April 4, 2011

You ought to Remember

But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 17

For fourteen verses now Jude has been giving the lowdown on false teachers – their traits, their fates, the destruction they can wreak, and so on. Fourteen verses of rightly and marvelously tarring and feathering the religious charlatans! But in verse 17 Jude shifts gears (though he will wield his tar brush one more time before he’s finished!). Verses 3-16 are all about the false teachers. ‘“But you” are a different story’ he says to his readers. You are a different sort of people. You ought to be different than these men!

And what ought to be so different for true believers? Simply that they “remember.” True believers are not carried away by strange doctrines and savvy peddlers of religious snake oil. Why? Because true believers “remember the words” of “the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ”! True believers know the truth and can recall it to mind. They “remember” what the apostles have said about false teachers (v.18) … and can therefore spot them from a mile away. And they also “remember” the sound doctrine that the apostles taught … and can thus easily discern a counterfeit from the real thing. Christians are people who “remember”!

It’s so important to have a good memory – to be able to recall what the Bible says even when the book itself not in your hands! Because, when you’re out working in your yard on a Saturday morning, for instance … you probably don’t have a Bible in your hands. And so, when the Jehovah’s Witnesses walk up behind you and start handing out their materials, their teachings might actually sound okay … unless you can, even without a Bible in your hand, still “remember the words that were spoken … by the apostles”; unless you have truth stored away in your memory! But if you have truth stored in your memory, you are so much less apt to be led astray … either by the doctrines of the heretics, or by their personalities and methods.

The same can be said of doubts that Satan plants into your mind. Say you’re sitting in a university lecture in which the Bible is being ‘proven’ to be filled with contradictions, and implausibilities, and so on. Well, either you’d better have a Bible in your backpack, or you’d better have its truths hidden away in your memory … so that you might pull them out and counter the doubts that may arise in your mind (and perhaps counter the professor, too!). And the same could be said when doubts assail you on the hospital bed, and you don’t have a Bible readily at hand. If you don’t have Romans 8.28 stored away in your memory bank, you just might give in to despair! But if you “remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ”, then you have a shield of faith in your hand with which you may extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one!

So, surely, “beloved” … “you ought to remember”! Sometimes you ought to intentionally memorize key passages of scripture. And, more than that, I think, you ought to be so often in the word and under good teaching that it simply begins to become a second language to you. You ought to be so often in and around the Bible that you speak its language and know its doctrines almost without having to think about it; so that verses that you didn’t even know you knew by heart would spontaneously arise to the surface in the time of need! So I urge you, “beloved” to “remember”!

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