because with the truth of the gospel there is no room for fear, what can man do to me? Our lives are defined by our confidence in Jesus. So that means the gospel is our number one priority, and everything else falls to the wayside.
3. May love be multiplied to you. This isn’t saying, may your fuzzy feelings increase, or may you always feel close to Jesus. He isn’t talking about how the people feel at all. But, may you understand the sacrifice of love that Jesus lived. That He gave up being God so he could be man, so he could know our grief and carry our sorrow. That love would be multiplied as we understand the truth of the gospel and share it with others, as we pursue those who don’t know Him yet, just as he has pursued us. The kind love that will become a servant. The kind of love that will lay down its life. If the gospel is our confidence, than this kind of love changes everything.
We can love because he loved beyond our wildest imagination before we even knew His name. We can love like that because we have confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God is calling us to live in His confidence, so how do we do it?
- Remind: Where are you at in your daily time with Jesus? Looking daily to Jesus his word and letting the scriptures remind us of who our confidence is is crucial. We must remember whose we are and how he is showing us to live.
- Respond: How do we respond after leaving that time with Jesus? If I read in the scriptures, pray, seek Jesus, and then do nothing with what I have been shown, I am not living with Him as my confidence. My response to the scriptures is to share what Jesus is showing me, but find some way, whatever you read, to respond to what God is saying. The is how we practice living with Him as our confidence.
- Rest: Take moments throughout the day to rest in the fact that God is who he says he is, and choose His gospel as your confidence. Set alarms throughout the day that wake you up from routine and turns you intentionally rest in who he is. Even if it is a short amount of time, reorder your day. And choose him as your confidence.
Practice living in His confidence, and start to see life transformed by his commands. Let him remind you, respond to what he says, and rest in who he is. From this confidence we see mercy, peace, and love multiply.
These three words that Jude gives to end his greeting are not to give this audience a bunch of good feelings, they are to tell His readers to continue in confidence in Jesus. He is about to hit us with some hard truth, but first we must know that we are secure in who Jesus is and what He has done. That we are secure in the fact that we are called and kept by our Savior.
God is calling us to contend for the faith. In weakness, in our tiredness, in our indifference, to fight for what we know is true.
BUT FIRST He must be our confidence.