December 29, Thursday

Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from December 26-January 1 are provided by Pastor Joshua Kim of Church of Southland.  Joshua, a graduate of Emory University and Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.), serves as the pastor of Access group (singles).  He was recently married to Christina.

Devotional Thought for Today

Jude 1-4

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For 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.

29I recently took a class with a professor who was a staff sergeant in the Vietnam War. At the youthful age of 20, he quickly found himself in the swamps of Vietnam with the burden of leading a group of men into war. As he recounted many of the horrific things he had experienced in the war, he taught us the importance of training disciples in the church. He believed that the term “disciple” isn’t just reserved for those who are in positions of leadership or are well equipped, but rather, anyone who has come to Jesus for salvation and surrendered their lives to His Lordship. In other words, all Christians are disciples. And he challenged a classroom of around thirty future leaders and pastors of churches to take this calling seriously. As he quickly learned in Vietnam, a squad is only as strong as its weakest member.

Despite the brevity of Jude’s letter, you’ll notice that Jude wastes no time getting to the heart of the matter. Even though he is “very eager” to write to them about their salvation, he sees that there is another urgent matter at hand. He addresses the rise of false teachers (much like in 2 Peter) within the church who are “perverting” the message of God’s grace.

If something like this were to happen in your church, it would be very natural for us to quickly rely on the church leadership to deal with the situation. But take a look at who is being addressed: “those who are called.” In other words, this letter is written to all those within the church, since this calling applies to everyone who believes in Jesus.

The call to “contend for the faith” is given to all saints, not just the leaders or pastors. You, dear brother and sister, are called to defend the faith and fight for the purity of the church. You are called to fight for the unity of the church, to not let falsehoods or sin remain within the church. You are called.

Members of a church are not spectators—we are participants. We are not just consumers—we are workers and builders. Every member of the body is called to get into the grit of life so that as a whole body, we may be pure before the Lord.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for engrafting me into the family of God through Your blood. I realize that this invitation is not just an invitation to consume or observe, but to get involved and build up. Forgive me for the ways I’ve stood by passively. Help me to be one who speaks and acts in truth for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Kings 18

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Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Peter 3:13-7: “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is Peter exhorting the church to do?
  2. What is the implication of this passage? Why should we be ready to “make a defense to anyone who asks us for a reason for our hope”?
  3. In what ways are you pushing aside the challenges of people who are questioning your faith? In what ways are you avoiding making a defense? Remember, the sin of omission is just as sinful as the sin of commission. How is God challenging you to respond?

Notes

  1. Peter is calling the church to do good despite what the physical/worldly consequences may be. Peter calls the church to always be ready, in speech, in manner, in action, and in thought. It is a call for the church to be above reproach, and in times of defending the faith, no one can bring any opposition against them.
  2. The implication here is that the church will face opposition even if they are doing good. Even when the church acts in good conscience, there will be those who bring charges against them. There will be a time of questioning. And it is the duty of the church to be ready to honor Christ.
  3. Personal response.

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Evening Reflection

How have you thought differently about your part in the church today? Has anything changed about your commitment to the church body? How might you live/act differently starting tomorrow? Take a few moments to journal your thoughts and commit them to the Lord in prayer.

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