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Thinking Of Themselves

Thinking Of Themselves

02 July 2010

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 4-5; Psalm 115-116; Jude

Scripture:

17 But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: 18 “In the last days there will be people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts.” 19 These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There’s nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit! (Jude 17-19 MSG)

Jude was a younger brother of Jesus and James. He wrote this letter nearly 35 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, after the church had begun to be divided by false teachings and selfish, mercenary “prophets and teachers.” Jude’s fatherly concern for the health of the church and the purity of the faith comes through so clearly in this short letter of warning about selfish people who use religion for their personal gain.

Jude uses his extensive knowledge of scripture and of Jewish tradition to give examples from the Old Testament of people who cared more about themselves and their own profit and pleasure than about truth and right. He is very clear on the consequences of selfish sin.

Jude’s main intent is to warn about people who care more about getting their own way than about the well-being of the church. That’s a sensitive spot for me as well. I’ve seen churches hurt, weakened, and split because some people cared more about themselves than about the church.

If we are wise, and if we love the church the way Christ loved the church, we will put the well-being of the church above our own personal interests. We won’t see the church as a means to personal gain. We’ll suffer injustices when necessary without retaliating or bringing division or damage to the church Christ gave his life for.

Prayer:

Father, I pray today for the health and well-being your Church and your churches. Please protect your churches from selfish people who care more about their own way than about the health of the church. Protect us from ourselves and our selfishness. Help our leaders to be strong and clear on vision and direction. Guide us and make us strong by your ever-present Holy Spirit. Amen.

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